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Monthly Archives: November 2013

“Relaxation”

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I am laying on a yoga mat in the front of the auditorium, in the midst of about eight other similarly-sized and -shaped women and their partners. Last week, when the lights were turned down and the music started, we were encouraged to close our eyes and just breathe as our partners used various massage techniques over our burdened bodies. Given that I hadn’t slept through the night in months and that it was just about bedtime, I nearly drifted off, and only just barely was able to peel myself off the mat and drive home.

This week, however, is apparently Discomfort Week. After two and a half hours of listening to and watching stories of interventions ranging from narcotic injections (mildly scary) to episiotomies (pretty frightening) and monitors that are screwed into the top of a baby’s skull (actually pretty terrifying), we again recline on the floor for “relaxation.” Except this time, it’s not just about massage and breathing; oh no, they’re handing out clothespins. These clothespins, we learn, are to simulate contractions.

“Partners,” says the RN/doula who leads the class, “find a place that will cause some pain but not leave a mark.” Great, I think, she’s setting us up for a little light domestic abuse. We agree that I won’t be able to feel much in the way of discomfort on my hands, fingers, or earlobes, and decide that the tip of my nose is a prime candidate for clothespinning.

As the “contractions” build, peak, and dissipate, my nose is pinched and my eyes involuntarily water, regardless of the presence or absence of music, touch, and soothing encouragement. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” I accuse. He assures me that he isn’t, and clips the clothespin to his own nose in solidarity. Finally, after about five of these simulated labor pains, we’re allowed to collect ourselves and belongings and head home.

We’re almost done with our childbirth prep class, within five weeks or so of my due date, and nearly prepared, equipment-wise, to welcome a baby into our house. I’m willing to bet that contractions are going to be a little different from the old nose-in-a-clothespin trick, but hey, at least they tried to prepare us, right?

Friday Five

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Get ready! It’s a parenthetical sort of day.

1. My sleep over the last couple months has been pretty meager, to say the least. I’m not exactly falling asleep at my desk, but I have been tucking myself into bed around 8:00 or so (yup, I am a party animal). This early bedtime has been pretty great, with a couple exceptions: we started our childbirth prep classes on Monday, and they run until 9:30 (and one of the “supplies” for the class is a pillow! So cruel); a couple Saturdays ago, my middle-of-the-night wakeup was around 2:00 (a little earlier than usual), so I got to peruse all the pictures on Facebook and Instagram of my friends’ Halloween festivities (again, party animal). I suppose this is my body’s way of preparing me to become No Sleep Jones come December, but damn…it’s also making me feel pretty uncool. (Is step one of parenthood admitting that I probably wasn’t very cool in the first place?)

2. This weekend will consist of our usual College Football Saturday (in which we DVR every single game and fast-forward through/watch the interesting bits of whatever we please), interrupted briefly by a breastfeeding class. This contrast strikes me as sort of hilarious, but that’s what you get with a baby that’s going to be born on the cusp of bowl season. (Hopefully we’ve conditioned her in utero not to be alarmed when we start shouting at the television. If not, well…sorry, baby.)

3. I’ve been reviewing my 30 Before 30 list – with about a month to go, there are some pretty clear “not gonna happen” items…and I’m ok with that. Some of the items will be easily rolled over into whatever Adult To-Do List comes after turning 30– horseback riding, summiting Mt. Tallac, taking a photo a day for a year– and some I’m willing to just let go. This is probably a post unto itself, but let me say for now that I originally intended for my 30 Before 30 to be more aspirational than a straight “must-do” list.

4. The number of televisions in our house is (finally?) equal to the number of adults. No tv in the nursery means I’ll have to have something to keep me entertained during what I understand will likely be months of erratic sleep, so we’re in the market for a tablet. Any suggestions? We’re not an Apple family, and spending the amount of money an iPad would require seems fairly ridiculous, so tell me what you know about the Samsung Galaxy, the Kindle Fire, and their ilk.

5. Being in “countdown” mode isn’t exactly a new thing to me (I like to have a finish line in sight, whether it’s a vacation or other event), but it seems pretty momentous to have only four weeks left before I go on maternity leave, and only six weeks (SIX WEEKS WHAT) before my due date. I still can’t really wrap my head around the fact that they’re just going to LET us leave the hospital with a baby that we CREATED (magic, got it)…but I guess that’s what happens, isn’t it?

What are you up to this weekend?