Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son

Items, Glorious Items


Were you in Oliver! ever? I was. Eight grade. I do not love that show. Sorry if this song is now in your head for the rest of the day, too. I don’t know what gets into me. We were instructed to wear our fathers’ old shirts for that scene, so while the rest of the orphans (whose fathers were bigger than mine, I gather) looked waif-ish, I looked like a blue, permanent-press sausage. At least I got to sing the pretty rose seller bit later, in a peasant blouse.

Sorry, as ever, for the silence. I’d say it has been difficult to find time, but the real issue is energy. I am just so beat these days. I feel fine in the morning, but by evening, forget it. Makes me rather nervous about what’s coming next.

Meanwhile! Pease porridge and items:

  • Thank you for your many thoughtful, um, thoughts, about the doula situation. I/we have not decided what to do, but your comments have been very helpful. After meeting with friend-doula, I feel about the same as I did before: I think she is a good personality match for me, but I am worried about the experience issue. On the other hand, it is very, very valuable to me to know her personality well enough to trust that she won’t be crazy at me during labor. The doctors I have met at my new OB place all seem very nice and swear they aren’t insane, yet I find I am having enormous difficulty believing that. Just having that concern out of the way about a doula might be valuable enough to make up for a lot. As for the “morning-after” problem, I never saw my last doula after delivery, and I think that on balance that hasn’t been so great for my mental health. I do plan to have some pretty clear guidelines for anyone in this role, namely: pay more attention to me than the baby; tell me what a great job I did more times than anyone could possibly need to hear. Especially if this isn’t the kind of birth people carry on about the beauty of.
  • Speaking of mental health, I did go see that therapist last week, and I have an appointment for next week. She seems good, I think. She said several good things, things many of you have said, but it is different to hear them from someone who doesn’t like me, you know? (Wait, maybe you don’t like me, either? Someone who I’m not trying to have a friend-style relationship with, anyway.) I chose her because she has training in CBT and EMDR; a cognitive approach to this situation feels much more to the point than still more mucking about in my feeeeelings. Of course, what did I do? I talked about my feelings for a fifty-minute hour, that’s what. But I am a narrative gal, and I did need to tell her the story.
  • I only cried once! Rather suddenly, at the point where I said the thing about how, when I imagine things going well this time, I imagine myself surrounded by warriors. That was surprising timing, to me. The therapist — she might need a bovine name, not because she herself seems at all cow-like, but because the waiting room of her otherwise very midtown office (converted apartment, doorman, and so on) is entirely decorated in strangely urbane cow art. Let’s call her Caroline, as long as we’re on a musical kick, for the new, blue, true, moo cow in Gypsy, the one who is willing to moooove to the city with Baby June. Anyway, Caroline stopped me and asked me to dwell on the feeling that brought up, and woman, I wanted to shout, all I DO is dwell! But anyway, I think that went about as well as expected.

how bovine is thy dwelling place
How…bovine is thy dwelling place

  • I paid another visit to the high-risk place with the fancy u/s machines, for part two of the anatomy scan. It was…a bit of an ordeal, frankly. (With the obvious caveat that I mean “ordeal” in the limited way the word can apply to a situation with a good outcome.) Sugar had an important work meeting, so it was just me; God bless my friend the Dane for taking the Bean in addition to her own kids for the afternoon.
  • First, there was the Great Cervix Search, the longest stretch (as it were) of dildo-camming I have as yet experienced. My cervices, you may recall, are of particular interest because having the two of ’em means I am at increased risk of cervical incompetence, number two on my list of most-despised obstetric terms. (Number one is “habitual aborter.”) On the MRI I had prior to ever being pregnant, the two of them are smack next to each other; before the Bean removed my septum with his head, they were fairly easy to find on physical exam, since each had its own little vagina. How cute. Post-Bean, one — the one he used — has been easy to find by hand, as it were, one much more difficult. When I was in labor, they only found one, so my hunch is that the other made itself scarce in late pregnancy, and many thanks I send it.
  • So, back in the stirrups: the tech spent a while poking around with the ultrasound wand, pursing her lips and printing pictures and, as they all do in these moments, interrogating me about how I knew there were two, anyway. (MRI, plus I used to bleed out of the un-tamponned side, plus the other tech found it a month ago.) This is a slightly annoying conversation to have while being dildo-graphed. After a while, she stopped but told me to stay put while she found a doctor to decide if her pictures were satisfactory. Enter doctor. “I’ve never done this before,” she says, and off to the races we go, complete with the same interrogation. Eventually, she gives up, too, and in comes the senior doc on duty, who is very luckily the southern one I like so much. “How does it feel to be a medical marvel?” He has a firmer hand with the whole business (GOD, I do not like being able to compare technique in this way, but there’s only so long I can stare at the ceiling and think of England.) After quite a hunt, at least punctuated with jovial asides and no dubious eyebrow twitches, he declares himself defeated by my marvelous anatomy, too, but willing to assume things are okay in the absence of symptoms, given the fine state of the less shy cervix and the full-term status of the Bean.
  • Now is the part where I insert a little prayer that Jackalope doesn’t get any funny ideas about using the untested one. Do you hear me, young…person?
  • Jackalope, who has been kicking up a storm through all this, has fallen asleep, and in a position not conducive to measuring anything relevant. Now we see what fun toys the fancy place has at its disposal, like the tilt-a-whirl electric bed I am soon sliding off of, head first. (Seriously, I braced myself only by putting a hand on the wall behind me.) I am basted with more and more gel and rotated like a rotisserie chicken. The paper under me tears into little, goopy pieces. Just…yuck. Eventually the creature shifts enough to show off everything except what the tech keeps calling “the gender.” I resist the urge to parrot a women’s studies lecture at her. Jackalope has her feet between his legs, or the other way around. As I am instructed to roll over again, I mention that they did, after all, get a look last time, but apparently they have to look again. Lord knows why — is it all that likely to have changed? I guess that would be noteworthy.
  • Eventually, the tech’s rolling and prodding and jiggling pay off. She releases me to attempt to squeegie some gel off of myself, though it is clear this is more a job for a pressure washer than a paper towel. Dr. Southern returns to say everything is fine, Jackalope is a good size, the cord, which they couldn’t see well last time, is inserted in the expected manner, and while the placenta is still marginally previa, it’s only by 2 mm, which even I can’t manage to fret over. And no cervix searches again until the third trimester, though I’m back for another growth scan in a month. Phew.
  • Because she is an angel, the Dane has not only kept the Bean all this time but has also made enough quiche that I can inhale half a pie-plate’s worth upon my return to Brooklyn.
  • I did at least get lots of pictures to show to Sugar and the Bean, who respectively described the Jackalope as “a barracuda” and “scawy.” So now you have to look at them.


I think all that dust is on the scanner and not in my uterus, but who knows?



Clearly, my mind is going, because I even thought the creepy 3-D ones were cute.

…But maybe I also see where the “barracuda” idea comes from. Still not half as scary as the dragon-lizard the Bean appeared to be at a similar age.


  • Speaking of the Bean, he is charming, obsessed with street sweepers and the alphabet, awfully tall all of a sudden (36″), and still not much of a sleeper, very much to my consternation, though it is Sugar who gets the brunt of the night work, since he refuses to let me be the one to come in when he wakes. He mostly still naps (and is a holy terror if he doesn’t), but he rarely falls asleep before 10 pm. This would be annoying enough if he could be allowed to just stay up, but he really cannot function that way. So we start bedtime at 8 or 8:30, read books, brush teeth, all that, and then one of us sits in the dark for an hour or so. Every night. Thank God for iPads. (If he does not nap, he falls asleep much more quickly, but you will have to take my word for it that his mood and behavior for the last several hours of the day in that case are such that, NO. Artificially shortening his nap does not speed up bedtime.)
  • I did not answer the cat-torture question because I kept hoping I would find an answer or at least discover that his current delight in pestering the household felines was a short-lived phase. Ha. I don’t know what brought this on, but I know I want it to stop, pronto. Also a thing that could stop any time: “knocking” (read: hitting) his mothers.
  • He’s down to refusing all food except smoothies for dinner. (At lunch he will usually eat a peanut butter sandwich.) I don’t know anymore. He loves to cook and talk about food, just not so much to eat it.
  • He is very sweet about the baby, though, hugging and kissing my stomach and whispering, I love you, baby, in that not-very-whispery two-year-old way. This is very clever, as it is impossible to remain annoyed with whatever shenanigans he has been pulling when he does that.
  • Potty training is under way, in the most lazy way possible. His little butt is extremely cute in underpants. It is extremely hilarious when nude, as it often is, especially when he starts practicing being an acrobat.
  • This post is even more scattered than usual. Winning!
  • Sugar did come with me to today’s OB appointment, with the original doctor I know in the practice, the one who dealt with my Return To Stirrups last summer and also with Sugar’s menacing ovarian cysts, back in the day. She is very nice. She says no one at that practice is going to yell at me in labor. I have some trouble believing she can really know that about her colleagues, but I at least think she would not, so that’s a start. She did say, however, that she favors having women hold their breath while pushing, which I found ridiculous and panic-inducing. But we will work on that next visit, I guess. Time for another lit-review….
  • In the meantime, I am to acquire a blood sugar monitor in preparation for testing four times a day for two weeks, starting around week 26. This strikes me as overkill, but still better than having my brains scrambled the way they were by the glucola last time.
  • I asked whether it was really okay to be taking unisom every night, because if I don’t the first time I get up to pee is the end of sleep for me. “It’s not a great idea to take anything every night,” she started, but when I asked what I should do instead about being up for the day at 2am, it turns out she didn’t think half a tab was such a big deal, after all.


  • (Don’t you always stick around, just to see if something comes after the credits?)
  • I’m going to DC for the weekend, for a baby shower. This is emphatically not the kind of thing I usually travel for, but the gravid friend in question organized my shower from DC, so it seems the least I can do. I will be there Saturday and Sunday, basking in the glory of the closed museums and terminally borked transit system, and while this was supposed to be sort of a treat, it isn’t feeling like much of one. So let me know if you are around or have great ideas for something nice to do that doesn’t involve alcohol or the federal government.

16 thoughts on “Items, Glorious Items

  1. So it is completely in my head now. But after such a wonderful update, I cannot hold a grudge.

    I’m glad to hear that Jackalope is doing well, although sorry you had such a crap experience with the doctors/technicians/etc. I can’t believe you’re over halfway. Your pregnancy seems to be flying by from my perspective (probably less so from yours).

    It actually makes me feel better to know that the Bean is also into cat torturing, because this leads me to believe it is a developmental phase that they will both grow out of, given how close they are in age. We can hope, right? Things are getting slightly better over here. He sometimes tries to touch the cats nicely, but by ‘nicely’, he means patting them with his neck, which they don’t really appreciate even though it involves no fur-pulling.

    I have no idea if this would work with the Bean or not, but a friend of mine has a little girl who takes ages to go to sleep and is always ready for a power struggle/battle over it. They’ve settled on putting a gate up in her doorway, leaving only quiet toys in her room, and letting her potter around doing her own thing until she goes to sleep.

    I’m sorry about the food thing. E. is pretty picky these days, but it sounds like the Bean is in a different category. Is the paediatrician at all concerned? If he is sprouting upwards he must be getting what he needs from somewhere. Photosynthesis?

    The ‘waking up for the day if I get up to pee’ thing is killing me, and I don’t even have pregnancy as an excuse. I’m hoping now that I’ve stopped the prednisone things will get better. In the meantime, I feel your pain.

    • I am cracking up here at the notion of attempting to pet a cat with one’s neck. The Bean will sometimes pet the cats nicely (usually backwards, so that their fur is all pushed up), but he is too wary to put his face close. And even though he kind of has it coming, I’m just as glad he has the sense not to avoid face attacks. Now if he’d just stop chasing them….

      Your friends’ sleep plan sounds great. Sadly, it won’t work in our space, though don’t think we haven’t tried. There’s no practical way to remove much from his room and still be able to walk at all in the remainder of the apartment, and unless we just hole up in our own bedroom, we are right against his door. I suppose that’s not technically impossible to deal with for some people, but it is for me.

      The pediatrician, when last seen (6 months ago) was just thrilled that he had gained so much weight. The advice I got at an earlier stage from her was basically Ellyn Satter, which I thought was brilliant before meeting this kid, who is too willing to starve himself into complete insomnia for that system. (I should write a post about how insufferably condescending her advice for kids like him seems to me now.)

      Prednisone is the WORST. I hope sleep improves as it leaves your system.

  2. I am also an anomalous uterus lesbian Brooklynite mama. My septum was removed last year (along with a whole lot of endometriosis) and I am only in possession of one cervix. I have a sweet three year old son and fiesty three month old daughter. I love your tales of Brooklyn (we’re in the slope), uterine anomalies, and your son. Good luck with this pregnancy and birth- I’m a midwife and constantly blown away by how much better second births are, with very few exceptions. Looking forward to continuing to read along.

  3. You can’t seriously expect anyone to have thoughts that don’t involve either alcohol OR the federal government! I can’t work like this!

    So glad that Jackalope is well, that the previa isn’t very, and that other than being invisible, your cervices are unproblematic. I can’t believe how tall the Bean is! Eggbert was 36 inches at age 4. I just checked her baby spreadsheet (yes, I said spreadsheet, I may be the least romantic mother ever).

    Glad to hear that Caroline doesn’t suck so far, and that your doctors don’t actually seem evil either. So far so good.

    • I am no giant, myself, but the Bean’s donor is tall. But it’s also true that I was one of the tallest kids in kindergarten, despite being the youngest. I wasn’t officially short until fourth grade or so.

  4. Wow that’s a lot of interaction with various medical folks. I hope that there’s time to build some trust before Jackalope makes an appearance.

    Also, that cow decor is amazing.

  5. So do you think there is somebody in your house who could make me some urbane cat art? I am thinking a nice portrait of Trip, maybe with a pale pink background, like the cow on the left up there, but you know, of Trip instead of a cow. It would be titled with his full name, of course. I’ll send a picture, just in case anyone wants to get started on that? It could be little. Maybe there could be a whole set of little cat portraits?! If there were a copy of the one of Bernice, I’d let you have it.

    Also, yes. I like you.

    • It’s right in your twitter bio!

      You know who to ask about the urbane cat portraits, and you know it’s the one who can actually draw things. (Well. I can draw things, but only cartoon. You want a sketch of a slug riding a bicycle, you call me.) I will file an amicus brief on your behalf.

  6. No, you should not hold your breath, there’s a whole bunch of papers monitoring oxygenation of mother and fetus and it DOES NOT HELP. I will endeavor to find you one, one of these days. When having *my* second child, the (older, least-favorite of the entire group!) midwife told me to hold my breath, and I just laughed at her. Nice try, lady. Catch the damn baby and shut up.

  7. It’s nice to see alcohol and the federal government side by side.
    And I’m glad that Jackalope and the not-hiding cervix are doing well (as the latter is a new item of concern in my books).
    The cow art is… interesting. But if she does a good job I suppose one can handle it.

  8. Wow, so many updates, I’m not sure where to start. Maybe I should bullet-point my comments?
    -Glad the therapist seems to be helpful (if blessed with odd taste in décor)
    -The ultrasound appointment sounds awful! I’m unimpressed with the bedside manner of the tech and the 1st doc. But glad to hear that all seems well with Mr/Ms Jackalope.
    -The sleep stuff is crazy-making! It’s so frustrating to have a small person who desperately needs to sleep and…won’t. Tadpole would probably be much more pleasant to live with (and get into less trouble in the afternoons at daycare) if he would nap, but he hasn’t in about 2 years. It must be tough to lose so much of your evening to sitting in the dark. It sounds like it’s fortunate that the Bean is also so adorable…

  9. so my coworker’s three-year-old most likely was responsible for breaking their cat’s leg. mom is a bit traumatized. cat had to have really expensive emergency surgery due to the location of the break (near or at the joint). I know this is a terrible story to share, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find the humor in it.

    also, I’m glad you are working on healing. and this was a fabulous post that it took me a long time to even process responding to.

  10. Overwhelmed by items! Hello, you beautiful Jackalope! I am glad the therapist did not fill you with rage, and that things are proceeding well enough on the pregnancy and, you know, life fronts. I think a toddler can live on some smoothie every day, right?

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