Sunday, July 27, 2008

Frat Masseur

I had a massage yesterday. Considering the fact that the last massage I had may have very well put me into labor, this one was a lot less eventful.

My masseur was a dude. And by dude, I don't mean man. I mean, Texan accented, goateed, 22 year old, can just picture him with a backwards baseball cap shotgunning beers while playing X Box in his frat house dude. Frat Masseur.

Don't get me wrong, it was a great massage. Fantastic in fact. Probably the best massage I've had since I visited this place. But I've always gotten massages by women. Not by choice, it's just worked out that way. I've decided, though, that there's something about a masseur that just tops a masseuse, technique-wise. Hmm. Maybe thumb strength.

But while I've decided that I think men might give better massages, I have to say that it was a bit weird yesterday. I never thought I would give a crap who massaged me, as long as they kept it going and didn't try to make chit chat with me or pop my toes. I hate the toe popping thing. It must have been the traumatic toe popping I endured from a babysitter when I was little. Seriously, who pops a kid's toes and thinks it's funny? But I digress. I don't think it was simply because he was a guy. I've had masseurs before, but they were clearly not interested in anything I might have to show them, if you get my drift. So maybe that's it. Or maybe because he was so young, so...DUDE LIKE. Or a combination of all of those things. I don't know, it was kind of a weird vibe though.

He was completely professional, don't get me wrong, and I'm clearly not interested in or attracted to Frat Masseur. I'm just saying, I've never worried that my pedicure wasn't up to snuff when I've had a woman give me a massage. So I wonder now, should I go back to him? I hate to give up a really great massage because of my bizarre hetero hang up. But then, part of a massage is so you can totally relax, and what if I can't totally relax because I'm wondering if I remembered to shave my legs? Hmm. Maybe I'll give him one more try. Hopefully he will either 1) age 20 years between now and then or 2) start talking about his life partner during my next session. Either way is fine with me.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It Had to Happen Sometime

When someone's child is throwing a fit in on an airplane/in a restaurant/in a store/etc., I've never been one of those people who throws them dirty looks and wonders why they can't make their kid be quiet. I usually just feel sorry for them. I was naive enough to think that maybe that would buy me just a little good karma. Just a little tiny bit of luck.


I had a doctor's appointment the other day and, of course, I had to take Ava with me. I tried to get a morning appointment, but all they had were afternoon spots available, so I went ahead and just accepted one of those...even though I knew I was tempting fate. Afternoons are unpredictable around here. Five minutes after we arrived, I saw the writing on the wall. She started squirming in her stroller, and I knew what was coming. My daughter proceeded to throw a huge fit in the middle of the very crowded, CONCRETE waiting room. It's a very nice stained concrete sort of room, but still...the acoustics made every cry ECHO.

I tried everything. We walked. We bounced. We tried the binky. No go. I set her down in her stroller to check her diaper - that really pissed her off. I couldn't check it very well since she stiffens up like a board when she is in the midst of a major fit, but it looked clean. I was even going to try nursing her, but about that time, some guy came over and sat down right in my section. I'm normally not one for whipping out a boob in public (okay, except for that ONE time), but I was getting desperate. The entire waiting room was staring at us. Seriously, I had no idea how totally inadequate I would feel. I felt like all these women were thinking "Why hasn't she tried ____?" That's what I would do. She must be new at this mom thing." I think though, that their pity made me more self conscious than any anger or irritation that may have been coming from them. It felt condescending, like "Poor thing, she doesn't have a clue what she is doing!"

I finally went out in the hallway and paced the floor with her there. More screaming ensued. After about twenty minutes, I finally got her to take her binky and lay in the stroller. I pushed her up and down the hall until they called me back into the exam room. She eventually calmed down and dozed for the rest of the appointment.

But the worst part? After we got home, I picked up my sleepy girl and went to change her diaper. She had a dirty diaper, and it had obviously been dirty for a bit because it was sort of dried/stuck to her hiney. So...I felt like a terrible mommy. It's not the end of the world that she had dirty pants for a bit, but I felt awful that she was obviously trying to tell me that during her 30 minute screamfest, and I didn't look close enough when I checked her in the waiting room. The truth is, she was screaming so loud, and she was so stiff, that I just took a quick peek so as to shorten the duration of the blood curdling screams that she emits when you set her down mid-fit. So she was upset because I wanted to avoid further embarrassment, basically.

So there's my confession for the day. I promised her that I would do better next time, but I still feel like a total novice.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Corporate housing blows. We've been in corporate housing since March and it's making me nuts not to have any of our things. The fact that our household goods arrived in Houston in record time (Kuala Lumpur to Houston in 5 weeks) and have been sitting in a storage facility for over two months just adds to the frustration. Plus, the apartment complex we are living in just has tacky people living in it. I mean, when I see a three year old in a Hooters T shirt kicking the Schlitz Malt Liquor TALL BOY can on her way into her apartment, it makes me call M and tell him that we have GOT to get out of this place, and soon.

While it's nice to not be homeless yet (which we would be since we have tenants in our house), our days are numbered in this hellhole, I mean, lovely corporate apartment. As of July 31, we are officically homeless. We're lucky that we were able to swing corporate housing for this long. Up until today, our company has covered the cost, but starting today, we are footing the bill. The $111 a day bill. Seriously. It's criminal that they charge that much, but what can you do? Our new house won't be ready until mid August, so that means that we'll have a couple of weeks of homelessness until we can move in.

We've had several friends offer to let us stay with them until our house is ready, but I am loathe to foist a newborn and her unpredicable moods onto them. So what will probably happen is that M will stay with friends here and Ava and I will go stay with Triad #1 in Austin. (Um, I should probably let her know about this.) It sucks that we will have to be apart for that long, but M will come up for the weekend. Plus, at least I won't have to worry about tripping over Schlitz cans in her driveway.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Just an update on GruntWatch seems that the other night was just a one night reprieve, as Miss Ava is back to her grunty ways. Oh well, at least it's not as bad as it used to be.

Triad #2 is going to bring her fan when she comes to visit next week, so we can experiment and see if her fan truly does have magical powers.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Recreating the Magic

We have a grunter. A loud, can't figure out why she does it all night long grunter. And did I mention loud?

Ever since we brought Ava home from the hospital, she has grunted throughout the night. She grunts in her sleep. It's not the kind of grunting that is particularly concerning, like she's having a hard time breathing or anything, it's simply LOUD. Throw in a few squeaks, squicks, and acks, and it makes for a rather poor night's sleep for us.

We have tried everything to figure out why she does it. Is it because she is swaddled too tight? Too loose? Does she want out of her swaddle? Does she want a different swaddle blanket? Is it a symptom of her reflux? Is it gas? Is she too cold? Too hot? Is she pooping? Am I a little OCD about this? So many questions...

Since we couldn't figure out what was causing it, we've tried several different things to get her to sleep more quietly at night. The problem is not that she is not a good sleeper - she is, to the extent that I would expect at seven weeks. She usually wakes up twice a night to eat. So the issue is not hers, it's ours. The grunting certainly doesn't seem to be bothering her. Just us.

When I explain to people what she does, they just nod their head knowingly. But they don't know. They really don't. This isn't the occasional little squeak, or a poop grunt. There have been nights where it's gone on for hours on end. Grunt. Gruuuuunt. Squiiiick. GRRRRRRRRUNT.

So, after several weeks of trial and error, we headed up to Triad #2's house for the Fourth of July weekend. And wouldn't you know it? She didn't make a grunty peep for three nights. She also slept for eight hours straight one night, and six hours another.

Why? How? We were on a quest. When we got home on Sunday, we began trying to recreate the environment she slept in those three days. Aha! We finally figured it must be the fan. My sister has an oscillating fan in her bedroom. The white noise must have soothed Ava or something. So I went in search of the exact same fan that my sister has. Of course, I couldn't find it but bought a similar one at Target. We tried it Sunday night. There was grunting. Not full out, all night long grunting, but still. We tried it again the next night, and it was worse. We despaired and figured that we might have to move in with Triad #2 and her magical fan. But we persevered. Last night I ventured off to the dreaded Wal Mart in search of a louder fan. (This trip to Wal Mart reminded me why I have not set foot in a Wal Mart in years.) I bought a bigger fan and came home with high hopes.

Drum roll...

There was no grunting last night! And...Ava slept from 10:30 until 5am, then went back down until 8:30! This was major for me, since I don't sleep in the Bose noise cancelling headphones when she grunts (like someone who shall remain nameless does) and so I normally hear Every. Little. Noise.

I wonder if it was a just a coincidence or if we have finally stumbled upon the way to a peaceful night for all?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ava's Birth Story

Friday, May 16: My last day of work before starting my maternity leave. That evening, I began having painful contractions. I was used to having contractions; I had had them since I was 25 weeks, thanks to an irritable uterus. But since starting to wean off the terbutaline that I was on (for the irritable uterus), they were starting to get more frequent. After a couple of hours though, they toned down. No baby tonight.

Sunday, May 18: Took my last dose of terbutaline around 2pm; I had completely weaned off of it over the course of a week. I was looking forward to a few days of pre-baby maternity leave to relax, finish getting the nursery ready, run errands and enjoy a relaxing prenatal massage. Ava had other plans.

Monday, May 19:

3pm: Went to my prenatal massage. I notice a few contractions during the massage, but I figure they were due to being in one of those pregnancy massage pillow things that allow you to (sort of) lay on your stomach, which I didn't really like. I didn't think much of them since I was so used to having contractions, but on the drive home, they kept coming.

5pm: Start timing contractions and they are 5 minutes apart, lasting a minute each. This gets my attention, but at this point, I'm still not sure whether or not I was actually in labor, or if this was just an effect of weaning off the terbutaline.

7pm: Decide to eat some chili and jalapeno cornbread. I am eternally grateful that this did not come back to bite me in the ass during the pushing phase, if you get my drift.

8:30pm: Contractions are now four minutes apart and are starting to make my toes curl. Still not sure whether or not I'm actually in labor, I call the on call doctor. I didn't want to get to the hospital too early and end up getting the pitocin sales pitch. He said to go on in and get checked. I finish overpacking my 400 pound hospital bag and we head to the hospital.

9pm: L&D is kind of creepy at night. I wait to get into a triage room.

9:30: In the triage room. Get hooked up to monitors, which is kind of a pain since I have to pee every five minutes. I'm 2cm, 100% effaced. The nurse said that she would check me in an hour and if I hadn't progressed, they would send me home with some Ambien. Ambien. At this point I asked her if she smoked crack every day, or if this was a special occasion.

11pm: Still 2cm. Frick. BUT, since my contractions were now 2 1/2 to 3 minutes apart, they decided to admit me. Score one for the pregnant chick!

12am: Got in our room. Walked a few laps to try to progress to the point of being able to have my epidural, thankyouverymuch. (I had brief fantasies of a drug free birth, but I'm convinced that if you go into it with the least bit of indecisiveness, you will be all about that epidural before you can say "transition".) Came back to the room and asked for some Nubane, please.

1:00am: Floated in a Nubane haze, where I would sleep in between contractions. It would feel like I had been asleep for half an hour and when I would look at the clock, it had been two minutes. The Nubane didn't really help my contractions, but it was lovely just the same. I buzzed the nurse and asked for the rest of my dose of Nubane. As she was getting it, my water broke. Scared the bejeezus out of me and I jumped about ten feet.

1:05am: I'm now 4cm. Woo hoo! The nurse asked me if I wanted my epidural now. Woo hoo again!

1:20am: Anestheseologist arrives. Now that's service. He has the bedside manner of a summer squash, but he also has the goods so I flash my most dazzling smile and ask him to please put a needle in my back, pronto. They make M leave the room, which I thought was weird, but he needed to run back to the house and get his stuff to stay overnight anyway.

1:30am: Getting the epidural. It's not nearly as bad as I thought. This guy knows his shit.

1:45am: Epidurals are awesome. I'm getting everyone one for Christmas.

2:30am: The nurse checks me again, and I'm now eight centimeters. Holy crap. M needs to get back here soon.

2:45am: M gets back. Whew. Fall asleep.

4:15am: I'm ten centimeters. Time to push. They get me into place and I realize that I cannot tell if I am pushing or not. I try to follow the nurse's instructions, and push like I have to poop. I am so lucky that the chili did not make a second appearance.

4:45am: Still pushing. Try a new position.

5:15am: Yep, it's me. Still pushing. Trying yet another position. Ava would descend down and then go back up. The contractions start to slow down. Now they are around five minutes apart. What the hell?

5:45am: We discuss pitocin since my contractions are getting further apart. Decide to wait on the pitocin and I keep pushing.

6:15am: Around this time, things start to pick up. The doctor comes in and and tells me what a good job I am doing and how it's just "a few more pushes". Naively, I believe him, even though that's what they have to tell you to keep you from completely losing it. I suspect the epidural has been turned down at this point to help me push, because the pressure is the most intense thing I have ever felt.

6:30am: Doc comes back in, tells me "just a few more pushes". Again, for some reason I believe him. I think something happens to you when you are in labor that makes you believe any kind of crap people tell you because your body needs you to stay motivated. M accidentally sees more than he bargained for. He figures that since he's already seen it, he might as well keep looking. I think I'm glad one of us got to see the show. When the nurse mentioned getting a mirror when I started pushing, I thought she was insane, but now I kind of wish that I had had one. I think M might have been scarred by the sight though.

6:40am: There is some yelling. And some more yelling. People can hear me down the hall, I'm sure. Thankfully, there is no cursing. People are scurrying around getting ready. I lose my shit for about five seconds, and then I pull it together and realize the only way to relieve this insane pressure is to keep pushing.

6:45am: Ava makes her debut! She has the longest conehead I have ever seen (I guess that's what 2 1/2 hours of pushing will do) and is completely gorgeous. She weighed seven pounds, five ounces and was 19 inches long, and had a headful of hair.

I'm in love.