“A child seat with rigid LATCH attachments cannot be installed at the center rear seat. A child seat with LATCH attachments on belt webbing can be used at the child seat unless a child seat at an outboard rear seat is attached to one of these lower anchors.”

Yeah… wait, what?

Ok, so maybe my car owner’s guide is a bit too technical of a resource. Let’s see what the car seat manual has for me.

“If the infant restraint is too upright, a child’s head may drop forward and cause breathing problems. If the infant restraint is too reclined, a crash could put too much force on a child’s neck and shoulders. Failure to property recline the infant restraint on the vehicle seat increases the risk of serious injury or death.”

Great, no pressure there. No help there either.

Installing the car seat is the latest target of Meg’s recent panic shitstorms that I’ve had to endure. She’s normally a very multitasking-oriented woman, but something about pregnancy has caused her to focus in on one particular issue at a time. And something else about pregnancy has caused that issue to be immediately paramount.

Months ago, it was the baby’s room. And by months, I mean back in February. When we finally got that painted and the crib installed, she started to freak out because the glider and dresser had not come in yet. I tried to point out that the crib was the most important part so the baby can sleep, but I doubt anyone reading this thinks my futile attempts at logic saw any success whatsoever.

The stroller was another production. Apparently, Meg has plans to take the child directly from the womb out for a walk. After that was finished, the skeleton stroller that the car seat sits in to make it act like a stroller had to be put together. When trying to figure out why both absolutely needed to be assembled prior to the kid’s birth, the best I could come up with is that I would run next to her with the car seat stroller and we’d pass the baby off baton-style in case one of the wheels on the stroller, I dunno, went flat or something.

There were still others over the last month. Panic about not having a super most specialist in the whole wide world outfit to bring the baby home in (again, logic dictates that the kid will simply spit up on it within minutes and again, logic has no place in pregnancy). Panic that the baby’s clothes were not washed. Panic that I didn’t buy a digital camera. Panic that I didn’t buy a camcorder. Panic that I didn’t prove to her that I knew how to use the camcorder (let’s just say that I won’t be releasing that video on the site). And so on.

After a few days of nagging about the car seat, I decided it was time for a change of scenery (i.e. give Meg something new to nag about), so I figured it was about time to install the car seats.

The instructions were useless, but car seat installation was covered in one of our baby classes. I remembered the premise: jam the seat base into my car seat as hard as inhumanly possible and strap in. The instructor of the class even wheeled in a real car seat and demonstrated kneeling on the base to get the proper depth.

What the instructor didn’t mention is that her ease in doing that was directly related to the fact that she wasn’t actually in a car. That is, she didn’t have the back of the front seat to wedge herself between and, perhaps more importantly, there was no car roof to speak of.

During a jiu-jitsu fight, I’m capable of kneeling on my opponent’s stomach while using both hands (and sometimes my head) to work for some form of choke hold or arm bar, while the entire time my victim is struggling to throw me off. As Mike can attest to, I’m pretty proficient at the position.

Yet for some reason, the stationary car seat base put up more of a fight than the 230 pound wrestler I’m kneeling on in class. Upon pulling up on the strap to secure the seat, I hit my head on the roof. The bump was enough to slide my knee off center of the base. That caused my entire weight balance to shift, propelling me out the car door. At least I landed on my feet, but upon seeing the open wound on my knee, I let out a stream of obscenities that drew dirty looks from my neighbor and confused looks from his 4 year old who was playing outside.

After tending to my knee, I climbed back in the car for round 2. I drew upon my vast yoga abilities and this time, managed to get my entire foot on top of the base, my knee pressed squarely against my own ear. I pulled and I pushed and I grunted and I dug the base deep into my car seat. I then spent a few minutes admiring the fact that as hard as I tried, I couldn’t make the base budge.

Only to actually place the car seat in the base to find the level indicator on the seat showed that I needed to prop up the back of the base some more (the instructor in the class mentioned using a rolled up towel). Son of a bitch, I need to do it all again. My neighbor had brought his daughter inside by this point, so I had no problem cursing loudly at that realization.

But at least the car seat bases are installed, the seat itself still in my car. It’s going to take some getting used to, since every time I turn around to back out of the drive way, where my hand used to find the back of the passenger seat for leverage now punches squarely where the baby’s head is going to be. At least it’s installed early, and I have a few days to train myself out of that habit.

[WHACK]
“… Jay?”

I expected to use the above quote in the blog about Meg going into labor, the joke (or potentially accurate portrayal of reality) being that I passed out while Meg was in labor. Even with just two weeks left until the due date, it felt more appropriate to use it now.

Thursday night, I wasn’t feeling well. Meg, in all her excessively large-bellied pregnant glory, was sweet enough to give me the bed and let me sleep off the sore throat and aches I was feeling. I figured it was my sinuses being their usual annoyance and reacting to the dreary weather we had all week. So I bundled myself up in the bed sheet, two blankets, and even our bed spread. I don’t know what it is about the feeling of heavy blankets on top of me, but it’s one of the most comfortable feelings in the world.

I woke up sometime around 2am feeling nauseous. I went to the bathroom to prepare for what I had written off as an inevitability. After a few minutes, I decide to head downstairs to the kitchen for some water.

I remember hearing a loud thud. For some reason, when something falls in our kitchen, it shakes everything in there and amplifies the noise. I then became aware of the fact that I was lying on my back. I had the sensation of just waking up from a deep sleep, save for the absurdly sharp pain that was pulsating from the back of my head. I was trying to decide if the kitchen was pitch black because it was night time and I hadn’t turned on the lights or if I just didn’t have my eyes open. Neither would have surprised me at the time.

As best as I can figure, I made it half way into the kitchen. I think my knees first buckled, at which point the rest of me followed backwards. But not in a gentle, I’m rolling myself onto a bed, but in a pivot-at-the-waist-head-hits-first sort of way. In many ways, I was lucky. It could have happened on my way down the stairs, at which point the curio cabinet about four feet from the base of the stairs would have made for a lovely landing pad after my tumble. Equally as haunting is the prospect that I had fallen forward, in which case my nose would now be a permanent fixture on our stove.

After calling my name and receiving basic grunts as responses, Meg came into the kitchen to find I had apparently made it to my side. On paper, it’s almost comical: Meg was too pregnant to bend over and get the leverage to sit me up, and I was too weak and disoriented to do it myself. In a Han Solo moment, my dark blurs of the kitchen had turned to light blurs when Meg turned the lights on.

Eventually — and it could have been anywhere from 2-3 minutes to 10-15 minutes from my recollection — I managed to sit up and prop myself against the dishwasher. Meg got me a glass of water. I immediately began to feel better. I also immediately began to sweat. A lot. I’m talking gym quantities of sweat.

“We need to take you temperature.”
“We don’t have a thermometer.”
“Actually, we do.”

Apparently, the bump to my head didn’t knock me too much out of commission, because it didn’t take me long to realize what Meg had gone to retrieve. She waddled back into the kitchen holding a pale blue case.

“There had better be an oral thermometer in there, because there is no way in hell you’re using the other one on me.” I said this fully realizing I was in no position to argue. I was in such a broken down state that, even 9 months pregnant, Meg possessed the strength superiority to force a rectal temperature reading had she wanted to.

“Wait, didn’t that thing come with a pacifier thermometer too?” I asked rhetorically, more trying to convince myself of that statement than I was looking for an answer.

“Relax, this one can be used orally too.”
“Oh. Can I try the pacifier one anyway?”

As much as I would have liked the baby to come early so I could have been a father for Father’s Day, I was happy to know that the thermometer had not yet seen live rectal usage as Meg quickly shoved the thing under my tongue.

Surprisingly, I only measured a 98.1, which I attribute to the fact that I was head-to-toe damp with sweat and sitting next to an AC vent. I managed to crawl (yes, literally crawl) back upstairs to bed.

After calling around to a number of doctors in the morning, I finally found one with an opening for that day. It was supposed to be Meg’s last day at work before maternity leave, but we didn’t trust me to have to drive anywhere, so she stayed home to take me to the doctor. After a shitload of tests (doctor’s don’t really screw around once you tell them you blacked out and collapsed), the final diagnosis is that I had a fever (102 at the doctor) but they really don’t know why I blacked out. I was potentially dehydrated, which would also explain the nausea. Oh ya, and I have the god damn flu on top of it, so add in aches, a sore throat, and general weakness. Ya know, in addition to to large, swollen bump on the back of my head from the fall.

My biggest fear was that Meg was going to go into labor early while I was far too sick to be of any use. I’m still far from 100%, but at least I’m feeling well enough in case the baby came early. Now it’s just a matter of taking it easy until the kid actually decides to come.

There are a bunch of little stories that don’t warrant the normal drawn out blog entry but still need to get told. So I figured I’d bunch them up into one post.

I found a great example of irony in the real world as we were setting up the baby’s room. We have a pack of diapers we were putting out in the basket on the changing table. One diaper had a picture of Pooh on the back. When Meg didn’t see the humor in that, I explained it’d be like buying her a t-shirt with a picture of two milk cartons on the front.

Some Assembly Required is the biggest bullshit phrase I’ve heard since Meg told me “Yes, I’m still on birth control.” After an hour and a half, the damn stroller still only has three wheels on it.

It must be hard to change the size and shape of your body that quickly. Meg has no idea just how far her stomach extends anymore. One time, she came up behind me with the goal of putting her arms around my neck and hugging me. Her stomach arrived about 8 seconds before the rest of her body did, and the sheer force of it knocked me off balance. Even worse was the time she tried to close the refrigerator door, only to have it bounce off her stomach when she didn’t get it out of the way quickly enough.

Sometime in the dead of night on Friday, I was awoken from a surprisingly deep sleep because of a rustling on Meg’s side of the bed. I intentionally didn’t say “Meg’s half” of the bed, since her, her stomach, and her entourage of pillows now occupy closer to roughly 93% of the total surface area of our once comfortable bed.

By now, I’ve grown accustomed to the body-sized Boppy pillow that extends from between Meg’s knees, around the belly, and up close to her head. It’s actually a funny sight to watch her roll over with that thing in toe, since the combination of 9 month pregnant belly + pillow makes it look like a damn lunar eclipse is rolling in as she swings the entire production over her body to the other side.

The Boppy isn’t the only extra pillow gracing our bed these days. She’s collected every spare pillow in the house and moved them to the bedroom. Every time she lays down, she takes a solid few minutes of adjusting. She’ll cram a few pillows under her stomach, which actually makes sense; if she lies on her side, her stomach is left dangling a few inches above the bed and it just looks painful. Another few pillows go between her ankles and knees. She then grabs mine and uses that to help prop her head up.

Not that it does any good. Apparently, one of the side effects (that’s not the right word, but come with me on this one) of being pregnant is… well, she snores like a freaking beast. It seems pretty common, since most fathers that I’ve talked to give me the same form of condolences for being in the situation. I’m told it disappears pretty quickly after birth, which by my calculations is right in time for the baby to wake us up every 2 hours anyway.

Oh, and the biggest bitch of the entire pillow stuffing ritual is that she only makes it about an hour before having to get up and piss anyway, after which she has to repeat the entire process.

In light of all of this, it’s a surprise I was in bed in the first place to be woken up. I’ve spent the better portion of the last month sleeping on the couch, balling up my shirt to use as a pillow. Anyone feel bad for me yet? Didn’t think so, I’ll just move on.

I was woken up by the sounds of Meg in pain and deep breathing. Despite it being the middle of the night, it only took me about half a second to process the situation.

“AHHHHHH HOLY SHIT YOU’RE IN LABOR.”

I leaped out of bed and made for the light switch. Actually, it was more of a fall out of bed and a bear crawl over to the wall. As I turned back to Meg, my mind was racing.

I’ve often wondered how I’d handle myself in an emergency situation. Would I lose my mind, would I be calm and collected and get things done, or would I just pass out under the weight of it all? I’m not sure I fully have my answer, but I was a bit surprised to realize my very first thought was that if her water broke while she was in the bed, I could never sleep there again. Ever. Ew.

My fears were quickly put to ease. She wasn’t in labor. She had a leg cramp. Who the hell gets a leg cramp while laying completely still in bed? I chalk it up to a pregnancy thing and go back to bed.

Needless to say, I’m a little jumpy these days. Every time the phone rings — especially my cell phone if I’m out — I race to answer it. Technically speaking, as of this weekend the baby is at full term, so realistically any call could be Meg telling me to take her to the hospital. To a certain extent, it’s not warranted. After she has her first contraction, it’s like 8 hours before we even bother going to the hospital. Regardless, it’s going to be an interesting few weeks of overreacting for me.