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Jeanette's Pregnancy Journal

Week 37
~ Three Weeks and Counting

Week 37 brought me back to the doctor's office. I did not take the day off this time. He was open on Memorial Day. I worked overtime for the holiday pay and went in immediately after getting off work at 3:00pm. This time the office was filled with both GYN and OB women. I found Mary, the nurse, at the front desk clearly not in the best of moods. She said it had been a long day. Fortunately, there were still chairs available. I was definitely last and in for a long wait.

I was bringing in my ultrasound results to be evaluated. Syed was not with me this time. His presence was obviously missed because Mary and her sister, the other nurse, and the doctor all asked about him. Syed makes himself known wherever he goes. He would have come but because I came directly from work, I thought there was not time to stop and pick him up. He was already at the local park enthralled in his daily afternoon exercises running around the track and playing basketball anyway, so I continued on without him. I was the last to be seen after waiting a good hour and a half to be seen.

He interpreted the results by explaining that perhaps I had leaked some liquid as evidenced by my amniotic fluid index of 9. He checked me again with his antique-looking ultrasound machine, reassured me again that I had a sufficient amount left and announced that my placenta was not too old yet. He also said that the umbilical cord was observed near the neck, but not wrapped around it.

Last week he told me about how he was considering a job offer with a Detroit hospital for $200,000 a year, but felt as though the pay was simply not enough. This week he mentioned that he has a relative who is considering a move to Michigan. With all the women that he sees, I should just be lucky that he remembers that I am from Michigan.

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I asked him about the hospital and family accommodations. He said that I could bring whoever I wanted and that there was a $7.00 additional charge for one roll out bed in my private room. I asked about shaving. They shave women's pubic hair during childbirth and delivery here. "I do not want to be shaved," I told him. "No problem, you just tell them that the doctor said not to shave you and they won't."

"Can the baby room in?" "Yes, you need to pay careful attention to the temperature. It gets very cold on that floor." That I know to be true, because I used to work in the same hospital. I would come to work with a hat, scarf, gloves and long johns on underneath my scrubs. The only thing I forgot to ask was the number of days of the hospitalization. I cannot imagine it being more than two.

The doctor kept asking me about pains, discomforts and discharge. I told him that I feel pains and discomforts from my baby moving around in places that I never felt before. I have felt menstrual cramp like pain as well. I had not noticed any discharge. I am going to start wearing panty liners so I can pay attention more closely.

I have the baby's hospital bag all packed. Syed says that it is obvious that I cannot wait for him to come. It is not that, I hope to comfortably wait my additional three weeks. I just do not want to have an unexpected timing surprise and we have nothing prepared. I packed three outfits and I wonder if they are all warm enough. I picked amongst the gifts given to us. I am starting to think that perhaps I should go out and get him an outfit that his mom has personally picked out for his 15 minute trip home from the hospital.

I am missing a good baby blanket. I have a good amount of receiving blankets, but definitely need something heavier to take along. I have yet to pack a bag for myself. I just need some toiletries, a comfortable night gown, robe, socks, change of clothes and any snacks or must haves.

Syed and I were one of three newlywed couples in our circle, American women married to African men, who left West Africa all around the same time after living there for several years. Each one of us wound up pregnant. It is a crazy coincidence. No one made a pregnancy pack. The first couple gave birth four months ago, the second this week, and there is only us left now. Boy, girl and boy (en route). It is good that Syed has his fellow countrymen to talk to about their new Americanized fatherhood roles. Syed is not a new father, yet this is a new hand-ons experience for him because in our home he is not bound by the cultural norms and mores of his homeland that regulate (impede) the father's participation in their wife's pregnancies and childbirth.

I think that we are going to be in for a ride, as far as childrearing and cultural norms goes. "You guys are going to be fighting left and right over that baby," my daughter announced the other day. "Honey, you are getting way ahead of yourself. Let's just concentrate on getting prepared for the labor and birth. I know that I am in for a lot of pain. Mommy is just trying to be as positive as possible. We will work out the cultural differences afterwards. We always do, don't we?"

Maybe I was trying to reassure myself more than her. We do differ on several points and they never seem to come up until they have become an immediate issue. This is because he never read the African American Culture Book for Dummies and I have never read the Songhoy Culture Book for Idiots. For example, Syed wants to shave the baby's head for some reason I do not clearly understand. I was taught that it is bad luck to cut a baby's hair before the age of one. I do not want a newborn baby with a shaved head, but he is adamant that it must be done. We have yet to come to an agreement on this one.

We have a baby shower planned this week. It is more social than anything else, an opportunity to get together with our friends. Instead of a big gala affair at our home, we are meeting at a restaurant over lunch.

The start of my maternity leave got extended by five working days in order to help out with the inception of the new contract. So, I will have 38 weeks when it actually starts. It has been grueling getting up and going to work especially when your mind and body tells you that it is time to rest. One day I woke up at the exact time, I was supposed to be logged-on and seated at my cubicle. That never happens; even when I am sleep deprived my body always wakes me so that I can get to work on time. I was tempted to phone in for this last additional week, but I did not want to go back on my word.

My laboratory results turned out to be fine. I do not have gestational diabetes. Perhaps the excessive thirst was brought on by dehydration. It does get hot here. Whatever it was, thank God it is not diabetes. Syed suffers from the condition and it is work to manage. For most women, it retreats after childbirth. However, some it does not or it becomes a precursor for the development later on in life.

My daughter got shipped off to camp this week. She was dragging her feet. I must have proposed a million possibilities and she still had not chosen anything except to stay up grave shift hours and sleep all day. I would come home from work in the afternoon and find her still in the bed sleep. After two weeks of that crap, she got registered. "How can you just sign me up without consulting with me?" "Um, let me see . . . maybe because I am your mother. You had plenty of time to decide and you never followed up." "Well, how many days do I have off?" "Two; Saturday and Sunday like the rest of the world." She only pretended to huff and puff about it because she quickly scurried off to lay out her clothes and get her hair fixed up. Idleness is the devil's workshop.

We never went to day camp growing up because my parents could not afford it. Instead, we stayed home with dad or visited Grandma. Truth be told, in those days we really did not need to go to camp because we were active healthy kids. We stayed outside all day long, playing, and running. We had to be forced inside to eat. In fact, the worst punishment ever was not a spanking it was being condemned inside.

There were no video games, 24-hour cartoon channel, Internet, cell phone texting, etc. Our world was outside with friends interacting, playing, fighting and collectively resolving disputes, and preparing ourselves for the real world. Admittedly, the world had the appearance of being a much safer place too. Our parents were not in constant fear of child abductions and child molesters (like I am). So, day camp is the best I can do for the moment.

Jeanette

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