Tuesday, September 24, 2013

East Coast Invasion

A few weeks ago, our Aunt Pat and Uncle Bob came into town from Massachusetts. They’re not literally our Aunt and Uncle though…Pat is mom’s cousin, but it was Grandma who raised her. Cause she’s awesome like that. But with these two around, all of mom’s East Coast mannerisms come out with a vengeance. I haven’t heard a single R pronounced at the end of a word in that house in weeks. I swear every time someone asked for the keys to the car I thought, “what the hell are they talking about? No one’s wearing khakis...”


One night, mom and dad managed to drag everyone over to see my apartment. I don’t know why they insist showing the family that at 23 I’m still far too irresponsible to take out my recycling in a timely fashion or vacuum regularly, but they do. We ended up having drinks at the bar that’s in my building, The Beer Authority. If you’re ever in Lake City and want some delicious brews, go there. It’s like Narnia and Beer Fest had a love child then put it in my place of residence with giant Jenga. I can’t under hype the greatness that is giant Jenga, you guys. It’s awesome.

The owner of this little spot, Burke, saw me walk in with a giant troupe of older people and a baby. I told him it was my family and they were in town visiting. So he came over to serve us and introduce himself to everyone. Pat had a hard time understanding him…

Pat: What’s your name again?
Burke: Burke.
Pat: Burt? Like Burt Reynolds?
Burke: *laughs* I wish that was my name!

Bob spent the evening people watching. Lake City draws a pretty interesting crowd, to say the least. One of the other regulars is the reason I have a “no making out with anyone at The Beer Authority” rule. I’m sure you can figure out the backstory. It’s not one that I’m either proud of or willing to share. But let’s be honest…EVERYONE has drunkenly made out with someone that they later regret. Don’t lie to yourself…we’ve all been there. You can admit it. This is a safe place.

At any rate, Bob leaned over to comment on this particular gentleman’s appearance.

Bob: See that person up at the bar, in the black hat and sweatshirt?
Sara: Yep, why?
Bob: I’ve figured it out now, but when he first walked in I thought to myself “Is that a man or a woman?” Then I saw that pathetic excuse for a beard, and I figured it out. Some of these young kids these days…*laughs*.
Sara: (While Lindsay, knowing who the guy is, snickers)…goddamnit Bob.
Bob: What, the kid looks womanly! It’s not my fault I was confused.
Sara:...I know.
*Lindsay continues to snicker*

At at table across from us, there was a group of people who appeared to be deaf, as they were having a conversation in sign language. Dad, thinking it was interesting, pointed it out to us. Literally.
Dad: I think all these people at that table are deaf because they're talking in sign language.
Lindsay: Dad, just because they're deaf doesn't mean they can't see you pointing at them. And I noticed them when we sat down.
Dad: No you didn't. I saw them first. I am the Ayatollah. I am all-seeing.

Did we mention we brought a baby to a bar?

This last weekend, we all took a trip down to Lindsay’s for empanadas and Sara was one of the designated drivers. She had the pleasure of taking Dad and Bob down…both of whom were very drunk by the time we left (at 4:30 in the afternoon) and passed a can of Bud Light around the car like we were 17 again. The whole hour and fifteen minutes, Bob wouldn’t stop asking “are we there yet?” while Dad kept harassing me with Batdad impressions. If you haven’t seen Batdad, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlVi0noRr-o

Here are some excerpts of dinner conversation while at Lindsay’s:

Mom: Pat, how do you like it?
Pat: It’s good.
Mom: Do you ever say anything is better than good?! You said the king salmon at Anthony’s was just good. The bloody mary was just good. Everything’s just good to you!
Pat: Well they all WERE good.  

Dad: (watching a commercial for FIFA 14) There’s a soccer video game?! Holy shit!
Sara: There are 13 other ones too.
Dad: I didn’t think anyone liked soccer enough in this country!
Sara: Apparently they do!
Dad: Why don’t you buy that?
Sara: Because I suck at video games.
Dad: Why?
Sara: Because you never let me buy or play any when I was a kid. Something silly about playing outside or reading books or whatever.
Dad: Well now you can buy that one and 14 cats, then play it all day in your apartment and never leave. That’s how you want your life to go, right?
Sara:…I’d pretend to be offended if that didn’t actually sound appealing. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

What Post-Partum Life Looks Like - Baby Book Translations

DISCLAIMER: If you are pregnant or want kids, you might not want to read this because you may want to remain blissfully ignorant until the time comes. On the other hand, if you are not ready for kids, read this because it will be a very effective form of birth control.

This is also intended to be a humorous account. It's funny now. Because if you can't laugh at traumatic events in your life then...well I feel sorry for you.

Traditional baby books (What to Expect When You're Expecting, Mayo Clinic, etc.) are chockfull of information for pregnant women. They guide you through pregnancy and cover the first few months post-partum as well. The writing style in these books is about as vanilla as it comes. I will now go so far as to accuse the writers and editors of these books of sugar-coating the post-partum period, to the point of almost flat out lying to you. The way they describe life immediately post-pregnancy is very, um, conservative. As such, I've taken the liberty to translate some of these descriptions of post-partum life into language that really grabs the essence of what you will be experiencing.

Labor and Delivery:

What my book says:
"What does labor feel like? ...You may feel the pain in your lower abdomen, lower back, hips, or upper thighs. This sensation has been described as an aching feeling, pressure, fullness, cramping, and backache. For some, labor pain seems like very strong menstrual cramps."
"Very strong menstrual cramps" my ass. Labor and contractions feel like your body and some invisible force is trying to shove and rip all your insides out through your vagina.

What my book says:
"Occasionally, a small amount of stool is expelled during birth."
If you don't shit on the delivery table, then you're not pushing hard enough. If your baby daddy can't handle a little bit of poop, then he is no man.


What my book says: 
"When you begin breastfeeding, your nipples may feel sore or tender."
This is the understatement of the fucking century. Your nipples will feel like they have been through a war and are about to FALL OFF. All you will want to do is air them out and and sit with cold ice-packs on them. You'll wear a sports bra in the shower because the shower stream will feel like a fire hose is being sprayed onto your breasts.

What my book says:
"(After birth)...you'll have a vaginal discharge known as lochia....it typically starts off as a red, heavy flow of blood.
The first time you go to the bathroom, THERE WILL BE SO MUCH BLOOD. It will look like a horrible murder scene.

What my book says:
"For the first few days to weeks after birth, going to the bathroom can be an uncomfortable experience."
Peeing - The first time you pee is like having shot-gunned 8 beers and you've been holding it for 4 hours, and you get to the toilet and you have to concentrate harder than you ever have in your entire life to try to relax so you can actually pee. Oh, and it hurts.
Pooping - I didn't poop for 5 days. FIVE FUCKING DAYS. Thank modern fucking science for stool softeners - especially if they put you on iron supplements. Pooping will now feel like you're shitting rocks for the next four weeks. I remember day-dreaming about one day enjoying pooping again. (Sara: I can confirm this. I have multiple emails and text messages from Linz pining for a possibly pleasant poop)

What my book says:
"If your incision was closed with surgical staples, they'll likely be removed a few days or weeks after surgery."
What the book completely fails to mention is how terrifying getting those out will be. You had your belly sliced open (and you probably weren't planning on it), all of your guts taken out and put on the surgical table, and then your uterus sliced open to yank your already ill-behaved-child-who-just-didn't-want-to-come-out-the-regular-way out. And then everything is put back in and together and you were STAPLED CLOSED. Holy shit! So when your staples come out you will be petrified that your guts are just going to FALL OUT. You'll probably walk around all hunchback-like clutching your incision for a few days, because, you know, that would help (not).

Life at Home:

What my book says:
"The abrupt drop in levels of estrogen and progesterone after childbirth...likely causes the baby blues and may have you feeling emotional."
YOU WILL BE A FUCKING BASKET-CASE. I sobbed (SOBBED!) when I realized I hadn't gotten Jesse a Father's Day card. Yah. I did that. You'll cry because you love your baby (wah fucking wah). You'll cry because your basil and cilantro plants bolted and flowered while you were in the hospital so now they aren't producing anymore herbs. You'll be FUCKING ECSTATIC when you get the hang of that breastfeeding position you've been trying. What I'm saying is you'll be insane for a few weeks.

What my book says:
"Some women may feel like they've lost their sense of identity."
All I am in this world is a giant boob/milk factory with a never-ending period!

What my book says:
"For some parents...comes the further realization that your baby is solely in your care. This may come as a bit of a shock..."

What my book says:
"Truly, you wonder, how do I go about this business of parenting?"

Lastly, baby books NEVER address your loss of dignity and modesty after childbirth.
Examples of how you will lose all sense of dignity and modesty after childbirth:

1. Poor Sara was mortified when like, the 5th different person came into the delivery room during labor to check how dilated I was. In between chit-chat, my nurse stuck her entire hand into my vagina to check. There is a revolving door of medical professionals in and out of the delivery room and almost all of them need to see/touch your lady bits for one reason or another. I almost wanted to put a sign on the door that said "LINDSAY'S VAGINA IS NOW OPEN FOR VIEWING. COME ONE, COME ALL!"

2. You will wear a diaper. The hospital calls it a "hospital grade pad." It's a fucking diaper. And you need it. Because there will be floods of amniotic fluid and other gross stuff flowing from your lady parts.

3. Having a contraction while trying to pee. This needs no further elaboration.

4. Writhing in pain during a contraction while the nurses and anesthesiologist wait patiently for it to end so they can give you an epidural.

5. Getting buck-ass-naked during pushing because you're trying every different birthing position known to man to try to knock that little bastard baby loose. You've got a tube for your catheter, a tube coming out of your spine, and an IV tube. That god damn hospital gown gets caught in everything eveytime you try to move. My nurses, bless their hearts, were trying to hold a sheet over my ass during the squat position to, you know, preserve what little dignity I had left. Which brings me to...

6. Pooping while pushing in front of your husband and three nurses and one of them wipes your ass for you.

7. Breastfeeding for the very first time while your nurses help. One is squeezing your boob and the other one shoves your baby's face onto it.

8. Walking for the first time. They put these super sexy compression socks on your calves to protect against blood clots. I had an epidural, but that wore off by the time I was pushing, and so then I needed a complete spinal for surgery, and then they pump you with morphine as soon as they yank baby and cut the umbilical cord. Suffice it to say, you brain's communication with the rest of your body is fucked for the next 24 hours. I needed a walker. At 27 years old I used a walker to get to the shower.

9. You need to tell your nurse the first time you pee, poop, and fart post-surgery. Yes. I had to tell my nurse when I farted for the first time. I had to call my nurse when I was ready to pee, so she could come look in the commode and make sure that everything was...normal? Except peeing was hard and painful because I was swollen and sore. So there I am, straddling the toilet seat (SO MUCH BLOOD), sobbing because I can't pee and it hurts, and the nurse is bent down in front of me spraying my lady bits with warm water from a spray bottle to try to stimulate my urine flow. How about that image?

10. Everyone is taking pictures and wants to come see you and the baby and your entire body is wrecked, pale from loosing so much blood, puffy from all the drugs, you're lactating through your shirt, circles under your eyes from lack of sleep, wearing compression stockings, sweaty from all the hormonal changes, and wearing an industrial sized maxi-pad. And at this point you have zero fucks to give.

So there it is. My summation of what baby books don't address and my translation of their sugar-coated-bullshit descriptions. Congratulations!