I did it. I survived exactly 4o long weeks of pregnancy and ended up doing what only 5% of women do which is go into labor on their actual due date. No big feat, but kinda cool I guess. All was great until my kid decided to tap out last minute. After six hours of hardcore labor, they determined that her grocery tube was choking her out. She was tangled up and before I knew it, I was rear-end-up on a gurney flying down a hospital corridor where I found myself on a cold operating table, spread eagle. In those moments, I was rationalizing aloud as to why a cesarean was better than a regular birth- and of course decided to verbalize the first and only one that came to mind. I specifically remember looking up over my head and slurring to my husband: “Well, at least my vag ain’t gonna be all blown out.” Super redneck, just like that. The anesthesiologist snickered and my husband’s face flushed red. In my lack of couth, I thought, “Whatever, if that’s the worst these people have heard, then they’re in good shape.”
During the craziness and beeping sounds, I didn’t pass go or collect $200 – they just sliced her out real quick-like. Her cry was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard. After all… this was the day I’d dreamt of for years. Truly surreal. The doctor cut me crooked in his haste to pull my baby to safety. Now I’ve got a diagonal line on my tummy and I kinda like it… it is an ever-present reminder of my healthy daughter and how bad ass doctors can be. It’s pretty neat how they can make saving a life look so simple.
Throughout my pregnancy I cursed my aligners not just because I was pregnant and bitchy, but also for the same reason everyone else curses them: they want to be done! There wasn’t much of a difference with Invisalign, pregnant or not pregnant, except for the first couple months of course when every evening I experienced a new bout of “morning” sickness. Luckily I didn’t get sick very often but my nausea was out of this world. I have this thing where even the idea of throwing up makes me uneasy. It’s something I’ve always avoided at all costs, and of course I carried that hindrance over into my pregnancy. So rather than letting myself get sick, I sat around in misery with that disgusting watery mouth feeling. Aligners made that so much worse. For a while there, I popped Zofran the very minute I could take another dose.
In hindsight, I think the nausea was my only real peeve about Invisalign throughout my pregnancy. I remember reading somewhere that teeth move easier when a woman is pregnant but later verified that Dr. Google was full of shit. One huge benefit of having Invisalign while pregnant though is that if you take care of your teeth like you should, you won’t have to worry about bleeding and swollen gums. If your typical oral hygiene routine entails flossing at least twice a day, you can probably avoid all that nonsense that happens to pregnant women who don’t. But then again, everyone is different and I’m no medical professional so take what I write with a grain of salt. I’m just going by experience. My verification for the whole flossing thing was how impressed the hygienist was when I went in for my teeth cleaning.
The whole nine months seemed to crawl by. My aligners were fitting terribly toward the end which was super annoying but I had no other option except to just deal with the situation. I was trucking through the second month (of three) of patiently waiting for my refinement to show up. I had planned on just taking the damn things out during the whole ‘having the baby’ process, but when labor set in and my contractions started feeling like electrocution, I found a new love for my squishy aligners. Every time I’d clench my teeth in agony, the cushiony feeling of my crooked trays seemed to help a lot. It was like a stress ball for my jaw.
Me: 1 Invisalign: 0. That round at least
And THEN, the baby. She’s five months now but it feels like she was just born last week. My days and months seem to have bled together which is just one more reason why I haven’t made the time to write lately. For a while there, I felt like a legitimate zombie. Before she arrived, seasoned “mommy martyrs” smugly warned me to “sleep while I can” which would’ve been great advice if only I had the magic fucking ability to accumulate sleep!! Seriously, some people are ridiculous.
They were right in their predictions on how I’d yearn for more sleep though. Last month I accidentally dumped denture cleaner into my coffee mug instead of my aligner cup. The baby was crying in her room as I was doing my half-conscious hurried zombie shuffle down to the kitchen. On my way back up, I did a quick pit stop at the sink to remove my aligners before I could rush to scoop her from her crib. Clink! That’s the sound that broke me from my trance. Reality set in as I focused through puffy eyes down at my fizzing coffee and mouthed the words “You have got to be fucking kidding me.” We have a Keurig coffee maker and that was my last K-cup. I was dangerously low on fuel and I really needed that coffee! I just about cried.
My zombie days are coming to an end, for the time being at least. I’m no fool. I’m sure the kid’s got plenty more baby tricks up her sleeve. She’s been consistently sleeping twelve hours straight for the past three weeks now which is big! I attribute that to our strict schedule… my fingers are crossed that it’ll last.
Now that she’s a little older, I no longer have the difficulty I did in the first few months with laying her back down to sleep after a feeding. That was my only problem when it came to aligner-wearing issues. I’d often find that the best time for me to have breakfast… or lunch… was while she was being fed too. Little Miss “OnlySleepsWhenHeld” would finish eating and pass out. I’d be stuck right where I was sitting while my aligners soaked in a bath of denture cleaner upstairs. I was basically rolling the dice if I wanted to get up to put her in her bouncy seat. Do I want to risk waking her up to put my aligners back in? OR would I rather sit here – in peace – and dick off on the internet a little longer. Sometimes, if they were next to me, I’d just put them back in until I was ready to move her. After using Invisalign for so damn long, I’ve figured out a system where I allot a certain amount of time for each meal without thinking twice. During those months, I had to eliminate any leisure “aligner-free” time later in the day. Not a big deal, but still notable.
I still have plenty of moments where I slightly envy people who can eat a meal, enjoy coffee or whatever, and tend to their kid without that looming, nagging voice in the back of their head saying, “Stop everything you’re doing, go upstairs and put your aligners back in!” At this point, that seems like something that’s a long ways off, which saddens me.