It’s Monday. And here I sit — still pregnant.

I feel like a bird sitting on her nest, waiting for her eggs to hatch.

Speaking of nests, I woke up at 5 a.m. yesterday, itching to clean everything, organize every messy surface (of which there are many) and generally whirl around like some kind of psychotic Tasmanian devil, straightening everything in my path. Luckily, I am married to the world’s most understanding, accommodating husband, so he was able to channel all this manic energy for good. We hung curtains, organized closets, decorated our newly-remodeled bathroom and even had yummy ribs for supper! What a guy.

All of this is the culmination of a weekend where I tried to get my mind off of having a baby. On Friday night, we went out to eat at this amazing Indian restaurant called Tandoori Hut (cleverly named because of its location in a former Pizza Hut), where, I admit, I ordered the spiciest thing on the menu. After many, many, many glasses of ice water, Tim and I decided to finally catch “Memento,” which is playing at the Tivoli. Wow. Just like everyone in the world has said before, this movie was stunning. I know it was supposed to be confusing at the end, but I still couldn’t help going over it again and again. I need closure!

I’m trying to remember what we did on Saturday… I don’t think it was much, because you would not believe how hot it is here. I mean, apparently there’s something that has to do with the dew point being so high that means we’ve turned into Guatemala. I can’t remember it ever being this humid outside, and I’ve lived in a river town my entire life. So pretty much I tried to stay in darkened rooms all day on Saturday, occasionally tending to the laundry and napping. We rented “Snatch,” which was very enjoyable. I especially like the fact that Brad Pitt looked absolutely filthy in every single scene he appeared in. I mean, for goodness’ sake! And he had this great gypsy accent, rendering him incoherent. Fun with big Hollywood stars!

Oh geez, I’m rambling, aren’t I? I apologize. But, hey, I don’t have anything else to do, and it’s my blog! Woo hoo!

I don’t understand why people don’t like Scott Kanneberg’s songs on “Brighten the Corners.” I think they are OK.

So, it looks like we’re headed back to the doctor’s again tomorrow. My appointment is for 12:30, which means that my appointment doesn’t actually exist, because that’s when everyone goes to lunch and I sit in the waiting room until 1:30, waiting for everyone to come back. But that’s fine. I could probably not show up until 1:30 and be fine, but I’m too much of a nice Midwesterner to do that. No, I’ll just hang out there, looking very pregnant and uncomfortable, wedged in a waiting room chair, thumbing through a copy of Field and Stream because I’ve already read everything else. You know, if I took a New Yorker to every one of these appointments, I would probably be caught up reading them instead of still trying to make it through June.

One last thing: According to a message board I read over the weekend, several people have been dilated as much as 5 cm and still were not in labor. For weeks. Most were eventually induced by skittish doctors who worried that the patient wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time. The bonus though, is that most had less than 2-3 hours of labor!

Irritable, irritable, irritable…

You should be glad that you are not married to me today. (Unfortunately, Tim cannot count himself among this group.) I am really hard to deal with. I don’t know if it’s the weather (which is cloudy and humid as all get out), my impatience at the baby not being here yet or just a general feeling of bitchiness that permeates my being, but something is amiss. Maybe it was that I just had to clean up dog pee off of the rug and Tim forgot to call me back when he said he would. That probably has something to do with it.

Anyhoo, just wanted to do a quick post so you know that nothing happened last night, except a smidge of bleeding. I wonder exactly how dilated one can get before labor begins officially. My new theory is that I’m just going to have four weeks of easy labor and on August 6, the baby will just pop out while I’m watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or something. That would be interesting, and much cheaper than delivering at the hospital!

Kim asked a really good question the other day: Will I continue to update the blog during labor and/or after delivery? Well, I’ll try to get Tim to update the blog when he runs home to take a shower or something after the baby’s here and I’m still in the hospital. After I’m home, I definitely plan to keep updating the blog about all the tiny minutiae of the little guy’s life. You can look forward to post after post on the indelicacies of breastfeeding, the many messy diaper changes and how amazing it is to have a little being who depends solely on you.

So have a great weekend, everybody. One of my clients thinks “this is the weekend.” Yeah, right.

Oh, woe is me! What a night and subsequent morning, my friends…

After no developments yesterday morning (the contractions stopped around lunchtime), I just pressed on, working diligently to try and get client work out the door, to no avail. Tim and I went out last night on a last-minute stock-up run to Sam’s and Babies R Us (evil store). Many, many, many dollars later, we returned home and I called my doula to check that she had contacted the list of back-up doulas she gave me. She had not, but promised to do so before she left today. I tried not to dwell on the sheer joy in her voice when she got my call — I’m sure she thought I was in labor. Oh well. Baby will come when he’s ready, right?

Well, I was almost certain it was going to be last night. About a quarter to midnight, I started feeling some actual discomfort along with a contraction. At first, I thought it was just gas (don’t laugh — gas is a serious thing for preggos), but after an hour or so I figured that gas pains probably don’t come every 10 to 15 minutes. I was up until 2, progressively getting more and more excited, but I finally fell asleep sometime after that and awoke to no more contractions.

So, needless to say, when I got up at 7:30 for my daily walk with Tim’s mom, I was (and still am) tired and more than a little cranky. I asked Tim how he slept last night and he gave me a joking answer like, ‘Why? Are you trying to make me feel guilty?’ and I totally lost it. Tears, tears, tears, to his horror. Not good. I’m sure he felt really horrible.

I told him that I didn’t want to do this anymore. I’m tired of being pregnant. I’m tired of waiting for this dang baby. I want everyone to stop rearranging their schedules around the mythical chance that I might go into labor soon. I mean, I still have two weeks to go, officially! It’s kind of a lot of pressure, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. Plus, I’m getting a little caught up in the whole philosophical weightiness of this event, you know? I mean, having a baby is huge. Like on a level a smidge below being born and dying. Getting married, moving away from home, your first love… These things have nothing on having a baby. It’s a lot to think about.

I hope I’m not sounding like a broken record every day. “Gee, I thought it was labor, but it wasn’t.” How thrilling for you. But that’s pretty much my life right now, and I guess it’s starting to get to me too.

Oh, and yes, Ryan, my mucous plug is long gone. (Trust me, you don’t want to know.)

So I’m driving home from my doctor’s appointment yesterday when I come upon a huge traffic snarl on the ramp from 40 to 270 (those of you from St. Louis are not surprised). I was even thinking about how I would get home, call Tim, call my mom, call the doula and then have time to update the blog for you easterners. Alas, I bailed from the ramp and took 40 to Mason, which took me to Manchester, which led me straight to the Baby Depot. It was all downhill from there. Approximately 30 minutes later (and much lighter in the wallet) I emerged and then proceeded home in slow rush hour traffic. By the time I walked in the door, it was 4:30 and half of the people I know were convinced that I had been admitted to the hospital, including my husband. Sometimes a cell phone would be nice, I admit.

So you’re just now getting to hear the big news: I’m 100% effaced and 3 cm dilated! The doctor’s quote was, ‘You can go ahead and make an appointment for next week, but I don’t think you’ll need it.’ Yikes. But I just keep beating my head against the reality that even though I’m so far along, I could still last a couple more weeks! I mean, this guy isn’t officially due until August 6. And you rarely hear about first babies that are early. So I’m trying to stay realistic, even in the face of the couple of interesting contractions I’ve had this morning. Still nothing of any discernable length, but they are more noticeable when they start.

Sorry if I grossed anyone out yesterday with my discussion of pregnancy gore. It has not been that bad, I promise. Sometimes I get alarmed at the idea that I really have no control over this pregnancy. It’s all up to my body to decide when it’s had enough of this little invader and serve him with his eviction papers. I’m just along for the ride at this point.

One interesting development is that my doula is going out of town on Thursday and Friday. Yippee! If I was a betting person (which I am), I’d put my money on either day. It would figure that months of planning and arguing with my mother about the doula would end up with me having to call a back-up once the big event actually came.

That’s it, my friends. I’ve got nothing else for you right now. I’m just trying to work as much as I can on client business today, while keeping my mind occupied on something other than, ‘Is that it? Was that a contraction?’ and feeling around on my belly. I swear, I’m going to have bruises! My mom and Tim are on the alert, though, so rest assured that I won’t deliver this baby in a closet like your childhood cat.

All together now: C’mon, baby!

One thing I’ve come to realize about this whole childbirth thing over the past week: It’s a gory business, kinda. Not just the whole baby comes out of this disturbingly small orifice, covered with cheese, part, either. There’s a frightening amount of blood involved as well. Which is why, gentle reader, I’m up at 4:15 in the morning writing this instead of sleeping blissfully next to my warm husband.

You see, I didn’t really want to go into this last week, but at my OB visit, after she checked my effacement and dilatation, I bled quite a bit. The doc checked me again (this time with the dreaded speculum) and said my cervix was just very, very sensitive. Well, once the bleeding stopped (which it did fairly quickly), I didn’t worry about it much. However, yesterday, it started bleeding again. On its very own! It quit as quickly as it began. About an hour ago, I got up on one of my myriad trips to the bathroom and there was a considerable amount of blood again. But now it’s gone.

Needless to say, after a pregnancy that up until now has seen nary a drop of blood, I called my doctor’s office to report the incident yesterday afternoon. The nurse just chalked it up to my sensitive cervix and that my afternoon bathroom visit had probably instigated the bleeding. Since I have an appointment at 1:45 today, there was no need to run over and get checked out. Now tonight, there is no reason for it whatsoever. What’s going on?

The only explanation I can think of is that I have felt absolutely premenstral since Sunday. It comes and goes a little, but for the most part, it feels just like the kind of bloated crampiness I feel right my period. (We’re all comfortable with this, right? Hope you’re not reading this over lunch.) In fact, yesterday afternoon, for a split second when I saw the blood I thought, ‘Oh, great. My period’s here.’ Except I haven’t had one of those since October of last year! Oops! Do you think I could be pregnant?!

Tonight I feel exactly the same. And the crampiness isn’t contractions, either. At least none that register on my Richter scale. Plus, I woke up hungry so I had to have some oatmeal. It’s weird, but this entire pregnancy, if I woke up hungry, I had to have oatmeal.

So that’s my treatise on the gore that precedes childbirth. And my water hasn’t even broken yet! Is it just me, or am I going to be wiping up after myself immediately following the birth? I promise I’m not that much of a neatnik (that honor goes to my friend Ryan), but I hate to be the cause of biological messes (yes, I still feel badly about your sink, Ryan). Something tells me, though, that once I have that baby in my arms, I won’t notice a thing.

I was just delusional.

It’s Monday, and — quite obviously — there’s no baby yet. We did have a heck of a time this weekend, though, getting ready for the little guy. Tim worked his boo-tay off by installing a shelf in the nursery (which you can view here). He also set up the cool Pack ‘n Play his mother got us and figured out the digital camera that his parents bought us as well. Go, in-laws! They are out of control.

And what did I do whilst he slaved? I’ll tell you — not a lot. You see, I woke up on Saturday with this fairly intense pain in my way lower back. We’re talking pelvis city here, friends. It sucked. Tim was convinced that it was the baby’s huge head causing my bones to spread, my mom thought I had overdone it while doing laundry the day before and all I knew was that the Tylenol I splurged and took, a warm bath, a walk with the dogs and a battery of stretches had made nary a dent in the pain. Discomfort! Anyway, I consulted my handy reference “The Birth Book” and was informed that I am officially in “prelabor!” Now, before you go getting all excited, you should know that this stage can last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. Ugh! And, of course, the low back pain is one of the symptoms because (ding! ding! we have a winner!) Tim was right and my pelvis is spreading. Fun!

So Tim and I went shopping with his parents and took them to lunch since we were total heels and forgot his dad’s birthday. D’oh! The rest of the day, I just played with the camera and did crosswords or something.

Yesterday, I didn’t think I would ever get going. We got up and went to mass, but as soon as we got home, I collapsed on the couch for two hours. I guess all that stand-sit-kneeling takes a lot of the nine-months pregnant body. Once I helped Tim get the shelf up, though, I was off like a rocket, organizing the nursery. You don’t understand — this shelf has been integral to my plans for the nursery. Nothing could be finished until it was up and ready to go. So now the nursery is just waiting for a baby to fill it (with joy, I’m sure). C’mon, baby!

20 days until the due date. Has anyone started taking bets on when it will happen yet?

23 days to go… Why do I still have this feeling that it’s going to happen this weekend? Probably still just delusional.

I think I’ve found out why most pregnant women actually lose weight their last month, though. Walking! I have been walking my butt off for the past two days. I don’t know if it’s that I have too much energy (for once) or that I have this silly notion that walking will help get things rolling in the birth department, but all I know is that I managed to out-walk the dogs, even.

Tim has been so great lately (and always). He’s been working hard on finishing up all the little projects around the house like building a neat shelf in the baby’s room to put diaper stuff on, setting up our web server so we can get photos up first thing for all to see, painting and reinstalling vent covers (don’t ask) and he’s even going to try to get our new doors up before the baby gets here! Not to mention, he puts up with my increasing moodiness. Sorry, honey.

Mr. Baby, however, has made no indications of wanting to meet us just yet. He’s still rolling around in there, albeit only side-to-side since that’s the only way he can move now. Having him so low is really strange at times, though. It’s kinda like I’m sitting on his head or something. Very odd.

I’m still having very irregular contractions, maybe one or two every few hours. One really big one last night after Tim and I made our own attempt to, ahem, get things rolling. So maybe we’re getting closer.

Tim’s parents have generously offered to purchase a digital camera for us for the baby’s birth. They actually wanted to get us a video camera, but I really just don’t see us using it as much as a camera, so we talked them into getting the camera. Now we just have to decide which one we want. Sometimes the old in-laws aren’t so bad!

So keep your fingers crossed for me… Maybe we’ll have a baby soon!

Wow. Big doin’s at the OB yesterday… First of all, I only gained one pound! Yay! I’m so relieved, isn’t that sad? So I’m right at 30 pounds gained so far. Not too bad, but more than I’d hoped. But what are you gonna do?

Second thing: the doctor confirmed that the baby indeed had dropped. “His head is right there.” Yippee! I’m not totally insane!

Third thing: I’m 90% effaced, which means that my cervix is almost completely thinned out. That means a lot of the work that goes into labor is already done!

Finally: (drumroll please) I’m 2 cm dilated! Holy frijoles! As a matter of fact, my doc said that my cervix “melted” to 2 cm just by her feeling it because it is so paper-thin. Yikes!

So what does all this mean, gentle readers? It means that this baby could come at any moment! Oh. My. God. Am I ready? Is Tim ready? Is the baby ready? All I know is that I could barely sleep last night, for fear that my water would break at any given moment. I felt nauseous, I felt gassy, I had “bathroom unpleasantness.” Earlier that evening, I had some contractions, but they were very irregular and lasted less than an hour.

I got up finally at ten to five and was going to eat something to see if that made me feel less nauseous, but I ended up unloading the dishwasher and getting sidetracked with other domestic chores. I tried to lay back down at 5:30, but was back up again at 5:45 because I felt so sick. Now, I should explain that this feeling of nausea comes from this feeling of crampiness I have in my stomach, or rather, where my stomach used to be. So are these contractions? Am I crazy? Who knows?

So Kirby and I went for a very early morning walk just because I needed to get out of the house and do something. We walked all over the neighborhood for about half an hour, then came back to find that poor Tim had been awoken by the rest of the dogs who were jealous that they didn’t get to go for a walk. Poor Tim!

Once Tim left for work, I went back to bed and slept for about an hour, which was pretty good. I woke up feeling much better, much less freaked.

I’ve pretty much just decided to stop worrying about it, you know? I mean, there’s nothing I can really do except try all those silly home-remedy-type things like eating spicy food, having “vigorous” sex or taking castor oil. The baby will make his appearance when he’s ready. And that’s fine with me. Today.

Baby shower fallout: Entry #1

Yesterday was a little out of control. Sorry I kept you all waiting breathlessly for the myriad details of my baby showers from the past weekend, but I had serious shopping to do. Get ready for another quick pregnancy lesson in… Nesting.

One thing that has truly been hammered home with me during this pregnancy is that we are all animals. Really. I can’t think of anything in my life that has been a more primal, instinctive, or biologically-intense experience than being pregnant. I mean, this is way beyond most involuntary bodily functions, way beyond even sex. It’s just kinda frightening at times how completely your body takes over the pregnancy process and you really have no control over it once it’s started. Suddenly, new organs are forming (the placenta), glands are secreting enormous amounts of hormones that make you burst into tears for no reason, organs are stretching and moving around to accommodate the new being inside you, your hair and fingernails are growing like mad, making you look like David Cassidy only two weeks after your last haircut! To some extent, I feel like I’ve been a mere passenger in my body for the last nine months.

So anyway, one more reminder of how completely out of control I am reared its ugly head yesterday — nesting. Apparently, when birth is imminent (i.e., days or even weeks away), most women will begin to become very concerned about their surroundings. We want everything to be “just right.” That can include copious amounts of cleaning, cooking, organizing and just general baby-preparedness. Yesterday, I was absolutely compelled, I mean, compelled to go out and shop for the things that we didn’t get at our baby showers, but that I feel we need to survive.

Not to make it sound like we didn’t get much, though! The car was absolutely jammed on the way home. At my stepmother’s shower on Saturday, we made out like bandits with lots of diapers, baby wipes and a sweet stroller. My niece Olivia (10 months) tried it out and she looked suitably impressed. It’s even a stylish sage green — my favorite!

At my mom’s shower on Sunday, everyone was so great! We had a great lunch with seldom-seen relatives, chatted with friends and Tim even stuck around to help open gifts! We got so much stuff too! Little clothes, more diapers (yay!), a baby book, some unbelievably beautiful knitted blankets and a hat and sweater set handmade by Tim’s mom, toys… Way to much to name. But unlike my mother’s warnings, no one got us anything that was newborn-size. Everything was 3-6 months! Now, I realize that everyone was just being incredibly practical, because babies outgrow the newborn stuff so fast. But the fact remains, we will have a newborn and he will need something to wear for at least a couple of weeks!

So what to do? Go shopping, of course! Now, if you’ve spent any time with me at all during this pregnancy, you know that I am pretty much obsessed with shopping for second-hand baby clothes. Which is great, because I have a ton of clothes in all kinds of sizes that I’ve gotten very cheaply. So I pulled out all the stops yesterday and took $50 cash to the second-hand shops. Crazy! I returned with the tiniest little clothes ever made. Too bad the baby isn’t a girl, because they would be perfect doll clothes. (Not that we won’t let the boy play with dolls if he wants to…)

Then it was off to Target and Wal-Mart to purchase all of the first-aid stuff you need. And there’s a lot of that stuff. And it’s expensive. I also bought a new duffel bag to pack for the hospital, after the great Cocoa Butter Bar meltdown of 2001 that destroyed our former duffel bag this past weekend.

Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed that we don’t go bankrupt before Tim gets paid tomorrow! Oops!

So now I get to sit down and write out thank-you cards, which is always a little daunting, because I can’t just write, ‘ Thank you so much for the wonderful (insert gift here) that you gave to us. We will treasure it always.’ I have to make them personal, and that takes time. But, it has to be done, especially before another compulsion takes hold. Pray for me!