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.