Saturday, December 29, 2007

Week 32: Quick update

We went to visit our midwife Thursday and got some exciting news: the baby has turned head down. To us, this feat was practically miraculous. How does he know to do this?! "Good job, baby! Way to be prepared." We were so proud... for about five minutes.

Then it hit me: he doesn't think that just because he's in relative position, it's time to make a landing, does he? We're not quite ready! "You've got another 7 weeks or so to go in the hopper, Baby. So just sit tight."

Everything else is right on schedule I'm happy to report.

Baby has been very active stretching every realm of my stomach to its limits. A few months ago there was a kick or a jab in the front, then occasionally on the side. Now he's all over the place. I can tell he's grown a lot in his "little house".

He's heavy enough now that I can no longer sleep on my back. Not that I ever slept there for long periods of time before, but sometimes for 15 minutes or so. It was a nice reprieve between side sleeping, which I'm really not crazy about. Now when I lie on my back I feel like I'm suffocating. And, sleep is not so restful anymore. Guess it's good preparation. That's what they tell me anyway.

Other "fun" tidbits:

* I can barely close my winter coat now--slightly problematic when it's 5 degrees!
* I've officially exceeded Joe's weight.
* Tieing my shoes takes an act of God to complete.
* Medium sized clothes are getting too tight in the stomach; large sized clothes fall off. A belt to hold up a pregnant woman's pants must be a laughable notion to designers.

Seven weeks and counting!

Late night feedings

Another first during my pregnancy:
I am up at 3:40 A.M. and typing this post. I haven't been up in the middle of the night typing anything since grad school and had vowed never to do it again. I've learned you can't really go by all the rules during pregnancy.

Ginger has awakened me with one of her weird "dream screams". And now I can't go back to sleep. The baby is kicking around all over the place. I'm relatively short on breath. I mean, I can't breathe slowly and deeply like i normally do in a restful state, and I'm thinking constantly about food. Now, it's not like I haven't ever woken up and thought about food. I've just never had enough motivation to roll myself out of bed and go downstairs to actually eat it.

In the past hour I've eaten TWO bowls of cereal and a tall glass of milk. And I've written a long email that was really overdue. Everything's so quiet right now. Joe's sleeping. Ginger's probably snoring, oblivious to what her antics have caused. It's raining softly outside, and I'm sitting alone at the kitchen table with my laptop.

This is a sign of what's to come, isn't it?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas 2007

The wondrous thing about Christmases is that they come in all shapes and sizes. Some are grand celebrations are filled with lots of family and friend and endless rounds of food, while others are more modest. Quiet and intimate. All have their merits.

This year, it was nice to have something along the quiet variety. After a pretty hectic fall, we found ourselves really needing a bit of a reprieve. We feel a little behind the eight ball in almost every area of our life.

By the way, many thanks to all who sent us Christmas cards. It was so fun to read your news and see photos of your families. I regret that we were not able to finish our letter in time so that it could arrive in some timely fashion! It'll be timed for the New Year now.

We went to Syracuse for the weekend right before Christmas, where we visited Joe’s family and hooked up with some good friends, the Binghams and Davidsons.....

Sue and I comparing roundness. I’m almost exactly two months ahead.

We made a great pot of sauce for Christmas Day, while we lounged around and exchanged a few gifts.

Check out Joe’s prize gift to me. As I was opening it, he got all serious and said, “Now Liz, I wanted to create something for you using my artistic talents.” How wonderful, I thought. I have always encouraged Joe to go back to drawing. He’s quite an artist. “I hope you like it. I may have gotten a little rusty.” Okay….

Here’s what I opened. I especially liked the attention to detail on the stomach.

Christmas evening we were invited to share dessert with our neighbors and their family. After lots of chatting, two cups of decaf and a pounds' worth of sugary treats, we went home and crashed. Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Quick update: Week 31

Like my "self-portrait"? It's almost more of a "self-silhouette" but you get the gist of the shape. I'm to the point now where people says things like this to me:

"Hello, Liz. How are you doing today?" (no pause for an answer) "You're looking very pregnant today..."

All in all, I'm feeling pretty good. Here's a quick run down on the latest:

  • The back is doing much better now thanks to the "chastity belt". Hey, I don't care how ridiculous it may look. It alleviates a lot of stress.
  • Did my first load of baby laundry this past weekend. I held up the "Just Born" onesies in front of me. Oh my God, they are so tiny! They look like they could fit on a baby doll! When I fold them in half so that I can neatly stack them, they're only as big as a paper napkin--the narrow ones from a restaurant!
  • Still overeating. What I mean is, I'm eating "normal portions" for the pre-pregnant Liz. Thing is, they are no longer suitable for my increasingly squooshed stomach. Every time I eat too much it causes a good deal of discomfort and I swear I'll never do it again. When will I learn??
  • Discovered that ebay and Craig's List are a mom's best friend. I've found so many good deals on baby clothes and other paraphernalia. I won THREE auctions this past weekend.
  • Started to organize the baby's room over the weekend, cleaning up and prepping the crib. We selected paint colors for the walls, which at the moment are dingy white. They're going to be two shades of tan. We have a cute border to add at chair rail height. I started taping the baseboards. Joe's going to paint over his vacation.
That's all for now. I can't wait for vacation! Maybe then I'll get around to finishing our Christmas cards.

Thanks for reading! Happy holidays.

Second hospital tour

Ladies and gentlemen, we have selected a hospital!

Today we visited the other hospital in town for a tour. I got heart palpitations as we walked from the elevator to the maternity wing, but when we turned the corner, Joe said, “Hey Liz, look how bright and cheery it is.” He was right. It looked as homey as a hospital could get. That made me feel a little better and the palpitations subsided.

The L&D rooms were nice, very similar to the other place we visited. The primary difference that we noticed was the tone of the tour. The nurse who led us around was very positive, and since having a natural birth is really important to us, I was incredibly relieved to hear how open they are to it, and that they really encourage mothers who want to pursue it. One of my biggest fears is that the staff will not be on board with what we want and will try to push us into doing something that we don’t want to do. It did not seem to be the case at this particular hospital at all.

The other thing we really liked about this place were some of their protocols. For example, they welcome babies to “room in” with the parents. In other words you don’t have to send your baby off to the nursery for a mandatory stay, which we learned is the standard procedure at some hospitals.

The nurse raved about our practice that we attend. She said that we are in very good hands. Just the kind of thing you want to hear. I am sooooo relieved to have found the place that feels right for us.

Cross that off the list now. Next!

Results on diabetes test

Good news. The doctor's office called me today to tell me that my results from the Glucose Tolerance Test came back. I held my breath while I listened to the message. Her voice sounded chipper... Who would call to leave a message and say in a happy voice, "Well, the results came back positive. You definitely have gestational diabetes! Have a good day." Anyway, she confirmed that my results were normal and that all is well.

Phew! That made my day. In my heart of hearts I truly doubted I would test positive, but one can't be too sure. And until I heard otherwise, I couldn't help myself from thinking about it. One thing is certain, I hope to never have to do that test again. Eeek. Sends shivers down my spine.

Tomorrow is labor ward tour #2.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gestational diabetes test #2

Well, I went for round two today. As you might imagine I was in an especially chipper mood since I’d not eaten for 12+ hours and I was most unenthused about the prospect of being stuck with the needle three times.

Let me just tell you this: it was not a mere THREE times; it was SIX! Count ‘em, six times.

We signed into the lab according to instructions and sat down.

--Elizabeth! barked the lab attendant/phlebotomist, who had all the charm of Rosario on Will & Grace. She even looked like her.

I walked sheepishly to the “blood drawing cubby”, gave her my paperwork and sat down.

--Oh, you’re here for the three hour test. Are you fasting?? she grills me with a tone of disbelief, like I may have forgotten this little detail.

I confirmed.

--Well, you’re gonna be here for awhile. This takes longer than three hours, you know.

This was news to me. And news that I was not pleased to hear. She starts snapping on the blue vinyl gloves.

--Um… can you please walk me through this procedure, please? I’m confused. I thought it was only (only, ha!) three hours, and actually I’m not that good with surprises.

She tells me that that first she’ll “use the stick” on me to get an initial sugar reading. I HATE that thing! Then, she’ll take a vial of blood for a baseline. Next, I’ll drink this vile sugar drink, then she’ll test me at 30 min, 60 min., 120 min., and 180 minutes. She warns me that I may feel sick after taking the drink, but "don't vomit or you'll ruin the test and we'll have to do it over again."

At that very moment, I seriously considered getting the hell out of there. Unfortunately, I’d have to answer to my doctor’s office. And.. there’s that niggly little feeling of irresponsibility. I gritted my teeth and braced myself.

--What arm do you want to start with? Ooooo, you’re gonna be bruuui-sed after this is all done.

What the hell? I mean, can you try to make it a little more palatable??

The hardest part was going back into the same vein the second time. We ended up doing twice in each arm, and then my hand out of desperation.

And after all that, I still don’t know the results. I asked the doctor’s office this afternoon. They said I’d know on Monday, or Tuesday at the latest.

And so we wait… and just hope that was the worst of it, and that I’ll get the all clear sign. Cross your fingers.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Update on diabetes test

By the way, for those of you wondering whatever happened with my 3 hour test that I need to take since I failed the gestational diabetes screening over a week ago...

Well, I'm not especially eager to do it, but it's on tap for this Thursday morning. Cross your fingers.

17th century chastity belt?

Look at this contraption!

Welcome to this weekend's surprise. I tell you, as we get closer and closer to that due date, I encounter more and more surprises--some pleasant, others not so pleasant.

I have been having some "growth" issues the past few weeks. I don't mean that I'm not growing, au contraire... I mean that our little "bundle of joy" is growing faster than my body (or is it body AND mind?) can figure out how to deal with it. Last Tuesday I woke up with terrible side stitches that were so painful I was really at a loss on how to deal with them. A call to the midwife convinced me that they were just "growing pains" and that they'd eventually go away. Hmph. They did. Three days later.

Yesterday Joe and Ginger and I went for a walk in the park. It was a measly 1.5 mile walk, and by the end of us my stomach was tighter than a drum, practically forcing me to stop walking. This is all rather frustrating, because while I'm sure that I've lost some aerobic capacity since I've stopped running, I still feel strong on that front. I've adjusted to being winded a good share of the time. Secondly, I'm itching to get out there and have some kind of vigorous workout, even a good long, brisk walk would do it. Unfortunately, my abdominal muscles are not on board with this plan. Lately they've really been acting up to any attempt. I was convinced that I had to do something...

Fast forward to this afternoon. Joe and I are in Babies R Us standing in the maternity pillow/support belt aisle, mesmerized by the different products. I'd done a little research on these "belts", which remind me of weight lifters' belts. I couldn't really find one that really stuck out as being the magic rememdy. I asked J. which one he thought would be best. He says, "I think you just have to try them on, Liz." "You're kidding right?" "No! How else are you going to know?" Argh.

I remove my jacket and start pulling all of these different contraptions out of their boxes and attempt to put them on over my enormous red shirt. People file past us. I know these men, and the women too for that matter, must be turning the corner of the aisle and laughing their A$%es off. I mean, wouldn't you? I would have, until just recently.

I opted for the one that appears to have the best back support, sound design and sufficient amount of material that will adequately support, and ideally LIFT, this load I'm carrying all out front. I felt utterly ridiculous. I mean, really, how can I take this thing seriously? I'll bet that you're not sitting there envious of me and my new undergarment. It looks like a chastity belt! Well, sort of. The only humor that I can find at the moment is the irony here--that *I*, the pregnant woman, am wearing it. Fat lotta good it'll do me now, right? :-) Well, I'm hoping anyway that it'll alleviate some of the stress to my screaming abdominals. I'll let you know what happens.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fish stick fever

Corny Christmas music is playing in the background. I’ll all bundled up. My wet hair which froze on the way out the door is now temporarily thawing. The fluorescent lights are annoying me, as my stomach growls. I just want to get the heck out of here.

I’m at the grocery store. And at this very moment I’m having out of body experience looking down at myself. Here's what I see:

An uncomfortable pregnant woman whose clutching with all her might two boxes of fish sticks. She's walking as gingerly as possible around the end of the aisle (en route to put a dent in Price Chopper’s cheese department). She got the yak trax on my shoes because Monday’s storm left lots of ice and she's terrified of slipping. Irony is that these things are lethal on the polished grocery store floor.

As I’m baby-stepping and waddling my way over to the cheese, I think to myself, “wow. I never thought it would come to this”:

  • I never eat fish sticks, and yet all I want is fish sticks and potatoes.
  • I’m waddling again, because I have a bad stitch in my left side that showed up about 24 hours ago, and it just plain hurts to walk.
  • Not only am I out on a desperation run to get fish sticks, but I actually think to myself ‘nobody better not try to pry these things from my kung fu grip, or they’ll have to deal with a very cranky pregnant woman.’

This is what my life has come to these days.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

If you fail, pick yourself up and try, try again.

Well, the gestational diabetes test didn't go so well this morning. After the finger pricks, drinking the nasty orange soda infused with copious amounts of aspartame, and sitting around for an hour, I was told that my sugar was too high.

Major disappointment.

It wasn't alarmingly high. I think she said it was something like 153 and they wanted it no higher than the upper 130s. Now I have to go back to do the 3 hour doozy.

This includes fasting--again. Nothing makes me more irritable, or "hangry" as my brother-in-law Matt describes the highly volatile stage that my sister enters when she's hungry. I suffer from the same condition, which has only been amplified in pregnancy.

It also involves sitting around for 3 hours while they take my blood each hour to monitor more closely. Guess I'll need a good book.

I am convinced it's just a fluke. I'm healthy, I'm active, how can this be? Well, we'll see. I'll give an update next week, when I go again.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Week 29: Quick Update

I'm starting to feel like my body is at it's stretching limit. My abdomen is warning me, "No way. I can't go any further. Any more growth is going to have to happen out your back." Just in the last week I must have had another growth spurt. It feels as though there is a balloon in my midsection that is inflating at a faster rate than the rest of me is ready to deal with. I can't seem to get comfortable in any sitting position.

Another fun thing is that at night when I lie down in almost any position I can't seem to get a full breath. It's such a strange, and annoying (frankly speaking) thing. I breathe in and I only get about 75% of what I typically can get. On my back it feels like it's only 50%. I have so much compassion for what asthmatics go through, now.

Oh, and I noticed a sway in my walk today that felt like it could be the beginning of waddling. Noooooo!!! Not yet. Too early!

Tomorrow is the gestational diabetes test. I'm hopeful that I won't have any issues. I can't imagine that I do. Besides passing, my other concern is that I'm not sure how on earth I'm going to make it until 10 to eat my breakfast. I wake up hungry at 6 and am usually taking in the first round of breakfast by 6:45 a.m. Planning on treating myself to an egg sandwich following the appointment.

Sorry this post is a bit of a downer. Not feeling tip top right now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Last Thanksgiving sans Baby

This year’s Thanksgiving was low-key, but fully satisfying, nonetheless. Our plans to spend the great turkey weekend with Sarah and Matt in Los Angeles curbed all grandiose plans for Thanksgiving day. With a 5 a.m. Friday flight the day called for an easy meal and some good R&R.

A must for every Vinciquerra holiday kick-off is a good run. Joe ran "bandit" in our neighborhood 5k in Central Park. To hear about that one, go here.

A glimpse of race-day morning fog.

As Ginger and I walked over to the Park to cheer him on, I marveled at how different this year’s festivities would be compared to just twelve months ago. At this very moment last year, I was lacing up my shoes and donning all the other necessary wintery apparel for the Troy Turkey Trot, after which we would gorge ourselves on a sumptuous turkey dinner at my friend Linda’s house. Today, the meal would be more modest in its offerings, and, I am lucky to be able to reach my feet to lace up my shoes. Running feels distant, like that fun and exhilarating vacation that you took awhile back. You vividly remember the experience, but you acknowledge with a certain degree of sadness that you won’t be able to get back there any time soon.

While I did not have the excitement of an invigorating holiday 5k, the morning was not without surprise. Ginger saw to that. Thank you, Ginger. As Joe zipped his way around the course (illegally!), Ginger and I wandered through the park making our way to the finish. She sniffed around the edge of a small embankment and took care of a little business. Nothing out of the ordinary. But then, 2 seconds later, she was taking me for “ride”, on my bum down the hill over leaves, sticks, and all! It was actually quite scary because I wasn't sure where this joyride was going to stop and I had visions of getting turned over on my stomach. I ended up getting "stuck" astride a little tree. Ouch. Fortunately, Ginger stopped too. The hot pursuit of a hidden tennis ball ended at the base of the tree next to me.

The three of us after the race. Notice Ginger's body language. She's feeling a bit remorseful about dragging the pregnant woman down the hill. Naughty girl!

The thing that made the day all better was the delectable dinner to which I was treated by Joe. He's such a good cook. He'd been carefully reading through all the recipes in the Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appetit since it arrived, meticulously planning our meal. He made a turkey breast with sage and pancetta, a dressing with rosemary bread and 3 kinds of mushrooms, a mouth-watering gravy, and green beans.

Joe carving up his piece de resistance.

Everything was indescribably good. I made a pumpkin pie, which we shared with our neighbors later that night. It was a perfect way to end a our intimate and relaxing holiday.

Ginger wonders if her antics for the day will prevent her from sampling the holiday goodness. Fortunately for her, her "parents" are kind and forgiving and she got more than she really deserved. :-)

Time to eat!

More soon on our trip to L.A. ...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Week 28: Quick Update.

Oy, vey. Week 28? Already? It's just hitting me that we've got like 11 weeks to go, give or take a few. Eleven really isn't all that many.

So let's see. What's new and exciting these days?

  • Baby's kicks are getting stronger. Whereas I used to feel like I had a small school of fish zipping around in there, I now have feeling that Baby V is learning Elaine Bennis' famous dance moves.

  • The bucket seats in our car are changing shape. Someone really should alert car manufacturers to this. I never had any problems with the car seats before. Now, with each passing week I seem to be sitting ever deeper in them, so deep that pretty soon my knees will be up by my ears! Needless to say, this makes exiting the car rather challenging. By the time we end up going to the hospital, I'm going to have to use a UPS truck.

  • The potato obsession has passed. The tator tots and veggie sausage last Thursday didn't cut it. Fortunately, the local Wendy's got their S#!t together by Saturday (Joe, did you call ahead??), and I got my "chili cheese pot".** Half an order of fries were necessary for the dessert course.
**Look at the receipt next time you order up one of these babies. That's really how the baked potatoe with cheese shows up on the ticket!

  • Velcro shoes will be in serious need in the next few weeks. Remember the kangaroos from the 80's?

Or, perhaps I could really spoil myself with some of these jobs...

In any case, bending over to lace up the shoes is getting ridiculous.

That's all for now. I didn't have time to take a photo for this posting, but I'll have lots to post for Turkey Day.

Best wishes to all for the holidays. Thanks for reading and check in again soon.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Week 27: Quick Update

So, here we are, week 27. As you can see, someone is growing at a VERY healthy pace.

Here we are with a straight-on view. Not looking super obvious, right?

Now, check out the profile...

Each day I try to figure out what size ball I'm carrying... tetherball, volleyball, kickball, soccer ball, basketball, yoga ball.

Tonight, when I was talking to my brother, he asked me if I have had any cravings. Funny he should ask this question on this very day. Lately, I've been doing a lot of thinking about a baked potato with chili and cheese from Wendy's. I pass Wendy's everyday on my way to work and I can't stop thinking about it every time I drive past the sign. Unfortunately, the idiot who works in their sourcing department can't seem figure out how many baked potatoes they need to order so that they don't run out by the time that *I* get to their drive-thru! I mean, how difficult is it to order enough potatoes?? Do you know how many potatoes are grown in this country?!

Anyway, because Wendy's can't get their shit together, I had to go home and eat tater tots, 2 pieces of veggie "sausage", and a salad. Yum!!

I tell you--that Wendy's really went down the tubes when ol' Dave kicked the bucket.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

First hospital tour

We went on our first tour of a maternity ward over the weekend. I'd say it's time. If these next few months go as quickly as the last six have, the birth date will be here soon enough.

I thought that I was confident that I was ready for this (the visit). We feel that we've made some great strides, Joe and I, as far as our "level of readiness for baby" is concerned. A few months ago the birth videos or skipping ahead to the later chapters of the baby books either made us sick or caused us to recoil in horror, eyes wide-open, stuck in a state of panic. Now, only one week away from finishing our 12-week bout of childbirth education classes, we were feeling pretty good about our "maturation".

The classes really helped to demystify this process. The next logical step is to decide on a hospital. There are two here that are virtually in our backyard. Lucky for us.

As grown up as we felt, the act of walking through the maternity ward and touring the birthing suite, stripped away much of our confidence and an unromanticized reality became much more apparent. I conceded that perhaps we weren't quite yet to the "graduation stage". Well, maybe, junior high graduation.

I imagined us in this room on this hall, with people buzzing about, other voices (read: screams), and (gulp) all that medical equipment. The prospect of giving birth in a hut in the outback suddenly had much greater appeal than this hyper-sterilized, very institutional-feeling environment. Having absolutely no familiarity with a hospital stay (I've never been in the hospital), my over-active imagination went right to work. As the tour guide droned on, pointing out the highlights of the facility, I kept having visions of scenes from COMA.

It's a scary venture, all this unknown stuff. And while one can do a lot to prepare for this life changing event, like learning how labor typically proceeds (key word there--'typically'), there is so much that one can't plan for. I actually have to be open to spontaneity and surprise, two things that kill me as an obsessive planner. Relinquishing control is a far-away place to which I do not travel very often. Usually only by duress. :-) But I just keep reminding myself, women have done this for millenia, and I will be there with my very best friend, and at the end of the this very long endurance event we'll get to add a new special someone to our "pack" (Ginger's words). I think with all this and a few cider donuts, the deal would be sweetened sufficiently enough to have me sign on the dotted line.

Too much fun comes with a price

So, as you may have read last week, we spent a wonderful few days in the Big Apple, saving the city's gastronomic delights and exploring a variety of neighborhoods. Oh, and there's the one little detail that I mention: we walked 8 miles on Friday and a couple more on Saturday.

Net result: intense aches and pains for the next three days!

Stupid, stupid, stupid. What was I thinking?? Guess I kind of underestimated the effects of relaxin (not to be confused with relaxin').

I woke up Sunday morning with extensive lower back pain and relentless aching in my hips. I have never experienced anything quite like this, despite some pretty difficult runs on gnarly trails and loooonnngg road runs last spring. This felt like it was at the bone/ligament level, not deep muscle tissue pain. I thought my lower abdominal muscles and those in the hip flexor region were literally going to snap, like over stretched rubber bands. Did all that walking cause the baby to put on a few more pounds in just a day?

By Thursday I was finally able to walk again normally. I went for my weekly Thursday walk with my friend Marlena and felt great afterward. Just like the 'old days'.

Note to self: don't ever, EVER, do that again!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Anniversary in NYC

It's fitting that a couple of saints like Joe and me should be married on November 1, All Saints' Day. (tee hee) This year, our anniversary fell on a Thursday. Joe had been in the city all week for work. I took the train down on Thursday afternoon to meet up with him and celebrate the occasion of our fourth wedding anniversary.

I arrived around 7:30 starved and ready for a sumptuous dinner. We went out to one of Joe's frequent haunts called Dylan Prime, which claims to be "Tribeca's Premiere Steakhouse". I have absolutely no qualms with that statement. They served up one of the most amazing filet mignons that I've ever had! I highly recommend it next time you're in the area. And, the tarte de pomme tatin was also top-notch.

We stayed in the financial district in a hotel practically on the water's edge. Just over Joe's shoulder you can make out some buildings. They're on the Jersey shore. While Joe stays there all the time for work and is pretty familiar with the area, it was entirely new for me. I'm not that familiar with the neighborhood. Sure, I'd been down to Ground Zero before, but it was cool to get to experience some of the finer points in the area.

Like this store...

I doubled over laughing when I saw the sign on the awning which
read "Amish Market". (Moms: if you double click on any image, it'll enlarge it for you.) I couldn't stop laughing at the irony. The Amish... in New York City... in the financial district. Maybe you have to grow up with Amish people to appreciate the humor.

Friday was a day for lots of bombing around, after Joe finished up some work. We set out to visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Along the way, Joe showed me a beautiful fountain near Battery Park and we took a look at the Brooklyn Bridge. I wanted to see just how steep the pitch of the bridge was, given that some 30,000 NYC marathon runners would be crossing it on Sunday, including our friend Steve. Good luck, Steve!

We wandered through Chinatown past the smelly eels thawing on ice, and all kinds of other Chinese 'delicacies' that I'm not sure I'd want to try right now. Like bushel baskets of 'trippy' Chinese mushrooms. We turned down Mulberry Street until we came to the Tenement Museum. Unfortunately, their tours didn't start until the afternoon. So we moved on.

With all that walking I had worked up quite an appetite, so we hit the Whole Foods for a snack, which turned into lunch. We stopped by a nearby GAP to browse their maternity wear. No luck. As it happened, we'd end up having to go to three different stores before I could get my hands on some mom-to-be gear. That story's amusing enough that it gets its own entry.

We strolled over to Soho and explored some cute shops.

We zigzagged northward grabbing a coffee and cut through Madison Square Park,
where we stopped for some laughs at a dog park. There was a chocolate lab there who reminded us of Ginger. Even with the cacophony and chaos of 40 some dogs howling, barking, snarling, yipping, and chasing each other around, this chocolate was interested in one thing and one thing only: its owner's tennis ball. Hmm. Sounds familiar.

We marveled at the garden surrounding the statue of William H. Seward, America's Secretary of State who purchased Alaska in 1867.

Our walking tour ended late in the afternoon at 34th, but not before Joe could catch me with Lady Liberty. By then, I was beat. It felt like we had been walking for hours. My stomach felt so heavy; my legs and back creaked and ached. I later learned, when we mapped our route back at the hotel, that we had walked EIGHT MILES!! Now, had someone told me that we were going to do that, I would have had the good sense to bow out. But the time passed so quickly. We were enjoying ourselves so much.

I felt no remorse that night wolfing down a warm and delicious plate of rigatoni at Ecco italian restaurant that night.

Here I am Sunday, looking all refreshed, ready to head out for more walking. This time, taking it a little easier. We had to catch our train back to Albany mid-day.

What you can't see in this photo is the onslaught of pain that would creep up on me in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Never again, will I walk 8 miles (wittingly or not!) in the second trimester. Let me advise anyone else who thinks this might be a good idea--it is NOT! I have had the deepest aching pains in my pelvis, lower back and abdomen all day today.

On the bright side, I like to end things on a positive note, I can say that we had a very memorable anniversary sans enfant for the last time in, at least, 18 years. :-)

The Land of Milk and Honey

Ever so happy, Joe was eager to capture my delight when we finally landed at the 34th and Broadway GAP store after having gone on a wild goose chase to find a GAP with a maternity section. In the desert of maternity clothes options that exist in upstate New York, I was desperate to investigate all the possibilities in the city. They HAD to be plentiful. It’s New York, after all!

We naively assumed that the store we visited on the lower East side would have one. Doesn’t every store have a maternity section? The clerk told us the next closest one was on 23rd and 8th. Onward…

I charged through the door of this second store, anxious to get to the land of milk and honey, only to learn that the clerk at the previous store was misinformed. “Arghhhh!!” roared the pregnancy hormones. “This is ridiculous, Joe! How could she not know?!” I screamed at my poor husband. “She works for the Gap!!!” A new clerk--hopefully one that knew something about her company’s stores--assured us in her chipper tone that “the one on 34th definitely has a maternity section.” Hopes dashed, head lowered, I shuffled back out onto the street. Joe--what a trooper--encouraged us to try one last time. So I trudged my way up another 11 blocks. I have to admit, as annoyed as I was at the situation, the time went fast because we were having such a good time.

We got to the third Gap of the day, and pay dirt! We found this sign at the entrance. It was the most pleasant shopping experience I’ve had in five months. Racks and racks of tops and bottoms with generously cut stomachs. I had landed in heaven.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Week 24: Quick update

A view of the "Northern Hemisphere"

Been noticing some challenges lately, like the amount of the baby's activity. Almost every night when I lie down to read or send one last email before I drift off to sleep, the baby is kicking up (or waving up) a storm.

I end up spending half of the time staring down at the "northern hemisphere" of my belly, not wanting to miss any exciting movements.

The other day we watched a hand, or perhaps a foot, raise up my skin, drawing an arc a couple inches long as it swept across my abdomen. I wish so much that I could see through my skin to view all that's going on in there.

This week's photo.

Baby V's introduction to Air...

not the kind you breathe, rather the groovy electronica musical group. You can thank your Auntie Sarah and Uncle Matt for that, Baby. Those hip kids got your parents onto Air.

Joe was all excited today because he found these headphones this weekend in his cable/wire/outdated electronic device "graveyard" (which is really a plastic bin) in our basement. Who knew we had these?? Leave it to Joe. He could probably unearth a Beta VCR from some mysterious corner of the basement.

Now, we can share all kinds of music with you, Baby. We'll be careful though to keep it easy. I can imagine that your dad's hard-driving tempo mixes that he uses to catapult his heart rate up to near catastrophic levels might be a little intimidating for a little guy like you. We'll save that until you're like 3 months. For now, take it easy in there and keep practicing your swimming technique. It's probably more honed in 5 months of life than your poor dad's herculean efforts to streamline his stroke. Shhhh. That's just between you and me, though. :-)

Week 23: Quick update

Half way through week 23.

Joe snapped this photo of me Friday night before we went out to Mr. Wasabi's japanese restaurant to celebrate his birthday. It's a cute little restaurant right in our neighborhood.

Even though I can't indulge in sushi (raw fish variety) these days--and how I miss it!-- there are still a few rolls that come with cooked fish. For now, those will do just fine. But, don't think I'm not counting down the weeks until I get to order up my favorite spicy tuna roll, though!

Now you can really see how baby v. is growing! This is 15 pounds worth.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Trying to keep mind and body fit

I've been an avid yoga enthuasiast for a few years now. I love it. It centers me, keeps me flexible, strengthens and tones, and serves as a great metaphor for dealing with life in general. I put yoga on hold last spring as I was training for my half marathon and then just as I was about to get back into it, I found out that I was pregnant. I didn't feel like doing much of anything my first trimester but was itching to get back into it near 10 weeks. Fortunately, my yoga studio has a great pre-natal yoga instructor.

I signed up for an 8 week session in the beginning of September having no idea how much I would enjoy it. While I do occasionally miss a good vigorous yoga workout, I *LOVE* this class. Each class offers a different routine. We learn about different poses that can help alleviate pain and promote relaxation. It generally just makes me feel amazing. I plan to stick with this right up until I can't possibly move anymore. Well, I'm really hoping that I never reach that point. One girl in my class is 37 weeks already! So, that gives me lots of hope.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Week 22: Quick update

This is me at 22 weeks.

Baby shower

You know your life is about to change drastically when an EXER - SAUCER enters your home.

Two months ago, we didn't even know what an exer-saucer was. The "exer" part sounded interesting, sounds like something we like to do. But "saucer"? What, like outer space? Turns out, that might not be that far off. I have a feeling some of what we're about to experience in our first days of parenthood is going to feel rather foreign, like we're on another planet. But hey, the box does say "Triple Fun".

This was one of the many nice gifts that we received at the baby shower that was held for us last Saturday by our moms. Kudos on a wonderful party, Maureen and Sandy, and many many thanks for organizing everything to give us a very special day.

We had a lovely lunch at Provence Restaurant and then we returned to our house for cake, and then we returned to our house for cake, cookies, coffee and great conversation.

It was terrific to catch up with dear friends from Syracuse, as well as those who live in the Capital District. We were delighted to have my sister Sarah
and brother-in-law Matt who had traveled here from L.A. for Joe's marathon the weekend before last and the shower last weekend.

Go here to see more photos from the shower:

Second ultrasound at 20 weeks & visit

On Oct 4. we had our second ultrasound. I was filled with excitement about this one. Everything feels so real now. I think because I had begun to feel some movement in the weeks beforehand, which I was hoping to witness on the screen. I also couldn't wait to see how much the baby had grown from the "tadpole stage" it was in during the last ultrasound. While my abdomen has been expanding at the "typical rate"in the last two months, it seems like somehow it sped up once I hit a certain point. What is going on in there?? What does it look like?

For this ultrasound I followed the instructions to a tee. Last round, I wasn't aware that you had to consume a Great Lake prior to the test and I think it made things a little harder to see. And our being late to the first appointment did not endear the sonographer to us.

I jumped up on the table with great anticipation. A minute later I was entranced by the strange shapes and formations dancing their way across the screen in black and white. I was in heaven. There, we were watching our baby, as if through a window! I could have just stayed there for hours, mesmerized by each tiny organ and bone. We saw all the major organs--heart, liver, cerebrum, cerebellum, spleen, stomach--you name it. We took turns squeezing each others' hands in delight as we each identified all the tiny bones in the hands, feet and vertebrae. We exchanged smiles about 100 times. AGHGHGH. Little baby, V. There you are!!

Isn't this photo amazing? I still can't get over the fact that you can make out so much: eyelids, little nose, big forehead (thanks to mom), prominent jaw (gift from dad) and skinny little legs (also from dad). :-)

We had our regular monthly appointment after the ultrasound. Our midwife went over the results with us and said that everything looked as it should. Baby weighed 10 oz. Measurements were right on. Yay!

Are you dying to know if we found out is going to be a Miss or a Master? We decided to find out. I didn't think I could stand not knowing for another 1/2 of the pregnancy. It's a BOY!! Now, we begin the name debate. Well, at least we have lots of time left to work this out.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Progression through end of Sept.

Week 15

August 25, 2007

Week 16

September 2, 2007

Week 19

September 22, 2007

Week 20

September 30, 2007

Next week is the second ultrasound. Can't wait!