Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Endorphins: my drug of choice

Caffeine, alcohol, marijuana, coke, ecstasy, speed - feh! Who needs them? They're all so... imperfect.

Sure, caffeine helps you stay alert, but it rots your stomach and makes your sweat smell sour and needs to be consumed in ever-increasing amounts in order to remain effective. Alcohol can be fun - until you're waking up with a pounding hangover and a nagging sensation that you did something incredibly stupid the night before, and you're terrified to discover exactly what that something was, or what that big lump in the bed beside you might be.

Pot makes you talk reaaaaal sloooooooowly and can make you sound like you're a bit too intellectually challenged to be taken seriously, especially when you start talking about how SpongeBob SquarePants has a deeper subtext than most people realize and is actually a work of great philosophical genius.

Ecstasy makes you act like a fool around people who wear velour, coke makes you think you're a million times cooler than you really are, and speed - well, as far as I can figure out, speed makes you want to shave your head and slam-dance naked with a bunch of shirtless guys in army boots.

Thanks, but no thanks... I've got me a new drug! Give me the sweet, sweet rush of endorphins, the natural hormones that enable you to cope with unimaginable amounts of physical pain then promptly forget all about it moments later. Endorphins, the wonder drug that mellows you out, cheers you up, and gives you the energy you need to function on 90 minutes of sleep for days on end. Want to dance all night while grooving on the rainbow love that ties us all together, all the living things and the planets and stars and pinwheel galaxies that spiral their way through the heavens above? Try endorphins! Want to push yourself to the outer limits of your endurance and punch your way through the pain barrier to emerge victorious on the other side? Endorphins! Want to live in a state of pure bliss, untouched by the ugliness and suffering ubiquitous in the world around you? Endorphins, endorphins, endorphins!!!

Now, if only I could find an easier way besides going through eight hours of labour to get me some more of that sweet stuff...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Meet Milo

Fortunately for him, Milo scored sufficiently high enough on the cuteness scale to avoid being tied into a burlap sack and thrown into a river-for now, at least. We'll see what he's like when he's a teenager.

Robert Milo Emmerson (fourth in a line of Robert Emmersons, first in a line of Milos) is not, repeat NOT, an Australian Ovaltine-style chocolate malt drink. Nor is he a cat who journeys across the country to find a dog named Otis. And I haven't been watching him every waking moment of his 43-hour life, but I'm fairly certain he's never been to Atlantis. He didn't fight in World War II (though he IS most definitely a Minderbender) and he's never driven through a phantom tollbooth to rescue Rhyme and Reason from a castle in the air. And, although I'd love to say otherwise, I'm afraid he's never traded liberal wisecracks with a penguin named Opus.

Of course, it's possible he may do all those things and more some day, but for now Milo is simply our baby son. But I must say, he's still quite the character - and yes, it's true: he's pretty sweet.

For those who haven't yet heard the story, Milo was born at home at 1:45 a.m. on Saturday, June 25th, after causing his mother to moan and howl for an approximate total of seven hours and forty-five minutes. He weighed just under eight pounds (3.62 kg) at birth and was just over 20 inches (51.5 cm) long. His mother is very grateful that he decided to make his appearance 13 days before his scheduled due date - especially after she learned that Milo would have been a full pound heavier had he decided to wait until the due date to be born.

Yes, Milo is a good boy. Now if only he would sleep for longer than 90 minute stretches at night... Oh, wait, I forgot. That's what the overproof rum is for!

Thanks for all your wonderful wishes, everyone -- I'll respond to them personally some time over the next week or so. And I will be posting more photos here as well, so keep an eye out for them. I might even discuss the birth in graphic detail, just so I can imagine the expressions on some of your faces as you read it. Heh heh heh... But for now, mama must sleep. Or drink overproof rum. Or both.

Much love to all... Milo and his very tired but deliriously happy parents.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I am woman, hear me snore

I’m haunted by ghost phlegm.

It lines my sinuses and the back of my throat and makes me feel as if a trickle of mucous is about to start dripping from my epiglottis at any moment. But when I cough and hack and blow my nose and snort in a desperate attempt to expel it, it refuses to come out.

It just lingers there, ever-so-slowly suffocating me.

Ah, the joys of late-term pregnancy. At this stage of the game, I have 50% more blood circulating through my body than I did before I was pregnant. There are a couple of reasons for all this extra blood: 1. it’s carrying an increased amount of oxygen to all my various bits and pieces (I’m breathing for two, you know), and 2. it will reduce the impact of the blood loss I’ll experience during delivery.

Oh, goody. Significant blood loss, in my all-too-near and ever-approaching future**. Thanks, Google, for filling me in on that one. Thanks a lot.

This baby had better be worth it, I tell you. If it’s not outstandingly cute, hyper-intelligent, gracious, kind, amusing, and fully committed to providing complete financial support for its lay-about parents by the time it’s a teenager, then it’s off to the black market we go. I hear a healthy baby can fetch a good price these days. And I have to get SOME kind of dividend in return for all the aches and pains and booze-free parties I’ve had to endure for the past nine months… Not to mention what I’m about to go through during this whole impending “labour” thing. Blood loss. Yum.

Anyway. Back to the topic at hand. As you might imagine, with all this extra blood flowing through me, I’m just a wee bit swollen these days. My fingers are swollen, my feet are swollen, my face is swollen, my upper arms are swollen (yes, they ARE! It's the pregnancy, I swear!) and my sinuses are swollen. Hence the ghost phlegm… It’s not that I have a lot of extra mucous plugging up my head -- it’s just that my nasal passages are constricted, which makes them feel much more congested than they really are.

And so I spend my waking hours convulsively swallowing, trying fruitlessly to summon up enough suction to clear my sinuses of phlegm that simply doesn’t exist.

On top of that, according to Rob, I’ve begun to spend my pitiable amount of sleeping hours snoring – another unfortunate consequence of these blood-swollen sinuses. Now both of us are getting close to zero hours of actual unbroken sleep each night.

“But that's just nature’s way of preparing you for all the late-night wake-ups you’ll have once the baby arrives,” say many of the mothers I know, speaking in a comforting tone -- as if I'll be reassured to learn that my crappy crappy sleeps are happening for a good reason, i.e., that I have an endless parade of near-sleepless nights stretching into my foreseeable future (not to mention the aforementioned significant blood loss and the pain and yowling and splitting in two required to push a live human out of me, and all that other good stuff).

Somehow, I’m not feeling particularly reassured…

** I’m currently at 38 weeks and counting, which means I’ve officially entered the “it could happen at any moment” zone. Granted, this zone is four weeks long, so I’m not necessarily going to have the baby this very second (sorry, Sheila – I know you picked today’s date in the birth pool), but still. It’s going to happen, and it’s going to happen soon, and there ain’t nothin’ I can do about it but gnash my teeth and pray to each and every ancient fertility deity I can think of. Hera, hear my plea…

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Where's a monkey when you need one?

Today I was asked by a stranger on an elevator what it feels like to be pregnant.

I looked at her for a moment and replied, "Um... what part?"

How can you put words to something that changes so much from day to day and has so many different elements to it? Do you start by describing what it feels like to have a small human wriggling around inside you? (Like you've been hollowed out and stuffed with a live chicken, minus beak and claws.)

Or do you try to explain what pregnancy does to your body - how it relaxes your ligaments and swells your extremities and (if you're lucky enough to work at a computer all day long like me) causes carpal tunnel syndrome, which makes you feel as if you've got tiny elastic bands wrapped around all the joints in your fingers? Or how it feels when your belly - at its fullest possible capacity - is forced to streeeeetch even more to provide a little extra elbow room for your ever-growing stowaway?

Or do you talk about the emotional impact - how the surge of hormones rushing through your body can lift you up to the greatest heights of giddiness one moment then hurl you down into the deepest chasms of grief the next? (Fortunately, I've been lucky enough to experience way more highs than lows, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I did spend an hour and a half one evening sobbing uncontrollably while watching a stupid Disney movie. Damn that Lilo and Stitch.)

To paraphrase a common parable, if you have a thousand monkeys pounding away on a thousand typewriters ad infinitum, eventually they'll produce a comprehensive and accurate description of what it feels like to be pregnant. Otherwise, if you really want to know, you're just going to experience it for yourself.

Either that or hollow yourself out and sew a live chicken in your belly. Your call.

Image taken from:

Sunday, June 12, 2005


When you're 36 weeks pregnant, it becomes very difficult to forget that there's a living creature growing inside you.

The babe in my belly continues to make its presence known in new and alarming ways. Tiny feet keep kicking me in the side, causing my belly to assume bizarre trapezoidal shapes. My bladder is the hapless recipient of never-ending head-butts, while elsewhere, tiny hands entertain themselves by pounding on my intestines.

Meanwhile, my belly just keeps growing larger, and larger, and larger... I'm more than half-expecting it to split open at any moment and release a grinning twin-jawed alien that soft-shoes its way out the nearest door singing, "Hello my baby, hello my darling, hello my ragtime gal..."

Every night while "sleeping," I wake up every 45 minutes or so to turn from one side to the other in a vain attempt to ease the pressure on my aching hips - and trying to move this mountainous belly from side to side is a task of Herculean proportions, believe me.

But sleeping on my stomach is impossible (imagine lying on a bowling ball that kicks!) while sleeping on my back is a big no-no -- it'll encourage the baby to lie with its spine against mine, and if I were to go into labour with the baby in that position, the LARGEST part of its head would make its way through me first, a condition known as "back labour" -- or, alternatively, as "OWW!!! YOU NO-GOOD MONSTER CHILD, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING TO ME???!"

My fingers balloon into salami-sized sausages several times a day. My pelvis has started to stretch, which means I now walk like a cowboy with rickets. I feel like I'm on ice skates - like I have to be REALLY careful when I walk, or else my legs are going to go shooting off in opposite directions and dump me on my ass. And I can no longer tie my own shoes, so I'm forced to wear flip-flops all the time, even on cold, rainy days. Yep, still the fashion queen I always was...

"Enjoy it while it lasts," sigh many of the mothers I know. "Pregnancy is the most wonderful time of your life. And you'll never have so much precious alone time again."

Alone time? ALONE TIME? How can you feel alone when there's a real, live human in your belly reminding you of its existence at least a dozen times an hour?

Ah, well. On the upside, my stomach has never been so taut in my life! Sure, I might not be sporting a six-pack, but I can tell you one thing: you can't pinch an inch on these abs. A square foot or two, perhaps... But definitely not an inch.

And there IS the sheer stupendous awe of knowing that the creature inside me is a person - a unique individual who's going to grow up to walk his or her own path and have his or her own independent thoughts and experiences.

(And, quite probably, one day read the words I wrote in this blog and say, "Jeez, Mom - why do you always have to be such a FREAK?)

Dr. Frankenstein's got nothin' on me, I tell ya...

(note: The above picture is from the movie, "It's Alive!" a schlock horror from the '70s about a killer baby born to a typical, run-of-the-mill suburban couple who are somewhat perturbed by the extent to which their newborn is "differently abled." For some odd reason, I haven't been able to get that movie out of my head these last few weeks. Go figure.

The photo was taken from:

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Okay, I admit it: I'm not REALLY a first-time parent--yet...

Assuming that baby obeys the will of its parents and arrives precisely on time**, I have roughly four weeks to go before anyone's officially allowed to call me "mother," "mommy," "mama," or "wielder of the squishy milk bags."

However, I thought it would be fun to launch this blog a month early, so you could all bear witness to the final countdown as it plays out in my hormone-addled brain.

Holy jumping Jeebus on a pogo stick, I'm about to become a MOM!

Tick... tick... tick... Are the passing seconds pounding as loudly in your ears as they are in mine? What was that? Sorry - couldn't hear - you were drowned out by the inexorable march of Time, as it pulls me ever closer to parenthood.

And they say the biological clock you hear BEFORE you get pregnant is scary.

My only hope for survival is to take this whole motherhood thing one day at a time, and to rely on my husband Rob, my friends, and my family for their counsel and support.

Um, that would be you guys.

Help? Pretty please? Any advice or commiseration you can offer in the days and months ahead will be GREATLY appreciated!

In exchange, I'll do my very best to entertain you with my tales of madness and mayhem. Or at the very least, give you an excuse to pat yourself on the back and say, "There but for the grace of God..."

And for those of you who aren't parents, I'm hoping to give you some idea of what it's REALLY like to become one. The stories you'll find on this blog aren't going to be the typical accounts you see in any of those pretty, pastel "So You're Going to Be a Mumsy-Wumsy" books.

Nuh uh. I'm going to give you the "straight poop" - projectile vomit, leaky diapers, oozing butt blisters and all.

If my stories don't educate or entertain you, they at least may serve as some sort of birth control... I hear that overpopulation is a growing problem these days.

So. Let the blogging begin!

** My actual due date is July 7th. However, only 5% of babies arrive exactly on time, while 80% arrive within two weeks before or after their "D-day." Any way you slice it, I'm very closely approaching the time when baby could choose to arrive at any moment. Just don't tell Rob that, unless you want to see a grown man stick his fingers in his ears and sing, "La la la, I can't HEAR you!"