Dang! Everything was "smooth sailing" until I made that bend in the river. I wonder if this raft came with instructions for "operator-oblivion" emergencies?

As Lorna, studious graduate student and incredibly expanding woman, nears her due date, the waters begin to rile…

My pregnancy was a by-the-book affair until sometime in the 7th or 8th month. It was “my” pregnancy because, as I recall quite vividly, my body was stretched, poked, hormonally zinged, and incessantly patted by a cadre of passersby, some who I actually knew. I understand that fathers want in on the baby-action, so saying  “we’re pregnant” was/is all the rage. I resented Chuck talking about our pregnancy, although I had to admit he knew more about it than I did–and he gained weight during my pregnancy, too. Hmmm.

How touching. Does he get hemorrhoids, too?

But I digress… I was a busy graduate student: studying, going to evening classes, TA-ing (cool down, I’m referring to my teaching assistantship), and RA-ing (working part-time as a research assistant at GWs hospital). My days began with a 7:00 AM metro ride into D.C. and ended with a 9:30 PM metro ride back. During my RA-ing, I had my consistently low-end-of-normal blood pressure monitored, just to keep Chuck and Baby-Doc happy.

No one was happy when my readings started to go up from “low-normal” to “normal” to “high-normal.” When they reached “border-line high,” Baby-Doc ordered strict bed-rest until the baby came (one month before classes ended). This was disasterous impossible not feasible unlikely. I talked to all parties concerned, including Getting-Bigger-Bugger. They were all understanding and accommodating for about two weeks. So I bed-rested for two long weeks, worrying about what I missed and if I was missed. I told Getting-Bigger-Bugger that s/he better appreciate my sacrifice of lying in bed all day while Chuck made all meals, cleaned the house and took care of Humphrey.

I know I shouldn't get up, but I'm developing bed sores. Hey, what's for lunch? I'm bored. If I stretch I think I could reach my Sociological Theories text-book...

Against Baby-Doc’s orders and Chuck’s instructions advice, I resumed my schedule after the 2-week sacrificial period. My blood pressure went back down and I only had 2 more weeks before the semester ended. I checked my blood pressure daily. It stayed higher than normal, but didn’t escalate like before.

One night I came home, exhausted as usual. I didn’t feel like eating and laid down. My rest-time was Getting-Bigger-Bugger’s cue to act up. I got ready for kick-ball time inside my belly. This night was different. No activity. I waited an hour before I told Chuck I was pretty sure I’d killed our child. I tearfully told Chuck about the not-kicking. We both used my bulbous belly like an Ouija Board, moving our hands around, asking Getting-Bigger-Bugger probing questions.

Pretend that's my belly and the words floating in the air are: "Are you still alive?" "Did your Mommy kill you?" "Should we call an ambulance or the police?"

We both felt a flutter, then a regulation kick. I was so relieved that I didn’t start my career as a mother with a manslaughter conviction. This time, the bed-rest thing wasn’t such a hard sell. I finished my semester by mailing in my term papers, quit RA-ing and scheduled twice-weekly appointments with Baby-Doc.

Three days before my due date, May 7, Baby-Doc told me Getting-Bigger-Bugger wasn’t budging. I was hysterical upset troubled. Mother Nature is wise. She has a plan for wimps afraid of the pain of childbirth. The thought of keeping a growing human contained inside forever is much worse than somehow getting that growing beast out of you. I wanted my body back, poofy and achy though it was.

Look closely. That's me. Yeah, the little one with the big attitiude and something strange happening in the butt area. Getting-Bigger-Bugger is in for a rude awakening if s/he thinks I'm like Unemployment Benefits--no Act of Congress is going to extend your stay!

On the evening of May 8, I asked Chuck to massage my feet. He told me something he learned in Lamaze class: never massage a pregnant woman’s feet–it’s likley to induce labor. Really? I missed that (like everything else except than vile birthing film). I said “Massage like your life depends on it.” In the wee hours of May 9, my “water” broke and contractions started; they were as irregular as most travelers bowel movements.

The enchanting birthing-details aside, note these observations:

  1. Pitocin, a drug to make contractions occur more often and virulently, was probably devised by Josef Mengele.
  2. Demerol is useless to help you rest between contractions when on Pitocin because there is no “between contractions.”
  3. Breathing exercises work quite well after the epidural.
  4. Epidurals were invented by Divine and Merciful Angels.
  5. C-Sections have a bad reputation, but they saved two, maybe three, lives that night. You can speculate on whose…

Alexander, nearly 10 pounds worth of him, was born at 1:23AM on May 10, my due date.

Thus ends Lorna’s pregnancy and begins some wild adventures into the unknown: parenting.