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.