Category Archives: Unidentified Fetal O

Lip balm used to be the highlight of my day but now it’s just part of it.

Back when I was pregnant with Penelope, I was on bed rest for twelve weeks. A lot of people have jokingly admitted to me that the Butt Rust era was probably just about the best time ever for this blog, and they’re probably right. I was posting almost every day, definitely every weekday, a lot of times even twice. I had a lot of time to sit – lay – around and think about ridiculous stuff, when I wasn’t being shuttled to two or three appointments a week, or being checked in and out of labor and delivery on the regular. I also did a lot of puzzle books, and I colored, and I watched all of Battlestar Galactica and all of Wings. It was definitely an interesting time, in both the most extreme sense of interesting and the totally opposite of interesting kind of way.

When you have to stay in bed all day, there’s just no real delineation between daytime laying in bed and nighttime laying in bed. It’s all just laying in bed. So I got in this habit of putting on my lemon EOS lip balm at night. I really liked it. But I would only do it right before I settled down to sleep at night, which was different, of course, from my mid-morning nap and my afternoon nap and my predinner eyeshutting and any other sleeping-because-what-else-am-I-going-to-do. It didn’t take long before it was the highlight of my whole day. That’s kind of a pretty shitty situation to be in, one where putting on lip balm to signify the dividing line between “okay, I’m laying here because I’m medically required to lay here so as not to accidentally have a stroke on my way to the kitchen” and “now I’m laying here because it’s regular person sleeping hours.” It was a really good time for my blog, for sure, but that was a distracting shell over the whole wretchedness of the entire situation. It’s long past now, so I don’t see the need to re-explain all the medical details I don’t think I ever really explained in the first place, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that anyone reading knows that a pregnant woman confined to her bed for months on end isn’t there for fun and games and that things aren’t good. Aren’t good. At. All.

If Phil and I stick to our current plan – there aren’t guarantees of anything, but it is the plan in place at the moment of this writing, which is today but not tomorrow or any other day you might read this, so this sentence doesn’t actually bind me or Phil or anyone to anything nor can it be referenced in any kind of future “GOTCHA!” way should plans change – to have just one kid, I don’t think I’ll ever really come to grips with my feelings of unfairness with regard to Garlic Bread, and the guilt attached to having feelings of unfairness related to a living, healthy child. I think the advent of the jokey “first world problems” meme has summed up the feeling in a tongue in cheek kind of way, the feeling of being unable to acknowledge something annoying (or legitimately shitty) without at the same time recognizing that some – many – people have it much worse. First world problem: no fortune cookies with my takeout. Real problem: SOME PEOPLE HAVE NO COOKIES AT ALL EVER. Effect:  I’m kind of a bad person for even giving a crap about my fortune cookie, considering all the cookieless people. Yet, I still have no cookie and I did want a cookie. I’m going down an analogy path I don’t want to take, let’s regroup below.

Right now, as the plan stands, we’ve got Penelope and that’s it. Sometimes I wish – well, wish is the wrong word, and so is wonder, which I also tried, so I’m just going to stick with wish – that things would have been different with her pregnancy. Of course I do, it was wretched. I want a do-over, I want another one. Another pregnancy, that went the way pregnancy is supposed to go. All the way to 40 weeks – or, by the way the whole Garlic Bread thing shaped up in the end, maybe more than that. All the way to the end ON TWO FEET. To have a whole maternity wardrobe, instead of not bothering – men’s  gym shorts and t-shirts are fine when you never need to be out of pajamas. All that superficial kind of stuff, minus, you know, the medical misery and discomfort and danger and all of that. I’d like the whole kid experience without the giant ball of negative attached to the front end of it all. I’ve only got the one kid and only plan to have the one. I’d like another pregnancy with the same result, the same kid. A different, better pregnancy. It’s been over two years and I still think the whole thing was unfair. But then, I’m an adult. I can’t even think the word “unfair” without feeling like an enormous brat. I can’t think about something in my life being unfair without thinking about how good I do have it compared to others. To people whose pregnancies similar to mine had much worse outcomes. To people whose children aren’t healthy. Or to people who just want to be pregnant at all. At least I was pregnant and had Penelope, and she’s here and we get to keep her. So, then, guilt. Because sure, getting her was unpleasant, but she’s here now, and not everyone gets to have a perfect everything, and the whole saga of me getting pregnant, and the labor, and the delivery, and the NICU, and the next hospitalization, and the postpartum anxiety, and the VUR, and the year of monitoring and specialists, and the subsequent surgery, and the more monitoring – anyway, that’s getting past pregnancy, a bit – all of that is done and finished and we’re here now with our healthy kid.

Anyway, I was reading Swistle’s blog the other day because SHE ALSO GOT A TURBIE TWIST FOR CHRISTMAS (actually she gave some, but she’s also enjoying one, so close enough for bonding). That’s not why I was reading it, I always read Swistle’s blog. I have a category in my feed reader that serves up my “first to read” blogs whenever I open it, and hers is in there, among the ones I read first. I would have read it whether or not she got a Turbie Twist. But I mention the Turbie Twist because I was driven by our new connection to comment, so I was on her actual blog rather than reading through my reader, which caused me to be reminded of her tagline – one of the best ones in blogging, I think, because it neatly shuts down a lot of the common complaints about bloggers/blogging, and also helps me (because, ME) feel okay about a lot of the things I have to say here, and, okay, have to say in general.

“I acknowledge my luckiness, without giving up my claim to the suckiness.”

And while I washing dishes last night and thinking about this post, I kept coming back to that line, because I guess I do. I acknowledge that we have Penelope, and we are very lucky for it, especially in light of the incredibly large range of child-related struggles of friends and acquaintances.  But at the same time, I don’t give up my (our, but honestly, Phil needs to just write his own blog) claim to how sucky certain parts of it all have been. To be clear, no one I know has ever shamed me for dwelling or struggling with my experience with Garlic Bread – sometimes the opposite, in fact. I tend to separate Garlic Bread off from Penelope and deal with them separately, or one not really at all, except for brief flashes of unfairness/regret, which is of course followed quickly by that guilt. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to really get past that Garlic Bread/Penelope separation, though, and the regrets and frustrations and stress attached to the whole thing, if every time I think back to that time, any negative thoughts are slapped down by guilt and self-shaming about how good I actually had/have it. The fact is, there was a long stretch of time where the highlight of my day was putting on lip balm, because it marked the end point of another day that I made it through without a medical emergency, without having to check into the hospital for the duration, and without having to delivery a severely premature baby.


Vaseline Lip Therapy in Rosy Lips

EOS lip balm in the weird ball shape is probably still my favorite and most useful lip balm, but I wanted to tell you about this Best/Worst most Useful/Useless lip balm in the world. I talked a while ago about how my face was getting really bad at facing, remember? You don’t need to, this is the Internet, it’s still available for you to refer to forever, even if I start to regret saying it some day. It’s right here. My lips were not excluded from that issue. This isn’t usually a huge problem, because I tend to lean toward darker lipsticks which cover a multitude of sadnesses and crimes and tear-filled journal entries about raindrops and, I don’t know, I don’t have much beyond surface feelings, I’m trying to draw on a teenage experience I didn’t have. But I do love mattes these days, and also, I have a few lighter shades that are essential for my newer attempts at a no-makeup makeup look, in my efforts to be a little more appropriate for various occasions, see question 31 of the 2013 year end wrap up. If your lips are all dried up, matte lipsticks and light shades are going to look like a pile of hot garbage.

One of the things that you absolutely need to do if you’re going to wear lighter lipstick shades or ESPECIALLY with mattes like the Revlon Matte Balms (I really like this formula and haven’t yet picked up a color I don’t like) or NYX Matte lipsticks (I like Alabama and I think I’ve only tried one other in the line, so unless you’re looking for a deep, deep red, I can’t offer a lot on that variety, but the reviews are fantastic) (also, I was going to put Amazon affiliate links here, because someone insinuated that the fact that I haven’t used them at all in a million years of blogging was unintelligent of me, but as I suspected, I found it hasslely, so let’s cut out the middle man, and some of you get really offended that I dared, and I get offended that you got offended, and we all talk behind each other’s backs, and then move on like it never even happened), do you remember what we were talking about? I was about to tell you that aside from lip balm – I really want to type lip BLAM! – you also need to exfoliate your lips. There are a couple of ways to do this. Soft tooth brush, homemade sugar scrub, purchased lip scrub, any kind of scrub.

Personally, for exfoliation, I’ve been using the e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator. It’s from the Studio Line of e.l.f. products, and it’s $3. It’s basically a sugar scrub, formed into a lipstick. Big grains of sugar in some kind of binding material. At first, the top layer of the moisturizing, binding stuff made it feel not especially effective, but after a few uses, that wears away and the sugar does get quite abrasive. I don’t think that this is anything special, though, compared to other lip scrubs you could buy or make, so it depends on the type of person you are. If you like making this kind of stuff, do that. If you want to buy a different brand, do that. The things this one has going for it – it’s $3, it’s in a convenient form. I don’t like sticking my fingers into my makeup/products very much. It’s a holdover from when I had really, really terrible skin in middle school and just reflexively try to keep my hands off my face and keep my hands off of things that are going to go on my face. e.l.f. products are sold at most Targets, but I haven’t seen this particular one at mine, which is a pain. The site does run constant sales, though, if you sign up for the mailing list, which is of the creepy variety that emails you immediately after you visit the site to tell you it missed you. I like to wait for a sale that offers a combination of free shipping and a percentage off the Studio line to grab a few things. The brand is very hit and miss, but there are a few things I like. In general, products in black packaging (the Studio line, $3 or $6) are better than those in white (usually $1-$2). There are a couple of Studio brushes I like, along with the HD setting powder, and I’m going on and on here, but if you’re interested in the lip exfoliator and can’t find it in store, there are a few things on the site that, when on sale, make a stock-up purchase worthwhile.

When I was Christmas shopping, I spotted this Vaseline Lip Therapy in Rosy Lips among the stocking stuffers at Target. I don’t know if it was supposed to be there, because it was the only one, but since my lips were about to set out across the desert to find themselves and possibly their real family among the cacti on some kind of vision quest, I grabbed it on a whim. It has been the best/worst and most useful/useless lip balm ever.


With an elephant, for scale.

First, I am pretty sure I grabbed this because it is adorable. It is a tub of Vaseline, except it is miniature. It is 0.25 oz. It’s Vaseline for ants. Vaseline for terrifying ants. Terrifying ants with chapped lips. It’s tiny size lends to the idea that you just pop it in your purse for on the go lip balm application. Just reach in your purse, and BLAM! Tiny Vaseline, for your lips. Except, no. You can’t use this that way at all. By you, I mean me, and probably also you. I’m really making an effort to think about this reasonably and not just in the “my way is obviously the only way” kind of way, but I’m having a hard time, because my way is obviously the only way.

Backing up. I got this in the “shade” Rosy Lips, because it was the only one there at the time, but I probably would have anyway. This are a bitch and a half (hi, sorry, the language, let’s talk about it tomorrow) to find online, so I’m not linking to them anywhere, because you should look for them in stores. Since I got mine before Christmas, I’ve seen them in Target with the Vaseline, not with other lip balms and lip products. They’re $1.77 at my Target, and there were other kinds – original Vaseline, cocoa butter, and maybe something else? I could look it up. I put “shade” in quotation marks up there, because while it’s clearly pink in the tub, it doesn’t make my lips especially rosy. Since my liptone is a fairly neutral pink, I swatched it on the back of my hand to check, and there was no rosiness there, either. So you wouldn’t be missing out on any flattering color if you decided to go with cocoa butter or some medicated version that might or might not exist, I don’t know, because I didn’t look it up.

I’ve been putting this on at night, after using the e.l.f. lip treatment, along with a whole pile of other stuff I’ve started using on my face in the battle against the side effects of my medication and also the fact that, FINE, I GUESS I’M ALSO SEVERAL YEARS OLDER THAN I WAS SEVERAL YEARS AGO. I don’t have anything to say about any of that yet, because lips show things much faster than faces. I may or may not report later. I’m unreliable. (HEY, POTENTIAL FUTURE BOSSES, WHAT’S UP.) And it’s good! It’s thick. It’s… Vaseline. (Tangerines.) It’s thicker than I’d use in the daytime, I think, but I also use a thicker lotion at night, so it works in that way. I’m really pleased with it as part of my nighttime routine and how it’s helping combat not only the dehydrating side effects of my medications, but also the winter air and my nighttime mouth breathing. That’s a pretty tall order, and it’s hanging in.

BUT YOU CAN’T GO ANYWHERE WITH THIS. This little tub – it’s a TUB. There’s no application method with this. You must stick your finger directly in it. And it’s Vaseline. (Magazines.) When, throughout your day, is an appropriate time for your index finger to be coated in Vaseline? That’s setting aside the long term ramifications of sticking your finger repeatedly into something goopy you apply to your mouth, back and forth, over and over again. It’s not good. You can’t apply this on the go. Maybe at the very beginning of the tub, when the surface of the goop is at the very top, you can swipe a light layer onto the pad of your index finger and then onto your lips, and that’s fine. As use continues, though, the product gets lower down in there, and the size of the tub makes the angle of… finger-sticker-innery… such that there has to be a slight scooping motion, meaning that one, there’s always going to be just a little too much goop, and two, if you have fingernails of any length, some is going to get under. So you have to clean your finger after you put this on. World-ending? No. But I think that means this is not an out of the house lip balm.

Even if you don’t mind a good finger-gooping now and then, we were all becolded over Christmas, and you know when Vaseline shines? When every part of you is rattley and wheezey and dried out and husked up. I use a Q-tip to get my Vaseline lip therapy out of the tub each time and I only dip it once, because if not, then the tub would ALSO BE BECOLDED. AND RUINED. And do you KNOW how many times I would go to Target before I remembered to pick up a new tub? Probably a THOUSAND. Which means that I would say a lot of bad things when trying to apply an appropriate shade of lipstick for church (which no one determines but me, but still), because my lips would look like HOT GARBAGE, and that’s what happens when you have a lip balm that is SUPER USEFUL in healing crappy lips, with the most USELESS format ever.

Except, you can just use a Q-tip and also not take it anywhere and just use it at home, at bedtime, and I also recommend using it in tandem with your lip exfoliating method of choice. You’ll probably want to stick with your regular purse/pocket balm for daytime needs, but I think this is a pretty solid addition to whatever nighttime routine you’ve got going on. It’s just a regular part of my day, not a significant one. You can probably find Vaseline Lip Therapy at Target, or any number of other drugstores.


And it was nice to have someone say that.

If you’re here for pictures of Penny, here are some. I’m going to say some words after the pictures, so you can feel free to just hop off the post-train right after the images if that’s how you’re feeling today. We all have those days. You can come on back tomorrow. I’ll still be here.

You don’t impress Penny very much.
Also, she is wearing a comically large 0-3 month sized sun… romper… thing.
We weighed her! She’s 9 lbs! Why is my 9 lb, almost 6 week old baby so oddly wee?

Penny thinks nursing is totally baby stuff.
She’s all, “Nursing? Psh, been doing it my whole life. Totally casual.”

Here’s the part with words. For those leaving us at this point, I hope you have a lovely day.

Yesterday, I had my final pregnancy-related appointment with Dr. Nameless. It was quick – he checked my incision in the exam room, and then we went over to his office to sit down and have the talk about prevention. I don’t feel that I’m going to discuss that part with you, Internet.

However, in addition to prevention, we talked about what might happen if things were not prevented, either on purpose or through poor prevention practices or just general falling into the 2% failure rate of some chosen method of prevention. What I wanted to know was, how likely was the whole situation with blood pressure and Butt Rust and inducing and all of that to happen again. I’m not going to go into science or anything, but basically, Dr. Nameless said that the chances weren’t 100% or even some high percent, but better than a coin flip. And I mean “better” in the sense of it being more likely than a coin flip, even though “better” implies something good, which it absolutely would not be.

Anyway, that is definitely a factor in whether or not Phil and I would ever have another kid. Even pre-Penny creation, we were relatively certain that we only wanted one kid – one kid fits best with the plans and ideals and state of our current life and fits in nicely with the life we intend to have in the future. Of course, my whole pregnancy experience didn’t do anything but more solidly cement the idea of solo el kid-o for us.

However, neither of us feel that 6 weeks after having our first kid is the best time to take any permanent measures, which some smug assholes see as indication that we will CHANGE OUR MINDS.

You guys, the whole “YOU’LL CHANGE YOUR MIND” thing is not solely reserved for people who have decided not to have children. It is only crowed even MORE triumphantly and JERKILY at people who indicate their intentions to have just one kid. And it is JUST as irritating.

I’ve said before that just because we changed our minds from our previous no kid stance to having Penny does not mean that we think mind changing is inevitable. I’ll say again – if you’ve decided not to have children, I don’t even think it’s likely that you’ll change your mind. Sometimes people do. I did. But if you tell me, “I don’t want children,” I ABSOLUTELY believe you. I have NO REASON to insist that you’ll change your mind, as if you must, as if EVERYONE eventually does, because they don’t.

And if someday you say to me, “Hey, I changed my mind,” I’ll be all, “Oh, that’s great!” or “Congratulations!” or “Good luck!” or whatever feels appropriate. I will NOT say, “I knew it!” or “I told you so!” like some kind of butt wad, because if I did, I’d have to PUNCH MYSELF IN THE FACE.

You should consider a self-face-punch if you’re one of those people who insists on telling me (or other anyone) that they will change their mind about having a second kid.

MAYBE I WILL. If I do, though, you didn’t “know it” in advance. At this point, it’s impossible to “know it.” Because at this point, it’s not happening. No one can “know it” if I don’t know it. To claim to “know it” is to also make an auxiliary claim to being a HUGE WANG, seriously, what the hell is wrong with you? The fact that I’m not running out to have my tubes tied doesn’t give you some huge SCOOBY DOO CLUE that another baby is in my future. It means that my husband and I acknowledge that we are living, changing beings who continue to evolve as individuals and in our relationship together and also that people who are extremely sleep deprived living in a house that is flooded ANKLE DEEP with rage and hormones are not in any position to make any kind of MAJOR LIFE DECISIONS.

The worst thing, though, for me, is when I indicate that my pregnancy experience is now an added factor in my intention to not have any further children and the person I am talking to says, “Oh, just wait. You’ll forget about all of that and want another.”

You know what that is? That’s insulting and frankly, kind of hurtful. Now, none of you reading are like this, I’m sure, because I have to say that the Internet was NOTHING but supportive during the whole ordeal and actually a great prop up when it came to acknowledging that the whole thing sucked and that it was okay to hate it and feel that it JUST PLAIN SUCKED.

But those other people who discount the whole thing, who say I’ll forget it when I become overwhelmed with the need for another kid – I don’t think you know what you’re saying, or you wouldn’t say such things, or you do know what you’re saying and you’re just an asshole. But what it sounds like to me is that you’re no longer seeing me as the person I have always been for the entirety of my life, but instead as someone whose personality and preferences and experiences have been totally erased or at least entirely trumped by the advent of motherhood.

Which, come on. Shut up.

I get that motherhood and being a parent in general and having this kid is all a huge deal and changes my whole life and blah blah and all of that, but my experiences prior to this kid aren’t negated. I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it all again – I would.

For Penny.

If you told me way back whenever that at the end of the whole thing would be PENNY, SPECIFICALLY – this baby, the one that has been hanging out here for a few weeks now – I probably would have been about 6% more cheerful about the whole ordeal. I’d get through it with a better attitude, at least.

But just like it was hard to feel great during this pregnancy because I didn’t know Penny – Garlic Bread, at the time – any other future kid is hypothetical. I don’t know any future kid. When you say that I’ll change my mind and have a second kid and specifically cite the reason that I’ll “forget” everything that went on, you’re saying that the idea of a child – any child, a baby for the sake of a baby, a HYPOTHETICAL THEORY OF A PERSON – is enough to overcome what was, frankly, an extremely difficult, uncomfortable, scary and unpleasant experience. MY experience.

Maybe I’m not being too clear or maybe it’s just my own neurosis, but “You’ll change your mind, because you’ll forget all the misery, etc, because, yay, more babies!” sounds to me like, “Whatever happened to you before doesn’t matter because only babies matter.” I don’t know. I’m not explaining it right.

The thing is, though, when we were talking about options with Dr. Nameless, he was the FIRST AND ONLY PERSON to say to me, “I think you two will be good parents, but I would not blame you a bit if you decided not to have any more children after this rough pregnancy.”

Like, “I acknowledge that your experience sucked enough to trump what some smug wang wrinkles assume is the inevitability of a second child.”

I didn’t really realize how nice it would be to hear such a thing until I heard it, and it was most especially validating to hear coming from Dr. Nameless, who probably enjoys repeat business.

In summation, quit saying, “You’ll change your mind.” Even if someone didn’t have a rough pregnancy. Because it’s just rude. Stop being rude. Why do I have to keep explaining this stuff, Internet? I mean, honestly. Sometimes I think that you and I are the only common sense-having non-ass candles left on this planet, you know?

Closing a chapter. A big, billowy chapter.

Do you guys remember when I got some really big underpants for Christmas, and what a glorious day that was for me?

And do you remember when I was in the hospital in the beginning of April and a nurse spilled ice water all over me by accident and I asked Phil to bring me some big underpants and I realized that I had previously had no real idea of how truly enormous underpants could really be?

And then remember how I wore those truly enormous underpants for the rest of my pregnancy, and, okay, for a while after delivery as well?

Well, anyway, all of that happened.

I had my c-section over three weeks ago now, and I held absolutely no illusions of my body springing – ok, doughily molding – itself back into shape. I was pleased, however, to find out that at two weeks after Penny’s birth, I’d lost 20 of the 23 pounds I had gained during the pregnancy.

And please bear in mind that I’m using the word “lost” here like, “Oh, dear, I’ve lost 20 lbs. Did I drop them? Are they behind the sofa? Damnit.” You know. The definition of “lost” where something kind of just vanishes without any intent or effort on your part. Not the definition of “lost” that means I was eating right or exercising or anything.

And also bear in mind that while I had lost (“lost”) 20 lbs by the scale’s measurement, my body in NO WAY reflected that I was 3 lbs away from what I had weighed before all of this started. I mean, in NO WAY.

So, I kept wearing the big underpants. And the gigantic basketball shorts. And the floppy pajama pants. And maternity jeans. Because I’ll be damned if I’m going to buy myself some kind of in between wardrobe. Not that I’ve got too much pride to buy some “fat(er) clothes” or to motivate myself to get back into my somewhat less floppy former shape, but because, come on. I will not spend money on temporary clothing when I have perfectly good clothing right here.

Also? I don’t know if you’ve had a baby and immediately lost a good chunk of weight but were left looking at your current shape and wondering if you were trapped in some kind of alternate dimension where “lost 20 lbs” actually means “deflated 20 lbs of flesh until it was good and squishy and relocated it to a weird position where such flubber would never appear on its own.” I don’t know if you’ve done that, but you will have to imagine with me that clothes shopping doesn’t seem like it would be any kind of easy.

Like, you know how magazines are always breaking down jeans by body shape? Like hourglass or pear or whatever? (BY THE WAY, why do those things always give you options for big bust OR big hips? Attention, ladies – you may only have ONE large portion of your body, or else there are no clothes out there for you.)

Right, anyway, so you’re supposed to shop for clothes by body shape, and after a c-section, I can only imagine it going like this, if I were to go shopping for some in between jeans:

“Ok, I think I’m a pear – you know, kind of heavy on the bottom? Except, maybe a double pear? Do you have anything for double pear? Like, I’m heavy on the bottom, and then above the bottom of the pear, there’s a second pear bottom? I mean, one pear bottom on top of the other pear bottom. Double pear. Except, the top bottom – are you following me here? The top bottom would be maybe a rotten pear. Not that I’m spoiling or something. I mean that it’s softer than the bottom bottom, which I guess would be normal pear. More firm, as compared to the top bottom, which is squishy. Except, the bottom bottom is kind of squishy, too. But the top bottom is more squishy. I mean, you can move the whole top bottom to wherever you want. Kind of like play doh? But I can’t just move it away. It would have to go in the jeans as well. So, what I’m saying is, I need some jeans for a double pear. A DOUBLE FUCKING PEAR. OH MY GOD. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING ELASTIC.”

Right. So. I continue to wear maternity jeans and enormous underpants. Or, at least, I did continue to wear the most enormous of enormous underpants up until a few days ago, when I noticed that the space between me and the waistband had increased dramatically. The elastic isn’t even being strained anymore. It’s not even elastic-ing at all. I was having to find ways to hide an unsightly bulge of bunched up underpants under the elastic panel of the maternity jeans that I will continue to wear and I don’t even care what anyone has to say about it.

Problem was, though, that my standard underpants are not up to the challenge of the DOUBLE PEAR.

So, much to my disgust, I had to go out and purchase some new big underpants. BIG underpants. Not enormous underpants. They’re just plain big. My enormous underpants were at least comical in their hugeness. I’ve been downgraded now. Downgraded to plain old big underpants. Underpants that could conceivably be of an appropriate size to fit me for some time to come, without even a giggle or a snort at the sight of them. If you’ve got to wear big ol’ granny underpants, there’s something to be said for being able to tuck them into your bra, you know? I mean, your underpants are big, but they’re HILARIOUS. But now? Now my underpants cover a sensible amount of butt and fit perfectly just below my belly button. I cannot TELL YOU how disappointed I was when my new big underpants fit just right.

They’re not even FUNNY. They’re just BIG.

A comparison for you:

Me: What will I do with all of my enormous underpants?
Phil: Build a sail?

40 weeks.

About 15 weeks ago, we were informed that Garlic Bread was a huge troublemaker, launching a vicious attack on my life, and that I would need to take to my bed to allow the little baked good from hell the best chance of getting big enough to wreak her havoc on the entire world, not just me.

8 weeks ago, Garlic Bread was all,

“I’m a fetus, and I’m inconveniently upside down!”

7 weeks ago, Garlic Bread was all,

“Stop kicking yourself! Stop kicking yourself! Haha, I’m kidding! It’s me, Garlic Bread! I’m kicking you! And I’m not stopping! Ever!”

And then three weeks ago, I was having some gel put into my business with the intent of making the next 2 days of my life a living hell that has all blurred together in a haze of pain, tears, dignity stripping, drugs, chemicals, incisions, bruises and general unhappiness.

And today, Penny’s all,

I’m Penny
It’s my due date
I’m going to wriggle out of these “newborn” size clothes like it’s my due date

And once I’ve freed myself from my pants, I’m going to wriggle some more until I have plumber crack and then I’m going to poop right out of this diaper and I’m not going to give you any indication that I’ve done so until I’ve had a good long while to roll around in it leaving you to discover I have pooped all over the outside of my diaper and up into my shirt after I’ve had a chance to really smear it around in an artful fashion
Like it’s my due date

Even though Penny has been here for almost 3 weeks now ( here as in, out of the Hut – she’s only been home for a bit over a week), and even though I went through all that labor, and even though I felt her get pulled out and then appear over the drape, I still cannot connect Garlic Bread to Penny in my mind. Logically I know that the demon seed that was in there is the same baby that is right here, but it’s not really sinking in at all.

In fact, even looking back at pictures of myself pregnant is surreal. No, actually, more like unreal. I know I was pregnant, I know all of the bed rest and the worry and the appointments and the HUGENING happened, but I feel so far removed from it that it really doesn’t seem like it did. I don’t feel like I was ever pregnant (aside from the burning “healing” pain that shoots through my incision on the regular) and even after all the delivery drama, I feel like Penny kind of just appeared.

I wonder if I have some kind of weird mental block against the whole pregnancy. I can acknowledge that it all happened, but I feel so completely separate from it that I might as well be looking at pictures of someone else, or reading the pregnancy accounts of someone else. While a baby that randomly appeared from nowhere sits next to me.


Here’s a joke that Phil made today!

“Penny’s stump finally fell off. Can you… look at it? There’s something weird.”

“Ok… well, it looks all right to me. It will probably look more like a normal belly button with time.”

“Yeah, but… sometimes it looks like there’s something in it. Like… ooze.”

“Well, maybe there’s a secret.

That’s right, Internet. You CAN believe your eyes. It was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles joke. One that referenced the LIVE ACTION MOVIE.

And that’s why he gets to wear the team jersey.

Until I am enough weeks old enough to tell you how embarrassing and UNFUNNY you two are, you will have to interpret my disdainful expressions.

PS – You’re not funny.

No, but seriously. It’s Penny’s due date today, and in any normal pregnancy, especially first time pregnancy, I’d likely still be pregnant right now, and that just BLOWS MY MIND, because it’s almost like I can barely recognize the idea that I was ever pregnant at ALL. I mean, you know how she was trying to kill me, what with the high blood pressure and all? Like, 150-ish/90-something? At last check, my blood pressure was 117/70. I have completely looped away from death. Honestly, except for the fact that when the elastic on my pajama pants is a little too snug, my deflated bouncy castle-esque belly actually forms itself into a POINT, it’s like the whole thing never happened at all.

Oh, and also the baby. The baby is also evidence that it all happened.

We call her Penny.

So. Everyone. Thank you all so much for all of the messages and excitement about the arrival of Garlic Bread. I’m not even going to pretend that I can respond to all of the comments, tweets and emails, but I’ll do the best I can and I hope you know that I’ve read them all and continue to.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve already seen a couple more pictures, but once all that eye goop came off and she got a little less newborn shell shocked, she really cutened up even more:

From the first second they held her up to show me, I’ve still been trying to grasp the concept that I was ACTUALLY LOOKING at the little Demon Bread who had given me such grief from the inside. I’d be suspicious, because I couldn’t see, of course, but Phil peeked over the sheet at the appropriate moment and confirms that she definitely came directly out of the Hut.

As I said on Friday, she came out through the roof of the Hut. Like the rest of the pregnancy, it wasn’t how we hoped things would go, especially since I went in to be induced on Wednesday. I was actually supposed to be induced on Tuesday. It’s all a very long story and I really want to tell it, but I’m going to have to ask for an extension on that.

I know I don’t have to ask you to be patient with me, Internet, but I’m not the type to abuse your good will. I’m recovering from a c-section that occurred after Pitocin labor, and the initial endorphins have really worn off as of last night. Right now, I really need to focus all of my energy on my own recovery so that I (and Phil, of course) can dedicate our full attentions to Penny.

I don’t have a lot of details right now, and to be honest, I’m still coping quite poorly on my own and don’t think I could really discuss it if I wanted to, but I wanted to let you all know – Penny was taken to the NICU yesterday, less than 24 hours after her birth. We are still waiting to find out what exactly is going on, but she will be down there for at least another day or so – possibly a week or more. As you can imagine, the not knowing combined with our baby just being here and then… not here anymore… is a little overwhelming for two brand new parents.

We have no reason to believe she won’t be fine. Seriously. This isn’t a good situation, to be sure, but she is going to be okay. To be honest, I’m more inclined to ask for your good thoughts for Phil and I than for her, because she’s in such good hands and will come out of this well. He and I, however, have been through a pregnancy that didn’t go as planned, a delivery that didn’t go as planned, and now first days with our astoundingly adorable baby that are not going as planned. Sometimes making it all the way to having a full term baby means everything goes just perfectly, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Everything is going to be fine, but I know you all understand that even though I am made of 85% Internet, 15% sandwiches and various potato products, we really need some time to focus on recovery for all of us. I’ll keep up with Twitter and Facebook as much as I can, but for now, I intend to dedicate my time to sleeping, shuffling back and forth to the NICU, and taking advantage of my wonderful hospital’s extensive yogurt menu. Also, trying to get Phil to slow down and let himself rest. Because he hasn’t. Since February. My parents are visiting and intend to be helpful, so if anyone can think of a way I can slip an elephant tranquilizer into Phil’s food so that he’ll take some time for himself, I’d appreciate it.

Speaking of Phil, here are the two sides of Phil:

This is his last thumbs as a non-parent, right before I went to surgery.
Just after this, he stood over my bed, looking down at me, and he says,
“I just farted in my scrubs.”

And then? Less than a day later? He looked like this:

Can you even stand it?

I am pretty sure I am on target to be discharged from the hospital tomorrow – Tuesday at the latest. We’re hoping to take Penny home with us when when leave and right now, I’m not even thinking about how it might feel to go home without her. We live close, though, and have all confidence in our hospital and our nurses to watch over her between our visits until we can bring her home.

Anyway, Internet, I’m rambling. I’ve had a lot of painkillers. I feel awkward and don’t really know what to say about this whole thing. I can’t really answer questions right now except to tell you that she’ll be okay and that we can’t wait to bring her home to Brinkley and Sheldon.

And again, of course – all of the messages – thank you all so much. We appreciate it. A lot.

Things full term pregnant ladies cannot do.

I know that from the title you think I’m about to start rattling off a list about beer and sushi and standing too close to the microwave and lunch meat and you’re already poised to tell me, “Well, actually, I drank beer and ate sushi while sitting INSIDE my microwave the entire time I was pregnant – in fact, I had my mail FORWARDED to my microwave.”

Well, one, that’s not what I’m talking about. And two, good for you. No wonder your ass is so pleasingly rectangular.

No, no. I know better than to get into that whole thing, with people getting all butthurt over the choices of others and the medical advice of doctors that are not their own, as if it had ANYTHING AT ALL IN THE WORLD to do with them, acting like the fact that I follow Dr. Nameless’s requests that I have no alcohol and no sushi must mean that I think that they did pregnancy COMPLETELY WRONG and wish retroactive harm on their fetus. No. None of that.

Instead, let me tell you some stuff that full term pregnant ladies (IN MY EXPERIENCE, oh my HEAVENS I know that  the “actually, I could totally do all those things, from inside the microwave, even,” person is out there and CAN’T WAIT TO TELL ME how wrong I am) simply cannot do.

1. Walk around without garnering stares.

Seriously. What is WITH the staring? This is where babies come from, people. Big, round bellies attached to the front of scowling women. Isn’t nature fucking beautiful?

The worst is if I walk in to someplace that serves food in any capacity. I promise to leave some for you, asshole, crimeny. After some tests at the hospital on Sunday, I was walking with Phil and two young twenty-something hipster-esque gentlemen stared the entire time I lumbered past them, not even bothering to hide it. I did not bother myself to mutter too quietly about how if they didn’t stop, I was going to reach up there, grab the baby, rip her out and throw her right in their stupid faces STOP STARING AT ME GOOOOOSH.

My mom says I’m being paranoid. I assume she blocked out the last few weeks of each of her own pregnancies because it is EYEBALL CITY up in here.

2. Roll over in a huff.

If you’re going to get mad at your husband for, oh, I don’t know, going to your favorite sushi place without you and checking in on Facebook and then sending you a PICTURE of the sushi that he got to eat and you didn’t, make sure you get good and riled up while you’re standing up and can use your belly-weight for momentum to spin around on your heel and stomp away. Don’t save your anger for bed time, when he’s under the covers and a captive audience for your righteous rage, no matter how tempting it may be. Rolling over in a angry huff loses a LOT of its effectiveness when you have to ask him for a push when you get stuck halfway through the roll like a drunk, bloated sea turtle who has her shell on crooked.

3. Have any privacy.

Why do friends and family who HAVE YOUR PHONE NUMBER think that Facebook is the appropriate place to ask if you’ve gone into labor? Why yes, I have. I was waiting for someone to guess and post my private news publicly on Facebook before I came clean.

In fact, even if they HAVE your phone number, why do people even FEEL THE NEED TO ASK if I’ve gone into labor? If I haven’t called you and said, “Hey, I’m in labor!,” you can assume two things: either I am not, in fact, in labor OR, I AM in labor and DIDN’T FEEL YOU NEEDED TO KNOW. Something about being pregnant makes a LOT of people overestimate the closeness of your relationship. Believe me, if you’re someone who needs to know when I go into labor, you WILL be told.

Also, relax yourself, Paranoia Pete – I’m not going to have the baby and forget to tell you. Constant checking in through public venues, requiring me to publicly respond and risk being drawn into a conversation about THE STATE OF MY VAGINA is NOT the one and only way to assure that you find out that I’ve had a baby. I WILL NOT FORGET TO LET YOU KNOW.

4. Be bitchy for good reason.

To be fair, women in general deal with this from immature and poorly evolved men who think “Hur hur, PMS!!” is the only reason a woman might ever snap at him. But as a full term pregnant lady, you best be prepared to answer every “Ready to pop, huh?” and “Whoa, you’re due any second!” comment with a damn smile, or risk hearing, “Hur hur, hormones, am I right?” I do have hormones. And they do sometimes make me behave in irrational ways, like crying at TV commercials and sniffing bottles of baby body wash until I get a little bit high from it. But sometimes? No, actually, most times? MAYBE YOU’RE JUST BEING AN ASS CANDLE, did you think of THAT? Here, make this into a mental flowchart for yourself:

A pregnant lady just snapped at me. Should I make a joke about her raging hormones? Did I say something kind of douchey? If not, am I sure that what I said wasn’t kind of douchey? No, am I really sure? If I am sure, then maybe it is hormones. But just to be safe, I should probably assume I am an ass candle and not make a joke about hormones because even if it is, in fact, hormones, the joke is not going to go over as well as I think it will. Because I am an ass candle.

5. Give a shit about ______.

You can fill in your own blank on this one. For me, I really can’t bring myself to give a shit about the fact that most of my shirts no longer cover the line where the illusion of real jeans ends and the pregnancy panel begins. It’s time to give it up. I no longer believe that maternity jeans are fooling anyone. They’re not hanging there by magic, there’s an enormous swath of stretchy synthetic fabric clinging to my enormous Hut. No one is assuming that jeans managing to stay put on a full term pregnant lady is part of the miracle of life. It’s part of the miracle of polyester, people, and I don’t care if you can see it. I am also very aware that flip flops are not appropriate for every occasion, but you know what, my big swollen purple feet match my poorly fitting shirt, so up yours.

This can be referred to as the “not caring” phase of pregnancy, but I myself have mostly begun to refer to it as the “Say something to me. SAY SOMETHING, I DARE YOU” phase of pregnancy.

You may have your own list of items you no longer give a shit about, but I’m pretty sure that appropriate clothing and the fit of said clothing comes into it somewhere. I am sure there are more things, but the shits I am giving these days are so infinitesimal that I can’t even think them up.

So. That is my list of Things Full Term Pregnant Ladies Cannot Do.

Do you know why I get to make such a list? Because as of today (or tomorrow, if you ask Dr. Nameless, but let’s not ask him), I am a FULL TERM PREGNANT LADY. We will see what the doctor says will happen from here, so I can’t tell you anything other than that, but I should think it would be enough to satisfy you for now: FULL TERM BREAD.

In celebration of being a FULL TERM PREGNANT LADY, let’s hear what kinds of other things that FULL TERM PREGNANT LADIES cannot do. Not things we (I say “we” because that group includes me now! Me!) are medically prohibited from doing, but things that have just become impossible. It’s fun, see, because SOON THEY WILL BE POSSIBLE AGAIN.

Internet, how would you like to give an OPINION? On a BABY NAME?

Did you hear that?

That was the sound of 8 skrillion Internet denizens popping advice-boners.

Well, boner killer, y’all: I’m not giving you any specifics. Nor am I accepting any specific suggestions. Because, come on. I like you guys, but we’re not that close. This is not a democracy.

We’ve had Garlic Bread’s name structure (it’s a thing) set for quite some time now. It goes like this:

First Name: name that we like because we like it – solidly chosen, though I reserve the right to set eyes on my baby before putting anything in ink, just in CASE.
Middle Name: family name from my side
Middle Name: family name from Phil’s side
Last Name: Obvious and not particularly negotiable

That is the structure we are using. There are indeed two middle names. Phil and I are both of the mind that for this particular kid (ours, not yours), the middle names are purely decorative. That is, we have no intention of using them. Her name will be Garlic Bread (where Garlic is her actual first name and Bread is her actual last name). Her middle names aren’t there to give her a cute initialized name (like, uh… TJ) or to become part of a nickname scheme. The middle names are because we’d each like to recognize a family member, not because we have three names we love and can’t choose or anything like that. I hope that makes sense.

The first middle name is the issue I am thinking about today. Ignoring the first and last names, we both have been relatively set on the middle names since the dawn of the cell ball that would become Garlic Bread. We just knew what we wanted the middle names to be. It was much easier than the choice of a first name, because of our attitude toward her middle names. Decorative honorary names – we didn’t really need to think about how they’d be shortened, or how someone might make fun of them or anything like that.

The two middle names have been set for so long that we’re quite used to saying them and pairing them with first name options and have long just generally accepted them as the middle names” and not given it another thought.

However, I’ve started to waver recently, because why the hell not, right? Everyone probably does it. I’m having a baby in like, 15 minutes. I will probably end up changing nothing, but will stress over the decision until the last second, because that is what you do.

Here’s the situation:

My cousin recently had a baby and chose our first middle name as the middle name for her daughter. Now, I have no problem with this – we share the same relative. I don’t feel it was stolen from us – it’s a middle name, for one thing, and for another, we had kept our choice to ourself. I don’t feel like we’d be stealing to use it as well, either. We’ve had it picked out for a long time, and I don’t see a reason to change our minds because it’s already been used, you know? Basically, I see absolutely no problem with cousins sharing the same middle name. That’s not my concern. My cousin would likely not be concerned either.

Here’s the thing, though – while I do very much like the first middle name I chose, and while honoring that specific relative is something I’d love to do, there is also an opportunity to change the middle name I chose to the middle name of another relative – the sister of the first.

Okay, wait, this is confusing. The first middle name I chose is my maternal grandmother’s name – she died when I was about 5. The second option I am suddenly considering is her sister’s – my great aunt’s – middle name.

Now, I wouldn’t be changing my mind because I don’t want to have my kid share a middle name with her cousin, or because of any kind of name-related friction. It’s just that, if my cousin already honored my grandmother by using her name, why not honor someone else instead of doubling up in a single generation?

NOT that doubling up is a bad thing. Or I suddenly care about my grandmother less. Just, you know, why not spread it around?

Here are the issues:

1. We’ve already kind of created a short list in our minds that includes our original middle name selections and are used to and like the way they sound (though the rhythm of it did take a while to grow on me).

2. The first choice of middle name does kind of lend itself to cutesy nicknames, though, and while we don’t plan to completely ban people from shortening our kid’s name or otherwise nicknaming her (within reason), removing the temptation of drawing the middle name into it (it’s for decoration ONLY!) isn’t such a bad idea.

3. The second choice of middle name is a little strange. Well, it’s not strange-strange. It’s the middle name of a 80+ year old woman. They didn’t really do strange for the sake of strange back then like they do now. But this name doesn’t even come up in the top 1000. Anywhere. While the middle name is strictly decorative, I hesitate to give my kid a “weird” name, because you all know I can’t stand that crap. I mean weird for the sake of weird. I like the name. I’m not being weird for the sake of being weird, because this name is being pulled out of the family bible (seriously – I had to call my mom for a spelling clarification and she is calling another relative to CHECK THE FAMILY BIBLE. I didn’t even know we had a family bible.)

4. Having had the middle names, at least, set for so long, Phil is reluctant to make a change, though we have each remained relatively hands off in the selection of the other’s choice of middle name (obviously, we each chose one). Of course we each have veto power if we absolutely HATED the other’s choice, but they’re DECORATIVE, so the threshold for name-hate is much higher. He doesn’t necessarily have a problem with the new candidate itself, but is not especially keen on changing the parts of her name that he’s become very used to.

So, Internet. What I’m looking for here is your opinion on the points above:

– Doubling up on a family name for two kids born likely within a month or three of each other
– Giving a kid a “weird” name as a purely decorative middle name
– Changing parts of a name that have been set for QUITE SOME STINKIN’ TIME

I don’t really need to be told what to do, because again, it’s not a VOTE. Seriously. I am working through THOUGHTS here. Everyone is welcome to give their opinion on the situation, non-specific situation though it may be.

I realize it’s vague, but it’s meant to be, because I’m not interested in opinions on the names themselves. We’re using family names for the middle names and these are the two it’s come down to, and they’re not really changeable, considering how they were assigned to people a long ass time ago, so there’s really no need to weigh in on the actual names.

So. To quote myself, as I do often, because I’m usually hilarious, or at least think I am, and feel like if people didn’t laugh, they just didn’t hear me correctly, except I’m not trying to be funny this time, here are the points, once again, for you to ponder and give thoughts:

– Doubling up on a family name for two kids born likely within a month or three of each other
– Giving a kid a “weird” name as a purely decorative middle name
– Changing parts of a name that have been set for QUITE SOME STINKIN’ TIME

Do you have a lot of the same family names repeated through the same generation? Is it a thing? Also, knowing how I feel about “weird” names and the recent trend of odd spellings and naming your kid something really strange, just for the sake of being strange, is it too much to have an unusual middle name, considering it is coming directly from a family member? And what about when you pick a fetus’s name, or at least part of it – ever changed your mind super late in the game?

Things I don’t really want thoughts on:

– Why we’re even using two middle names because you used one and it was perfectly fiiiine and how we should reconsider even using two in the first place, because no, shut up.
– Requests for the actual names to make an informed decision, because no.
– Guesses at any of the names and your opinions on said guesses, because one, you’re wrong and two, no.
– Demands to know why I’m still pregnant, because even though I have had struggles and even though I am on bed rest and even though this is a high risk pregnancy, I am not even 37 weeks pregnant yet – I AM SUPPOSED TO STILL BE PREGNANT.

So, Internet, now that we’ve gone over my ridiculously tight and controlling commenting confines, you are free to operate within them to share your opinion on the points above, crazy baby names in general, or your own experiences with baby name struggles. Or? OR? You can tell me about the time you made a mistake and shared the names you were considering and people were total assholes about it, so you understand why I am keeping ours to myself. All of those choices are acceptable.