10 Years

I have been a mother for ten years now.

Ten. Years.

That number – a third of my lifetime – seems to be so much larger, more significant than it was last year. Ten years is a long time.

I fell into motherhood the same way I’ve fallen into every other major thing in my life: accidentally. I’d never given much thought to motherhood, parenting or having crotch parasites of my very own. I don’t have younger siblings or younger cousins, and the kids I babysat weren’t ever babies. If you’d asked me back then if I’d wanted to have babies, I probably would have said a resounding, “Fuck.” and “No.”

To be unexpectedly a parent was the most shocking thing that’s happened to me. If I hadn’t gotten pregnant against the odds, I can’t say that I’m certain I’d have ever walked down that road. I can’t say that, of course, because I’ve never been an adult without having a bouncing baby (of my very own)(I am not a baby-napper) strapped into my car, tooling along with me. I cannot imagine my life without children.

I’ve said many times that without Ben, I would be nothing, and that’s the truth. Every decision I’ve made in the last ten years has been executed while thinking of the betterment of another. Would I be nothing without him? No. Of course not. But I certainly wouldn’t have gotten married, had two more crotch parasites or become Your Aunt Becky.

I do not know where I’d be without him.

It’s been an unglamorous life, that’s for sure, but one filled with laughter and heartache, joy and sorrow, and mostly, the unexpected.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

mom-jeans

————-

Happy Mother’s Day to each of you – those of you struggling to become mothers, those missing their mothers, those whose treasures are in heaven, and those of you woken up each day to sticky fingers and poopy diapers.

Happy Mother’s Day, Pranksters.

———–

We’re doing a carnival of Mother’s Day posts from many different perspectives on Band Back Together if you’d like to join us.

For Your Viewing Pleasure

But sadly, these are not the pictures that I wish I were showing you right now. Instead, you get a first hand view of how sad my feet are. The rest of me is sort of swelly, but nothing is as bad as my feet. These pictures should be considered free birth control for teens.

I must add one thing before I let the spirit take you. I specifically got tattoos on my feet so that they did NOT swell and stretch during pregnancy. It appears as though the joke is, as per usual, on me.

Also, yes, that is bruising that you can see. And that IS hair that you see. I’m terrified that my feet might esplode if I get a razor near them. And my idea of a pre-labor pedicure has gone out the window because I am afraid to show people my feet. Except for YOU, Internet. Because I love you THAT much.

Foot Fetishes Are Weird

And of course…

My Feet Are Sexxay

Quick now, before you vomit into your keyboard and send me a bill for a new one!! CUTE OVERLOAD!! PUPPIES!!

CUTENESS ABOUNDS!

Can I bother you to say a quick prayer or do whatever it is that you people do around 1PM when I’m meeting with my MD and trying to talk him into putting me out of my misery? Dave and Ben and Alex would all appreciate it. And, of course, then there will be squishy baby pictures abounding rather than photos of my disgusting feeties.

The Hilarious Incident Of The Hospital VS Aunt Becky

On Monday, after spending the day trying to run all those annoying errands before this baby makes her debut, I went to soak in the bathtub (why yes, I do like hygiene!). When I got to the part in which I typically huff and puff and moan and groan shamefully to pull off my shoes and socks I noticed something terrifying.

In the space between that morning and that late afternoon, my feet had ballooned into a ridiculous caricature of themselves. I’d call them “clown feet” but it wouldn’t do them justice. They were a freak show, plain and simple.

So after my brief soak in the tub, I reluctantly put a call into my OB’s office to let them know. To me, as a nurse, sudden swelling = bad news, especially since I didn’t swell with my last pregnancy (I did turn into the Michelin Man during my pregnancy with Ben, but in my defense, it was a ridiculously hot August and now, well, it’s one of the coldest January’s on record).

The nurse, in typical “It’s about to be my time to leave and I don’t particularly want to deal with you” fashion, told me to drink fluids, lay on my left side and rest as much as possible. Fine advice that I readily took. I also had a BP cuff in hand, so I knew my BP was fine, so I let her go.

The following day, after following her orders as best as a person with small kids and needy dogs can do, I realized something fierce: not only had my swelling not decreased, it had gotten worse. My injured foot ached and I could no longer wear the shoes I’d put on the day before.

So I called the nurse back, reluctantly, and by some stroke of luck got one of the smart ones on the line. After explaining the situation, she agreed that this was cause for concern and went off to consult the doctor.

Who insisted I head to the hospital for monitoring. No big deal, right? They’ll do a HELLP panel, check my pee, give me an NST and let me go the hell home. Awesome. I called The Daver to head home so that he could bring me as there was no way in hell I was going to sit and stare at hospital walls alone. Misery does love company, right?

By the time we got to the hospital, they–of course–had no record of me coming in, so I was hooked up to the monitor while we waited and waited for the MD to call back with orders. This was a foreboding omen of The Ghosts Of Christmas Future.

Amelia looked excellent and my HELLP panel was passable–low platelets are apparently something I’ve been suffering from since the beginning–with my liver enzymes nice and low.

My pee, however, had ketones a-plenty. And this is where I made my fatal error.

Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it….

When the nurse, whom I loved and wanted to make out with because she was so damn competent, presented this to me, I said this and regretted it almost immediately: “Oh, yeah, well, my Crohn’s is flaring up and I literally cannot digest food right now. It comes right back out.”

*smacks head*

So she, being diligent as ever, reports this to my doctor (one of about 4,000 OB’s in my practice. Consider this my second bout of foreshadowing into Mistakes I’ve Loved And Lost) who then, assuming I have a virus, wants to keep me overnight for fluids.

Fuck. If there’s any place I’d rather not be, it’s in a hospital bed, chained to an IV.

(also: why he thought “virus” I’m not sure. Last I checked, viruses don’t last for years. At least, not gastroenteritis)

But fine, I said, being the Model of Compliant Patient that I so obviously am. I’ll stay the night, get some fluids and get discharged first thing in the morning.

Also: hahahahahahaha!

The floor is bumping with people who’d been bumping uglies about 9 months ago, so I’m moved to this pathetic armpit of a room typically used for outpatient testing. I’m horrified to note that there’s a second bed in this wee room, but am relieved for the moment that it’s empty.

Bribed with the promise of an Ambien in my future, I lay down in bed to wait for my IV. Over the next 12 hours, I get bag after bag after bag of fluids, when I finally realize that I haven’t peed hardly at all. I look down at my feet, the initial reason for my arrival on the unit, and am horrified to see that they’ve gotten somehow bigger. BECAUSE I AM NOW THIRD SPACING EVERY SINGLE DROP OF FLUID PUSHED INTO ME.

Awesome.

While this concerned me because now I had stumps where my legs had once been, fairly useless ones at that, no one else seemed to care. Everyone was far, far more concerned about my guts. This amused me to no end since this is slightly worse than normal, but still well within the realm of Everyday Annoyances for me.

My amusement, the following morning after sleeping for approximately 6 minutes of the night, is quickly dampened by the fact that my OB (again, one I haven’t met) wanted me to have a GI consult come in and take a peek at me. While I have no issues with GI MD’s in general, I’ve grown pretty damn tired of hearing other doctors tell me these two things:

1) We’re not sure it’s Crohn’s

AND

2) There’s nothing we can do for you right now.

Fucking sweet. I haven’t been hearing that since I was 4 minutes pregnant and in the ER after falling down my stairs or anything.

But again, in the name of being somewhat compliant, I agreed to this. The nurse tells me that the GI should be in around noonish. Fine. Daver was lovingly back by my side and we sat together, staring at the clock for the next 3-4 hours.

We still had only heard through nurses what my OB wants to do and are starting to wonder if this all isn’t turning into a gigantic game of telephone. I’m starting to wonder if I might, instead of a GI, be consulted by a doctor to give me both a sex change and a boob job. The boob job I’d handle, but I’m not certain how much I want a penis, hilarious antics aside.

All that I do know is that the hours are ticking by at a snails pace, I’m not being monitored for much at all, and my feet are ballooning to comical proportions. The dayside nurse who has been assigned to me is easily one of the duller crayons in the box and she has made it completely apparent that she not only has no idea WHAT to do with me as I’m not in labor, she also doesn’t care. She’s the kind of nurse that gives other nurses a bad name.

Sometime after 3 PM, the GI MD gives me a call to chat with me as to what’s going on with me, as he’s on the way to some medical emergency somewhere else. In his favor, he has an incredibly charming accent (I’m a huge sucker for accents). Counting against him is the fact that he’s not going to be available for quite awhile longer.

Some of that fluid accumulating in me is now released in the form of tears. Under the best of circumstances, I’m an ugly crier, and under these, I’m snotting all over myself, Daver and my sad hospital pillow. I’ve not slept, I still can’t keep a damn thing in my body, so my blood sugar is plummeting, and I’m frustrated beyond belief.

The sitting around and waiting I could just as easily do at home and as far as dealing with PinHead, RN, I could call my MD’s office and try to talk to one of the nurses there (I need to clarify that not ALL of the nurses are idiots, lest you think I’m being bigoty). But I made the fatal assumption that the MD would be there around 5 PM, so a couple of extra hours? We could handle it.

But by 5PM, he meant closer to 7:30 PM and by this time I was nearly out of my mind with exhaustion and frustration. No one even attempts to give me a straight answer and I seem to have fallen off the radar of the staff who are dealing with laboring patients. While I want to be all Goodly and stuff and be all “well, they’re busy” the attention I wasn’t getting was absurd. I’ve worked L and D, and I’ve never seen anything so devoid of patient care.

For serious.

But, at about 7:30, the GI MD rolled in and one of the first things out of his mouth after making the obligatory introductions was this:

“I’m not convinced you have Crohn’s.” Suddenly, his accent is stunningly less charming than mere moments before.

Now, I’m aware of this, Patient Reader, and have done the tests that I am able to do while pregnant to ascertain what it is that I do have (hint: it’s not a virus). I’m still waiting on the results of the insane tests that I had drawn a couple of months ago (damn you holiday schedules!) and other than calling it Crohn’s, I’m not sure what else TO call it.

Trust me, I’d be thrilled if it weren’t Crohn’s, providing that there was SOMETHING to be done about it. I won’t be even remotely depressed to learn that it’s NOT.

If I hadn’t been so obviously in distress, I would have found it funny, the ways in which pretty much every member of the hospital staff then had to come in and remind me that I might not have Crohn’s. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a chorus line of male doctors come in with their penises dancing to “We’re Not Sure It’s Crohn’s” in the tune of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

Everyone from Laundry Services to the Candy Stripers had to come in and “break” this to me. Eventually, rather than trying to explain myself, I remained mute when confronted with this. Like the whole thing with my mother and my mother-in-law who constantly remind me that their husbands never did any baby care, I became at somewhat of a loss as to what to say.

Really, how do you respond to this? What response did they want from me? Because I’m pretty sure I didn’t give the proper one, lest someone actually care about what medically IS going on with me rather than focusing on what might not be. And if it’s bad enough to make me stay overnight, why doesn’t someone look for a cure instead of pointing out something that cannot be currently proved or disproved?

And for the love of Sweet Baby Jesus, why doesn’t anyone talk to me instead of making me feel like a naughty child who has been caught in a lie?

I caught one of my nurses patently lying to my OB, telling him that I was “feeling better” and had “eaten well,” after she’d berated me for not eating. She, of course, got the tail end of my Bitch Stick and was promptly informed of the error of her ways.

The following day after another night of minimal sleep, my amnio loomed large and began to make me quiver with fear. I have an intense fear of the unknown, and while my pain tolerance is pretty amazing, I had nothing with which to compare this to. Was it as bad as a spinal tap? A colonoscopy? Having to listen to the Facts Of Life Song on repeat?

When I was finally summoned and laying on the table, my belly slathered in iodine, I learned one thing about having an amnio: it feels just like you think it would. Honestly, it’s totally like what you’d think one would feel like. Unpleasant, creepy, slightly painful, and not over remotely soon enough.

But one must do what one must do, so back to our closet–now with bonus roommate!–we waited for the results. And when we learned that they were positive for well developed wee lungs, we began to talk of inductions with the OB, whom we have now seen in the flesh for the first time in 3 days.

We learn quickly that he no longer wants to keep us there for now, that we can go! home! as my cervix hasn’t been briefed on anything (oh, and by the way, you might not have Crohn’s!). Rather than stay and fight for a section, we get the hell outta Dodge with vague promises of coming back for RhoGam (in the hospital, even if you are COMPLETELY aware of your Rh- status, you must be type crossed and matched before they’ll give you the shot. That’s your insurance dollars hard at work, people) that evening.

Never, ever has a hospital parking lot looked so beautiful as it did that night on our way home.

I’m going back to the MD tomorrow at 1, and I’m planning to insist on getting this baby out and safe and then getting back to feeling like a human being again. I have my serious doubts as to whether or not it will work, but I’m planning on kicking and screaming and generally making a scene until I get booted from the office by security.

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me: Third Trimester Edition

*Defying all laws of time and space, the last month of pregnancy is significantly longer than the previous 8.

*All of the issues (nausea, sleepiness, vomiting, utter bat-shit craziness) that plagued you during trimester 1 will rear their ugly head yet again. Only it’s less charming this time.

*(especially if it’s your first baby) You’ll imagine each and every twinge to be the Start Of Labor and probably end up in L/D more times than you’d think only to be told that you’re not even contracting.

*After you have this baby, you’ll agree that nothing feels like labor except for…well, labor.

*Ending up in L/D and being sent home will make you feel more embarrassed than you’d imagine would be a logical reaction.

*Speaking of “logical,” you’re not. And you haven’t been for a long time. You won’t know how nuts you are until after the wee one comes and you realize that you no longer have any urge to clean the toliet with a toothbrush.

*Leaking pee will become a new and disgusting way of life. And you’ll occasionally think it’s your bag of waters breaking. It’s probably not. But, take it from me, get that fucker checked out.

*If you’re like me, the hospital bag you pack will go largely untouched, so don’t freak out. They’ll usually give you free ickle bottles of shampoo and the lot. Use these and then THROW THEM AWAY. Sure, you’re in L/D or Mother/Baby, but it’s still a hospital. And hospitals = germies.

*You will finally tire of talking about this baby because all that you can think about is how ready you are for this to be over.

*The fears of labor will quickly be replaced by the fears of never having this damn baby.

*Having wee feet kicking your internal organs and trying desperately to seperate your ribs from your spinal cord is just as charming (and painful) as you imagine it will be.

*Did I mention how off the rocker you are? Because you TOTALLY are.

*Once you hit 37 weeks, people will check in on you daily with one annoying question: have you had that baby yet? You may very well want to smack them.

*People will start snickering when you walk into a room. Presumably because you now look like Grimace. Or a Weeble.

*You will start to moan and groan every time you have to change positions. And you will be acutely aware of how dumb you sound and how feeble you now are.

*Try as best as you can to rest and revel in the attention people are paying to you right now. Because once that baby gets here, swollen and stitched up vagina and all, no one will give a flying crap about you. Just the baby.

*Your breasts are going to develop a mind (and body!) of their own. They will be equally as painful now as they were back in old trimester 1.

What am I missing, party people?

As The World Turns Through A Soft Focus Lens

I’m no huge fan of Soap Operas, never have been. I’ll occasionally leave the television on for awhile after I watch one of the morning shows, and I’ll come back to see the newest bizarre love triangle between a mother, her long-dead son, and a broom, and for a split second between laughing mockingly and turning off the television, I admire the soft focus camera work.

I used to associate that look with porn, but after seeing the likes of “Debbie Does Dallas” and “Anal Clinic,” I’m pretty certain that I was highly wrong with that assessment. Porn is intended, I think, to make feel like you’re there (which, in the case of those particular movies, couldn’t be farther from the truth) whereas Soaps make me wish that *I* was always seen in such favorable lighting. I’d need less makeup and have shockingly fabulous hair that way.

An interestingly unrelated phenomenon that, for lack of a better term, I will call Soft Focus Brain has taken up residence in my body and I’m not quite sure why.

I go through the motions of a regular day, but rather than feeling such things as “boredom” or “anxiety,” I merely float through the day as though on a cloud of fluffy pink marshmallows. Some days, I find this to be a quite pleasant change from feeling both bored and restless, whereas others, for example, when I realize that Christmas is a mere four seconds away, I wonder what the bejesus is going on with me.

I know that things haven’t exactly been great for me these past couple months. I mean, on the one hand, things are FINE: I (mostly) have my health, I have a husband who (smells) adores me, my children are all well, and I have access to as much Cap’n Crunch as I want. And on the other hand, I’ve spent the last several months minimizing all of the shit that really IS going on with me. As much as I may appear to enjoy complaining, I don’t. Not really. And I enjoy listening to OTHER people complain about as much as a digital rectal exam, so I just eke by, aloft on a sea of cotton balls.

Wait, what was I saying? I totally forgot.

I mean, I’ve barely gotten enough stuff for this new baby I’m going to be expelling, oh I don’t know, NEXT MONTH. By “enough stuff” I mean, bottles and a crib mattress, not $4,000 onsies made from albino elephant tusks. It’s not that I don’t know what I need by now, because I do, it’s just that I haven’t done anything about it.

Hell, “I haven’t done anything about it” should be my new-yet-not-improved motto these days.

I’ve done most of my Christmas shopping by shear stroke of luck–and the availability of online shopping, which is perhaps the best invention for someone such as myself, whose ass has worn a permanent groove into the cushions of my couch–but haven’t even thought about hauling up the Christmas decorations stored neatly in my basement. Or, rather, I’ve thought about it for the briefest moment only to sit on my ass while not doing anything about it.

The likelihood of me sending out a gigantic batch of Christmas cards, by this point, is slim to none, with an emphasis on the NONE, and if I could pay someone to come over and wrap the presents, I would. Shit, I’d pay someone to decorate my house at this point. And that’s only because my kids are dying to have it done and I’m determined not to be a Grinchly beast this year.

Without that pull, however, it’s doubtful I’d do anything besides show up and eat for the holidays this year. This is horribly out of character for me.

Short of speed or cocaine, I’m thinking that I’m pretty stuck in Soft Focus La-la-la Land, and that I probably should just go ahead and right the festivities off for this year to the best of my ability (what with having a bazillion Christmases and all the Joyful! Holiday! Fun! that involves). Unless, of course, I can find a stand in for me, which would allow me to sleep peacefully while Fake Aunt Becky does all that needs to be done.

Anyone care to volunteer? At this point, I’m not even going to object to someone who looks nothing like me, so long as they can show the hell up.

Or perhaps, there are better suggestions to my flighty plight (hehehe). Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

D-Day At H-Hour

In a stunning fit of Did You Really Pick THAT Day? among years of this same pattern, my mother (read: babysitter) is going to be out of town tomorrow. Which is normally no big whoop for me, since I’ve been able to function without seeing my mother every day for many years now. But it’s hilarious to me since she always happens to be out of town the on the one day (or days) that I could really use her help. The timing is always perfectly, well, off for all of us.

So, this means at 8:45 AM, instead of dropping my big son off at school, I will be dragging all of the members of The Sausage Factory into my OB appointment, where I’m hoping to get a definitive look at such irrelevant structures as “The Heart” and “The Brain.”

What? I meant the Tin Man and the The Scarecrow lived without them and they were JUST FINE.

(Thankfully, although I’m not specifically trained to read ultrasounds, I was immediately able to see the baby’s wee heart, all four chambers intact, beating away the last time. This touched me more than it should have.

Along the same lines of Things That Made Me Silently Weepy But Are Weird is this: I was looking at the ultrasound picture of the Baby Sausage and noticed that in one picture it’s mouth was open. The next photo, it was shut. Why this was so incredibly heartwarming, I don’t know. I guess I realized that it takes after it’s mother in it’s inability to shut it’s mouth for a goddamned minute).

I’m also hoping to know for certain if my Blog Poll was correct, of if I merely had a boy with an unfortunately sized weenis (not that I would care AT ALL. The respective sizes of my son’s weeniers is just not important to me. In fact, I don’t WANT TO KNOW). I’m dying to call Baby Sausage anything other than that OR “it.” Just seems kinda impersonal for something that is both causing me to eat every chocolate chip cookie in sight while sweating like a sumo wrestler, right?

Oddly, I’m not as nervous now as I was for my first, since I can feel this baby moving around and boogying around in my old uterus, and since I’m aware that nothing was wrong the first time around. Just wasn’t big enough to get real measurements.

While I’m aware that tomorrow morning could be a Disaster of Epic Proportions, I’d have to have lost both legs AND arms to stop me from going.

Alex will be, well, a destructive force the likes of which are rarely seen this far from the Mason-Dixon line and Ben, well, Ben will be the most talkative narrator on the planet, peppering my poor husband with observations about everything from the sidewalk outside of the hospital, to the inevitable vending machines we’ll pass, to the plastic potted plant in the waiting room (Hel-lo Run-On Sentence!)

Looks like Dave will have his poor hands full while I get checked out.

Wish us all luck!

Meanwhile, I’m going to give my people some pictures:

First, this is a picture of my husband, The Daver, who is rarely captured on camera. He’s elusive enough that I’m quite certain there’s a subset of people who believe he’s all in my head. Or maybe not.

Here is Ben, preparing for the addition of another sibling by reading a book about siblings. Why yes, they all have the same haircut! How kind of you to notice.

And here is a picture of Alex (whom we often call “J” after his middle initial). I asked him what he thought of having a sibling. This was his response:

I Can Haz Ativan?

Today is a landmark day for us at Casa de la Sausage. It is my husband, The Daver’s 30th birthday.

I give Dave an awfully hard time, really I do, like how I’ve called him Old Balls since we got together 5 years ago (he is, after all 2 years older than me), how I constantly feel the need to grab his ball-bag as he sits on the couch next to me, or how I scream out things like “Hey Dave, weren’t you out of DEPENDS?” or “Hey DAVE, didn’t you want that New Kids On The Block CD?” when we’re out in public.

(Hel-LO run-on sentence!)

But as anyone who truly knows me knows, the harder time I give you, the more I love you. It’d be my family mantra if having a family mantra or mission statement wasn’t the stupidest thing on the planet aside from perhaps The Wiggles. Which may be dumber.

So, Happy Birthday, The Daver.

I’d say something cornier, but I’m saving it up for our anniversary on Wednesday. Good idea, you, with putting our anniversary right near your birthday, ensuring that you will never forget the day that two became one. Yeah, that’s right. I used THE SPICE GIRLS to describe our WEDDING.

HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES, OLD MAN?

——————-

Also today, at 12:30 my son Ben will be “thinking good thoughts” for me as I go into my Big Scary Ultrasound. All by my lonesome. That’s the kicker at my OB’s office: you have to go through the first (i.e. frightening) part of it all alone (it’s policy, not because I bring an entourage with me).

My mother has been making fun of me (along with The Daver) for being so worried about this US (and the one’s I had with the other kids) and I think my friend Andria said it best when she told me yesterday something like with her third, she couldn’t believe that after two perfect little boys, that she’d be fortunate enough to have another healthy one.

I’m paraphrasing, perhaps badly, but the point is clear: like her, I don’t believe I’m lucky enough to have something good happen to me again.

Why? I have no idea. It’s sick and it’s stupid, and as yet another friend of mine, Carlynn, imparted yet another piece of wisdom onto me this weekend (they make me feel SMRT). She said, “”Why not be happy now? You can be sad later. If it’s necessary.”

They’re both right. And while I’m going to try my best to smile and appear like I’m not ready to chew off one or both of my arms, it’s gonna be hard.

Fake it ’til you make it, right?

Will you hold my hand, Internet?

The Pinks And The Blues

I just changed my Big Scary Ultrasound appointment from the 17th of September to the 8th of September (also: Daver’s birthday. Where he turns 30! Officially OLD BALLS TERRITORY). Which has made my body Full of The Nervous, as I stare down the barrel of that gun. My reasons for changing my appointment are less “ohmygod, I can’t WAIT to go shopping” and more “ohmygod, I can’t WAIT to find out if it’s healthy,” which make me a killjoy, but a practical one.

People tend to assume that since I have two boys at home, that I would somehow really be upset if I didn’t have at least one baby girl. And while I might be upset for different reasons (i.e. I don’t get to buy frilly dresses and tell the Internet about it), I’m sadly boring when I inform you that really, REALLY, all I want is for my baby to be healthy. I don’t even care if it’s HAPPY (my babies are NEVER happy), just healthy.

I’ve tried to get in touch with my inner voice, you know, the one that’s supposed to guide my womanly intuition toward the gender of my Sausage, I’ve really tried. And all my womanly intuition wants to tell me is that I’m in dire need of buffalo wings.

When I was pregnant with Ben, delusional and pregnant, I would have sworn on a stack of Bibles, Cosmos, whatever that I was having a girl. I had a girl’s name picked out. I hadn’t bought any CLOTHES yet, since I was both poor and practical, but I had my eagle eye set on some frilly dresses.

It was a good thing they have you lay down for your ultrasound, or I may have toppled over onto the floor, never to get up again, when the lady informed me that I was carrying a boy. I insisted that she show me the evidence, and she did, a heavily pixilated penis/balls combo floating lazily in a bath of amniotic fluid.

I’ll admit to being somewhat disappointed at first, not that this was a very PC reaction, but with fairly good reason. When you have a boy, pregnant by a dude who is on his better days Captain Douchebag and on his worse days Captain Asswad, the last thing you want is for YOUR son to turn out just like his father.

I’m positive I’m not alone in this feeling, which at the end of it all, does come from the right place. I wanted better for my Ben.

And I got it.

When I got pregnant with Alex, Dave and I formed a kind of bet for what flavor of baby we were carrying. He INSISTED with more conviction than I’ve seen him muster save for the time that he tried to convince me that “Kung Fu” was a great show, that we were having a Girl. I was so much sicker, he reasoned, my pregnancy was so very different, it HAD to be a girl.

I took the option of Boy, just to make the US day more interesting (and to quell my aching nerves), and we had our bet.

The Stakes For Alex’s Pregnancy:

If I was right, and the baby was a Boy, Dave would wear a baby doll Britney Spears shirt IN PUBLIC on a day when it couldn’t be covered by a jacket.

If HE was right, and the baby was a Girl, I would, when I wasn’t overly pregnant, wear a Chicks Dig Unix shirt in public.

Due to our cheap-ass nature, and the fact that I sort of forgot (remember, this was also November in Chicago, where it’s certainly not warm enough to wear a t-shirt outdoors), Dave never wore the Britney Shirt.

So this time, in order once again to distract myself from the rolling ball of nerves that I now am, I tried to get him to make a bet with me. I was going for Team Girl, I figured he would go for Team Boy and we could come up with something new. Other than, “Hey, I’ll give you $20 from our JOINT CHECKING ACCOUNT” as stakes.

Now I need your help, Internet.

First, will you come with me to my US appointment on Monday at 12:30? Please? Even if it’s just in your head, please send me healthy baby vibes. I’ll be your BFF!

Second, go ahead and vote up there. I’m dying to see what YOU think I’m carrying.

Third, and perhaps most entertaining, help me come up with some stakes with which Dave and I can lay our bets. Here is the pertinent info on Daver (you know me already):

He is a geek, but not a nerd. I’m assured that there is a difference here.

As you may have guessed, he has an excellent sense of humor, so pretty much anything is fair game.

He’s Mr. Wilson to my Dennis The Menace.

He doesn’t appreciate the beauty of pop culture as I do as he’s far more deep and meaningful than I am.

He will stop at nothing to embarrass me.

Anything else you need to know?