Friday, July 14, 2006

Tick. Tock.

"The waiting is the hardest part."
--Tom Petty

It's that time at the Bradstein Household: baby watch time.

Yes, we're in those final days: We're past our due date; Mama's mama has arrived; we've watched about as much Tour de Fwonce as we can stand. . .but still no baby.

I'm sure that I'm only speaking for myself here, since I'm not the one who is having irregular and increasingly uncomfortable contractions, when I say that the most painful part isn't the endless waiting but the endless repetition.

Every day, each of my 201 coworkers asks me approximately 63.7 times, "When's your baby due?" I'm an editor, so my math isn't that good, but it feels like that adds up to approximately 1.34 billion repetitions of the same question every day. Mama felt great relief to be free of that question when she started working at home, which she is doing now.

Perhaps I'm missing something here, but it seems that if these people are genuinely interested, they might make an effort to remember what I just told them 36 seconds ago and not ask me again. That would save me from having to jam Sweet 'N Low packets into my ears and run from the coffee room yelling, "La la la la la! I can't hear you!" to avoid the incessant questions.

Have I not affirmed that Mama and I will make an announcement when the baby arrives, that we will not disappear into the Swedish witness protection program, where we would toil in the IKEA silly names unit, trying to come up with something better than Diktad or Babord?


The next most popular topic is what will cause Mama to finally go into labor. The answer varies, of course, depending on who you talk to and at what time of day. A coworker of mine suggested simply eating lots of greens, while a clothing saleswoman, where Mama and her Mama were shopping yesterday, insisted that Mama and I make the beast with two backs, giving Mama specific instructions about positions. What's the correct response to this? "Thanks. Do you have a belt that would go with this?"

And, of course, there are the birth stories. Mama certainly gets more of these than I do, and some are actually informative and interesting. The first time. Again, after hearing some birth stories every day for the last 40 weeks while I'm trapped waiting for the coffee machine to deposit that necessary sludge into my cup, I've no recourse but the Sweet 'N Low in the ears and the running and screaming. If it wasn't against my slacker Buddhist nature, I'd probably stab them with coffee stirrers until they stopped talking.

What is truly amazing about these childbirth storytellers is their medical diagnostic ability, especially given that many of them have never met Mama. Many of them start off sounding as though they just want to share their experience and bond, which is touching. In some cases, their experiences share common elements with ours, so those aspects are particularly interesting or informative. However, most of them wind up with a claim such as, "So, here's what's going to happen. . ." Really? Because not my Mama, not Mama's Mama, and not one of Mama's doctors or midwives has such keen clairvoyant powers that they claim to know how her labor and delivery will go.

That said, we both know that these conversations spring (mostly) from sincere care and concern, which is touching, so we mostly brush them aside and move on, Sweet 'N Low trickling from our ears. In addition to that, we're in the final few days of our pregnancy, the final few days when anyone will care to talk to us at all. After 3B arrives, people won't care if Mama or I come down with The Plague--they'll just want to know how the baby is doing--so we're enjoying the final few conversations about adult topics that we'll have for the next 10 years.

Besides, we're busy counting down the days. Counting down to when 3B is here to hold in our arms; counting down to when we can listen to his soft sighs as he sleeps (and yes, his screams when he wakes. . .we know, we know); counting down to when we can start to tell our own birth story to expectant parents. . .again, and again, and again. . .

We do have a doctor's appointment today--routine checkup--after which I'll provide an update.

And really, if you skipped the link to the IKEA name generator, you must go there now.


  1. Papa Bradstein, I so totally admire you for the ability to craft such an amusing post this close to "the day." I seem to remember being proud that I remembered to take a shower...

  2. Are you there yet?

  3. So remind me, when's your baby due again? :)

  4. See? Because of other bloggers and me being "virtually" surrounded by pregnant women, I've learned not to ask things like that. It doesn't stop me from the occasional "are you getting anxious?" sort of stupid question, but hey. If not for being previously informed by other bloggers, I'm sure I would have been one of the folks you stabbed to death by coffee stirrers. So, um, again - when is 3B coming?

    Seriously though - the IKEA name generator thing has me LOLing my ass off. Nicole = NYGÅHJÄR and Liberal Banana = VAMOCKO. How freakin' sweet is that?!? I thank you for that link, it's now ranked right up there with those monkeys.

  5. Sorry..? You're having a kid?

    When the f___ did this happen? Does nobody communicate these days, sheesh...

  6. I don't get that thing about telling you how it's gonna be. Like having a kid makes you an instant expert. Do these people also think they're sex experts because they obviously did it at least once?

    I had a pretty hairy first birth experience, so I actually try NOT to share it so that I don't freak out the new parents.

    Evidently if I were an IKEA product, I would be ITYDLUTT.

  7. I am so totally sympathizing with both of you. It boggles the mind how people feel this COMPELLING NEED to make conversation with soon-to-be parents. Past due date truly is the worst part, and I'm not even going to tell you that once 3B is here you won't remember this waiting. Because I plan to never let my son forget it.