So I have a dubious history of bad birthdays. I don’t know why -- heightened expectations? Just an awful character flaw? Everyone remembers me crying at some point on every single birthday, even when I was tiny.
One problem is that I really hate the Happy Birthday song. It’s like a dirge. Everyone stares at you, the lights go off, flickering flames throw eerie light on their faces, and … they SING. Think about it. Who does things like that? Crazy people, that’s who. (I’m not the only one. Fast-forward to 1:18 in this scene from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. I have friends.)
Anyway. So I had a fantastic weekend! Baby shower, TONS of presents, and a ballgame where my Mets won. And then on Monday? Well, I hit 37 weeks, and stacked up three medical appointments in the afternoon. This, it turns out, does not make for a fun, relaxing birthday. Especially when they suddenly don’t like your BP and there’s protein in your urine.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The day started out fine -- Penelope came in to cuddle first thing, then I got all my work done in the morning and was off to the hospital on time. First things first, I had an ultrasound with Dr. Dreamboat to determine the baby’s size. Of course, as most of you probably know, they really don’t have any idea how big the baby’s going to be. My friend Alyson had three of these ultrasounds and they kept telling her the baby was huge ... huger ... SUPER-COLOSSAL BABY OVER 10 POUNDS! They induced because of all the drama and the baby was a very normal 8 pounds 9 ounces. So as I said on Facebook, essentially I was having my Tarot cards read.
But! Nonetheless! The estimate, based on the measurements they did (femur, arm, fluid, I dunno what else) was 6 pounds 5 ounces. Given that the baby should be gaining about a half pound a week, I threw my hat into my own baby-pool ring and figured she’d gain a pound or so in the next two weeks and then pop out at a healthy 7 1/2 pounds or so? But like I said, that estimate can be off by as much as a pound. But never mind: Despite the fact that Penelope was big for her gestational age (she was 3 pounds 7 ounces at 30 weeks), this baby is measuring nice and petite (37th percentile) and her head didn’t look too big. Randy’s ex delivered a 9-pounder and she’s smaller than me. Phew.
Now, for whatever reason, I had rescheduled my appointments while sitting at the kitchen table, and hadn’t transferred any of the changes to my Google calendar. So I had called first thing in the morning to see when my three appointments were, but there’s no central database for that stuff, and I didn’t talk to the right people. So I thought I had this massive gap between my first and second appointments, and no third appointments. So instead of reporting for antenatal testing, I went to visit that bed-rest pal o’ mine. She’s doing great, btw. She has family coming up from LA and down from Seattle so she’s not as forlorn as I feared. And get this! Her DOGS came to visit her! As long as you have a health certificate, you can get visits from your dogs! I can only imagine this made a huge difference to her -- I love my hospital.
Okay, so then I go to my regular doctor’s appointment, but he’s running late, AND they’re annoyed with me for missing the antenatal appointment. They squeeze me in for that, and it goes very well -- baby immediately does what she’s supposed to do in terms of heartrate and range, and I have three small contractions.
Then, of course, I have to wait around for the doctor because of all the juggling. Yeesh. So it’s not surprising to me that when they weigh me (YIKES is all I can say) and take my BP, it’s high. No problem: I can bring it down with some yoga breathing ... except I can’t. It’s not high-high, but it’s a 20-point jump since last time, and I’m retaining a lot of fluid. A LOT. I now have two pairs of shoes that fit, my Uggs and some sketcher slides. And they tested my urine: Where there was no protein before, there is some now. But only a little! So I have to go back Thursday and Monday for more monitoring. Greeeeat.
An old pal from high school is a midwife and she gave me some tips: Up my protein, magnesium, and calcium intake. And take it easy. All right. So I’m trying to do all that ... without freaking out. I really don’t want to be pre-e!
On the other hand, if they did have to induce, the silver lining would be that I wouldn’t have to worry about waking P in the middle of the night to be dumped at a friend’s house.
Well, so I finally arrived home, exhausted and annoyed, five hours after I left. I had barely seen my daughter, my husband was frazzled, and everybody hated everybody. My sister made us a great dinner, though, with my favorite Whole Foods cake (it was even my wedding cake!), and I pretty much collapsed when I got home. So now it’s all pumpkin seeds and protein till I see the doc again. Fingers crossed, please ...