Friday, May 11, 2012

Equal Opportunity Greeter

My one-year-old does not discriminate based on gender, race, or appearances--no matter how outlandish a person looks. If someone smiles at him, he simply smiles in return.

During our daily walks around the neighborhood, Jordan leisurely sits in his stroller and basks in the outdoors. Upon seeing a dog or a duck, he squeals and kicks his legs. He enthusiastically lifts his arms and waves at the passerby. Usually, this seemingly innocent gesture is accompanied by a high-pitched: "Hiiiiiiiii!" Onlookers smile, some will even say hello in response to his effervescent greeting.

As we proceed further along on our walk, I note the vast differences between baby-brain and adult-brain. While I silently judge others based on appearances, my son is an equal opportunity greeter. At an early age, I was taught--actually drilled to no avail--to not talk to strangers. I infrequently smile at others I pass in public places and oftentimes even look away to avoid eye contact all together.  I will even look in the opposite direction if a stranger seems the least bit threatening. Some may call this behavior unfriendly. I call it being street smart.

I think most of us are inherently acculturated to stranger danger and mistrust the general public. As a society, we are plagued with daily reports of violence--kidnapping, robberies, and various brutalities. The world is not a safe place. From childhood, our parents have instilled the importance of trusting only family and close friends. We are ingrained to become cautious if a stranger suddenly imposes a false trust.

My cute, innocent son has yet to grasp this concept. Through his eyes, every stranger is a potential friend. And, very few strangers are immune to my son's charming demeanor. As he pleasantly smiles at pedestrians, everything is right with the world. He reins as the king of his domain as he continues to be pushed in his throne on wheels.  He is blissfully ignorant.

Sadly, soon I will have to begin the act of teaching my son the importance of exercising caution with strangers. My husband and I will be solely responsible for lifting his veil of ignorance and telling him that the world is really not a safe place. He will soon learn the societal art of discrimination, prejudice, and self-preservation.

My son has taught me yet another life lesson: The world would be such a happier place if we all greeted strangers walking past--scary-looking or not.  And until he learns about stranger danger, I can still enjoy watching as he ignites the faces of passerby.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bye-Bye Baby

How did I suddenly become the mother of a one year old? This past year was both the shortest and longest year of my entire life.  It seems like only yesterday that I was still pregnant and blogging away on bed rest.  My body still feels as though it is healing from its traumatic childbirth experience.  I still sometimes wake up at 3am and expect to nurse a tiny baby dozing in the bassinet beside my bed.  However, those throaty, scratchy sounds of a newborn have long since abated.

Back then it seemed there was no end in sight of the sleepless nights, colicky behavior, and neediness that only a newborn baby can possess.  Although everyone told me how “quickly it all goes by”, I wish I could travel back in time and advise my frazzled self.   

After Baby J neared the end of newborn-dome and began smiling socially for the first time, I fell in love.  Enchanted by his smiles, enraptured with his charm, I began enjoying motherhood.  Between 6-8 months, he became the epitome of a perfect baby: He was content playing for long periods but couldn’t yet crawl or move.  I used to place him on the family room floor strewn with toys and jump on my treadmill for a half hour.  Those respite days are long over.

When he approached eight months, his little personality would surface at the most inopportune of moments.  His father’s stubbornness would appear when things didn’t go quite his way.  His mother’s restlessness would always prevail when out to dinner at a restaurant.  Around eleven months, I suddenly woke up one morning and discovered that I no longer had a baby: I had a toddler instead.  The change was so spontaneous that I was sure my baby was kidnapped in the middle of the night and replaced with an older child.

This weekend Jordan was presented with his first birthday “smash” cake, adorned with green icing.  As he dove, fingers first into his mini-masterpiece, I was quite the adoring mother.  A party guest actually congratulated me on making it through one year.  As if getting through the first year of baby’s life is a huge accomplishment. 

My husband, who loves to rid our house of antiquated items, already moved Jordan’s baby items out of the house.  As my husband relegated the exersaucer into the garage, I was filled with nostalgia for the baby days.  I must also donate books, toys, clothes, and gear that are suited for a baby, not a toddler.  I can no longer use the excuse “I have a baby” for various reasons such as showing up late to work, not wearing make-up, or having a messy house.  I doubt the “I have a toddler” excuse with garner as much sympathy and understanding. 

So, as another momentous year in my life has come to a close, I look forward to the new challenges imposed by motherhood.  Next, will be learning to walk, talk, and use the bathroom.   While I will always reminisce about the “baby days” I look forward to more birthday cakes, celebrations, and watching g my toddler grow into a little boy….

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bringing Home Baby J

During my pregnancy, I had immersed myself in books and other tidbits of information on newborns.  Intellectually, I thought I was prepared for the sleep deprivation, caretaking responsibilities, and loss of independence.  However, nothing I had read could have prepared me for feeling extremely overwhelmed, anxious, and out-of-my-element.  After I returned home from the hospital, I felt like an intruder in my own life.  My house, my marriage, my relationships with others all felt foreign and unfamiliar.  I actually experienced a mourning phase, in which I grieved my life pre-baby.  Every night, around 6pm, after that night’s sleep deprivation came to a culmination, I would sob to Jon.  I told him I missed him, missed us, and lamented my independence.  Although Jon admitted to me later that he had thought my emotional torrents were rather amusing, he took care in projecting understanding and compassion.  And he would have gladly injured his proverbial back by assisting with my emotional luggage, but his body was not the one recuperating from childbirth.
One of my childless friends, but an amazing aunt, declared to me one day that every new mom is a single mom.  She meant that no matter how supportive the husband, the mother always shoulders the burden of caring for her newborn baby.  Another bit of advice given to me years ago by my father was: Give 60% to every relationship and expect 40% in return.  Of course Jon had only the best intentions when he decided to “assist” with random household chores like organizing the spice rack and re-arranging the Tupperware shelf.  However, what I really needed assistance with was putting Baby J to sleep, a foot massage, or a back scratch. 
I could not have been more grateful that my mom took off of work the second week of Jordan’s life. Although Jon was off during the first week, it had progressed in such a frenzied blur, as the first four days were spent in the hospital and the last three days we were home dealing with Jordan’s escalating jaundice levels.  During the second week, my mom consoled me as I cried to her about my cornucopia of post-pregnancy woes.  I think that very few new moms will ever admit to feeling some of the emotions that I experienced that first week.  However I think that it is important to explain what those feelings were, so women can have a better understanding of the blight of post-pregnancy hormones. 
In the beginning, I actually regretted having a baby.  Yes—you read that correctly—I actually regretted having my adorable little son.  Along with the compounding feelings of mourning my life and my marriage, a miniscule part of me wished that I could travel back in time and never have conceived.  Because I was now a mom, my first priority had transferred from me to him. I enjoyed my life and loved traveling on a whim and had a free-spirited pick-up-and-go attitude.  Now, I had another human being completely dependent on me for meeting his basic needs of survival and my own wishes and desires were forced to the back burner.  Since my moments of solace were few and far between, I actually found myself contemplating which basic need to achieve first when I did secure a free minute—should I eat, shower, sleep??
It is no surprise that Baby J ended up being very stubborn on the nature of napping.  For the first six weeks, he adamantly refused to close his eyes during the day and I had to endure hours upon hours of fussiness.  Eventually, I conjured a very involved rigmarole to lure him to sleep.  The napping recipe was as follows: 1. Swaddle a screaming, overtired baby in a straight-jacket looking apparatus, 2. Blast a hair dryer on the highest setting, 3. Shush him in my arms until crying ceases, 4. Place a dazed-looking baby into swing, 5. Jiggle the back of swing vigorously until baby passes out. 
I also felt extremely overwhelmed at the new responsibilities imposed by motherhood.  As if having a new baby is not enough to cause one to feel completely and undeniably subjugated, I had to learn how to operate baby gear.  Of course, I did not have time to quietly contemplate assembly of this new machinery, but everything had to be completed under the rapid fire of a screaming baby.  For instance, I had to learn how to remove the car seat out of the base of the car and into the stroller (and the stroller had its own, separate adaptor that had to be installed for the car seat to click into place!).  While I loathe assembly, I am not a wimpy person but the weight of the car seat plus baby seemed like an impossible maneuver.  No wonder so many moms have guns that can rival the arms of an accomplished body-builder!
During the first few weeks of motherhood, I experienced major insomnia.  The old adage of “sleep when the baby sleeps”, continually annoyed me when uttered by people who either had a baby thirty years ago or those who had not yet experienced parenthood.  An anxiety-producing sense of extreme responsibility and hyper-vigilance kept me awake throughout the night, even while Jordan slept.  I had such a difficult time unwinding and succumbing to sleep since I never knew when Jordan would awake crying and I would have to jump out of bed, 100% alert to care for his needs.  After about three weeks, my body and mind eventually adapted and I did sleep during the night while he slept. 
While I would definitely describe my first few weeks of motherhood, as experiencing something like the baby blues, I think that it is important to mention that I never had any thoughts of harming myself or my baby during that time period.  Many specialists agree that thoughts of endangering oneself or one’s baby are the defining factors in differentiating post-partum depression from the baby blues.  Prior to these feelings, I thought that post-partum depression was synonymous with the baby blues and did not distinguish between the two.  However, after discussing my feelings with other first time moms, I realized that the baby blues is extremely common, even in the most well-adapted and competent new mother. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Post-Partum Unit and Beyond

Talk about being thrown into a fire; totally blind-sided and unprepared for the unprecedented chaos.  I was handed this adorable little baby and had absolutely no clue what to do with him.  Naively, I had thought that my nurturing, motherly instincts would immediately kick into effect and I would have no trouble adapting to motherhood. 
Initially, the art of breastfeeding seemed such an insurmountable obstacle and a painful endeavor.  My new little baby appeared something akin to a parasitic leech, rather than a defenseless, little newborn.  Explosive cries emanated out of his little body and he bit into me with a ravenous determination.  During the second night of my hospital stay, and overcome with exhaustion, I literally tried to return him to the hospital.  Wheeling his bassinet into the hospital nursery, I seriously asked if they had any magical panacea to cease his infinite crying.  The night nurse looked at me like I had delivered both my baby as well as my brain, because apparently my head had been vacated.  After she sternly told me that there was nothing she could do, she pitied my frazzled state and offered to watch Baby J while I slept for a few hours.  Apparently, all sales were final. 
When it was finally time to be discharged, I felt as though I was being thrown into the world of motherhood with no instruction booklet or training manual.  The discharge nurse instructed me to sit in a wheelchair (although I had been walking around the floor for days now), with Baby J swaddled in a blanket on my lap, and Jon proudly striding beside us.  Obediently, I agreed to this picture-perfect looking happy-family procession.  However, in reality, my body was still aching from childbirth and my deflated stomach pancaked over my maternity sweatpants (not my size four skinny jeans, which I had packed just in case).  Also, Jon really needed the wheelchair more than I did, since he was dizzy from his own accumulated sleep deprivation and sleeping on a hospital couch for five nights (he had also managed to contract an allergic reaction from the harsh, hospital laundry detergent used to clean the bedsheets).  In light of how we were really feeling, we fabricated false smiles of happy newbie parents and continued our parade toward the exit. 
As soon as the valet pulled my car into the hospital driveway, the fa├žade quickly unraveled:  Jon and I had asked a friend to install the car seat a week earlier and we had both mistakenly thought that the other one had known how to use it.  Of course, when we tried to secure Baby J into the state-of-the-art, $400 contraption, neither of us knew how to operate the damn thing.  Poor Baby J, losing his patience with each failed attempt, succumbed to a red-faced temper tantrum as we fiddled with the straps of his car seat. Bystanders stared at our frazzled spectacle, wondering what on earth we were doing with this poor newborn.   A desperate Jon solicited total strangers, asking if anyone knew how to operate a Peg-Perego car seat.  When no solution sufficed, I ordered Jon to drive home slowly and safely.  I cradled my new baby close to my chest and prayed that our faces would not appear on the evening news.  Luckily, we eventually arrived home, intact and grateful.

Venturing into our own house also proved to be unfamiliar territory.  Little Jordan took one look at his new surroundings and spontaneously combusted into a meltdown.   Looking quite dapper in his carefully coordinated homecoming outfit, there was little I could do to quell his tempter.  How could someone in such a well-attired, monkey outfit behave in such an embittered fashion?  When Jon repeatedly commented that he was acting like an animal, I suggested that perhaps we should stop dressing him as such. 
Jon and I were befuddled and took turns playing hot potato with Baby J.  We learned quickly that despite the expensive baby furniture, creatively adorned wall decals, and cutesy baby toys, the only thing that acted as a remedy for Jordan’s fussiness was Mommy’s boobies.
Those first turbulent days at home were quite an adjustment for all of us.  My fluctuating hormones as well as Jordan’s moods were extremely erratic and unpredictable.  We devised all sorts of creative ideas to cease Baby J’s endless crying such as blasting a blow dryer (this sound supposedly mimics the sound of the womb), taking him outside for a change of scenery, and when all else failed--back to the boob…

Monday, August 15, 2011

Labor Pains

I am back by popular demand (well, I don't know about popularity, but a couple of my friends were quite demanding that I continue blogging again)!  So, since I have had ions of free time (in between raising a baby, working, being a wife, keeping a household in order, and trying to instill some semblance of sanity back into my life), I have continued journaling about my experiences as a new mother.  To not overwhelm my dear readers, I will post a new blog every few days in order to catch up on the past four months.  In doing so, I will attempt to censor my story, omitting graphic details and TMIs.  So, imagine what life was like four months ago....on April 11, 2011, to be exact, and read on for the full story of Jordan's entry into the world....

Labor Pains
This is not a drill, I sardonically thought to myself when my water broke for the second time, two days before my actual due date.  I was winding down from a rather busy weekend, in which I was feeling great: my energy had returned, the nesting instinct was in full effect, and I had spent the past two days enjoying the beach, movies, and my brother’s 30th birthday party.  
 Of course, I hoped for one more good night’s sleep before admitting myself to the hospital yet again.  However, as my luck would prevail, the minute I snuggled into bed at 11pm on Sunday night, my water broke for the second time in my pregnancy.  Just in case this was another false alarm, I crept into the bathroom, careful not to wake my sleeping husband, and called my doula.  She confirmed that this was in fact the real thing and I needed to go to the hospital in the next couple of hours, as I was experiencing irregular contractions.
When I woke up Jon, he bolted towards the garage door before the words had even passed my lips.  Since the last incident, in which I had teased him about primping like a woman, he was now lickity split, while I took my time leisurely showering, washing my hair, and preparing my last meal before a diet of ice chips.  Of course, when I was finally ready, Jon admitted that he didn’t think that he could drive me to the hospital, since he had taken a sleeping pill that night.  Grabbing the car keys, my zombie-husband, my birthing ball, and my bump, I drove us all to the hospital and was ready to finally meet the little stinker who had already given his mommy the torture treatment.
While it would have given me great pleasure to report that I delivered baby J as soon as I was admitted to the hospital, drug-free, pain-free, and extracted him out of the womb myself, that is not my life.  Once I was whisked off to triage, admitted, and checked into a room, the nurse informed me that my doctor had instructed me to sleep in the hospital that night, since my contractions were irregular.  After a rather sleepless night, my contractions were still irregular and the nurse implanted garvasol, an insert to induce labor.  Although she had instructed me to exercise extreme caution after the implantation, I horrifically discovered that the insert eventually journeyed into the long lost chasm of the hospital toilet bowl.  
Of course, my labor had still not progressed and my doctor decided it was time to call out the much-dreaded pictocin.  My mind immediately corroded of horror stories, told by friends who had received the big P.  One of my friends admitted to abusing her poor husband by throwing inadimate objects at his undeserving head; another friend hysterically screamed that the anesthesiologist wasn't moving fast enough, scaring the drug-monger out of the hospital room, never to return.  I feared the worst: unbearable pain was in my imminent future and my contractions would feel 100 times worse than the somewhat bearable bodily spasms I was now experiencing. 
I soon discovered that my fear was very real; the Pictocin magnified my contractions to such an extent that I vomited after each one.  Having no respite from the contractions and the repetitive puking, and after enduring eleven hours of labor, I eventually relented to the epidural.  After the anesthesiologist kicked my entourage out of the hospital room and administered the spinal injection, my pain quickly vanished.   Because of the epidural, I no longer felt as though I was in labor, in any type of pain, and could not even tell when I was experiencing a contraction. 
Prior to my labor, I was adamant that I did not want an epidural.  I did not want to be a prisoner of the hospital bed, but wanted to be free to roam around the room, exercising my contractions as calmly as the women in the birthing movies and pamphlets.  However, Jon reported that upon his re-emergence into the hospital room, I had a huge smile on my face.  During the seven more hours of labor, I was actually able to nap, watch TV, play scrabble, and carry on everyday conversations—some semblance of normalcy was restored. 
Ironically enough, my favorite part of the birthing process was when it finally became time for me to push.  My mom and doula each held one leg while Jon stood next to me, holding my hand.  I felt like I was about to cross the finish line of the longest marathon of my life and I had my own, personal cheering squad, urging me towards the final leg of my journey.  Also, I had not experienced a full cardiovascular exercise in months, and the endorphin/adrenaline rush of the momentum felt invigorating.  After an hour and a half of extreme pushing and cheering, Baby J erupted out of my body and was greeted by the world. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

In B.E.D. with Tea

Disclaimer: The following information contains somewhat technical/boring informational material geared towards women in their third trimester of pregnancy.  If you were hoping to be entertained or enlightened by my misadventures, stay tuned for the next blog!

No, I am not sick nor am I having contractions.  I devised this little acronym to assist me in recalling the three important things that I need to ask my doctor during each office visit until my labor commences.  B.E.D. stands for: Baby Station, Effacement, and Dilation.  I also thought this acronym rather fitting since pregnancy is usually instigated with a woman being in bed and ends in bed (albeit a hospital birthing bed).  As I was recently informed, the components of B.E.D, are the three main indicators that specify when a woman is about to go into labor.  Please keep in mind that despite any of these factors, I am a living example that anything can go awry at any given point in time. 

The other night, when I met with my doula, she instructed me to ask my doctor about my B.E.D. progress.  Copiously, I scribbled notes and attempted to untangle her detailed description of each of the three components, but I was still quite lost.  When I turned to Jon for understanding, he was involved in a game of pet n' purr with Tiger and his face appeared equally blank.  So, when I waddled into my doctor's office on Thursday, I suddenly realized with a jolt -Omigosh I left my paper with questions in my car.  I felt like an irresponsible student who had forgotten her homework at home....In haste, I texted my doula--What were those three things again (and what do they mean?)?

Luckily, my doula was quick to respond and my doctor was able to give me the lowdown on Baby J's newest statistics.  I have discovered that here is an entire quadratic formula utilized in order to evaluate the labor and birthing process. As I have so expertly demonstrated thus far, the obstetrical community can measure, quantify, and qualify just about anything.  Yes, big brother has been watching over me and Baby J!

For all of my fellow preggers nearing the tail end of pregnancy, I will attempt to describe B.E.D. as well as exercises and routines that can assist in the progress.  For all of you non-preggers, but loyal blog followers, I apologize in advance for the overall dryness and technicalities of the following information. 

Firstly, baby station is the baby's location in relation to the mother’s pelvis and how low down the head is positioned.  This is measured by the relationship between the baby's head and the mother's sit bones.  The range is from -5 (floating, bouncing baby) to +5 (crowning or moment of extreme pain followed by immense relief).  This is usually measured by the practitioner via an internal exam during the last few weeks of pregnancy.  Supposedly, women whose babies have not properly descended feel immense pain when the doctor checks for the station, as it feels as though he is reaching upward, towards the tonsils.  My baby station is currently at -2, and like all expectant mothers, I would love to hop on the express train to the +5 station!

Effacement refers to the shortening of the cervix as the mother’s body readies itself for labor.  This is measured in percentages, ranging from 0-100.  My doula described effacement as an aligning of the cervix to the uterus; in which the cervix eventually becomes a part of the uterine wall, allowing the baby an easy passage downward (it helps me to visualize a zigzagging water slide which straightens out at the end, depositing its components into an awaiting pool).  When a woman is fully effaced, she can lose her mucus plug, which has so far acted as a sealant to the uterus and the outside world.  I am at 0% effacement, so clearly I have some work to do in this department.

Effacement is as equally important as dilation, although few people realize this.  According to my doula, women who are not effaced as they reach their due date are more likely to be induced, as their body refuses to labor on its own accord (the medicine administered in inductions can also lead to additional medical interventions, as contractions are usually severely heightened).   Pectocin, the main medication used for induction, contains a synthetic chemical, which is also present in semen.  This chemical helps launch the cervix into action, so it is actually advisable for women to get busy during this time, as sex has yet another added benefit!

Dilation is the most popular term, although not the most important, associated with childbirth.  Dilation is the process of the stretching or widening of the cervix, in order to accommodate the passageway of baby.  This is measured in centimeters, ranging from 1-10.  Until a woman is well into her third trimester, she should be 0 cm dilated and the number should gradually increase as labor progresses.  Supposedly, when a woman dilates, it feels similar to cramping and the contractions intensify.

A woman can choose to have an epidural around 4 cm and the window usually closes around 8 cm.  Again, according to my doula, women usually believe that 8 cm is the moment of extreme angst and pain, but she explained that the contractions do not intensify; the body just readies itself for the final stage in delivery.  As per my doctor's visit, I am only a "fingertip" dilated.  A woman is usually advised to go to the hospital around 4 cm or the cardinal rule of 5-1-1 (contractions are 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, for a 1 hour duration).

As I previously mentioned, I have some work to do to help move my body along with the labor process.  My doula instructed me to walk at least twenty minutes a day and to perform 20 squats, and 20 lunges on each leg daily.  Since I have been on bed rest for two months, my muscles have greatly atrophied and prior to two weeks ago, I easily became short of breath.  Now, I have two weeks for my muscles to remember all of the hard work they accomplished prior to bed rest. 

And I almost forgot about my Red Raspberry Leaf Tea!  This tea is advisable for women to drink at the end of third trimester, as it is supposed to help strengthen the uterus for childbirth.  Red Raspberry Leaf Tea can be purchased at GNC, Whole Foods, or any natural market.  Like Popeye with his spinach, I am envisioning my uterus becoming so tough that it will eventually thrust out Baby J like a cannon ball. 

So, preggers, as you near your due date and the vaginal intrusions begin, don’t forget to ask your doc about your B.E.D progression and whether there is anything you can do to assist in expediting this process.  As I have learned throughout my pregnancy, I am the best advocate for myself and for my baby.  I would highly encourage others to adopt this approach at the onset of pregnancy, since you are carrying and protecting your most valuable, treasured asset. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bamboozled Birthing Plan

On Friday evening, when Jon walked in from work, he adorned a huge smile on his face and told me that he had it all figured out.  "You have what figured out?" I demanded, eyeing him quizzically.  As he enjoyed keeping me in suspense and took ample time divulging his news, I couldn't help pondering what he was referring to.  Did he receive a promotion at work?  Did he unravel string theory and discover life on another planet?  Did he finally figure out how to fold the city mini baby stroller and move it into the garage?  Settling into the couch beside me, he calmly, yet seriously explained to me that he had contrived his very own birthing plan. 

Still skeptical, I responded: "Oh that thing I had you print out from Baby Center?  I already filled that out two weeks ago and it is in our hospital suitcase."  Of course, this was not what he was referring to...

Jon, my meticulous, organized, logical husband, devised a strategic timeline of events in which he planned for us to deliver our baby.  According to my dear husband, the imperatively mapped blueprint went as follows: "You will begin having contractions on Thursday, March 31st and I will take you to the hospital after work, after I meet my monthly quota;  On Friday, the baby will be delivered and I will have the entire weekend to spend with you in the hospital; On Monday, I will take my week of paternity and will return back to work promptly on Monday, April 11th." 

Questions, sardonic responses, and confusion simultaneously befuddled my pregnant brain.  I wondered: If I went into labor on Wednesday, did that mean that I would have to drive myself to the hospital, give birth, and have Baby J while Jon resumed work on Thursday to finish his quota?  What would happen if I actually had the baby on my due date (April 15th) and Jon had to miss the middle-end of April and he couldn't make his goal?  Would our new baby have a resentful daddy?  Of course, I immediately realized that my fears were null and void and Jon would be there whenever, wherever Baby J decided to emerge.  Yet, at the same time, I had to laugh at the irony of it all: With everything that we have been through these past two months, didn't we already accept the fact that the rest of our lives would no longer be based on a delineated sequence of events?

As previously stated, I have learned throughout this entire process is that it is oftentimes futile to plan and control our lives.  Also, the emergence of a new being further complicates the plot.  While I told Jon that I was OK with his contrivance, I indicated that there was now a third party in the picture and I didn't know if all was copacetic on his end.  Baby J has already demonstrated a fair amount of indecisiveness in his unborn life as he initially thought that he wanted to debut two months ago, then decided to remain in mommy's incubator.  Also, my contractions began at 30 weeks and then abruptly ended at 36 weeks.  Now, at just over 37 weeks, Baby J is fully cooked and this is usually the time when contractions become more intense.  My body is showing zero signs of going into labor and I am starting to think that my unborn child may have to be forced out of his protective womb. 

This morning, when I had my ultrasound, I once again explained to the technician that Baby J is not a morning person and enjoys keeping me awake at night with his dare-devilish acrobatics.  When she responded that I better find a way to change that pattern quickly, I could do nothing but laugh.  Again, another person under the wrongful assumption that I can just press a button on my remote control and TIVO Baby J to play at a more suitable time.  While I have purchased a pile of baby books on healthy sleep patterns and so on, I have already learned that I will be unable to operate my baby like a machine. 

For now, my only birthing plan is to eventually coerce this little rugrat out of my body and into the world.  I continue to live my life on a day by day basis, and wonder each evening if tonight will be the night...Although Baby J is still in the 12th percentile in terms of weight, he is now approximately 5 lbs, 11ozs and continues to pass his biophysical profiles with flying colors.  Jon and I completed his nursery this weekend and the monkeys are all hanging around, waiting expectantly for their honored king of the jungle.