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From the movie "Aristocrats": a South Park cartoon that is most definitely NOT work safe.


Um....thanks, Cat.





Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I learned yesterday that the short term disability insurance I'd been hoping would pay part of my salary for twelve weeks is only going to cover me for six; six weeks being pretty much standard for a normal delivery. I suppose I shouldn't have been taken off guard by this, not only did I read about Amy experiencing the same unpleasant surprise at her job, but when you stop and think about it - well, yeah, "disabled" for twelve weeks? Jesus, let's hope not.

I wish it wasn't such a financial burden for me to take some time off to care for our son while he's so young, that's all. I know I'm lucky to have any paid time off at all, and I don't feel like I deserve some kind of free ride because I chose to have a baby; I just wish in some nebulous uninformed nonpolitical way that it was easier and that we didn't have to worry about money on top of everything else.

Next Wednesday, August 31, is my last day of work before going on maternity leave. My plan is to stay home until after the first of the year, when I'll go back three days a week. I shouldn't complain, I know - this is a great compromise. It's not going to be easy, though, and might mean delaying paying off debt, dipping into savings, etc.

It's really confusing, thinking about the balance between having a career and having children. I know this is not exactly what you might call a unique topic, but it sure is new for me. I'm conflicted about handing over our baby to a daycare provider, I'm conflicted about staying home changing diapers all day. I don't think I can even guess how I'll feel in three months, really. Except that I do know that unless we pick up and move somewhere a hell of a lot cheaper, it doesn't matter how I feel, because we can't afford a different scenario than the one we've already worked out.

Although - that's a little melodramatic, I think. Who knows what the months and years ahead will bring? I can't imagine working at my particular job forever, and wherever else I go will mean a change - a salary change, maybe, or a time commitment change. JB might change positions, or companies. One of us could get laid off. One of us could win the goddamn lottery. Life is unfurling ahead of us with no guarantees, and I guess the best we can do is hope we're making the right decisions along the way.


Anyway! Advice for the expecting: take five minutes to ask some questions about your company's maternity leave policies, instead of making blind assumptions like yours truly.

Also: buy Tums. A LOT of Tums.


I went to my 36-week prenatal checkup on Monday, and boy, I'm getting that little routine down. Pee in the cup, hold out arm for the blood pressure cuff, clamp lips around thermometer, bound onto the scale, say "no" to the nurse who asks if I smoke (why do they ask every single time?). Last week there was a slight diversion from the norm when I was rudely invaded by a Q-tip in more than one private part of my body, but as I was lying there I figured it would be insane to get tense over a fucking cotton swab when I am days from pushing a human being - and various other, um, substances - from my lower 48, you know?

It's all about the waiting at this point, the Great Reveals have all already occurred during these visits and until something starts happening down there I guess it's just week after week of my doctor and I nodding politely at one another.

I had a moment of panic on Sunday night when I got my weekly email newsletter from babycenter.com, which read, in part: "At the end of this week, you're going to reach an important pregnancy milestone: Your baby will be considered full term! That means you could give birth very soon." It was the words "very soon", I think, that caused me to freak out about the fact that we didn't have a changing pad yet and OH MY GOD however will we change the baby without a special PAD, and speaking of pads, BREAST PADS, I need BREAST PADS, I can't just use KLEENEX.

After JB physically restrained me from buying diapers online ("Babe, they sell them in stores. We live near stores. Chill.") I decided to pack my hospital bag, printing list after list of recommended items to bring. This ended up being far more difficult than I could have anticipated, because right off the bat I couldn't find a bag. I found two largish suitcases, an internal frame backpack, and a semi-smelly gym duffel bag, but a simple fucking overnight carrier? Nein!

Then I got all hung up on the ubiquitous advice that says to bring a robe. I have two robes. One is a beautifully embroidered bright red silk kimono I bought in China. The other is a giant thick soft fleecy thing that's perfect for a freezing cold winter night. Neither seems quite right for tossing jauntily over a hospital gown. Must I buy a special Labor Robe?

I did manage to pick out the baby's coming-home outfit, which, much to JB's dismay, is NOT the black AC/DC onesie with "For those about to ROCK" printed on the front.

For some reason I have it in my head that I'll have plenty of time, hours and hours, in early labor, and that I'll be able to leisurely pack the remaining items - maybe even run out and buy a pretty new overnight case - but that's the sort of karma that ensures I'm going to show up at the hospital all rushed and sweaty and be known as The Girl Who Brought Her Crap In A Brown Paper Bag, and I'll be sneered at by the other cooler, more prepared laboring women. "You didn't bring a robe?" they'll sniff between contractions. "God."

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