From the category archives:

Pregnancy by week

The Hollywood Break!

by Esther on Sat, May 15th, 2010

in Documentation,Labor,Pregnancy by week,Week 41

Penny Simkin, the wonderful doula who taught our class, calls the pre-labor water break The Hollywood Break.  I figured it probably wouldn’t happen to me, and had honestly rather hoped that comfortable sac of water would stay in place for a good long portion of my labor.  But here I am, 11 hours after shoving a dozen paper towels between my legs as I laughed hysterically during a bathroom trip at our favorite cabaret bar, still giggling over the drama.

I had just finished sitting through a set break at our table on stage right.  We were watching and laughing at a couple seated front and center of the stage who obviously felt they were the only couple in the room.  They were all over each other!  I’ll admit, it was kind of hot.  We remarked about how nice it was to have entertainment while The Heavenly Spies took their break.  I thought a bit about what it’s like to be so in love and attracted to each other that you forget that there is a whole world outside of your being, and remembered times with my husband that felt like that.  I remembered feeling that way just a few months ago, when we took in TWO back to back Can Can shows for Valentine’s Day and had a terrific time together.

I thought about how Ina May Gaskin says something like, “It’s that loving sexy energy that gets the baby into your body, and it’s that loving sexy energy that will get him out,” and I wondered, will loving sexy energy from couples heavily making out right in front of me, in one of my favorite places, while I’m with my husband and my best friend watching beautiful women with hardly any clothing on dance their hearts out, count?  If so, I was feeling as if this lucky crane should really start presenting himself soon.

At that moment, I stood up to use the bathroom.  I paused to consider the small gush and pushed my way through the crowd towards the bathroom.  By the time I got to the door, things had become surreal.  The Heavenly Spies were back on the stage, the crowd was howling, and I was sopping wet.

Sadly, labor contractions are not really kicking in.  It’s looking as if I will be drinking a Castor Oil concoction in about an hour.  This is a little frightening, but I’m mostly excited.  I guess I’ll take a quick nap, first.

Labor on a crazy Saturday.  While (pardon me for saying so, but I must) all the crazy slutty girls from the East Side in their ridiculous 6″ heels parade around with their douche bag boyfriends while drunkenly howling, fighting, and shooting each other outside the windows of our beloved little loft, we’ll be howling an entirely different song from the inside.  I love it!


Go time

by Milton on Sat, May 15th, 2010

in Labor,Week 41

8am, May 15th: 41 weeks, 0 days. Water broke 8 hours ago.

Last night we decided to watch some burlesque at our favorite local cabaret bar, The Can Can.  About halfway through the 3rd act, around midnight exactly, Esther got up and paused, looking at us quizzically.  She shook her head dismissively and went to the bathroom.  Myrna and I probably both knew what she was thinking, but it wasn’t until Esther had a girl summon us to the bathroom that we confirmed that in fact her water had broke!  We excitedly paid the bill, and walked home, making sure the staff had a good story to talk about for the night.  Looks like the exciting show was the last convincing argument that Axelrod needed in order to pack up and start the big move.

Only 10% of women have their water break before contractions start, but Esther being the dramatic show(wo)man that she is, of course had to do it this way.  We got a good 7 hours of sleep, and are under orders to get a good breakfast and start pounding the pavement in order to get these regular contractions a little organized.  This is our friend Myrna’s last full day in town, and we’re going to try to make it worth her money.  She’s on our way over now and we’re going to walk to our favorite breakfast spot, Portage Bay.

Send us some good messages on the astral plane.


{ 1 comment }

40 Weeks, 6 Days

by Esther on Fri, May 14th, 2010

in Challenges,Psychological,Week 40

A Night of Hemingway

I was up all night last night with 45 second long contractions that started every 2.5 minutes.  It was very similar to a bit of false labor that happened last Sunday, but last Sunday’s hours of excitement and discomfort followed a cervical sweep, and this night did not.  This particular false labor followed a walk around the 3 mile path of GreenLake.

The walk was REALLY difficult, which surprised me.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I had no problem keeping up a terrific pace around the lake.  One week ago, I had no problem mounting the hills of Seattle on an hours and hours long walkabout with my husband.  This time I crept along at a snails pace.  The last mile of the lake about killed me.  Aching knees, aching feet, grumpy pants.  I could have curled up on any old patch of grass for a nap, but then I would have gotten to the car (and ultimately my bed) even later.  I can’t believe the difference one week post your due date makes!  I’ve always been in great shape, and feel a little broken.  I feel detached from my body in a way that I never have before.  I am watching my lumbering from afar.  Sometimes I wake from a nap and wouldn’t know I was pregnant… until I have to move and roll over to somehow make it up and to the bathroom for my every 10 minute trip to the toilet.  Everything is taking so much effort that I’m a little concerned about what a long labor is going to be like.  Having strong Braxton Hicks for 8 hours straight is not at all painful, but is absolutely exhausting.  Will real labor take even longer?  Will real labor be 10 times stronger… or 100?

We went in for a 41 week ultrasound today.  The baby looks great!  His cheeks are chubby like mine and we think he has his father’s eyes (which is how I always pictured him).  I felt as if I was cheating a little bit with our sneak peak, but placated myself with the knowledge that we were doing this to make sure everything was ok.

(Honestly, I knew everything was ok.  He’s totally chilling out in there.)

I’m exhausted today.  I just woke from a 4 hour nap and, having eaten a sandwich, am thinking about retiring for 4 more hours.  Maybe I’ll wake up in for real labor some day soon.  My sleeping schedule is totally screwed so I must be ready to be a newborn nursing mom, right?


Our good friend Myrna is in town for a couple days.  We thought she’d be able to meet little Axelrod when she made the flight plan, but I think we were a little overzealous in our predictions.  Still, it’s great having her here.  Today we’re going to walk around Greenlake and eat some delicious sandwiches from Paseo.  No, life is not tough.

Also, there’s a midwife conference happening tomorrow that both our midwife and doula would like to attend if possible.  Our birth class instructor is giving a talk on the OP fetus (occiput posterior, where the baby’s face is pointing towards the mom’s belly rather than towards the mom’s back), and how little we know about it (ooh, I found the actual paper online here though it’s a little over my head).  Occiput posterior positioning often leads to a more painful birth process, which is why it’s generally a less favored strategy for the baby to take.

Anyway, it looks like an interesting talk.  If Esther does go into labor sometime tonight, maybe we’ll just head on down to the conference.



by Milton on Wed, May 12th, 2010

in Psychological,Week 40

We don’t have any.



by Esther on Tue, May 11th, 2010

in Challenges,Pregnancy by week,Psychological,Week 40

Oh you guys! Honestly, we don’t need labor inducing tecniques. I get acupuncture needles all over my body, have been inserting Evening Primrose Oil for weeks, love awkward pregnant intimacy with my husband (even if I don’t want to talk about it on our blog), have had cervical sweeps, walk all the time, spend lots of time meditating, eat pineapple sprinkled with cayenne (ok mostly because that’s delicious!) and on and on and on and on and on and on. And then on. And on. Really. Truly. Madly. Deeply.

We know. We hear you! We read the books you recommended. We talked to our midwives. I get calls, texts, emails, facebook wall messages, gchats, facebook chats, and even pretty snail mail cards from everyone in our community. We love you all for that, but are feeling a little overwhelmed. And, honestly, we understand that none of it really works if the baby’s not ready.

I am trying to relax and not feel exhausted by pregnancy. I am madly looking forward to the batch of babymoon hormones I will get when our little crane decides that it’s high time he arrives. In the meantime, my best friend is going to arrive via plane tomorrow! We hadn’t been intending to have her here at the birth… but that could be awesome if it happens. Whatever comes with our imminent futures will be awesome as long as everyone remains in good health and high spirits.


No need. Except for castor oil and Pitocin, we’ve tried it. A lot of it.

I sort of think all of these methods are about as effective as the hiccup cures.

If we keep trying random things, though, one of them is bound to “work”, right?


Ok, it’s true.  The end of pregnancy gets weird.  I once read a tweet from a recently pregnant girl that said something along the lines of, “It’s like waiting for a houseguest who hasn’t told you exactly when he was coming, who will stay for 18 years.”  That’s true.  On top of that, there are all of these amazing hormones that a lady has to deal with.  Alternately, they have me spaced out, bone tired, become a weeping madonna, or they cause me to buzz about like a squirrel in November making last minute preparations for hibernation.  I’ve had me some manic episodes, but never combined in quite this way.  Usually, the buzzy squirrel (by far my favorite hormone-induced personality manifestation) comes after 10pm, and often stays until 2am, after which point I find myself meditating my way to sleep, which is great hypno-breathing practice.  Without a great effort towards breath meditation, there is no way I would even sleep after 2am.  We no longer sleep before 2am in this house!  We also no longer get out of bed before 11.  It’s just not possible.  This baby dictates these hours from within.

World, did you know that you can walk around with your cervix 3cms dilated, while breathing through non-progressive (and not painful) 30 second contractions that come every 2.5 minutes, for a whole day, without being in labor?  I did not!  My uterus has been doing lots of work without really bothering me too much.  Hopefully this means that when showtime comes along, I will need to work a little less.  I don’t really know.  The whole birthing process is still such a great mystery to me, even after reading all 50 of the books on our shelves and having a somewhat solid base understanding of the science that goes on behind the madness.

I am on my way to get some acupuncture at my midwifery office.  We are hoping to nudge this little crane down a bit.  He doesn’t seem to understand yet that, while it’s great that he’s comfortable, a bit more pressure on my cervix will bring him to his second home- The Outside World- where we spend a lot of time laughing, dancing, and cuddling.  Milton keeps telling my belly, “You can come out now.  There are warm blankets here!”


40 Weeks, 0 Days!

by Esther on Sat, May 8th, 2010

in Documentation,Week 40

We’re due to have our little lucky crane today! I’m not sure what that means, exactly.  So far it means that I should spend the day navigating my way through aimless (but somehow productive) weeping jags and dull cramps. For what it’s worth, I’m fairly certain he won’t be coming this afternoon. We’re fine with that! The new Iron Man just opened, and I was honestly sad at the prospect of not seeing it in the big theater up the street if Mr. Lucky Axelrod Crane  came early.

Owen Pallett, who we LOVE, is playing at our favorite neighborhood music joint tonight!  I’ll be too tired to tough out the throngs and the loud on a Saturday night in our CRAZY WEEKEND PARTY neighborhood, but am placating myself with waiting for him to play on KEXP, which was supposed to start almost a half hour ago.  Where are you, Mr. Pallett?  I think the crane surely the sounds of Owen by now, because we’ve been listening an awful lot.  There is a family anticipating this radio show AND a baby.  Get with the knack, everyone!

Speaking of our hood, I do half wish for some heavy labor on a Saturday night.  It’s the only time I will be able to make more noise at 2am than the drunk fighters in the street.  The neighbors wouldn’t even notice our home birth if it happened on a Saturday!  Of course, the midwife might not be able to find a parking spot…

My poor handsomehusbandface!  Every time Milton asks me to shut a window, close the roof deck door, or turn off our ceiling fan, he gets this slightly pleading and apologetic lilt to his voice that makes me giggle.  I have given this man’s body temperature a run for some sweaters so far this year.

I don’t have anything more to offer you today.  I am emotional in such a way that can not be expressed with typing.  This photo that Milton took last night pretty much says it all:

We've Reached the Gate.

UPDATE!!!  We did go to the Owen Pallett concert after all!  There was no getting away from it after finally listening to him on the radio.  He is brilliant and was an absolute JOY to watch.  I have no doubt that baby Axelrod appreciated Mr. Pallett’s delicious vibrations.  I would encourage every woman to go to the movies and go to a concert on her due date.  It makes everything even more extra special!


Pre-labor signs. Check!

by Milton on Fri, May 7th, 2010

in Week 39

We used to get really excited to confirm an early labor sign.  But I think we’ve already collected them all.

  1. Nesting instinct. Check! Our house has never been cleaner or better organized.
  2. Braxton Hicks contractions. Check! She’s actually been having them for months, but they seem to be coming in bigger and bigger clumps the last week or two.
  3. Dropping/lightening. Check! Esther can breathe and eat again.  And walk a little faster than a snail.  It’s the small things.
  4. Changes in cervix. Check!
  5. Discharge and mucus plug. Check! Actually, we thought Esther had passed the plug a couple weeks ago, but then it seems like it passed for real last night.  You’re so cool you got to have two mucus plugs.
  6. Water breaking. Nope… not yet, but that only happens to 10% of women before the beginning of labor, so I’m not sure we’ll get to check that one off before the real deal.
  7. Labor contractions. Not real ones, of course.  A couple false labors… contractions 5-8 minutes apart lasting for a couple hours at a time only to subside.  Still waiting for the real ones that progress and get stronger and get the serious work done.

Now, the only thing of any interest to us anymore is actual labor.  Well, I’m actually really enjoying the anticipation too.  Yesterday was one of my favorite days in recent memory.

We walked up to Capitol Hill, had an ice cream cone, walked to Cal Anderson Park and watched tons of babies congregating with parents of different parenting styles, then had an early dinner and a movie with some friends who are due to have a baby a week after us. And then we walked all the way back, Esther stopping to pee in at least half a dozen establishments along the way.

Life is pretty awesome right now. And is only going to get better. Anyone who wants to try to bring me down with a comment about how difficult it is going to be has misunderstood our take on this… doing difficult things with Esther is one of the most fulfilling things of life.