Author Archives: sarahk

Baby Day Part 1: If you ever get a chance to have your cervix stretched… yeah, don’t

When Frank got up Thursday morning, October 7, I told him I was pretty sure we were having a baby that day, so he went ahead and called in to work. The bags were still packed, so we piddled around until it was time for my appointment. I wore my green and white sleeveless maternity dress, because I’d gotten in the habit of wearing that dress to all of my checkups so I was always weighed in the same clothes. This time, I think I wore socks and tennis shoes. Or my brown sandals. I already don’t remember.

We got in the car, and I put on the iPod with my labor & delivery mix. I started with “Heavy In Your Arms” by Florence & the Machines. Frank expressed (not for the first time) his amazement that a woman would sing about being heavy. I thought it was appropriate for someone with a giant baby belly.

We got to my appointment, and I weighed in at 171 on the doctor’s scale. I’d been 158 on his scale at the beginning of my pregnancy, so my final weight gain was 13 pounds.

The nurse took my stats (BP was good), and then the doctor came in. He smiled and said, “Thank you for not having your baby yesterday.” He told me a little about his daughter’s birthday and asked how I was feeling. I told him I was pretty sure the baby was coming and that my contractions were different and I’d been laboring all night. He checked my cervix. While his fingers were still probing, I asked how it was. See, I just knew he was going to say, “Oh, wow, you’re an 8, get over to the hospital quick!” However… “About two and a half… and 90%.” My response was my now-standard, “You have GOT to be kidding me.” I know I should have seen the progress in the effacement, because I knew that most first-timers efface fully before dilating at all. But since I’d been dilating for weeks, I just figured I was in the minority.

Now, I love my doctor, but sometimes he does stuff to me without asking or warning me first. He didn’t ask before the first time he stripped my membranes, and he didn’t ask before what he did next. He just said, “Apologies in advance for what I’m about to do…” I assumed he was stripping my membranes again, so I was like, “Yeah, go ahead.”

Then he did something way worse. I didn’t know what, but I knew it hurt. Hurt hurt hurt. Now that I’ve gone through the whole labor process, I can tell you that it hurt worse than labor. “OW!” “Sorry, sorry, sorry.” “What’d you do, break my water?” “I stretched your cervix. Now you’re a 4. You can go over to the hospital and check in. I’ll send you with paperwork so you can go right to your room. Get the epidural if you want it, get settled in. I’ll come over later and break your water, and we’ll have a baby today.” “Okay, thanks,” I said. He left the room, and I jumped down off the table and just lost it. Started bawling hard. Frank grabbed my glasses, which were falling off of my face, bowed in pain. I sobbed. Frank rubbed my back. “That hurt so bad. So bad. So bad.”

Thus ended my 19 hours of early labor.

comments

For some reason, I wasn’t receiving my blog comments for the last couple of days. So if you commented, I wasn’t ignoring you, I just didn’t get it until now. I just got a bajillion blog and Facebook comments. So I’ll respond soon.

And thanks for all of your thoughtful comments on the cat declawing thing. Like I said, I really don’t want to do it. I think we’re going to try the Soft Paws before we do anything.

Laughter

Buttercup’s first laugh came during a diaper change. See, she loves diaper changes. Loves the nake-nake, as we call being naked. So I said something like, “I know you love being naked. But please don’t grow up and be a stripper.” And she laughed. Of course! Because that’s the kind of stuff we want to write down in the baby book.

Anyway, below is her first laugh that we actually got on tape.

Sunday’s dining adventure

Frank and I really don’t eat out very often. The main reason is money. We’re on a strict budget so I can stay home (that’s really important to both of us) and we can pay off the debt from our previous house, and any dining out has to come out of our grocery money. Since we’re gluten-free, our grocery budget is already huge, and I haven’t been inclined to make it any bigger, and I don’t want to eat beans and rice every day of every week.

This year, we’re going to be able to eat out a little more. I’ve added a few extra dollars to the grocery budget, and we’ve decided to stop just *saying* we’re going to try new restaurants and actually get out there and do it. We know we can get good gluten-free dining experiences at Chang’s and Outback and Epi’s and Cottonwood and a number of other pricey restaurants. We’re going to try some of those when money allows. But we also want to try decently-priced restaurants and see how their gluten-free experience is.

We tried to start that Sunday after worship. We drove to an Indian restaurant on State Street that we haven’t eaten at. It smelled wonderful when we walked in. But alas, it was lunch buffet time, and the place is tiny, so it was completely full, and we decided to try again later. Then we drove to a Santa Fe Mex kind of place I’ve seen a few times. Closed on Sundays. Argh. We went downtown, because we were already close, and decided to try the Indian restaurant down there. Also closed on Sundays. Across from it was a sushi place that is–can you guess? Closed on Sundays.

So we gave up and decided to just go to On The Border. We know the salsa doesn’t suck, and they have allergen-free menus available, so it’s easy to eat there, especially since I also have to be egg- and dairy-free right now (oh, and it’s going to get worse, because I’m going to cut way down on corn). On the way there from downtown, we passed by another “Mexican” restaurant we’ve never tried (see, we have tried very few restaurants), Cinco de Mayo, and decided to give it a shot. When we walked in and only white people were eating there, we should have turned around and walked out. We have yet to find good Mexican (or Tex Mex or Santa Fe Mex) here.

One trend we’ve noticed in Idaho is that the restaurants serve you bean dip as well as salsa while you’re waiting for your meal. That’s good, because the bean dip is usually good, while the salsa is horrific. Two of the Mexican restaurants I’ve eaten at here put basil in their salsa. Basil. I feel like Rachel Lucas, unable to find good Mexican food in my new home. It would make sense if Idaho didn’t have a Mexican population, but we do. The table guac was good, so I have to give them that. The mole wasn’t bad. But if you’re a Mexican restaurant and don’t have good salsa, it’s just not going to work out for us. It’s not me, it’s you.

Anyway, we’ve decided that Sunday is just the wrong day for our new eating adventures, so we’ll probably move it to Thursday evenings. You know, during Buttercup’s crankiest time of day. :)

Related: Susan has a great post on mainstream restaurants that cater to the gluten-free crowd. We don’t have a lot of those restaurants, but if you’re in the Metroplex, you do. Actually, most big cities have most of them. Go check it out.

Hospital visit #4… This baby is just messing with me

Sorry this is very long-winded and overly detailed. I want to be able to recall it all later so I can tell Buttercup how much trouble it was to get her here.

Tuesday night, October 5, I was having big contractions, uncomfortable but nothing different. Several times in the preceding weeks, something had changed about my contractions, but the previous Friday at my doctor appointment, I was still at 80% and 2 cm. I was really uncomfortable Tuesday night and just really ready for Buttercup to arrive. I’d been walking, sitting on the exercise ball, doing squats and lunges, etc. Sex and spicy foods hadn’t worked (though sex had gotten me to about 50% effacement). I hadn’t done castor oil or herbal stuff, but I was going to ask my doctor about those on Thursday. My appointment with him had been moved from Wednesday to Thursday so he could be off for his daughter’s birthday.

That evening, I pressed on the inside of my cankle with a good deal of pressure for 15 seconds or so, working some reflexology or accupressure point related to the uterus. Trying to move things along. When I stopped, I noticed that I still had an indented thumbprint on my leg for a few minutes afterward. So. Pitting edema. Just what I’d always wanted!

I, of course, googled, because I knew pitting edema wasn’t good. And all the googlyspots mentioned preeclampsia, so I took my blood pressure. It was way high for me, 30 points higher on both numbers than usual. I decided not to panic and just sleep on my left side and take my blood pressure again in the morning. So I did, and it was still high. So we called the doc, and he said not to worry about the edema, that it’s not associated with preeclampsia. So that was a load off. He said my blood pressure was high the night before because I was worried, but when I told him it was still high in the morning, he told me to come in to the office.

I went and saw one of the nurses or maybe a NP or a PA–I don’t really know, she just introduced herself by her first name. She saw the pitting without ever touching me (I was wearing socks, which made a dent). She told me I was on bed rest until my appointment the next day, and I could eat nothing processed at all. She also said to go straight to the hospital if the baby wasn’t moving and I couldn’t wake her up with juice and side-lying.

Frank came home from work, fixed me lunch, and catered to my every whim while I lay on my side with my feet propped up on pillows. Not the most comfortable position, by the way. Around 2:30, I noticed baby hadn’t been moving for a while, probably napping, as she did from noon to 3 every day. So Frank poured me a glass of orange juice. I drank the juice and poked at my belly, trying to wake the baby. Normally I would have put the stillness down to napping, but since I was already on bed rest, I didn’t want to take any chances. So we started getting ready to go to the hospital. Threw the last few things in the labor bag (we had it down to a ritual by now), and when Frank went to the bathroom right before we were leaving, my contractions suddenly changed. This was 3:23 p.m., and I knew these were the contractions I’d been waiting for. Instead of just back labor and cramps, I felt like something clamped down on the top of my uterus, and I also had new pains in my sides. I was glad we were already on our way to the hospital for another reason.

Naturally, Buttercup started kicking two blocks away from the hospital. We went in anyway, just to get her checked out. They hooked me up to the monitors, and I was contracting every 2 minutes. Of course! The nurse was quite sure I was going to have a baby that evening when she saw my contractions. I was like, yeah, whatever. Buttercup was doing great, so I was just excited and feeling good. My BP was fine. My cervix was… eh, same. About 2.5 cm and 80%. They monitored the baby for almost 2 hours just to make sure she was doing well. The nurse was so sure that I would be back that night that she asked if I’d like to go walk around for an hour and come back and get checked again. Oh, sure, why not. So they put another gown on me so I was covered all the way around, and Frank and I went for a walk. We went to the floor where the nursery is (there weren’t any babies in the nursery, so that was a bust), went down and walked around outside the hospital, checked out the lobby, got Frank some coffee. We went back up at 6, and she checked me again. I was a little closer to 3 cm but hadn’t made much progress.

The nurse called my doc to fill him in, and she mentioned that I already had an appointment with him for the next afternoon. He told her to tell me to move my appointment to the morning if I didn’t have a baby that night.

So we went home. I had contractions, had a bath, sat on the exercise ball, walked around, ate 2nd Degree Burn Doritos (I’d decided the no processed foods thing was out the window since I was in early labor). Oh, I don’t recommend the Doritos if you’re in labor. Those are NOT fun to projectile vomit. Frank went to bed so he’d be good to go if I decided it was time to go to the hospital in the middle of the night. I dozed on the couch with a ton of pillows, watched some TV, listened to my awesome labor mix on the iPod, and got through the night. I slept as much as I could.

In the morning, I called and moved my appointment to 10:30.

Next up: the labor & delivery story. It might come in pieces.

Diaper change songs

Frank’s goes:

“Gonna change the dipe-dipe,
Give that butt a wipe-wipe,
So you don’t smell so ripe-ripe,
Gonna change the dipe-dipe!”

Mine goes:

“Stink Butt, Stink Butt,
You’re my baby Stink Butt,
Stink Butt, Stink Butt,
You’re my stinky girl.”

We’re hoping to instill the family traits of insanity and self-esteem in our little Stink Butt.

kitties v. baby

I know I’ve joked before about declawing the cats (after Minerva attacked me), but now I have to actually consider it. Yes, I believe it’s cruel, and I know it’s like having your finger cut off at the knuckle, but when it comes down between declawing a cat and letting a cat hurt my baby… well, the humans come first. And for the drive-by commenters googling so you can lecture me about how I shouldn’t have gotten a cat if I couldn’t handle the claws, let me go ahead and cut you off. Minerva is almost 8 years old, Sydney is almost 7. They’ve been part of our lives since before we got married, before we knew we would get married, before we knew we would have kids. We’ve let them destroy furniture (brand new furniture at that), destroy carpet, scar up our arms and legs, etc. We didn’t declaw them before we had the baby, because we wanted to wait and see how they reacted to her. If they were fine with the baby, no need to declaw.

And they are actually fine with the baby. Sydney mostly avoids her. Minerva likes to be near her and is curious and will even try to cuddle us both when Buttercup is on my lap. I don’t let Minerva near her if I’m not right there beside her.

This morning, Buttercup was on her play mat, and I was sitting right next to her while she played. Minerva was about a foot away from Buttercup’s head with her paws curled up under her. Just watching, studying. After a while, Buttercup got really wiggly (her favorite song was on), and Minerva reached out with her paw towards Buttercup’s head. With fully extended claws. I know she was just going to tap at her like she does me when she wants a scratch, but the baby doesn’t distinguish what *kind* of pain she’s in. Thankfully, I caught the paw in time and sent the kitty away.

But now we have to consider whether to let the kitties keep their claws or not. I don’t want to do it, but if it comes down between their claws and her safety, I choose to get rid of the claws. It’s a hard decision, because I’m against declawing cats. I would just cut their claws every day (both of them are okay with it), but I don’t have the time. I know, it doesn’t take long, but I have a long list of things that don’t take long that I don’t get to do right now.

I’ve never declawed a cat this old (I declawed one of my previous cats before I really thought about it and learned more about the surgery). Do they recover okay? Anyone have opinions on what we should do? Thoughtful comments only, please, no personal attacks. I’m not taking the decision lightly.

UPDATE: Has anyone tried these Soft Paws? They look hilarious, but I’m willing to try them before the more drastic step.

Daily Bible Reading Thoughts

I’m following along at Daily Bible Reading Thoughts (well, I’m behind, as I’m always behind on everything). The site will go through the Bible in chronological order over the course of the year, with a few different people posting their thoughts on the day’s passage. My preacher and a few other people will be writing the blog. Roger (the preacher) is always surprising me in Bible studies; he picks up on things I’ve never noticed, researches thoroughly, and is always learning himself. I enjoy his Bible studies and always learn something new.

Anyway, it’s open for anyone to follow along, so join in if you want to!

I try these things so you don’t have to

I heard the other day at a breastfeeding support group (yep, we sit around and breastfeed) that if your baby gets pinkeye, you shouldn’t go to the doctor for it, but instead put some breast milk on the eye.

So I was feeding her yesterday, and you know, I stare at her a lot when she’s eating. Not a whole lot else I can do when I’m playing dairy cow. So I noticed that her poor little cheeks are still chapped (they have been for a couple of weeks), and the lotion wasn’t helping. So yep, you know where I’m going with this. I rubbed breast milk on both her cheeks, just to see what would happen.

Today, no chapping, and her face is as smooth as her butt. Which is smooth.

You’re welcome.

3 months old! WHAT?!

I can’t believe it’s been 3 months already! She’s such an amazing little bugger, too. High points:

*She’s almost rolling over, both ways–Frank said she rolled from her tummy to her back, but I didn’t see it so it doesn’t count.
*She talks to me all the time, just jabbers away in her own language, and she’s really started laughing a lot. Sometimes she tries to laugh but can’t figure out how, so she’ll just yell for a while and then get frustrated and start crying.
*She’s really cute when she cries. It’s mean of me to think so, but I do, and I even giggle when she makes her sad face. When the bottom lip goes out, oh man, I just want to eat her up.
*She loves her little play mat and has this week started hitting the little dangly things on it and grabbing hold.
*She loves music. We get the biggest smiles and the most laughs when we play music or sing to her. And she just kicks and waves her arms. Gonna be a little dancer.
*She also loves baths. LOVES baths. She kicks and kicks, and tonight she discovered splashing and did that a LOT.
*Today she started this thing where she tries to turn onto her side while I’m changing her diaper, and she kicks and wiggles and grins hugely. Makes it kind of hard to change the dipe-dipe.
*She’s adorable in her little cloth diapers. I think she may have mastered rolling over by now if they weren’t so big and bulky on her. But we’ve only had 2 blowouts in 6 weeks with those, and we were doing multiple blowouts per day in Pampers and Huggies. So glad for pocket diapers!
*She doesn’t like shots.
*Or staying still.
*We still swaddle her, and I’m convinced that’s why she started sleeping thru the night at 7 weeks old. That and the fact that we were on a long road trip and she got lots of car naps. And she looks so cute all burritoed up. I hope we can swaddle her until she goes to college. Don’t want to give up the total cuteness.

I just realized, I never said who “she” is. I’m talking about my pet cricket, of course.

Nah, just kidding. Here’s the little Cup-Cup:
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Veronica Mars thoughts

So… I was looking for something to watch during Christmas break and saw Veronica Mars sitting in my Netflix instant queue. So I decided to give it a watch. And I watched all three seasons during Christmas week. I would have taken only 2 or 3 days to watch the whole thing, but I’ve got this baby who takes up my time and stuff.

Anyway, thoughts:

*Logan Logan Logan Logan Logan
*I must go rewatch Moonlight, which I have on DVD. Logan is Joseph, so this is crucial.
*I’m already in season 2 on my 2nd, slower watch-thru. It’s so good.
*I wish it’d had an ending.
*Logan Logan Logan Logan Logan
*I really like them broody, don’t I?
*I was glad when Duncan left. The actor is cute, but the character was so forgettable. I’m glad they didn’t give Jason Dohring the part of Duncan (he auditioned for it), because Logan Logan Logan Logan Logan.
*I like TV shows with smart, sassy, strong female heroines. Or heroins. Too late for me to figure out which one. It’s the one with the e, right? Oh, and wit. I love my shows to have wit. Anyway, there really aren’t many shows like this. ALIAS (the wit was much more subtle and in the form of Sark and Jack, but it still had its moments), Buffy, and Veronica. Need more. But for some reason I don’t like my strong chick lead to be over 40. I know, totally ageist.
*I love that she lives in Neptune and drives a Saturn.
*I love Papa Keith. Love.
*Logan Logan Logan Logan Logan

Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Pecan Pie

I adapted my recipe from here. I just now noticed that the recipe says it makes two pies, and I put all my filling in one pie. I don’t think I would have liked it as much if I’d followed that little instruction. The pies would have been small and shallow, so I’m glad I missed that. Anyway, here’s my take on it with the adaptations for our house full of food intolerances.

What you need:

*1 unbaked pie shell (I made up a Gluten-Free Pantry Perfect Pie Crust mix and used more than half of it for one pie, because I like my pie crust thick–the mix is supposed to make 4 pie crusts, but I’ve never gotten more than 2 out of one)
*6 Tbsp flax meal
*12 Tbsp water
*3/4 cup white sugar (I use organic evaporated cane juice, but I’m sure white sugar works)
*1/4 cup packed brown sugar
*1 Tbsp all purpose GF flour (I used the GF Pantry all-purpose flour mix)
*1/2 cup non-dairy butter substitute, softened (I used something called Vegan Buttery Sticks and wanted badly to tell the cashier when I bought them that I’m a total meat eater)
*1 cup light corn syrup
*1 tsp vanilla extract
*1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (just make sure they don’t contain milk or whey)
*1 cup chopped or halved pecans

What you do:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Get your pie crust ready and into the pie plate.
2. Measure out your flax meal into a bowl then measure the water into the bowl. Don’t mix yet–let it sit for a few minutes. Soften your buttery sticks while you’re waiting. When the water looks like it has seeped fully into the flax, agitate it a little with a fork. If it’s gummy, it’s ready. Beat the mixture a little, like you would beat eggs if the recipe called for eggs slightly beaten.
3. In a large bowl, blend the flax mixture, sugar, brown sugar, flour, fake butter, corn syrup, and vanilla.
4. Add the chocolate chips and pecans, and mix well.
5. Pour into the pie crust. Bake at 350 for at least 40-45 minutes. I say at least, because it took a while for this to set. After 45 minutes, I took it out of the oven, covered the edges in foil so I wouldn’t burn the crust, and put it back in for a while. I just shook it gently every 5 or 10 minutes to see if the middle had set up yet. I think it went a good hour and 15.

And now you know why my recipes aren’t in journals and cookbooks. That whole precision thing.

mouse in the house

Frank found a dead mouse in Rowdi’s water bowl tonight. This is either a gift to Rowdi from Minerva or a warning to Rowdi from Sydney.

I’m going to miss this house.

successful everything-free baking!

For Christmas, I made a pecan pie and a pumpkin pie, among other non-pie things. To update you on how difficult this can be, I am still gluten-free (don’t see that ever changing) and egg-free. I cut eggs out almost completely during pregnancy, and since my stomach has not been quite right since Buttercup’s birth, I eliminated them completely after I had her. And then there’s cow’s milk products. I suddenly became dairy-tolerant during pregnancy, which is good, because my only major cravings were potatoes and cheese, of which I ate vast quantities on myriad occasions. But now that Buttercup is on the outside, she who made dairy possible while on the inside has a problem with dairy. Her horrible reflux became almost nonexistent when I cut out dairy. So I’m also now cow’s dairy-free. Thank goodness for goat cheese.

Aaaaaaanyway. I said all that to say this. My gluten-, egg-, dairy-free pecan pie turned out great. The pumpkin… well, we called it Crusty Pumpkin Pudding, as it refused to set up for me. But still! Successful pecan pie! I was so proud.

Then on New Year’s Eve, I made a chocolate pecan pie. Sans gluten, eggs, dairy. In fact, I think it contained chocolate, pecans, soy lecithin, and air. But man, it was awesome. Frank was scared, because he just thinks you shouldn’t mess with pecan pie, since it is The Best Pie In the World, but he loved it. I was thrilled that it turned out so well (and insanely rich, due to all that sweetened condensed air), because I’ve wanted to make a chocolate pecan pie ever since I had it at the Stagecoach restaurant in Temple, TX.

So if you want the recipe, I’ll post it.

Congratulations!

I’ve decided that you’re more important than Facebook. Instead of writing little tidbits here and there on FB, I’ve had this blog for 7 years next Monday, and I’m not going to let it die–so my updates, however inane, will come back home to mm. Unless it’s something like, “Man, I’d like some warm socks.” Who knows, you may get that, too. (Man, it’s true, I’d like some warm socks.) Anyway, I love y’all and hate to see that you’re coming back less and less–you’re my internet family, yo, and I miss y’all. So my writer’s block can go jump in a lake. I’m back, baby.

Okay, so here’s your first boring update and can officially classify me as a mommy blogger (alas, I give in):

Buttercup is a sleeping champion. She started sleeping through the night (minimum 5 hours) the day after Thanksgiving, at 7 weeks 1 day old. I didn’t realize this was rare for her age, but according to other moms I’ve met and family members, it’s a big deal. The earliest she’s woken up to eat is 3:50 a.m., and that only happened twice. We usually put her down between 10 and midnight, basically whenever we go to bed, and she sleeps until about 6, wakes up to eat, then goes right back down for 3 or 4 more hours. She. Is. Awesome.

Last night, we decided we need to start putting her to bed earlier so that we’re not up till midnight trying to catch up on cleaning, laundry, writing, eating, etc. So we decided on a bedtime of 8 p.m. for her. Last night it ended up being 8:30, since it was bath night. She woke up at 9:30 to eat but then slept from 10 until 6 this morning, then went back down after eating until 8:30 when we woke her up for church. SWEET!

Tonight is our second try. She went down at 8:30 and woke up at 9 and 10 to eat. We’ll see how long she sleeps now. I’m hoping that as we keep doing this, she’ll figure it out and eat for longer right before her bedtime so she doesn’t wake up so often to eat.

Wow, I’m bored, and I wrote this. ‘Sokay. Y’all love me anyway.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Just stopping in quickly to say Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan! I hope you give all you want, get all you want, and play all you want. And eat all you want. Especially pie. Eat lots of pie.

Ready

I’ve had a hard time writing since Buttercup was born. Yes, because of the time factor, but also because I know there’s this big, looming thing I have to write, and I haven’t wanted to do it. My birth story. I mean, I’ve wanted to write it, and some of you want to hear it. But I wasn’t happy with how my labor and delivery happened, and it took me a couple of months to really be okay with it and not cry every time I think of it. I know it’s maybe silly, because no matter how it happened, the result was a beautiful, healthy, wonderful gift from God, and I’m so thankful for her. But I had a plan, and it was turned on its head from minute one in the hospital. And considering all the–I don’t want to call them complications, because it makes it sound like one of us almost died or something, and it wasn’t so dramatic as all that–but considering all the complications, it went a lot better than it could have. So it took going to Texas and sitting at Essay’s dining room table, telling her the whole story, and laughing till we both cried about it. Side-splitting laughter about poop and projectile vomit and the glorious revelation of being on oxygen during labor (I recommend that HARD). It took her telling me exactly the words I had been thinking all along but had been doubting as me just trying to make myself feel better, feel like anything but a failure.

I had no idea I would take it so personally, but it’s a very personal thing. I feel very imposed upon when someone asks about it, almost like someone’s asking, “Hey, so how was your orgasm last night?”. I feel like they should wait until I bring it up, maybe hint around and wait for me to take the bait if they really want to know. I think it is sometimes rude to come out and ask, “So, how was childbirth?” I never thought that until I was the one being asked, and before I went through it, I didn’t think it was a question I would mind being asked. I know most people don’t mean to upset me by asking–there’s only one person who asked about it who I know was trying to upset me, and that person is no longer part of my life. [Word of advice: Don't ever tell someone they're being too sensitive about childbirth when they're nine days postpartum.] And some people who asked how it was didn’t upset me at all by asking, because they were people I wanted to share it with. But it went nothing like I wanted, and I was really disappointed in myself after it was over, so just being asked tends to sting a little.

Today I went to a new moms support group kind of thing, and the leader said, “We always let new members share their birth story their first time here!” Like it was an honor to get to tell everyone. I wanted to say, “No, that’s okay, I don’t want to share it with perfect strangers unless they’re on the internets.” But I decided it would be good for me to tell it again, and telling it to people I never have to see again unless I choose to kind of made it okay. So I told it, a very pared down version that took maybe two minutes to tell. I hit the high points and the low points and didn’t give a lot of details. And it went fine. It was the first time I told the story without crying. So I felt good afterward, like I’ve moved on a little.

So I’ll be writing about it soon, before I forget. But first, I have yet another hospital visit that didn’t result in a baby to write about.

Aaaaaand… hospital visit #3

Yeah, sorry. I know if I don’t write about all this stuff in order, I’ll never get around to the earlier stuff.

About this trip to Labor & Delivery, I was not the least bit embarrassed. It was Saturday the 18th of September, and I’d been having contractions for almost a week. Frank and I went to walk the dog, because I didn’t want to stop my pregnancy walking even though I was very uncomfortable most of the time.

It was around 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon and we had gone about three quarters of a mile when I suddenly had a sharp pain in my belly. Off on one side and unlike any other pain I’d had. And the pain stayed. And stayed. And I had to stop walking and breathe through it. But I knew I wasn’t in labor any more than I had been. It didn’t feel like contractions, though I was having a rolling contraction (those ones where one ends and the next one begins right away) the whole time. It felt like I was having a gallbladder attack, only in my uterus. Oh man, it hurt. It hurt more than any part of labor. Hard to say whether it hurt more than having my cervix stretched (oh yeah, I’ll tell you about that later), but it was close. I mean, I’ve had gallbladder attacks. But they last about 30 seconds, and then they’re over for a long time, usually months or a year between attacks. This was that same kind of pain, but in the abdomen, and it lasted at least 10 minutes.

I didn’t know if I’d be able to walk all the way home, so I told Frank to go take Rowdi home and finish packing the hospital bag just in case. He didn’t want to leave me, but I told him to go and come back with the car if I wasn’t home by the time he finished packing. I got home, and we called the doctor’s office. Described the pain, and the on-call doc said to go ahead to the hospital in case I was in labor. I knew I wasn’t, but I was worried that something might be wrong with the placenta. So Frank dropped the dog off at the kennel, which is about 2 minutes from our house, and then came back for me.

We went to labor & delivery. Oh yeah. It was game day.

We weren’t sure where we would watch the game that night anyway, since CBS Sports and Cable One are stupid, and we couldn’t get the game at home or at my in-laws’. We were either going to find a sports bar (as if there would be a spare seat) or listen on the radio.

Anyway, we got to the hospital, and the first thing they told us was that the hospital didn’t get CBS Sports either. Haha. I love that they knew that would be on my mind.

So I got all hooked up, and the baby was fine. I was contracting as usual, and the pain had subsided in the car on the way over, since I wasn’t walking. They ran tests and whatnot and checked my cervix. I was something like 80% effaced but still only 1.5cm dilated. This nurse, too, was very surprised about the contractions. They had no explanation for my pain but went ahead and sent me home. We got home in time for the game and listened for a while on the radio until someone from the Twitters sent a link where we could watch online.

That was our third visit in one week, and we didn’t go back until the week we had her.

I had my weekly appointment with my doctor a few days later and mentioned it to him, and he said it was round ligament pain. I’d had round ligament pain every day during pregnancy, but much lower in my abdomen, and it didn’t feel remotely the same. Anyway, 2 Tylenol before every walk solved that.

Election night

no hands

I’m writing this post with one hand. This is why I haven’t written all the blog posts I want to write (about labor, Buttercup, etc.)–I only ever have the use of one hand (other one is always holding the baby), unless she’s actually sleeping in her bed, during which times I try to sleep too.

Anyway, hopefully she’ll be able to sleep during the day somewhere other than my arms sometime soon (though I’m not too hopeful since I do love holding her while she sleeps). Then I’ll be able to write. I have so much to say.

Warning

Y’all remember when I said I promise not to become a mommy blogger? I fear I’m gonna break that promise. I’ll try to keep it fun, though. Like telling y’all about the time when Frank made Buttercup pee in her own face. See? It can be fun.

Princess Buttercup

Princess Buttercup was born 10/7/10 at 10:38 pm, weighing in at 6 pounds, 10 ounces, measuring 19.5 inches. She’s already grown to 6 pounds, 13 ounces and is 19.75 inches. She’s the most precious thing I’ve ever encountered, but yes, I’m partial. We love her so much and can’t get enough of her, even at 1:30 am when she wants to eat for the 3rd time in 2 hours.

We’re truly blessed.

Trying to have a baby

Been in labor 29 hours. Still no Buttercup.

Random

*Princess Buttercup has still not arrived (that’d be kinda sorry if she had and I didn’t let you know, huh?). Contractions started 22 days ago, and I’ve decided she’s a big ol’ drama queen. I have no idea where she gets it. Occasionally, there will be something different about the contractions or the way I feel, and I’ll think, “Oh! This could be it!” So far, it’s not it. But whatevs, she’ll be here soon soon soon! I’m due Friday, and my doctor said the max he’ll let me go past my due date is a week and a half, so she’ll be here by the 18th or 19th no matter what! He’s also offered to induce me at any time. I don’t want to be induced until it becomes medically necessary. Friday I’m going to ask his thoughts on castor oil. Have I mentioned how much I don’t want Pitocin? Yeah, I don’t.

*I have one more hospital story to write, because we went three times in one week way back when. There’s an actual good chance it’ll be written, since I want it for my pregnancy scrapbook and/or the Drama Queen section of the baby book.

*I’m really enjoying making the baby book. I have 1 finished page and a few other started / mostly done pages. Ok, mostly I’m enjoying collecting scrapbooking supplies with my allowance every month and learning how to use all the stuff I’m collecting.

*There’s a consignment sale for used crafting supplies in Boise Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. So I’m torn about whether Buttercup should come before then.

*I don’t get the whole Tim Holtz thing with scrapbooking. I just don’t get it. It’s dark and messy, and while I can see the artsiness of it (some of it incredibly well done), I just don’t think it’s pretty. And everyone seems to be into it except me. I think it’s just the whole messiness of it. Looks like you just dumped out several bins of supplies and then glued them on a page and covered them in dark ink.

*The last month of pregnancy is murder on the pelvis. And the bladder. And the sleep. I now sleep sitting up in the glider.

*I’m up to 14 pounds now. After being at 7 pounds like a month ago. I seem to gain 2 a week now. Come on, Buttercup, get here so I can stay within my goal of 15!

*I’ve had every sign of impending labor except water breakage. You know, the one that counts.

*Rachel Lucas is back!!!! I both heart AND love her.

*Community is still the funniest show on TV. Also, the new Running Wilde (with Keri Russell and Will Arnett) is hilarious and has lots of references to Arrested Development. WATCH IT SO IT DOESN’T GET CANCELLED. Oh, who am I kidding? I love it, so it’s doomed.

*I’ve had this pain above my left ear (just above) for a few months now. Comes and goes. Mainly comes if I blow my nose or sniff or whatever. It started with nose blowing, because I’ve done that excessively since getting pregnant. So I dunno if it’s an ear thing or a jaw thing. I may have to consider seeing my general doc. Maybe I’ll ask her about it when she visits the baby in the hospital.

*My belly itches. No matter what time you’re reading this, my belly itches.

*Frank has become a master of the foot rub and the back rub. It’s my new favorite thing about him, and I’m hoping he’ll keep it up after the baby comes.

Hospital visit #2

Since the big hospital adventure, we’ve been back twice more. Monday night (the 13th) was when I went in to have the tests run. Tuesday I had contractions all day, and that evening they really started to pick up in intensity. They still didn’t hurt (still don’t), but that night they were strong enough that I woke up at 2:49 a.m., unable to sleep through the contractions. I hung out in the livingroom, letting Frank sleep as long as possible, because I want him well rested when I’m in active labor. Which could be sometime next year.

So Wednesday morning, Frank got up, and I told him how intense the contractions were. They were still 2-3 minutes apart, but now stronger. So he called in to work, and we took the dog for a walk. Until the contractions had become too intense to sleep through, I didn’t want to do anything to encourage Buttercup to arrive. I was only 36 weeks 5 days at this point, and I would have preferred she wait at least another week, but she obviously had other plans (or so I thought), and I seriously did not want to have contractions that kept me up all night for another 3 weeks–I’d be too tired to actually push her out! So we walked the dog, and everything got stronger, as expected. Frank took the dog to the kennel while I finished throwing a couple of things in the hospital bag. Then we drove down to the park near the hospital, because I could tell he was starting to stress about being so far away. I assured him we had plenty of time (boy, did we). So we walked around the park for quite a while, until he started stressing about being several blocks from the hospital. Apparently he feels the same way about hospital check-ins that he does about airport check-ins. He wants to be way early, while I prefer to walk on right before the plane takes off.

So we went to the hospital and walked around outside a little, then walked inside to walk around in the air conditioning. It was hotter inside so we went back out. By that point I was almost to the point of not being able to walk through contractions. Though thinking back on it, I had no problem talking through them (other than the intensity being strong enough that I would forget what I was saying mid-word), so it wasn’t even close to time to go. It’s now over a week later, and no baby, so I guess that part is OBVS.

Eventually, I decided I could go inside. Contractions were 3 minutes apart, and I figured by the time we got to L&D, I would be well on my way. Pish.

Waiting for the elevator to go up one floor (we looked everywhere for stairs, found none), I saw another girl from our childbirth class. “You too, huh?” I asked. “Yes. Hopefully this time for real.” I immediately got smug brain (like Jon Stewart levels of smug), thinking to myself, “Oh, poor thing. She’s been here before. How embarrassing that must be. I’m glad *I’m* not going to come in multiple times. I know my body better than most people, so I know they won’t send me home today. *I* am not gonna be the girl who gets sent home from the hospital.”

We got up to L&D, and while I filled out a couple of forms, I noticed that I wasn’t contracting as hard as I had been. I started to get that uh-oh feeling and promptly told Frank that if I got sent home, I would be mad at him, as this was all his fault for making him come in early (he easily accepted that and said he’d rather I be mad at him than come in too late). But in the back of my mind, I was also a little hopeful. Buttercup was still 2 days away from being a full-term baby, and I had all this dread that she’d come out and have to spend time in the NICU. When we’d done the hospital tour, I’d burst into tears merely seeing a picture of a baby with too-small baby hands in the NICU on the outdated PowerPoint presentation that still listed cassette tapes as a good way to bring your relaxing music with you to the hospital. I think it’s because I don’t want her to be whisked away from me with bad lungs and have to spend even her first few hours not hearing my voice and knowing that her mom is here for her. I knew she’d be fine, but I still wanted her to cook at least a few days longer.

They got us into a triage room so they could hook me up to the monitors and check me out. The precious little heartbeat was perfect, and my blood pressure was great. I was contracting every 2.5 minutes for over a minute each time. But by the time the nurse came in (this was maybe 7 or 8 minutes after we’d arrived on the 2nd floor), I knew I was going to be sent home. The contractions just weren’t as intense anymore. The nurse was nice, friendly, professional, for the most part. Before she even checked me, she was already starting to try to educate me on when is the appropriate time to show up at the hospital. That’s when the humiliation started setting in and my face started turning colors. I think that’s the worst part of going in too early. They assume you must not have paid attention in childbirth class (and, indeed, she asked me if we’d taken the class, which made me feel tiny) and feel the need to tell you all these things that you already know. It’s probably hospital policy, but to me it was still so embarrassing. She went through a ton of questions with me, including asking me what kind of pain medication I planned on having. I told her I wanted a natural birth, and she nodded and entered my answer.

She checked me, and I was still sitting at 1 cm, and 50% effaced. Then she started telling me all that stuff I already know. I felt the need to defend myself. Yes, when I came in, I could barely walk through the contractions anymore. In the minutes since then, everything had calmed down, but I wasn’t just whistling a tune and clicking my heels all the way up to Labor & Delivery. I politely nodded and uh-huhed and pretended I didn’t want to crawl under the tiny triage bed and cry. And then she told me something that any L&D nurse should know never to say to a woman approaching her due date, and CERTAINLY not one who’s just told her she’s planning on natural childbirth. “You’ll know it’s time to come in when you feel like you want to die.” After that, I couldn’t even look at her. I wanted to say something along the lines of “I will be requesting any nurse other than you when I actually come in to have my baby, because you’ve obviously never even heard of the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle, or you prefer that women have the fear that causes the tension that increases the pain so they’ll all get drugs and your job will be easier”, and I didn’t want to be nice about it. So I stared at Frank and didn’t look at the nurse anymore, because if I did, I knew I’d cry and also tell her off.

Ugh! Just writing about her comment has me tense and ticked off all over again.

So I got sent home. I waited until we were in the car to cry and thanked God that I didn’t cry in front of the tactless nurse. And Frank understood immediately that she’s not to be my nurse when we go in for the actual big event. We’ll be nice about it, but I just don’t see her as being supportive in the type of birth I want.

Now whenever my contractions get really strong (it happens every few days, is happening now), Frank asks me if I still have the will to live. :) So far, I do.

Hospital adventure

Yesterday afternoon I weighed myself on the Wii Fit. Despite showing a different weight for me than the doctor’s scale shows (partially because the Wii will take off for the weight of your clothes), my weight gain according to the Wii has tracked perfectly with my weight gain according to the doctor’s scale. So when the Wii Fit told me I’d gained 4.9 pounds from the previous week (I weigh once a week on Mondays), I was really surprised. According to the doc’s scale on Friday, I’d lost a pound from my previous appointment (probably because I’d worn jeans at that appointment), which made me think my weight gain had happened over the weekend. And sudden hefty weight gain is bad, can be a sign of preeclampsia. I’d also had shortness of breath on Sunday that was bad enough that I stayed in bed all afternoon. So we went to Walgreens so I could check my blood pressure — um, my Walgreens doesn’t have a blood pressure cuff, what is up with that? So we bought one and came home. I had to check my BP three times just to make sure the numbers I was seeing were right. 130/80 on the left arm, 140/90 on the right. And at the doc’s office on Friday, it had been 105/70. So we called, and the on-call doc told us to go ahead and go to triage at the hospital so they could run tests and make sure everything was ok.

I’ve been having contractions on and off since Saturday evening, and they started up again right before we got to the hospital. They don’t hurt so far. We got in and I got all hooked up to the monitors, and I was having contractions every 2 minutes that lasted for a minute each time. That went on the entire 2 hours we were at the hospital. (The tests all came back good, my BP came down while we were there.) And when we came home. And all night. And all morning. And all afternoon.

But they’re not intense enough, and I’m only dilated 1 cm (or was last night). They’re still regular, and basically, I’m on one minute, off the next. Sometimes I feel them all over my uterus, my low back, pelvis, and down my legs. And sometimes I just feel tightness in the uterus.

So I’m in early labor, and I could be there for days or weeks, I could have Princess Buttercup today or two weeks late.

I just want her to wait until at least Friday so she has a better chance of having mature lungs. Friday will be 37 weeks.

Soon

*I’m now at 36 weeks, 2 days. On Friday, I’ll breathe easier (hopefully figuratively and literally–please drop, Buttercup), because I’ll hit the 37 weeks mark, and Princess Buttercup will be a full-term baby.

*Last night I had my first contractions that I was *sure* were contractions. I’ve had several moments when I thought I could possibly be having one, but when I had them last night, I had no doubt. So they’re either Braxton Hicks or false labor or both, I dunno, I’m not really clear on the distinction between the two. I had 8 or 9 of them last night, and then they started back up during Bible class this morning and have been going off and on all day. Maybe I’m crazy, but I get all excited about them. It means she’s close. Now watch, she’ll come 2 weeks late. Please, no, Buttercup–3 weeks 5 days is long enough, don’t tack on 2 more weeks.

*Meanwhile, she has taken to rolling her knees and feet against my belly really hard. It actually hurts sometimes. But my favorite is definitely when she sticks her foot in my gallbladder. Good times. I do love it when she pushes her back up and snuggles her little bum right up against my ribs. It’s too adorable. And I love to tickle and poke her feet. It’ll be so strange when she’s not inside my body anymore. I will miss most things about pregnancy, but then, I’ve had it easy.

*I got swabbed for Group B Strep Friday. I was a little nervous about it, but it was nothing at all. Seriously less than half a second for the whole test. So hopefully that comes back negative and I don’t have to get antibiotics during labor.

*I’ve gone over my most worrisome questions about the birth plan with my doc, and he agreed to everything and said whatever I want is fine with him. I really like my doctor. Oh, and I’m going with natural childbirth, for many reasons. Don’t try to talk me out of it or wish me “good luck with that” as you snicker and roll your eyes, and for the love of candy canes and puppies, do NOT tell me that I “don’t have to be a martyr”. It’s not about that.

*I spend all my time in the bathroom now. My bladder is officially the size of a toothpick.

*I got asked last week if I’m having twins. That was awesome.

*We’ve finished childbirth classes. We started with 7 couples in our class, and by the end, only 4 were left, the other 3 having had their babies early.

*We also did breastfeeding class. I took a sock monkey with me as my infant standin. Sock monkeys are very good eaters. I was surprised that the men asked more questions than the women. And I was so glad Frank went with me, because there’s actually a lot to remember.

*And then we did CPR class. I was a total wreck, cried through half the class. Pregnancy hormones do not go well with infant CPR class.

*Total weight gain so far: 7.5 pounds. I think I’m going to make my goal of 15 max!

*More later.

truth

HE: Sweetie, you’re definitely looking thinner from behind.
ME: Thanks! You’re so sweet!
HE: But not from the front.

Such a charmer.

Frank is definitely hetero

Ryan Seacrest posted a list of 15 signs your husband may be gay, and I was LOLing throughout most of the list. Not at the list itself, necessarily, but at the explanations for each point. So I decided to go through the list with y’all, using Frank as my guinea pig.

First, let me point out what Seacrest points out–that the list was put together by ChristWire. I’ve never been to that site, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s a humor site about Christians or something.

Ok, here we go.

1) Secretive late night use of cellphones and computers

Um, no. Frank doesn’t like the phone any more than I do, and he is very open about his late night use of computers.

Porn addiction is closely associated with homosexuality and a secretive nature implies he’s trying to hide something from you. Be on the lookout for a man who doesn’t want to web surf or answer phone calls in your presence.

Now, replace “porn addiction” with “Plants vs. Zombies addiction” and you might be onto something. And it’s safe to say that Frank definitely DOES want to web surf in my presence.

Texting is another favorite trick used by adulterers. For the sake of trust, a married couple should share everything, including phone logs, email accounts, chat friends and website histories.

Haha. I’ve seen him send a text. Texting, “Thanks!” takes about 5 minutes, so he would not be likely to use this trick. And if you’re wondering, we do know each other’s passwords for everything, and no, we don’t spy on each other.

2) Looks at other men in a flirtatious way

I don’t think he looks at other men, unless they’re speaking directly to him.

When you’re out in public, does he spend too much time looking at other men?

I’ll let you know if we ever go out in public.

Is he fond of winking at people?

I think he winked at me once. Sarcastically. Also, is winking a sign of having teh ghey? I would never have known this.

Does he get visibly upset when someone does not return a compliment about his physical appearance?

Um, no. He’s only half-listening most of the time anyway, so it’s not like he’d hear a compliment.

3) Feigning attention in church and prayer groups

No one would ever accuse Frank of even pretending to pay attention in church.

Have you noticed a lack of interest in spiritual issues?

Definitely not. He’s even listening to the whole Bible on CD right now. But that’s probably just a cover-up!

Does it ever seem as if he’s just using church as an excuse to spend time around young men?

Yeah, Frank doesn’t use any excuse to spend time around any people other than me. We’re recluses, for the most part. No, really.

Does he volunteer to mentor in all-male groups?

GASP! They have a men’s Bible study on Saturday mornings, and… and… and… HE LED THE STUDY A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO! I’m unclear as to whether he volunteered, though.

4) Overly fastidious about his appearance and the home

If by “overly fastidious” you mean “occasionally asks whether his pants match his shirt and requests a new $10 belt when his old one is nearly in two pieces from long use”, then yes, he’s overly fastidious about his appearance. Re: the home, I wish! Then at least one of us would be.

Natural men have a certain amount of grit about them.

This made me LOL, because I’m reading a book about natural childbirth, so I automatically thought you meant “men without fear and with the intention of not using drugs”. But anyway, Frank must be gritty, because I don’t think he’s made with artificial ingredients.

They sweat and they smell.

They don’t take showers? How do they get women to marry them?

Homosexuals often abhor this sort of thing

whereas “natural” men are always rolling in the trash to see how smelly they can get. True men roll in trash!

and will also be incredibly particular about the cleanliness of the home.

There’s your final answer right there. Frank is definitely hetero, because he wouldn’t have married me if he were incredibly particular about home cleanliness. And he certainly wouldn’t have knocked me up.

Does your man tweeze his eyebrows, trim his pubic hairs or use face moisturizers?

Um, ew. He might shave to make 2 eyebrows instead of 1 (I wouldn’t know, because I don’t ask), but tweezing would take way too much time away from his iPad. And I can barely get him to wear sunscreen, so I’m thinking no on the moisturizers.

Is he picky about brand name shampoos?

Now, that you mention it, YES! He hates it if the brand name shampoos I buy smell too girly.

Does he spend more time getting ready for a night out than you do?

Well, yes, but 95% of that is time spent drinking coffee in preparation for the horrendous task of leaving the house.

5) Gym membership but no interest in sports

No gym membership, but the dude does exercise for at least 15 minutes 3 days a week. I should worry, right?

Gay men use the gym as a place to socialize and to have secret liaisons in the bathrooms.

I had no idea that gyms were a giant gay conspiracy! And judging from their bodies, I’d say gay men might *possibly* also use the gym as a place to work out. Maybe.

They like to work out their bodies without the competition of sports play.

What?! People who work out with the only benefit being a good / healthy body?! That’s so gay!

Afterward, they use the showers and steam rooms to engage in sexual activity beyond the prying eyes of women.

Well, at least this habit will help them with their overly fastidious appearances.

If your man returns from the gym too exhausted to talk or have sex, that is a worrisome sign.

Um… Shouldn’t I also worry if my man returns from the gym full of energy? I mean, if he’s spending our money on ridiculous gym fees, I’d hope he’s actually, you know, working out to the point of exhaustion… Also, how do I tell if my husband is too exhausted to talk when he’s not that verbose to begin with? Maybe if he’s too exhausted to play Plants vs. Zombies would be a better metric. And my husband has never ever been too tired to have sex, so this does not apply.

7) Strange sexual demands

Fetishism is a sign that a man is seeking a harder thrill beyond the normal intimacy of heterosexual relations.

Presented without comment.

The woman may not appeal to the deep desires that are coming to the surface as the marriage drags on.

It sounds to me like this sentence is assuming that a healthy marriage drags on. Maybe that problem should be addressed first.

If there is a sudden interest in sodomy, sadomasochism, lubricants, role-play, sex toys or other non-traditional intercourse methods, this is clearly an indication of deep emotional abnormalities.

Okay, wait. Use of lubricants is fetishism and is in no way related to… lubrication? Poor women over 30, engaging in fetishism without their knowledge! You’re all deeply emotionally abnormal! Shame on your hoo-hahs.

8) More interested in the men than the women in pornographic films

Pornography is a dangerous element in any marriage but there are many Christians who feel watching it does add something to their sexual lives. If you have gone down this road and find that your man perks up at the sight of the men in these sorts of videos, you should be concerned.

Dude, we get queasy and embarrassed just watching True Blood together, and neither of us can look at the screen half the time. So no, we don’t do the whole porn thing.

If he selects films because of specific male actors, this is an obvious sign that he is suffering from a crisis of ego and desire.

You know, we do watch a lot of dumb action flicks, which tend to star the same old dumb action heroes… DANGER!

9) Travels frequently to big cities or Asia

Ok, LOL. Any man who travels frequently to big cities or overpopulated countries is suspect! So all you wives who have traveling CPAs, lawyers, and salesmen for husbands, BEWARE! Highly populated areas are infected!

Some husbands will spend a great deal of money traveling far from home to hide their deplorable same-sex actions. Big cities offer indulgence of every kind.

Don’t I know it. The second we get to the big city of Fort Worth in November, I am indulging in some Braum’s ice cream and Chipotle, yo.

From gay bars and clubs to prostitutes and sex bathhouses, a man seeking encounters can find them easily if he’s so inclined.

Don’t forget the ice cream joints!

Is there ever really a good excuse for a husband to visit Thailand or San Francisco without his wife?

No! Only gayness happens in these places!

10) Too many friendly young male friends

What if all his young male friends are unfriendly? He’s safe?

Someone who makes an extra effort to surround themselves with younger men should raise concerns in any community.

Well, making an extra effort to surround themselves with younger women might raise concerns, too.

If this is the case with your husband, ask yourself if he prefers their company to that of women.

Let’s see, I asked myself, and no. He doesn’t prefer anyone’s company, only mine. See above where we’re recluses.

Do they touch each other or embrace in long hugs?

No, Frank keeps his arms firmly folded in front of him so that NO ONE will try to touch him or embrace him. He also carries a gun in case people don’t get the hint.

Do they exchange expensive, personal gifts like scarves or cologne?

LOL. I’m picturing Frank in a scarf. Again, I say LOL.

11) Sassy, sarcastic and ironic around his friends

Oh, SNAP. Sarcasm and irony are homosexual traits?? Frank and I are apparently both gay.

A man who is secretly engaged in homosexual activity with others may exhibit feminine qualities when they get together in a group.

And sarcasm and irony are purely girlish traits. I knew his political satire was a sign of something being wrong with him!

In a sense, he has “let his hair down” and this will be seen in excessive back talk and speaking with one’s hands.

WHEW! Arms folded, so no hand talking. I was getting worried.

12) Love of pop culture

We’re conservatives, so we hate most of pop culture.

It’s quite common for young men to enjoy the science fiction end of popular culture

Oh, thank goodness!

but when your husband becomes overly obsessed with romantic and feminine shows, that is cause for alarm.

Uh-oh. Frank agrees about twice a year to watch a chick flick with me. We should seek counseling.

Gossip websites,

Does Hot Air count? I mean, it does have Hot in its name. Clearly gay propaganda!

Glee

!!! We watch this together!!!

and The Golden Girls

He thought Betty White was funny in that Snickers commercial!

are three well-documented icons of the gay movement that genuine heterosexual men avoid.

Great, thanks. Now he’s gonna stop watching Glee with me.

13) Extroverted about his bare chest in public

He’s very white, so no.

Does he go shirtless in the back yard or at picnics when other men are around?

That sounds like one of those leaving-the-house activities. Also, to be fair, shirtlessness can also be a sign that your husband is a werewolf.

Does he wear a speedo at the beach?

No, but there was one time when we were hiking in the mountains…

Does it seem like he’s purposely standing right in the middle of a crowd to show off his chest and arm muscles, peppering people with questions about how strong he looks?

Oh my goodness, do gay men do this? Because that’s hilarious.

He may be craving physical affirmation from other men and desperately looking for hints of shared desires in those around him.

Or he’s part of a comedy bit, because, again, that’s just funny.

14) Sudden heavy drinking

Alcoholism is a sign of homosexuality. Don’t tell the Irish, or they’ll start a fight with you. (Kidding, Irish. Don’t beat me up.)

Sometimes people dealing with an unbearable emotional issue like homosexuality will turn to alcohol to hide their distress.

Is this limited to homosexuality, or are there other emotional issues that will turn you drunk?

Does your man disappear on drinking binges for long hours without answering his cellphone?

All the time.

Is there a strange odor about him when he returns, some strange mix of cigarettes and gel?

Cigarettes + gel = signs of alcoholism.

Does he cry frequently?

He cried when we watched that movie Up. GAY!

15) Ladies, have you dated men in the past who turned out to be gay?

Oh, um. Actually, yes.

This is an important question to ask yourself when your marriage starts to have problems.

Considering that our problems usually consist of whether I have to sit through an episode of Farscape, I don’t know that I need to ask if he’s gay when this comes up.

Statistics have shown that women who have encountered gay men romantically in the past are the most likely to repeat this mistake in future relationships.

Whatever. I only had several boyfriends who turned out gay. Your statistics clearly aren’t true in my case.

If you answered yes, you should ask yourself whether you’re honestly looking for a man or just a shopping companion.

I hate shopping.

Is sharing gossip more important to you than raising children?

Um, I’m a woman. Can’t they be equal?

Ultimately, it’s a question of getting your priorities straight!

Straight! Ha! ISWYDT.

Gotta draw the line somewhere, I guess

ME: Oh, they have a breastfeeding class, too.
HE: Well, I don’t need to go to that.
ME: It says to bring your husband or other support person.
HE: Eh.
ME: And an infant-sized doll or stuffed animal.
HE: Okay, I’m out.

I think we may be the class clowns of birthing class

Ah, but what did you expect from us? We never take anything seriously. I mean, I guess we’ll have to once the baby comes, but until then, we are 100% silly.

Side note: There were seven couples in our class, and only two of us (including me) have had no Braxton-Hicks contractions. I wonder if that means Buttercup will be late. (Not necessarily, I know.)

During the “here’s a very disgusting video about labor” video…

ME: They’re showing us porn.
HE: Then it’s negative porn, because I am so not turned on right now.
***

HE: I’m supposed to be supportive and tell you you’re doing a great job. I think I’ll say, “You’re doing an okay job, but would you be open to some constructive criticism?”
***

The video tells us to note the color, odor, amount, and time if the water breaks. Frank says to me very seriously, “So make sure to carry a measuring cup around with you.” I’m a perfect lady, so naturally I mime sticking a cup between my legs and raising it for a toast.

Then there were the relaxation techniques.

ME: Don’t forget to watch my chest and count my breaths.
HE: [Straight-up OGLING of the girls.]

The instructor nurse later had us try to relax by visualizing something super relaxing while breathing deeply. I was doing okay with this, but the ogling already had me giggly. I was visualizing myself finishing hiking the Grand Canyon, getting back to the trailhead, smelling the dirt and grass and seeing the aspen trees… it was lovely. She was trying to make me go to a meadow and walk up a little hill and leave my stress at the top of the hill and look at dandelions, but I was only half-listening and hanging out at the Grand Canyon. And then she said, “The billowy clouds…” and my eyes flew open. I almost said, “Really?” I felt like I was at a hippie poetry reading. Frank, still ogling per the instructions, saw my eyes and leaned over and said, “You be sweet.” At which point I lost it. And I couldn’t even do the quiet laughing fit. I was like the kid who’s trying so hard not to laugh that she laughs almost as loud as if she’d just let it go.

Teacher didn’t like that so much and started telling everyone (2 or 3 couples started laughing when I did) that it may seem silly, but it really helps to visualize. Her face got all stern and stuff.

Then later when Frank was doing all these relaxation techniques on me (raining, hailing, fluffing me like a pillow, smoothing me like bedsheets), he kept whispering to me that I need to think of it like a power-up during a video game. “You know how you have to hold the wand straight up for three seconds to get your spell to charge enough in Harry Potter so it makes your opponent stay down longer? Breathe like that.” “I’m not visualizing video games.” “I’m just saying. Take your power from the earth. Like in a video game.” “No.”

There were many more jokes he made that I can’t remember, and I didn’t write them down. I do remember one thing he said on the way home. “When it’s time for you to push, I’m gonna say, ‘Let’s make this INfant an OUTfant.’”

If he can keep me laughing through labor, I think I can deal.