Monday, May 3, 2010

A Year Ago Today. (Hint: Joe's birthday is tomorrow.)

May 3rd fell on a Sunday last year. It was a warm, breezy day, just like today. I was so pregnant I could have sworn I was visible from space. I was also utterly, completely miserable. Not only was I the size of an Airstream trailer, but I had to endure shooting sciatic pain with every step. I couldn't sleep. I also seemed to have a flashing neon sign over my head that said, "Hi!! Please Tell Me Traumatic Birth Stories!"

Steve and I had spent the preceding week going on little outings - walking the dogs in the Oakland hills, hiking (read: very slow, very short walks) around the Headlands in Marin, exploring diners featured on the Food Network show "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," and schmoozing the annual MFA show at Mills College. The hope was to bring on labor with exertion, or failing that, to kill time and take our minds off of the anxiety of being ready to pop "any minute now."  Because when I wasn't out and about, I was writing insanely whiny and self-pitying emails to my friend E. with the subject heading "Still waiting ..." (I'm not kidding, that was actually the subject line of an email thread initiated on the morning of May 3, 2009), and unsurprisingly, all of that feeling sorry for myself was not helping my mood any.

I don't remember whose idea it was to go to "Dollar Day" at Golden Gate Fields - Steve's or mine. We had been seeing cheesy, low-budget commercials about it for a while. We're not horse racing people. We're not gambling people. We don't know a thing about horse racing. Whatever. I needed to get out of the house. It was something to do. Something different. After some strenuous arm-twisting (basically, a single mention of "dollar beer!") our friend Jason decided to join us.

So, Dollar Day it was! I lost $20 betting on the horses with the best names (note: not an effective gambling tactic), and watched the pretty ponies whizzing by. Steve drank approximately one million (okay, seven or eight) "Dollar Budweisers." Admittedly, these are small and low-octane, but as I remarked to Steve, "I just know that I will go into labor when you are hungover!"

(If I had known how effective this would be, I would have gotten Steve drunk far earlier!)

(And, you know, the sound of seven or eight horses galloping by is pretty darn loud. Maybe that helped too.)

It must be nice having an enormously pregnant wife as permanent "designated driver." Of course, I wouldn't know.

You know what? It was a fun day! For a few minutes, I forgot about my physical discomfort. The horsies were so pretty!

But that night, I shed some tears, as usual, because I was so uncomfortable! My back hurt so bad! This baby was never going to come out! Waaaaaaaa!

Steve, tired after a day in the hot sun drinking dollar Budweisers, patted me on the back comfortingly once or twice, and then rolled over and promptly fell asleep.


I stayed up until 2 a.m. reading The Happiest Baby on the Block. Because I'm the sort of person who tries to prepare for major life events like birth and parenting by reading every book ever published on the topic. I can't say this is working especially well for me, but I persist.

At 3:30 a.m., I woke up to the sensation of my bag of waters breaking.


  1. Wow, somehow through all of this I never heard the bit about waking up to your water breaking at 3:30am. How dramatic!

  2. Staying up too late is conducive to being the first to say


  3. Dollar Day at the horse races! That does sound like fun. So glad Joe came out!

  4. Anne: The non-edited for blog version was that I woke up needing to pee (normal occurrence, right?), stood up and walked down the hall, and THEN my water broke, sending me running for the toilet! Hee hee.

    Rebecca: He won't truly be one year old until about three this afternoon!! But you are officially the first to wish him a happy birthday!

  5. Gramalla: Should have said that in addition to writing whiny, self-pitying emails to E., I was calling you and engaging in long, involved telephone pity parties.

  6. Such a great story! Hmmm,tell the truth: did you consider naming Joe after a racehorse?

  7. This made me smile.

    All my babies were late.

    Being 9 months preggers is really something else. Being 9 1/2 months preggers another thing entirely.

    My hubby took me to a casino poker room when I was very very pregnant with my first. I left with my wallet much skinnier and my ankles even more bloated. The good news is that he had the best time ever as it seemed to be one of his fantasies ... to play poker with the most bloated person in the universe. He did have a few too many free drinks... but it took another week!

  8. Melissa: No, although "Roscoe" is a great name for a horse, or a dog, or you know, any animal. So I think I gave my baby boy one of my dream dog names.

    I clearly remember betting on a horse named Fasola. I was like, "Fasola!! SHAPE NOTE SINGING! Awesome!" Of course he ended up being the lame horse that didn't even make it out of the gate.

    Betsy: YAY! So good to see you here. Also, "it seemed to be one of his fantasies ... to play poker with the most bloated person in the universe"? I think our husbands would like each other.

  9. Ah yes, I stand corrected. By the way, I forgot to say that I once won 40 sum bucks betting on a horse with that exact strategy. I was 7. Maybe it doesn't work for adults?


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