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Archive for June, 2009

Forty Weeks…

Today is my due date and there is no sign of baby; I haven’t even had a proper contraction yet. My lazy cervix has stayed at 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced for the past three weeks. Of course, Ton Ton is stressed out — the way he gets when we have a plane to catch and I’m still doing laundry a few hours before takeoff. He seems to believe that calling every hour, on the hour, to inquire about the state of my uterus, will send me into labor. That technique may work to get me to run errands, but it’s not working on Belly!

I too am anxious to meet our baby, but figure that I can use a few more nights of limited sleep before they turn into nights of no sleep at all. Plus, I really want to go see “Away we go”…I got priorities people!

Last time I went to the doctor, he told me that I will be induced on July 8 if the baby hasn’t come by then. 41 weeks and 2 days. I do not want to be induced, it is not part of my plan/pipe dream! I saw the Business of Being Born, and Ricki Lake said that all those extra interventions are bad for baby. I am supposed to go into labor naturally and have the kid without any drugs. I even considered doing it at home in a birthing pool, but I care too much about my hardwood floors.

Why I choose to believe in Ricki Lake instead of personal experience is beyond me. In the past few months, three of my friends have had their births induced and they have nothing but good things to say about their experiences (and their epidurals!). They all had beautiful, healthy babies that are thriving. The film also implies that mothers who have c-sections don’t bond well with their kids. Well, my brother and I were both born via cesarean section, and I can assure you that Big E had no trouble bonding with us. We are actually still trying to completely cut off the umbilical cord.

Despite all of that, I’d still like this baby to come when he or she is good and ready and not thanks to Pitocin. But I’ve also decided that if Belly needs to be induced out of me, I will just take it as a compliment to my uterus. Maybe there’s a whirlpool tub and a plasma TV in there!

Flexibility — it’s what being a parent is all about, right?

Other plans/pipe dreams that may fall by the wayside: breastfeeding for a year and cloth diapers!

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R.I.P. King of Pop

Ton Ton has been working on a special “labor playlist” for me. A mix of happy, upbeat songs I can sing along to while having contractions in order to, hopefully, ease the pain. Last week he was playing some of the songs he had chosen, and one of them was “Say Say Say”, the duet between Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. I immediately requested he add more of Michael’s songs to the list.

Last year, we threw Ton Ton a big birthday party. It was a live karaoke event — his musician friends played instruments and the rest of the guests sang. Ani and I did a rendition of “Beat It”.

If we have a house party and it goes past 2:00 a.m., you can bet “Thriller” will come on the stereo. Ton Ton and I will probably lead whoever is still around in the dance.

The first song Ton Ton and I ever danced to was “The way you make me feel”. After seeing him do the moonwalk and grab his crotch, I KNEW I had found the one!

As a college student in D.C. right after September 11, I went to a United We Stand concert with a bunch of my best friends. The headliner was Michael Jackson. We sat in a hot stadium all day waiting for him to come on. At around 11:00 p.m., he took the stage and sang “Man in the mirror”. Our seats were very far away and we were disappointed he only did one song, but it was totally worth it.

Belly may be born into a world without Michael, but not without his music — Ton Ton and I will make sure of that.

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I promise, I won't spontaneously combust

As a local government employee in the greatest, most industrialized, most powerful nation on earth, it is only logical that I not have maternity leave. After all, that’s something that only exists in… PRACTICALLY EVERY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!

Wow. That Wikipedia article made me cry a little bit. Women in Azerbaijan get 18 weeks at 100% of their salary, and here I am trying to scrape together all of my sick and vacation days so that I can at least have enough time to teach Belly how to microwave milk and call 911 if there’s an emergency.

So, at 39 weeks pregnant, and with my cervix dilated to two centimeters, I am still being hoisted up from bed every morning in order to go to work. And I plan to do this until I am physically removed from my office because the yelling from the pain of my contractions is scaring away the customers.

The truth (or what I’ve brainwashed myself to believe) is that it’s not so bad. I feel pretty good for being 39 weeks pregnant, plus, if I stayed home all day, I would just check my drawers every ten minutes to see if I’m leaking amniotic fluid. Working helps me to not obsess about when this baby is going to come. Yea. It’s good for my mental health. It keeps me active. Yea. Yea. Going to work every day is just great. I could not be happier.

Big E and Uli, however, do not share my joy. They are convinced that I am going to go into labor and have the kid on the highway on my way to the office. Because you know, babies, especially in the case of first time moms, are born in a matter of seconds. Bam! Even I could miss the birth if I don’t pay close attention.

My co-workers, on the other hand, are quivering with the fear that “it” will happen in the office. They’ve made sure to inform me that none of them know how to deliver a baby. Oh no! Who will help me when I spontaneously combust and produce another human being?

I know that everyone is just worried and wants me to have a pleasant birth experience, but there is no reason to be so alarmed at the sight of a 39 week old bump.

And, maybe if I have the kid at work, the experience will be so traumatic for everyone that it will compel the powers that be to change the maternity leave policy!

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Father's Day

I am very disappointed in my uterus. Father’s day is practically over, and it didn’t even try to contract once. Not even a Braxton-Hicks. I was really hoping this kid would come today…can you imagine? I would never have to buy Ton Ton a Father’s Day present again! I was already planning the conversation we would have next February:

Me: So, Mother’s Day is coming up
Ton Ton: It’s not ’til May!
Me: Well, I’m just saying…remember what I got you for Father’s Day last year. I worked on that gift for nine months!

No such luck. Instead of giving Ton Ton the gift of life, I celebrated Father’s Day at home, as we hosted a barbecue for family and friends. We gave Uli a hat that says #1 Grandpa and he LOVED it! He immediately put it on, and made sure everyone at the party noticed it. I just hope the hat doesn’t create any problems for him in the future, like in this case…

I can’t wait for Belly to meet #1 Grandpa and World’s Greatest Dad. That’s one lucky baby!

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Belly Yankee, the next reggaeton superstar

I’ve done the math. Even though we will be getting a tax break for Belly, it will not be nearly enough to cover diapers, childcare, health insurance, food, clothes, etc., etc., etc. So…Ton Ton and I are hoping (fingers crossed, knock on wood) that Belly can get a part time job sometime around age 2. Ever since I got pregnant, we’ve been preparing to cultivate certain skills in our baby that will make him or her stand out in this very competitive job market. Our focus will be in two core areas: languages and music.

It’s a no brainer that Belly will be bilingual. I am from Cuba and Ton Ton is from Venezuela, so our little Cubazuelan-American will definitely speak English and Spanish. For the past nine months, we have been stocking up on all manner of didactic tools in the inglés and español: books, flash cards, interactive games, you name it. (As an aside, there is also the possibility of us giving birth to the next great dictator, another very lucrative career. The name Hugofidel was a close second, after Lucas, for a boy.)

As far as music, as you saw in my last post, I am practically a professional singer; and Ton Ton really is a hell of a guitar player. We hope that Belly will inherit some of his talent, and the rest will be garnered from a constant exposure to good tunes. Ton Ton has been working on a special iPod playlist for baby from the moment I peed on the stick.

Ideally, Belly will fuse his or her language and musical abilities to come up with something really great (and profitable!).

In an attempt to scout out the competition, I recently googled “Latin Grammy’s best children’s album,” and what I found is truly remarkable. The 2008 winner of the Latin Grammy for Best Latin Children’s Album was Miguelito with his record, “El Heredero.” Allow me to introduce him:

For those of you who do not speak the español, Móntala means “Ride her”.
My personal favorite lines from the song:

“Y ya llego miguelito
Como siempre a montarla
Si no abre la puerta pues
Yo voy a tumbarla”

Very loosely translated:

“Miguelito has arrived,
as always, to ride her.
If she doesn’t open the door,
I will knock it down”

Looks like Belly has some tough competition to look forward to!

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Pregnancy cliffnotes: A brief look at the past 9 months.

I have officially been pregnant for 38 weeks. Before I cease to house another human in my body, let’s take a look back at the most memorable moments of this journey…

First Trimester, in which I peed on the stick
This is me on October 11, 2008. I had climbed on stage to sing with Los Enanitos Verdes. I didn’t know it at the time, but Belly was there too…most likely splashing around a pool of Heineken. A couple of weeks later, on my birthday, I peed on three different sticks and EVERYTHING changed. My initial reaction was to google hysterical pregnancy and talk myself into it. In other words, I convinced myself that I had convinced myself I was pregnant. Then, we heard the kid’s heartbeat and it became real. While Ton Ton, Big E, Uli, Ani, Mamacita, and everyone else around me did back flips, I was a big ball of hormones who couldn’t stomach any animal products. It was not the best of times.
Most valuable lesson learned: How to cry on cue, and use it to my advantage.

Second Trimester, in which the bump made its debut
By week 16, my aversion to animal products had faded and I was putting away industrial sized plates of food, specially ice cream. However, I must insist that my rapid weight gain (9 lbs in 4 weeks!) was due to an abnormally heavy baby and placenta. It was also around this time that we saw Belly on the ultrasound. We took Big E and Mamacita and they tried to bribe the nurse into telling them the sex, but she didn’t budge. I spent the next few weeks obsessing over the blurry ultrasound pictures, convinced that I saw a bird-like claw where the baby’s foot was supposed to be. Doctor B. assured me that the kid is not part pigeon.
Most valuable lesson learned: How to maximize size and exposure of the bump to skip ahead in line.

Third Trimester, in which I acquired my own gravitational pull
Despite no longer being able to tie my shoes, this has by far been the best part of pregnancy. Ton Ton and I took a fabulously relaxing trip to Cancún (no, we didn’t catch swine flu!) that consisted of lying on the beach for hours, eating, taking naps, and eating some more. When we returned, it was shower time! And we didn’t have just one, but three fantastical showers thrown by our amazing friends, families, and co-workers. They all featured our two favorite things: food (lots and lots of it!) and free stuff! We cannot thank everyone enough. So…this is Ton Ton, Belly, and me hanging out at home last Saturday night. I’m taking a brief hiatus from singing back-up for major international artists, but having just as much fun!
Most valuable lesson learned: How to go to the bathroom several times a night without opening my eyes.

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Like father, like Belly

I had my 37 week appointment yesterday. At this point, Dr. B is checking my cervix every time I go in. I will spare you the details. I will say that he emerged from his expedition with some interesting news: I am 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced! Upon seeing the look of complete and utter shock on my face, Dr. B asked, “What did you think? That the kid would come a week after your due date?” Actually, YES! That is exactly what I thought. I played July 5 in our baby pool. I was sure I would have a slacker, procrastinating baby…just like mommy. A baby that thrived under pressure, one that executed a perfect delivery right before it was time to induce; after all, I wrote my best papers in college the nights (and mornings) before they were due.

I had failed to factor in Ton Ton’s genes.

Now, 2 cm and 50% effaced doesn’t mean this kid is coming right away. I could walk around like this for weeks…but things are definitely progressing. And, if Belly is anything like Ton Ton, he or she will be here early or on time. How did I not realize this before? Ton Ton! Who believes in being fashionably punctual, and starts packing for trips three weeks in advance!

I wonder what other traits the baby might get from dad. Will I have a mini-Ton crawling around our home, telling me I can’t leave my shoes in the living room? Lighting vanilla scented candles? Talking to our house plants? I guess I could live with that…just please, dear God, don’t let Belly inherit his chicken legs!

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