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Second Trimester Report

By CheeseburgerBrown in Culture
Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:19:13 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

"I'm being beaten up from the inside!"

That is the sound of my wife gasping in shock after being punched in the pubic bone by our child-in-progress. In the three months since I filed my first report on this beautiful and terrifying process, the foetus temporarily known as Baby has learned to express his or her moment to moment opinion of the world by bludgeoning my wife's uterine wall. Baby now has a fully articulated spectrum of primitive emotions, including pleasure (belly kicking), displeasure (bowel boxing), boredom (spine punching), and existential angst (bladder jabbing).

Baby is well on the way to becoming a fully-fledged birthable infant, and my wife and I are well on the way to becoming fully-fledged parents. We are some two thirds of the way along now, and so it is time again for me to offer up my observations and experiences from the edge of approaching fatherhood: this is my Second Trimester Report.


In the previous article in this series I described how my wife and I were surprised to learn that somebody was being built inside of her, due in part to an incident involving tainted tunafish and an expectorated birth-control pill.

At this point, Baby is about 30 cm tall, weighs nearly a kilogram, and is covered in a fine, downy hair called lanugo. Baby's eyes can now open and close, and Baby may even shield them with a wee hand in reaction to very bright light. Baby can hear our voices, and we have read that Baby can taste traces of my wife's food through the amniotic fluid. Baby has semi-predictable cycles of sleep and wakefulness. My wife's uterus - or meatsack - is now about the size of a basketball.

Over the course of this trimester Baby has quadrupled in size. This has had some dramatic effects on my wife's body. Because her giblets are being compressed up into her rib-cage by her ballooning womb she's been experiencing some shortness of breath and heartburn (acid reflux). Her areolas and nipples have darkened, her breasts have swollen, and her belly button is threatening to invert (umbilical hernia). Her new shape and altered centre of gravity have combined with dizzying hormonal surges to make her heartbreakingly clumsy (slapstick).

Her belly aches as the ligaments stretch and harden to support to the weight of the whole wet enterprise. The accumulation of fluid near her joints causes occasional numbness in her hands or forearm, so now we're Carpal Tunnel Syndrome buddies, she and I. It is becoming harder for her to find comfortable positions in which to sleep, so I keep waking up to her watching Wile E. Coyote cartoons in the middle of the night. "What's up?" I mumble.

"I'm hungry," she says.

In the past three months there have been some changes in our lives.

First of all, my wife decided to stop doing contract work providing in-home therapy for people with brain injuries in favour of a somewhat mindless full-time job as an administrative assistant. We agreed that this was a good idea partly because she was finding driving across our stinky megalopolis all day to be uncomfortable and occasionally messy given the powerful nausea she was experiencing at the time, and partly because it better qualified her for fatter maternity benefits from the state.

Human Resources Development Canada will cough up about half of her working wages (up to maximum of $ 1 652.00 per month) for 50 weeks, assuming she has enjoyed those working wages for at least 600 hours prior to delivery. At the end of her 601st hour of work, my wife resigned. This had not been her plan from the beginning, but rather a combined result of the dense ball of loathing she acquired for the mindlessness of her job and some of her jackass co-workers, as well as the nagging back-pain she was experiencing from sitting at a desk all day (which she feared would bloom into the debilitating chronic sciatica her cousin had experienced while pregnant).

Of course, this has caused a shortfall in our budget for the rest of the year, which must somehow be addressed. My wife is convinced that I am altogether too obsessed with the subject of our finances, and I am convinced that I am not nearly obsessed enough. According to various books and websites we've consulted, it is not at all uncommon for expectant fathers to channel all of their baby-related insecurities in to a single polished blade of pointy fiscal anxiety. Knowing that my anxiety is common does not make me feel appreciably less anxious, however.

We are no longer renting a spacious apartment; we now rent a cozy house. The dog is ecstatic. The cats luxuriate in crapping in the wild. Unfortunately, this move took us out of the range of the crack team of birthing specialists that had been poised for my wife's midwifery, and so we had to look for new talent here in the north end of the city. Midwives are fewer and farther between up here so we had some trouble finding anyone with an opening. At last we did manage to secure a new team: the bad news is that they won't supply us with a collapsible heated birthing pool, but the good news is that they lack the undertone of sinister misandry I detected from the lesbian lioness who headed up our first group.

Since having a water-birth is predicated on being wet, we found ourselves trying to shop for a collapsible wading pool in Canada in October (which, needless to say, is considered an "out of season" item). Since we are under thirty we turn to the Internet for the solution to most vexing problems of this kind, and my wife was indeed finally able to place an order with Canadian Tire.

The pool arrived yesterday, and my wife insists that it will fit into the baby's room. I'm pretty sure that this would violate some basic laws of physics. I have suggested that she may have to excrete the little bugger in the livingroom, but she feels this would compromise her plan for the social arrangements for the birthing occasion. "I don't want everyone in the room with me," she explains.

"Everyone who?" I ask.

This is a big question. You see, just about everybody in our respective families has expressed some level of interest in attending the occasion of the birth. For the sake of curbing the chaos, we will have to refuse many of them. Those that are allowed to attend will be divided by my wife into two distinct groups: those whom she is comfortable watching her squeeze a baby out of her yin, and those whom she'd rather wait in the next room and not be treated to that particular spectacle. She wants her mother with her, but isn't sure about mine; she thinks her best-friend should be there, but may want my sister to wait outside. It is a delicate sorting process, with a lot of potential for people to feel left out or snubbed. (What is the protocol for such an occasion, anyway? Should I be keeping hors d'oeuvres on hand? Beer and coolers? Cigars?)

The midwife's padawan-learner showed us some videos of actual water-births so that we could get a feel for what to expect. "You might want to get one of those little scoopy nets from a pet supply store, so that you can scoop debris out of the pool as you go along," she told us.

"Don't worry," says my wife, "we already have a fish."

"Perfect."

The videos themselves were lurid and terrifying amateur works suitable for Ludovico: voluptuous, wet, naked women writhe, moan and scream as they force snot and offal out of their nethers while a crowd of intimates takes photographs and coos encouragement. (Funny aside: my wife asked me why the birthing centre didn't just offer the videos as downloadable clips from their website.)

Ever since then my wife seems preoccupied with how she will comport herself throughout the delivery. She is worried that she will whimper, or simper, or cry in a way that somehow betrays her sense of pride. She is determined to reserve some measure of equanimity. (And who can blame her? If I were facing a similar physical trial, wouldn't I be concerned with my ability to "take it like a man"?) She is a harsh judge of the women she sees on A Baby Story. She thinks most of them are wimps. I assure her of my confidence that she will bear the trial well, while at the same time trying to suggest that some mild woosery is perfectly acceptable given the circumstances.

My wife has expressed concern that we're not playing enough music for Baby. I asked her what she wanted Baby to hear, and she told me she to find something stimulating for a growing neural net, eager to make fresh connections and in search of a template. So, this morning we spent a few hours treating Baby to a complete concert of The Well-Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach. In the silence between discs Baby kicked furiously, to be soothed only by the sound of the next track beginning.

Baby still has no name. Both of us continue to procrastinate on this issue. She wants something Latvian; I want something rare but unpretentious. Every few weeks one of us asks "What do you think about the name X?" and the other pauses, considers thoughtfully, then says "I don't like it." Our second glimpse through ultrasound imaging has not clarified Baby's sex, so our naming search space has not much diminished.

...And that's about it. There isn't as much to say about this second trimester as there was about the first. In some superficial ways the pregnancy has become mundane. I have gotten used to the fact that I have a perpetually hungry, swollen wife. We have both been trying to ready ourselves to be parents: listening to advice, recalling our childhood interactions with our own parents (the other day we discussed whether or not we thought being forced to stand in the corner quietly is a suitable penalty box for overzealous tots (we think that it is)), and reading books. Friends and family have donated to us toys, a pram, a bassinet, a car-seat, dozens of tiny little jumpers, and about a thousand miniature bibs featuring Hello Kitty-esque motifs. In just three short months Baby is due to debut in this colder, drier world we larger people inhabit, and to join us as a practitioner of the pulmonary arts. We're both giddy with excitement. We can't wait to meet Baby face to face.

In my last installment in this series I plan to report on our experiences with pre-natal classes, preparing for the home-birth itself, and last but not least, the exciting climax: the big showdown between Baby and the birth canal. When next I write, I'll have an infant in my arms.

(And, very likely, milk barf on my shoulder.)

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Hearing about other peoples' kids is...
o Delightful & Heartwarming 39%
o Cruel & Unusual 21%
o Stinking Dull 38%

Votes: 93
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Related Links
o Scoop
o first report
o Baby
o previous article
o Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
o Wile E. Coyote
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o The Well-Tempered Clavier
o Johann Sebastian Bach
o Latvian
o second glimpse
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o books [2]
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o Also by CheeseburgerBrown


Display: Sort:
Second Trimester Report | 145 comments (104 topical, 41 editorial, 0 hidden)
Hearing about other's kids (4.20 / 5) (#25)
by El Volio on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:08:41 AM EST

I'm not interested in hearing about Baby's latest exploits once born ("Johhny tried to say 'cat' today!"), but I'm very intrigued by the whole process. My wife and I are seriously thinking it might be time to start a family, and other folks' experience with the "gestational arts", as another poster quipped, is really valuable and useful information to me.

Kids are more fun than a barrel of monkeys. (3.00 / 3) (#30)
by graal on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:25:16 AM EST

'Nuff said.

--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

Is a barrel of monkeys even remotely fun? [nt] (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by gauntlet on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:31:35 PM EST


Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

Please clarify (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by sigwinch on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 01:44:41 AM EST

Fun for you? Or fun for the monkeys?

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Yes. (n/t) (none / 0) (#98)
by Korimyr the Rat on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 05:23:43 AM EST



--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]
The series ends after the next report. (4.00 / 3) (#31)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:25:27 AM EST

I solemnly promise not to issue any reports on having a toddler, initiation into preschool, or the wonders of toilet training. Ever. The buck stops at birth, as far as K5 articles are concerned. I promise.


The opinions expressed in the comments above are not those of the author; they have been rented for the occasion of this writing from a neutral third party.<
[ Parent ]
Yeah, that's diary stuff (4.50 / 2) (#39)
by wiredog on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:47:55 AM EST

Interesting diary stuff, tho. See Codemonkey_uk's diaries.

Earth first! We can strip mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]
Toilet training is fun though (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by tzanger on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:45:07 PM EST

Honestly I think the whole toilet training experience is kind of interesting. Not to mention the total loss of privacy for the parents as the kids get curious about what the hell it is you're doing, and what the hell that thing is between your legs (for the opposite gender discoveries).

The "why do you have fur?" question is something that took me by surprise. My eldest thought my wife's ..ahem.. fur was going to bite him at one point.



[ Parent ]
When's she due? (4.80 / 5) (#36)
by ucblockhead on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:33:46 AM EST

My wife's due on the 21st of next month.

Just wait, pretty soon the little bugger will be big enough that not only will you be able feel it kicking, but you'll be able to see it kicking. It's quite comical seeing your wife's belly going boing in random spots.

One note about pets: Until very recently, they used to tell you to keep the pets out when the baby is born. They've recently done a 180 as studies now show that babies raised with pets (especially cats) in the house are less likely to be allergic to them as adults.

I don't know how far along you are, but one really fun feature of the third trimester is "the nesting instinct". It effects both men and women, but don't be surprised if you show up one day and she's got the entire contents of a closet out for rearranging.

(Oh, and a correction: "yin" does not refer to the female sexual organ. It's a chinese word for "female principle", not at all the same thing. You may be thinking of the sanskrit word "yoni".)
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

Yoni ho (5.00 / 3) (#40)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:56:01 AM EST

She's due at the end of January, near as anyone can figure.

"yin" does not refer to the female sexual organ. It's a chinese word for "female principle", not at all the same thing. You may be thinking of the sanskrit word "yoni"

Despite the fact that I can never recall the word "yoni" when I need it, I was attempting to use yin as a semi-poetic less than literal allusion to my wife's genital-bits, rather than use a more mundane turn of phrase (like genital-bits) or a more crude one (like poontang).

Yoni, I fear, might have been a bit obscure -- perhaps mistaken for a pet-name for my wife's beaver. Anyway, you see my dilemma.


The opinions expressed in the comments above are not those of the author; they have been rented for the occasion of this writing from a neutral third party.<
[ Parent ]
Cooch (none / 0) (#56)
by tzanger on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:47:10 PM EST

Despite the fact that I can never recall the word "yoni" when I need it, I was attempting to use yin as a semi-poetic less than literal allusion to my wife's genital-bits, rather than use a more mundane turn of phrase (like genital-bits) or a more crude one (like poontang).

My wife uses the term "Cooch" (kooch, rhymes with pooch) -- seems to do the trick too.



[ Parent ]
Yin (none / 0) (#53)
by p3d0 on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:41:30 PM EST

I thought his use of "yin" was clever. I gathered that he knew exactly what it meant. (Do you really think anyone believes "yin and yang" literally refer to genetalia?)

Oh, and my first baby is due on December 6th, though I hear that only 5% of babies are born on their due date.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]

be prepared .... (none / 0) (#82)
by taniwha on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 08:13:47 PM EST

both of mine showed up a month or so early (5 & 3 weeks resp) - make sure you're ready ..... 1st time round we hadn't reached the part in the birth prep class on actually giving birth, had put off buying stuff untill after the baby shower etc etc there's nothing quite like skipping out of the hospital the next morning and going to a baby store and (as a totally inexperienced dad) sort of buying one of everything that looks usefull - you learn fast afterwards and looking after a kid turns out to be mostly common sense - and folk wisdom - ask all those people around you who've done it before

At the moment you're probably very focused onthe big event that's looming - afterwards you'll quickly realise that it's just a step and (after a few months with out sleep) after a very short while the kid becomes much more of the important thing .... 2nd time around birth doesn't seem like such a big scary thing (mind you I am a Dad talking).

In some sense though it's the end of your life as you know it - you actually have to grow up and be responsible like a real adult - can't leave the kid with a bowl of food over the weekend like you can with the cat....

You will survive the first 3 months - even with colic - we did - most of our parents did - make sure you get sleep when you can and don't plan on doing much else - take it easy - it will pass

Finally - make a list of movies you'd always wanted to see now - plan on renting them - or even better - find a local drive-in if they still exist in your area - you can take a kid to the movies, feed him/her and put them to sleep in the back of the car

[ Parent ]

Thanks! (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by ucblockhead on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 08:49:28 PM EST

Yes, point well taken. We are very nearly ready. All purchases have been made, the room is ready and our last "birthing" class is a week from Tuesday. As long as he comes after that, we're fine.

There's only one very, very bad problem that goes by the name of The Two Towers. I don't know what the hell we're gonna do.

We're both going to be off for a month...longer than my sister did as a single mother, so I think we'll be able to hack it.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Childishness (1.85 / 7) (#37)
by SanSeveroPrince on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:38:00 AM EST

No, but no self-respecting predator would bother with you.

The argument is degenerating into childishness.

Do you really want me to answer that YES, there are more dangerous things than wolves, and that those things are cuter too?

Somebody clap the poor boy, he'll feel unappreciated if we don't acknowledge his efforts.

And when you're all growed up, go get yourself a book on metaphores and symbols...

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


When a diary becomes informative and witty.... (4.37 / 8) (#45)
by Tezcatlipoca on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:57:03 PM EST

... it deserves to be an article.

Some paragraphs reminded me of Desmon Morris' "The naked ape".

That you are such a dispasionate observer of your own wife's changes is to be commended (or not?) as  fine scientific reporting.

You bastard.

0wr F4th3R, wh0 0wnz h34\/3n, j00 r0x0rs!
M4y 4|| 0wr b4s3 s0m3d4y Bl0ng t0 j00!
M4y j00 0wn 34rth juss |1|3 j00 0wn h34\/3n.
G1v3 us th1s

Oh, you both are *so* in for it. (3.54 / 11) (#47)
by iGrrrl on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 01:38:05 PM EST

During labor and delivery, my money says that your wife will cease to care how she comports herself. If she places a premium on her composure, I advise a hospital delivery with an epidural for anesthesia. Labor is hard work, and it hurts like nothing else. I did it without an epidural, and I'm sure there were times I "looked" like a wimp, moaning like I was in pain, and all.

This article series has been amusing in part because -- having crossed over from expectant to parent over a year ago -- I can't tell you just how clueless you sound.

--
You cannot have a reasonable conversation with someone who regards other people as toys to be played with. localroger
remove apostrophe for email.

Oh, you are *so* right (3.00 / 3) (#51)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:02:22 PM EST

This article series has been amusing in part because -- having crossed over from expectant to parent over a year ago -- I can't tell you just how clueless you sound.

Thank you for your insightful comments.


The opinions expressed in the comments above are not those of the author; they have been rented for the occasion of this writing from a neutral third party.<
[ Parent ]
My advice: take all advice w/ a grain of salt (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by nowan on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:40:17 PM EST

My wife got a lot of comments like the original poster, and it always used to bug her. Surest way for it to be unpleasant is to expect it to be unpleasant -- but I'm sure you've got that basic message (if not in so many words) from your classes.

Not that there's not a lot of truth to what iGrrl says. My wifes delivery was both more and less difficult than expected. On one hand, it took four days (the doctor finally broke her water to get things moving). But despite all the confident assurances that she'd want drugs in the end she got from other mothers, she didn't end up needing any anesthetics.

Of course, the up side to the bad advice is that you learn to ignore it now, so you're practiced when you have a kid and get to refine your skills. There's some really good advice out there that'll save a lot of grief, but you'll get some of the worst delivered with the most confidence.

[ Parent ]

Sarcasm. Intentional. (3.50 / 6) (#59)
by iGrrrl on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:54:44 PM EST

Other people seem to enjoy your series. I think it reads as if you don't think any one else has/could ever experience expecting a child the way you have. This is true. No one experiences it the same way. I find the precious "look-at-us" bit off-putting.

I was dead serious in my comment, though. For your wife to think that the women in labor are wimps is, in my slightly more experienced view, laughable. Many of your other points read to me as similarly naive. You read as clueless to me, just as I would have read as clueless to another parent had I described and discussed my pregnancy in similar fashion.

I'm sure you're enjoying your earnest display. I'm not. In a fit of temper I expressed that sentiment publicly and sarcastically. Take it with salt. Except for the bit about epidurals and composure.

--
You cannot have a reasonable conversation with someone who regards other people as toys to be played with. localroger
remove apostrophe for email.
[ Parent ]

Damn, Doc........ (3.00 / 1) (#61)
by DesScorp on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 03:22:00 PM EST


You're essentially right in your comments, but.....nothing but Decaf for you from now on :P

Go straight to Hell; Do not pass Go, Do not collect 200 Dollars
[ Parent ]
She won't care, it is true. (4.50 / 2) (#64)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 03:38:55 PM EST

...And that's what everyone/anyone says. (Personally, I thought it was so obvious that it was barely worth mentioning.)

The point is that when your wife says "I'm concerned about how I'll be" the right answer is not to give the default ("you won't care at the time") answer she's hearing from everybody else. It isn't a very encouraging or supportive thing to say, you see.

So, indeed, she likely won't care at the time. I still don't think pondering her own fortitude ahead of time qualifies as cluelessness, as the parent-poster characterised it. I would say it falls under the category of healthy introspection: probing her own limits of character as a physical trial approaches.


The opinions expressed in the comments above are not those of the author; they have been rented for the occasion of this writing from a neutral third party.<
[ Parent ]
If you have nothing nice to say... (2.00 / 6) (#66)
by cavalier on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 04:44:11 PM EST

This article series has been amusing in part because -- having crossed over from expectant to parent over a year ago -- I can't tell you just how clueless you sound.

Wow! Fuck you, too!

Welp, the cynical side of K5 has spoken up.. ^_^

[ Parent ]
They'll learn (said kindly) (5.00 / 3) (#67)
by gethane on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 04:45:45 PM EST

Well, I would've been kinder, after all, to them this is all new! And when its happening to you, it IS like no one else has every done it :).

However, as the mother of three children, all now happily ensconced in elementary and middle school, I can assure you, your wife won't care about her appearance or any possible wimpiness. No one can describe what its like to be in incessant, indescribable pain for hours. Wimpy is the least of your worries.

I remember while pregnant with my first child, I often said to another first-time soon-to-be-mom, while we discussed our condition with the enthusiasm of football addicts, "Its going to have to hurt pretty damn bad for me to say, 'Please stick a needle in my spine.'"

Guess what?

It's the exhaustion that does you in. You can "breathe through the pain" "embrace the pain" "work with the pain" for only so long. But after hours of no sleep, no food, and nothing to drink, its just too much. Then you give in to the pain :).

But I know I've wasted my time writing this. The feelings of childbirth, and having children in general, just can't be communicated from one person to another. You just have to "see it for yourself."

[ Parent ]

That message can't be heard by first-timers (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by hexmode on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:35:54 PM EST

As the father of three children, I'd have to agree that all this obsessing about the moment of birth is kind of funny. Wait till Dad sees the truck that hits after he has a child waking him up at night or taking up all his free time. Still, that message can rarely be heard by first-timers. Parenthood is dramatically different than life before, but different in some ways that must be discovered to be understood.

[ Parent ]
Be nice. (4.00 / 1) (#94)
by driptray on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 05:14:53 AM EST

This article series has been amusing in part because -- having crossed over from expectant to parent over a year ago -- I can't tell you just how clueless you sound.

I understand exactly what you're saying here, but I think you've misread the tone of the original article.

I don't think the original poster (or his wife) are taking themselves too seriously, and it seems to me that they fully understand just how clueless they are. I took the story about the wife's worries about how she would comport herself as a joke, as a gentle sending up of herself.

They seem to have a pretty healthy attitude about the whole thing if you ask me.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

Protocol (4.00 / 3) (#48)
by Phil the Canuck on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 01:40:20 PM EST

What is the protocol for such an occasion, anyway?
Well, I'm not sure about the snacks and booze, but the who-gets-in-the-room-and-when protocol is easy. Whoever your wife wants, whenever she wants them. She may come up with a list of who she wants in the audience, only to decide in the midst of labour that she really isn't feeling up to entertaining. Everyone has to respect that. The midwives/doctors/nurses usually will enforce these wishes, although they shouldn't have to (you should). If people get their feelings hurt by being expelled or barred, it's time for them to grow up.

------

I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver

bah! (none / 0) (#78)
by undermyne on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 06:38:55 PM EST

The midwife should have a capable assistant that will quickly and effectively take care of removing unwanted guests (read mother-in-law) from your birthing environment. Set up a predetermined signal and have the doula (or assistant) handle the ugly stuff. You will be too busy tending the wife to want to involve yourself in that mess. If anyone is tactless enough to complain in your presence I suggest kicking them the hell out of your house (read mother-in-law again). There is quite enough stress without having some hapless clown (mother-in-law again) kick up more nonsense over something that should come as second nature to any halfbrained baffon.

Not that I had to deal with any of that.... (read mother-in-law, who I did in fact have removed shortly before we got to the actual birth. )

"You're an asshole. You are the greatest troll on this site." Some nullo

[ Parent ]
Names, Names, Names, Names... (3.00 / 1) (#54)
by tzanger on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:41:54 PM EST

Every few weeks one of us asks "What do you think about the name X?" and the other pauses, considers thoughtfully, then says "I don't like it."

I couldn't count high enough to keep track of the number of names we tried on each other for our daughter. Both sons were very easy to name but for some reason the daughter too forever to try and find something suitable.

Of course, 3 hours after she was born I was looking down at this bundle of person we decided to call "Samantha" and it struck me that the name just did not fit her. My wife had already written it on the birth registry and we didn't want to get another, so we gave her a middle name that she goes by, and will probably cause her endless years of confusion throughout school: Katie-Lynn (Katie).

What can I say? The name fits her perfectly. She can use her proper first name if she finds "Katie" too childish or if she decides that "Dr. Katie" or "Lawyer Katie" doesn't command enough respect. Her nickname came about 20 minutes into her post-uterine life: bear. She's my Katie Bear. :-)

My eldest son is "Monster" (from his grandfather) and my youngest is "Turkey" -- I have no idea how these names come in to play but they sure suit 'em.

Names... Once that's out of the way the only real trouble you have to worry about seems to be pregnancy. :-)



Water birth (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by El Volio on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:48:26 PM EST

I'm really quite curious: Why did you decide to have a water birth? I've heard of them, of course, and a bit about the claimed benefits, but I'm curious why you chose it.

This isn't a criticism at all, it's just in my community, I've never personally talked to anyone who made that particular choice and I'm intrigued by it.

It seems intuitive (5.00 / 2) (#62)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 03:29:02 PM EST

The most fundamental reason is because the idea that being born into dimly lit warm water in a quiet atmosphere is less stressful than being born under glaring fluorescent lights into the cold air of a city hospital seems very intuitive to me. I figure that if I were a baby, I'd opt for the mellower way.

I've read that there is a statistical correspondence between water-births and reduced crying during the first three months of life, but I'm not holding my breath for a silent manger babe.

As far as having the birth at home goes, it's a no-brainer because hospitals in Canada will not perform water-births. That's just fine with us, because we weren't sold on going to the hospital in the first place. My wife is of the opinion that hospitals are for sick people, and having a baby isn't a sickness. I can't say I disagree. (We live less than five minutes away from a major hospital, and we'll have a reservation there just in case something does go wrong, and an OB/GYN on call. I think we're covered.)


The opinions expressed in the comments above are not those of the author; they have been rented for the occasion of this writing from a neutral third party.<
[ Parent ]
Wise choice.. (none / 0) (#77)
by undermyne on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 06:32:02 PM EST

on having a hospital backup. We tried a home birth but had to switch to our hospital backup after 38 hours (drug free).

And the fish net thing... Im with the guy who wondered if you were really going to use it. *shudder*

"You're an asshole. You are the greatest troll on this site." Some nullo

[ Parent ]
a quck point: (none / 0) (#111)
by tid242 on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 10:33:32 AM EST

I've read that there is a statistical correspondence between water-births and reduced crying during the first three months of life, but I'm not holding my breath for a silent manger babe.

Don't take this as any sort of critisism or anything of the sort, but don't misinterpret correlation with causation. i do not doubt the correlation between "happier" Babies and water births, but considering water births are not the norm and most people that have them (i would tend to think) are more concerned with Baby's welfare, doing the right thing, et al. than is the average joe (or Jane, i suppose in this case) who goes downtown with the herds. If people are to the point of contemplating whether a water-birth is better for babies, then chances are they're: eating healthy, reading to Baby in the womb, abstaining from unnecessary medications, avoiding the bars, listening to Mozart, etc, etc. already, which probably has a lot more to do with Baby's contentness than does being born at home or in an OB ward...

Just my $2*10^(-2), sounds like you're (plural "you're") doing a great job, not that i'd know as i'm not much of a 'baby person,' - so uh... keep it up!

-tid242
information wants free beer.
[ Parent ]

I was about to say the same thing... (none / 0) (#142)
by glothar on Mon Oct 28, 2002 at 03:45:26 PM EST

But then I saw it was you.

Always takes some of the fun away, when I already know that someone else has made a comment that expresses just what I was going to say.

Its been a while since it happened last, though.

[ Parent ]

Re: Nets (4.75 / 4) (#60)
by catseye on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:59:07 PM EST

You're really not considering using the net you use in the fish tank to scoop stuff out of the water that will be receiving the baby (given that the baby might actually 'breathe' the water for a short time) and that will be coming into contact with your wife's open wounds, are you?

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
think about this (none / 0) (#90)
by scatbubba on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 10:25:18 PM EST

What do you think the things in the water that are to be scooped up are going to be?

[ Parent ]
They're going to be... (none / 0) (#115)
by catseye on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 11:21:19 AM EST

Things already in contact with both the baby and the monther and not particularly hazardous to either, except for meconium and in that case, a fish net won't help. Since the parents are close to a hospital, hopefully they'll call the paramedics if her water breaks and it's green/black.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
Surely fish ick isn't anything that a little ... (none / 0) (#102)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 02:17:11 AM EST

... week soaking in bleach followed by some exposure to high temperature can't cure. I mean, if autoclaves work for hospitals, I'd be fine eating off of said fish net after such a treatment.

Irrational fears stemming from patchwork "disgusting" concepts are... irrational. Use a little science to clear them right up.



[ Parent ]

Idiocy (none / 0) (#114)
by catseye on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 11:19:48 AM EST

Trying to sterilize a fish net is idiocy. Spend $1.99 and buy a new one.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
I started to say touché... (none / 0) (#124)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 10:48:44 PM EST

... then the old "Ending is better than mending" line from Brave New World echoed through my mind. Gas to run the oven is pretty cheap too. So I'm no longer so sure you actually do win the cheapness point.



[ Parent ]

Nesting Instincts (5.00 / 6) (#63)
by mjs on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 03:36:28 PM EST

...one really fun feature of the third trimester is "the nesting instinct". It effects both men and women, but don't be surprised if you show up one day and she's got the entire contents of a closet out for rearranging.

You should only be so lucky. My wife is that peculiar "Get out of the way and let me do it right" sort who can't help looking at a blank wall and thinking about how nice a new bay window or atrium door would look there. I came home from work one day (many years ago) to find her entagled in the roots of the large tree in the back yard she'd been nagging me to remove for weeks. Over the course of the day she'd dug up the roots, hitched a logging chain to the rear bumper of the pickup truck, hauled the tree to a 45 degree list to port, and was engaged in the process of severing the roots with a dull hatchet when I came home.

At any rate, by the time our third munchkin came around, when I came home from work to find that she'd removed all the wallpaper from the walls of the living room and master bedroom and was in the process of hanging new paper, I didn't say anything, just looked through the wreckage until I found the dresser and packed a bag. I got the other two ready, packed everyone into the car and dropped the kids off at Grandma's (telling them that we were going shopping,) then took my wife to the hospital. Our son was born at 7:something the next morning. (All our kids were born at 7:something in the morning. Don't know why.)

Eventually, I had to finish hanging the rest of the wallpaper.

This "nesting" stuff isn't all its cracked up to be. I didn't see my computer again (a TRS-80 model I, so now you know how long ago this was,) for days.

Best of luck to you. My favorite part of the birth was where she grabbed me by the collar of my shirt, hauled me over with the strength of an enraged baboon and said, "Don't ever touch me again!" Trust me, you'll need a video camera. :)



yes, yes (none / 0) (#136)
by danmermel on Thu Oct 24, 2002 at 10:47:48 AM EST

My favorite part of the birth was where she grabbed me by the collar of my shirt, hauled me over with the strength of an enraged baboon and said, "Don't ever touch me again!" Excellent! The motto of our first daughter's birth was "Don't lean"! My wife just couldn't bear me touching her. It's so heart-warming the way we all seem to go through the same things!

[ Parent ]
yes, yes (none / 0) (#137)
by danmermel on Thu Oct 24, 2002 at 10:48:30 AM EST

My favorite part of the birth was where she grabbed me by the collar of my shirt, hauled me over with the strength of an enraged baboon and said, "Don't ever touch me again!"

Excellent! The motto of our first daughter's birth was "Don't lean"! My wife just couldn't bear me touching her.

It's so heart-warming the way we all seem to go through the same things!

[ Parent ]

Composure and Hormones (5.00 / 4) (#65)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 04:16:01 PM EST

My wife a C section last month (baby was too big for a regular delivery).

Before the operation she goes into the bathroom to change into her hospital gown. When she comes out not only is she wearing the hospital gown but lipstick and mascara. Needless to say I was dumbfounded, my wife is not normaly the fussy about makeup type. She went on to explain that she wanted to look good for the baby when he came out.

The point, some very odd things go on inside the female cranium right before delivery. All you can do is go with it and support her with whatever she believes will make her most comfortable.

On another note, if you think you are having issues with lack of sleep now, wait until you have a newborn! Trust me on this, stock up on all the sleep you can before baby is born.

Good Luck and congratulations!


How big is too big? (none / 0) (#76)
by undermyne on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 06:27:47 PM EST

In pounds or kilos.

"You're an asshole. You are the greatest troll on this site." Some nullo

[ Parent ]
that depends (4.50 / 2) (#79)
by ucblockhead on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 06:55:02 PM EST

It depends on the size of the opening in the hipbones. Unfortunately, the only way to know how big is too big is to try to send the kid on through.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Try head size... (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by cestmoi on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 07:00:00 PM EST

I've forgotten what my son's head size was. He wasn't abnormally large but his head was in the 99+ percentile. Got stuck and had it not been for the last-minute forceps that dragged him out and her half off the delivery table, it would have been a c section.

Funny thing is we were very concerned about losing my wife given that he was stuck. I didn't give a damn about my son - between keeping him or her I chose her, no two ways about it. However, the second he took his first breath, it was like a switch flipped somewhere deep in my genome and that kid became, by far, the most important person in my life. It was so weird, I was aware of the transition at the time and I didn't care - nobody was going to hurt that boy.

I pity our fathers. Being there at his birth was by far one of the most moving experiences I have ever had. Two decades ago and I remember it like it was yesterday.

[ Parent ]

It's relative (none / 0) (#108)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 09:49:01 AM EST

Basicly they compare the babies dimensions (head, shoulders, belly, etc) via ultrasound with that of the wifes pelvis and then take thier best guess.

In our case, the size differential was close enough that we didn't want to risk it.

Part of the issue is that the babies heart rate drops as they go through the birth canal. That's completely normal... but if they are stuck there too long it can be a problem for them. There is also some risk for the mother.

We weren't into the whole natural child birth thing so that wasn't a priority. When the doctor suggested that a C section was advised we figured it was better to play it safe then risk it.

As it turned out the doctors estimate was a little off and my wife probably could have delivered naturaly.... still we don't regret the decision.

[ Parent ]

Depends (none / 0) (#113)
by FortKnox on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 11:12:23 AM EST

My wife is diabetic (type-I, not gestational, but it's the same rule for gestational), and if the baby grows beyond 9lbs, then it is too dangerous to give birth.
Actually, I wrote a long explanation why 9lbs is the cutoff, but I may just write it up as a story and see how people like it. So keep your eyes on the queue.
--
Yes, shrubberies are my trade. I am a shrubber. My name is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.
[ Parent ]
Sleep counter-point (5.00 / 2) (#93)
by driptray on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 05:02:23 AM EST

On another note, if you think you are having issues with lack of sleep now, wait until you have a newborn! Trust me on this, stock up on all the sleep you can before baby is born.

The arrival of my duaghter made zero impact on the amount of sleep I got.

My partner had trouble sleeping in the last month of her pregnancy, and would do a lot of tossing and turning that made it hard for me to sleep too.

Having the baby outside rather than inside made her a lot more comfortable, and she slept better. As for the baby, she slept between us in the bed. She would wake quite frequently in the night, and immediately get a tit stuffed in her mouth, which she would quietly suck on for a while, until both mother and baby fell asleep together.

Most of the time I didn't even wake up while this was going on, although it was happening right next to me in the bed. For the first few nights I woke up 'cos I was excited and I wanted to see how the whole thing was working, but after the novelty wore off I never bothered waking up.

I really believe that sleeping with the baby in the bed was what made things so easy for us. The idea of being woken by a loudly crying baby, and then having to get out of bed to pick it up etc etc is something that is horrifying and foreign to me.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

My first reaction: (none / 0) (#99)
by roystgnr on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 06:40:59 PM EST

Weren't you worried about rolling over in your sleep and crushing your child?

[ Parent ]
One rule about that (none / 0) (#104)
by driptray on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 03:48:58 AM EST

The one rule when co-sleeping is to never be drunk or on drugs. That is the only way that you're liable to roll over on your baby.

The usual tossing and turning sometimes does result in minor collisions in the bed, but babies really aren't that fragile. Also, and this is hard to explain, I always felt as though one part of my brain was always aware of the baby beside me, even when I was fast asleep. Even if I never fully woke up at any point in the night, I would somehow always feel as though I was "on", always "parenting" throughout the night.

And that was quite a nice feeling as well.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

Related. (none / 0) (#106)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 05:29:12 AM EST

 IIRC, there's actually a part of the brain that controls that. If you go to bed with a baby (or a puppy, for that matter), you actually have a mechanism that keeps you from rolling over on top of it.

 Biology is very rarely reassuring. That's why I treasure tidbits like that.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

Lucky (none / 0) (#112)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 11:11:30 AM EST

We've got a co-sleeper attached to the bed. The baby still ends up sleeping in the bed most of the time.

My wife has the exact same sensation you described when she is sleeping.... part of her brain is aware that the baby is next to her and she knows she won't role over on him.

The sleep thing is very problematical. It really depends on the baby and the people involved. Some babies are alot more fidgety then others. Some people are lighter sleepers then others.

Our baby is pretty good about sleeping for long periods but he has days where he gets very fidgety. He also seems to have his days and nights reversed.... he tends to be alot more active at night then during the day.

I'd have to say that my sleep has been pretty heavly impacted by it..... but that's no guaranty of how it will be for anyone else.

[ Parent ]

More on co-sleeping (none / 0) (#122)
by driptray on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 09:15:52 PM EST

The baby still ends up sleeping in the bed most of the time.

That sounds like you're starting off with the baby outside the bed, or at least your goal is that the baby be outside the bed.

If that's the case, when the baby does come into the bed he will be an invader, an interloper, and his presence resented. The difference between actively wanting him there right from the start compared to tolerating his presence when you "give in" and let him come into the bed might be important.

Some babies are alot more fidgety then others. Some people are lighter sleepers then others.

That's certainly true. Some people also have particular attitudes about the "marital bed" that are difficult to reconcile with having a baby in it.

In my case, I'd describe myself as an everage sleeper, neither light nor heavy. I'd describe my baby also as average in terms of fidgetyness, tossing and turning, frequency of waking etc, although I don't really have much to compare her to.

Co-sleeping lasted for about 2.5 years with my daughter. Towards the end of that time I was starting to get sick of it because although my daughter didn't increase her fidgtyness, she was getting so big that she was taking up lots of room, and so strong that her restless kicking really was waking me up.

So she moved into a small bed next to our bed, which worked reasonably well. Over the next year or so, that bed was moved further and further away from our bed, until she was eventually in a separate room, just like "regular" kids.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

Sleep (none / 0) (#123)
by Boronx on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 09:26:32 PM EST

" As for the baby, she slept between us in the bed. She would wake quite frequently in the night, and immediately get a tit stuffed in her mouth, " This is the key to good sleep. Mom can usually go to sleep right away while still nursing. Got to have enough room to roll over so that she can switch boobs. Also, nap when the baby naps.
Subspace
[ Parent ]
Ultrasound Surprises (4.50 / 2) (#68)
by chigaze on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:06:10 PM EST

My wife is due December 5th and we didn't have our first ultrasound until two weeks ago. My wife was growing faster than expected so after assuring us that it was likely just too much fluid our midwife sent us off for an ultrasound. The source of the growth was immediately apparent. (link temporary, two-headed ultrasound)

So now we are now having to deal rapidly with the concept of twins. (eep)

Much of your article rings true with our experiences although some of your concerns are not ours. Are original intention was to have a home birth (now nixed due to the regulations in our province) and deciding who would be there was easy. There was to me, the midwives, and wife's best friend. Everyone else got to wait somewhere else. As for the the social aspect (do you supply drinks and food, etc), assign that task to someone. You should not be worrying about entertaining your guests, you should be focussed on the birth.

On the topic of not looking like a wimp, my understanding is that bearing a child takes an enormous amount effort, endurance, and pain. The women in the video are not wimps, they're working harder than I ever want to imagine.


-- Stop Global Whining
Cool (none / 0) (#95)
by arecibe on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 11:08:28 AM EST

December 5 is my birthday. Your baby could be exactly 18 years younger than me.
aim: arecibe, kevlarmessiah
[ Parent ]
If they go to term... (none / 0) (#107)
by chigaze on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 09:26:35 AM EST

The odds of an early delivery are higher for multiples although we would prefer to go to term as it increases the odds the babies will be healthy.


-- Stop Global Whining
[ Parent ]
Why is this on the front page? (1.73 / 26) (#69)
by rtechie on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:16:30 PM EST

Really, who cares about this guy's personal life? And what is it about this guy that makes him want to splatter the personal details of his wife's pregnancy all over the Internet, especially while trying to be "funny"? WHo voted for this crap anyway?

Because enough people voted for it. (3.66 / 9) (#73)
by chigaze on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:43:14 PM EST

If you don't like it change the channel and stop whining


-- Stop Global Whining
[ Parent ]
shut up, bitch (3.40 / 5) (#89)
by crazycanuck on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 10:09:38 PM EST

nobody's forcing you to read it.

I, for one, found it very interesting and heart-warming.

[ Parent ]

who cares about this post anyway? (3.00 / 2) (#110)
by tid242 on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 10:22:41 AM EST

Really, who cares about this guy's personal life? And what is it about this guy that makes him want to splatter the personal details of his wife's pregnancy all over the Internet, especially while trying to be "funny"? WHo voted for this crap anyway?

[sarcasm] Really, what the hell? why the hell did this guy post on this thread if he didn't like the story? who cares about this guys opinions and makes him think we want to hear what he has to say about shit? Especially when he's trying to be "a man"-not giving a rat's ass about all this humanist clapchap?! Who modded this crap above a 1 anyway?

-tid242
information wants free beer.
[ Parent ]

Don't forget making you click to read it. (2.50 / 2) (#127)
by ethereal on Tue Oct 22, 2002 at 02:12:59 PM EST

I'm sure that's someone else's fault as well.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

the first time I have rated anything on k5 (3.50 / 4) (#132)
by eeee on Wed Oct 23, 2002 at 05:19:55 PM EST

was to give this jackass a 1.

[ Parent ]
Pregnancies (3.66 / 3) (#72)
by kholmes on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:40:09 PM EST

There is something about organic processes thats so disgusting.

Who'd a thought I'd learn the details right here on K5?

Just curious, how old does the child have to be to have human rights?

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.

hate to tell you, but... (2.50 / 2) (#83)
by ryochiji on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 08:18:04 PM EST

I hate to be the one to break the bad news to you, but you're actually a result of this "organic processes thats so disgusting." Yeah, shocking isn't it? Don't worry, you'll get over it sooner or later.

---
IlohaMail: Webmail that works.
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I know (3.00 / 2) (#92)
by kholmes on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 02:22:55 AM EST

But to read about it on K5? Even worse, some of this guy's family members want to watch it happening! Personally, I would just give the folks a card and wait in the next room.

Its kind of like the Anna Nicole Show: I have no idea why so many people want to watch it.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

No one <I>forced</I> you to read the a (none / 0) (#143)
by Flaming Space Bunny on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 02:40:24 PM EST

You clicked, scrolled, and read with the rest of us. All that effort just for the ability to whine?
"When I'm not confused, it's because I'm pretending that I know."-Flaming Space Bunny
[ Parent ]
human rights... (none / 0) (#109)
by tid242 on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 10:17:26 AM EST

Just curious, how old does the child have to be to have human rights?

In America you get these at the young age of 25, people can be prosecuted for hurting you from the moment you're born, you become a "real person" when you're 18 (and can thus be prosecuted by American legal system to its full extent)-although you can't enjoy all the rights "adults" have, when you turn 21 you may imbibe alcohol-unless you haven't before either: A) drank at home with a spouse over the age of 21 B) drank on a US military base (you have to join the Armed Forces) C) Had a little too much Cathoholic [sic] communion or other religious-sanctioned alcohol or D) visited another country where it's actually _legal_ to drink alcohol. When you turn 24 you may disregard your parent's income when applying for loans to go to school (unless you're a ward of the state, regardless of your relationship with your parents) so before which time it's hard to argue that someone can said to be "financially independent," when you turn 25 insurance no longer discriminates against you-you may rent cars, borrow other peoples' cars (and be covered by their policies), and your own auto insurance will decrease dramatically.

Yes i consider reasonable automotive insurance a Human Right.

In all seriousness though i'd read somewhere that people under the age of 18 in the US are legally considered a second-class subset of people with some legal familial ancestry to the way slaves used to be classified in the south. Basic human rights though (protection from murder/genocide/etc, and the like) supposedly apply internationally from the moment one's born, however enforcement is oft lacking. In the US it could be reasonably claimed that Human Rights apply to people in all ages of their lives after birth, but remember that human rights is not the same as most legal rights and privaleges...Many laws here in the states overlap with "Human Rights" so the issue becomes somewhat of a moot point anyway...

-tid242
information wants free beer.
[ Parent ]

You forgot... (none / 0) (#144)
by vectro on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 04:04:46 AM EST

that you can't run for president until the age of 35.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Thank you (3.00 / 1) (#74)
by J T MacLeod on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:54:01 PM EST

I caught the first trimester report, and I really enjoyed this one.  

I'm a big fan of the whole "life" process  :)

I'm eager to savor each stage, myself, but I'm still early in the game.  

Being someone who thinks that humans were designed to handle most situations that come along in the progression of life, I'm glad to hear of someone who decided that drugs and florescent lights aren't an ideal environment for birth.  

It's very odd.  I live in an area with immigrants from many different areas.  The natives and the people from countries who typically have modern medical care consider birth to be traumatic.  Most demand drugs, most scream.  Contrast this with the immigrants from areas with little modern medicine and without a concept that birth is terrible.  Yes, they consider it painful, but most hardly make a sound and they look back on it fondly.  

Another observation to be made is that, typically, of both natives and immigrants from all areas, the ones who have the least trouble with birth are the ones who are the "active Christians" who pray before/during the birth.  

Those aren't my observations, but I think they're interesting.  

Anywho, thanks!  This is both amusing and well written, I appreciate having the chance to read.  

As a relatively new dad... (5.00 / 4) (#75)
by zobo on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 06:05:20 PM EST

...if I had it to do over again, I'd spend a lot more time before the baby came doing things like:

  • sleeping
  • going to movies / plays / concerts
  • enjoying leisurely dinners with my wife
  • finishing up lingering household projects
  • sleeping
  • staying out/up 'til all hours
  • spending time as a twosome
  • enjoying the house being clean and organized
  • going away for the weekend
  • and of course...
  • sleeping

  • I just had no idea how much work and attention it would take. It is the best and hardest thing I've done. You're entering a vastly different phase of your life, so make sure you take this time to celebrate and appreciate the phase you're finishing now.

    Good luck!

    Amen! (none / 0) (#100)
    by bgarcia on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 10:20:36 PM EST

    Before our second was born, my wife and I went out about every other weekend for the last few months (after dropping off our first-born at grandma's). Definitely get some romantic time before the baby comes. The baby is not going to let you get much sleep (at least, not at first) or time to do things like go out to the movies, so get in those last few dates.

    [ Parent ]
    So True (none / 0) (#117)
    by FortKnox on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 11:37:10 AM EST

    I just had no idea how much work and attention it would take.

    Unfortunately, this is common. You get all caught up in the pregnancy (which it appears our author has done), and not thought about what happens afterward. Once that baby comes out, you are in for a real surprise if you aren't prepared.
    My wife works with infants in daycare, so we had some good anticipation on what we were in for. The thing that hit me hardest was the paranoia. I'm a very laid-back individual, but your child is completely defenseless. You have these protective instincts that will drive you batty for months.
    Sleep is a major issue, but if you take off a week from work and wake up when your 8-9 month pregnant wife does, you should get used to the lack of sleep rather quickly (remember, the infant has no concept of a weekend, so don't think you'll catchup anytime in the first year!). I was lucky, and my son has slept through the night from the day after he was born until recently (5 months), because he is teething.
    The other issue is the complete change in lifestyle. Use the computer while you are at home? I was a major gamer until my son was born. Now I play an hours worth of games maybe once every week or two. They require constant attention. Its not like owning a dog that you can just leave around to entertain themselves. They completely depend on you.
    The other issue is cost. Baby's are very expensive, and impossible to buy ahead of (my son was -huge-, so he never finished his package of 'infant' and 'ones' diapers, before going up to the next step). So upgrades of your computer, buying nice expensive electronics/home entertainment is out of the question.

    Now that I've said some scary things, let me conclude by saying that there is no way I'd have it any different. The birth of my son was the happiest day of my life, and coming home to him to see him smile and recognize me (btw - they don't start smiling for a month or so, so just be patient) makes it all worth while. If I could go back, I wouldn't of hesitated to of gone through it all again.

    BTW - Milk Barf looks like soft cheese. And if you get puked on just before you go to work, wear it proudly like a white badge of courage! ;-)
    --
    Yes, shrubberies are my trade. I am a shrubber. My name is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.
    [ Parent ]
    Will you teach kid binary or decimal? (2.33 / 3) (#81)
    by Fen on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 07:35:18 PM EST

    The decimal indoctineration must stop. Try to teach the kid binary first. Or hexadecimal. Or at least octal. Decimal is the scourge of the times...don't force it on another.
    --Self.
    Teach him binary (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by El Volio on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 09:46:18 PM EST

    Then teach him to count on his fingers to 1023. He'll just have to be careful in public when he gets to 4.

    [ Parent ]
    Not just 4... (none / 0) (#101)
    by Kaki Nix Sain on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 02:08:54 AM EST

    ... 8 will likely be a bitch too, but for anatomical reasons. I think I just pulled something in my hand trying to get my ring finger to cooperate.



    [ Parent ]

    True Story. (none / 0) (#121)
    by Boronx on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 09:10:03 PM EST

    When mad at each other, my sister and I would shout "Binary 132!!!" We grew out of it.
    Subspace
    [ Parent ]
    You cannot hide, thinkit. (2.00 / 2) (#126)
    by PurpleBob on Tue Oct 22, 2002 at 12:10:51 AM EST

    I will tell you again: Get help.

    (Here's where I go off topic, because this person's favorite crusade which he's taken to K5 is more annoying than the random science cranks you find all over.)

    Imagine the kid getting to school and being classified as a slow learner because he/she doesn't know the right way to count. Of course decimal is a social convention, and not necessarily an optimal one, but it's one that is so ingrained in our society that it's impossible to change. It's like the optic nerve being wired backwards. Sometimes life is like that.

    Even assuming that there's some significant advantage to switching to octal/hexadecimal/whatever (which I don't believe), imagine a society where some people are trying to transition to a new number base. People who didn't know how to convert the numbers (the vast majority of people; base conversion isn't easy) would end up failing at simple numerical tasks. They would get cheated out of money (in octal, $77 sounds like a lot less than $100). Differences between the systems would be a common source of either mistakes or deliberate fraud. People would lose all respect for arithmetic. There would probably be a violent retaliation against a system which changes what people think numbers mean. (Hell, in the US we can't even get metric road signs without people shooting them down).

    Let's even assume it was possible to get people to change. Why start with trying to convert random babies, constructed language users, people talking on a health newsgroup, etc? Why would they care? The most appropriate place to start would be in the sciences. Even there, you'd have the metric system to fight (not to mention the fact that they'd instantly recognize you as a crank), and where would it have enough of an advantage? Biology and chemistry use small enough numbers that it wouldn't matter. Physics: it might help in dividing or multiplying by two in certain formulas in mechanics, but once everything becomes symbolic it wouldn't do anything. Computer science is the only place where multiplying and dividing constants by the number two has any real significance - and there, hexadecimal is already used as appropriate.

    Do you have any real plan on how the world could convert to another number base? If not, why do you make a fool of yourself like this?

    [ Parent ]

    you wrote enough to warrent a response (3.00 / 2) (#128)
    by Fen on Tue Oct 22, 2002 at 02:14:29 PM EST

    I'd like to correct one point. Metric uses base units, and is suited to any radix--just don't use prefixes.
    --Self.
    [ Parent ]
    Sex (3.00 / 1) (#85)
    by CAIMLAS on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 09:01:36 PM EST

    I realize this is fairly personal, but... what about sex? I've heard that females are fairly vicious when it comes to their appetite for sex during pregnancy. (Execpt for the first two months or something like that, when nookie is a no-no)... don't answer if you dont' want to, obviously, but it is an item of curiousity - what I've heard has just been hearsay, and haven't gotten any actual word on it.
    --

    Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.

    Huh? (4.33 / 3) (#88)
    by ucblockhead on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 10:05:05 PM EST

    Nookie is never a no-no, at least as long as things are normal.

    (In the few months, it becomes a bit of an engineering problem, though.)
    -----------------------
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]

    I have too small a sample (none / 0) (#129)
    by georgeha on Tue Oct 22, 2002 at 04:06:03 PM EST

    to make any valid conclusions, but I bet some women want more sex, some want less, and at some point it becomes very hard.

    [ Parent ]
    Congratulations! (3.50 / 2) (#86)
    by dani14 on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 09:25:06 PM EST

    and Thank You for posting such a well written article.

    I know people say you sound so clueless, but isn't that the point of such a life-changing event? How can you possibly be prepared for something so amazing as producing a new life and being totally responsible for it? You can practice with pets, but at least they can feed themselves and the obstinate period lasts maybe a couple of months, not for years!

    Don't listen to all the cynics out there. This is the one time that you and your wife will get the privilege to revel in the miracle of procreation. Whenever baby number two comes around, you'll be too busy to read the books and fantasize about what kind of parents you will be.

    We tried to have a baby this year and it didn't work out, but for the time that we thought we were pregnant, it was exciting to try to learn about all the processes involved. We bought this "pregnancy diary" that tells you what is happening in the development of the baby every single day. I think learning about the process (and sharing it) is the best way to (1) grasp the concept of childbirth and (2) deal with the immense frustration of waiting nine months for your lives to change.

    By the way, as I'm sure you've read, the kicking and stuff should actually decrease in the third trimester because of the tight quarters.

    Good Luck and Enjoy!

    --


    "The samaritans parable obviously missed the bit where jizzbug ... kicked the crap out of the guy "just to see if he could do it, you know, to test if the law was perfect and all"." -- Craevenwulfe
    Author Replies (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by CheeseburgerBrown on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 06:39:48 PM EST

    I'd like to respond to a couple of the points that have been raised in discussion here.

    Composure During Delivery

    No, my wife is not in fact more concerned with vanity and composure than the actual delivery. She wouldn't have chosen a drug-free at-home water-birth as her method of choice if that had been her priority. She's nervous about the delivery itself -- it's a big deal if you haven't been through it before -- and her fears can assume many transient forms, including fretting about how she'll face the pain. She's one tough chick, though, so I'm sure it will go fine no matter what is in store. Myself, I'm just going to do what I'm told.


    The Fish Net

    No, we are not planning to use the fish net right out of the aquarium. However, it should be pointed out that some of the debris that will be scooped out of the pool will be far from antiseptic. (Also, one poster mentioned my wife's "open wounds" which I found a bit confusing -- the only open wounds she may end up would be some minor tearing of the perrineum at the very end of the process; is that what was meant?)


    Sex

    The first trimester was a pretty thirsty time for me, sex-wise. She was always sick or tired or both. It was a major shock to my system...I felt like an adolescent between girlfriends. This trimester has definitely been better, though lately we've been starting to encounter some challenges involving the girth of her belly -- certain positions just won't cut the mustard anymore. It is clear to me now that the living porno dream that was the early part of our marriage has been put on indefinite hiatus (sigh).


    Sleep

    Parents seem to come in two varieties: those who enjoy painting the newborn months as a nightmare of sleeplessness and stress and sleeplessness, and those who are more moderate. I've spoken with enough of the more moderate voices now to be reasonably convinced that most of the dire warners either a) didn't really realise what they were getting into in the first place, or b) are just whiners. Don't get me wrong, we're not expecting a pic-nic in the country. But I've grown a deaf ear to the "first-timers are in for a rude surprise!" crowd -- I interpret it to mean the speaker had a rude surprise, and has arrogated their personal experience to the level of a general guiding principle (a common tendency for parents, for reasons I do not yet -- but may soon -- understand).


    Decimals

    No, we will not be teaching our child decimals. Or, in fact, numbers or letters or any kind. We are performing a social experiment. It is my hypothesis that the subject will demonstrate reading, writing and arithmatic skills that compare poorly to those of their literate-numerate peers. I will not, however, be posting the results on K5 since I have taken an oath to stop issuing reports about Baby after the upcoming Third Trimester Report.



    The opinions expressed in the comments above are not those of the author; they have been rented for the occasion of this writing from a neutral third party.<
    Open Wounds (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by catseye on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 11:27:28 AM EST

    By wounds I meant tearing of the perineum, hopefully minor, but also keep in mind that the uterus is, itself, one huge open wound after childbirth. There will be bleeding for quite some time after the placenta detaches, and it is, in theory, possible for the water in the tub to backflow up the vaginal canal into the uterus. That (combined with any issues the baby may have) is why water births are done in hospitals sterile tubs. Most healthy women/babies with good immune systems are probably able to fight off any problems encountered doing it in a non-sterile environment, though, so I wouldn't worry too much about it... but there's no reason to introduce bacteria just for the hell of it.

    And again, in case you don't see my post below, no, what comes out of your wife won't be antiseptic, but it will be something both your wife's and baby's immune systems are designed to handle, unlike fish waste. Unless the baby passes meconium (tarry, green-black stool) in utero. You'll know if that happens, though... when her water breaks it will be greenish black and at that point you should call the hospital.

    ----------
    How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
    [ Parent ]

    sleeplessness (none / 0) (#120)
    by BugCatcher on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 06:43:11 PM EST

    Well, I don't consider myself a whiner, but sleepness is definitely a part of being a parent for my partner and I. At almost 3 years past birth, this is less and less an issue. Some kids sleep better and longer than others. Some parents are lighter sleepers than others. In our experience, my partner and I had to accept that we were going to get less sleep than we'd like. Your experience may be different, I have heard of infants who sleep all night from birth. Good luck on that.

    I got tired of all the advice too and started ignoring it after a while. The reality is that you will end up having some of those experiences and some will be different. And, though you're tired of hearing this, you really have no idea what having child will do to your lives. And that's a good thing, believe me. And I'm not saying the changes are all bad. Having those eyes look up at you in total joy and love is something you can't replace with anything else in the world.

    Have fun.

    Are you the windshield, or the bug? Come to www.amorsley.net/bugsplat Now available in minty-fresh RDF!
    [ Parent ]

    Nice work (2.00 / 1) (#97)
    by debolaz on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 11:55:26 PM EST

    One of the few k5 articles I've actually read in its entirety this year.

    -
    --
    If they can buy one, why can't we?
    Cigars... of course. (3.00 / 1) (#103)
    by Kaki Nix Sain on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 02:33:32 AM EST

    And good ones too.

    As for the rest, appoint a good friend to be a "godfather", and then tell him that task number one is that he has to have a stock of snacks, drinks, and entertaining things to distract everyone (in case the labor drags on a few dozen hours) on hand when the day comes. The details of running the party side can be off-loaded to him so as to free up your time for the actual event.

    Your wife may also want to appoint such a logistics lieutenant so as to ensure that her views on proper decorum and such are respected while she is otherwise engaged. Let the lieutenants work out the details and handle the footwork.



    Godfathers (none / 0) (#105)
    by Korimyr the Rat on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 05:25:55 AM EST

    Err, might want to be careful as to who you pick for that one.

    For Catholics, the godfather and godmother are supposed to be members of the family who take responsibility for your kid's religious upbringing.

    In secular use, I've always heard the term used for the person who is assigned custody of your children in your will.

    --
    "Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
    Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
    [ Parent ]

    Yeah, thus the scarequotes. (nt) (none / 0) (#125)
    by Kaki Nix Sain on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 11:27:14 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    My Wife is Due Any Day Now (3.00 / 1) (#118)
    by mlepage on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 11:53:53 AM EST

    Estimated Date of Delivery is two weeks from now. This is our first child. We still don't know if it is a he or a she. All in all I think it is going well. We read the books and I try to make her eat properly. It's just the whole birth thing that's still to go. No idea yet how she'll take it. I'm hoping for a vaginal birth perhaps using the gas, but an epideral might be in order.

    Thanks for calling it what it is, a baby (1.50 / 2) (#119)
    by Rinkowitz on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 04:57:06 PM EST

    I'm sick of hearing it called a fetus.

    Names (none / 0) (#134)
    by Anonymous Hiro on Thu Oct 24, 2002 at 05:35:56 AM EST

    Seems people call it a fetus if they're going to kill it or do experiments on it (or both).

    They call it a baby if they're choosing to be attached to it.

    A bit like the difference between pets and livestock.

    [ Parent ]

    Signifiers only signify other signifiers damnit (none / 0) (#139)
    by Josh A on Thu Oct 24, 2002 at 10:31:39 PM EST

    What it "is" has really very little to do with what anyone chooses to call it.

    ---
    Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


    [ Parent ]
    Completely wrong (none / 0) (#141)
    by Rinkowitz on Mon Oct 28, 2002 at 10:01:28 AM EST

    We've cheapened life so much, that if we assign different terminology, it appears we are doing good rather than harm. If I call it a mass of cells I can kill it. But if I call it an unborn baby, I'm a murderer.

    [ Parent ]
    Don't Be So Aristotelian (5.00 / 1) (#145)
    by dteeuwen on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 12:10:32 PM EST

    That's only if you accept Saussure's assumptions, which are simplistic. Try looking at Pierce's and you'll see the 'differance.'

    _________

    Down the slopes of death he rides
    The eight hooves pound like drums
    Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
    Invasion has begun


    [ Parent ]

    The Short-Tempered Clavier (none / 0) (#130)
    by smerritt on Tue Oct 22, 2002 at 08:36:11 PM EST

    If your baby liked J.S. Bach's "The Well-Tempered Clavier", you should play P.D.Q. Bach's The Short-Tempered Clavier for it. With classics like the Little Pickle Book for theater organ and dill piccolos, it'll give your baby the headstart it needs on developing an appreciation for funny classical music.

    (Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the linked website, nor any of their products, other than having purchased some albums at some point.)

    vocabulary bewonderment (none / 0) (#131)
    by whovian on Wed Oct 23, 2002 at 01:51:31 PM EST

    Ever since then my wife seems preoccupied with how she will comport herself throughout the delivery. She is worried that she will whimper, or simper, or cry in a way that somehow betrays her sense of pride.

    You are well spoken, and thank you for your account.

    I like language and wondered whether the word that you mean instead is conduct, since everyone will be expecting a birthing mother to yell and writhe, etc. Conduct would be better representative of controlling one's behavior, which seemed to me to be the meaning you intended, no?

    Comporting versus Conducting Oneself (none / 0) (#138)
    by CheeseburgerBrown on Thu Oct 24, 2002 at 07:09:47 PM EST

    ...Conduct would be better representative of controlling one's behavior, which seemed to me to be the meaning you intended, no?

    Well, for all the authority that may or may not be vested in the brains at Dictionary.com, their definition of conduct seems to suggest that the two words are nearly synonymous. I think of "comport" as implying dignity (or at least good behaviour) whereas I think of "conduct" as being more open-ended (you can conduct yourself like a swine or a saint).

    Frankly, I had no idea that I had used the word until you pointed it out, so I'm afraid I can't offer much of a rationale for using it. My fingers just liked the way it rolled off the keys, I guess.


    The opinions expressed in the comments above are not those of the author; they have been rented for the occasion of this writing from a neutral third party.<
    [ Parent ]
    Congratulations!!! (none / 0) (#133)
    by eeee on Wed Oct 23, 2002 at 05:27:01 PM EST

    Thank you for your heartwarming and educational story. My wife and I have talked about it and are getting closer to it but still not quite ready to "take the plunge". I appreciate your frankness.

    Spoiler Alert (4.00 / 1) (#135)
    by HidingMyName on Thu Oct 24, 2002 at 09:41:28 AM EST

    The one pleasant surprise I had after my daugther was born was how nice new born babies smell. They develop a sort of sweet milky odor (like a milk shake) which is natural. Perhaps as a parent it is some kind of pheromone or other biological stimulus, but it was very noticeable. Also, babies are very good at recognizing their parents by their voices, they do listen before birth. Finally, it is surprising how quickly the myth that all babies look alike is dispelled (I was a firm believer before my daugther ws born). I was able to pick my own baby out of the maternity ward of 10-15 babies pretty quickly. Many maternity wards now have the babies wear "home arrest" radio bracelets, so that they cannot be removed from the ward without sounding an alarm. You may want to look into it, this is a good thing for the parent's peace of mind.

    a happy, useful thought for you (none / 0) (#140)
    by zmemes on Thu Oct 24, 2002 at 11:46:50 PM EST

    If the "living porno dream that was the early part of your marriage" suddenly resurrects itself towards the end of the pregnancy, carpe diem.

    As you probably know, semen has something in it that softens the cervix. A soft cervix that dilates incredibly quickly and astounds attendant nurses is not a story you hear often, but it sure is a happy one.

    My wife and I were both relaxing full-time, a luxury afforded by prior hard work on her part and good fortune on mine; it was a happy, stress-free environment, and this probably helped make the eight days prior to the birth among the busiest in my life. Felt like reliving adolescence. In addition to an exceptionally smooth birth, it also may have contributed to his 3-wk-early birth (a good thing, since he was large for his age).
    [The benefits of humility are untold.]

    Second Trimester Report | 145 comments (104 topical, 41 editorial, 0 hidden)
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