Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Getting comfortable in there and uncomfortable out here: Pregnancy – 40 weeks

My Mom arrived on Sunday to await the big arrival with us. The plan is that she can be around when my husband is working (particularly 24 hour shifts), so that I’m not on my own if I go into labor at 2 am. It’s probably good as my sister in law had been offering to stay with me when he worked (she actually did one night last week), and that’s not so convenient for her. I do feel a bit baby-sat though and it’s getting to me….

I continued going in to the office till Tuesday and then switched to working from home from my due date (Wednesday) on. Home is a lot closer to the hospital and I really didn’t want to go into labor at the office. Anyway – the “what? You’re still here? Haven’t you had that baby yet?” was getting old. Well that and… I’d started to fantasize about going into labor during really boring meetings in the last couple of weeks. Seriously – someone would be droning on and on about some cost saving measures that had nothing to do with me. My presentation would be over and I’d just be sitting there while other people found excuses to leave the room / do other things. I kept thinking – man, if my water would just break RIGHT NOW, I wouldn’t have to listen to this person anymore! Ok, how about now? Heck, everyone else looks bored too – I think there’d be a LINE of people offering to drive me to the hospital to get out of here.

But being at home with my Mom every day is getting a bit tedious. She goes right back into Mom role. I’m going to a party this Saturday night for a former coworker’s 50th birthday. I wasn’t sure initially if my husband could go, but figured I’d go on my own. My Mom told me that if he wasn’t going, she’d drive me there and wait outside for me. Maybe she’d go to a movie or a cafĂ© with a book or something, but she didn’t want me driving there on my own. Oh My Goodness! The party is literally across the street from my office (there’s an Irish pub in the shopping center there). So this is a drive I’ve been doing every day for (just under!) a year. Now, I admit that I did just say I’d stopped doing it a few days before, but still! I’m 33! And it’s February – she’s going to sit in the car? Luckily my husband is going with me, but I did point out that if she did come along – she could go in with me. I mean, we’re grown ups. We can be at the same party.

All these tiny frustrations of 3 adults living in <1200 square feet of space and living with my Mom again which somehow turns me automatically into a teenager again and all that is NOT helping my hormonal levels. I mean, I’m about to have a daughter. I think it’s probably pretty natural to look at your relationship with your parents as you have kids and wonder and worry – but must my relationship be thrust under a microscope right in front of me now? It’s too scary! It brings back those junior high angst moments. I can remember so clearly thinking – I’m never going to have kids because I never want anyone to feel about me the way I feel about my parents right now. And yes, that was just prepubescent angst. I have NO IDEA what it was that provoked that thought. But there it is. Waiting to haunt me. Sitting here staring at me now going – I thought you weren’t going to have kids. May I ask what that large growth is in your abdomen? That’s quite a tumor you’ve got there, lady…

Oh man.

The final countdown: Pregnancy – 39 weeks

Ah, the waiting is over. Gestation has ended and we have birthed – a new kitchen! The kitchen is finally put back together and the baby’s room is ready. I finally feel ready for her to arrive. I’m still a bit conflicted on it – partly, I’m ready to be done being pregnant, but I’m not sure I’m ready to be a parent! But the silly reason is – I will hit my one year anniversary at work exactly one week after her due date. It makes life so much easier for FMLA and all that if I get to that anniversary. My boss doesn’t care if I take extra time off, so it really SHOULDN’T matter, but it’s nice to be protected – esp. in a layoff rich environment… So on the one hand, I’d really just like to be done. I’m done with being pregnant and I’m sick of the training / hand offs at work and all that. But on the other, what’s one extra week (well, it’s 2 more than now and that’s a lot!)? And – this is the really silly part… there is something “nice” and comforting about having it on a schedule – if I’m induced, labor won’t surprise me!

Anyway, regardless of whether I am ready or not, she is definitely not. My munchkin is pretty happily – swimming in her 98.6 degree Jacuzzi, as my friend says (she refers to hers as “the squatter.”) – and the eviction is not coming quite yet.

Full term: Pregnancy - 37 weeks

Full term! We are finally here and it is “safe” for her to arrive. Not safe for her to arrive at her home because NO, that’s not done actually! But safe for her to arrive at the hospital. If she does arrive there, it may not be safe for my husband to arrive home either! Actually, we’re getting very close. But very close makes me nervous at full term. I mean, she’s showing NO signs of moving / arriving soon – but she could. The doctor is going 60/40 she’ll be late (mostly b/c first babies are usually late – nothing to do with me at all), but you never know. I have one friend who delivered each of her (healthy) kids at 36 weeks and 4 days. They tend to just show up when they want – letting us know from the beginning that they’re in charge.

What if it’s not a girl: Pregnancy – 36 weeks

We’re hitting the final countdown. I mean – we’re not READY. My incomplete kitchen assures me of this. But we’re getting close. The doctor actually sort of laughed at me the other day when she asked if we were ready and I was somewhat non-committal. She said – most people at this point are like – get this baby out of me! I was thinking – but where would I bring her when she comes out? Our home is unfit for adult habitation, let alone baby girl.

Yes, baby girl. I’ve started to get very worried about this. I mean, those things are sometimes wrong. Our tech was pretty darn sure – but said we can’t take it back if she’s wrong. Don’t get me wrong – I’d be happy with either. But… well, we sort of have a lot of pink stuff… I mean, a lot. There are the hand me downs – ok, those aren’t such a big deal (we can just hand them along to the next person!) – of which there are a lot. But there’s also all the generous gifts from our family – of which I think there are even more! What if there was a mistake? I feel like I should run out and buy some yellow – just in case! I’m starting to ready her room and have washed all the yellow and neutral stuff (and the hand me downs), but then have left a big pile of pink stuff to be washed as soon as she arrives (in our spare time…) with the exception of the coming home outfits.

I’ve become completely paranoid about this. My husband says it’s nuts – of course she’s a girl. But what if…?

Breastfeeding class – our first brush with the lactation Nazis… 36 weeks

Most of my friends have decided to breastfeed their babies and been pretty happy with it and it seems to be the latest recommendation, so I decided I’d try. A number of my friends had mentioned issues / difficulties at the beginning, so I decided to take the class. I wasn’t sure if my husband should go too, but my friends assured me that their husbands had gone. Then he wasn’t so sure he should go – what would he do? What if the other husbands didn’t go? “What if it’s just me and a bunch of … big breasted women…? Yeah, OK, I’ll go.”

We got there (late, as was our standard with these classes now) and my husband was not the only guy – everyone had come as a couple (thank goodness). The lactation consultant began by explaining all the benefits of breastfeeding. It was definitely the sales pitch to drink the Kool-Aid on this one – a concept that amused me as, well hadn’t we all already drank the Kool-Aid if we’d decided to be there in the first place? (A watered down Kool Aid without too much sugar and no artificial flavors or colors to be exact!) Then she got into more specifics – the different holds and getting the baby to latch. We had not been told to bring a doll, so she went to us one by one with the demonstration doll to walk through what to do (clothed, thank God!). We were supposed to “tickle” the baby’s mouth with our nipple (while she said – tickle, tickle, tickle to instruct us – a moment at which I knew it was a bad idea to bring My husband despite all the other Dad’s here as I was surely going to be hearing his imitation of that every time I tried to feed our child…). Then she’d push the baby’s head into us to imitate her getting the latch. Great… Sadly I was the first one for the demonstration, so all eyes were on me and the doll as I pretended to tickle the doll’s face with my boob (oh man, I really never thought I’d type that phrase in my life. Seriously. Never.). I should probably take a step back here to describe my boob (and let’s go ahead and put that down as phrase two I hardly saw coming out of my mouth / fingers online. I swear! I don’t frequent those types of sites!). You see I’m generally not a big person – a reasonable height, but small boned and small frame, so I’ve always been fairly small chested. I’m not generally TOO self conscious about this as I’d say I’m pretty proportional overall. I mean, on my frame big boobs would tip me over (I’m shocked I’ve been able to move with this belly!). But at the same time, I was sort of looking forward to my late second puberty and mammaries finally arriving with pregnancy. I thought they’d arrive right at the beginning – as so many women seem to say that’s the first sign. I did notice a little increase there / soreness in my chest, but nothing major. Then I thought they’d have to arrive before the baby, but 36 weeks and nothing. I remember a friend of mine with a similar build had told me at 7 months that she’d gone from a B cup to E! Now I didn’t really want an E – although I think it might be surreal and wouldn’t be so bad as it wouldn’t last (though God knows what that would like when it finally deflated...), but I figured I’d easily move into a solid C or D. But thus far – nothing! OK, not entirely nothing. I’ve move from a B to a “full” B. Anyway, you get the picture – that me trying to grab hold of my snack sized baby lunch tray and wiggle it to tickle her wasn’t doing much. Thank God there’s an audience of other class members for this. I mean, one certainly wouldn’t want to do this sort of thing on one’s own…

Eventually we got to the questions and our fearless leader was on the party line – Me – can you use ziplock freezer bags (I’d gotten a bunch from a friend in her gift of my full service / filled diaper bag)? The lactation consultant – No! You’d think I’d ask if I could use battery acid to preserve it…

They got better after that – I asked about the breastfeeding diet. She said you could eat anything. So I clarified that I wanted to be sure you didn’t need to stick to the pregnancy diet – no sushi, limited fish, no soft cheeses. Well, you should really avoid those things, but there are not diet restrictions and you can eat anything – except all the things they told you not to eat pregnant. But you don’t have to stick to your pregnancy diet. Um… OK…

So someone else asked if it mattered if you ate healthy or if formula would be better. The lactation consultant, of course, said that breastmilk was always better. The woman asked – well, what if you ate only candy bars and nothing with nutritional value? Nope, still breastmilk.

Now I’m not sure if my fellow classmate was just trying to get the instructor to slip up / admit an instance where formula would be OK or that there could EVER be anything wrong with breastmilk. I think she might have just been an odd duck though…

The kitchen renovations (Pregnancy – 33 – 38 weeks)

So you’ve probably noticed I haven’t mentioned the kitchen renovations (much) since the first blog on them. I don’t think I even told you that I went to the baby classes with paint in my hair (well, you know, I had to stop coloring due to the pregnancy…). I should probably do some updates – though God knows where to begin…

Things have gotten a bit crazy. It’s almost impossible to walk through the condo given the “stuff” everywhere! I think we’re going to have to consider prozac for the dog (who hates change and tends to get sick whenever there is packing or moving involved – I can understand). The wall is finally down in the kitchen – a mostly… well somewhat finished. My father in law has rewired so now it’s a matter of sealing off the ceiling and side wall where the separating wall previously was. The fridge is finally moved to the other wall and replumbed – the leaking has even stopped. I think the highlight came when My husband turned the water on and got shot with it in the back of the head from one of the “unaccounted for” pipes. Actually getting the leaking to stop took forever. He kept testing it out as I held it over a bucket and freezing water gushed out on me (again, waiting for the part of pregnancy where I’m too hot…).

The painting went a bit faster and it gave me this false sense of security that other things would move with such alacrity. I was wrong. There are three countertops to install and the first took a full day – and I’m now more than 35 weeks pregnant… I’ve revised my estimate and told My husband now his absolute drop dead / must finish (I don’t care if we have to forgo sleep or forgo eating to pay a contractor to finish it) is the 37 week / full term mark. At some point I need time to start crazy nesting and cleaning everything! At some point AFTER there’s no longer drywall dust (and probably asbestos…) flying around!

High points – beyond the plumbing disaster have also including the washer / dryer sitting in the middle of the hallway to the bedroom. Thank God our condo is a circular design or I’d be sleeping on the couch, wearing the same clothes till it was done and forgoing brushing my teeth (as that’s in the master bathroom). I accept that I will soon be doing that, but I really want to wait till the baby comes! As it is, it’s just a walk the long way around – sure I can certainly use the exercise, but is he not aware that extra exercise can induce early labor?! And then what? Anyway, I think this scenario was far more frustrating for the dog. He can’t fit by the appliances (and if he can’t do it at 50 lbs, try to picture me – at a weight I don’t want to talk about…) so when he wants to go into the bedroom, he stands forlornly on the far side – trying unsuccessfully to squeeze himself into the space between them and the wall. It doesn’t work. And it seems so pathetic. I eventually get up and walk around the apartment to lead him back around as I can’t stand to watch. My husband takes another approach. He throws the dog treat from the kitchen into the bedroom as he always does at night and then Shiloh stands on the far side pathetically trying to figure out how to get to it. I’ve told him that he’s going to hell for this. To be fair, he only did that once. Not sure if it’s because he felt bad or because he then had to carry 50 lbs of mutt around the condo to the bedroom because he wouldn’t be distracted from trying his normal route to the bedroom (and the treat!).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Christmas: Prgenancy – 34 weeks

I can’t remember what time we made it to bed on Christmas Eve. I just know it was too late for our early wake up the next day. Luckily my in laws was going to mass early, so my husband didn’t insist that we should sleep in and have breakfast with them before the drive north. But it was all pretty exhausting. His little kid bed is not comfortable at the best of times (I just never do well the first night in a new bed), so it was a stretch at nearly 8 months pregnant.

We then did the drive up to NJ – which included a few extra bathroom breaks (and get out of the car and walk breaks that my doctor suggested – which then turned into bathroom breaks when I got out into the cold. My side note here – I have always been cold. My hands and feet are always freezing and I carry a sweater in July because I know I’ll get cold at some point during the day. On our honeymoon in Hawaii we went snorkeling and the water was somewhat cold. We got back on the boat and I noticed my feet looked a little off color. My husband looked and said he’d never seen feet so blue on a living person and made me walk around. He laughed that he could take me to a tropical island and still have to risk hypothermia if I wasn’t wearing layers. Anyway, you see my point. Now I was sort of interested in seeing how the other half lives in pregnancy – as I’ve heard you’re supposed to be too hot all the time. This past summer I noticed I had no tolerance for heat (I think that was also morning sickness related), but I didn’t seem to get hot faster. But that was early. This is the third trimester. I know it’s winter, but I still see NO signs of this side effect. I still think my office is always freezing. My boss has suggested that I won’t think it’s cold because I pack my own heater, but nope – I’ve still got two sweaters on and am drinking tea (yes decaf!) to try to warm up.). So right, the drive to NJ! We got there just a little later than planned so we rushed to get changed / put together and head to my aunt’s for dinner. Considering the day we’d already had, we really weren’t that late. We had dinner with the family and gave gifts to my cousin’s children (we’ve FINALLY updated our exchange in the past few years to keep it just to kids as it was getting quite ridiculous. On the one hand, I did get some awesome gifts from them – one cousin worked with some designer brands and would present us with Burberry or Gucci – but it was awfully hard to keep up with my outlet bought gifts…).

We finally got back to my Mom’s who asked if we wanted to exchange gifts with her then. I said I just needed to lie down for a few first and went up to my own little kid room - not where we slept at my house, as mine has a twin bed. My husband followed me up a few minutes later and climbed into said twin bed with me! Now not even accounting for the size of my belly, My husband is 6’4 and NOT a small guy. It would have been comical – had I not been too tired to care. We got up about in time to head over to my other cousins.

We did the other side of the family and got to catch up with them which was nice. It was a pretty relaxed post dinner event and enjoyable, but we were really starting to drag. We finally got home after 11, but still hadn’t done gifts with my Mom. On the one hand, there’s no reason it had to be done right then, but on the other – it’s Christmas and it felt wrong to wait – esp. as we had brunch plans with a friend the next day and it felt like this could keep getting put off. So after accumulating what seemed like the rest of our baby gift registry, we finally hauled ourselves to bed around 1. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Christmas Eve: Pregnancy – 34 weeks

Our last major trip of the pregnancy came at Christmas. I was about 34 weeks along when we left on this endeavor – and no, the kitchen was not done. Because we are crazy and insist on attempting to please EVERYONE, we always exhaust ourselves at Christmas. I wasn’t sure how adding my bowling ball sized belly to that mix was going to work, but what the heck.

We’ve tried Christmas a few different ways now, though the basics remain the same. My in laws celebrate Christmas Eve and my family Christmas day. So we do Christmas Eve in VA and then get up on Christmas morning and do the drive to NJ – where we see both sides of my family until we want to sleep for all of the 26th. The variation is when church happens. I personally prefer to start off with church and then the other festivities, but my mother in law finds this a bit rushed. She prefers to either do midnight mass (which I find makes things a bit rushed and also, midnight? In my 3rd trimester? Not so much…) or morning mass. To accommodate the ensuing road trip that means the earliest church option – usually 7:30 or 8 am. Regardless of when this all occurs, the car trip starts with my husband telling me that we CAN’T keep doing this and have to stop trying to please all / be everywhere. Because it’s Christmas and he’s already stressed I refrain from pointing out that if we stop doing EVERYTHING every year, some years we will have to be with my family and skips his. Why go there at this point?

So we went to the 5 pm mass before heading over to his family this year. As we were trying to finish cleaning up the kitchen enough to leave it (and still get as far as absolutely possible on the project before leaving) and exchange gifts with each other and find time to make ourselves presentable for church / his family, we ran a bit later than planned. We still got there around 4:30, which I thought might have garnered us some seats in the very back – had there not been a children’s pageant before mass that started at 4 – who knew?

The aisles were packed with nowhere to go. We went up to the balcony area as that’s usually the last to fill, but there was almost nothing. I figured it was time to make this belly work for me, so I stuck it out and rubbed my tummy. Let’s see who wants to be “Christian” today… Pretty quickly one of the other people standing noted that there was room for one person in one of the aisles, as someone was saving seats for neighbors, but had a little space to spare. So I grabbed it. The lady on the far side started to tell me that her husband was coming back and needed space there too. I started to heave myself up, looking as pathetic as possible and she assured me that there was enough room (I mean, how much do I really take up? Ha!). For those of you who have never been pregnant, this may sound a bit conniving on my part, but the truth of the matter is there was really no way I could comfortably stand through the longer holiday mass. It just wasn’t going to happen. I would have wound up sitting on the floor – and lord knows how I would have gotten myself out of THAT situation.

Of course, needless to say, I had to go to the bathroom during mass – so had to make it down the stairs from the balcony, through the throngs to the far side of church. (Since pretty much the beginning of pregnancy, I’ve been sitting at the back of church. Early it was to be able to run to the restroom (or in one particularly amusing instance the plants outside) to toss my cookies, but now it’s more bathroom related.) Ugh.

We finally headed over to my in-laws after mass and enjoyed dinner and gifts. Our little Ladybug got a few preemptory gifts and even gave a couple – mostly picture frames to hold pictures of herself – as she is THAT narcissistic.

Baby classes: Third trimester

Being first time parents, we did what so many before us have done and decided it was necessary to take classes – child care classes, Lamaze classes (though I fully intended to avoid anything natural about the process), breastfeeding classes – the works.

We started with childcare – and approached it like we’d never SEEN a baby before. I’d brought a pad to take notes (baby will need to be bathed every day. Undress baby first. Then wrap in something warm rather than just leaving her freezing. Use warm water – not cold to cause chill, not too hot to cause burns. Oh man – thank GOD I’m writing this down!). They went over swaddling, bathing, feeding, doctor’s visits, administering medicines. We asked lots of questions (very few others did). Then we walked out and realized – huh, so we probably mostly knew not to leave the baby near an open flame… well, I think so anyway.

OK, I oversimplify. To be honest, while we may not have learned a lot new in the class, it did totally help with my sense of confidence – as I’m going to be totally responsible for this little person very soon – and that terrifies me!

Kitchen renovations start

They say that women start to get the urge to nest somewhere late in their 3rd trimester. They want to clean everything and put everything in order. Throughout my pregnancy, I’d been sort of happily waiting for this to happen and using it as an easy excuse to put off doing any real cleaning or organizing. I mean, look, I’m going to filled with energy and the need to do this later, so why not wait for that time when I really WANT to do it all, as I’m kind of tired now and would prefer to sit on the couch with my feet up?

What the books don’t tell you about is the male version of nesting. I’d say it was just my husband, but a good friend of mine experienced something similar when her husband decided that they should buy a bigger place and move in her 6th month. My husband’s version was to redo the kitchen. We’d been wanting to do this for awhile and putting it off for quite awhile too. I should give some background. My husband is very handy. Really, he’s done some amazing work in our place. He’s totally redone the bathrooms – gutted them and put new walls up. He’s carpeted the bedrooms, put up chair rail and crown molding. He’s good. But he’s not a contractor. He has a full time job – more than a full time job as he’s constantly also taking classes or teaching classes or doing something more. So these projects happen around the full time job schedule. This means that when he redid the master bathroom, all my bathroom supplies were in a few brown paper bags at the foot of our bed for about 4 months. I’d look over past the closets to this gaping construction project – no walls, remember? - and be horrified. Dust and dry wall and God knows what would get traipsed through the whole place and I’d have to climb over his tools to get to my closet to get dressed. I’d try to bite my tongue as I know he does good work and it would look awesome (and the homespun approach was saving us a bundle overall), but every few weeks I’d have a freak out at the total mess that we were living in. There’d be some push to move forward and some cleaning up of tools / remnants that would last for a little while and then it would all spread throughout our home and lives again until the next freak out.

Now this was bad enough for a bathroom, as we do have two. I was VERY worried about the kitchen though – as we don’t have a spare. My husband had wanted to start the project in November in the “break” he had between two classes. To define the break – the classes were all above and beyond his normal workload and unpaid – so he’d have class from 8-5 Mon – Fri and have to take time off if his shift fell on one of those days (and then go to work after class till it was time to go to class in the morning). He’d still have to work his shift on the weekends – and sometimes make up for a weekday missed. The classes lasted 2 weeks – so he went 10-14 days without a single day off. During this break, he had only his normal shift and didn’t have to also go to class. It was his “slower” week so he only had one 24 hour shift, but still. I finally convinced him that using the one week that was “semi” off between 2 sets of working 14 days straight (many of those 24 hour days) was crazy and exhausting. He agreed but insisted that this would get done before Christmas as that was his last chance before the baby came. I figured I’d deal with that when the time came and hope to convince him otherwise. Maybe he’d forget…

But no. At 33 weeks pregnant, he told me he was starting the kitchen renovations. This involved ripping down a wall (and rewiring everything in the wall), retiling the kitchen (and the hallway from the front door), putting in new countertops and painting. He also adding some crown molding, new doors and other “small” touches, but you’ve got the basic picture. Oh, I forgot the fridge / icemaker were located on the wall that was coming down, so the pipes would need to be replumbed to another wall.

He promised me this would all be done by Christmas (about 10 days away). I suggested that he could have till New Year’s, as it was really a lot to get done, but by early January I really wanted our house totally in order as this baby could arrive anytime then.

So even if I wanted to clean and nest like crazy now, the option isn’t so much there – as the contents of my kitchen fill my living room and dining room and the kitchen is no more. Baby, I hope you’re comfortable / not planning an early visit.

The baby showers: Pregnancy - 29 weeks and 32 weeks

Towards the beginning of my third trimester, I had my first baby shower. Yes, you read that right. My first. There was more than one. Technically, I guess there were 3 – one for my VA friends. One for my NJ friends and family. And one at work. Or, well three for me, but hosted as noted.

My husband’s sister put this one together and did a beautiful job as she always does. As always things were far more planned and formal than I think (and than anything I do. If I ever offer to host a party for you, you may want to wait to see if you get other … better!... offers first.) She rented an old schoolhouse which is now part of the parks authority and had Balducci’s do most of the catering. Everything was so nice (I know – I’m pregnant. I’m easily impressed by an abundance of little cakes. But still – it was all very nice.) and well put together. And we got so many wonderful and adorable things! I’ve never been a huge fan of bridal or baby showers. (I actually didn’t have a bridal shower myself, but instead a wedding shower – no games, dinner/drinks/dj and no gift opening – so basically just a party. Again this was one that I pictured could just be a simple backyard bbq and wound up being a somewhat formal catered affair with a cocktail hour, an extensive buffet, etc. Back to my point on why you should let my Mom host your next party rather than me. If I offer, really, feel free to ask if she or my sister in law is available instead.) Anyway, as I said, I’ve never been a huge fan of them, but I did enjoy this one – OK, yes, that could be because I got a lot of presents… But I think it’s also, possibly more importantly, because there were no games! No games and lots of little cakes…

The second baby shower was also again just far more than I was thinking (yet another person who you should take up on the hosting offer over me). My cousin had it at her house, but she had it catered and had wait staff! I arrived and was offered a choice of drinks – all sorts of juices available to accommodate me and wine and champagne to accommodate others (I want to go to one of these NOT pregnant!). The food was great – but there could have been nothing beyond the chocolate covered strawberries and I would have enjoyed it thoroughly. She also ordered custom pink M&M’s with “ladybug” (our in utero nickname for the baby) and “girl pearl” (my parents name for me as a baby) on them. It was all so nice! And everyone was SO GENEROUS again! We won’t have to buy clothes for this child for years! But we also got tons of other registry items (even the less “fun” ones to buy) so we’re starting to feel CLOSER to ready. Not ready. But closer.

A friend emailed me a week or two ago telling me how this was her favorite part of pregnancy – when everything was done and the room was ready and you could just good sit in the quiet of the nursery, waiting. Is she kidding? We still need to turn the office into the nursery! And then find a place to put all this awesome loot we’ve acquired!

The emergency room trip: Pregnancy - 26 weeks

No tour through pregnancy would be complete without the necessary detours to small points of crazy, so here’s mine.

I tried to do my best to not over-react and go crazy on EVERY single little thing that happens during my pregnancy. There will be LOTS of weirdness, of course. My body is changing tons and who knows what’s going on. It’s certainly all new to me. So lots of things that feel weird or odd are probably normal and I shouldn’t overreact. It helps that I am ADDICTED to pregnancy websites and always have to ready EVERY detail of each week on the website as the week starts. As I’m progressing pretty normally, I’m usually pretty well on par with what the sites suggest will be going on in that week, which means I have a little head start on what to expect and don’t wind up shocked as often.

But that’s not to say that I won’t come up with things to stress about / go crazy over.

The first thing I hadn’t even mentioned (as it didn’t involve a trip to the ER?). It was just one night that I was convinced the baby wasn’t moving enough. Had I felt her move all afternoon? I’m not sure… Why wasn’t she moving now? I called the doctor and the lady at the answering service was VERY kind. I’m thinking she deals with a lot of crazy day to day. I apologized for my call, as I know I’m being crazy, but she very kindly told me that that was what the doctors were there for. The doctor told me to lie down and drink something cold and see if she moved at all. I’d been trying that (as the billion websites I look at had said something similar) while I waited for her call back. She’d moved just a little, but far less than normal. The doctor told me that any movement was fine and not to worry about it.

The second flash of crazy is a little more in depth. I was at work and it was getting late in the afternoon – about 5. I had gone to the restroom and when I wiped, I suddenly noticed blood. I froze as I looked down at the piece of tissue. Oh God – what is this? But I tried to be rational – it’s probably hemorrhoids. Why I never thought I’d be so happy to possibly have hemorrhoids! But on a second check… the blood didn’t seem to be coming from butt. I wasn’t entirely positive, but it seemed more like it was coming from the front. Oh God.

By the time, I got back to my desk, it was after 5, so my call went to the answering service again – with a promise of a call back. I decided to shut down immediately and start heading home as the hospital was near my house (45 minutes away), not my office. I decided to go to the bathroom one more time to see what was going on now. This time I didn’t notice any blood. OK, good sign. But what did the first blood mean?

I started driving home and called My husband (who was unfortunately at work). I couldn’t get him! I left a message – panicked, but trying hard not to be – saying I was waiting for the doctor to call me back, but I was sure it was no big deal. I called a few more times (hanging up and redialing when it went to voicemail), hoping he could pick up, but nothing. The doctor finally called me back. She said if it was just a little blood it was PROBABLY nothing, but the options were to go to the hospital where she was now or to wait and go to the office first thing. She said it could probably wait, but didn’t want me to stress all night, so it was up to me. I told her I’d defer to her judgment and she told me to come in.

The thought of going to the hospital had me flipping out a little. I wanted to call me best friend, but she’d JUST had a baby 2 days before and really, I mean, she had her hands full as it was. I tried calling My husband a few more times and left an update on his voicemail. And then I was stuck. I couldn’t call my Mom and stress her out. I couldn’t call my mother in law and stress her out. I managed to talk to his sister calmly and pretend I was just stuck late at work to ask if she could let our dog, Shiloh, out (apparently I managed to be convincing to her). I didn’t want to call my cousin, as she wasn’t my source for baby advice and tended to say things like ‘you’re so lucky you’re not pregnant so you can drink’ (during her 6th month with her second baby) to our other cousin who’d had 4 miscarriages. I decided to call another friend as I needed SOMEONE I could stress to. Someone who would be rational and talk me down. I got Maria on the phone and she calmed me down a bit. And then I got to the hospital.

I thought that the doctor was just going to squeeze in a consult the way she described it. I should know better. I should know that they don’t do that. I was admitted to the hospital. They asked me questions like – would I allow visitors if I had to stay overnight (what? Overnight? I’m not going to be here overnight!)? And what was the name of our pediatrician? Then they sent me up to L&D Triage where they put me on a monitor for the baby’s heart and ‘potentially’ for contractions. Oh God.

Finally the doctor came by and THANK GOD there was no vaginal bleeding. But then she checked – and there wasn’t rectal bleeding either. Upon inspection, she noticed some irritation in the perineum – probably from wiping too hard with cheap toilet tissue! The bargain brand toilet tissue at the office (combined with my 34 trips a day to go pee) cost me $180 in copays and A LOT of my sanity. We won’t get into what part of my dignity it cost…

My husband arrived after the exam while I was still on the fetal heart monitor (she wanted to watch the strips for a bit as long as I was there). He’d managed to make it all the way around the city in about 20 minutes!

Feeling exhausted… and not a little bit stupid… we met his sister at our place (he’d explained what was really going on as she’d apparently believed my poor acting) and got some dinner.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The new doctor

Early in the second trimester, we did actually find a new doctor who had privileges at the hospital we wanted. The practice actually had 7 or 8 doctors, but a couple were specifically recommended. I made an appointment with one and we “interviewed” her and asked about the practice / our options. One thing that I really wanted was I preferred to have a female doctor. This practice was mostly female, but there were a couple of male doctors. As the clock was ticking and we needed to find someone decent, I decided to acknowledge and move on and take my chances. I figured I could schedule my consults with the women and if it happened to be one of the men who actually delivered the baby – well, like I’d care at that moment. I doubted I’d have a preference on man, woman or gorilla then!

By the way, I know many of you reading this are thinking – what’s your problem? Why can’t it be a male doctor? Are you that uptight? And the answer is – yes, yes I am that uptight. Honestly, I can’t give you more than that. I could say it’s just a matter of preference and in an non-emergent situation, what does it really matter? I’m not so crazy that I’d refuse to have a male ob/gyn if I was in urgent need of a doctor – I, in fact, HAVE had gone to men in emergency cases and it’s been just fine. (I’ve gone to male GPs and dermatologists and whatever else – this isn’t a feminism thing.) But if the choice is there, I’d prefer a female. Sure, in part it’s because she shares the parts and has some better potential inkling towards what I’m experiencing, but really if you want to get to the heart of it – yes, it’s because I’m uptight. And I figure when the choice is there, why not be more comfortable? I mean, there’s nothing whatsoever comfortable about late pregnancy, so why not take what you can when you can. So now that we’ve cleared that one up –

She told me that their practice GENERALLY liked you to see all doctors, but it wasn’t a requirement – as long as I understood that it might be a man who actually delivered the baby. Yes, I’ve got it. OK, we’re good.

As they preferred me to see all doctors, I figured I could see the male doctors in my earlier appointments that didn’t include a pelvic exam – I just checked what would be done each time before coming in. But, of course, this backfired once. No pelvic exam was scheduled, but they decided that they wanted a pap smear. Now, as an aside, I wanted to push back on getting this done regardless because I’d had one at my last doctor and didn’t want to do a test I wasn’t sure my insurance would cover. But – you know I figure it’s bad enough to have to meet so many women for the first time with your pants off, must I meet men that way too?

The doctor came in to talk to me about this – agreeing that I didn’t have to do the pelvic exam (as I’d had one already / insurance / etc.), but still going on about how I should see all the doctors and he might be the one to deliver our munchkin. We had some back and forth on semantics (you really have to see all the doctors. Me – but the other doctor said. Him – no, that’s what I said too. You don’t have to, but you should. … yeah, whatever) and all the while he was talking I noticed his verbal ticks. The largest and most annoying was his dragged out pronunciation of the word “well” – “Weeeeeeellllll” – and he used it to preface so many answers! He was like a Seinfeld character. Driving home, I told Dan that after all that I was sure this man would be delivering our baby – “weeeeeellllll, you’re 8 centimeters dilated.” By the end of pushing (when he said “weeelllll, she’s coming out), I was pretty sure I’d ‘accidentally’ kick him in the head…

Friends visit: Pregnancy – 21 weeks

About midway through my pregnancy some friends of mine decided to come down for a visit. I’ve known them both forever, but have to admit we’re not quite as close in recent years as we have been. Basically I think the divide started when my one friend had her first baby 5 years ago. I’d definitely heard about this happening – you have kids so you have less in common with your friends without kids and you start to make other friends. And I know it’s happened with other friends too, but it definitely felt more pronounced with her. There may be a lot of reasons for this (I may discover all new reasons as my daughter arrives), but my theory is that it hinges on time. This may seem obvious – you have kids, you have less time. But that’s not actually what I mean. What I mean is that she CONSTANTLY tells me how she has no time. She is so busy and has no time and I don’t understand and can’t possibly understand how busy and time constrained she is. Because she has NO time. None at all. She stressed and overworked and too busy, but can’t stop. And anytime I suggest that maybe she needs to take a little time for herself, she tells me that she can’t because there isn’t any time and I’m so lucky not to have kids because I have time – which she doesn’t. Doesn’t have time, that is. None. (Get the point?)

Anyway, she told me that she and our other friend wanted to come visit me because they wanted a weekend away from the kids and I’m their only friend who doesn’t have kids. So, I was, of course, feeling really good about being the first choice friend to visit (hello? Hormones, anyone?), but was coupling that feeling with – jeez, are we STILL playing the “I have kids and you don’t” song? I’m halfway to a baby now!

So they arrived on Friday evening when I got home from work. I specifically chose a weekend when my husband was working Saturday. Most of the weekend went fairly well (OK, so there were a few comments I was less than thrilled with – in this case, it was the number of times she noted how small our condo was – once was that it was too small for a party and the other was the authoritative announcement that we didn’t need a baby monitor and shouldn’t register for one. But again, there are hormones at play here too). We went out to dinner on Saturday and to the movies because “you should do this now as you won’t EVER get to go again once you have kids.” (The side note here is that we actually haven’t been to the movies in probably a year anyway, as there never seems to be anything good out – certainly nothing worth $10 that’s playing when we want. And I can barely hold off peeing long enough to see anything now anyway!) But regardless of whether I cared that this was something I’d give up in a post baby world, they wanted to take advantage of a child-free weekend to go, so OK.

The real edge of crazy came on Sunday at lunch. We decided to go out to lunch and my husband joined us as he was home from work. One friend had parked her car on the street in front of the other’s house and left it there as they drove together. Apparently someone had hit it (hit and run) on Saturday night. When they found this out, my friend called her husband to tell him. His first reaction was to ask why she hadn’t moved the car into the driveway. Now on the one hand, I understand that that’s not a particularly useful response as it’s really too late to do anything about it. But on the other hand, I can see how that the gut reaction. Her view of this, though, was that he wasn’t supportive, so she started bawling to him and then to all of us. My husband and I couldn’t figure out why… But we tried to be supportive and make her feel better, as did our other friend (although amusingly, her response to make her feel better was to tell her that she bet my husband said mean things to me to make me cry all the time too! Not that her own husband did, but throwing mine (who was sitting right there!) under the bus…).

Anyway, other than that the weekend was fairly uneventful. She did offer tons of advice and told me to call her anytime with questions – which was nice of her, although she seems so overwhelmed by and unhappy about parenting that she’s really not my first choice for an approach to follow…

They can’t all be hand me downs – starting to register – 20 weeks

A friend of mine had told me about the process of registering when she and her husband went the first time. She said they decided to start with bottles as they thought that would be easy and then they were brought to a WALL of bottles. She started to feel light headed and he had to push her around in the wheelchair for the rest of the registering process. (For those who have never done this, they really do have a wheelchair in the store. I think it’s generally meant for the 39 week pregnant woman who in a sudden crazed fit of nesting realizes she NEEDS another onesie / pacifier / wipes warmer / etc. before the baby arrives – because horrible things might happen to the baby and its whole life would be ruined if she didn’t have this.)

I thought she was exaggerating or being dramatic (though, truth be told, I did believe she’d gone for the wheelchair. My husband believed it too – and summarily told me that this would NOT be happening in our case, so bring my walking shoes). Then I got there. Now I’ve been to baby stores before. I’ve bought gifts for friends or gone along. I’d gotten lists from friends of what I “really” needed and had the lists the stores provide (because you actually do NEED 10 of the expensive ones) and yet – whoa is there a lot of stuff! There are so many choices to be made…

We started out with bottles / feeding stuff and tried to move through the store, but through every category we stopped to say – hmm, well, let’s ask a friend. Let’s check with the guys who teach the car seat class at the fire department. Let’s hold off on that one. My husband finally pulled me aside and said – look, we actually have to make SOME decisions and choose some stuff. I eventually acquiesced (knowing I could just delete it online later…).

And that was just the small stuff… We managed to hold off on making a decision about a carseat / stroller because My husband was going to check with the carseat experts he worked with, but we were going to have to move forward on a crib. The one saving grace I had in the crib search was the book Baby Bargains. It’s the first book I’d send any pregnant friend from now on. I’d tried reading it before going to the store and it was completely overwhelming and just too much info. But using it as a reference while I worked through the selection of cribs really helped. For instance, we found a great one we really liked at Target that was a good price. We were all set to buy it, but decided to check the book and saw that it had an “F” rating due to safety concerns as several babies were seriously injured and died before it was recalled. OK, not that one then. I think it was at that moment that the book became my Bible. I mean, clearly, without it, I would have KILLED my newborn child! The book had literally SAVED HER LIFE! I should strap it to me and never leave home without it. Yes, so if you haven’t figured it out, I became a somewhat obnoxious (hmm, others may argue my “somewhat” status) disciple of the book – a used crib or car seat? Are you kidding me?! It might not meet current safety standards! It might be missing a part! It might be made by the devil himself!

It took a little bit for me to come back from that edge (I’ll go ahead and blame the pregnancy hormones rather than any potential OCD nature on my part. Yes, the hormones. That is it…). However, luckily, I’m somewhat lazy and eventually didn’t want to have to cross reference pacifiers and brands of bedding for every decision made, so I was able to step back.

That said, registering was still a multi-trip affair. And I did have to talk My husband back from buying the most expensive version of everything (I know – we were clearly meant to be rich and there’s been some mistake. But until that’s corrected…).

18 Week Sonogram - It's a ...! : Pregnancy 18 weeks

We finally got to the 18 week sonogram. I can’t believe it. It feels like it’s been a long time in a lot of ways – as we’ve waited and guessed and wondered. But maybe not so long since we just told our parents a couple of months ago. So many people have asked me if I “know.” You know – women’s intuition, a mother knows, those feelings you get… And honing in on my 6th sense I have to say – nope. Nada. Not a clue. Some earth mother type I make!

I guess if pushed I think it MIGHT be a girl, but my first point of logic on this is flawed – it’s because I think I might a little bit want it to be a girl. Really, it’s a first baby and I’m just happy to be pregnant! And one day down the road I think I might like one of each. But if I’m not going to get variety in my children, I know that I don’t want two boys! So I think I sort of want this to be a girl… My second point of logic on why I think it might be a girl is much more “spot on.” We have a boy’s name, but don’t have anything for a girl. Logic therefore dictates a girl.

What’s funny is how many other people have told me what they definitely think it is. The woman at my salon thinks a boy – her logic: my face hasn’t changed enough for a girl (the “a girl steals your beauty” theory). Another friend has said absolutely a boy and she’s always been right with her guesses for friends and family. My husband’s friends all seem to be saying a boy (one will point to my bump and refer to the baby as his nephew), but I think this is just their wishful thinking.

So how did the sono go?

We got there in the morning and waited our turn. The tech told me she would do the tests she needed and then turn the screen and show me everything. I agreed – big mistake. She never really turned the screen all the way! She was busy looking for parts (DOING HER JOB) and I mostly sat with my head a weird angle trying to catch a glimpse of… my daughter! Yes, it’s a girl! I nearly cried when they told me – though I think I would have reacted exactly the same way for a boy. It was just so exciting – so much more this real person living inside me. I’m not showing a ton yet (a little now – but I’m at a point where most God fearing people would be scared to ask if I was expecting for fear that I’ve just gained weight). I’ve started to feel HER moving around a little bit on occasion, but it’s all so surreal still. I’m never exactly sure about the feeling. I know the books describe the early feeling as like popcorn popping. That was so nondescript to me! What does that mean? Then one day I noticed a little feeling in my belly. I started to think – huh, yeah, OK, I might actually describe that as feeling like popcorn popping now that you mention it… I also noticed the butterflies feeling – but again was surprised. I thought it meant it would feel like butterflies wings or something – instead it feels like that nausea in the pit of your stomach when you’re nervous. Great! Sadly I can’t get more descriptive. I think it feels like someone gently tapping on my abdominal muscle – but from the inside. Hmm – aren’t I helpful?

Anyway, all these pictures – that mostly “DAD” got to see rather than me! He loved seeing her jump around (I was jealous). At one point she was kicking away and My husband looked at me and said – how can you not feel that? Ha – I guess it looks bigger on screen! And now we know she’s a her!

And the reactions – our families were excited. Our friends with daughters were clearly ready to welcome us into the club (esp. the dads to My husband). But a few of his friends replied – are they really sure? Can they check again? Boys! I do have one colleague who adamantly does NOT want to know the gender. I think this is so funny, as we’re not particularly close. I mean, it’s not his kid or his family member or even a close friend – why care? I wasn’t surprised that he had a definite opinion about me finding out the gender (doesn’t everyone?), but why did he care if he found out when I knew? Very odd…

The Babymoon: Pregnancy week 14 &15

We decided to take a trip at about week 14 of my pregnancy as it’d be our last chance. My husband was starting two classes at the end of the summer – one of which would last past my pregnancy – so it was “now or never.” So it was a little early for the “typical” babymoon (I wasn’t showing yet and we were taking our chances on morning sickness – a battle I lost, for the record!) We were feeling a little bit tight on cash and I wasn’t sure how much stamina I’d have for too great a trip anyway, so we decided to head down to my Mom’s condo on the beach in FL (while she was snow birding in NJ). We booked flights on Spirit Air, as it was the least expensive and flew at the times we wanted. And we got what we paid for…

We left on an early morning flight on Monday. I was feeling a little queasy from the get go, but the early morning hour and pregnancy will do that to you, so I figured it would pass. I just opened a window and breathed deeply through our cab ride to the airport while trying to surreptitiously pull out the plastic barf bag without the driver noticing. Somehow I made it there the contents of my stomach intact and we muddled through the check in progress.

By the time, we got on the flight, I was pretty certain I wouldn’t make it the whole way, so I asked the first flight attendant I saw for some ginger ale. She was really kind and got me some that she even stirred to flatten for me. Her kindness indicates that she probably was a new transfer to Spirit and hadn’t gotten their training. To avoid telling you ongoing puking stories about both trips, I’ll combine details of each (the return flight is more vivid anyway).

As it’s the 21st century – nothing is free on these flights. Not even the water needed post air sickness (ok, well morning sickness – but morning sickness on a plane!) for which they have no ice. I managed to make it to the bathroom to get sick once, but mostly I was glad I’d packed those plastic bags. Why? You might ask – when the plane has air sickness bags? Well, because we were flying the Greyhound of the skies and my seat had no air sickness bag and the bag at my husband’s seat when he reached in to open it … was used! Ugh! Enough to make you lose it if you weren’t already sick! He went to go get another one (and, you know, wash his hand!) – and it turned out that one was used as well! I was in the bathroom while he was picking that up and he decided to wait for me at the back of the plane, as I was a bit shaky. The flight attendants – each of whom was seated on the aisle seat of either side of the empty back row – told him he couldn’t stand back there. As he was worried about me, he asked if he could wait seated in one of the empty back row seats. They said no! Always diminutive, he told them that customer service was dead and they sucked before returning to his seat. When I came out of the bathroom, they asked if I’d gotten sick in there (honestly, it was almost accusatory – like, am I going to have to clean that crap up?!). I said yes. They didn’t offer me water or any sort of drink, but told me I could take a larger garbage bag, as it would work better. Then they told me that that tried to give my husband the bag, but he wouldn’t take it for me. As if the whole conversation hadn’t taken place within 5 feet of the bathroom where I stood and I hadn’t heard them! Now they were making up a story to get him in trouble because he yelled at them! I think I was just sick because the baby was revolting against this airline – “um, excuse me, I believe there’s been a mistake… I was meant to be born to a financially solvent family…”

All that said in terms of travel, the vacation itself was wonderful. It did take me the first day to recover from traveling, but by the next we were able to just enjoy. We went down to the pool and just floated on the foam noodles for hours and went into the ocean (which was very warm!) and floated there for awhile too. Unfortunately My husband got rather burnt in that endeavor! So the next day, he didn’t want to get too much sun – so he willingly agreed to go shopping with me! I bought my first maternity clothes (which were becoming quite necessary!) – which was much less stressful with a companion to help! Generally the return policies (or lack thereof!) at those stores makes it too hard for me to shop there. I don’t know what size I’ll be when I’m REALLY pregnant, but my clothes don’t quite fit now so I need to start purchasing things for the day I can’t button my khakis (yes, my fat pants). I need to have at least one option in my closet besides sweats! Even if it is casual Friday at my office, sweats don’t really fly… But My husband is an excellent shopper! He helped me find some work pants and several nice shirts.

By the next day, he was back to pool shape – with SPF 800 and a t-shirt on to protect his skin. Ah yes, good to take time to work on the farmer / redneck tan! By the end of the vacation he told me that I’d even begun to convince him of the merits of a do nothing vacation! Now THERE is some good news!

We got to see some family that lives in the area as well, which was really nice! And we had a few nice dinners out. All in all, it was very relaxing – just what the doctor ordered before the mayhem of life – his classes, work, pregnancy, baby prep – ensues!

Hand me down Heaven! Pregnancy week 17

I know I mentioned that I bought some maternity clothes while on vacation, but the truth is the stocks were still pretty limited. I had one pair of khakis for work and 4 dressier shirts. Other than that, I’d bought several t-shirts one size up and was still able to wear two pairs of (fat) pants, but they were quickly reaching their limits. I had a couple pairs of casual pants that were low enough waisted to serve me as well, but things were getting tight (in more ways than one). My Mom was trying to help by sending things from the thrift shop she volunteers with, but there were a few issues. The largest was that my Mom’s usually decent taste (or decent understanding of my taste) seems to have slipped with my pregnancy. She keeps choosing bad 80’s clothes – things that I’m guessing just won’t sell at the shop – coolots and the like. The second is – well, has anyone else noticed that sizes have changed in recent years? Everything has gotten a little bit bigger. I can still buy things the size I wore just after college, but if I try to put on the clothes I still have from then – that are ostensibly the same size – they are too small. So, my Mom is buying things one size larger than I “normally” wear now, but they are these bad 80’s clothes so they are sized smaller than things made now and therefore don’t fit at all. If you saw some, you’d know I wasn’t crying too much over the lack of fit.

But then through my desert of maternity store stress (how many things do I really need? Will I wear this? Will it fit in 3 months?), thrift store “bargains” and my fat pants came an oasis! A very good friend of my sister in law has had 3 kids and is DONE. Absolutely and emphatically. She’s about 1-2 inches taller than me and just a little thinner than me “in real life,” so her maternity clothes work wonders on me! The real joy is that with 3 kids, she’s got tons! Just bags of clothes – work stuff, casual stuff, even formalwear! I’m completely outfitted! And the stuff is so much nicer than what I was finding at maternity stores! A lot of it is stuff I’d want to wear regardless! Thank heaven!

My Mom also came to visit with some loaners from a friend of hers (she has a daughter and 2 daughters in law about my size with some stuff I could borrow). Ironically, all of them combined have less stuff than Karoline did, but I found a few good things there too. And Mom did buy me a few sweaters as an early birthday gift (grandma can’t resist starting to spoil early!). Given all of it, I’ve got some good options – and, thank goodness, can essentially avoid the maternity stores for some time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Morning sickness should stop at the end of the first trimester – ha!

I probably started feeling a little queasy from the moment I found out I was pregnant. Truth be told, I knew things weren’t sitting right a few days before that. But most of the early morning sickness was probably psychosomatic. Yes, I’m one of THOSE people… I wasn’t too worried about it and it didn’t really last much. Until…

Right around week 10, things started to pick up. You know, it’s not like I’m so psyched to go to work in the morning anyway – especially not with pregnancy fatigue – so adding in the pit stops on the drive in where I pull over to christen someone’s lawn has not been so much fun… I’ve gotten a couple of lawns and the parking lot at work, but recently I’ve started to favor the Target which is just shy of my office. I can’t quite make it to the building and must stop short to visit this parking lot a few mornings a week. I guess I shouldn’t have whined so much about that, though, as most recently I haven’t QUITE made it to the parking lot – thank God I’m anal retentive enough to plan for this and have a plastic bag in the car for such occasions. I’m also amazed at what will set me off now – it’s all kind of crazy. I was doing pretty well eating the frozen “healthy” lunches for several weeks, but when I went to put mine in the fridge the other day, the mere site of the butternut squash box sent me running for the bathroom! Thank God I made it – barely.

I think it’s just been picking up since there, sadly – and I thought it was meant to be winding down now! It’s not every day – only a couple days a week – but at least one is usually kick my butt, keep me in bed all day. (I’m going to write separately on our trip, but I’ll comment for the moment that flying was NOT fun in this state.) The one really bad day for some reason tends to be Sunday – I think possibly the baby isn’t Catholic, as it tends to start up in church. I haven’t made it through a whole mass without a restroom (or plants outside…) run in several weeks.

What kills me is every time I look it up in a book or online it says – now that you are at week 14, 15, 16 – your morning sickness should be over and you should be starting to feel a lot better. I want to throw the baby book at the offending message on the screen! No! I don’t feel better as it happens. I’m still going through bouts of throwing up recognizable food (my stomach is like a really gross cuisinart) – which, still being in pieces, scratches my throat on the way up! My husband, being very sweet, actually went to the store specifically in search of – things it won’t hurt so much to throw up. Really? Really, this is how we judge nutritional value now? Ugh… Ah well, off to enjoy my carnation instant breakfast and consommĂ©. Maybe I’ll have some jello for dessert.

The 12 week sonogram: Pregnancy – week 12

So finally it was time for the 12 week sonogram! We’d been looking forward to this one. I mean, every sonogram is fun and exciting – you get the reassurance that all is going well, but you get the pictures and all that too! We had debated whether to have the 12 week as we weren’t too concerned with the testing to be done (we’d wanted this baby so long and had what felt like such a long road to this point, we didn’t care what the test said), but we eventually decided it would be good to know the results – and anyway, most important, we wanted the pictures!

We got to the offices and waited our turn. There were several other women waiting for sonograms and my husband couldn’t help but wonder quietly to me – where are all the other dads? He was just as excited for this as I was and didn’t want to miss it. (A friend later noted that maybe some of the other women were on their 2nd or 3rd children – but I still think you’d want to see. It’s exciting! OK, so ask me again if we have more.) Whether it was just because we were both there or because of the palpable electricity around us in our excitement, the technician immediately guessed that this was our first baby. She was wonderful – picking up on our excitement, letting us see everything and explaining. She actually projected the image onto a large screen so that we could see well also – and it was amazing! I can’t describe all the emotions, but will share that one of my favorite parts was that the baby did not want to wake up / be disturbed for this – my husband said it proved that this was definitely MY kid. He might have a point. At one point, the technician was pushing a little harder with the “wand” to try to get the baby to move for an image she needed – the baby moved his or her hand across his/her forehead. He looked and said – oh the baby is waving! I said, no, the baby is trying to wave away that wand and saying – don’t bother me!

Afterwards the technician printed out the standard images as well as the 3-D. It was SO COOL! If you’ve never seen 3-D sonogram images, you have to check them out! We sent them to our families and I think my Mom was really most blown away. She’d apparently never seen a sonogram, full stop (not even the “standard”). OK, so they didn’t have them when she was pregnant (yes, yes, I’m old, I know), but I still couldn’t believe she’d never seen anyone else’s or seen one in an ad or on tv (she must have?). She forwarded them along to all and my favorite response was from my cousin who said – “I never thought I’d see anything so beautiful on my blackberry.”

Telling our families: Pregnancy – week 11

My husband’s family is much smaller than mine. We each have one sibling, but I have tons of cousins who create a close knit bond of … “extended siblings” who I see at all major holidays and a few other times a year whereas I’ve only met one of his cousins (at our wedding) and he hasn’t seen any of the others since we met 5 years ago. So when it came time to tell our families about the baby, it seemed like it was probably fair to tell his family first. They live near us so we could tell them Thursday night before making the road trip up to NJ to tell my Mom on Friday. His Mom might get to tell a few people in that window, but likely my Mom would be the 4th person to hear our news. Whereas if we told my Mom first on Friday and waited till Sunday to tell his family, they’d be lucky to be the 34th people to hear. And despite my hormones I even managed to stick with that plan as fair, but put in one caveat….

My husband is the worst liar / secret keeper in the world. Women may say that they know their husbands well enough to know he’d never cheat or lie to them or whatever other sin we’re attributing to men these days. And I feel like I know my husband well enough to know that those things just aren’t him, but more to the point, he’s incapable of getting away with a plausible lie or probably even of fully covering his tracks. He thinks I’m somewhat clairvoyant in my ability to guess things at times, but the truth is he often just leaves a lot of clues. So, though we’d agreed not to tell anyone – not our best friends or coworkers or some secret old college roommate we haven’t talked to in years who wouldn’t have anyone to tell – I wasn’t all that sure he would be able to make it without telling his best friend, Dave. So I told him that we could tell his family first as long as he didn’t tell anyone, including Dave. If he did tell Dave, all bets were off and my Mom heard first. I felt pretty secure that this meant I’d get to tell my Mom first.

But the week of our planned trip to NJ came and my husband still hadn’t told Dave (yes, on his word, but I’m telling you! He really can’t tell a lie convincingly!). So Thursday night we decided to meet my in-laws for dinner and brought them a little gift (ostensibly for watching the dog for us AGAIN this weekend). The plan had been to frame a picture of our 12 week sonogram, but, unfortunately, mathematical whiz that I am, I was only 11 weeks along at this point and hadn’t had that sonogram… (to be fair, this isn’t just pregnancy brain. The doctor had actually moved my due date out 8 days at the 6 weeks sonogram). So instead, we framed the 6 week sonogram picture – which essentially just looked like a black and white Rorshach test (what does the fact that I was seeing a baby in that ink blot say about my mental state?!) – with a note that said, you may not see the family resemblance yet, but I hope you will in February. Looking forward to meeting you [insert appropriate grandparent reference here]. We handed the package to my in-laws and waited for their reaction. His Mom opened it and got it pretty fast and started crying. They were very excited! I worried how many baby things (and books and outfits and whathaveyou) she might have bought by the time we got back from NJ on Sunday.

My Mom was not so quick on the uptake. She looked at the frame and said – oh, thank you and started to put it away. As the image was black and white, she thought it was the insert that came with the frame! I told her to look at the picture a little more careful and then she laughed and cried – and ran upstairs to get to be the first one to give us a baby gift. She had a hooded baby towel that apparently she’d been bringing back and forth with her to FL (she snow birds) for a couple years waiting for someone to give her this news! (I later found out that she had a different baby gift for my brother that she’d gotten in Ireland – given his obsession with all things Irish – so this one was specifically waiting news from us.)

So now that the parents knew, we could begin telling the friends. First came my cousin, and another friend. We had brunch planned with them the next morning. Unfortunately morning sickness was just really starting to set in with me, so the idea of going out for food was not sounding like fun at 10:30 when we were scheduled to meet them…. We ran a little late for me to toss my cookies in the bathroom before we left and we met them at a diner nearby.

My friend was apparently immediately suspicious when I didn’t order coffee, but they were all still overall surprised. My cousin couldn’t believe that I had been able to keep it a secret for 12 weeks (well, 11…). She had been one to tell everyone the second she finished peeing on the stick. In fact, we all knew the second she’d been trying. (She’s a little older than me and was married fairly young, so it was so funny to hear her express her disappointment each month when most of my friends were still trying very hard NOT to get pregnant! I know funny is a terrible word to use, but it only took 3 months in any case.)

I won’t go through the details of every friend we told, but will give you some of my favorite highlights. One friend who was 3 months further along than me looked at the picture and immediately knew what it was! She put my Mom to shame with the speed at which she got it – but then again, she looks at them more often these days! Another told me that now that I said it, she knew I had a glow about me – I never knew the glow was a greenish color…

The heartbeat: Pregnancy – week 6

Watching your baby’s heartbeat as a tiny fast paced little flicker on a sonogram is amazingly exciting. But you should know that in order to this you will have to be violated by the robot from Short Circuit. Am I showing my age that my husband kept referring to the “stick” for the vaginal sonogram as Johnny 5? Yes, the Johnny 5 is alive / robot porn comments are an exciting moment in any marriage, I’m sure… But must we do this while I’m hormonal? It probably doesn’t help that the thing actually “wears” a condom for this procedure. (Yes, yes for those of you who are not 30 something year old grade school students, I know that this totally makes sense and is the only sanitary way to do it as the same machine will be used for everyone coming in for tests. But, dude, it’s wearing a condom! Given its size, it also begs the question of whether there are “special” condoms for Johnny 5 – and yes, I do see the irony of junior high humor with bad 80’s references…).

So leaving aside my adolescent thoughts on the machine (but then again, I got pretty intimate with it and feel like maybe it’s OK for me to have a nickname for it… ok, ok, I’m done), the image on the screen is pretty cool! There on screen is this tiny flashing little light which is your baby’s heart already racing (and wouldn’t yours be racing with that thing coming at you? OK, yes, I know!). After seeing that, the doctor told me that we could start to be “cautiously optimistic” that things were going to work this time. We’d never gotten this far before and it was exciting! We got to take home the first blurry smudged pictures of our baby. And I could let myself buy baby books!

Ah yes, the baby books… After 2 strikes, I didn’t want to go buy any right away just in case. Or maybe I should rephrase – I desperately WANTED to go buy some, but wouldn’t let myself. Of course, after 16 years of Catholic school (4 years with the Jesuits), I’d figured out my way around any rule and had become a maternity website ADDICT. I spent all my free time at work (and much not exactly free time…) looking up pregnancy websites. I’ve looked at every single detail of the first 6 weeks of pregnancy – what is happening, what to expect, what’s normal, what are good signs. Of course, I promptly forget last week, the second I’m onto the new week. Who knows what development happens in week 5 – this is week 6! Week 5 is totally old hat – been there, done that. My baby is so much more mature than that!

The first doctor’s visits: Pregnancy Week 4 and week 5

Happily I managed to get into my doctor for my first blood test the day I’d gotten the positive home test. By now, I’d gone through a couple of doctors in my attempts to get pregnant and discovered the one I thought was most responsive. She wasn’t at the hospital I wanted to deliver at, but I figured we could deal with that issue later. Actually, more to the point, I told my husband that as the hospital was his issue (he’s a FF/paramedic and wanted a hospital with a NICU and a surgeon on staff, not on call), it was up to him to find a good doctor with privileges at that hospital. As for me – well, I’d just be busy growing a person over here. Anyway, the other doctor’s I’d tried had put me off any initial appointment till 12 weeks despite my history of miscarriage, so this was the one to start with. I couldn’t wait that long for confirmation.

I got the second blood test to confirm my hcg levels on Monday and knew that things were looking positive by Tuesday. We still had to wait for the 6 week appointment to see the heartbeat. I told myself that then I’d relax (little did I know I was unlikely to relax ever again! As a friend of mine told me – once you’re a Mom, some part of you will be worrying about your child every day for the rest of your life. I’d complain at how lacking in comfort that is except – well, I know she’s right).

So life went on for a little bit in its normal way. Sadly normal can be anything but… We went to a party on Friday night and ran into one of my old coworkers. Matt is the favorite of anyone married and of child bearing age – let alone facing fertility issues. He can’t see me without checking to see if I’m drinking and/or asking if I’m ‘knocked up’ yet. To be fair, he doesn’t know we’re trying. He’s just naturally obnoxious. The second he saw that I was drinking water, his radar was up. Never mind that it’s summer and hot out and I’m driving and might want to pace myself. I spent the rest of the party getting beers for my husband or holding his beer to look more like I was drinking. Poor man – I even backwashed on him a couple of times! Ha – I definitely should have done that with Matt’s beer instead!

The worst part is I have this sinking suspicion that when we do announce we’re expecting, he’ll say ‘I knew it’ because he asked me at this party – even though he asks me EVERY TIME HE SEES ME! This is usually followed by my husband suggesting that such comments will have him drinking his beer – and everything else – through a straw soon, but this has little impact. Ah well.

I'm pregnant

I’m pregnant. Wow. I keep trying to get past that one thought to say anything else about this. But that thought is so big – so overwhelming – I keep getting stuck when I try to get past it. I’m pregnant.

I’ve been pregnant before. Twice actually. Not for long either time as I miscarried very early in the process. The first time I barely knew I was pregnant before it happened. My period was a bit late, so I took a home pregnancy test and it came out negative. I was a bit stressed, so I figured I was just off and went about my life – actually went to a wedding that weekend and drank because – hey, the stick just told me I wasn’t pregnant, so I can. My friends have all told me how much your life and values change when you have kids, but if you ever told me how much value I’d put in a tiny plastic stick – one I’d just peed on no less! – I’m not sure I would have bought it. Anyway, I went to the doctor the next week who wanted to test my progesterone levels (to see why I didn’t have a period yet. The doctor said it wasn’t a real medical issue that I was so late, but seeing as I wanted to have children, it posed something of a problem), but also did a pregnancy test though she said from the pelvic exam (oh good, yes, an extra one of those – I was hoping… and I’m not even pregnant (or so I thought)) there was almost no chance I was pregnant. Well, almost no chance is not none. I was, in fact, pregnant, but the progesterone levels were indicating a problem. I think I started bleeding an hour later. Of course I’d already started crying and freaking about my low progesterone levels and my husband was already on his way home. The second he got home, he took me to the hospital. I didn’t really want to go – I felt resigned to losing it and knew there wasn’t much the hospital could do. And so that baby was gone before we ever even had chance to be excited for him or her.

The second time it took a little longer, but less than a week. That time, I wanted to believe things were different – but somehow I didn’t really. I took a second test to make sure I’d read the first one right. (Yes, I’ve seen those ads for the digital pregnancy tests and thought – who couldn’t read a pregnancy test right? There’s one line or two – it’s simple. But the second line was so faint… Was it really a line? Yes, I’m that person. ) We went to the doctor again to confirm and a few days later to make sure my hcg levels had doubled. I was traveling for work that week, so I actually had to wait more than 2 days for the second test and it felt like forever. And then – my test results got delayed! I called the doctor all day – was everything OK? They finally came back just before the office closed and… they were too low. But maybe that was because they’d been lost all day and sat out I should come back for another test – ah false hope, how I clung to you. Until I started bleeding the next day. This time there was no trip to the hospital. There was a good amount of pain again, but unlike the doctors at the hospital who limited me to pregnancy safe drugs, my OB told me if I was bleeding, I could take what I needed to stop the pain.

After the second time, I began to worry that my body was failing me. I know that miscarriages are not considered a “problem” until you’ve had 3. I felt like I could ‘handle’ one, but the second one had me scared. After this I couldn’t have a miscarriage without it being a “problem.” I’d lost my buffer / my free spin.

And yet, I’m feeling more optimistic this time. I don’t know why – but I feel like things actually ARE different this time. My fingers are crossed and my heart’s on my sleeve….

After I got the positive results (I just started out with the digital one this time – why buy two?), I waited for my husband to get home. He’s a fire fighter and works 24 hour shifts. He usually gets home shortly before I leave for work in the morning. I kept calling him to ask where he was / how close. I didn’t want to tell him over the phone, but there was NO WAY I could wait till this afternoon to tell him. He finally got home and I ran to show him the stick (again – not usually running around with my peed upon objects and showing them off. Usually if I peed on anything other than the inside of the toilet bowl… well, I’d be trying to cover that up now – if sober enough to notice. Because my God, I HOPE there’s some level of alcohol in there to make me wet myself otherwise. But I digress.). As he jumped up and down, I tried to remind him that we needed to wait for more confirmation from the doctor – but somehow we both felt more excited and sure this time.