I Am a Watched Pot

Posted by on Dec 17, 2012 · 71 Comments

“WHERE IS BABY?”

This is the text I get, several times a day now, from all over the country. Sometimes it pops up on a Facebook window. Sometimes it’s just a subject line of an empty email.

“WHERE IS BABY?”

As if I’ve hidden the child somewhere, confused Christmas for Easter and hidden this ripened egg under a rock in a field. Like I’m lying to them all and I’m waiting until Baby’s First Tooth before I spill any details.

My own mother asked today with sadness, “Will you tell me when you’re going to the hospital? … or do I just find out after the baby’s here?”

I know they are all asking out of love and excitement. It just cracks me up that it has been reduced to–

“WHERE IS BABY?”

Baby is still incubating, heavy enough now that my stomach rests on my legs when I’m sitting, making me feel like an exhausted bus driver.

Did you know you can have contractions for days and days and days that mimic labor but don’t turn into labor? Not these cute Braxton-Hicks things you hear about sometime, little “practice contractions” that can pop up at any point during your pregnancy. These are minute-long, full-on cramping, every ten minutes contractions that just stick around for ten or twelve hours until you finally fall asleep? Then they wake you up every few hours when a particularly strong one happens, and then the next day you just have them all day again? All the while your friends are texting–

“WHERE IS BABY?”

And you know exactly where Baby is, because your body has been trying to push the baby out since Thanksgiving.

This is just one of the things on my very long list titled: Things People Don’t Tell You About Being Pregnant Until You’re Pregnant, Which Is Just Way Too Fucking Late, If You Ask Me.

This list of mine isn’t for the ones who have had babies. It isn’t for the ones even actively thinking about having children. It’s a list (well, and let’s be honest: eventually a book proposal) that I think should also be taught to women when they are still girls. This is the list that should be brought into health classes. I want to waddle into high schools, plop down in front of a classroom, let this belly of mine roll out toward my knees and then I’m going to open with “Mucus Plug. There’s two words you should know right now before you start having sex.”

The number one question I’ve been asked in these past couple weeks of constant contractions is

WHERE IS BABY?

but the other question is, “What does it feel like?”

And that’s amazing to me, because we watch fictionalized births every day on television and in movies, and the reason we ask “What does it feel like?” is because we know that’s probably not true, what we see depicted in love stories and horror films. And there’s the thing where “every woman is different” and some people feel nothing and some people feel everything and some people are just fucking liars.

I’ve been answering this question the best (read: truthfully) that I can. “It feels like I’m getting all of my periods I didn’t get this year all at once, and at the same time a baby is desperately trying to shoot out of my butt.”

That’s what it feels like, every ten minutes or so, for somewhere between six to twelve hours a day, for most of the days in the past couple of weeks. All of my periods, followed by a butt baby. Over and over again, without a solid pattern, without getting closer or worse, until I fall asleep because I’m exhausted.

Having a contraction feels like:

I’m sitting on a yoga ball, stretching and bouncing, reading a book, and then the burning starts and it radiates through my lower belly as my stomach seizes and hardens to bowling ball strength and I lift my head as I turn primal, I turn into Maya Angelou and I HOWL AT THE WOODS, THE WINDOWS, THE FOREST.
THE WOMB CALLS THE HEAVENS
I WAIT AS I BREATHE
O FUTURE!
O CHILD OF MINE!
O BLOOD THROUGH THIS FETALHOUSE
MY PAIN
UNIVERSAL
WHY IS THIS
MY CURSE YOUR CURSE THIS WORLD THIS WOMB THIS–

And then the contraction ends and I push the button on my contraction app and go back to reading my book.

It is incredible to me that when I sit with three friends who aren’t pregnant who are asking me what it’s like, that all I’m doing is teaching them things they didn’t know that I didn’t know either before getting pregnant. That four women can be all way above twenty-five years old and not know the kinds of things that happen to us when every single one of us is here because someone went through this for us. Why don’t we all know what happens to people when they get pregnant? Why am I teaching people the words “bloody show” or have to explain that my sighs when they’re talking aren’t because they’re boring me, but because my blood volume is so high it feels like I’m back in Machu Picchu?

Why is pregnancy such a combination of mystical and disgusting that we choose to not talk about it? You can’t get pregnant from learning about it. Can you? I’m not sure anymore. Because I didn’t know until I was pregnant that there was a chance my stomach muscles would separate. I would’ve like to have been informed beforehand. There were sixteen pages of “Here are all the ways you might get hurt or die” that I had to read through before I could skydive. I had to watch videos and sign consent forms to sit in a helicopter for twenty minutes. I had to have two forms of insurance to play roller derby. But at no point did a doctor or a teacher or a fellow woman stop to say, “Hey, listen. Before you get pregnant, you should know that it could cause you to lose feeling in both legs for months every time you try to sleep. Your feet could grow and they’ll never go back to the size they once were. You might get massive nosebleeds that make you think you have brain cancer, but you don’t — you’re just pregnant. It’s why you can’t stop crying and get panic attacks when you’re in a passenger seat on the highway.”

I just got another text.

This one only says “????”

I appreciate the anonymity of the use of the term “baby,” because I’m not wanting to write about this child in any way that violates its privacy, so it makes it easier when I write here about being pregnant. And I’m trying not to feel like I’m letting these friends down, but part of me can’t help think how odd it is that everyone’s anxiously awaiting the moment that my life suddenly becomes incredibly painful and bloody for hours.

“WHERE IS BABY?
???
Why don’t I hear your screams from here? Open those legs, woman and release the child!”

Even the doctor at this point is like, “I’ve got some drugs to get this thing going.” And I’m like, “Oh, yeah? Does someone have some Christmas plans?”

The baby’s digging my accommodations. Everything’s still going fine, according to tests. I’ll just keep powering through my to-do list while I bounce on my yoga ball and–
O!
THERE. THERE AND OUT THERE AND EVERYWHERE
THIS BELLY THIS BEAST
I BREATHE
TAKE THESE MUSCLES THIS BONE
WHY CAN I FEEL A TINY BABY HAND AT THE TOP OF MY THIGH?
THAT IS CREEPY.
I MISS BOOZE.
I AM A WATCHED POT
BLEEDING NOSE
BLEEDING GUMS
WHO WEARS TWO WRISTGUARDS TO BED.

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71 Comments

  1. Brett N
    December 17, 2012

    But where’s the baby?

    Reply
  2. Wendy
    December 17, 2012

    You’ve been having contractions every 10 minutes for days??? Jesus Christ. That would drive me insane. I thought my 29 hour labor was bad. I’d be all, “let’s load up on the pitocin and get this motherfucker going.” Your patience is beyond my ability to comprehend.

    Reply
    • Pamie
      December 17, 2012

      The app asks me to rate the strength of the contractions on a weak to powerful scale and there are some words on their list that make me fear for my future.

      Reply
      • Brett N
        December 18, 2012

        “Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head.”
        – Carol Burnett

        On the bright side, they offer you high grade drugs and your insurance pays for it.

        Reply
      • Wendy
        December 18, 2012

        That’s why God invented epidurals.

        Reply
  3. Jenn Patterson
    December 17, 2012

    ROFL – It’s been over 15 years since I’ve gone through what you are going through, so I can now laugh at it. Sort of.

    Also – you are a genius! You have just found the newest and best birth control! “MUCUS PLUG.”

    Reply
  4. NNewsies
    December 17, 2012

    Oh, we battle-scarred talked about it, at least I did. Mine are 20 and 16 and I talked about it non-stop. The inconvenience and the pain and the whatthehell and the GROSS! Until I realized the non-initiated DO NOT WANT TO HEAR IT! AND the minute you start to tell someone newly pregnant those stories, they become the “You should…” stories.

    Reply
  5. Pamie
    December 17, 2012

    This is why I’m saying it should be the sex talk. We don’t even need to involve the penises. Just tell these girls what will happen to their bodies and Instant Birth Control.

    Reply
  6. Omar G.
    December 17, 2012

    It seems like the baby should have come halfway through you writing that blog entry. Kids — they interrupt.

    Reply
  7. Melissa
    December 17, 2012

    Your baby is shawshanking it up in there, girl! I suppose it will come out when it is good and ready.

    I have no children, and the only place I ever heard “bloody show” was in an Apatow movie.

    Reply
  8. meg
    December 17, 2012

    Pamie, can I just say thank you (I think) for all these essays from the trenches? I am also pregnant (due in May) and have had similar weird and baffling experiences. I, too, thought I was fairly well-informed and each day brings more proof that this gestating gig is full of gross and wondrous surprises. Thank you for the notes from my future. I’m learning (and laughing) a lot.

    Reply
  9. Mariel
    December 17, 2012

    Pamie,

    Can you please add Hemorrhoids to your “Things People Don’t Tell You About Being Pregnant Until You’re Pregnant, Which Is Just Way Too Fucking Late, If You Ask Me” list? Because my own Mother (God Bless her Soul) conveniently forgot to tell me this when I was pregnant 6 years ago. I was so mad at her for keeping me in the dark.

    Sincerely,
    Still Pissed About It

    Reply
    • Jacq
      December 18, 2012

      And yeast infections that itch like a mofo. And pregnancy rhinitis that prevents you from breathing through your nose unless you use a steroid spray twice a day. And carpal tunnel syndrome that has you waking up howling like some psycho has been bashing both of your hands with a hammer while you were asleep (forcing you to wear wrist braces 24/7, not drive, not use your hands for everything, and probably use up your daily typing allocation with this comment). And shortness of breath.

      I feel like I knew absolutely nothing about pregnancy before this pregnancy – all I’d been told was ‘oh, you’ll feel sick at the start, and quite tired at times’. It turns out that my body is awesome at growing children, but is packing up in every other way.

      Reply
  10. Mike
    December 17, 2012

    When my wife was in the early stages of labor at the hospital they asked her to rate the pain of each contraction. She started off with an 8, but then later she had to revise the scale since it only went to 10. I think it should be a logarithmic scale, like the Ricther scale. Not that I’m trying to scare you or anything.

    Also, how come Toni Braxton and Taylor Hicks need to team up for an album called “False Labor of Love” or something like that. What else are they doing?

    Good luck!

    Reply
    • Mike
      December 17, 2012

      I mean, how come they haven’t teamed up. Crap.

      Reply
    • Wanda
      December 18, 2012

      Oh man I wish this were Facebook or Twitter so I can fave this! False Labor of Love. I’m going to giggle over that for days.

      Reply
  11. meadowgirl
    December 17, 2012

    but you’re going to live tweet the birth though, right? ;-)

    Reply
  12. nancym
    December 17, 2012

    You know what’s really weird- is how much everything about having babies has changed since I had mine (26 years ago). Seriously, I feel like a complete idiot about childraising, I will be completely clueless when I have grandchildren. One thing hasn’t changed, babies arrive in their own time. Good luck, you’ll be great!

    Reply
  13. JeniMull
    December 17, 2012

    My high school birth control talks would focus on the what happens during/after childbirth to one’s beautiful body.

    I’ll spare you for now. It’s another of those things that no one can truly hear – it can only be experienced.

    Reply
  14. Jane
    December 17, 2012

    And one more: your belly button will never ever be the same. Ever. Sorry.

    Reply
  15. Melissa
    December 17, 2012

    Thank you for validating my decision to remain childless.

    Reply
  16. Valeri
    December 18, 2012

    I had a c section scheduled due to one of the many Things They Don’t Tell You. It was scheduled for today, in fact. I went into labor last Tuesday. I didn’t even know it because NO ONE HAD EXPLAINED TO ME WHAT CONTRACTIONS COULD FEEL LIKE. It wasn’t until I realized that annoying pain was happening almost exactly every five minutes that it occurred to me that, hey, maybe this is labor. And the “discharge” leaking down my leg all afternoon? That was my water leaking. Movies lie to you! It isn’t always a big gush! NO ONE TOLD ME THAT. Either way, I have a lovely little boy now and a spectacular spinal headache (did they tell you about that one?).

    Reply
    • Julie Nilson
      December 20, 2012

      Seriously–NO ONE TELLS YOU WHAT THEY FEEL LIKE. I thought I just felt yucky and crampy for almost 12 hours before I realized what the yucky crampy feeling was. If I’d known, I would have been walking around to get things going rather than lying on the couch wrapped in a blanket.

      Reply
  17. Kate Nesi
    December 18, 2012

    My friend shared your post with me and I just had to comment. I felt so unprepared before getting pregnant, no one would tell me anything about it. Then I was, and still there was a long list of learning. My labor was similar to yours, prodromal, they called it. It lasted horrendously for 4 days before I was able to dilate past 2cm – and that was only with the help of a doula. I did eventually give birth, no meds, after hours of agony. Best wishes to you!!

    Reply
    • Pamie
      December 18, 2012

      Dang, Merry Christmas. Jeez.

      Reply
  18. Kristina
    December 18, 2012

    1. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOUR STOMACH MUSCLES SEPARATE.
    2. I’m not getting pregnant until you write a book about it, so I know exactly what I’m getting into.

    Reply
      • Jacq
        December 18, 2012

        Pam, look into post-birth belly wrapping – it’s supposed to support your back and abdomen after the event, and help to bring those muscles back together. My muscles are now so far apart that they’re going to need marriage guidance counselling before they can be close again, so I’m definitely going to give wrapping a go – apparently you do it from within 24 hours of the birth, and it’s particularly good if you end up having a c-section (it helps to support the wound).

        Reply
    • Elizabeth
      December 18, 2012

      Kristin Auger had some really interesting posts on experiencing Diastasis recti. She thought that her stomach was soft after having a baby and kept doing crunches to fix the problem, which made things worse. http://www.todaysparent.com/blogs/bouncing-back/diastasis-recti-a-case-of-mommy-tummy

      Reply
  19. JennyA
    December 18, 2012

    I am one of the last of the women I know NOT to have ever been pregnant, and at this point, I’m not sure I ever will be because thanks to them forgetting I don’t have children and talking freely in front of me about pregnancy and childbirth I NOW KNOW THINGS THAT I CANNOT UNKNOW. And frankly, I just question whether my body can do that.

    Reply
  20. Paige
    December 18, 2012

    Another thing to teach the teenagers in health class, in addition to the mucus plug (maybe even before!) – make them deal with a puking-in-the-middle-of-the-night toddler. That will chasten them up but quick. Good luck, Pamie – home stretch with the pregnancy part. Christmastime babies are the best (mine just turned 2).

    Reply
  21. Tara
    December 18, 2012

    I think I put several coworkers off having babies forever with my horror stories. My husband got to the point where he said, “I feel like you could get hit by a meteorite falling from the sky and you would tell me it was a common pregnancy side effect. Meteoritis of Pregnancy”. It’s a parade of horrors. But worth it. So very worth it. Good luck to you.

    Reply
  22. Theresa
    December 18, 2012

    Between this and yesterday’s breastfeeding post on Jezebel, I think I’ve been scared straight out of ever having biological children.

    Reply
  23. Alli
    December 18, 2012

    No one told me about carpal tunnel during pregnancy. Made holding anything very interesting.

    Reply
  24. Melanie
    December 18, 2012

    Everything about having babies is terrible.

    Reply
    • Wendy
      December 19, 2012

      Except the actual babies. They’re kind of cute and awesome.

      Reply
  25. Denise
    December 18, 2012

    Really. I never heard such pathetic whining! I had three children, never changed my lifestyle. Why do you need to stop everything because you’re pregnant. Maybe you need to quit reading books sitting on a yoga ball and go outdoors for a walk which uses the muscles needed for delivery. I still had a belly button after birth and was able to wear bikini’s again. It’s what you make it…9 months of no booze and a few hours of pain and look at the reward. Or will it still be all about you and your body after the baby? Be glad you can have children.

    Reply
    • Kristen
      December 18, 2012

      It sounds like you were one of the lucky ones without the awful pregnancy side effects (I am too). I prefer to keep my mouth shut and count my blessings when I hear the horror stories.

      Reply
      • amanda
        December 22, 2012

        Yeah, mine was not too bad. But to say pregnancy is without its oddities is just not true. It’s a wacky, wild ride through science and biology and the number of times your doctor will scratch their head, smile ruefully and say, “Huh. Probably just one of those pregnancy things….” is too many times.

        Reply
    • Jacq
      December 18, 2012

      It’s great to read that becoming a parent taught you compassion for people who might, perhaps, be experiencing something that was more difficult than you experienced…

      Reply
    • Sara
      December 18, 2012

      “Be glad you can have children”? Really? As someone who has had a miscarriage I don’t particularly appreciate you throwing that around in other women’s faces. Pamie’s written here a very amusing, honest portrayal of pregnancy and dealing with other people’s expectations. There’s nothing pathetic about it. Most people don’t make it through their pregnancy without something happening, or something happening after. If you had nine months of mindless bliss followed by the easiest child-rearing known to man then your experiences aren’t relevant to the vast majority of women. As most of the internet will attest to.

      To Pamie: your writing had me snorting. The tiny baby hand is creepy O_o

      Reply
    • chacha
      December 18, 2012

      Thanks Mom.

      Reply
    • Penny
      December 19, 2012

      Seriously.

      What the hell kind of behaviour is this? If you don’t like Pamie’s posts about pregnancy there’s an infinite number of other blogs out there you could read. Rather than coming on her site, and accusing her of “pathetic whining,” (which, incidentally, is what you’re doing about her post).

      It’s great that you had 3 good pregnancies (mine was fine too, except for the emergency cystectomy I had in my 14th week, and the threat that it would cause me to miscarry.. But that’s another story). Although if there is a god (or karma) you’ll get pregnant again and suffer through all Pamie’s symptoms and worse. Then come back here and post a mea culpa.

      Arg! So mad right now.

      Reply
    • Nora Charles
      December 19, 2012

      Oh my god, Denise, you did pregnancy better than ANYONE ELSE!!! YOU ARE MY HERO — wait, my heroes aren’t assholes. Never mind.

      Reply
    • Susanlee
      December 20, 2012

      Apparently, even though your pregnancies were all hearts and flowers, you still came out of them a huge bitch, so, maybe you weren’t quite as unscathed as you’d have us believe.

      Reply
    • Cha Cha
      December 21, 2012

      Denise is my mom, and was defending me because I had an outright gut reaction to this post, which I out on my personal FB. She, a 56 year old woman, defended her 36 year old daughters emotions. See my other posts in this thread to see why. My mom is a breadt cancer survivor who deacons her church, rows for a breast cancer survivor dragon boat team, does endless fundraising and support events, and engineers and installs safe water supplys in Haiti. She is an amazing person. She defended me. She defended my emotional response, AND her emotional response to her daughter being upset. She is also the new grandmother to my sister’s 6 month old beautiful girl, who she gives secondary care to.

      She responded as a Mom. And if you see the other posts, you’ll read that she is stalwart in her belief that walking and exercise make for a better delivery.

      She is all Pro-Woman. But as a mom, she’s always Pro-Her-Kids. And she will defend the three of us to the ends of the earth. And her granddaughter too.

      And seriously. If she was around you and you were pregnant, you’d be doing LAPS. She’s a force to be reckoned with, and (sometimes unfortunately) has the experience to back it up.

      Reply
  26. JR
    December 18, 2012

    Please turn your list into a bestselling book entitled “Things People Don’t Tell You About Being Pregnant Until You’re Pregnant, Which Is Just Way Too Fucking Late, If You Ask Me.” Consider it a public service.

    Reply
  27. chacha
    December 18, 2012

    Below is what I posted on my FB yesterday after reading this post. Pam, I’m so happy for you, but wow. You were incredibly insensitive in this post, and it broke my heart. Were I one of your friends or family, I would be crushed that you were so disdainful in their concern for you. If you are so blessed to be having a child, let people be concerned about you. They’re not excited for you to spend hours in the ER in pain, they’re excited to have another part of you in the universe. They care for you. Let them.

    I am not your friend nor family, but a loyal reader. You are not just “Pamie”, you are something more. And I expected more.

    My response on FB moves a bit towards my own experiences, but I really have always had the impression that you were much more open minded and sensitive. I’m just hurt and sad. I understand your intentions behind writing what you did. It IS important to get information out to women who don’t understand pregnancy. But you didn’t factor in the big picture. You were very flippant.

    I hope that my pasted rant below (which is only marginally related to your post, but again, I state, that it sparked a bigger rant from me about the world in general), will help you in refining your book proposal. I trust that you will give the best information in your usual snarky, hilarious, and frank fashion. I just hope that you’ll be a bit more sensitive to ALL women. We can’t all have children. And yes, we, or women who have not yet taken out their IUD or stopped their pills, might be curious. But that is how information is relayed – from woman to woman. Sure, we have the internet, but it has a million opitions on a million different things. You made yourself an internet personality, so people look to you. Please be responsible, open, and understanding. Fertility and Infertility should not be hush hush subjects – we agree on that. Don’t make the women who don’t have children, or who aren’t pregnant feel stupid for not knowing what you know. One day maybe they will. One day maybe they won’t. Regardless, we’re all draggin around a uterus. And some of them just don’t plain work the way we want them to.

    I actually had a girlfiend, who is pregnant by IVF, ask me if my post was about her. That is how universal these feelings are.

    Also, I apologize for the snarkiness, but I wanted to show you the frank version. Unedited. This was to my friends and family. But as time passed, I more and more felt that it was very important for you to see the reaction that your post gave me.

    I’m tired of infertility being something that you don’t talk about. SHARE your issues. Everyone will feel less alone and less like a failure. We’re not uninformed, and we’re not failures. We just have issues. Issues that we can share and bond over.

    My personal FB post:

    I met Pam several years ago at SXSW, and have been following her blog for about 12 years. She has always had a very dry humor about things, which I’ve appreciated. But this last post just does it for me.

    You’re pregnant. It is well known that it super sucks, especially late term. It ruins you. You are miserable. But… Oh, to have your troubles (read the post before you lambaste me). Maybe it’s NOT that people aren’t as aware as you, but perhaps that they either choose, or have it chosen for them, that this cannot be their life. Just because someone isn’t pregnant doesn’t mean that they’re an idiot about the miracle of life. Maybe they’re just excited for you? Maybe they see some hope for themselves in your situation? This post was, to someone who is challenged in the fertility arena, the most demeaning thing I’ve read since a Republican debate transcript.

    Oh, people are excited that you’re having a baby? EMBRACE IT. Love the Love. Any way about it, don’t mock. Don’t talk down. You’re not Mother Earth.

    And yes, Pregnancy Brain. I understand. I’ve read about you extensively. I may have experienced you a time or two. You get a bit crazy. Try understanding Infertility Brain, and get back to me. Those drugs will REALLY rock you. And then you get the soul crushing disappointment every 28 days. SWEET. And for women who HAVE gotten pregnant using fertility methods? I hug you. I’m so utterly happy for you. You WON. Hug your sweet babies a little tighter, knowing how much you fought for them. I hope to join your ranks one day.

    And yes, this is a lot to share. But you know what? I know scads of women who feel the same way, and are in the same situation, but are too scared to talk about it because it feels shameful. IT’S NOT. You’re not a failure. You’re not alone. And you’re not misinformed about what could happen. Because these women? Us women? We have read more about it than anyone could ever know. There’s a lot of hope in our hearts. Hope that should not be dashed by commentary.

    There is no reason to hide behind some veil of “Oh, maybe when we’re ready” or “My career took focus”. Those are great reasons, VALID reasons should you decide you dont want kids, but we should be able to be honest and say, “Shit is effed up and it’s not fair”, or “It just isn’t happening”. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. And sometimes that makes people sad. But don’t make me feel stupid. Don’t make US feel stupid. Don’t make us feel that we aren’t just as much of a woman.

    And to everyone I know who has had a baby; you are not this person. All of my friends and family are delightful and wonderful, and have children that I love and cherish. They are supprtive and want the best for me. I love and spoil their children. And they would never talk to me in this way. NEVER. Because they are my friends, and not some internet entity that i have to end a long term relationship with because they talked to me like I’m an idiot.

    I don’t talk poorly about your kids; don’t talk poorly about my lack of kids.

    Reply
    • Pamie
      December 18, 2012

      I am sorry and saddened that this post offended you. I would never judge anyone on their having or not having children, nor assume anyone’s reasons. And of course I know my friends are texting and checking in because they care. I’m incredibly lucky to have the support system that I have. They also know I’m laughing at this situation. I am not complaining that they are checking in. And not to have to give a list of friends who were laughing along with this post, but some were like, “It really must be weird having us all excited for a day that is going to bring you intense pain.” The “watched pot” title came from another friend, who called me that. I would never write with the intention of shaming the wonderful people in my life. You wrote that as a long time reader, you are accustomed to my style of humor. But this has seemed to hit a sensitive, personal note for you, one that I assure you wasn’t the tone I was taking.

      I can’t for a second figure out why you would think I’m talking down to anybody. I am making fun of myself, this crazy roller coaster I’ve been on, and trying to be honest about these emotions and experiences that are unpredictable and scary. But they are also silly and gross and amazing and weird. And then back to scary. And it’s crazy to me that we don’t learn more about pregnancy in high school. Not sex ed– but all these things that happen. Because its a lot and its weird and gross and scary.

      I’m not writing anybody else’s experience but my own. Nor have I tried to elevate it into something bigger than that. This is just what I’m going through, and some days it sucks and some days it’s a miracle and some days I end up on a massage table covered in semen. I also didn’t write about it at all until recently, because I had my own feelings of guilt that I “am lucky I can have kids.” If you wanted me to feel shame, and if that really was your mom who posted that above, tell her she did a great job making me feel like I’m supposed to just stay quiet and gestate.

      I’m a comedy writer and a storyteller and I’m writing to make people laugh. I am well aware of fertility struggles, as I wrote in previous posts, but writing about my experience doesn’t negate yours, just as your experiences shouldn’t make me have to silence mine. This is how we all learn from each other, and how we learn the many ways to make a family (up to and including the ones that don’t have children in them.)

      Again, I am sorry to disappoint you. I wish you the best of everything.

      Reply
      • Penny
        December 19, 2012

        Chacha, I think you misread the post. Pamie never said people who don’t know about pregnancy are idiots. She said “why doesn’t anyone tell us this BEFORE we get pregnant?!”

        I remember reading up on pregnancy symptoms once I was pregnant and thinking: “Carpal tunnel? Rhinitis? Sciatica? Hair loss? Acne? Skin discoloration? Hemorrhoids? Yeast infections? …. (etc) are ALL pregnancy symptoms? What the hell??”. Not to mention post-labour symptoms and self-care, which I won’t go into now. Pregnancy is not a cake-walk, that’s all she’s saying.

        And yes, friends asking all the time if your baby has arrived yet, when you’re 10 days overdue and feeling like your skin is about to rip open and the baby about to claw her way out, Alien-style… Can be hard. No matter how well-intentioned. And you love your friends but also want to tell them to stop. Like when you graduate from college and move back home, and every time someone says “so… what are you doing next? any job prospects?” you know they mean well and you get it, but you are also tired of talking about it. It’s like that, times a million. Doesn’t mean you don’t love or appreciate your friends and their support.

        Sorry… end rant.

        Reply
      • Michelle
        December 19, 2012

        Pamie, I want you to know that I have never, ever thought you sounded mean-spirited, condescending, or were in any way speaking of other peoples’ experiences when describing your own. I greatly enjoy reading your writing, both fiction and non-fiction, and I hope that you continue to share your stories on your website. Your talent is truly unique.

        Reply
      • Cha Cha
        December 21, 2012

        First, I want to thank you for your incredibly mature and measured response. I tend to gut respond to things and were I you, I would have responded with something starting with, “Bitch, please”.

        The timing was extremely bad for me to have responded to this (I can guess that you can deign what time of the month this was, and the uck that goes with it when youre trying to get pregnant), and it is quite possible that I misinterpreted some things, and also didn’t know the backstory behind some of your comments (hence thinking you were being rude to caring friends and family).

        But that doesn’t change the emotional response that I had. And though my comments may be a bit overwrought (in the FB rant), I still stick to my guns in saying (and note that it was all in agreement with some of your statements) that women’s fertility and all the shit that goes on inside our bodies should not be a secret. It should be known, and it should be shared, fertile or infertile. I’m just so frustrated that it really is frowned upon to talk openly about issues related to our wombiness, whether about pregnancy, or the frustrations about non-pregnancy. Everything is done through these secret user names on websites with crazy acronyms. Why can’t I just tell my friends and coworkers that the reason I’m shaking and wonky is because I’m juiced on weirdo drugs? Why can’t you tell coworkers that you’re having fainting spells and gone from your desk for an hour is because you’re pregnant and feel like you’re probably going to die in the next 5 minutes? And seriously. Who wants to pump breast milk in the handicapped stall??? (I should mention that I’m an HR Manager for a global company).

        Additionally, the pain that my husband goes through is completely unrecognized, and sadly, sometimes by me.
        Though it’s happening to our bodies, our husbands/boyfriends/mancakes go through just as much, in their own way. And often they feel like they can’t express their issues because they aren’t technically housing it. And its sad that they have to be so lonely. It is half them. Its just that their half is a really shitty renter that you cant kick out because theyre ruining the property. This whole rant actually started a whole new conversation my husband and I hadn’t had regarding adoption.

        So, as I said, I posted the FB rant not as a response to you, but as an example of what a crazy infertile drugged with progesterone brain does. A study, if you will. And mostly because I enjoy your writing so much, and was genuinely thinking it would provide a broader spectrum to your book proposal – to be more universal.

        Yes, that was my Mom. And as someone who is about to be a mom, imagine my Mom’s reaction to me, her 36 year old daughter who has been trying to get pregnant for years, being so gut reaction upset about something. She did what any mom does. She protected her cub. Don’t fault her for it. And she also is a delightful hippie who birthed me by “putting her knees around her ears and screaming to the gods” in less than two hours. I was almost 9 pounds. She was 20. And seriously, even if I hadn’t ranted, had she stumbled upon this, she would have told you to suck it up and walk around the block anyway. She did it to my 27 year old sister, who now has a beautiful 6 month old girl (born through walking and exercise, my mom will swear).

        So, in summary. Gut reaction. Good intentions. Crazy brain. Need more open rhetoric. Infertility should not be a secret. Make people google image hemorrhoids. High five daddies. Pamie will have a beautiful baby.

        And seriously, my Mom really swears by walking to make that baby do its thing. I’m a little scared of her power and tenacity.

        Reply
  28. April G.
    December 18, 2012

    Haaaaa! I’m 18 weeks right now and so far pregnancy is this weird combination of magical and gross. I regularly feel the baby poking me, which is fun but a little creepy. I’m not even halfway through and my hips are already all achy and I can’t sneeze without peeing my pants, and now I have bloody show to look forward to!

    You must have read Spiritual Midwifery, right? Those ladies and their “And then it got real heavy” and their rushes are strangely reassuring.

    Reply
  29. April G.
    December 18, 2012

    And then you might get varicose veins…in your vagina. What.

    http://www.amazon.com/Its-You-Babe-V2-Supporter/dp/B000I5ZTAI

    Reply
    • Betsy
      December 21, 2012

      WHAT. WHERE.

      That right there sounds like better safe-sex motivation than even Mucus Plug.

      Reply
  30. Alyson
    December 18, 2012

    Pamie! I’m sure you don’t remember me, but I was a regular around here a loooong time ago – back when you were still at IBM, and for a long time after that. I still miss your forum! Anyway… I lost track of you for years and years, but now I found you again and you’re pregnant! Mazel!

    It was almost exactly 6 years ago that I was 37 weeks pregnant with twins. (Holy crap, my kids are going to be 6 in a few days!) I thought I handled pregnancy pretty well, but it was full-on Stockholm Syndrome… I just grew to love my tormentors. But now I think I have PTSD over the whole thing. If I saw you walk past me in the store, all big and swollen and pregnant, I would have to hunch over with my hands on my knees and take a few deep breaths. Pregnancy isn’t for the weak, no doubt.

    Reply
  31. Cynthia
    December 19, 2012

    Just hope you never have to look up the word “rectocele”.

    Reply
    • Pamie
      December 19, 2012

      Oh, no! I just googled it!

      Reply
  32. Penny
    December 19, 2012

    The thing is, for every woman who wishes she was told this stuff before she got pregnant, there’s a woman who doesn’t want to hear it cause it’s too scary and it’s easier not to think about. My SIL is like that, definitely wants kids but plugs her ears and “La la la”s whenever anyone mentions any specifics about the experience :) She says she’ll never dare go through with it if she knows too much, and I kind of felt like that too!

    But it’s really true (for me) that you don’t remember the worst of it. I got the epidural (throwing my “I can do it naturally! I’ll just breathe!” birth plan out the window 8 hours in). But now I tell my husband “I don’t know why I did that… Next time I’ll do a natural birth, it really wasn’t that bad!” And he smiles and nods.

    Reply
    • Pamie
      December 19, 2012

      That’s probably true for me, that I tuned out during the horror movie stories about pregnancy — not because I didn’t want to know what was going to happen — but because I didn’t think it applied to me at the time and I was trying not to picture my friend’s ripped ladyparts.

      But boy, do I remember every second of having to watch “The Miracle of Life” in health class.

      Reply
  33. StephD
    December 19, 2012

    But has anyone talked to you about post-delivery….?

    Welcome to the world of stitches and popsicle pads. Your peri bottle will be your best friend (it’s like a little bidet for your swollen ladyparts)!

    If you intend to breastfeed watch out for cracked and bleeding nipples when you have a baby who doesn’t have the best latch. Pain like I have never experienced before!! Follow that up with infections and mastitis and a trip to the hospital when baby is six weeks old for surgery to drain a grossly infected milk duct and daily visits by homecare nurses to unpack and repack the wound.

    In the end – short term pain for long term gain! It didn’t stop me from having another!!

    Reply
    • Bridget
      December 19, 2012

      Oooh, my midwife gave me the best post-partum tip ever! Soak a couple of disposable diapers in water & stick them in the freezer. When you need the icepack/giant maxi-pad combo for the first few days, just use the diapers instead–absorbant AND frozen!

      The peri bottle is a girl’s best friend.

      Teabags on your nipples. Seriously.

      it’s horrible and amazing all at the same time. Congratulations.

      Reply
  34. Nicole
    December 19, 2012

    This pregnancy shit is voodoo. No one tells you what’s coming. The sudden near sightedness?? I had Lasik. Now my computer font is jacked up to 150% all the time. What is the evolutionary reasoning behind this?

    I give major side eye to women who say they loved being pregnant. I’m sorry. I’m sure you loved the end result but being pregnant is horrible. I do not believe you. You are forever a liar to me.

    I am thankful to have twins on board because I’m NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN.

    Reply
    • Diana
      December 21, 2012

      Yes, you will never convince me that the women who swear they loved being pregnant aren’t liars. I love my teenager, I’m thrilled to be pregnant right now, and I plan on doing this again if we’re lucky enough, but DAMN if this baby does not come out right now I will burn this house to the ground.

      Reply
  35. Julie Nilson
    December 20, 2012

    Man, I’m glad that my mom didn’t have text capabilities when I was pregnant. As it was, starting about two weeks *before* my due date, if she called me at work and got my voicemail, she’d immediately call my cell and if I didn’t answer that, she’d call my division’s secretary. Seriously, all of this would happen in less than the time it took me to go to the bathroom.

    Reply
  36. Suzanne
    December 20, 2012

    Oh, for the loveofgod Chacha (if indeed that is your name) everything is not all about you. This is Pamie’s website and as such it is her prerogative, Bobby Brown,to write what she wants about her own experiences. Again, HER OWN experiences. She does not and should not have to consider the reproductive situations of everyone else in the entire universe to do so either. I get so tired of this stuff.

    Reply
  37. sarah
    December 21, 2012

    I had never heard of mucus plug before pregnancy either and thought they were making it up. When I asked my mother she had never heard of such a thing either and she had three babies in three different decades. When I saw my mucus plug, I thought “Well, there you are, you do exist. Oh Shit, this means I’m having a baby now.” It was several days later before I actually had said baby.

    Oh and you forgot spitting…no one told me about the spitting.

    Reply
  38. TARA ARMOV
    December 22, 2012

    You’re glad I don’t have your number or else I’d be texting, “MUCUS PLUG?!?!?? ZOMG!!!!!”

    Hang in there, lady!

    Reply
  39. HoustonChris
    December 22, 2012

    Poor you! It’s amazing, it’s hell. Once you’ve had THE BABY you’ll forget everything prior to its birth. I promise.

    Reply
  40. Claire
    January 7, 2013

    I’m currently reading this and using the laptop as a barrier between me and my boyfriend..he has “that” look. Normally he gets a smile tonight I just give him a filthy look and muttered “mucus plug I don’t think so”

    I love your site, would really appreciate if you could check out mine sometime :)

    Reply

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