Season 9 of The Big Bang Theory is NOT for Preggos

This should go without saying, but if you haven’t watched the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory, this article contains spoilers. Read at your own risk. But, seriously, you should’ve been able to figure that out from the title.


 

The Big Bang Theory has been one of my favorite shows since it first aired. Dr. Sheldon Cooper has always had a special place in my heart because, in addition to being funny as all get out, he (like his portrayer, Jim Parsons) hails from the Greater Houston Area. I’ve also loved Miyam Bialik since Blossom, and her portrayal as Amy has been one of the best additions to the show [okay, Bernadette is the best, because… I mean…]. I ship for Shamy… HARD. So the end of Season 8, watching my beloved Sheldon have his heartbroken as Amy (for good reason) dumped him right before he was about to propose….Ugh. I couldn’t take it. But this season has been far worse. Why? Because I’m pregnant and hormonal, and I cannot deal with this emotional roller coaster!

Penny and Leonard breaking up briefly at the beginning of Season 9? Meh. They’ve done it a million times. Over it. But watching Sheldon mend his broken heart and Amy date around? Devastating. I don’t think there’s been a single episode that hasn’t elicited at least one hyper-hormonal tear from me this entire season. Then last week… Amy decided that she was finally ready to take Sheldon back, only for him to respond:

Amy, I excel at many things, but getting over you wasn’t one of them.”

OMG! What???? I cried, y’all. Big, ugly, boohoos. I mean, look… I knew the breakup wouldn’t last, because CBS had already spilled the beans about Shamy finally doing the deed in the December 17th episode. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t still absolutely devastating watching  how pained these two are by their situation.

Despite all of that, I thought I would be okay. I thought there couldn’t be much more that TBBT could throw at me and all these hormonal shifts that I couldn’t take. WRONG! Oh so wrong!

In episode 10 of the season (“The Earworm Reverberation”), Sheldon has a tune stuck in his head that he cannot place. He believes he is losing his mind, and in turn drives himself, Leonard, and Penny crazy as he tries to figure out what the song is. It suddenly dawns on him when he’s thinking of all the “greats” who were driven mad (including Brian Wilson, apparently?) that the tune is “Darlin’,” a Beach Boys song. Sheldon then figures out that the reason the song is stuck in his head is because it is about Amy. Sheldon races to Amy’s apartment where she is on a date with Dave (the always funny, gentle giant Steve Merchant), her date from episode 8, who she refused to see again because of his obsession with Sheldon. As can almost be expected, Dave encourages Amy to get back with his hero, Sheldon Cooper. Amy and Sheldon kiss, and my tears flowed.

big-bang-theory-season-9-earworm-reverberation-shamy-kiss

These weren’t just normal tears running down my face, y’all [Pop Culture Dad had those, which is how I know I wasn’t totally crazy for crying]; these were big, heavy, full-chested, ugly tears. And I couldn’t stop!!

I know the next episode (where Shamy finally does the deed) is supposed to be quite comical, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to take it. Two people in love, finally reunited, and losing their virginity to each other? And all this happening while Sheldon is still hanging on to the engagement ring he never got to give Amy in the Season 8 finale? I don’t care how great the humor is, I don’t know if my heart (well, my hormones, really) is going to be able take that!

Honestly, I should probably forego any television while I remain emotionally unpredictable, especially shows like TBBT, where I am so invested in some of the characters [um… but not you, Howard]. I know, however, that I won’t be able to resist watching.

Long Live Shamy!!!

Porsha Picks Her Baby (RHOA)

After the AMAs last night, I started catching up on the Real Housewives of Atlanta. Wow. The new chicks…. just… wow.

Kenya is clearly cray cray, and there isn’t much to be said about her that hasn’t been said already. But Porsha? Oh wow… This girl is a perky little something.

The whole time she was telling Kenya about her desire for children, I kept thinking to myself, Is she 12 years old?. Even beyond the peppy enthusiasm and rambling, I mean, really. You rarely hear grown women talk that way. She wants kids (okay). Sooner rather than later (fine). Preferably twins so she doesn’t have to be pregnant multiple times (okie doke. Good luck with that). Her hubby wants a boy and she wants a girl (that’s normal). So she’s going to have the boy first and then a girl (wait, what now?). And when Kenya points out that usually one does not have control over these things, she responds that she’s just going to use the Chinese gender predictor to plan her boy and girl. (alllllrighty then…).

I get saying things like, “Ideally, I would like a boy and a girl.” But saying what sex she was going to have, and even going so far as to treat the Chinese gender prediction test as though it is honestly a reliable and proven gender prediction technique is just… I can’t… Do grown people do this???

If you are not familiar with it, the Chinese Gender Prediction test is a real thing. Based on the mom’s lunar age and lunar month in which the baby is conceived, the test tells you what gender it should be. That’s right, Porsha Stewart is putting stock in the fact that every woman her lunar age who conceives the same month as her will have the same-gendered babies. Sounds legit .

This gender predictor claims to be 90% accurate. In reality, it is—like all methods of predicting gender in a single-birth or identical twin scenario—50% accurate.

According to the Chinese Gender Predictor, I should have one girl and one boy. In fact, Pop Culture Toddler 2 was conceived smack in the middle of a three-month period that should result in a boy. Guess she missed the memo?

Seriously, what is the logic here? Some ancient Chinese secret from the cosmos? It doesn’t even make any sense statistically.

And what about fraternal twins [like the ones Porsha so desperately wants… I am assuming there must be some family history or she is planning on the aid of fertility drugs, since she is clearly not of such advanced maternal age that she has a heightened risk of fraternal twins] and other multiples? Where do they factor? By this theory, they should always be the same gender.

Look, I have no problem with gender prediction methods and old wives’ takes when they are used for fun only, and not treated as a serious endeavor. I can even understand people trying things like the Shettles Method or anything that has at least some basis in science (whether or not it is actually accurate). But some random chart that you found online that says every 31-year old woman who conceives in “lunar” February in any given year will have a girl?? C’mon now!

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And This Is Why Old Wives’ Tales Are Stupid

Every pregnant woman has experienced it. Before you find out your baby’s gender (or before you give birth if you opt, as I did, to not find out your baby’s gender), nearly every person with whom you have contact will try to guess whether you’re having a boy or a girl. Some people just go on vibes and gut feelings. Some guess based on the genders of your other children, if any. But many, if not most, revert to old wives’ tales. 
Using old wives’ tales to guess gender can be fun, no doubt. But just like Inelligender, take it with a grain of salt. There is a 50/50 chance of them being right–the same odds as if you flip a coin. I have no problem with people having fun with a good guess. But the people who take these things seriously and insist on their correctness… yeah, those people made me stabby when I was pregnant. And for all those people, here’s my nah-nah-ne-boo-boo to you–My handy dandy chart of how the old wives’ tales meant nothing when it came to Pop Culture Preschooler and Pop Culture Baby:
Old Wives’ Tale
Pop Culture Preschooler
Pop Culture Baby
Carrying: High (girl) vs Low (boy) High Low
Can you tell mom is pregnant from the back? (yes = girl) YES No
Girls steal mom’s beauty Definitely. I was fug. Looking better than ever
Acne? Tons. What is this–high school?? My skin has never been more clear
Breast growth? Up two cup sizes in the first trimester (yes!!) Stayed practically the same until birth (boo)
Cravings? Salty and tart for boys. Sugary for girls ground beef, chili, pineapple, lemons, ice cream, cake pineapple, lemons, donuts, crawfish
Heart rate (>140 = girl) 130s 150s
Morning Sickness? (girls make you sick) None Tons… for nearly 20 weeks
Ring Swing: back and forth, girl. Circle, boy circle back and forth
Intelligender result N/A boy

I have two girls.
Regardless of what the old wives’ tales say each aspect should mean, the bottom line is my pregnancies couldn’t have been more different (except, you know, lemons and pineapples; but I crave those even not pregnant). It doesn’t end here. Name one aspect of pregnancy, I can tell you how nothing was the same from my first pregnancy to the second. The bottom line is, the old wives’ tales mean nothing. There is no magic formula that’s going to tell you what gender your baby is. The closest you can get to accuracy is an ultrasound, and, well, even those mess up sometimes. Sorry, ladies.

Pop Culture Baby’s Birth Story

Another Pop Culture star is born

WARNINGAlthough I feel like the phrase “birth story” should serve as a warning that there’s some serious TMI ahead [after all, is birth ever really pretty? No. It’s pretty much always a little bit gross], I’m going to do the standard warning anyway. I realize only soon-to-be mothers, recent mothers, and birth story junkies care about the nitty gritty details. This is for them. If you’re not into knowing that much about someone else’s bodily functions or the details of contractions, effacement, and all that jazz, I’d suggest you skip this post altogether or just go straight to the pictures. It’s gonna be long, y’all… and maybe a wee bit gory.

Let the story begin…

Dou Me, Baby

First, let me go way back. When I had Pop Culture Toddler, I enlisted the services of a doula for both during and after labor. Rhonda was invaluable. So I knew as soon as I got pregnant with Pop Culture Baby that I was going to go the doula route again. Rhonda had since retired from the baby doula game. I knew her daughter had stepped into her place, since one of my friends used Rhonda’s daughter as her postpartum doula for her twins. I could have used her daughter. Instead, I decided to go the difficult route and get an out-of-state doula. Now, this wasn’t something completely on a whim. Christi (or Diva Doula, as I now feel like calling her) is one of the moms from one of my WTE expecting boards. Her youngest daughter was born within days of PCT. She was even our board leader at some point and is currently one of the admins of our Facebook group. So while I didn’t “know” her, I have known her for over three years. She had already served as the doula for some of the other November 2008 moms, and I wanted Diva Doula to “dou” me, too. As you can expect, Pop Culture Dad and pretty much everyone else thought I was crazy. But with Pop Culture Toddler, my midwives had predicted when I would go into labor, down to the weekend, and with a 13-hour labor the first time, I was feeling pretty confident about being able to get Diva Doula here in time.

Then of course came the GD diagnosis. Because I ended up on medication to control my blood sugar, my midwives told me that if I didn’t have Pop Culture Baby early, as I did PCT, they were going to induce me at 39 weeks. Everyone, myself included was fairly confident, though, that I would go early again. Boy were we wrong. Apparently I controlled my sugars almost too well. So instead of growing a behemoth baby and ginormous placenta, I was forming a fairly regular placenta and (what was to me, anyway), a teeny baby. At my Level 2 ultrasound, PCB was measuring a few weeks behind, and was 18th percentile. PCB was predicted to be six pounds if I went full term. Because of the gestational diabetes, I had ultrasounds every three weeks. While my fundal height was always perfectly on track, the ultrasounds always showed a baby that was measuring a couple of weeks behind. Kind of weird considering that our 3D ultrasound revealed really chubby cheeks. *shrug*. So week by week, my confidence going into labor at 38 weeks again began to wane. And then…

Long Labor? False Labor? WTH Knows?

Ten days before my due date, I started having really regular contractions. They were frequent enough that I started timing them. First they were far apart. Then as the day went on, they sped up to 10 minutes apart, and then 8. I e-mailed Diva Doula and asked her for reassurance that I could have contractions 8 minutes apart for a number of days. Based on the ultrasound I had just the week before, PCB was still measuring small, though better than before (now 25th percentile), but PCB was just small enough that I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the idea of going into labor early and having a teeny tiny little baby. Diva Doula told me to lie down on my left side for an hour or so, drink a lot of water and see if my contractions slowed down or stopped. They didn’t. Then she told me to just say the word, and she would get on a plane; her hubby was getting ready to get her on a plane. We talked it through for a while and decided, just in case, to get her on a plane. If she was here for a couple of days, that was fine. Better than her missing the birth altogether.

Diva Doula came in, and I continued to have contractions. Then, at some point right before I went to bed, they disappeared, only to come back with a royal vengeance while I was sleeping. I was afraid I would go into labor in the wee hours of the morning; but at least Pop Culture Dad and Diva Doula were there. The next morning, I told Pop Culture Dad to go on to work, and I would call him if he needed to come home. By then, I had steady contractions 5 minutes apart. He later told me that he got ribbed all day for being at work while his wife was in labor. During the day, Diva Doula and I tried to help the labor along. We went geocaching. We drove around. We walked. At one point when we were walking around my neighborhood, the contractions got so bad I had trouble walking. We were actually getting close to the point where my midwives told me to call them back. But I didn’t feel like I should go to the hospital yet. So we went back to the house where I decided to go relax in the tub… and the contractions disappeared again. WTH? Same pattern as the night before, my contractions got frequent, horrible and painful in the middle of the night, but no magic happened.

The next day was my midwife appointment. The midwife with whom we met, Mary, thought it was weird that I had contractions that steady and close that got stronger and then went nowhere, but it wasn’t unheard of. She checked me, and it turned out I hadn’t made any progress from the week before. I was still a fingertip dilated and about 60% effaced. So I basically had two days of contractions for nothing. At this point, I was days away from being 39 weeks. It was time to talk induction dates. Mary told me point-blank that, two days of false labor notwithstanding, Pop Culture Baby was not ready to go anywhere. An induction date at the early end of 39 weeks would not be a good idea. I began to get fearful that an induction date at any time would not be a good idea. But seeing as I only had a one week window in which to give birth (gee, thanks, GD), I picked my due date as my induction date. Might as well make it to 40 weeks, right? Mary agreed to give me Prepadil the next week to see if that helped move things along so I could avoid induction. It was a great start, but still pretty sucky. I went back to my car and cried. Hard. Diva Doula was such awesome support (a necessity when you feel like a complete tool, like I did). We went walking and geocaching some more, in hope of sparking more labor. Nada. That day, I decided the GD diet was off. Let me tell you, I really enjoyed my comfort-Frosty that day.

Diva Doula went home the next morning, and I went to the hospital for my Prepadil. Mary told me to go walking (preferably around a mall with a credit card) to see if I could get some contractions going. Nada. When I went in a few days later for my midwife appointment [now after a full week and a couple days of “false” labor, which felt pretty damn real], I was ready to tell them not to induce me at all. I was really afraid of being one of those ladies who has a horrible induction experience and ends up either having an awful, long labor or winding up getting a c-section. I had another ultrasound. Pop Culture Baby had a growth spurt, and was suddenly estimated at 50th percentile. Dawn, the midwife that day, checked me again. I had made a wee bit of progress, but not much. In fact, I had gone from 60% effaced to 50% effaced. WTF?? Dawn, however, was convinced that I was ready, and that an induction would go beautifully. As some added insurance, though, Dawn stripped my membranes and scheduled me for another Prepadil the next day. She warned me that the stripping may do nothing, or it could send me into labor. You just never know. Later that day, I was in the grocery store, having the worst contractions to date. I actually felt pretty good about going into labor. I had bloody show that night. The next morning, I ended up calling my midwives at 4 a.m. to see if I should even go in for the second dose of Prepadil, because I was having contractions 6 minutes apart. I was told that even if I ended up not going into labor, they could not administer Prepadil with my contractions that close together. So, basically, I just had to wait and see if I went into labor. This should be no surprise: I didn’t.

Eviction Day

Diva Doula came back the next day. We basically snacked on labor cookies and got together snacks and everything I needed to go to the hospital. Diva Doula also taught Pop Culture Dad various pressure points and techniques to help me during labor. We talked about how my labor went with PCT, and for the first time ever, I realized that (save for my water breaking on its own), that I had made zero progress until I was given the dreaded pitocin monster. It was possible that I’m one of those unlucky ladies who will contract for days and days without any real progress, absent medical intervention.

The next day was eviction day. And, I won’t lie: I was terrified. I had always planned on having a completely natural birth. Now, after more than a week of false labor, I knew I was going to get stuck with pitocin whether I liked it or not. And, let’s face it, my confidence in my own ability to face pitocin without an epidural was very very low. I was also terrified, after having such a long period of unproductive labor, that I was going to end up either in labor for 24 hours or with a c-section… or worse, both.

My induction was scheduled for 7 a.m. on the 29th. Pop Culture Dad, Diva Doula and I left the house at the buttcrack of dawn and started heading (late) to the hospital, only to get a call as we were getting on the freeway that there were no beds available, so I’d have to call back in a few hours to see if I could come in. They ended up telling me to come to the hospital between 11 and 11:30. We got there at 11ish and had to wait a while. They hooked me up to the pit drip around 1. When I went in, I was 3 cm dilated and about 50% effaced. Pop Culture Baby was at a -3 station. So, yeah, not even close to anything happening.

Leaving for the hospital… again

A few hours went by, and the contractions were getting worse, but it still looked like I had a long time to go. Pop Culture Dad and Diva Doula were fantastically helping me manage my pain and sneaking me food and drinks. At 5:30 or so, I posted a message to the impatient mommies on our parenting group that the “aunties” were going to have to simmer down, because Pop Culture Baby wasn’t making an appearance any time soon. The ladies were all on gender watch and tired of not knowing what kind of equipment PCB was bearing. Around 6 or 6:30 , my midwife checked me, and I was 100% effaced, but still only about 3 cm (but this time a “loose” 3 instead of a hard one) and at a -1. She asked if I wanted to have my water broken. We debated it for a while, especially the warning about how much it would suck. Eventually, in the interest of not being in labor all freaking night, I told her to go for it. Almost immediately after she broke my water, things really kicked into gear [shit got real, y’all!].

At some point around 7 p.m., I was just done. Diva Doula and PCD were absolutely fantastic, but I knew I had barely made any progress before all of the madness started, and I couldn’t imagine being like that another four hours or whatever. So I started asking my midwife if it was too late to get an epi. She said “probably,” and she and Diva Doula kept encouraging me to keep on, at least for a while. **WARNING WARNING HERE COMES THE TMI/YOU’LL-KNOW-TOO-MUCH-ABOUT-ME STUFF. LOOK AWAY NOW IF YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING** Then I had that “I need to poop” feeling — not the “I feel like I need to poop, but it’s really the baby pushing down” feeling — a true, honest to goodness “guess I’m not backed up anymore” feeling. My midwife wanted to check me first to make sure I wasn’t crowning, since “babies like to be born on toilets.” I wasn’t. I don’t really remember this part at all, but Diva Doula informed me later that when my midwife checked me, I was 6 cm dilated. So I had made some progress, but I still had 4 freaking cm to go. I shuffled off to the restroom, only to find out once I got there that with the crazy contractions, I had trouble sitting down (and staying down) on my own. Pop Culture Dad and Diva Doula rushed in to help me. I “went,” and then, all of the sudden, my ass was burning. Like, seriously burning. And I started thinking I was in that episode of “Bobby & Whitney” where Bobby had to help Whitney get out the stuck poop [hey, I warned you this would be TMI. If you’re grossed out, your fault for not heeding my warnings]. So I’m complaining — crying — about my ass being broken, and my midwife, Debbie, checks me and says something like, “You know why? Cuz there’s a head right there.” Yeah, seriously. Classic. Debbie then flew into hyper mode and starts telling Pop Culture Dad and Diva Doula to hurry up and get me back to the bed before the baby falls out, and she’s yelilng at the nurses to hurry up and get a table. I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have a choice. They carted me off to the bed, and got me back on it in a matter of seconds. Pretty much as soon as they got me on the bed (all of 10 seconds), I started pushing. Four big pushes in about 5 minutes or less, and Pop Culture Baby came sliding on out at 7:18 p.m.. As Diva Doula pointed out later, I went from 6 cm to 10 cm with a baby in my arms in less than 20 minutes — that is intense. No tearing this time, either. 

Thanks, Debbie!

Honestly, I had absolutely no idea what was going on at this point. Diva Doula had to fill me in on some of the finer details later. After PCB popped out (literally), Debbie held her up so we could see the gender. Even looking, I had no idea [I swear I know what the parts look like!]. I think I was just still surprised there was a baby there. I still didn’t know if I had a son or a daughter until Pop Culture Dad announced, “It’s a girl!”. I vaguely remember saying at some point after my eyes focused and I noticed that there was in fact a baby there, “Oh! And she has some color! Yay!”. I had another beautiful little girl. A 7 pound, 12 ounce, 20.5″ little princess (who, other than her much smaller size, slightly darker skin and brown eyes, and fantastic dimples, is an exact replica of her big sister, who is a pretty close carbon copy of me).

One of the best parts came after we were released to my room. My mom and Pop Culture Toddler were already there waiting on us. When the nurse wheeled me in with Pop Culture Baby, PCT walked up to us and said, “Hi, [Baby]. I’m your big sister.” Tears. Flowing.

Everybody Wants the Diva to Dou Them

I didn’t go into a lot of details of how Diva Doula helped me before and during my labor. For one, it’s hard to go into details after the fact. I just remember her there duing the labor, constantly moving and things to do to help out, and her encouraging me along the way. I vaguely remember the little pep talks. They’re all fuzzy right now, but I remember at the time, they really helped get me through. To use one of her favorite phrases, Diva Doula (aka Mrs. Christi Mooney of Serenity Birth in GA) was just AWESOME SAUCE. There is absolutely no way I would have been able to do a pitocin-induced, pain medication-free birth without her support. And I probably would have lost my sanity before the main event, too. Remember pregnant ladies: Google is not your friend; but a good doula is.

In fact, Diva Doula was such awesome sauce that the midwife on-call the morning after I gave birth told me how much Debbie had bragged about her, and they wanted to know what service she was with and how to refer her to other clients. You can imagine their disappointment when I told them she’s not local. Thanks to Christi’s dou-ing, my midwives all gave me the “Rockstar” award for the week.

Diva Doula and Pop Culture Baby
First day home with my girls

Pop Culture Laboring?

I am sure someone has to wonder if I had any media going on during labor, especially considering I once claimed (okay, okay, last year) I’d love to have “Bohemian Rhapsody” playing in the background when I gave birth. We did not have the iPod going. Darn shame, too, considering the short amount of time I spent pushing actually would have left us with a little “Bohemian Rhapsody” left over — not that anyone would have had time to cue the song up! I actually did get to follow through with my media birth plan, though. We watched Knocked Up for the first two hours of the induction. And, as I had planned a couple of months before, we got our NPH fix. I packed a few DVDs of How I Met Your Mother, but while I was having my awful, water-breaking-induced contractions, we were watching (Ha! “Watching”) Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog. Good thing we brought our portable DVD player. The L&D room only had VCRs. Oh, how I wish I was kidding!

I Get By With a Little Love From My Friends

(Wow, for someone who claims to not be all gung ho on The Beatles, I sure have been taking liberties with their songs lately…)

Instead of continuing to rely on all of Brittney’s fantastic posts about my baby sprinkle [If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go to the PCM Facebook fan page], I decided to stop being lazy and actually write one myself. It’s the very least I could do.

When Brittney first suggested throwing me a shower or sprinkle, I cried. I knew her motivations behind it. She knew my first one had sent me into tears (not of joy) and that this would be my last child. She didn’t want that to be my only experience. In addition to the awesomeness of her wanting to throw a shower for me just to make me happy, I was also thrilled by the idea of seeing her again before our San Antonio trip in November. At the same time, though, the gesture was way too generous. I know she’s on a tight budget, especially with our upcoming trips to San Antonio and Maine and her fourth baby on the way. Pop Culture Dad and I immediately started to feel guilty about the whole thing. “Tell her we can’t let her do that,” he said. And we did, but Brittney (and Andy) weren’t having it.

Seeing Brittney’s excitement over all the aspects of planning my sprinkle, I couldn’t help but feel the guilt reside, even though it was most definitely still lingering a bit. Then, after Kat also started making plans to come out for the sprinkle, I couldn’t contain my excitement anymore. Soon, it wasn’t even so much about the sprinkle as it was seeing the two of them again.

Friday, the day I picked them up from the airport, I had already started having a bad morning. My grumpiness and sadness melted away as soon as I saw Kat sitting in baggage claim. Over the next day or so, I just enjoyed having them around as we bustled to get everything ready for the shower. It is unbelievable the amount of things Brittney was able to plan and do from Utah, and it is incredible the amount of things we (though, really, mostly Brittney and Kat, and to some extent Pop Culture Dad) were able to do in one day to get the house shower-ready.

On Sunday, everything went off without a hitch. My sprinkle was absolutely perfect. Even though Brittney hates baby shower games, she was able to find games that even she (and other women who I know to hate baby shower games) enjoyed. My GD dietician and nurse gave me a reprieve for the day, so that I was able to enjoy cake, cookies, punch and more. Lots of friends came out — even Pop Culture Toddler had a friend show up. The decor was beautiful. Brittney went with a theme of green and white, and went all out. In fact, I have still left some of the decorations up, because everything was so elegant, that I can’t bear to take it down. Also, as long as I can look at the gorgeous green and white centerpieces, it’s almost like the sprinkle hasn’t ended.

Taking Kat and Brittney home on Monday morning was bittersweet. I was happy they would be getting back to their dearly missed husbands and children, but I was also sad to see them go. You would think, considering how infrequently we actually see each other, it would  be easy. But it’s hard seeing people you love so much just fly away. We have been joking this week about how it will all be better when we just move to the same state and build our compound with three houses that share a backyard. If only.

Words can’t even begin to express my gratitude for this great gift that Brittney and Kat gave me. I feel loved. I feel how much my baby is loved. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my fantastic friends who dropped everything to fly thousands of miles, just to see a smile on my face; but I don’t plan on ever finding out what I’d have to do without them.

Love you gals!

Yes, the centerpiece is still up in my house. I am not kidding.

 A nice snack spread — esp. for a woman on a one-day reprieve!

One of the games — binkie spitting. It was a blast.

Pop Culture Toddler (r.) got to hang out with her best friend

I had my cake and *squee* got to eat it, too!

The ladies decorated bibs and onesies for Pop Culture Baby

This is the only picture of the three of us together the entire weekend. We were too busy just being (and cleaning and cooking and decorating) to remember to stop and take one. We will make up for it in November.

Intelligender Provokes Not-so-Intelligent Ire

Like any pregnant woman, even one who has no plans of confirming via ultrasound what gender my fetus actually is, I love entertaining myself with the old wives' tales. I did the Chinese Gender Prediction chart — got both results, depending on which website was used. I did various online tests, which analyzed whether I only will eat the heel of bread or refuse it altogether [uh.. neither. Who cares that much??] or whether I liked orange juice or sweets vs. sour, where I'm allegedly carrying, etc… These, too, came back with mixed results. So while at the grocery store one day in my first trimester, I gave into temptation and plunked down $25 for an Intelligender Gender Prediction Test Kit.

I have no more faith in the Intelligender test than I do my wedding ring hanging from a string of my hair turning circles or going back and forth in a straight line [for the record, it did both]. I took the test solely for fun. In fact, despite its false claims of accuracy, it even says right on the box and in the instructions “for entertainment purposes only.” Let's face it, there are only two options for a single baby: you're either having a boy or a girl. That's it [okay, okay, in some extremely rare cases, you get the kid who has both]. You could have the same “accuracy” as Intelligender as you would flipping a coin. Therefore, anyone who puts all of their faith into this thing is just wasting their time. The only mostly accurate way of telling your baby's gender before birth is via ultrasound — and even those aren't 100% accurate [just ask my friend who was told “girl” at two different ultrasounds, who ended up returning all of the pink baby gear she was given after her little “girl” was born with a penis]. So, outside of an ultrasound, seems like any rational person would take it all with a grain of salt, right?

Wrong.

If you read the reviews on Amazon.com, people are irate about the fact that the test incorrectly predicted one gender (usually a boy) while their bouncing bundle of joy was another. C'mon people. What did you really expect? Did you think that peeing into a little cup would seriously predict the gender of your child to the same extent and accuracy as an ultrasound? And can you really be that angry if the result comes up “boy” most of the time, even for women who aren't even pregnant? Apparently, yes, yes they can.

There are people like “tielde,” who writes in her one-star review: “I took one of these and it said it was a girl … confirmation by 4 doctors – im high risk is a boy!! [sic] waste of money” and “crystal 'mommathaboss'”: “i used the test n its not accurate at all.. im havin a girl n it said boy..i did it the right way n still the wrong result…waste of my money for sure… [sic x 100]”. One one-star reviewer even stated that the “product should have some sort of disclaimer, or provide information on the test's accuracy so that shoppers can make a more informed decision on whether or not to buy this product.” Oh! You mean like the one on the back of the box and in the instructions that says, “For entertainment purposes only”?? Yeah, they really need to make that more clear.

It's not just the one-star reviews that have taken this too seriously. There are several people who stated that since it was right for them, it was a fantastic product, it is totally accurate, and they'll use it for every pregnancy. One lady even went so far as to warn everyone that their false “boy” results were probably because they had sex within 48 hours of taking the test. Oh, I see… That's what went wrong.

Sigh…

This is an entertainment product. It should be used for entertainment purposes only. The reviews should be more about whether or not you had fun doing it. Personally, I had three-star fun — fun and funny, but not exactly the highlight of my day. It told me I was having a boy, and to this day, I have no freaking idea (probably not, though). We'll know next month. Even if it turns out Pop Culture Baby is a boy, that won't change my fun from a three-star, “it was totally cute playing around and seeing what it said” into a five-star “OMG! This is awesome! Why ever wait for an ultrasound when you can just pee in a cup at home??” review. Likewise, if Pop Culture Baby is a girl, I'm not going to be so flaming mad that I have to write a one-star “OMG! Why do they even sell this on the market? It totally doesn't work!” review. It's all fun and games — just like the Chinese Gender Prediction Tests that were all totally different. Any other reaction is, IMO, too much.

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“Why's everybody so mad at me??”

Managing Gestational Diabetes: Day One

Those of you who know me or who can decipher my cryptic Tweets already know this, but to catch up the rest of you: I failed my three-hour glucose tolerance test.

This actually wasn’t a surprise. My mom and at least two (of her six) sisters are diabetic. After my well-woman exam a year or so ago, I was told when my blood work came back that I was pre-diabetic. Non-pregnant pre-diabetic numbers pretty much mirror pregnant diabetic numbers.

I think I was lulled into a false sense of security when my early one-hour glucose test (at 12 weeks) came back hypoglycemic. This time, however, the results were not. My blood sugar was 166. Their threshold is 135. I was convinced I had just miscalculated my breakfast — after all, a Jack-in-the-Box taco seemed like a good idea to outsmart the test at the time. But how much sugar is in that salsa, anyway? And was it really smart to eat in the parking garage before walking into my appointment?

So shortly before my three-hour glucose trust, I decided to start monitoring my blood sugar in the morning. The results were not good. The day before the test, my fasting blood sugar was 110. The morning of, it was 98. The number to pass is 95.

Defeated, I walked into my midwives’ office — 12 hours starved and dehydrated — on a mission. I already knew I had GD. So I just had to show them my glucose monitor, go meet with some counselors, and then I could eat, right? Wrong.

First, I ended up stuck in the waiting room for over an hour. By hour 13 of no food or drink, I became a hormonal, depressed, sobbing mess. By the time the nurse called me back, my eyes were already blood shot and puffy, and I was sob-heaving like Pop Culture Toddler. I told her that my fasting that morning was over their threshold for GD, that I was hungry, dehydrated and dizzy, and that I just wanted them to declare me GD so I could go meet with a counselor and get something to eat and drink. The nurse went to talk with the midwives and left me in my waiting room.

Some time later, one of my midwives, Debbie, came in to talk to me. We talked for over an hour [14 hours, no food or drink]. The end result of all this hysterical (on my part) chatter was that even with the numbers from my trusty glucose monitor, they had to run official tests or (1) the counselors wouldn’t talk to me, and (2) my insurance company would likely not reimburse a thing. Debbie was pretty sure based on my home test that I was going to fail, but it had to be done. The end result was that Debbie would allow me to stay in the exam room for my full test, and a woman from the lab would come to do my blood draws. It was a good thing they let me stay in the room, too. An hour or so [15 hours sans food or real drink] after I drank the torture device glucose drink, I threw up a little. Two hours in, standing or sitting up made me dizzy. In fact, when I walked out, I saw another poor preggo in the lobby who was taking her three-hour glucose test. She was passed out on the floor, and the staff was trying to get her into a wheel chair. Someone explain to me why they haven’t invented a better way to test for Gestational Diabetes?

The day continued to get worse, but I’ll spare you those details. I’ll leave it at the fact that I felt pretty defeated (as well as dizzy, hungry and just generally discombobulated) for days after the test. Then Tuesday I got the dreaded call from Debbie: “Well…. You were right. You failed. Sorry.” I was led to believe I had greatly flunked the test. Now I just had to wait for the diabetic counselors to call me.

Being the nerd I am, I immediately started searching Amazon for the highest rated gestational diabetes books available on Kindle. I downloaded a cookbook and another general book.

Today was my first meeting with my diabetic counselors. I was terrified. Turns out I didn’t need to be.

But, first, let’s discuss breakfast. The diabetic cookbook I downloaded contained a recipe for “buttermilk pancakes.” Unlike any pancakes I’m used to, these included no eggs. Honestly, I have no reason why, since eggs aren’t exactly full of sugar or carbs. I made them anyway. The only modification I made was to substitute 1/4 cup of the cup of flour required with wheat flour to make it a bit healthier. The result sort of looked like pancakes, but it tasted like fluffy matzo. Luckily, I actually like matzo crackers, so this wasn’t a big deal — just really surprising. I made a fruit compote with stevia sweetener and served it with egg whites scrambled with zucchini, spinach and squash. Here’s the final result:


Fortunately, it tasted better than it looked.

Loaded up (but still kind of starving) on my healthy, diabetes-approved breakfast, I headed to meet with my counselors. Most interesting part of the morning? The receptionist at intake trying to pump me for free legal advice. Seriously?! Does she do that to everyone who walks in who has “attorney” listed as occupation, or do I just have one of those faces??

After that weirdness was behind me, I met first with the dietitian, Rita. We went through my typical, not-at-all-diabetes-approved diet and figured out what things should be cut, modified, and kept. Surprisingly, there weren’t too many drastic changes. True, my glazed donut + kolache + milk breakfast has been 100% eliminated, and I have to stop drinking lemonade 24/7, but my favorite red beans & rice lunch gets to stay. Next I met with the the nurse, Angela. She actually gave me various ways to save some of my current cravings with a little foreign (to me) thing called portion control. Get to the point where I just have to have the taste of a glazed donut? Get a couple of donut holes. Want some ice cream, and not of the chock-full-o-splenda variety? Eat 1/4 cup of Blue Bell Homestyle Vanilla (yum!). But the best news I received from Angela today? My pal Brittney (aka BostonsMama) doesn’t have to change a thing about the snacks she is planning for my baby shower; I am free to indulge that one day!

All in all, the appointment went really well. I found out that I hadn’t failed the glucose test as badly as I was led to believe. In fact, I had passed the fasting and one-hour portion of the test. It was the rest of it that I failed miserably. The pointers I was given were very helpful and tailored to my lifestyle and preferences. I actually feel like I can do this!

I realize this journey will be hard. No one likes pricking their finger 10 times a day. No one wants to count carbs or forgo their favorite foods. But you know what else no one wants? To give birth to a 16-pound baby.