Upside

I slept through the entire night with only one trip to the bathroom. The upside is I really needed some rest.

The downside is this means I didn’t have any serious contractions overnight. I have only had one since I got up this morning (about three hours ago).

We continue to wait (somewhat patiently) for things to continue to progress. Monday will mark week 37.

As for my strange change in gestational diabetes, my blood sugar levels remain within limits, even though I ate cereal for breakfast. I can’t fully express to you what cereal would have typically done to me.

We are expecting snow again. Off to the grocery store (it’s grocery day) with dread! I hate shopping with the frantic milk-bread-eggs-are-vital-because-we’re-getting-snow crowd.

My Experience With Gestational Diabetes

I’m not entirely sure I am completely normal or typical, but I felt I should share my gestational diabetes experience with others. For those that haven’t been following my pregnancy journey, I will start from the beginning.

I skipped the one hour glucose tolerance test at 24 weeks of pregnancy and went straight for the three-hour test. I had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) prior to my pregnancy which made me insulin resistant. My fasting glucose levels were generally in the 80’s or low 90’s, but my A1C was in the 5.9-6.1 range. I was on 1000mg of Metformin daily prior to pregnancy, and I continued taking the medication until I hit the second trimester per my obstetrician’s recommendation.

To even manage to ovulate or conceive, I had been working hard to fight my insulin resistance and PCOS with diet, exercise and Metformin. l managed to lose quite a bit of weight (I received my PCOS diagnosis shortly after ballooning up to 250 lbs for the first time in my life) which seemed to have some influence on my hormones. I managed to have a period without Provera within a timely fashion and then ovulated and conceived on that cycle. To say this was a miracle and surprise is an understatement!

At 16 weeks gestation, my obstetrician ordered my A1C to be checked again. It was the lowest it had ever been at 5.7. But, that didn’t last for long.

Around 22 weeks, I noticed that I was unreasonably tired. My thoughts were even foggy a times. There were days that I felt like I couldn’t even type a coherent sentence. Not sure whether this was just pregnancy brain and fatigue or something else, my obstetrician and I opted to complete the glucose tolerance test as soon as possible at 24 weeks.

I failed miserably. My one hour levels were bad, but sadly, my two hour levels were awful!

Since then, I began cutting back on my carbohydrate intake. I went to the two-hour diabetic teaching session and received a glucometer with a personalized nutritional plan. I quickly realized that the amount of carbohydrates recommended by the nutritionist wasn’t going to work for me. I was having a blood glucose spike after almost every meal.

So, I cut out some more of the carbohydrates. The nutritionist had recommended I get 100 grams of carbohydrates daily. I cut back to about 80 grams daily. My levels then began to stay within normal ranges.

Around 30 weeks, I suddenly began experiencing low blood sugar problems. I increased my carbohydrate intake to compensate. My numbers stabilized until week 31 when I suddenly began having spikes again. I cut back again, hoping this would help.

It took until 32 weeks for my numbers to stabilize again and remain consistently in normal range without spikes or crashes. Also at 32 weeks, a growth scan was completed. My son’s abdominal circumference was measured to be in the 97th percentile. This didn’t match his other numbers; so it was thought that my gestational diabetes was out of control.

My obstetrician put me on glyburide, 25 mg in the morning. This was the lowest available dose.

The first morning, my blood glucose levels bottomed out within a couple of hours of taking the medication. It happened again at lunch, and again in the evening. The next morning, I woke up with low blood glucose levels. For breakfast, I had my usual (two scrambled eggs with shredded cheddar cheese and 8 oz of milk). My blood glucose levels shot up to 151. Two hours after that reading, my numbers had tanked again, reaching 69. I stopped taking the medication. I also lost seven pounds that week (week 33).

My obstetrician agreed that this medication was not the solution for me. She advised me to keep trying with my diet. We also began weekly visits at this point so she could complete non-stress tests to monitor for oxidative stress. She was concerned that my placenta would fail because it does sometimes occur in women with gestational diabetes. She also said that the placenta tends to degrade a bit sooner with some women with gestational diabetes. To safeguard against stillbirth, she felt much safer completing non-stress tests weekly even though I argued for bi-weekly stating that I could complete kick counts.

Let me stress at this point that I strongly believe in my intuition. I have a good sense of my body. I don’t panic easily. I can tell when something isn’t right. I wasn’t being careless with my son’s life when I advocated for bi-weekly visits, but rather I was advocating for her to trust me as well.

It was obvious after speaking to her that she would forever blame herself if anything happened to my son if she agreed to bi-weekly testing. I decided my autonomy wasn’t worth it because denying the weekly appointments might result in her being overly cautious in her judgement or recommendations (I was/am really, really trying to avoid a c-section or induction).

I further limited my diet to approximately 60-70 grams of carbohydrates a day and increased my protein intake significantly. I also made a point to jog in place, dance, or walk for about 10 minutes after breakfast and lunch each day. At least once a week, I would go walking in the evening as well for 30 minutes. My numbers were suddenly beautiful! I had numbers that looked like a normal person’s numbers.

Fast forward to 36 weeks, where another growth scan was completed. My son’s abdominal circumference suddenly looked like an average baby’s! His weight is estimated to be in the 54th percentile!

For those that don’t know why I keep mentioning abdominal circumference, let me explain. The baby of a woman without gestational diabetes is expected to take glucose from mom and use it to build fat storage. The key to this is, though, that the glucose the baby turns into fat is usually distributed evenly over the body. The baby’s body takes these small, consistent doses of glucose and has no trouble producing an appropriate amount of insulin to facilitate the storage of glucose as fat. In a baby that has a mother with uncontrolled gestational diabetes, the baby is receiving random large doses of glucose. The baby’s body produces large amounts of insulin to facilitate storage which builds fat, but the body tends to store most of this glucose in the form of abdominal and chest fat. This excess fat can cause problems at birth such as difficulty breathing. To read more, you can check out the American Diabetes Association site.

So, if the abdominal circumference is large while the rest of the baby’s body doesn’t match, then the possibility of after-birth complications increases.

I’m not a doctor, but that is the jist of my understanding of what happens. Please don’t take my word for it, but talk to your doctor if you want to understand the disease process.

I am 36 weeks 4 days today. On 36 weeks 2 days, it was as if suddenly everything had changed. I began having symptoms of early labor. That wasn’t the strange part, though.

Suddenly, my blood glucose levels began to drop. The next day, my numbers were even lower. I crashed in the middle of Walmart, despite having ate a snack as usual about 30 minutes prior. I was dizzy the rest of the day, which is typical when I have either had a crash or a spike. I thought perhaps I would be much better the next morning (today).

Through the night last night, I had three contractions powerful enough to wake me up. Things seemed to be progressing just a bit toward labor.

After I got up this morning, I realized that my dizziness hadn’t gotten any better. I also saw that my fasting glucose levels had hit the lower acceptable limits at 75. I called my doc.

She called me back as I was making breakfast. She informed me that it sounded like my placenta had switched gears on me. The placenta releases hormones that increases insulin demands, which is typically no big deal for most women. In someone who is insulin resistant, though, this is what triggers the high blood glucose levels and thus gestational diabetes.

I’m not going to pretend to understand the pathophysiology of what is happening right now with my placenta, though. She said that my placenta is preparing for birth, though, and that this changes which hormones are being produced. This also means that my placenta does has an expiration date that is sooner rather than later.

I informed her of my labor symptoms as well, knowing they weren’t significant or consistent yet, but she was pleased. She said that it sounded as if everything was progressing perfectly. She advised me to increase my carbohydrate intake significantly. She also said that she expected real labor to begin within the next couple of weeks.

She said she wondered if my low numbers meant that my body was eating away at my fat reserves, converting fat to energy. This is a concern because this process releases ketones. A significant amount of ketones in the blood can result in diabetic ketoacidosis, Long list of symptoms later, ketoacidosis can be really dangerous leading to seizure, coma and death if left untreated.

She cautioned me to be patient with the increase of carbohydrate intake. She said to expect some spikes, but that I shouldn’t back off on my intake without giving it a couple of days.

That conversation was this morning. For lunch, I had pizza. I haven’t had more than one small piece of pizza since around week 22 of pregnancy. Today, I had four pieces of pizza. That’s how many sounded good, so I went with it. Nervously.

An hour later, my blood glucose level was 91! A fasting blood glucose level that is considered ideal is between 75-95. Needless to say, this was amazing! I promptly stocked up on dark chocolate covered almonds to keep with me at all times in case of crashes, though (always pick something that has some sugar but also a bit a protein).

I have been snacking all day. This has been difficult because I’m also having bouts of nausea to go with my contractions. For dinner, I had chicken and dumplings (along with some other healthy things, but those items aren’t important). An hour later, my blood glucose levels were at 110! Another miracle!

It’s like I’m suddenly normal! Well, that’s relatively speaking anyway.

As my labor symptoms increase, I will have to guard against low blood sugar it seems. This is quite a switch for me, but a welcome one nonetheless.

I will continue to monitor my glucose levels four times daily (at minimum) and I will update my blog for any new developments. I don’t know any two people that have had the same exact experience where gestational diabetes is concerned, but I do know that others’ experiences have been so invaluable to me along this journey.

Have you had a similar experience with gestational diabetes? How did it progress as you neared labor and delivery? I would love to hear your story in my comments section!

Early Labor

Warning: TMI! I’m going to share all of my early labor symptoms, and some are gross.

I have had three contractions tonight heavy duty enough to wake me up! I’m so excited about them that I find myself having a hard time going back to sleep.

I have been having signs of early labor since Tuesday night. I know this is probably just my body tuning up for the real deal, but I’m getting more and more excited as all my symptoms become more frequent.

Given that this stage of things could progress to labor or could last like this for weeks, I’m sure my enthusiasm for it may change. Before it does, I would like to outline what’s happening at this point.

On Tuesday, my doctor said I am dilated to 1 cm. Tuesday evening, I began feeling achy and cramps, very similar to PMS cramps.

Wednesday, the light cramping continued and was joined by frequent trips to the bathroom. I began experiencing a lot of gas and had many loose bowel movements. Wednesday evening, I had a really serious contraction that made me stop mid-sized and made my entire belly hard as a rock!

Thursday morning, my blood sugar was a higher fasting number than I have had in a long time. I struggled all day Thursday to understand my numbers. I stayed at a 95 all day after every meal until I went to Wal-Mart in the afternoon. My blood sugar dropped in the middle of the store and I thought I was going to pass out. Chocolate and almonds saved the day, though. I felt dizzy and like the room was spinning off and on after this incident (which is typical for me if my blood sugar has tanked or spiked suddenly) all evening. I had a couple of Braxton-Hicks in the evening.

A little after midnight, the first contraction woke me. It felt like a very intense cramp that built and built and built and then began to slowly ease away. It made me nauseated. I didn’t look at a clock until it was over. I’m not timing anything until it becomes more consistent.

About an hour later, it happened again, but this time it was intense enough I needed to stand up.

Around 2:40 am, I had another wake me up. I sat up and rubbed my belly until it passed. I also noticed I have a runny nose now. I am also urinating frequently.

I have had a lot of pelvic pressure and discomfort that comes and goes since Tuesday as well.

So, that’s where things stand at the moment. We might be doing this for weeks or I might progress to a more consistent pattern anytime. Since I am only 36 weeks and 4 days, I’m not up walking  or doing anything to actively try to get things to progress. Even though the doctor said we are safe to go at any time now, I would still like him to stay in there until 37 weeks.

Breast Pumps and Insurance

For the first time ever, I can say that I am very pleased with my insurance.

I will probably never, ever say that ever again. I’m sure I will be cursing their existence as I pay my deductible in the very near future.

I called them a couple of months ago about coverage on breast pumps. The lady I spoke with was very helpful and she mailed the proper forms to me to order the pump and informed me that I can’t order until I am 30 days away from my due date.

My insurance company further impressed me by sending me updated information without prompting when their policy changed. The updated policy meant I could order my breast pump online without having to mail in a single item or press 1 for English on a single menu.

The new policy allowed me to order the electric breast pump of my choice (I had six different options) from Edgepark at the 36 week mark. I placed my order on Tuesday evening. The order acknowledgement email reminded me that it could take up to 10 business days to receive my order because first my physician would need to be contacted and then the insurance would have to grant approval.

I got my breast pump via FedEx today! Talk about fast! In the box with my pump is a piece of paper showing how much my insurance will cover (100%) and how much is my responsibility (0%).

I was a little dismayed to see, though, that Edgepark charged my insurance $450.90 for my breast pump that I could purchase from WalMart or Target for about $250.00. Another contributing factor to inflated premiums, I suppose.

So, now I have a Medela Pump In Style Advanced free of charge (if you don’t count my insurance premiums, of course)! I haven’t broken the seal yet just to make sure that everything has been covered. I will be calling my insurance company tomorrow to verify that they are covering it completely. I don’t want to end up stuck with a $450 pump that I can purchase for $250 locally.

Pump-experienced moms, which parts exactly do I need to sterilize when I do finally open this baby up? Will the instructions tell me? I would like to be ready to go once my baby gets here because I’m sure I will have a fatigue-fogged brain the first time I use that pump. 

36 Weeks 1 Day

Today, we had another ultrasound.

In my 32 week post, I was dismayed that my son’s weight was estimated to be in the 97th percentile. I was frustrated that my gestational diabetes, even though I was tightly controlling my diet, seemed to calling the shots. I was frustrated that this news seemed to put my thoughts of a natural birth on a pedestal as an unobtainable ideal.

I spent the next month eliminating even more carbohydrates from my diet, mostly from breakfast because my blood sugar was spiking more frequently after breakfast. I made sure I was completing some moderate exercise for 10 minutes after breakfast and lunch each day.

Today, my son’s weight measured in the 54th percentile! I couldn’t be more ecstatic! His weight gain slowed since our last scan. He is still plenty tall, though, according to his femur (70th percentile). But, we can deal with tall. Tall is just fine by me!

The ultrasound tech confirmed his gestational age is still five days ahead of the original estimated due date. She confirmed that his spine and skull look perfect. She confirmed that his heart and kidneys are both looking perfectly normal as well. She did not complete his biophysical profile, though, so poor guy still had to have a non-stress test complete.

He kicked and carried on throughout the non-stress test (NST). I was sitting there strapped up for about 8 minutes without a solid minute of usable results when my doctor came in. As he did at the last appointment, he immediately settled down and quit kicking the sensors once my doctor started talking. I wish I knew what he was thinking. It sure seems like he likes her voice or something.

My doc swabbed me to check for group B strep after the NST was completed. She then checked my cervix for dilation. To her surprise, she reported I am about one centimeter dilated. Excitement abounds! I knew my body was working on something in that department.

As for my weight, I am still maintaining and not gaining. I am at my pre-pregnancy weight of 217. My blood pressure is still within the perfect range. I have no swelling and I am wearing my rings (which are actually a bit on the loose side when my hands are cold). Somebody knock on some wood real quick before I say this, but everything seems to be going really well!

So, my natural birth seems like more of a possibility today! I am saying lots of thankful prayers today!

29 Days and Heavy Thoughts

TRIGGER WARNING: This post addresses pregnancy, miscarriage, recurrent pregnancy loss, stillbirth, birth defects and secondary infertility from the perspective of someone experiencing a viable pregnancy.

I only have 29 days before my estimated due date.

I’m not naive enough to think my due date is some magical date whereupon reaching midnight my water will suddenly burst and baby boy will make his appearance soon thereafter. But, it would be nice to have such assurance.

My water may not even break until it is time to push. Lord only knows when that will be!

At a local Chinese restaurant recently, the owner’s daughter (an adult) pointed at me with a knowing smile and said, “Ah a boy”. She caught me by surprise, but I nodded and smiled back.

She said the next time I walked past her, “Only 4 or 5 more weeks”. I was 34 weeks at the time. I should have stopped to question her because my curiosity now is killing me. Instead, I just smiled and said, “Time will tell”.

We have all been guestimating when I will have the baby. My husband and I both said March 17th. I have since changed my guess to March 18th for no real reason except maybe to have my own date picked. I never did share well with others. Ask my poor brothers! Hazards of being the youngest child maybe.

My mother and a friend have guessed March 5th, while my brother guessed March 12th. I know there are other guesses but I have lost track.

I find it funny none of us have guessed past my estimated due date. We shall see.

My brother sent me a text today saying, “Are you still pregnant?”

“Yep,” was my reply.

“I will be texting daily to make sure,” he said.

“Lol ok.”

What else should I say to that?

I had planned on posting on Facebook a photo and an announcement that I am only 29 days from my due date today. Instead, I will only be posting here.

I found out that someone I consider a wonderful mother and lady just had her third miscarriage yesterday. She has a wonderful, intelligent, sweet 4-year-old daughter, but she hasn’t been able to carry a baby to term since.

She doesn’t even know that I know these things. But my heart hurts for her loss. It wasn’t so long ago that I felt my life would be forever haunted, my dreams crushed, by secondary infertility. Her mother told my mother that this woman will have to have a D&C later this week.

I know it is my Facebook and I can post whatever I want, but I just can’t bring myself to post something that may make this sweet lady or anyone else feel even more grief or pain.

Something else is weighing heavily on my mind. A family member experienced a stillbirth two years ago. She now posts articles on Facebook about kick counts frequently in an effort to promote counting the baby’s kicks in the third trimester as a way to prevent stillbirth.

Today, she posted another such article. But, she also wrote that if she had only known to do kick counts, her son’s life might have been saved. I didn’t realize she felt this way.

I’m about to describe something graphic concerning her son. Please stop reading if this might negatively affect you.

Her son had a neural tube defect. He was missing a portion of his skull. The defect wasn’t discovered until after he had died at almost full-term after she gave birth.

Her doctor had told her the missing portion of his skull was a result of decomposition, even though he died on a Monday and was delivered on a Thursday and her waters were intact until the birth.

I always assumed her doctor’s statements were untrue, because decomposition doesn’t occur in a bacteria-free environment such as the womb (when the gestational sac is intact). It was never an appropriate time or situation to bring this up previously. And, I always assumed that she had learned the truth when she began visiting her high-risk obstetrician.

Now, I’m not sure if I am mistaken or if she really lives needlessly with a mountain of guilt believing there was a way to save her son. I’m not sure if maybe this wasn’t something she discussed with her obstetrician or if I’m just wrong.

Anyone with experience and knowledge please feel free to comment. I’m not sure if I should approach her about this or not. She is more than open and willing to discuss anything and everything related to her son’s life, birth and death. I would like to ask her if she ever got a second opinion on her son’s death, but only if I am not completely wrong.

I have stillbirth listed as one of my biggest fears for my son. My mother experienced a stillbirth as did my father (they were both previously married). There are many people within my circle that have as well.

I can’t imagine living with the thought that I might have been able to prevent my child’s death. I really can’t imagine living with that thought for years only to discover later that there wasn’t a single thing anyone could have done.

Hey, Breastfeeding Mom, I need To Speak To You

As my due date quickly approaches, I am preparing last minute details for the arrival of our son. My breast pump can’t be ordered until Monday, but I already have a few spare parts purchased. I also have a manual pump (that I found on sale which makes it much more valuable to me) in case my electric pump were to breakdown for some reason.

I have read many articles, blog posts, books and thread after thread of mommy commentary on breastfeeding. I have searched out the pros and cons to both pumping and feeding straight from the tap (ahem, the boobs). I have read all about the different holds and even read about laid back breastfeeding (Google it, or go here to learn more because it seems pretty legit to me). I scoured Ina May’s Guide To Breastfeeding like it might hold the most valuable nugget of wisdom ever shared to breastfeeding mothers everywhere.

The approaches are endless, but the goal is the same–to have breast milk as your baby’s sole source of milk.

There are many drawbacks and many rewards to breastfeeding as a whole; so I wasn’t expecting glorious tales of mommy nirvana, exactly. I was expecting to find some general truths that rang true for every breastfeeding mother out there. Some tidbits of wisdom that would fortify me as I begin my own journey in breastfeeding would have been perfect. Boy, I was disappointed.

I have discovered, instead, that breastfeeding is a lot like childbirth–it is completely different for everyone. Breastfeeding is even different with each subsequent child, for crying out loud!

The universal truth seems lost to me. Many moms stress that the first six weeks of breastfeeding is the most exhausting, most painful experience any woman will ever endure. One mom told me to be prepared to treat the first six weeks like a never-ending marathon in which only your boobs are participating. But, then, another mom completely disagrees with such thoughts of awful.

She stated that it was the most natural thing in the world for her and her daughter, and that it didn’t hurt for more than a few seconds at the beginning of each feeding. She went so far as to reassure me that she wasn’t up at night any more than if she had formula fed (as she had with her first child).

The cynic in me thinks that possibly the second mom was just trying to alleviate my anxiety about breastfeeding, but then I saw her breastfeed. She didn’t flinch. She didn’t even pause in our conversation. She also looked well-rested, and her baby was only eight weeks old.

So, now, I want to stop every breastfeeding mom I see when out and about. I want to take a person-to-person poll, to see if there is a commonality among the moms that dread every breastfeeding session. I want to hear about the experiences of the moms that think it just couldn’t be more natural and easy. Breast is best is the mantra for many, but man, that just doesn’t do it for me.

I think I will stick to analyzing such things from afar (i.e. in a blog post).

What about you, breastfeeding mom? Got any wisdom to share?

 

Older Moms Are So Cool

I never wanted to be an older mom. I wanted to have all my children while in my twenties. I know I’m not the only one with such early-life aspirations, either.

As I carry this child knowing I am 30 already, I don’t care so much about age anymore. I have most definitely decided against birth control that requires the manipulation of my hormones.

So, anything could happen…in theory, if my PCOS takes a chill pill.

I could end up being 40 and pregnant.

I could even be 45 and pregnant. Hey, MTV, that would make a much better show than 16 and Pregnant! Middle Aged and Pregnant doesn’t have the same shock value, but man, I would actually enjoy watching a middle aged woman experience pregnancy, for so many reasons!

Anyway, back to the point. I read an article in The Washington Post that made me smile. If you are thinking about adoption a little later in life, then this may be the article for you! Follow the link below.

Why I like being an older mom
http://wapo.st/1vzSKbQ

Snow Days, Pregnancy and Productivity

Today is Presidents Day here in the United States. The holiday isn’t exactly celebrated, but it does mean that all government agencies, as well as most banks and schools, are closed. It just so happens to also be a snow day here. I was planning on having my daughter home with me today, but I wasn’t planning on also having my husband.

Due to the snow covering a nice layer of ice, I have not stepped foot outside for fear of falling. While normally I wouldn’t let such a thing as some ice stop me from sledding with my daughter, being 35 weeks pregnant has forced me to be a bit more cautious. A fall now, with my baby bump looking more like a mountain and less like a bump (see photo evidence below), would most definitely result in a trip to the obstetrician at the very least.

So, I am sitting inside trying to complete some work while my husband and Eva get to sled and play in the snow. Such is the life of the work-from-home professional.

I am embracing an odd work schedule these days, knowing that very soon I will have a hungry, cranky, crying baby making demands on my time. Luckily, I feel like I am getting the hang of seizing the moment at random to be productive. I worked at three o’clock in the morning just last week and actually managed to churn out some good work.

I am changing the subject now, to give a pregnancy update. I have been slacking in this department, and it is past time.

My gestational diabetes is well under control, without any medication. We had a bump in the road at 30 weeks (I couldn’t keep my blood sugar from bottoming out) and 31 weeks. At 32 weeks, we had an ultrasound that showed our baby boy was in the 97th percentile for weight and 76th for growth. There have been weekly non-stress tests since that time, and each has been completely perfect.

I’m just going to have a big baby. Genetically speaking, I wouldn’t have expected anything else.

I have clarified things with my obstetrician. She sees no reason to try to get the baby out any sooner than he is ready to come out on his own. She even went so far as to say she would not want to induce and would not be using Pitocin on me at all. As for the weekly monitoring with NST (non-stress tests), she left it up to me but most definitely wants the tests completed to keep an eye on my placenta since the placenta can degrade faster with gestational diabetes.

I also got to hear a little bit about the birth of her son. It was very reassuring because she also had gestational diabetes, and her approach to labor and GD issues was to manage low/high blood sugar issues with food and drink not medication or IV.

As of today, I have 35 days until my estimated due date. The baby dropped last week, though, so I don’t think we will have to wait until 40 weeks to greet him. Only time will tell, though!

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Madam, Your Baby is Drunk

Well, this is just funny. I thought I would share with all the moms and soon-to-be moms out there.

The Disaster Ballet

When I was pregnant, I lost count of how many people told me how to prepare for childbirth. Some insisted that the only way was to have as little intervention as possible (“I tell you, anything other than an island yurt with a whale as your doula just feels unnatural.”). Others urged me to take advantage of all the advances of modern medicine (“Listen to me. LISTEN TO ME. You get all the drugs. Find out if your insurance covers crystal meth and if it doesn’t, text me with the code word ‘Heisenbirth’ and I’ll hook you up.”). On one memorable occasion, a cashier went into great detail about her daughter-in-law’s perineum splitting like a banana peel while I nodded and wondered what I had done to deserve this when all I wanted was to buy my Raisin Bran and vanish into thin air. But if there was one thing…

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