Monday, September 28, 2009

And the countdown to 10....concludes....with Part 7

Part 7: It's not the's the journey!

The beauty of motherhood is lost on those who can't seem to smell anything past the vomit that seems to get into places you never thought imaginable.  It's also lost on those who are pretty sure they would sell a kidney or lung JUST to gain a full night of uninterrupted sleep.  I was TOTALLY that person.

What am I saying....I still AM that person!  I may no longer have to sustain my children's life by feeding them from my own body, but believe me you, they are busy sucking other things out of me like sanity, my ability to retain information, my will to live at times and the capacity of my ass to reside in the lower two digit numbers.  Oh hips...where have you gone??  Oh wait...that's right, you now reside on my curvacious daughters.  Ugh!

Even with all that I've had some of my best moments being their mom.  I've also had some of my most embarrassing ones as well.

Those are the stories that Jon loves me to focus on.  He's sadistic that way.

When Hannah was approximately 3 to maybe 3 1/2 months old I had breastfed her on the couch while watching television.  It's was a leisurely Sunday afternoon and we were busy just passing the day by being completely in love with every sound and face that she was making.  It's these moments...these memories that make you want to have more children.  What happened next is what makes you think twice about motherhood and possibly how easy it may actually be to mame your spouse.

Jon:  Wow she's a little piggy.

Me:  I know.  I think this is the most she has eaten in a while.  She usually just snacks.

Jon:  I think I'd snack if I was down there too.  It'd give me more reasons to snuggle up to your boobs.

Me:  You'd have to get in line behind your infant daughter.

Jon:  Why ya gotta be so mean?

Me:  Why do YOU have to be such a pig?  I'm busy feeding your daughter and your making sexual inuendo's.

Jon:  I'm just saying...I support breastfeeding.

Me:  You're just saying that because you want me to breastfeed you.

Hannah begins to make gurgly faces as I am burping her.  It kind of looks like she's rolling her eyes at Jon's lame attempts to dig himself out of this hole but that's just my interpretation of the memory.

Finally she lets out a huge burp and follows it with a toot and then seems completely content to just sit there and check out the world.

Me:  (singing to Hannah while blowing bubbles on her tummy) I love you...mommy loves you.  Who loves you...mommy loves you.

Clearly she is digging this.

Me:  (beginning to wiggle her arms and legs in a vague dancing motion)

Jon:  You probably shouldn't do that she just ate.

Me:  I am not doing anything.  I am just moving her about.  My god she is barely moving.

Jon:  I don't think you should do that.  You always yell at me NOT to do that.  You say she'll puke.

Me:  (clearly he doesn't understand that him doing what I say and me doing what I say are two totally different things) *rolling my eyes*  Okay.

Jon walks out of the room and the coast is clear to go back to the dancing.  I proceed to move Hannah about.  She's going from slightly subdued moves to busting out her show stoppers.  I decide to end with a little airplane and a kiss....



Me: (gurgling sound) bay bay...

Jon: (no response...)

I can somewhat hear Jon moving around in the kitchen

Me: (gurgling sound) bay bay BAY.....

Jon:  Are you calling me?  You know that I can't hear you...speak up.

Me:  (trying desperately NOT to swallow what has been launched into my mouth by my once beloved infant daughter) bay ma a tow a bay b pu n ma mo....

Jon:  (sounding more than a little aggrivated)  WHAT??

Me:  (really trying not to puke while trying NOT to swallow what is being swished around in my mouth with every attempt to speak) I ma a tow a bay b pu n ma mo......

Jon  (choirs of angels come down from heaven and sing as my husband in all his fucking brilliant retardedness who can't hear me scream from another room has now deciphered the god damn Da Vinci Code of "baby vomit speak")  I'm sorry...did you just say that you need a towel because the baby puked in your mouth?  (laughter)

Me:  BAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY......a men up n ga m a tow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jon:  (attempting NOT to piss himself, because clearly that could be used against him in this completely embarrassing moment of me choking back a mouthful of my own regurgiatated breastmilk) Hahahahahahahahahaha.....ok, ok....oh my god....oh my sides hurt....ok, me the my god...oh this is too funny...oh my's the towel...

Stuff like that...10 years later...still funny.

I remember a time years later when Hannah was 3 years old and she learned how to use air quotes.


Neither of us know how she learned this.  It definitely wasn't something that we had done.  We aren't big air quote people...I mean really, who is??

I was coming up on a jaw surgery to treat chronic migraines, worsened by TMJ, which had completely debilitated me.  Poor Hannah had gotten very used to sitting in semi quiet, semi dim rooms with mommy by this time.  We had her in Mother's Day out programs so she wasn't a complete shut in, but there were still those few hours between when the program ended and Jon came home.

She was perched on the end of our bed watching Disney Channel.  I, as usual, had my head wrapped in a towel to shield my eyes from light and an ice pack on top for good measure.  I heard her crawling to the top of the bed towards my head so I peeled back my shroud.

Hannah:  Momma?

Me:  Yeah babe.

Hannah:  Momma...when dinner is?

Me:  (slighty out of it...trying to angle head to see the clock)  Ummm.  Soon babe...daddy will be home with it in just a little bit.  Okay?

Hannah:  Tay.  Cause we need dinner is.  It's "night time".

Me:  (slightly baffled by the air quotes, I decide to press the matter)  Hannah what do you mean by "night time" (repeating the same air quotes)

Hannah:  (cocking her head to the side and squinching her eyese at me as if I am possibly the silliest person she has met in ALL her 3 years of life) Momma..."night time" is when it "dark outside"!  (she then puts her hands in fist down on her sides as if this gesture combined with the double air quotes will of course drive her point right on home)

Very true Hannah dear.  Very true indeed.  Thankfully she did a repeat performance for Jon when he got home and we both had a good laugh at how sassy she was.

Life with girls is NOT all frills, bows and pink sparkliness. raising Hannah so far has been a manic mixture of Sporty Spice, Power Puff Girls and Disney Channel girls that are clearly 20 playing 10 year olds who my daughter wants more than anything to mimic.

Welcome to my hell.  The water is warm...jump on in.

Hannah can be rough and tumble like the time we had gone shopping for new jeans.  She had picked out 4 that she absolutely loved and "mom I will never ask for another thing if you only buy me THESE pants".  Oh lord...go sell your lies somewhere else grandmother didn't buy those lies with my mother, my mother didn't buy those lies with me and HELLO I'm not buying them from you or your sister.

Not more than 48 hours later Hannah is on our front lawn with one of her friends playing.  Another few minutes after that she is at the door crying and the friend is trying not to laugh.  Clearly something embarrassing has befallen our daughter.  Days like this make parenting so magical.  Days like this make all the moments they make you feel like a jackleg by standing in the middle of Wal-mart screaming "you're not my mommy...I wan't my mommy" because you have denied them the Pokemon card, Power Puff Girl, Barbie, Coloring book, speck of dust...whatever...and now they are going to make you pay with public humiliation and maybe, just maybe a few dicey moments in the back of a police car explaining exactly why it is the little girl is so insistent her "real" mother lives in Pennsylvania and raises horses.  Yes...your childs embarrassment at the fact that they and not you has done something to bring said embarassment...those moments are the lottery of parenthood.

Jon:  Hannah what's the matter?

Me:  Why are you crying?  Are you hurt?

Hannah:  *sniff*

Me:  Hannah...speak up...what happened?

Hannah:  (quivering lip) *sniff...sniff*

Jon:  Hannah have until the count of 5 to tell me what is going on.  1....2....3....

Hannah:  (bawling)....*sniff*....I....was....playing....and, umm...and I thought I'd be....ummm...I...*sniff*....I thought it would....*crying*....*sniff*...umm...I thought it would be umm...(becoming quieter) to be a....(barely audible) to be a dog....

Me: thought it would be fun to be a what?  Babe...we can't hear you?  (I clearly had heard her, but I wanted to make completely sure I heard her)

Hannah:  *sniff*...I thought it would be fun to be a dog....

Jon:  Uh...huh.  And how does that factor into the crying??

Me:  Did you get hurt?

Hannah:  *sniff*...ummm...*sniff*....not exactly

Me:  Okay then what "exactly" is the problem?

Hannah: *sniff*....I RIPPED MY PANTS....(complete hysterical bawling)

Jon:  You ripped your new pants?

Hannah:  Yyyyyeeeessssssssssss....*sniff*

Me:  (completely incredulous that this is in fact the truth)  How?  How did you rip your pants?  Show me.

Hannah:  Well...I had her (pointing the unsupecting and very uncomfortable looking friend) hook the lead for the dogs to my belt loop.....and then I ran around in a circle...playing like a dog....*sniff*.....and my pants....well...they ripped.

Jon & Me:  (stiffling laughter) (unable to stiffle laughter) (about to choke as we realize we can NO longer stiffle laughter do the only thing we can possibly do which is turn our backs on our crying child in the door)

Me:  (from over my shoulder)  Have a seat on the porch Hannah and your dad and I will be out in a moment to deal with this.

We shut the front door.  High tail it back to our bedroom.  Lock ourselves in the bathroom and bust out laughing for a good 10 minutes.

We made her wear those pants until they were highwaters.  Every....single....time she came out in them we had to fight not to pee ourselves laughing at the day she decided to play dog.

These are just a few of the moments in my 10 years raising my sweet baby girl.  I'm sure there will be many more.  I record them to use as blackmail later.

As Jon and I watched her blow out the candles on her cookie cake covered in too much make-up from the make overs they were performing on one another for the sleepover we realized that all those moments have led us to this one.  All the tears, fears, laughter, joy, pride, guilt, sleeplessness and so many more have culminated in this one little girl.

Motherhood...hell parenthood is one hell of a ride.  The admission isn't free.  The side effects are permanent and the pay is...well, it sucks.  But the moments of shear madness that lead to some of the bar none, hands down most amazing memories you will ever create while sober are worth the journey.  If you haven't jumped on this train I highly recommend it.  Plus, it's kind of like a pyramid scheme...the more of you that I get to do it, the better the prizes for me.  Get to it people...make babies.  Make memories.  Make me not be the only crazy lady.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

And the countdown to 10...continues...Part 6

Part 6: I'm all for jokes...but really, is this the time??

Once I was firmly situated on the operating table I began to feel really, really...REALLY nervous.  I know it sounds like a moment of brilliant retardedness but at that exact moment it all seemed real.  It was like the past 40 weeks didn't even happen.  Like I had just showed up at the hospital and they announced, "hey you look like a nice woman who'd enjoy a new baby...come on back and we'll cut one out of your belly".

When they talk about pregnancy induced amnesia...I'm pretty sure they are referring to moments like this.

The anesthesiologist began to push the meds and they made sure I was good and numb.  I was elated because when I'd had Olivia I had an epic failure of an epidural.  They didn't insert the catheter properly and when they went to push the meds I could feel them leaking down my back.  Unfortunately, the monitors began to signal that Olivia was in fetal heart distress and she needed to be out.  NOW.  So they couldn't take the time to try and reinsert the epidural and I had to be put completely under.  I was the absolute last person to greet the arrival of my daughter.  I didn't want the same thing to happen with my the delivery of my son.

Once the drugs began to take affect I began professing my love to the anesthesiologist...the nurses...some dude that was bringing in gloves.  They figured that was a perfect time to bring in my husband.

They laid out the rules of how he was NOT to touch the sterile curtain that shielded him from a full view of the surgery that was about to reveal the baby.  I secretly wished them luck with that endeavor because I'd been telling him not to touch stuff in doctor and hospital settings through this whole pregnancy and HE WOULD NEVER LISTEN TO ME.  You have no idea how scary it is to watch your husband screw with a piece of equipment that probably cost as much if not more than a years salary.

They provided a stool and he took it...just in case.  I was worried that he would pass out.  He didn't do very well with blood.  Or surgery.  Or gore in general.  But I was high as a kite on pain meds...if he hit the ground...I was pretty sure one of the scrub clad individuals and that random dude with the gloves would handle it.

Then the doctor came in.  He explained that I'd feel some tugging and pressure but if I began to feel pain that I should just let the anesthesiologist know and she'd fix me right up.  I felt like saying, " do your job and don't you worry bout me and Sarah (that was the first name of the anesthesiologist) will be JUST FINE over here".

He asked if we were ready to go and we chimed in with a yes.  For a split second I wondered what would have occured if we would have said no.  Would he have been all like, okay..."I'll step out for a latte and come back in a few and see if you are ready to do this thing??"

Jon asked how long it would take before the baby was out.  The doctor explained that since their was no distress he could have the baby out in about 3-4 minutes.  I was amazed.  Made me ask how fast they could have a baby out in times of distress and was floored when he said less than a minute if need be.  Holy crap.  He said that getting the baby out was the easy part.  Putting everything back in was the long part.  Hmmmm...could have gone without the last part of info.

And so it began...

Jon says that he remembers seeing smoke from the laser.  I don't have any memory of it.  All I remember is feeling tugs and the anesthesiologist asking "are you okay"..."are you hurting"...the haze of her pushing more meds because apparently I said yes and then the sound of crying started.

Next came the voice of the doctor..."congratulations....IT'S....A.....GIRL!"


I turned to Jon willing him to verify that the doctor was in fact the King of Bad Jokes!

Jon looked down at me with misty eyes...."'s a girl"!

I think I actually uttered the words, "stop joking...that's not funny" before finally looking up and seeing that in fact I was the proud momma of a beautiful baby girl.

Garren Jesse....was in fact a beautiful...perfect...10 fingers, 10 toed...little Hannah Michel!

I kissed Jon and told him to please follow the baby to the nursery.  I didn't want her out of our sight and since I obviously wasn't going anywhere...that left him on baby watch.

I got some more magical pain meds and the doctor continued with bad jokes saying first, "let me just make sure there aren't any more babies in there" and then asking "sure you don't want me to tie up any loose ends while I am down here".  To the last one I actually said yes...but he said, "no".

Next moment I can remember is waking up in the recovery room with my nurse checking my vitals.  I asked if I could see my daughter.  I then asked if it was in fact a daughter that I'd had and not just a dream.  She confirmed that it was in fact a girl and that I could see her once I was back in my room.

A few minutes later Jon strolled in all proud papa like.  Feeling drunk with the love of his first born or maybe just drunk he decided to be a jokester.

Me: she okay.

Jon:  She's beautiful. And don't worry about the whole boy thing...doc says we can try again in like 8 weeks!

Thankfully...for him I was numb from the chest down so I couldn't physically get out of the bed and kick his ass.  However, my recovery nurse who was 3 months pregnant herself actually told Jon to, "go ahead and start running now...I'll give you a head start".

He left to go back to Hannah's side and I waited, albeit impatiently, for the moment when I could finally be properly introduced to my baby girl.

A few hours later I was rolled back to my room and in came the little lady of the day.

She was beautiful.  Absolutely captivating.  I was in love.  Everything that had taken place to get to this day just faded away.  I had my husband and two beautiful, in this moment was perfection.

When we began making phone calls to announce our new baby we had a lot of "are you shitting me" and "no...come on...stop joking" to deal with.  Even my mom was blown away by the fact that we had absolutely NOTHING for a baby girl and rushed to buy something pink and frilly to bring home our newest family member home in.

Three days later we were heading home with our newly nicknamed Hannah "Banana" Michel Pettus.  I know...super original, right?  Well shortly after birth we noticed that she had jaundice so until we could do the sunlight treatments like the doctor prescribed we'd have a little Banana to love on.

I made Jon stop at the store because apparently my craziness hadn't stopped with delivery and I was intent on buying as much pink stuff for my new daughter as a woman who has just given birth can manage to get her hands on.  Once we got home this pretty little girl would be inundated in mass amounts of blue and Paddington Bear.  I needed something to break up the masculine undertones until I could feminine it up!!

Olivia got the first look at her baby sister when we arrived home.  She had gotten sick while I was "laboring" so we chose not to have her come to the hospital.  First thing she said when she saw her was, "hey wasn't she supposed to be a boy?"

Too tired to deal with another smart ass comment, even if it was from my 5 year old daughter I decided to just pop a pain killer and settle in to enjoy all the magic and mania that is being the mother of two girls....


Thursday, September 24, 2009

And the countdown to 10...continues...Part 5

Part 5: Sometimes you've gotta fake it until you can make it...all the way to the delivery!

When we...meaning me...began to creep towards and then past the 37 week mark I began to go from happy that I'd managed to carry this baby past the fears of pre term labor to being completely pissed that he was now refusing to vacate the premises.  Seriously what the fuck??  COME OUT ALREADY!!

I was swollen.  I was tired.  My breast refused to cooperate unless they were coralled in a nursing bra AT ALL TIMES!  I'd begun to have these bizarre dreams that I'd be pregnant forever and that pretty soon you'd be able to see an imprant of this childs face pressing up against my belly as if he were stuck behind a glass window.

The days of Jon not getting any nookey were LONG gone. every other expectant mother had read "What to Expect When You're Expecting" on top of a slew of other maternity books and was determined to subscribe to any and all proven or even slightly plausible actions that may possibly enduce labor.  My first strategy was to have sex until this kid screamed, "ENOUGH ALREADY!  PULL OUT SO I CAN ESCAPE THIS WHORE HOUSE".

Unfortunately, the one that screamed enough first, was in fact my once sex deprived husband.  Useless.  Completely useless.

You're gonna whine cause you don't get anything.  Not even a hint of sexual action in months and then when I'm all, "hey baby...ya wanna (wink, wink)"...he can't keep up!

He began to make excuses.  He was tired.  He wasn't feeling well.  Lies...all lies.  I don't care how tired this man said he was...he'd stay up for sex.  My god he was 23 years tired can you possibly be at that age?  And the not feeling well crap...well, we had been together almost two years and he'd NEVER had so much as a sniffle in all that time.  When the lies stopped working he would just try to avoid me.  It wasn't hard to do because I was huge and I couldn't cathc him when he ran away.

I cried. A lot.  I was so miserable.  I couldn't understand how at 29 weeks my body was insistent that this child GET OUT but at 36, then 37, 38 and now creeping ever closer to 39 weeks it was all "hey you like this womb??  You should totally stay here FOREVER."

I was becoming desperate so I did what any person with a shred of sanity would do...I called my doctor.  I figured he is the only one with the power to help me.

I had complications dialating and then delivering Olivia.  After 28 1/2 hours of "pure hell" they had to do an emergency c-section.  Later on it was determined that I had cephalo pelvic disproportion and that unless Olivia had been like 5 lbs with a teeny tiny head...she was never gonna make the final pass into the birth canal.  Thanks to the drugs I didn't feel much like going and kicking in the doctors teeth that had lied to me for 4 1/2 hours while I pushed.

Him and the bitchy ass nurse kept saying "great push"..."good job"...."keep doing that".  I kept thinking the mere definition of doing a good job means you are progressing towards an end result.  The end result was delivering this baby...apparently they didn't see it the same way.

They had me convinced that if I just "tried harder" or "gave it may all" she would come out.  Even as they were wheeling me to the operating room I kept telling my parents, "maybe if I just push for a little longer she will come out"...yeah, not gonna happen.

Apparently at that moment my ability to push life into the world was broken.  This was something that was discussed MANY times during this current pregnancy.  I wasn't afraid of trying for a vaginal birth.  I actually was on board with it.  My doctor didn't try to dissuade me either but early on we had discussed the definite possibility that I may end up right back in that same failed pushing situation.  What the hell is it with my failed lady parts anyways??

He offered me the chance to just schedule a c-section.  I didn't accept at that time but I was tired...I wanted this baby to come out....I wanted my option for c-section back.

Me:  Dr. Doran...I'm tired...I think I wan't to go ahead and have a c-section.

Dr. Doran:  Tired huh?  Well you're gonna be even more tired when this little one arrives.  Enjoy this time with just your daughter.  The baby will come when he is ready.

Me:  Okay.  Yeah.  Umm...I get the whole wait for the natural progression...but I'm ready.  I'm like...really, really, REALLY ready.

Dr. Doran:  (polite doctor laughter...scribbling in chart...totally ignoring me)

Me:  So are you saying that I can't have a scheduled c-section?  (on the verge of tears)

Dr. Doran:  I am saying...(dramatic pause to show that he is so in control of this situation)...that you are barely 39 weeks.  What's the rush?  I can carry you safely to 42 weeks if need be.

Me:  (tears have dried up completely and sheer anger has ensued)  Are you married Dr. Doran?  Because if you are I am going to hunt down your wife and tell her that you are now threatening me with another 3 weeks of pregnancy.  If she has ever been pregnant I am pretty sure she may want to kill you for that remark.

I leave the office.  Escorted by a nurse.  I go directly home, call Jon and commence with having a nervous breakdown.

Me:  Babe (sniffle) I hate my doctor.

Jon:  Are you crying?  Oh my god...what's wrong?  Do I need to come home?  Is it...oh my it time?

Me:  NO!  NOOOOOO!!!  It.  Is.  NOT.  Time.  Didn't you hear me??? I hate my doctor!!!

Jon:  Okay.'s not time.  You had me worried.  I'm sorry..why do you hate the doctor?

Me:  Because he's mean.

Jon:  (trying not to laugh because he knows that even though he is currently safe by being 20 minutes away...I do, however, have the ability to get in my car, drive over to his work, and attempt to kick his ass)  Why is he mean?  Did he say something about the weight you've gained.

Me:  What?  What?  Why would you bring up my weight?  Now you're mean.  (starting to sob)

Jon:  I didn't bring up your weig....nevermind...lets focus on why you hate the doctor.  What did he do?

Me:  Okay so you know how my due date is September 25th?

Jon:  Yes I am painfully aware that is your due talk about it constantly.  Now that we are over obsessing about the number 35, I can see your new favorite number is 25.

Me: the date today is September 16th.

Jon:  Yes I know that there a point to this?

Me:  Well the crazy ass doctor who I thought held my salvation and would grant me a magical c-section is now saying he can carry me "safely" until October 9th if I don't go into labor on my own...naturally.  

Jon:  Whoa...hold on...wait a minute.  He said what??

Me:  Yeah...ya heard me...OCTOBER!  9th!!  That's like almost another month!

Jon:  Oh HELL NO!  I can't do this for another month!


Jon:  You want me to come home so we can have sex?

Me:  (pretty sure I am now sounding like Freddy Crougar) NO you had your failed... I WANT THIS BABY O-U-T!!  NOW DAMNIT!

I slammed down the phone and immediately began thinking of any and EVERY possible way to accomplish this.  I was a woman on a mission.  I didn't care how cooky or possibly embarassing it may be I was not going to keep this child in for a minute over September 25th even if it meant camping on my doctor's door step!

I went on the internet.  I consulted friends that had recently had a baby.  Some suggestions were helpful like the one that said walking would enduce labor.  My neighbor Stacy, who lived directly across from me, would come over every night and lead me around our apartment complex for a good hour.  She would drink a glass of wine and we would chat about our kids.  We did this for a couple of nights and on the 20th I thought I had finally hit pay dirt.  I was contracting.

I waited for a little while and sure enough they were coming every couple of minutes and getting a little stronger each time.  I alerted Jon and we took Olivia to our friends house that was on the way to the hospital.  As soon I was hooked up to the monitors the contractions began to fizzle.  I tried not to be upset because they still needed to check me.  The nurse came in and did the exam.  I prayed for a 7 or 8.  I new that was the magic number that meant I could stay.  I was at a 4.  Some women would be excited by this.  Me, not so much.  I had been at a 4 since I left the hospital after the pre-term labor.  I had been holding a 4 for just about 10 weeks now.

After about an hour more of monitoring and announcing that the fetal heartrate sounds "perfect" and there was "no change in the cervic"... we were cut loose.  I was dissappointed but hopeful.  If walking brought contractions...then more walking and other things would surely start them back up and get this show on the road...right??

Two days later I thought for sure this was it!  Now back when I was pregnant with Olivia my water broke and then the contractions came...but they didn't start until I was at the hospital.  This time I seemed to contract first but no water breakage so I thought...hey don't lose hope...just cause there is no waterworks can't possibly mean that this isn't the real deal.  I had been contracting for the entire time that Jon was at work.  I figured 9 almost 10 hours of solid contractions that started at 10 minutes apart and worked their way down to just north of 1 1/2 minutes apart definitely meant we were in business.

So we took Olivia to my parents this time.  And with bleary eyed husband at the wheel we made it to the hospital just at about 7pm.  I was still contracting when they strapped on the bands.  Good sign.  The room was filled with the sounds of the heartbeat and the whooshing of baby body parts moving.  The nurse came in to check but had to wait out several good contractions.  Great sign.  I awaited her announcement that I had dialated to an acceptable number.

Nurse:  Good news.

Me:  Yeah??

Nurse:  You've progressed.

Me:  Oh thank god.

Nurse:  Now you're a 5.

Me:  What??

Just after midnight the doctor came in to see me since he was there doing a delivery.  No change and contractions had once again died out.  I felt like one of those women who kept hearing a squeaking sound every time she pushed the brakes in her car but now that she was actually at the mechanic it failed to duplicate.

I was all..."I swear...I was really have these STRONG doubled over praying for rescue..painful...contractions".  The doctor just looked at me...smiled politely and declared I was good to go home and wait for "actual" labor to commence.

Since this doctor was not the one I usually saw, but was in the same practice, I thought I could sob my way into a c-section.  Or at least gain sympathy for a possible tribunal to be held where all the other doctors in the practice would scorn my doctor for torturing me in this way and he would finally feel horrid and grant me a c-section on my due date just a mere 2 days away now.  It didn't seem like it was going to happen.

I had to wake Jon up as he dozed in the painful looking chair that was crammed in the corner of the exam room.  I offered to drive.  He politely refused and we made it home in time for him to grab about 4 hours of sleep before he had to be up for another day of work.

Desperation at getting this kid out had now turned to sheer craziness.  I spent all day walking.  My mom took me out to the beach thinking that maybe walking in sand would help.  All it did was give me crazy charlie horses and make me extremely tired.  I tried not to sleep...I was like a Navy Seal during hell week...I had to keep training.  But for what??  I was training my body to go into labor.  It was utterly ridiculous.

September 24th rolled around and the weekend was within our sights.  What I had deemed, privately, to be our final Friday as a family of 3 started out quiet at 5 a.m. when I got up to get Olivia ready for Kindergarten.  We lived out of district so I would drive her to my moms house and she would take her in when she took my sister.  Oh how my baby sister enjoyed being in the same exact elementary school as her niece.  A niece that happened to have been introduced for the first time at just 4 months old to this exact school as a sort of "show and tell project".  Yep...early signs that we were indeed on track for our own reality show or at least a guest spot on Jerry Springer.  Magic...pure magic.

I had dropped off Olivia and headed back home to do some laundry and make sure everything was truly ready for this baby.  I tried to keep the irrational thoughts of attempting some ridiculous manuever to coax this kid out of my belly.  Instead I decided to drink castor oil.  What on God's green earth was I thinking??

Thankfully I couldn't handle more than half a swallow and therefore didn't have to endure what I'm sure is the painful wrath of that choice.  All I managed to do was make myself puke from the sheer disgustingness of the taste.  Apparetly I wasn't as determined as most to enduce "actual" labor.

Everyone checked in with me during the day to see if I had any progression in either the crazy department or more importantly the labor department.  Each time I advised no...on both counts.  The weekend was still young though.

That night we decided to eat out and when we came home I treated myself to 1/2 a glass of wine.  I only got 1/4 of it down before falling asleep.  I woke up completely startled at a little after 1 a.m.  I thought for a second that I was in labor.  Turned out that I was having extreme gas from the steamed brocolli I had decided to eat for dinner.  It must have been really bad because Jon had wedged a pillow above his head.

I went to the bathroom and then made my way to the nursery.  I sat there for a long while and imagined a sleeping baby in the crib.  I then willed myself to start contracting.  All I actually accomplished was falling asleep on the double bed we had in the nursery for middle of the night breast feeding.  Jon found me sleeping there a little after 7 a.m. when he woke up to no pregnant wife in bed and began to search the house in a panic.

I laid there for a good while with him laying next to me and wondered why wasn't I in labor.  Jon told me not to rush it.  I began to hate him.  I tried to force that idea out of my head because I couldn't bare the thought that "if" I did go into labor and "if" I was fortunate enough to have this baby in a timely manner all I wouldn't want to retell the story years later to him and be like, "the day you were born I was SO pissed at your father for telling me not to rush it".  In knowing how things turned out...that would have been a far less scarring and possible psychology trip enducing story for our child to hear.

As morning turned to afternoon and then evening I was once again a mad woman.  I called my girlfriend, Jen, and asked if they would like to have dinner with us.  At her house.  Apparently along with my inability to control the ever expanding size of my ass...I had in fact also lost my ability to have manners.  Who the hell calls someone to have dinner and insist that it be at the other persons house??  Ummm...that would be me.

She agreed and then I asked her possibly "the" most embarassing question that I have ever asked a female friend.  First let me say that she was training to become a doula.  She had two children already and was very wonderful with labor and delivery.  I missed her first child being born because...well...she adamantly told me NOT to come.  Her second child I missed being born because...well...I think she actually sneezed and that baby came flying out.  Thankfully a nurse was there to catch her.  She had no drugs with either and was now very interested in helping other woman labor through in a natural way.  She was also privy to "ways" that could help you contract and dialate.  I no longer faulted her for the failed castor oil attempt from the day before, so I thought if anyone could get me to labor & delivery tonight...outside of my unwilling doctor...she was it.

So I asked her to help soften my cervix. read that right.  I...crazy pregnant woman...had just propositioned one of my very best friends to stick her hand where no self respecting friends hand should EVER have to be placed!  She was stone cold sober when she actually agreed.  I decided at that exact moment that she should be the baby's godmother.  It only seemed right after what we were about to attempt.

I announced to Jon that we'd be going to Jen's for dinner.  He was fine with any distraction from what the day was supposed to be, but clearly was NOT producing.  I conveniently left out what else would be going on outside of the consumption of spaghetti and letting our kids play.

Jen was completely professional about the whole exchange and finally I decided to tell Jon, once we were at her house, that this is why I wanted to come over.  After he went through a litany of girl on girl action jokes he just nodded his head and steered clear.  There was NO reasoning with me at this point.  I wanted this child out.  Jen lived less than 1/2 a mile from the hospital I'd be delivering at so in the event that this worked I was right close by.  I even threw my overnight bag in the trunk for good luck.

Nervous chatter ensued as she "attempted" to strip my cervix.  Guess I should have advised her that I had a bum cervix that was very uncooperative to anything close to child delivery.  After what seemed like a lifetime but in truth was only 20 or so minutes...we gave up.  Failure...once again was the tattoo that I should have placed on anything below the waist but about my knees in regards to my body.

Instead we chatted and ate dinner.  Jon and her husband just stared at us through the meal.  Around 9p we began to have restless kids that whined and fought more than played so we announced it was time to go.  I felt crampy.  I decided to go to the bathroom before leaving.  I was hit with a rather large contraction right off the bat.  I must have been in the bathroom for awhile because when I came out I had three sets of eyes on me, with questioning glances.  I hugged Jen goodbye and swore we would keep this between us (too bad I decided to get a blog 10 years later...oops) and she made me promise to call her if anything began to happen.  I promised but I felt empty inside because I didn't forsee a damn thing happening.  This would be like ALL the other moments of contracting and then nothing.

We drove home and got Olivia into bed.  It was close to 10pm and I couldn't sleep.  I was 2 hours away from being technically OVERDUE!  The clock was taunting me and I was so uncomfortable.  No position seemed to help.  I went and took a shower just to let the water relax me.  All that seemed to do was make it worse so I got out after only a few minutes.  I tried to lay on my side.  My back.  I wanted desperately to lay on my stomach...but even after constructing a pillow frame to around the outskirt of my body and lumbering on to my stomach I couldn't stay in that position for very long because I hurt so bad.

I didn't want to wake up Jon but it was getting increasingly worse and to the point where these were definitely the worse contractions I had to date.  I went to the bathroom for the millionth time in the past hour and found that I had lost my mucus plug.  For me...I deemed it was "time".  I woke up Jon and stupidly asked him what to do.  He said maybe we should wait.  For some reason...I thought it sounded like a good idea.

I continued to contract through the night and at around 5 a.m. I declared that I just could not handle another minute.  I called my mom to see if she could take Olivia.  I kept apologizing for the early hour in between gritting my teeth in pain.  I went and woke up Jon who had fallen asleep on the couch. 

I was continued right on contracting.  The whole time leaving the house, driving to my parents house, kissing Olivia good-bye and then making our way to the hospital.  Jon literally thought about pulling over a few times because I was panting so hard to keep from crying.  I was hurting....but ecstatic.  It was baby time!!

It was so quiet in the parking lot and the sun was barely pinking the sky.  Jon helped me out of the car and it took an additional 10 minutes to make it into the building.  We had to stop every few steps because I was consumed with contractions.  Once upstairs the nurses greeted us cheefully and put us in the exam room.  The monitors recorded each contraction and once I had a good mountain range of peaks and valleys registered they came in to examine me.

I was at a 6.


I didn't have time to harp on the number I was being thrown into another horrendous contraction.  This continued for another 2 hours when the nurse announced they would need to check me again because surely "with all these contractions your cervix must be dialated more".

Apparently my cervix as it seemed did not get the memo that contractions + crazy pregnant woman desperate to deliver baby in womb = dialated cervix.  The nurse announced that I was still at a "solid 6".

What?  How in God's name is that even......ugh...can't breath...fucking painful contraction that is apparently NOT having any affect on the gates of eternal child birthing bliss....possible??

And then before I thought I could not take another possible second of contracting...they stopped.  Not sputtered out.  They just downright stopped.  Done.  Finito.  Nothing.  NADA.

I was mistified.  I had been going strong for close to 4 hours and then boom...nothing.  They came back to check the bands assuming that they had simply fallen off or that maybe I had tried to escape...who knows.  Another 10 minutes.  Nothing.  The nurse checked me again and announced still a 6.  I wanted to kill her.  But I thought for sure they would keep me.  I had lost my mucus plug...they saw that I was contracting...what the shit??  Get me a room people...let's do this!  I am so ready!

Apparently in the world of L&D you need more than a mucus plug.  You need water breakage...a 7 or 8 cm dialated cervix... a never ending barrage contractions to actually be rewarded with an admittance bracelet.  The nurse began to unstrap me and tell me that it "will happen in its own time"...and "wouldn't you rather labor in the comfort of your own home than be cooped up here".  I was like ahhh...hey guys have fucking awesome ice, jacuzzi tubs and rockin grill cheese sandwiches...nope I'd rather be here so lets get me a room!

Another 10 minutes and they were cutting me loose.  Waving at a bleary eyed Jon and a wild eyed possibly completely crazy and still pregnant me, who was now a good 10 hours overdue and not willing to take this shit another minute.  As we stepped into the elevator I began to hatch a plan.  I couldn't change the status of my broke down cervix or break my own water but while I had been hooked to the monitors I noticed any time I tensed up it mimicked a contraction.  Brilliance...pure brilliance.  Now the question was do I tell complete zombie of a husband or just make it look like the evil contractions had miraculously returned.

I went with option #2.

What did I have to lose??  I had to get this baby out!  I couldn't go another round of thinking it was time and then being turned away.  At this rate it would take another week possibly two to get to a 7!  And the thought of going to 42 weeks and letting my doctor prove that he was indeed right...well that shit was not gonna happen if I could help it.

We were just about the clear the threshold of the hospital when I stopped mid step and grasped Jon's arm.  If I was gonna do this I had to make it believable and that including possibly maming my husband.  Small sacrifice on his part...I mean I WAS THE ONE DOING ALL THE WORK!

Jon winced as I tightened my grip on his arm and braced himself for whatever else may come along.  Then approximately 30 seconds later I straightened up, took a deep breath and tried to act like I was fine.  He immediately asked if maybe we should go back upstairs.  Yes...this could work...but I can't be too obvious.

I looked at him with sad eyes...

Me:  No...I'm not going back up there...they'll just tell us to go home because of my stupid cervix.

Jon:  I know.  I're tired of this, but you've never started contracting again so soon after being taken off the monitor.

Me:  (shit...did I just blow this by acting too soon) Ummmm....(better to fake another contraction) ouch, ouch, ouch.....

Jon: my bag to the floor)...lean into me.

He cradles me against him as I rock side to side.

Jon:  Breath.  Don't forget to breath.

Me:  (feeling slightly bad for lying to him) hee hee hee hee whoooooo....

Jon:  Good...good breathing babe.  How ya coming out of it yet?

Me:  mmmm...hmmm....

Jon:  Seriously babe...I think we should go upstairs.

Me:  Umm...lets just go walk around the parking lot for a few minutes and see how I do.  It may just stop again.  I can't handle being sent home...again.

Jon agrees completely unaware that I am doing perhaps my best acting...ever...and we walk back to the car.  Conveniently stopping every so often to drive home that I am "actually" contracting.  After another 30 minutes of being led around the parking lot like a show pony and really only feeling one...maybe two...true contractions but making it seem like I'd had over two dozen Jon was not taking any other answer except the one that led me back up to the 5th floor.

When the elevator doors opened the nurses looked at us like we were complete morons.  Jon was like...weeeeerrrrrre baaaaaaaack!  And I maintained a woeful yet strained facade.  The nurses put us back in the same exam room.

It was showtime.

I was checked every hour because the monitors were reflecting "such a beautiful strong pattern" so "you must be dialated more"...yep, these babies weren't stopping.  I tried not to laugh when first the nurse and then about 3 hours later the doctor stood mistified that I had indeed not gone any farther than a 6.  Stupid 6.  I hate the number 6.

I worried that for sure they would send me home.  But whether it was fear that I would harm myself, the child...a small group of innocent people...I don't know what but the next thing I knew I was being banded and led to a room.  It was just after 12p on Sunday, September 26th.  I had made it to a room.  Surely they couldn't cut me loose now that they had admitted me.

I wasn't about to find out.

However, faking a little tiring.  The nurses and the doctor decided that in order to rev these bad boys up they wouldn't confine me to the bed and monitors so I was free to roam about the room.  I could use the birthing ball or soak in the tub (since my water hadn't broken) and then every so often they would check me.  SCORE!!

Turns out a husband left to peruse television channels unbothered does NOT notice that you are even in the same room as him...even when you are about to bare his child.  Men.  But that was fine by me because it allowed me to rest.  I actually took a little nap.  Called and checked in on Olivia.  Sat on the birthing ball...which I deemed to be demonic.  Whoever decided that a person who is at the moment in their life when they will most definitely be their heaviest (unless you are like me and carrying on a mad passionate affair with Ben & Jerry) would want to balance on a ball is a complete an utter fucktard!  For lack of a better word.

Every so often I would turn on the contractions, especially when I knew it was about time to go back on the monitor and be checked.  The nurses would come in and seem completely shocked that given the pattern on the monitor I was still only a 6.

Did I mention how much I hated that fucking number yet??

Night was approaching and I did finally begin to have some real contractions.  I had been advised to sit in a lukewarm bath with the jets if I was okay with that.  The nurses surmised that I must be too tense and that was why I wasn't dialating.  I sheepishly agreed and sat in the tub.  About 5 minutes later I could feel actual contractions.  It took everything in me not to say, "Jon I'm having a contraction".  That would have been bad.

After my bath I made my way back to the bed and continued honestly contracting.  So much so that when I was checked again a few hours later I was miraculously a 7!  Lucky number 7!

I did the math.  If I had gone back home and waited for the "real contractions" to start again I would have been just now coming back to the hospital.  It was a little past 11pm.  I didn't feel guilty in the least.  Especially since I'd had almost 12 full hours of yummy ice!

I tried to get some sleep but found that I was antsy as all hell.  Jon managed a few moments here and there on a the fold out chair/bed contraption.  I had a couple of hellish contractions that made me call out for him but it was a pretty quiet night.

When the shift change occured at 7 a.m. I was introduced to my new nurse and immediately I knew that I loved her.  She walked in and her first words to me were "my goal today is to get you delivered before I leave".  I worried that meant another 12 hours because that is what the other nurse had told me when I asked how long their shifts are.  So I said..."delivery before 7 tonight sounds like a plan to me".  Then she said the words that made me want to kiss her, "honey...I'm leaving early at 3p we need to get this show on the road".

Ahhhhhhhhh....(choir of angels sing)

She came and checked me and announced I was at an 8.  Yippee.  I didn't know what prize that bought me nor did I care...all I knew was 2 more centimeters and I can push and this nurse is bound damned and determined to deliver this baby on her watch!  Let's roll!

Next thing I knew the doctor was in.  This was the same doctor that had performed my biopsy and informed us that "stopping the birth control in December" we would be able to get pregnant by "spring...summer at the earliest".  It was fall and I was just 2cm shy of being ready to push.  Maybe he should re-calibrate his fertility calculator.  Just a thought.

He asked if we would like him to break my water and hopefully get things moving faster.  I was on board for anything that would get this show on the road.  Plus, I was getting tired of faking things still unsure of whether I was "laboring" enough to keep me there and not get sent home again.  I figured broken water equals no possible way in hell I'd be released without a baby in my arms.  I barely uttered yes all the way and he was gloving up and busting my sack.

Within 10 minutes...maybe even less I couldn't decide if he was my new favorite person or if I hated him because the hellish contractions that brought us to the hospital just a day or so before were back...full throtle.  But before I could really settle on hating him for putting me in pain...they stopped again.

Jon and I just sat there thinking...this is ridiculous.  Noticing the stalled contractions the nurse came back with the doctor in tow and he checked me again...still an 8! It was just after 11 a.m.

He began to lay it all out on the line.  I'm full term.  I have a history of stalled dialation.  Once I am dialated I have problems delivering vaginally due to the cephalo pelvic disproportion...blah, blah, blah...medical talk.  I had two choices...he could start me on pitocin which would amp up the contractions and get me to 10cm and hopefully I could push the baby out but most likely would need a c-section like the last child and there was no way to guarantee how long that approach could take seeing as with Olivia it was 28 1/2 hours...I'd come in to the hospital with her at a 7 and it took 231/2 hours to get to 10 then push for over 4 hours only to be rushed into the OR for an emergency c-section.  There was no way to predict that this wouldn't be the same, different in a faster way or worse...different in a longer way!  Or we could just do the c-section.  I looked at Jon.  He gave me the gaze that said, "it's your decision".  I turned to the doctor and said, "when can you do the c-section"?  He checked his watch and said I have an open slot at 12p.

Holy shit that was less than an hour away.  Everything after that began to move incredibly fast.  The anesthesiologist came in and assessed me for the epidural.  I was nervous.  Epidurals meant this was really and truly happening.  No turning back.  Plus my epidural with Olivia had been horrible...a complete failure.  This one though...she was great.  I was settled back and ready to roll in no time at all.

The nurse came in to take us to the operating room.  She smiled down at me as I was beginning to tear up and my teeth were chattering from the anesthesia.  She said, "I told you we'd have a baby before I left today".  Yes, yes you did...I thought to myself.  She asked, "so what will we be welcoming in there?  A boy or a girl?"  Jon did the honors of announcing we'd be welcoming Garren Jesse...a son.  I was too busy trying to keep my teeth from busting.

The nurse smiled and said "a boy...that's great...we've had lots of girls today...a boy would be nice."

At that precise moment my husband said, "babe the name of the bed that you are laying on and have been laying in this whole enitre time is Hannah.  Isn't that bizare?"  At first I had no idea what he was talking about but then I had remembered last night while moving about the room each of the pieces of the equipment in the room had a name tag.  We asked the nurse and she said that instead of numbering them they named them.  It was a unique thing they did on the Labor & Delivery floor.  While we had taken notice of the name of my IV pump, the baby warmer and the O2...we had never noticed the bed.

"You're right"....I chattered...."that is bizare".  The nurse inquired why it was so strange and we explained that before we knew we were having a boy we made sure to pick out two names.  One girl.  One boy.  Just in case.  She laughed, said that we were smart for being so prepared since you just neve know and then it was time to move from the bed named Hannah to the cold steel operating table....


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

And the countdown to 10...continues...Part 4

Part 4: What’s in a name anyways?

About two weeks into my bed rest the words “stir crazy” took on a whole new meaning. I was craving contact with the outside world and sadly I had none. I began to think of the people on soap opera’s as my friends and would refer to them that way in daily conversation with Jon.

At first he thought I had visitors until I mentioned how one of them had come back from the dead to find out that the baby she’d had when she was dying was actually not hers. For a moment he’d thought I had begun drinking. I assured him that while it was tempting the whole point of this was to get that baby “safely” to full term…not kill it with fetal alcohol syndrome.

I finally stopped talking to him about the most recent story lines on Young and the Restless or Bold and the Beautiful and instead focused on baby names. I had nothing else to do but name this unknown sex of a child. I became obsessed with having a girl name and a boy name. Jon thought I was taking preparedness to a WHOLE new neurotic level. I didn’t care.

Deciding a girls name seemed far easier than settling on a boy name. We had it narrowed down to Bailey and Hannah. Early on in my pregnancy we had been out to dinner and there was a woman calling her little girl and her name was Hannah. The little girl came bounding round the corner with curls and these gianormous blue eyes. It stuck in my head. Jon agreed if this little bean was a girl it would be a Hannah Michel.

Finally, after all the things going NOT according to plan we had managed to check one thing off our list. It didn’t seem to matter that we had no idea what we were having, nor did we have a crib or half the stuff actually required to care for the baby…we had a name which covered at least half our chances in the sex of the child department. We took what we could get.

My only outings during this period of bed rest were to the doctors and my reward for cooking this kid was ultrasounds. Our first ultrasound after the hospital stay was when we got to know what we were having. I remember going through the water torture and thinking wouldn't it be cool if this time we could actually see something. Ya know like something other than the fluttering heart, the feet or that magnificent profile. All that was great don’t get me wrong but I’m not gonna lie to you….I wanted the money shot!

My bladders hard work was rewarded. After measuring the head, then the spine, then the femur the sonographer turned to Jon and I and asked the question that every parent to be is asked, "do you want to know the sex?" Jon's eyes lit up and for a second I had to remind him that she did not indeed ask if he had wanted to have sex. You gotta remember he had been banned from any sexual contact for the past few weeks and now he wasn't gonna get anything until I made it to 35 weeks or until after this baby made it's grand entrance. The word sex in any context made him giddy.

Once I got him back on track we both agreed that yes, we did want to know. The room seemed intensely quiet and it was like the words came out in slow motion, "'s a boy".

I cried.

I was ecstatic. A boy. We would have one girl and one boy. Jon just sat there smiling. First he knew the baby was healthy and now a boy. It was a good day.

I was excused to pee and then we left. The whole ride home and every moment there after was spent really focusing on boy names.

A boy. We were going to have a boy. It seemed so surreal.

I immediately had to shut down Jon on his suggestions that we name this child after one of the Manning brothers. Or possibly both…hmmm??

Jon: Babe...what do you think of the name Peyton??

Me: Really, babe? Peyton?? Our last name is Pettus. You want to name our child Peyton Pettus?

Jon: ???

Me: Why don’t we just name him Pee Pee.

Jon: (clearly NOT getting it) Or how about Eli?

Me: I like Eli...but...hmm...why do those names sound familiar?

Jon: (smiling as though he may just get away with this) Yeah babe we could name the baby Peyton Eli Pettus.

Me: PEP…naaa…I don’t think so. But seriously why do I know those names?

Jon: Maybe you went to school with someone that had similar names?

Me: No, no...I remember hearing those names very on t.v. or in the paper...why do I know those names? (trying to rack my pregnancy brain)

Jon: Don't worry about it. So what do you think...Peyton Eli Pettus? Sounds good right? Rolls right off the tongue?

Me: Wait a minute. Do mean like Peyton and Eli Manning?? You seriously want to name our child after football players?

Jon: (trying not to laugh) NO! No...I just like the names. So you agree on it right?

Me: I am NOT naming my child after football players. What's next you'll suggest we name him after your favorite baseball player’s.

Jon: (looking semi intrigued…but unwilling to open his mouth)

Me: I am NOT...repeat NOT going to be the mother of little Sosa McGuire Pettus. Do you hear me??

Jon: Yeah. I hear you.

I became a fanatic about names. I had nothing else to occupy my time. I clung to anything that could possibly get me through the long and lonely hours laid up in bed or on the couch.

I refused to be one of those woman that I dealt with at work that had to consult tea leaves or tried to sneak out of the hospital without naming their child.

Honestly I had a woman tell me as she was being wheeled past my office on the way to her vehicle with newborn in hand that “indeed in the state of Florida you have up to one year from the date of delivery to name your child”…I never looked it up because well…that is just downright insane. I would not be bringing home “Baby Boy Pettus”…this baby would have a name come hell or high water!

Not only was I crazed about names. I was worried about initials. How would it look on a monogrammed towel down the road? After being concerned about that I also found myself obsessing about how a name can be shortened. For example…loved the name William…not so much in love with the name Bill or Will!

Every name I came across in books would seem okay at first but then when I ran it through my litany of criteria…was it unique, but not weird? Did it flow with our last name? Could it be shortened into something vulgar? I mean in all seriousness do you really think the first person that ever named their kid Richard thought down the road to the day their kid would be called Dick?? I think not.

Then I’d have to deal with Jon and these random kicks he would get on. For example there was the day he was on his Russian kick…

Me: I was looking in the baby books and I just don’t see any names that speak to me. How bout you?

Jon: I like Vlad.

Me: Seriously?

Jon: Or Viktor. But it has to be spelled with a "k" instead of a "c"'s more Russian that way.

Me: You do know that WE are NOT Russian, right?? Like..our heritage is NOT in the least bit Russian? You do honestly get that right?

Jon: Why so negative?

Me: I'm not negative. I just think there should be some thought behind a child's name.

Jon: I am putting thought behind it. I just watched "The Saint" with Val Kilmer and they had all these Russian names....oooohhhh...wait...what about Ivan.

Me: No. Come on. Seriously??

Jon: Or Mikal? Yeah..yeah...I like Mikal.

Me: Like Barrishnakov?

Jon: Who?

Me: Have you been drinking?

Every name discussion ended the exact same way. Him frustrated that I wouldn’t “just consider” naming our child Skeletor Megatron Pettus and me wishing I could slit my wrist with the baby name books. It was agony.

Another couple weeks passed and we found ourselves back at the doctors. I was a day or so shy of 33 weeks. The heartbeat was strong. I hadn’t been contracting over the 4 weeks that I had been home from the hospital. Baby’s head was no longer down, so the doctor was willing to reduce my captivity but only by allowing me to be on my feet a whole 2 hours per day with no more than 30 minutes at one time. Party time.

We asked if there would be another ultrasound because he’d said he wanted to perform them every 2 weeks, which would equal a total of 3 over the 6 weeks until I made it to the magic number of 35. He said it wasn’t necessary this time but we could revisit it at the next appointment.

I celebrated my new found 30 minute freedom by taking a LONG shower when I got home from the doctors. But later I found myself craving another ultrasound. A baby shower had been planned and the nursery was taking shape. The little one was moving all the time, but I desperately wanted to see him again.

I had turned into an ultra sound addict. Here I had been sorta kinda…in my crazy mind… promised another 2 ultra sounds and now it was a “maybe”…”we’ll see”…at best. Oh hell no…I’m a mother. I know what “maybe” and “we’ll see” means…it’s code for NO, not gonna happen but I’m gonna say this BS answer and hope that you don’t throw a fit here in Target and make me look like Mommy Dearest.

I had no choice… I went straight to my dad and whined.

He worked for a hospital across the bay in Tampa and he just happened to be in the radiology department. Perfect. I began to court him with the idea of getting one of his people to do an ultra sound. Not for any diagnostic purposes. We just wanted to see him again. I couldn’t bank on a maybe…I needed a definite.

This was before the days of the 3-D ultra sound places that you could just go to and get a stunning picture of your soon to be cuddly baby. No, this was 1999 and I was at the utter mercy of the ultra sound nazi’s as I viewed it. I wasn't basing things on chance...I was taking control of this situation. So far this seemed to be the only thing, outside of choosing names, that I indeed could control. I felt drunk with power.

A week later I got my way and we were watching our little boy on the medium sized screen. We left that day with pics in hand and I became even more convinced that I needed a name. Not just any name. A great name. A name with meaning.

I went from crazed to obsessed to completely looney over picking the perfect name. I was stuck on the name Leighton for some reason. Jon was completely against it. He didn’t just dislike it…he downright hated it.

We agreed that we wanted to steer clear of any “J” names. With me being Jessica and him being Jon we didn’t want Olivia to feel left out. Especially since she didn’t share the same last name.

Next name I became obsessed with was Riley. Then Rory. Jon shot them both down. Citing too girly for Riley and "seriously what the fuck have you been smoking" I believe was the exact kiss off for Rory.

Finally one day I remembered a patient that had a little girl shortly after I started working in the birth records department. She also had a little boy and his first name was Garren. They were English and the poor kid had about six names in total, plus his last name. There was something about that name that just stuck with me.

I was hesitant to bring it up to Jon. I was running out of unique, non weird, can't be shortened into vulgar or pansy ass get your kids butt kicked on the playground kind of names.

He’d shot down every other name that I seemed to fall in love with. I tried to find it in one of the millions of baby name books that we owned but I couldn’t. I thought maybe if I casually put it in front of him and he stumbled upon it he’d bring it up to me and I’d be all “good job babe…I LOVE it”…he’d feel all proud and at last we would have a name.

It became abundantly clear that this scenario would not be occurring. So I bit the bullet and threw it out there.

Me: Hey babe?

Jon: Yeah.

Me: I found a name that I like.

Jon: Okay…what is it?

Me: (deep breath) Garren.

Jon: Hmmm…not bad.

Me: Really?? You like it?

Jon: Yeah…yeah I do.

Me: Oh my god…we just picked out our baby’s name.

Jon: Are you crying?

Me: (sniffing) No.

Jon: Are you happy that we have a name now.

Me: (trying to non chalantly wipe at my eyes and still sniffing) Yes.

Jon: Good. Now what is the middle name gonna be?

Me: (completely deflated) Crap.

Jon: How bout Peyton or Eli?

Me: (staring at him as if I can actually KILL him with my eyes)

Jon: I’ll take that as a no.

Now that we had a first name it was time to select the middle name. Really, how hard could this be? Apparently I had not closely examined how long it took us to select the first name. Stupid, stupid girl.

Immediately we were drawn to the name Alexander. Of course that flew out the window when I realized his initials would be GAP and his monogram would be GPA. Fail.

Then I thought maybe we should choose a name from the family. Jon agreed that trying to honor his father, who had passed away in 1994, was out of the question seeing as our choices would be Lester or Clinus. Epic fail.

Finally we settled on acknowledging my dad, Jesse. I was one of three girls and thus there was no one to carry on the family name. I adore my dad, especially since he is my step-dad and he came on the scene when I was at the unruly age of 11. He put up with a lot of my shit and I thought giving my son his name as a middle name would be a great way to say how much I loved and appreciated him.

We sat on the name for 2 more weeks. We had made it to 35! Another doctor’s appointment brought the blessed news that I could indeed be free of any restraints. If this little tyke wanted to come out and play they were on board. The doctor told us to enjoy our remaining time and keep him apprised of any problems. He would see me back in a two weeks if not sooner for problems or possibly in hospital for delivery.

We went over to the hospital to register and sign up for Lamaze classes. Since I wasn’t a newcomer to this rodeo we took a three night class. Kind of like the Cliff’s Notes of Labor & Delivery. We also called my parents and asked to take them out to dinner. It was time to unveil our name.

A few nights later we met at one of our favorite restaurants and with just my mom, dad and sister we spoke the baby’s name for the first time outside of our home.

Me: Well, we wanted to invite you here tonight so we could tell you that we selected a name.

Mom: That’s great. What is it?

Me: Jon do you wanna do the honors?

Jon: No, babe…it’s all you.

Me: (getting kind of misty eyed cause I’m a pregnant ball of hormonal emotions) Dad, are you listening?

Dad: Yeah. I’m listening. You wanna tell us the name for the baby?

Me: Okay…it’s Garren Jesse Pettus.

--- S I L E N C E ---

Me: (looking nervously at Jon and trying not to cry)

Jon: (looking at me trying to figure out why the hell I’m gonna cry)

Olivia: I have to pee.

Me: Is anyone going to say ANYTHING about the name of this baby?

Olivia: I like it. I have to pee.

Me: Ok. Is anyone else that hasn’t heard this name for the past two weeks gonna say anything about the name of this baby?

Olivia: I really have to pee.

Me: Yeah. I heard ya. Cole (my baby sister) I’ll give you $1 if you take her.

My sister thankfully escorts my cross legged child to the restroom and I attempt to not kill my parents with the steak knife resting in front of me.

Me: Okay. (becoming slightly shrill) One more time…is ANYONE…preferably the SOMEONE whose name is being used…going to comment on the name of the baby?

Dad: You only get called by your middle name when you are in trouble. This kid is gonna hate me.

UGH….this whole name shit sucks.

We left dinner and that night while we laid in bed I finally did cry. I was hurt. I wanted so badly to honor my dad, but strangely…he did have a point. I couldn’t bare to go back to the name selection game. We were now rounding into the 36 week mark and I was convinced this kid was coming at any second.

Jon agreed that whether it was used just as a name on the birth certificate or to scold the child when he acted out of turn, we knew what it meant to us in our hearts. So Garren Jesse Pettus was this baby’s name. I placed my hands on my overgrown belly and felt a kick. I concluded that the baby agreed and it wasn’t a topic of discussion again.

Now all that was left to do was get him here so we could meet him face to face…how hard could that be...


In job searching, as in really is ALL about the hair.

This week has been particularily productive.  I haven't slept in all day and I've managed to leave the house not once, but on several seperate occasions...go me!  I realize it is only Tuesday...but I'm taking baby steps towards success.

Yesterday brought my first interview in almost 2 weeks.  I was beginning to think it was me.  Then I realized...who ever snagged me as an employee would be extremely lucky.  Way to go with the delusional thought process!

Last week, on Friday I got a call on a resume that I had emailed only 45 minutes earlier.  I was like "oh hot damn"...this is my jam..have me dancin until the a.m....oh wait..THAT is totally not even relevant in this situation.  Anyways..I was completely awe struck with how quickly I had gotten a response.  I was more than a little excited.  When the woman was unwilling to give me any details on what the positon entailed and what the name of the company was I went from intrigued to completely mezmorized by the mystery of it all.

Monday brought my interview and it went really well.  My horroscope on facebook had predicted that red was my lucky color for the day, so I didn't try to tempt the internet gods and I doned a red top.  I rocked the straight hair feeling that it made me look more professional and serious.

I got a great vibe and the interview went for a little over an hour.  The woman that interviewed me seemed to think I was a "good fit" and that I'd "bring a lot to the office" and promised that I would hear something by the end of the week.

I went home hopeful and already arranging my soon to be workspace in my mind.  It's what I do's the just how I am.

I slept great last night...yes it was thanks in part to the wine but I'd like to think it was the universe speaking to me about the position and this dreams regarding the position ensued.

This morning after bringing the kids to school I got another call on another resume I had sent out.  This one was in the same vicinity as the interview yesterday, about 5 minutes from where my last job was located.  I'm used to the commute so I didn't take issue with it.

I consulted facebook and found that today blue would be my color of positive vibes.  Who am I to fuck with the iron clad workings of the virtual internet guru?

I'm two months into job searching which makes me 1 month behind on mortgage and completely out of excuses for my children who want EVERYTHING that cost money.  When Jennifer Lopez sang "My Love Don't Cost a Thing" she DEFINITELY was not singing about my kids!  That's for damn sure.

Feeling that a change of color wasn't enough I decided to go from seriously straight to curly confidence. 

I went in thinking..."no big deal.  I'm pretty sure I got this job from yesterday all locked up.  I'll just go in and get this interview out of the way and wait for the call from lady I spoke with yesterday".

That mentality lasted all of 3...ergh...maybe 5 minutes.  At that point I went from totally in love with the job that was described yesterday to seriously land this position that I was interviewing for now.

There was the increase in pay.  The potential for advancement and the fact that this employer repeated over and over how they were interested in keeping their employee's happy to reduce turn over.  This was a HUGE change from my last employer where we were told on a daily if not hourly basis that "WE WERE ALL REPLACABLE".  I believe the phrase "drones" was used on a weekly basis.

This interview lasted over an hour as well and I met with both the office manager and the owner who happened to be husband and wife.  I felt good when I left and was told that they were hoping to get the position filled and start the new hire on Monday.  I began to walk out, saying good-bye and thanking them for their time.  They called out and said that they would be making a decision by the end of the day.  I had heard that in the past and remembered that this is the south...every thing moves slower in the south.  I just nodded and smiled.

It was 2:02 p.m. when I walked out of the office.  I had to go and get gas because my SUV was crying for more ways to drain my bank account. much as I love my Honda Pilot...sometimes I miss my Camry.  I miss it's cheap fill up.  So I manuevered through construction first calling Jon then my best friend Allie to discuss the most recent interview.  No one answered.  So unreliable.

Allie was the first to call me back.  I went through the entire interview.  Weighed out the pros and cons of this job in comparison to the interview yesterday.  Of course I talked as if I had both of them in the bag.  Seriously...I have GOT to stop doing this.  It never fails that my over confidence leads to utter disappointment in the end.  But when your talking to someone that has known you for almost as long as you've known yourself you find that it is like looking in a three way mirror with bad see all your faults and flaws.  You see the things that could keep you from achieving any kind of success in any part of your life and then the sheer panic sets in.

Thankfully she is REALLY good when it comes to dealing with my irrational side.  We talked it out and mid sentence my phone rang.  It was the job that I had just left.  It was 2:45 p.m.  I didn't know if the fact that only 40 minutes had passed was a good or a bad thing.

I clicked answer on my Crackberry and tried to sound as professional as one can sound as they drive 75 mph down a rain slicked interstate. 

Me:  Hello.

Perspective employer:  Hi.  Is this Jessica?

Me:  Yes it is.

Perspective employer:  Hi this is "your perspective employer".

Me:  Oh...hi how are you?  (feeling completely idiotic for saying this but trying to pass it off non chalantly)

Perspective employer:  Are you driving?

Me:  Yes.  It's raining.  Sorry for the noise.

Perspective employer:  Can you drive and talk or should I call you back?

Me:  (feeling that this may be a post interview test about multi-tasking)  Yes.  Yes I can talk and drive in the rain.  (oh god...why did I have to say are such an sound like a fucking idiot...they are gonna fire you...oh wait they have to hire you to fire you...okay...they are DEFINITELY not going to hire you because you are an I-D-I-O-T)

Perspective employer:  Well we have discussed your resume and based on your interview....

Me:  (holding breath and trying to focus on the road)

Perspective employer:  ....we would like to offer you the position.  Can you start on Monday?

Me:   (attempting NOT to drive off the road while doing the happy dance in utter elation at having been offered a job after a month of searching and having epic failure's in regards to interviews)  I am very interested.  I would like to accept the position. ( sound like a fucking that they have in fact hired you...they may in fact fire you before you even start because they will have reviewed this retarded response)

Brand new employer:  Well then we will see you Monday morning at 8a.  Wear scrubs and we will go from there.

Me:  Okay.  Thank you.

I hang up and contemplate pulling over so that I can scream and dance without possibly running other drivers off the road.  I decide against it seeing as I am only one exit away from the mall which is my final destination.

I called my best friend back and ran through the details of the job as if I am reviewing a date from back in my high school days.  My first concern in all my backwards thinking was "do you think I agreed to quickly" and "what if the other job calls me in the next couple of minutes". 

I was deaf to the cosmic voices that were literally screaming "accept the gift I have just given you dumb shit". I was with the grass MUST be greener on the other side of the employment fence.  My best friend tried to lay rational thoughts upon me....but thankfully she can be just as crazy as I am at times so while she would drag me to reality she would also feed my fantasy that a virtual bidding war would ensue over my AMAZING talents.

Jon stepped in and brought my ass firmly back to reality and said that if the other job did in fact call and offer me the position it's a first come, first employ mentality.  He told me to thank her but to respectfully decline the position, remain true to the one that hired me first and move on to paycheck earning bliss.  That theory seems all fine and good IF the person he was talking to was a clear thinking individual.  Reality was...he was, unfortunately talking to me.  Reality is only what I am willing to make of it and my reality didn't include being...well...umm...realistic.

Thankfully, I sat back.  Took a few deep breaths.  Glared hatefully at my Crackberry willing it to ring with the a call from the previous days interview and when that didn't occur I made the call to advise her that I had been offered a job, which I had accepted.  I was prepared to "respectfully decline" her envisioned fawning advances to win me over to her position.

Yeah, that didn't happen.  When I got the woman on the phone she acted as if she couldn't remember who the hell I was.  I was like hey...jackleg...I'm the one you were showing your grandkids baby and school pics!  Remember me now?!?

Apparently not.

At that moment I knew I had made the right decision.  Curly hair and all I will be moving on to the next chapter in my professional life.  Thank you facebook and all your cosmic certainty.  I'd like to commend you on the color choices but ask that in the future you advise individual on hairstyle choices.  It would save a lot of hassle in the long run.