Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's a Wonderful Life

Our first Christmas with Jane was great, if not a bit stressful. It seems most people forget what it is like to have an infant and have a lot of expectations for what we should be able to do! When your baby's fussy time is in the evening, it's difficult to sit at a holiday gathering. It's also hard for people to understand why she gets crabby when she's passed around from person to person every few minutes. It's no fun for her and not really that fun for us, either.
That said, we did have a good Christmas. My favorite part of the weekend was our little family Christmas with just the three of us on Christmas morning. I wish we had had more time with just our little family, but other obligations mean that isn't possible. It is still so hard for me to share my daughter with others! I just want her all to myself.
Here is the column I wrote this week about Jane's first Christmas.

As you can imagine, my daughter was the center of attention this Christmas. It’s almost as fun as the good old days when yours truly was the center of attention. Or maybe it’s even better.

As expected, Jane’s first Christmas was much more exciting for the rest of us than it was for her. She did get some new toys that she loves, including a sock monkey from her nostalgic parents.

She did not get her first Barbie, even though her Grandma Janet thought she might need one. I told her there was no way a two-and-a-half-month-old would like a Barbie. Imagine my surprise when Jane’s eyes lit up at the sight of her cousin’s new Barbie! She just might take after her aunt, who never did like baby dolls and much preferred Barbie! The story of how she wrote all over her new baby doll’s face because she wanted a Barbie instead is legendary in our family.

Since I can say whatever I want here, I’d like to take this time to brag on my niece and share one of the sweetest gifts Jane received this Christmas. My niece is in third grade, and up until October was the baby of the family. You would think she might be a little bit jealous, but she adores her new cousin.

Morgan used her own money to buy Jane a Christmas gift. She bought her a card, and wrapped the gift herself. It makes me tear up a little bit just thinking about it. What a thoughtful, wonderful thing to do!

We still have two more Christmases to attend this week, even though we have already attended three and had our own little celebration at home on Christmas morning with just the three of us. Normally I’d be all Christmassed-out by this time, but I don’t think I’ll ever tire of celebrating with our little girl. Every moment has been truly priceless.

Even though I know there will be many wonderful holidays to come, I’m not ready for Jane’s first Christmas to be over just yet. There are some moments in live I could live over and over again, and this is one of them.

• • •

Having my own little girl brings the memories of my own childhood Christmases rushing back. Those magical Christmas Eves spent at Grandma Scherbart’s. Our family gift opening on Christmas morning. Heading out to Grandma Widman’s in the afternoon. All of these combined to make for many special holidays.

One of the most memorable Christmas mornings was the year I came downstairs to discover that Santa had not only brought me several Strawberry Shortcake dolls, he had set them up in the living room for me! It was like walking in on toys who had been playing amongst themselves and stopped when I entered the room. I think if I could recreate this today for myself, I would still think it was neat.

Now that I’m a parent, I can start planning such things of my own. I can’t wait to make Jane’s Christmases as special as mine were growing up!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A tough week

Jane has had kind of a tough week. She's been dealing with some congestion that makes it hard for her to sleep, and then yesterday she had her two-month shots. The congestion isn't too big of a deal. It really only bothers her when she's laying on her back, so we've had her sleep sitting up the past couple of nights. I'm thankful that she's on breast milk, which I'm sure is to be credited for the fact that she's not sicker than she is. Her daycare provider even said as much. It is nice to have her support on that! I've heard horror stories about daycare providers trying to push formula and rice cereal on parents.
Her two-month appointment went well. Well, it's more like two-and-a-half months. Originally her appointment had been scheduled for a week ago, but it worked better for us to do it yesterday so we were a little behind. Jane now weighs 13 pounds, 12 ounces, and is 25 inches long. A very healthy girl, in the 95th percentile for weight and 100th percentile for height! She handled the shots relatively well. We had given her a little acetaminophen ahead of time, so she really wasn't even crabby afterward. She screamed bloody murder when the shots were given, of course. She had a little more acetaminophen before bed and slept well, but was feeling pretty rotten this morning and was running a slight temperature. Hopefully she'll be feeling better soon. We'd hate to have a sad girl on Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Oh, the anticipation!

Our first Christmas with Jane is fast approaching and I can hardly wait. Of course this Christmas will be more fun for us than for her, but it's the start of our traditions for our little family. My husband and I used to be so good about getting and wrapping presents for one another, but in recent years we have kind of gotten away from that. This year we are going back to it, and will get up on Christmas morning to open presents together. We'll take lots of pictures and videos to let Jane know how much fun we all had. The best part is that it will be just the three of us, celebrating together in our own way. I can't imagine anything better!

I wrote another column about Jane this week. Some of it was actually recycled from this blog, but I'll use it again anyway!

One thing I’ve noticed in my years on this Earth is that when you reach an important milestone in your life, it brings with it a barrage of questions. The same exact questions, from everyone you see.

When you are graduating high school, there are questions about college. When you’re in college, everyone wants to know how school is going and what you’re going to do when you graduate. Not too bad, right?

Well, when you get married, it gets worse. If my husband and I had a dollar for every time someone asked us “How’s married life treating you?” in our first year of marriage, we would have been rich. It drove us crazy. We so badly wanted to reply, “It’s terrible! I think we’re going to call it quits.”

Then there was, “So when are you two going to have kids?” As if that were anyone’s business! I was tempted to say that every time someone asked me that, it meant another year that we were going to wait.

Finally it settled down a bit. It became obvious that married life must be going well, and that we weren’t in any hurry to add kids into the equation.

Just when everyone had given up on that ever happening, we finally did decide to have a baby. It’s a funny thing, pregnancy. Get pregnant and suddenly people like to comment on your weight. It’s probably the only time in life it’s considered acceptable to do so. Fortunately for me, I did not receive any, “You’re huge!” comments. I personally believe that any pregnant woman who does has every right to pop the person who made it in the nose.

I did get the usual chorus of, “When are you due?” and “Is it a boy or a girl?” I didn’t mind at all. I was excited about our coming arrival and wanted to share our happy news.

Now that our daughter is here, the questions fall more into the, “If I had a dollar …” category. The two most-asked questions we have received as new parents have been, “Is she a good baby?” and “Does she sleep at night?”

The former brings to mind good old Veruca Salt and Willy Wonka's "good egg/bag egg" detector. I picture babies dropping down, with the good babies going on their merry way and the bad ones going down the chute. Honestly, what would someone say if I responded with, "No. She's a terrible baby."

Maybe the fact that I find this question somewhat ridiculous means that I really do have a good baby. Sure, I joke around about driving her to Grandma Janet’s in the middle of the night, leaving her in a basket on the doorstep, ringing the doorbell and running away. After all, we can’t be good all the time. I can’t. Can you? Grandma Janet, by the way, doesn’t seem to mind crabby babies at all.

I never know what to say to the second question. Of course she sleeps at night. She sleeps during the daytime, too. Does anyone really expect a newborn to sleep through the night? (Actually, for babies the definition of “sleeping through the night” might surprise most people—it means sleeping for five to six hours at a stretch.) I certainly do not and had no such expectations. I’m not that good at sleeping through the night myself.

As a new mother, I’ve gotten acquainted with late-night television. One evening recently I was watching a late-night show and the host was visiting with an actress, who happens to have had a baby this year. What did he ask her? You guessed it!

I wonder how these became the standard questions to ask new parents. It’s an interesting sociological matter.

I suppose these questions are better than what people will be asking us next. I’m just waiting for, “So, when are you going to have another one?” If you plan to ask that one, have your dollar ready!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Adventures in parenting

My boss has asked me to start writing a weekly column about my experiences as a new parents. Here is my first one, published this week:

Nine weeks ago when I left work, I had the distinct feeling that I should clear my desk. My husband had the same feeling that afternoon. Sure enough, just over two days later, we became parents for the first time. Jane Olina, named in honor of her grandmothers, was born on her due date, Oct. 8, 2010. She was nine pounds, six ounces, and nearly 23 inches long.

After 10 years of it being just the two of us (and various pets), our lives have changed drastically. Becoming a parent is one of the hardest and best things I’ve ever done.

Stepping out of the hospital with our new daughter in tow was a shock to the system. We’d been in our hospital room with lovely nurses to help us, and now we were being thrown out into the world with a new, tiny person to take care of. To make matters worse, we couldn’t even go straight home. We needed to stop and pick up a couple of prescriptions first.

The first thing I noticed when we left the hospital was how stupid everyone else was. Couldn’t they see that we had a newborn here? Don’t you idiots know how to drive? Watch it with that shopping cart! I was hyper-aware of everything going on around me.

The first few days at home were exhausting and a complete blur. Of course when we should have been sleeping, we were taking the baby to meet great-grandma and entertaining visitors. I was torn between just wanting to be left alone and wanting to show off our new daughter.

The new hyper-awareness also continued. The first night, my poor husband was up every few minutes checking on the baby. I finally told him that he really needed to stop, or none of us were going to get any sleep.

Thankfully we became much more relaxed as the days wore on. Diaper changes and feedings became second nature. We say “good job” to burps (no one says this to me when I burp) and have deep discussions about whether it’s poop or just toots. We have lots of snuggle time, too.

Little Jane has gone from being a newborn who does nothing but eat, sleep, and poop, to an engaging two-month-old who coos and smiles. She thinks I’m one of the most hilarious people on the planet, a genius at peek-a-boo.

There have already been many firsts: the first time she smiled, the first time she reached out to grab a toy, her first time trick-or-treating, first Thanksgiving, and first visit with Santa Claus. Each of these moments has been captured with a thousand pictures and videos, which I’m all too happy to share with anyone who asks and even those who don’t.

Next up is baby’s first Christmas. It’s going to be the first of many wonderful Christmases to come. I think back to the magical Christmases of my childhood and cannot wait to recreate that experience for my daughter.

Every day I feel like I’m viewing the whole world for the first time again through my daughter’s eyes. The next year is going to be one of amazement, laughter, and tears, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A visit with Santa

Jane had her first ever visit with Santa yesterday. She seemed highly unimpressed, looking bored throughout. I'm sure next year will be a different story!

Back to the real world!

My return to work went much better than expected. Leaving Jane the first day was very hard, but once I actually got to work, I was fine. It helped that I was surrounded by people and a place I am comfortable with. I enjoyed seeing my coworkers again. It was gratifying to learn that the people I work with in the public missed me while I was gone. It was nice to get dressed up again. Jane seems to be adjusting pretty well to daycare, though she was a bit clingy after I picked her up. I'm sure before long she will be excited to go and see the other kids. I'm glad she will have that social interaction.
My boss wants me to start writing regularly about my parenting experiences in a column for the paper. I'll give it a shot. I hate to talk too much about my personal life in the paper, for fear that I'll bore people to death, but he seems to think it will be popular! We shall see.
Our house is all decorated for Christmas and we have our tree all ready to decorate. We just need to find something to put it on. We bought a four-foot tree this year and plan to put it up on a table in the hopes that the cats will stay out of it. We also bought unbreakable ornaments. I'm excited to see how Jane's first Christmas tree looks!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I think I'm ready ...

I'm going back to work Thursday. Oddly enough, after my freak-out a couple of weeks ago, I think I actually might be ready. It helps that my hormones are finally starting to settle down a bit, I think. The emotional roller coaster that comes along with pregnancy and the weeks postpartum has probably been the worst part of the whole experience for me. I mean, I cry pretty easily as it is, but this has been ridiculous. As time has worn on, I've started feeling more like myself. I have also started looking at the situation more realistically. Sure, it's fun to stay home all day and do pretty much nothing now except snuggle with a newborn. I try to keep up with the dishes and laundry, but otherwise I haven't done much over these past eight weeks. I know I wouldn't be able to get away with that forever, nor would I enjoy it. I also think of the future. Sure, it's fun to be at home with a new baby who does very little but eat and sleep. But how will I handle staying home with a toddler? I don't know. Maybe I would love it, but it also might not be for me. And what happens when Jane is ready for school? It's tough to re-enter the workplace after being away.
I know that there are also some definite advantages to daycare. Jane will not just be taken care of, she will be learning. Our daycare has a curriculum that she will be following from the start. She'll be learning Spanish and sign language, among other things. She'll also have the opportunity to make friends long before she goes to school. All of these things are pretty important to me, and I think our daughter will be smarter and better off for it.
There's also the matter of money. Much as I hate to admit it, I like having money. I like nice things, and I like being able to buy my daughter nice things. So while I may not be tending to my daughter's every need during the day, I will be providing for her in another way.
I also believe it will mean that my daughter and I will never take each other's time for granted. Although I will be sad to drop her off, when I come home every day there will be a joyful reunion. I'll spend my day thinking about what I'm going to do with her tonight or this weekend, rather than spending the day wishing I could get out of the house and have some time to myself.
Still, I'm going to savor these last few hours and minutes with my baby girl. It's been a magical time in my life. One I know I will never forget.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

So much to be thankful for ...

There was much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Last year at this time we were hoping that soon we would become parents. This year our dream had come true. The last seven weeks have been amazing, scary, and wonderful all at the same time. I wish I could live them over and over again, yet I am so excited for what the future will bring. Next year, there will be a high chair at our Thanksgiving table and little Jane will be running around and sampling food from our plates. I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Week 6

I'm now in my sixth week at home with Jane. That means my maternity leave will soon draw to a close. I have to admit, I'm pretty heartbroken about it. The thought of bringing my daughter to daycare and returning to work is clouding my joy in these last weeks at home. I never thought I'd be one who wanted to stay at home with her children, but now that I am faced with the reality, I find myself wanting nothing more. Unfortunately, that's not in the plan, and it's really not feasible for us.
I had originally planned to return to work on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Fearing that I would be a sobbing mess all through the holiday, I asked for an extra week off. I will likely try going in to work on Dec. 2 and 3 for a test run. I'm sure it will get easier with time, but right now I can't imagine anything worse than going back to work. I'm angry that someone else gets to spend the day with my baby, while I have to work. It's pretty sad that, in today's society, staying home with one's children has come to be a luxury. Either you have to be rich, or resign yourself to being really poor, in order to make it work. Just taking a maternity leave longer than six weeks is a major hardship for many people. I am fortunate to have been able to take off the time that I have. Yet I keep feeling that if I just had even a few weeks more - until after the holidays at least, I'd be a lot happier. But I know that can't happen and I need to start preparing myself. I know that plenty of children have gone to daycare, and none of them love their parents any less. They still know who mom and dad are, and love them most. No matter what, we'll still be a family.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's in a name?

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Shakespeare thought so. Would our sweet Jane be as sweet with another name? I'm sure she would, but it's hard to imagine her by any other name.
Choosing a name for our daughter was one of the most difficult things we have ever done. Of course "What is her name?" is one of the first question people ask us. We have gotten mixed reactions when we tell people that we named our daughter Jane. We have gotten many compliments on the name we chose. Even one of our nurses at the hospital complimented us, noting that with a name like Jane, there would never be any doubt as to whether she was a boy or a girl. With today's plethora of unisex names, that was definitely one of the considerations when we were choosing a name.
Others react quite differently. I've only had one "Plain Jane" comment so far. This was a couple of months before she was born. I wanted to point out to the person who made the comment that her daughter's name, Emily, is and has been much more popular than Jane ever was, and is therefore the "plainer" name, but I refrained. Many people seem surprised. I can see why. The name Jane is not at all trendy at this time. It is classic and timeless. It will never scream, "I was born in 2010" the way today's trendy names such as Addison (which is not even a real name, but I'll stay away from that topic), and Ava will. I'm sure these same people, if I told them we named her Madison or Brielle, would say, "Oh, isn't that cute!" To them, Jane probably sounds dated. It happens in every generation. The names we grew up hearing our parents and peers called by sound dated to us, while the names of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers sound fresh. My generation's children will name their children Linda and Walter. We will find these names horribly dated, but our children will love them.
Many people ask if she is named after someone. As if we'd have to have a reason to give her the name Jane. When I tell them that she is named after my mother, I usually get a blank stare. Most people know my mom as Jan, but her full name is Janet. Janet was originally a nickname for the name Jane. Yet no one - absolutely no one - seems to know that but me. Oh, well. "I'm a name nerd," I simply explain to them. I spare them further pointless knowledge, such as how Molly is a nickname for Mary, and Nancy is a nickname for Ann, for fear that their heads would spin.
Of course it doesn't matter what other people think of my daughter's name. I love it, and I believe it will serve her very well. I once heard that the best way to decide on a name for your child is to put the words "Supreme Court Justice" in front of it, and if it sounds right, you've chosen a good name. If it sounds more plausible for you to say, "Now dancing for us at the Lusty Beaver ..." you may want to reconsider! I definitely think we've given our daughter a Supreme Court Justice name.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Just when you thought the stupid quesitons were over...

I thought once I wasn't pregnant anymore, the stupid questions and observations would end. Oh, how naive I was! I don't know what it is about pregnancy, childbirth, and newborns that makes people think they can ask extremely personal questions about your body and your child, but they do. Boy, do they. I was pretty shocked to learn that people actually think it's acceptable to ask if you're planning to have the baby the natural way. At what other time in life is it appropriate to ask someone what they plan to do with their private parts? I find questions about breastfeeding equally intrusive. Really, is it anyone's business how people feed their children? It's a pretty personal decision, in my opinion. My husband suggested that the next time someone asks me if I'm breastfeeding, I should respond by asking, "Why? Are you thirsty?" I also had one person, comment, "Well, you sure waited a long time" to have a baby. Wow! As if that is anyone's business either.
The most annoying question since "How are you feeling?" and "Are you still pregnant?" is definitely "Is she a good baby?" What kind of question is that, anyway? I don't know why, but everyone--and I mean everyone--asks this question. For me, it brings to mind good old Veruca Salt and Willy Wonka's "good egg/bag egg" detector. I picture good babies and bad babies dropping down, with the good babies going on their merry way and the bad ones dropping down the chute. Honestly, what would someone say if I responded with, "No. She's a terrible baby. We hate her." Of course she's a good baby. She's ours and we love her. It wouldn't matter if she cried all day and all night, that would still be the case. The other question that makes me question people's sanity is, "Does she sleep?" Well sure, sometimes. Just like sometimes she's awake. Do people honestly expect a newborn to be sleeping through the night? I didn't, and I still don't. (For the record, she usually gets up twice during the night after my husband lays her down between 11 and 11:30.) It's also pretty funny when people see her sleeping for half an hour and assume that it means she's an excellent baby who sleeps all the time and never cries. Of course! I tend to invite these people to stop over between 9 and 11 at night. Perhaps the worst offenders are those who joke about stealing or taking the baby. I understand that they are just joking, but honestly, it's not funny. Also, it's one thing when it's someone you know, but when some random stranger comments at a children's Halloween parade that maybe this couple will give her their baby, it's another thing entirely.
I can't wait to see what people start asking us next! I'm guessing it will probably be when we are going to have another one. Those people will kindly be invited to make donations to our bank account.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mommy's little stinker

I'm now in my third week of maternity leave. The first week was pretty crazy, though not as crazy as I had anticipated. We are fortunate to have a baby who does not scream for hours on end. Of course she does fuss and cry occasionally, but she is calmed pretty easily. My husband was home with us the first week and that helped tremendously. The second week, he had to return to work. That meant we had to come up with a nighttime schedule that would hopefully result in both of us getting some sleep.
My husband is a nighttime person and I am a morning person, so I go to bed at 9 p.m. while he cares for Jane. Usually they come upstairs at about 11 p.m. Often Jane is back up at 11:30 p.m. or so, and this is where my shift begins. I get up with her every 2-3 hours, sleeping for short periods in between. I am amazed at how I have adapted to short periods of sleep and have developed the ability to fall asleep on demand. The schedule is working pretty well so far, with my husband getting about 7 hours of sleep before work and me getting between 5-6. Hopefully that will increase before I have to return to work myself! I do sometimes catch a nap in the afternoon so that helps as well.
This week has been mercifully quiet. I had an eye doctor's appointment on Monday and dropped Jane off at her grandparents' to be babysat for the very first time. It was strange to leave her, but wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I knew she was in good hands! The past two days the weather has been terrible so we have not left the house. We're just enjoying one another's company and relaxing.
Breastfeeding continues to be a challenge for us. Jane hates it and has from the start. If she's hungry she gets upset and screams, and if she's not completely starving, she falls right asleep. It's been frustrating and disappointing for me. Definitely not the way I expected things to be! I try every day but most of the time we both just end up upset. Thank goodness for my breast pump. Thanks to that, I have been able to give Jane what she needs even though she won't breastfeed. It helps to ease the blow somewhat, but I'll admit that it makes me pretty sad every time I have to give her a bottle. I'm dealing with feelings of rejection and and failure, and worries that others who have successfully breastfed are going to judge me for my failure. Not that it's anyone's business, but it bothers me nonetheless.
One exciting thing did happen this week. Jane's umbilical cord stump finally fell off! Thank goodness ... I was tired of smelling it! The other day I actually threw out some breast milk I thought might have gone bad because I kept smelling something foul when I was feeding her. Turned out that it was just her umbilical cord stump! It stunk pretty badly for about two days before I finally discovered during the middle of the night last night that it had fallen off. It's probably a little sad that I'm thrilled about such a thing, but I am. Now Jane can have her first tub bath and I do not have to hold my nose when I'm holding her!

Friday, October 22, 2010

How to lose 10 pounds overnight

I haven't written here for more than two weeks, but I've had a good excuse. My daughter, Jane, was born on Friday, Oct. 8, her due date. What a lovely daughter to save me from having to deal with all the comments about being overdue! She is apparently very prompt, like her parents. She will fit in quite nicely here!
I had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday the 6th and was pretty disappointed that there wasn't much more progress. I was told to make another appointment for the following Monday and, if the baby hadn't arrived by that time, we'd talk about inducing.
On Thursday morning both my husband and I had gotten ready for work and he had left for work, when I had some concerns and called him to come back home. We went into the hospital for monitoring. We had a non-stress test and ultrasound. Upon reviewing the results, my doctor felt it was best to induce right away, so we did. The induction was a long process and I will spare the gory details. We received wonderful care from nurses and doctors who didn't give up on us (one of the doctors even thanked me for not giving up!) and we ended up with a pretty great birth experience, even if it wasn't quite how I had envisioned it. The main thing was that our little girl arrived safely and she is beautiful. I continue to be amazed at just how beautiful and perfect she is.
We got out of the hospital on Sunday the 10th. Much of what has happened since is kind of a blur, I'll admit. I wish I had had the time to write more often, but between caring for the baby, visitors, doctor's appointments, and more, there hasn't been much time.
Jane has been a pretty good baby so far. She is overall content and doesn't fuss or cry often. She does tend to have a fussy period from about 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., but after that she settles down nicely, waking only to eat and fall back to sleep. Over the past two weeks she has changed so much! It's amazing how she seems to be developing a personality already. She is much more alert than she was two weeks ago. She has longer awake periods and focuses on our faces.
She is growing, too. I swear sometimes I put her down for a nap and when I go to pick her up, she is bigger. At birth she weighed 9 pounds, 6 ounces and was 22-3/4 inches long. At her first pediatrician's appointment on Tuesday, she was 9 pounds, 14 ounces and 23-1/2 inches long. Her height is in the 99th percentile! Needless to say, it is challenging to find clothes that fit her. Although she is about 10 pounds, she is not pudgy at all. She is long and lean, meaning that newborn clothes fit her in every way but length. Often I have to dress her in a onesie and pants, otherwise her feet stick out the end or, if there are feet, she can't straighten her legs. Already she is like her parents and needs extra long pants!
I am enjoying staying home with Jane and the two of us getting to know each other better. My husband was able to spend the first week at home with us and it was wonderful. I can't imagine having done it without him. We've adjusted pretty well this week without him, though getting enough sleep is sometimes a challenge for me. It would help if I could nap during the day when she naps, but usually that isn't possible. I'll admit I'm also tiring of the endless stream of people who want to see her. I'm feeling much better now, but that first week when people kept wanting to stop by or wanting us to stop by was rough on me. Now it's just bothersome. No one seems to understand that when they hold her all day and she sleeps the whole time, skipping meals, it makes life really difficult for me in the middle of the night. I'm probably a jerk for the fact that that frustrates me, but it does. I could say more, but I shouldn't, so I won't. I'd just love to have a few days to try to get on a better schedule without interference. I can dream, can't I?
I'll try to do a better job of keeping this updated, but I can't make any guarantees. I will try my best!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Did you have that baby yet?

This is the week I've been looking forward to and yet dreading. Well, it started somewhat last week. The chorus of "Did you have that baby yet?" and "Are you still here?" is starting to grate. I understand that people are excited, but really ... it does not help and it's annoying. I'm not even due until Friday. Don't people know that most first-time moms go at least a week overdue? Besides, I'd ideally like to make it at least to my due date, if not a week later. That way I don't have to come back from maternity leave until after Thanksgiving. We would also love for the baby to be born on a weekend so my husband can spend as much time at home with us as he can. But, like he said this morning, "She'll come whenever she damn well pleases."
Of course I can say now that I can go another week or two. Last week I wasn't feeling that well and was ready for the baby to come right now. Over the weekend I felt much better and today I'm feeling great. By Wednesday I might change my mind again. Overall I've still been very lucky.
This weekend was fun. We helped my mom move into her new house. The whole process went very smoothly—much more smoothly than I could ever have imagined. We had a great crew and by lunch time on Saturday we had nearly everything into the new house, with the exception of a couple of beds. By late in the afternoon, all the beds were put up and we were putting other stuff away. My mom did a great job of packing and labeling, which made it quite easy. It also helped that we did not have to move her washer and dryer or refrigerator. It was a beautiful day for moving and I think we all enjoyed ourselves. Well, at least I did, but I wasn't the one doing all the hard work! I helped where I could but knew better than to overdo it. By the end of the day her new house already felt like home, and I'm sure we'll have many great times there. It is kind of sad to think that my daughter will never know the farm house as "Grandma's house," but she'll still get to go out there to visit her cousin Seth and his soon-to-be wife, Ashley.

Friday, October 1, 2010

One week to due date!

As long as the past nine months have been, I'm kind of in awe right now that I have just one week left to go before my due date! Our little girl could decide she's ready to arrive at any time now. Never before in my life has it been so difficult to wait for something.
I've finally reached the point where I'm ready to be done being pregnant. Up until now I was handling it pretty well, but now I'm mostly tired all the time. And bloated, let's not forget that! I think even my lips are retaining water, and Fred Flinstone called and said he wanted his feet back. Otherwise I'm not all that uncomfortable. I can manage to sleep for 2-3 hours at a stretch, get up to go to the bathroom, and usually fall right back to sleep.
I did ask my husband to force me to stop going to the gym. I got to go one last time yesterday, and as of today my membership is on hold. It seemed silly to pay for a whole month's membership when I might be only going there for a week, and probably two at most. I also stress too much about going. Even at almost nine months pregnant, the thought of not going, even when I don't feel well, is practically unbearable. What can I say? I'm a crazy person who's addicted to exercise. I still plan to walk as much as I can until the baby comes. The weather is supposed to be nice through next week so that shouldn't be too difficult.
It will be an exciting weekend for us, since my mom is moving into her new house. She started today and we will continue to help her throughout the weekend. Well, everyone else will help her. I'll just be fat and useless. My sister said she might let me slice some buns at lunchtime or something. Otherwise I think it's best if baby and I just observe. Of course, everyone would prefer if they could hold the baby too! Today my sisters told me I could come over, but I had to bring the baby with me. I said of course I'd bring her with me! I bring her with me everywhere I go.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Nursery

I think we are finally just about finished with the nursery. We've had most of it done for quite some time, but hadn't gotten around to putting anything on the walls. Now that is done, too, and everything from the shower is put away. We're thrilled with how it turned out and neither of us can resist just going in to look. It's not something you'd see in a magazine, but it was done with love!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


So, today is my birthday. I have to say, I hate birthdays. Well, I hate my birthday. I like other people's birthdays just fine. I just never seem to really enjoy my own. I am most comfortable when I can celebrate my birthday with someone else, a birthday buddy if you will. Fortunately, for most of my life I've been able to do that. My friend Laura was born on the same day as me (in the same hospital, even), and we grew up sharing our birthdays at school. Then I married someone whose birthday is 10 days before mine. Now I even have a co-worker whose birthday is two days after mine, so I am very content. It helps keep the attention away from me!
Of course, there was some speculation about whether I would have a new birthday buddy, namely my daughter. It appears that this will not be the case. Jane seems content to stay where she is for at least another week or two. That's fine by me. While it would have been fun to share a birthday with her, I really want my October baby.
I had a doctor's appointment yesterday. There hasn't been much change since a week ago. I'm still 1-2 cm dilated, but the baby has dropped considerably and her head is down nice and low. Everything else looks great! Hard to believe we only have a couple of weeks left until she will finally be here!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What's better than zombies? Zombies in 3D!

Yesterday was my husband's 33rd birthday. In celebration, we went out for dinner and to a movie. It seemed meant to be that there was a zombie movie showing (Resident Evil: Afterlife), considering how we both love those. Not only that, but this would be our first 3D movie. What could be better than zombies in 3D?
The answer to that question, unfortunately, is more zombies in 3D. While Resident Evil: Afterlife wasn't a bad movie, it certainly could have benefited from more zombies. What movie couldn't, really? We were both looking forward to some crazy zombie action, particularly zombies jumping out at the screen at us. There was a shocking lack of this type of activity, however. The directors, instead, seemed more concerned with giving us Matrix-like action. That's fine, to an extent, but this is Resident Evil, and I expect zombies! I was expecting to come away scared, but the scariest part of the movie was the idiot two rows down who laughed really loudly at really stupid times.
I will say that the baby seemed to enjoy the movie. She exhibited some rather nice kicks to my left side. I remember a time when we would go to a movie and she'd be still throughout. She's definitely not shy like that anymore! She doesn't hesitate to wiggle no matter where we are.

Baby shower

I had my baby shower on Sunday afternoon. There was a great turnout and we received many wonderful gifts. As I expected, since we're having a girl, we got lots of clothes! That's okay ... she'll just be a very well-dressed little girl. We also got a lot of necessities, such as a bath tub, bouncy seat, crib pad, baby monitor, bottles, and other items that we needed. One thing that surprised me was that we did not get was toiletry items—baby wash, lotion, and such. I thought those were pretty standard shower gifts so had not bought any yet. I guess I will have to or live with a dirty baby!
We got some very special gifts. Highlights include a handmade quilt and wall hanging from my grandmother, a handmade quilt from my best friend and her mom, a sweater made by my husband's grandmother, and an afghan crocheted by my aunt. All of the gifts were special, really, and I am touched at the generosity of so many family members and friends. We are so lucky to have these people in our lives and our daughter will be lucky to have them in her life as well.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Productive weekend

We got some major nesting accomplished this weekend. Several projects were completed that needed to be done before the baby arrives.
We did get some relaxation in as well. I didn't go back to work after my appointment on Friday, since I had plenty of hours in already and had to work for a couple of hours on Saturday. Instead I shopped for my sister's birthday gift and then my husband and I went to a few garage sales. I picked up a cute outfit for the baby and a sleep sack set.
We went for a walk later that evening. The next morning we hit more garage sales, then headed home for lunch before I had to work. I spent the afternoon taking pictures while my husband installed the new programmable thermostat we'd bought at a garage sale. That night we enjoyed a movie and relaxed.
Sunday was when we really got down to business. My husband went to work in our bedroom closet. The ceiling had begun to fall down in there, so he fixed that and sorted through clothes. Afterward he rearranged our bedroom to make room for the baby's cradle. We are both absolutely thrilled with how it all turned out. In the meantime, I spent the day taking down all of the knick-knacks downstairs, dusting, and putting up fall decorations. I contemplated not doing it this year, but figured everything needed a really good dusting anyway, and I will be taking everything down at Christmas time anyway, so why not? Besides, I just love my fall decorations, and fall in general. That's why I'm so excited to have a fall baby. By the end of the day the house looked great.
On Monday we just had a few minor things to finish. I'll admit that my husband did most of it - vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom. I'm so blessed to have so much help from him. I'd never be able to do it all by myself, especially now! Pooh on lazy husbands! I'm glad I don't have one.
After everything was done, I think we both had a feeling of accomplishment and a sense that we are pretty much ready for this baby. Well, at least the house is ready. Now the panic is starting to set in. What on Earth are we going to do with a baby? I'm sure we'll figure it out.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pleasant surprise

I was expecting my doctor's appointment on Friday to be rather dull, like most of them have been in recent months. The typical routine is to get weighed, have my blood pressure taken, listen to the heartbeat, get measured, ask any questions I might have, and head on my merry way. This appointment started out that way, but then I got a pleasant surprise. The doctor said he'd like to get me in for an ultrasound to check the baby's position and size. I couldn't believe it. I wasn't expecting to get any more ultrasounds this pregnancy. How exciting! They were able to get me in right away. I tried to call my husband but he didn't think he'd be able to make it for 20-30 minutes. He ended up missing it, but we did get some pictures.
This was probably the most fun ultrasound I've had. The first one I just felt a sense of awe and relief. To see that little heart beating and think that the little bean in there was really a baby was amazing. The second one was long and drawn out, as the techs measured everything. We did get to find out the baby was a girl that day. This one was indescribable. To see her little hands and feet, her little face, and her funny little movements was like a glimpse into the future. I was looking at what I'd be holding in just a few short weeks!
The baby gave us quite a show. She was very wiggly (tell me something I didn't already know) and demonstrated how she likes to press her big feet up against my left side. The ultrasound confirmed that the baby is head down, and at the time she was facing to my left. She peeked out at us from behind her hands, and made little kissing motions with her mouth. I was amused to see that she appears to have my husband's nose. Adorable! Her heart looked great, and she even did some practice breathing for us. Absolutely perfect.
She's also a little chunker. According to the ultrasound, she weighs an estimated 6 pounds, eight ounces already. That puts her in the 85th percentile. (Of course ultrasound estimates aren't always the most accurate, and can be off by a pound or so.) I knew she was getting big in there! It's good to know, really, in case she should happen to arrive earlier than later.
All in all it was an exciting day. I was so happy to get to see her one more time, and I'm even more eagerly anticipating her arrival with each passing day.

Monday, August 30, 2010

So you're saying I just look fat ...

I had a very strange experience the other day. Someone came up and started asking me questions about the baby. Apparently this person had seen the advertisement my sisters placed in the newspaper about my open house baby shower in a couple of weeks. I realized almost instantly that something was strange based on the questions I was being asked ... "I see you're getting a baby," "when is she supposed to get here?" I got the idea that this person somehow thought I was adopting a baby, not having one. Sure enough, I was asked, "Where is she coming from?" Uh ... "Right here," I replied, placing a hand on my belly. The poor person was horribly embarrassed, of course. Apparently, even though this person sees me regularly, it was not obvious that I was pregnant.
This isn't the first amusing incident with someone who couldn't tell I was pregnant. One person asked me if I'd already had the baby. I've had several people express surprise when they learn that I'm pregnant. Others are just beginning to notice and I get a lot of "... hey, you're expecting!"
Really, I don't know how it couldn't be obvious by now. At almost eight months along, I've got a definite protruding belly that I most certainly did not have before. Although, to be fair, I have seen women whose non-pregnant bellies certainly rival mine. I guess it's better to be safe than sorry when making comments about someone being pregnant. And at least I'm not getting the other end of the spectrum ... "You're huge!" "You look like you're going to pop any minute!" "Are you sure it's not twins?" Yes, I'm definitely glad not to be getting those comments. However, it makes me wonder just how many people out there think I've just gotten really fat since January. At least it will be evident very soon when I'm carrying around an actual baby.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Six weeks to go!

I hit the 34-week mark today. Unbelievable! That means I only have six weeks left to go, give or take. In two weeks I'll be enjoying my baby shower.
It might sounds strange to some, but I'm honestly not ready for this to be over.
Maybe I'll feel differently in a month, but I do not have the urge to evict her that many women seem to get at about this time. I'll readily admit that I'm a selfish person by nature, and I'm not ready to share this baby with the world yet. I like her how she is now: all mine. While I'm extremely excited for her to be here, to be able to feed her, play with her, dress her, and cuddle with her, I'm fully aware that from the moment she leaves me, she'll be growing away from me. That's tough to think about. I'm also pretty sure this will be my only child, so it's kind of sad to think that I'll never have this experience again. I'm sure all of these thoughts will be secondary once she's here.
I'm excited to do more baby projects this weekend. I wouldn't say I'm nesting (I still have absolutely no desire to clean—will that ever change?), but I do have a few things I want to tackle. We bought some plastic drawers for the baby's closet, so I can wash a few more of her clothes and put them away. I've washed the newborn and 0-3 month sizes and put them away already. Thanks to a friend, we've got enough clothes to keep this baby well dressed for at least the first few months of her life. Hand-me-downs are awesome!
Speaking of hand-me-downs, my husband went to pick up a stroller, car seat, and pack 'n' play from another friend last weekend. All of these are in great shape and we are so lucky to have them. It also means that we have absolutely all of the BIG stuff ready to go for baby's arrival. That's a great feeling. It also proves that you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on baby stuff. We've gotten so many nice items, either at garage sales or loaned from friends and family.
I think it's also time to start doing some decorating in the nursery. I have some pictures, wall hangings, and a shelf I'd like to hang. Not a big project, but it will be fun.
The last project I want to start is packing my hospital bag. It's early yet, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared. I've already got several things to put in it. I'm not 100 percent positive what I'll put on the baby to bring her home yet, but I have a few ideas. I will probably wait until after the shower to decide for sure. I do have my going-home outfit bought. I bought a pair of yoga pants, nursing tank, nursing bra, and a sweatshirt. I felt a little guilty about buying new clothes for myself, but I figure I'll be practically living in those clothes in the first few weeks after the baby arrives. I also bought matching pjs for us. Mine are nursing pjs and there is a matching gown and cap for the baby. So cute! I can't wait to use them.

Monday, August 16, 2010

In our right minds?

The old saying goes that left-handed people are the only ones who are in their right minds. We have to have something going for us. Most righties just don't realize how much of a struggle it can be to be left-handed. The world is geared toward right-handedness. I once read that not only are left-handed people more clumsy, they generally die at a younger age than people who are right-handed.
We were discussing being left-handed at work last week, and I couldn't resist pointing out that many brilliant people in the world have been left-handed, including many Nobel Prize winners. I also had heard that there have been several left-handed presidents, and decided to do some research. (I'll also point out that another left-handed co-worker and I got accused of "thinking we were better than everyone else" because we're left-handed. Why yes ... yes, we do. So there.)
On to the presidents. There have only been eight left-handed U.S. presidents. Disappointing, yes, but I like to think that there likely would have been more if not for the tendency to force people to learn how to write right-handed even though they were left-inclined. I know this happened. It happened to my mother.
The eight left-handed U.S. presidents are James A. Garfield (ambidextrous and could reportedly write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other), Herbert Hoover, Harry S Truman (little piece of trivia ... Truman's middle name was actually just "S," which is why there is no period used after the letter), Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan (actually ambidextrous—one of those forced to learn to write right-handed), George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Notice a trend here? Four of the last five presidents have been left-handed. Very interesting. But it gets even more interesting. In 1992, all three presidential candidates—Clinton, Bob Dole, and Ross Perot—were left-handed. Al Gore is left-handed. So is John McCain. I'm willing to bet that Sarah Palin is not. Or maybe it's just that I don't want to claim her as one of "my people."
I'm ambidextrous myself. No one tried to turn me into a right-hander. I did it all myself. As a child living on a farm, I loved going out in the tractor with dad or our hired man, and would become angry when they left me behind. One day I was determined not to miss out on my tractor ride, and ran out to get in the tractor and wait. I shut the tractor door directly on my left thumb. Ouch. This resulted in stitches and a large bandage. The whole time I had to wear the bandage I refused to use my left hand for anything. This was how I learned to eat and do many other things right-handed. I write left-handed, but eat with my right. I bat left and throw right, hit a volleyball right, shoot a basketball right, and golf (if you can call it that) left. I think there is a definite advantage to being ambidextrous. No need to seek out left-handed scissors for me! I think most people, left or right-handed, would benefit from learning to develop their weaker hand a bit. I just don't recommend my method of doing so.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

10 years ago ...

Ten years ago today, I married my best friend. The love of my life. My soul mate. The Romeo to my Juliet. The Kip to my LaFawnduh. The Sid to my Nancy. The Bobby to my Whitney. Okay, maybe those last two weren't such great examples.
We got married on a beautiful, if hot, day. For some reason people still like to complain about how hot it was that day, 10 years later, as if it was my idea to begin with.
The 10 years since have truly flown past. There have been ups and downs, of course, but for the most part it has been wonderful. We both have our flaws, but somehow as the years go by those seem to matter less and less. Why sweat the small stuff when we could just relax, be happy, and enjoy one another? I think the strongest part of our marriage is that we're more than just husband and wife, we're friends. I can honestly say that there is no one in this world I'd rather spend time with. It doesn't get much better than that.
Yesterday my husband asked if we were buying presents for one another. I said no, going out for dinner would be enough for me. He said he felt as though 10 years was a big anniversary, a time when other men would buy extravagant gifts for their wives. I shrugged it off, and told him that at this point in my life, I'm pretty much over that. I don't need lavish gifts to prove to me that he loves me, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't either. He bought me a bookshelf for Mother's Day, which is enough of a gift to last me for years. Besides, we'll be getting another pretty big gift in about two months. So that's what I told him. "We're getting a baby. That's enough of a gift for me."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What I love about her ...

I love it that, for now, I get to hold her all day long and take her everywhere I go. Part of me wishes it would stay that way forever.

I love that she's half me, half my husband. We're already so great together I don't see how it would be possible that she wouldn't be great, too.

I love it when she wakes up from a nap and stretches and rolls around. I love it when she totally freaks out and goes crazy with the kicks and movements.

I love greeting her every morning to start the day, and our little talks in the shower. I can't wait to see if she responds to the same words when I say them to her after she is born.

I love the thought of her and all the fun we are going to have together.

I love it that there are so many people out here waiting to meet her and love her too.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The attack of Frankenfeet

How can a long weekend be so short? My husband and I left Friday evening for a three-day weekend at my family's cabin on Marion Lake in northern Minnesota. By the time we left, I was more than ready for a few days of rest and relaxation. Getting my test results on Friday made me realize that I really did need a few days off. The humidity on Friday did not help the situation. I didn't think it felt that hot, so I didn't turn the air conditioning on in my area of hte office that day. No one else was in the "back room" where I work, so no one else turned it on, either. I had an appointment to do an interview at 2:30, and when I came back, I looked down and was shocked to see that my ankles and feet had swelled considerably. They looked like someone else's feet, or rather feet belonging to Frankenstein's monster. I was terrified that I'd be stuck with them for the next two months.
I went home and we loaded up the car. Sitting in the air-conditioned vehicle must have helped, because by the time we arrived at the cabin my feet were improving already.
It was the first time we had been to the cabin since it was completely remodeled, and I just have to say, it is gorgeous. The old breezeway and garage were torn off and a new breezeway/great room, garage, and two additional bedrooms were built. The old section of the cabin was remodeled as well, including an updated kitchen with an island and even a dishwasher! It was truly luxurious.
On Saturday I did basically ... well, nothing. I sat with my feet up and read, put my feet in the water, watched the dog swim, took a nap, and went out for pizza. We did go into town for a few snacks and other supplies (we brought most of our food from home), and ended up buying mostly fruit. In two days we demolished a bag of grapes, a bag of cherries, and a whole pineapple. We were going to go swimming in the afternoon, but the lake was turning that day and it was disgusting. Dead fish and unidentified floaties that looked suspiciously like poop were enough to keep me out of the water.
On Sunday it was cloudy and rainy in the morning. My aunt stopped by late morning and we visited with her for a while. We had lunch and Tim had a nap, and then we went over to my aunt and uncle's cabin. Two of my cousins and my cousin's husband were there. We enjoyed a pontoon ride and then headed home, went for a swim, made a nice dinner, and relaxed for the rest of the evening. We got two inches of rain that day, so I was grateful that we got to spend any time at all outside.
On Monday it was time to head home already. We generally don't like to get home too late, so we spent the morning cleaning and headed out by noon. We also thought we might find something interesting to do on the way home. We stopped in Battle Lake for lunch at "The Shoreline." This has been a family favorite since my grandpa's time, and I had not been there for years. The food is still excellent, and my husband is still raving about the burger he had there. Afterward we stopped at Prospect House, a new museum in Battle Lake. The gentleman who owns it inherited the house and its contents from his mother. He has spent endless hours going through everything and has arranged it beautifully. During his work he discovered 200 Civil War letters, and has devoted the basement of the house into a Civil War Museum. It is still a work in progress, but is definitely worth the stop. I can't wait to stop in again when it is completed.
We finally made it home that evening and reality set in. The good news was that it was already Monday, meaning a short work week following a long weekend. What could be better? The fact that the Frankenfeet are gone. Yes, my relaxing weekend did the trick and the swelling has gone almost completely down. I'm very relieved and hope there's no sequel to that horror movie.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

This 'n' that

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday. It's amazing how quickly the time flies between those! Plus now I have to start going every two weeks.
I took my gestational diabetes test. It definitely was not as bad as I thought it would be. Basically the drink tasted like an orange freeze pop. I also had my thyroid and hemoglobin tested.
I got the results today and in this case I'd say one out of three isn't too bad. I passed the most important one, the gestational diabetes test. They did find that my hemoglobin was a tad low, making me mildly anemic. I'm guessing that my iron is low because I don't eat that much meat. I never have. I'm just not crazy about the stuff. So I need to start taking some extra iron in addition to my prenatal vitamin. I have to be careful with iron supplements, though, because iron can affect the absorption of my thyroid meds. As long as I space them out, I should be fine. Speaking of which, my thyroid was also a bit low so I need to up my dosage there. The good news is that the two things I didn't test so well on are the two things that are easy to fix. It also explains why I've been a bit more tired recently. I had just been blaming it on the third trimester, but I guess there's more to it than that!
This weekend my husband and I are going to my family's cabin. We're taking a long weekend, going up after work tomorrow and coming back on Monday. I'm excited and hoping to feel nice and refreshed when we come home.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Whoa, Nellie!

On Sunday I got to meet someone who just about everyone knows: Nellie Oleson. If you don't know who she is, you've obviously been living under a rock.
Well, she isn't really Nellie Oleson, she just played her on TV. "She" is the lovely Alison Arngrim. Arngrim has a new book, called "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch," and her stop in Walnut Grove over the weekend was part of her promotional tour. A month or so ago, I had the opportunity to interview her, as well as Dean Butler (Almanzo) about their planned trips to Walnut Grove. My job may not be the most glamorous in the world, but it does sometimes have its perks. I've interviewed Butler before, as well as the Greenbush twins, who played Carrie on the "Little House" series. I've gotten to interview and meet several other famous people as well, mostly politicians. Highlights have included Jesse Ventura and Paul Wellstone.
My phone interview with Arngrim was a rather surreal experience. It's not quite so obvious in person, but over the phone, it is in-your-face obvious that you are speaking with Nellie Oleson. She told me that she often has people recognize her voice when she calls to make airline reservations or do other business over the phone.
At the time I interviewed her, "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch" was not yet available. Since then I bought it and devoured it. In it, she talks about her childhood (her mother was the voice of Gumby and Casper the Friendly Ghost, among other cartoon personalities), how she was sexually abused, her time on the show, the death of her TV husband Steve Tracy, how she became a stand-up comedienne, and her life now. I couldn't put it down. Arngrim's book is well-written and witty, and I'd recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the show.
I decided that having the book signed was an opportunity I really shouldn't pass up. I convinced my husband to make the trip with me, and I'd buy him lunch afterward. Piece of cake (or, in this case, pie). I had my book signed, "To a fellow Prairie Bitch." Fitting, I think.
Nellie was undoubtedly my favorite "Little House" character. I like bad girls. They're interesting. Certainly more interesting than that goody-two-shoes Mary Ingalls, who never did anything wrong (except the time she and Laura bought the box of medicine and tried to lie about it ... telling Pa they had laryngitis) and was a tattle-tale to boot. At least Laura had flaws that made her interesting. And what reward did Mary get for being good all the time? She went blind. Remember that, kids.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Who you gonna call?

We attended the second round of our labor & delivery class last night, and it gave me nightmares. Well, not nightmares, exactly, but I did dream about birth and baby all night. I think it was the combination of being inundated with information and being overly tired. I had spent the previous evening at a two-hour-plus school board meeting and really could have done with a night at home, but what can you do?
We had speakers at this class, which made it more interesting. The first was the anesthetist, who appeared far too young to be sticking needles in peoples' backs. He was wearing a wedding ring and a shirt that said "Dad," though, so I guess he's okay.
The next speaker was a doctor, who just happens to be our doctor. He answered a lot of questions and did his best to scare the bejeezus out of everyone. At one point, he asked all of us, "When you go into labor, who you gonna call?" Now, everyone knows that the correct answer to "Who you gonna call?" is always "Ghostbusters." Or at least they should. Yet, my husband and I were the only ones to whisper, "Ghostbusters." This child doesn't stand a chance of not being a smartass.
The doctor also gave us the opportunity for another smart comment. He was talking about doctors being on call, and my husband asked what the chances are of actually getting your own doctor. You know, the one you actually like, trust, and have been seeing for the past eight months? After he answered, I whispered to my husband, "Yes, but we know where he lives. We can just show up at his house." After which, my husband promptly repeated what I had just said to the doctor. Fortunately he has a good sense of humor. And really, that's what you get when you tell your patients that your house is just across the parking lot.
We also got to tour the rooms. They're very nice, but I am dreading having to spend time in that bed, which looks dreadfully uncomfortable. I'm also beginning to dread having visitors while I'm there. Though, I guess I'd rather have them visit in the hospital than show up at our house uninvited in the week or two following. Why is it that everyone needs to see a new baby instantly after it's born? Give it a day or a week! Although I'm sure that will fall on deaf ears for most people. Still, I'd really like to spend those few hours after the birth alone with our little family. I'd like to be given the chance to breastfeed and bond with the baby, take a shower or bath, and make myself presentable before the brigade shows up. My husband suggested not telling anyone when we go to the hospital. That's a great idea, except when you're close to your due date and disappear, people are going to notice. Plus, I won't be at work so that will be a dead giveaway.
One more thing: at one point in the class the instructor was talking about consent forms for epidurals and such, and mentioned that there are terrible side effects listed, including death. She said something to the effect that things can happen anywhere. "You can die at the dentist's office!" Yes, but the dentist doesn't go around sticking needles into my back! Just saying ...
I've rambled on long enough for one day, but soon I need to post some pictures of the baby's room. I'm no expert, but I'd say we're almost done. We just have a touch more decorating to do. I'm glad we have all of this out of the way while I'm still feeling well ... though hopefully I will continue to feel that way!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Miss Scarlett, I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies ...

Last night we had our first labor & delivery class. I was dreading it. Big time. I think my husband was, too. In the end, it was much better than we both thought it would be. I've done a lot of reading but there were a few new things that I learned. It's definitely a great class for husbands who you know aren't reading the baby books. It would also be a great class for teenagers!
I can't wait until next week when we get to tour the rooms. I was also encouraged that didn't just emphasize using epidurals, but also gave other options. Quite frankly, I'm terrified of the epidural. I think I'm more scared of that than actually giving birth. Catheter into my spine? Catheter for pee? Not being able to feel my legs and move around? No thanks! I was relieved to hear that there are other options and definitely plan to do more research into them. My greatest fear, though, is going over my due date and having to be induced and ending up with a C-section two days later. I've heard it so many times and it freaks me out. I don't understand why things can't be allowed to progress naturally unless something is wrong. I guess I will just have to plan and hope for the best and see what happens.
I also learned that no photography or videotaping is allowed during the actual birth. Thank you, Jesus! Not that I would allow it to happen anyway, but it's nice that the hospital backs me on this.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Don't touch!

Now that the belly is finally starting to get "out there," I'm starting to get some unsolicited belly rubs. Why do people do this? I've never done it and wouldn't. I find it highly inappropriate. My motto is, "If you didn't help make it, it's not yours to touch." (The same applies to giving birth: if you didn't help make it, don't expect to be there when it comes out.) I could go on and on about this, but since I'm trying to have a sense of humor on the subject, I'll just make a little list instead. Presenting ways I am considering to prevent people from touching the belly.
1. Strap .22 pistol to belly.
2. Start shrieking and slapping myself in the face when someone tries to touch.
3. T-shirt that says "You can touch my belly if I can punch your face."
4. Rub belly/grab breast/other inappropriate touching in return.
5. Whisper, "Be careful, you don't want to anger baby Beelzebub."

Friday, July 2, 2010

98 days and counting!

Today marks 26 weeks. That means only 14 weeks to go, give or take. My belly is getting bigger now and people are actually starting to notice that I'm pregnant. At nearly 6 months, it's about time!
It hasn't been the greatest week. Aside from crying over spilled blueberries, I was not pleased at my doctor's appointment to learn how much weight I have gained since the last time I was there. Let me first of all say that I hate these women who only gain 10 pounds during their pregnancies. They suck, and if I come into contact with one in the next three months, she'd better watch out because I might just take her down. Especially if she comes between me and a plate of food.
I was blessed not to have morning sickness, but I have found that this was also a curse of sorts. Apparently many women actually lose weight during the first trimester. That's funny stuff. I definitely did not have that problem. Not that I was small to begin with. I gained about 7 pounds just trying to get pregnant because I cut down a bit on the intensity of exercise that I do.
I was going to be one of those women who only gained 20-25 pounds. I was going to continue exercising and eat healthy, and there was no way I was going to gain more than 25. Well, I'm still exercising 4-5 days a week, using the elliptical and stationary bike and lifting weights. I'm eating pretty well, despite my husband's efforts to feed me ice cream on a daily basis. (The baby needs ice cream, apparently.) So why can't I keep this under control? I guess my body is just doing what it wants to do. And I really can't complain too much. This has been a relatively easy trip so far. So I'm getting a little fat in the process. If I get a healthy baby out of the deal, I can live with it. I know I can lose it. I've done it before. And this time, I'll have breastfeeding to help me, right?
I have heard that some doctors berate women over their pregnancy weight gain. I've been waiting for this to happen, but it hasn't. My doctor has not said one word about my weight. (He did say, "awww ... you're finally starting to get a belly" at my appointment this week.) I've been tempted to ask him, but who wants to open up that can of worms? If he's not going to come right out and tell me I'm fat, who am I to encourage him?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Baby potpourri

It seems I have been slacking over the past two weeks, so I have quite a bit of updating to do.
We haven't had time to work on the baby's room much more, though we plan to dig in again this weekend. My husband was home sick from work yesterday and when I went back to work after lunch, he was headed up for a nap. When I came home four hours later, I got a nice surprise. He had carried most of the store room items that were still sitting in the hallway down to the basement, and had hauled out the old dresser and treadmill from the baby's room. Wow! I definitely was not expecting that. That means all I have left to do this weekend is box up those last few remaining items and we can get to the fun part.
In related news, we have changed our minds on the nursery theme again. I think we both had our hearts set on our turtle, frog, bumblebee theme that we had originally chosen. So we have gone back to that and ordered a crib sheet and some wall hangings so we could match colors. We have also chosen a paint color, called Mango Parfait. It's a light, creamy orange. We had lots to choose from—the set (we are still not buying the whole set because it's dumb to buy a quilt and bumper we're not going to use) has yellow, blue, green, and orange. I think it's really cute. I know some people are into decorating their babies' rooms with non-childish themes these days, but I'm not. I mean, come on ... she's going to be a baby! She can have a room that looks like it belongs to a 40-year-old when she's 40.
While she waits to see her new room, the baby sure seems to be enjoying the room she has now! She's moving more and more all the time, though she still seems to have quiet and active days. One day she'll move pretty much all day long, and the next day she'll be very quiet. Although sometimes I suspect that her quiet days are just my busy days, and I don't notice quite as much. On Sunday, I was reclining on the couch and could actually see her kicking from the outside. This was after what had been a day to a day-and-a-half when she was really mellow.
I've also begun to notice patterns. She's pretty active in the morning, between 8 and 9. Breakfast probably has something to do with that. During that time I generally feel the kicks/punches up high. As the day progresses she seems to move downward. Afternoons are calmer, but when she does decide to kick, it's in the middle. In the evening, she likes to get my left side. Not always, but sometimes when I go to bed she gets a few good crotch shots in. Getting punched in the crotch from the inside is not as fun as it might sound! Last night she gave me some real doozies. Thankfully, she seems to sleep most of the night. The only time I really feel her move is when I roll over. She was a bit more active during the thunderstorm we had last night, though!
I have more to say, mostly about gaining too much weight, but I think I'll save that for another time.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Making room for baby

There seems to be a bit of nesting going on around our house. Over the weekend we started on some projects so we can be ready for the baby.
We don't have the biggest house. Well, it's not small, exactly, it's just not laid out very well. The second floor has two smallish bedrooms, a bathroom, small store room, and two more rooms that we currently use for a family room and my husband's "stuff" room. We had a difficult time deciding where to put the baby's room. Our options were to clean out the extra bedroom, which was full of my clothes, or to move the master bedroom into the family room/husband stuff area and put the baby in our bedroom. There were some major things to consider. One was that my clothes pretty much took up the whole guest room (whoops) and I had nowhere to put them. It's an old house and the closets are small. So in order for me to have a place for my clothes, we'd have to clean out the store room and make it into a walk-in closet. The other consideration was that our house has two sets of stairs—weird!—and the back staircase leads right to what would have become our master bedroom. That meant trying to put in a door (we have cats and don't allow them in our room) which we weren't even sure we could do, and which could be costly.
After lots of thought, we decided to make the store room into my closet and make the guest room into the nursery. I think it was the right choice and I'm thrilled with the result, even if it did mean a weekend of busting our butts.
We started on Saturday, with my husband cleaning out the store room and me working in the guest bedroom. I'll admit, it was a project we needed to do, baby or no baby. We sorted through a lot of stuff, tossing what we needed to. I also went through all my clothes and filled two huge bags for donation.
When my husband finished cleaning out the store room he began working on installing shelves and a hanging rack for my clothes. There are two sets of shelves, one larger that holds three to four stacks of clothes apiece, and one smaller set that holds one stack of clothes. Underneath the larger shelves, he left room for two small dressers. Across from the big shelves, he built a rack for hanging clothes. He even hung up a shoe organizer on the door, and put my necklace holders on the wall. The final result is amazing and I couldn't be happier or more grateful to have a husband who not only is able to do this kind of project, but is willing to do it. We still need to put some sort of window covering up so the clothes don't get faded and I can get dressed/undressed in there, but for the most part we're all done.
I got everything moved in yesterday and it's even better than I could have possibly imagined. I kind of wanted to sleep in the new closet last night, just so when I woke up I'd know it was still there!
Now it's on to an equally exciting project—the baby's room! I've got all of my clothes out of there and just have a few miscellaneous items to box up yet. We have an old dresser and desk that need to be disposed of. There is also a double bed that I think we will leave in the room if possible. That way if one of us crashes in the baby's room during the night or if we have guests, we can put the baby in our room in a portable crib and use it as a guest room.
We're both excited to decorate. I never thought my husband would take such an interest in that part of it, but I'm thrilled that he is. I know I said two weeks ago that I had a theme all picked out. Well, that changed. We're buying a barely used set from a friend. It's girlier than we planned, but still not pink, and we both like it a lot. We've already got tons of ideas for how to paint and decorate. I can't wait to get it done and bring home our little girl!