an early delivery

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Charles William Hunter Griffith

Born March 9, 2014 7:20PM
7lbs, 4oz
20 inches long

Handsome as the day is long. And it turns out, the day is really, really long.

But also really, really awesome.

twenty days

With less than three weeks until the Wee Dictator is due, we’re in a bit of a state of turmoil at our house. A dozen unexplained bug bites over a few nights in the last couple weeks turned into a panicked call to the exterminator and one freaked out mama-to-be.

You cannot bring a baby home to a house with bugs! Those people end up on the news! And not in one of those feel good stories they run after bits about gang violence and terrorism, either.

My first inclination was that we had fleas. Our feral cats have become indoor/outdoor cats over the course of the winter (they’re not dumb) and they love to sleep on our bed (see: not dumb). Although they’re flea-treated, I thought fine, maybe I miscalculated their last dosage. Maybe they could *possibly* have brought something inside. Seemed logical.

My ultimate fear was bed bugs. Horror of horrors! Neither of us travels, though, and there’s nothing new in the house that could have transported them. I mean, that doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility, but the pest control man seemed utterly befuddled, having found zero evidence of any kind of biting pest, flea, bedbug or otherwise. Our stark white mattress is, well, stark white. Same with the bedding. An in-depth investigation yielded only more nothing. Nothing but frustration. The exterminator left without having exterminated anything or rescuing me in any sort of way, except for providing a set of instructions for some proactive measures we could take. And boy, did we take ‘em. I’m having none of this risk taking. I’ve washed every bit of everything in hot water, the Dork Lord has sprayed the room, the mattress has been covered, bug boards laid and blah blah blah.

It’s ultimately a lot of stress that I didn’t need. I think the worst part for me is that I’ve worked so stinking hard to make everything as perfect as possible for Charlie’s arrival and then…this. This thing I cannot control. And if you know me at all, you know that I’m not so good with things I cannot control. They are my nemeses. My Khaaaaaan!

I haven’t cried yet, but let’s not rule it out.

Also, now I just itch all the time. Out of pure suggestion. Meanwhile, the only thing our sticky bug traps have caught is an unfortunate dust bunny. And Midge once. But that was funny.

By way of a Hal update: He’s doing remarkably well. He still seems completely unaware that there is anything wrong with him. His appetite is up and his weight has returned to normal. He sleeps a lot, but, you know, he’s a cat. And that’s sorta their modus operandi. Having grown accustomed to his daily medication routines, Hal even voluntarily jumps up on the counter while I glove up (being pregnant, I’m not allowed to touch any of his meds). I’m guessing that his willingness has little something to do with the treat he gets after. Like his mama, he’s compelled by food. Outside of his daily meds, it’s very easy to pretend there’s nothing wrong with him. So I do.

And a word or several on Charlie: Kid’s head down, ready to go. I’ve asked him to be born a few days early on the 16th (it’s a full moon, after all, and babies love to be born on full moons), and I’ve decided that whether or not he complies will tell me everything I need to know his personality. Come on, Charlie. Do this for mommy. She wants to roll over in bed without her whole skeleton hurting. I’ve also asked him to have a reasonably sized head. Please, oh, please.

NurseryPano

Thank you most sincerely for all your good thoughts and well wishes with regard to Hal and Charlie. So far, so good! And uh, if you’d like to direct some of that positivity at the bug situation, well, I would not object.

Scratch, scratch.

forty-five to sixty

Sir HalThe discovery was entirely accidental. I’d taken Hal in on Monday for hairball issues and his ‘senior’ cat follow-up. He’s 10 now, and I’ve been telling myself that’s middle age, no matter what the vet says. Anyway, it was accidental. Happenstance. They happened to have a difficult time getting a urine sample, so they happened to use an ultrasound to guide the procedure and the clinic’s feline internal medicine specialist just happened to be walking through the room when they did.

“Back up,” she said. “Right there in the intestines.”

We came in with hairballs and left with lymphoma — or very likely lymphoma. I declined the through-and-through biopsy for 100% confirmation. It would have required him to be put under and have pieces of his intestines cut out, a trauma that neither of us needed. And for what? I would not be putting him through chemotherapy. He wouldn’t understand and the time it would buy would only be for me and my guilt. Although in the last several days I’ve agonized over that decision plenty.

Without the biopsy, there’s no real prognosis. No window of time. Though my research has turned up a sorry statistic that cats treated on prednisone alone (the route we’ve taken, to make him comfortable) live an average of 45-60 days, I tell myself we have longer; he doesn’t act sick.

Hal and I met when he was five months old in the front window of the SPCA on the Upper East Side. When I had nobody, I had him. Sometimes I am so heartsick, I think I might retch because the hurt just runs so deep. Forty-five to sixty days. Charlie is due in 55 days. You see why I pretend it’s not true. Inaccurate. A stat I can stubborn my way out of, like I usually do. Dying kittens? Pfft! We can beat that. We’ll stay up all night! For days! But cancer? Cancer sees me coming and is not at all impressed with my tenacity. Being awake, being at work feels like a punishment, when all I want to do is curl up with him on the couch and maybe watch some Pretty Little Liars reruns and pretend that this is just not happening.

31 weeks, an overdue gupdate

belly Well, this is long overdue. But I assume you’ll forgive a lady who is working full time and pregnant full time for having very little extra energy to expend. Just rolling over in bed takes so much damn work these days! See also: being alive. If not all pregnant women start to resent life in general by the end of the process, don’t let on. I’m going to assume this semi-constant state of hate is normal.

Not that there isn’t also a lot to love. It’s just… mama’s tired and sometimes forgets this is a temporary state.

By way of guppy updates, Charlie is a very wiggly young man with a special affinity for the right side of my rib cage. If you see me sitting very still, eyes closed, breathing slowly and deliberately, all is well, my son is just trying to break free via my skeleton. I worry much less about his… viability these days. Mostly because I don’t have to wonder if he’s okay in there. He keeps in touch. Often with my bladder.

It is endlessly delightful (in a Tremors sort of way) to watch him squirm around in there, turning the taught surface of my belly into a map of elbows and knees. Sometimes my coworker Kelsey and I watch the show and make wide eyes at each other like, “This is so weird.” Weird and awesome.

Up there with heartburn, one of the least lovely things about pregnancy are the people, mostly other mothers,who say horrid shit to you. Which is something I’ve still not gotten at all accustomed to. I’ve had people point out how swollen my feet are (because I’m not self conscious enough as it is), compare their current state of weight gain/bloat with my pregnant body (flattering), and declare that the genetic testing we had done was pointless because their friend had the same results and their baby came out with {insert horrible malady here}. Some women just like to tell you how traumatic their labor was, as though you have some say in how this kid eventually makes his way to the outside world. I’ve even been told that bouncing Charlie around in my womb to persuade him out of my rib cage area will adversely affect the shape of his head. Um, yeah, and if that doesn’t, THE BIRTH CANAL WILL FINISH THE JOB.

The heartburn I got a prescription for, but the comments, man, there does not seem to be anything preventative I can do short of declaring, “Seriously, unless you’re going to tell me how radiant I look, do not speak.”

Back in the Things Which are Awesome category, people have also been extraordinarily kind. The owner of a mom n’ pop coffee shop in San Francisco fixed a broken toilet so I wouldn’t have to walk two block to the park to find a restroom. People carry things and hold doors and strangers smile for no other reason than the world loves babies and also, they quite possibly know how totally overwhelmed and awkward I feel.

And Charlie’s nursery. I love going in there. Sometimes I sit in the glider and read and yell at the cat to stop tearing at the rug all while picturing how many times Charlie will pee or puke on me in this very room. Ah, babies.

nursery

People also give you the sweetest, softest things for your baby. Which brings me to making some long overdue additions to the Fairy Godmother list:

Teak sent some deliciously soft swaddlers and an organic stuffed bunny and this note that made me a little teary. RzDrms sent a crazy generous package full of clothes and baby mittens and a thermometer that scans the forehead (so neat!). Fellow catlady Barbara E. sent this OMG outfit involving a hoodie with bunny ears. Seriously, I die. And Melanie sent the gift of Sandra Boynton and if you haven’t had the pleasure of reading those out loud to a young ‘un, get on that. Pure silliness.

I hope I have not missed anyone. I am so genuinely touched by the kindness and generosity.

Sixty-three days to go. Please let Charlie treasure punctuality, like his mother does. And also books. And animals. And gender/marriage equality. But I’ll take a love of punctuality to start.

fairy godmothers

Just a quick note to acknowledge the baby gifts that have arrived – bottles from Sarah S. and a baby bath tub, wash cloths, towel and sleepers from Jennifer. Thank you – you guys are just so awesome! I feel like I’m going to spend a great deal of time telling Charlie about his Internet Aunts one day. You didn’t have to bathe in the roasting pan because of a very nice lady who lives far, far away who didn’t even know you. It will be like his own personal fairy tale.