A Bit More

I should clarify a bit, I think. I had planned all along to write this post or something like it, but didn’t want to add it to my Thanksgiving writing—as I mentioned, I am finding the question of thankfulness for Cricket less than straightforward at the moment. I want to be able to have adoption not be present for some things in my life, and reading Kara’s comment made me realize/remember that that could be seen by Cricket as dismissive or unloving, which I certainly don’t want. On the other hand, I don’t want to end every baby book entry (he hates swaddling! so would I!) with a note about missing Cricket, both because I don’t want to sound like a sad sack and because I don’t want to be in that mental space all the time. I’ll have to ask Cricket and everyone else to please have faith that I am missing him and feeling guilty about him even when I don’t say.


I wasn’t personally hurt by Kara: I want to make that clear. In fact, part of the reason I felt bad was imagining myself in her position, and then worrying that I was putting Cricket in that position. My love is far from perfect, but he’s got it all the time, even when I’m gushing over the new baby.

Adopted Out

Kara left a comment on my Thanksgiving post, concerned that I hadn’t mentioned Cricket. I had decided to talk about adoption stuff separately, but as she pointed out, that’s a bit sad all on its own—I didn’t quite think of it in terms of “this post will be happier without Cricket in it,” but can see that, guiltily, now that it has been pointed out to me. In fact, Cricket has been much on our minds over the last week. As always.

Several times, I have almost called Joey by Cricket’s name; I feel awfully guilty about this, and ended up confessing to Mr. Book, who said that he’s been going through the same thing. Talking to my mother on the phone, she told me that we’d do Christmas stockings while I’m in California for the funeral, and that we’d even “do one for Cricket!” I hesitated before asking whether she meant Joey—after all, I’d be happy to get stocking stuff to Cricket if that’s really what she meant—and she had meant Joey, and was mortified, kept apologizing. Everything that we missed with Cricket is being played out in front of us right now, and while it hasn’t stopped us from enjoying Joey, it’s very present. Mr. Book has spent some time talking quietly to Joey, apologizing for the fact that his older brother isn’t here.

On Thanksgiving morning, Ruth sent me an email asking after us and telling me that Cricket is looking at pictures of Joey with some interest and repeating back the facts of the situation as he understands them. I wrote back the same day, talking about how things were going for us, thanking her for keeping us updated; it was good to have Cricket in some way present on the holiday. Am I grateful for him? I’m honestly not sure how to answer that one, but I love him, and I miss him. Later that night, I bought his birthday present (a cute dinosaur playset thingy) and his Christmas present: two books, How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You and Toot and Puddle. I believe my parents are sending him a book for his birthday, so while the whole may be a bit boring for a two-year-old, he’ll at least have a clear sense of his birth family’s ideas about what is important.

Mr. Book’s mother’s reaction is one I’ve worried about for some time, considering how upset she was about Cricket—she completely lost her cool when sent a picture of him as a newborn, and told us that she planned to pretend that he had died. Well, on Saturday we got a package from her, full of stuff for Joey: Christmas onesies and a milestones book and a picture she’d drawn herself of the three of us as a squirrel family. [excuse my flash!]

I’m both glad that the Dowager Book has decided to be a gramma to Joey and freshly sad for Cricket; he’s starting to understand more and more things, and I hate to have one of those things be the fact that some of his relatives can’t face the fact of his existence. He’s a sweet toddler boy, for heaven’s sake—he’s done nothing to deserve the weirdness of these grownup people. I don’t mind the fact that the Dowager Book is still pretending that I don’t exist—after all, I did do something to deserve the weirdness. But not the boys.


Thanksgiving has always been my least favorite major holiday—I’m pretty neutral on football, I don’t eat turkey, and I have a vague dislike of the part of the day when we all have to go around the table and announce what we’re thankful for. It’s not that I’m not thankful for things; I just don’t like the performance part. But this year I feel like I can’t wait to tell everyone—except that I don’t have to, because I am obviously in love with this tiny charming tyrant. My sister Kate is cooking for us, and I think I may bestir myself to make an almond pie. (My milk came in on Tuesday, so Joey can feast also.) There is sparkling apple cider. And did I mention there is a baby here?


I want to mention also how thankful I am for Joey’s godparents, Kate and Hank, my sister and her husband. Yesterday they worked on a tricky diaper change together and Mr. Book happened to wander by and see them working at it—he then came to me and told me how glad he was that they were godparents, how perfect they are, so warm and sweet with Joey already. They’re waiting a bit to have kids, and are getting to practice with their nephew. Evidence suggests that they will do great.


And I am thankful for you guys; thanks for reading, for the support, for the baby stuff, and for your own writing. I hope the holiday is a blessing to you all, and to your families.

Joey Came in the Early Afternoon

First off, thanks, everyone. =) Now that he’s born, I’m going to call the kiddo Joey on the blog, in keeping with my “children are animals” theme; he’s awful’ long, with huge feet, just like a baby kangaroo. Let me tell you what happened!

Friday night I took castor oil—I actually tried this with Cricket, went into labor the next day, and then labored for 2.5 days. This time I had a predictably unpleasant Friday night, then woke up at 9:32 on Saturday with painful contractions. For whatever reason, my biggest concern was crying wolf . . . so I emailed a few family members and friends, saying things like “Well, I can’t talk or type through these contractions, so maybe?” I do think that I handled labor much better than the first time, overall: I kept managing to think of the pain as energy, like Ina May would have wanted, and to think of the contractions as similar to being dragged ashore by the sea, a scary experience that I enjoy. I also tried to explain what it felt like to my husband by referring to the early part of a Dylan Thomas poem that he hasn’t read. Not my most successful communication moment.

After an hour or so, I called my mother to ask whether I could take a bath without stopping labor. She said that even if it did slow in the bath, it would pick right up once I got out, which sounded like a bargain. But they didn’t slow down in the bath, and I was just not getting a lot of pain relief (I thought), so I climbed out and suggested to Mr. Book that he should try timing my contractions. After the second one, he said “Those were two minutes and forty-five seconds apart. We are going to the hospital.” I argued that they need to be consistently close together, so he timed two more, and while he didn’t tell me how far apart they were, he did immediately go to call the midwives. And then he got put on hold.

I admit that I didn’t do super well on those last few contractions in his company; once I cried out, “Oh God, I can’t do this!” What I meant was “I can’t do this for twelve hours,” which is honestly what I thought I had to look forward to. Lying naked on the bed and trying to take deep breaths, I started thinking that it was a good thing there was no one around offering me drugs because I might have accepted, and maybe I can’t do this, and golly gee this seems like transition but it can’t be—it’s too soon for that! Well, while the Mister was on hold, I shouted from the bedroom “It’s happening now!” having—I don’t want to say that I had pushed once, but pushing once had happened, and I had to get to the bathroom right away. I could feel that there was something at the verge, and I stood over the toilet feeling the whatever and trying to figure out whether it was a baby’s head or my bag of waters. “I’m having the baby!” Mr. Book wanted to know what to do, so I told him to call 911 and then pushed again—and a whole head and shoulders came out while my water broke around Joey (Mr. Book apparently came to see what was happening, did, and hung up on the midwives to get an ambulance, but I honestly didn’t notice him there). I remembered that when I got to this point with Cricket, the otherwise very laidback midwives ordered me to push quick quick quick, so I pushed one more time at at 1 p.m. my baby slid out and into the toilet. I scooped him up and sat down, grabbing a nearby towel to cover him with and clutching him to my chest. I delivered the placenta a few minutes later, and then the paramedics arrived. They seemed a bit bewildered by the situation, especially when they asked if I could stand and come out and I explained that I couldn’t because the baby was tethered to the placenta, which was in the toilet. But we all three got into an ambulance pretty quickly, got to the hospital, and verified that the little dude is just fine, to the astonishment of apparently every medical professional in the building. The paramedics kept asking whether I had planned this, and I couldn’t think of a better way to explain than “My first baby took two and a half days; I thought we had more time.” If there is another little book one day, I suspect that my husband will drag me to the hospital every time I frown at my stomach. He and half my family are suspicious that I may have done it on purpose, and while I admit that I’m not displeased to have avoided a hospital birth, I just want to point out that we were preparing to go when, uh, Joey happened. He’s just a hair over nine pounds, and lovely.

A Cold Day

I’m still here! Went to the midwives yesterday and got my membranes stripped. The midwife I saw was one of my favorites, and we talked about labor induction methods—I know that they’ll let you go two weeks past your due date, but I realized yesterday that two weeks to the day after my due date is Cricket’s birthday, and I don’t know whether I could deal with that. If I go a week or so past my due date, I think I will consider less natural methods of induction; I’m still thinking about this. I feel pretty guilty about considering it, to be honest. Good thing I have some time to sit with it and brood.


Blog reader Molly very generously sent us an Ergo baby carrier—it is a lovely thing, much more elegant than I expected. For some reason, I thought the Ergo looked like . . . well, you know those jogging shoes that are dark grey and have criss-crossed yellow elastic laces across the front? Yeah, I thought it looked like a baby carrier version of that. But no!  Many thanks to Molly for a carrier I suspect we’ll be using quite a lot. =)


Okay, this is the TMI paragraph; I’m going to talk about some gross body stuff, and you may very well want to skip that. This is your final warning!             0.o                So after having my membranes stripped, I was a bit worried that it hadn’t worked because it didn’t hurt to have it done. When I had that done during my last pregnancy, it hurt like Billy-o, but of course you can’t really complain about that sort of thing when labor is on the horizon. But in fact I bled a bit for the rest of the day, and felt extremely manhandled for the rest of the night, so perhaps that will help encourage the corpus to get this show on the road. In other TMI news, I also took my mother’s advice while in the bath and managed to squirt myself in the eye. Twice. Same eye. It was like having a mouse spit in my eye. I’m a clumsy person, but even that may not be sufficient to explain the “twice” part. [sighs] C’mon, oxytocin!


Other labor induction strategies underway include black cohosh, odd-looking hip rolls, and me not being allowed to sit in chairs anymore. It’s funny—if it weren’t for the people visiting and expecting to see a baby and then the funeral, I think I would be okay being pregnant for another month. I’m not desperate to get the little bird out of my body because I can’t take it anymore; I just am feeling the pressure of a schedule. Cricket was born (the equivalent of) three days from now. We’ll see. Of course, then I spent much of last night wanting to throw up and then cry, so it’s not as though I can’t see the advantages of delivery.

Never Gonna Happen

We get to buy a bed! Woooo! Seriously, couldn’t be more excited about this; cosleeping will be funner with a little extra room. And if my sister Kate is very lucky, the bed will arrive before she comes to visit, and she and her husband will get to sleep on a futon instead of a pile of blankets and apologies.


I’ve been feeling pretty lousy for a few days—more and more contractions, less and less energy—but yesterday, for whatever reason, it was fantastic. I got a ton of work done, I stayed up late doing laundry; if it represented some kind of step backwards, I cannot bring myself to care. It was worth it. Oh, there was still the normal discomfort of weighing five thousand squirming pounds, but I was doing great. Too early to see what today will be like.


My mother and I talked for a long time on Sunday; she is planning to visit us the first week in December, and now it looks as though I may fly back with her so that I have some help with baby wrangling when I travel south for my grandmother’s memorial service. That means a week in California and away from the Mister that I hadn’t really planned, and I’m wondering a bit uneasily about how hard that will be—traveling with a newborn, hmm. I guess I’ll need to check a bag?


If I don’t have a baby tomorrow, which seems less and less likely as tomorrow gets closer, I’m just going to throw out there that the 23rd would be a nice day—I just found out that one of the lad’s namesake’s birthdays is that day. See, one of the reasons that I’ve felt comfortable throwing “Pete” around on the blog every so often (although I’ll come up with something official once he has arrived) is that his legal name has nothing to do with Pete or Peter; he’s being called after a relative whose name had nothing to do with Pete either, but who was called Pete his whole life for no reason that anyone can explain (well, unless you count the fact that his given name was pretty awful). His birthday, I found out this weekend, was November 23. So, you know, as fallbacks go . . . that would be a pretty cool one.

Tiny Blue Kimono

I heard back from Ruth! She sent in fact a very friendly email, asking to set up a visit in January and answering the baby questions. And to answer the most interesting one here: Yes, Cricket knows that I am pregnant. He also apparently knows (as much as one can at two) about the whole birthmother thing—she said that the other day he pointed at a picture of me and said “Mama Susie. Grow tummy.” So strange to realize that he’s starting to be able to think about that kind of thing; even seeing pictures of him toddling around with a serious expression hasn’t done enough to jar my understanding of him as a baby. Clearly it’s time to have a visit again. In the meantime, we have been invited to his birthday/Chanukah party, and we almost certainly won’t be able to go—it’s likely to be within a couple of weeks of the birth, and you’re not supposed to stand for more than ten minutes out of any given hour for two weeks after giving birth. At least, that’s what they told me last time, and boy do I wish I had listened! Additionally, though, and probably more importantly (to me), I am a bit spooked by the idea of bringing a new baby to the party and being surrounded by interested/judgmental family and friends of Cricket’s. It would be a hard way to have the boys meet for the first time, I think.


When I saw my counselor last week, she asked what I’m most looking forward to about finally giving birth and meeting the kid, and the best that I could come up with was that I can’t wait to see what he looks like. When I try to imagine him now, I can only picture newborn Cricket—I wonder how alike they’ll be. In my own family, we look like two sets of two; Tammy and I look like our dad (she additionally being gorgeous), and Kate and my brother look like our mom (Kate being also gorgeous, but differently). I was tempted, for awhile, to put the little bird into the same first outfit that Cricket wore just because I like it a lot, but I want to be able to tell in pictures which baby is which, and for whatever reason have some anxiety about possibly failing at that. It has made picking out the first outfit weirdly difficult for me.


Meredith, that was a great idea, and I totally used it. Thank you so much! The email got sent, finally.


No news from the midwives! Although I did meet one yesterday whom I hadn’t seen before, and I really liked her. It kind of stinks that the practice has seven midwives, so that I will really have no idea whether I am getting someone I like—but there isn’t anyone who I wouldn’t trust to catch a baby, so there’s that.(The practice also has one OB, but she only sees women planning on C-sections.) Monday night I asked the Mister to predict what day the little bird would actually be born, and he picked the same day that I had in mind (next Tuesday), so now I am completely irrationally looking forward to that day. My sister Kate picked this Saturday, which would be great, too. Anyone else want to go on the record?


My grandmother died last night; I’m not sure whether to say “suddenly,” as she has been in poor health for some time, but then yesterday she went to the hospital for an unrelated problem (she had been taking Aleve for pain and was having some stomach bleeding as a result) and her heart stopped. I won’t be able to go to the funeral—it will be a week from Saturday, and I’ll either be freshly delivered of a child or but a few days from my due date. I feel oddly helpless—I feel like a jerk for not flying down, but on the other hand, I do know that there’s really no way that I can.