I finally had a baby shower! After missing the boat when Penelope showed up early, I still had needs -- not just stuff needs, but emotional needs. Cool girls turn their noses up at such frippery. I am not a cool girl. I love stupid little parties to celebrate life events. Not so much with the “poopy diaper game,” for sure, but presents, friends, and food? Yes, please.
As Week 36 drew to a close, I was about to live the dream.
My local sister, bless her heart, is allergic to ritual in any form. She didn’t even want a wedding, and her husband had to say, "But you look so gorgeous in white!” before she’d consent to walking down any kind of aisle -- and even then, it was in a super-sexy white corset. (To die for! But not traditional!) I thought she was going to break out in hives when she had to go to a shower organized by her husband’s coworkers. There was no way I was going expect her to host what would feel like a horror-show to her -- especially since she’s got a rambunctious 3-year-old and an insomniac newborn to contend with.
Enter my friend Kathy -- also a NICU veteran, and a recipe-obsessed kitchen geek that puts me to shame. She planned, she shopped, she invited -- she made it happen. Please to tell me in the comments: What do I do to thank such a friend?
Anyway, it was great. Low-key, low-stress, small group of people, and she had the genius idea of having it in her kid’s old co-op preschool, which was cheap, available, and full of safe places for kids to run around in while grownups crouched on tiny chairs around a tiny table and ate banana bread. Come on, you know you wish you were there.
Of course, this being me -- I almost wasn’t. Because at 2 a.m. the night before, I awoke to a lovely 30-minute-long contraction that had me panting like a Rottweiler tied up outside a Safeway. Then they kept coming -- every 20 minutes, then every 15, then every 12. My husband got up and showered at about 4, while I called Labor and Delivery.
“Hm, you’re still a little early,” the nurse said. “Any blood?”
“Did your water bag break?”
Why do they call it a water bag? Unnecessarily gross. Anyway, no.
“All right. Get in a hot shower and drink a big glass of water. If you’re still having contractions in an hour, call back.”
Well, fine. No way was this going to work! Because I was totally ... uh ... oh. One shower and one big glass of water later, I was back in bed and snoring. Didn’t wake up till (literally) 5 minutes before the party started, so we all had to go running out the door feeling tweaked, exhausted, and weird. But showered! And really happy.
And Penny scored, too. My sister -- who, as the youngest, you might think wouldn’t get how an older kid would feel -- showed up with a dolly stroller that P is completely obsessed with and cannot be away from. Meanwhile, as wonderful as all the presents were, my favorite was a little gift bag packed by my friend Celeste’s 4-year-old, full of all the things she thought my baby would need: a small squeaky football, several stickers, and a jammies set that her little brother had worn. I love her logic. You just never know when a newborn will need a tiny football.
Anyway, in a few minutes I am off to see the doctor and get that ultrasound where they try to figure out the baby’s weight. But all the nurses have told me they don’t really know. There’s an over/under of two pounds. Two pounds?! So they could tell me seven pounds, and then a nine-pounder pops out? Why bother? Ah, but I’ll take it as the gospel truth because I just need information at this point.
I feel sure that we’ll at least see a shorter cervix or some dilation. Don’t you think, with all these contractions? I just wish I were either seeing a brand-new doctor or my original one. With so much confusion, juggling, and rescheduling, I ended up with that old British guy again, which is just odd to me (sexist, sexist, bigoted me).
All this on MY BIRTHDAY, by the way! And guess what, I thought I was turning 42 and it turns out I’m 43! So I’m even more of a grannymommy than I even thought. And it happened naturally and as a “surprise,” ladies, so don’t let the meanies who tell you you’ve only got a 5 percent chance of conceiving get you down!
Note to self: Mustn’t go into labor on birthday -- Penelope would be so pissed! (Or not? Would you be bummed if your only sister shared a bday with your mom?)