Sunday, February 24, 2008

A birthday, but no baby

Way to go, baby. You missed your birthday. Well, you're young, so we'll cut you some slack.

Was it possible? Well, I suppose. Remotely possible. Was it likely? Not a chance. Not with my genes, or Joe’s genes. Now, for as long as I’ve known Joe’s parents, I’ve never seen any evidence to suggest a punctuality issue. Joe is a different story. He was born late and continues to demonstrate a 50% likelihood of running overdue. Since my proclivity toward tardiness runs deep on my side, I may have passed on stronger gene for being late.

February 23, while looming large in my mind for months, was in the end not that different other Saturdays, although we made a point to take it easy and have fun together. We finished errands and grocery shopping by 1:00, a first, and then came back and puttered around the house for a bit. A few kick ass rounds of Rummy were played at the kitchen table, along with three games of Mancala. Look how happy Joe looks here.

Don’t be deceived. He lost. *I* am the premiere card and Mancala player in our house.

After our afternoon workout, a long walk, in hopes of forcing that baby downward, we whipped up a terrific recipe that we found in Everyday Food—thanks to my stepmom Judy and Dad, who gave us the subscription for Christmas. The recipe was for Shrimp and Cabbage Lo Mein. Sounds very Chinese flavored, but it really wasn’t. The cabbage was subtle and not overabundant, and the light soy-ginger sauce was just the right touch.

We wrapped up the night with three episodes of LOST, Kodiak Cakes brownies and birthday cake (not the baby’s, but a friend’s). It doesn’t get much better. Only three more episodes to go until we finish the third season, and the plan is to wrap those up today. At least we’ll finish the season before Baby arrives.

Keep your fingers crossed for some action in the next few days.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A few photos from week 39

This is my "little" beach ball.

My view from above. Seriously, I can barely make out my knee caps anymore when I look down. I pretty much try to avoid looking down, and, all mirrors.

Aghhhhh! Run for the hills. Actually, that's not even funny any more. I *wish* I could run for the hills. Hell, I'd be happy with a brisk walk to the hills. Everything goes at a snail's pace now. Well, someday...

Pattern recognition

See any similarity?

Any shape repetition?

I continue to marvel at how my belly button never flattened out. I was sure it would. Now, I think that the shape of my belly button mirrors the left side of the lemon (near my hand), as opposed to the right side--that was me about 3 months ago. These days the skin is so taut that it has "flattened" out a bit, but it still protrudes like a little door bell.

Anyway, that's my amusement for the day.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Week 39: T minus FIVE days!

Hello, hello! I see you're checking in wondering "well, has it happened yet?" Nope. No signs of baby, yet.

When are we going to get to meet you, Baby??

We saw the midwife today and she said that everything's looking good. I'm feeling relatively good, just really HEAVY. The baby continues to lower. Something occured to me yesterday, as I felt him skirming downward: "oh shit, this thing's got to pass through my pelvis!" Now, I've seen a skeletal model or two, and it just doesn't look "roomy" enough for a baby to get through--even if he is a tiny, little thing. It's probably best for me to just not think about it, but now that I can feel the effects of it, it's hard for me not to spend lots of time overanalyzing the mechanics of this.

Joe nicely requested that I not have the baby last weekend, because he had a few things to do and would rather take some time off work. No baby over the weekend. Now, Joe's submitted his request for the labor to start tomorrow because he doesn't want to go to work. It doesn't exactly work this way, I tried to explain to him. He reluctantly accepts this, but I can tell he's skeptical. As far as I'm concerned, it can happen any day now and it won't be too soon!

I started drinking the red raspberry leaf tea and got the go ahead to take the evening primrose oil. I might just hold off on the primrose oil for another day or two. My luck, it'll go straight to work and open the flood gates.

Keep checking in...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Week 38: Quick Update

There's more "action" going on these days in that belly of mine. I like say that the baby is pretty "wiggly", not in the way he was a few months ago. Back then, there was more space and he had full range to dance around. Now, it's more like a fish swimming upstream, although in this case it's downstream. Think, "shimmy".

This week I'm having sensations that are new to me, even within this pregnancy. The key word about everything now is "Lowwwww". There's a tightening of muscle that feels different than the Braxton-Hicks contractions that I've experienced for several months. And sometimes I really wonder if the baby is head-butting the "door to the outside world".

I feel like something could happen at any time now, but I'm trying not to get myself too excited in case I've got another 3 weeks of this:

We had our weekly visit with the midwife today. I didn't gain any weight this week. That was a surprise. I have definitely been eating for two lately, as I might have mentioned. I described all my latest "symptoms". She said that the baby's head is down and lowering--all good signs--but not way down yet into the pelvis. Geez, you could have fooled me. This makes me think that I could be in for another week or two, or, GASP, three. Well, I'm not going to think about that. I'm just going to take it one day and one sleepless night at a time. :-)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ham hocks and vienna sausages

Oh the joys of the last weeks of pregnancy. Saturday we had our good friends over for dinner. Since it might be our last opportunity to get together before Baby V arrives, Joe and I wanted to make a nice dinner. Nothing wrong with eating to your hearts' content in the last weeks of pregnancy, but the standing around all afternoon in the kitchen preparing said dinner is not advisable. Take it from me.

I knew that I should have sat down here and there, but my obsessive nature kept me going. Just one more thing; just one more thing. I just want to cut up this, and then I'll sit down. Well, 6:00 snuck up on us and I hardly sat down.

By 9 o'clock Saturday night, mind you I had been sitting since probably 7:30, my feet felt really hot. Without looking at them I took my socks off. Hey, we were all friends and no one but Ginger could see my feet under the table. A bit later I had to get up for something and I glanced down at my feet and gasped in horror!

My toes, all ten of them, looked like vienna sausages! My ankles and the rest of my foot had the thickness of a ham hock. Quelle horreur! It was terrible. I mean I don't consider myself as having particularly attractive feet. But damn, this was bad. There was no curvature or definition from the top of my calf all the way down to my foot.

Sunday I was much smarter. I'd do a few things on my to-do list, then sit down and put my feet up for 10-15 minutes. I will not be posting a photo of my feet for you because I fear it could induce serious anxiety... or laughter.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Week 37: Quick Update

Appointments to the doctor's office are now on a weekly basis. This week's report is a good one, for the most part. Things are "as they should be". All of the things that I brought to the midwife's attention were confirmed to be "normal" including the menopausal-like symptoms (night sweats, laying wide awake for hours) and low pressure, back aches, and what feels to me like significant water retention. I'm like a little marshmallow lady.

The one thing that I was not thrilled about was testing positive for Group B strep. This is by no means catastrophic. It just means that I now have to take antibiotics before the birth (during labor). I'm leary of taking antibiotics in general. I think they're vastly overprescribed. But in this case, it seems to be the best course of action, especially given some of the stories that I've read about the consequences of not taking them.

Just for fun compare the photo above to a photo of me wearing this same shirt back in what I imagine was late October or early November, since I can see Joe's birthday cards on the mantel. HAAA!

Damn! (Will Smith voice from Men in Black)

Just waiting now, and wondering. Wondering will it be today? Will it be next week? The anticipation is intense. Trying to enjoy living "on the edge".

Friday, February 1, 2008

Gotta keep that baby warm!

This is baby's "window on the world".

Since baby's been in his incubator for nine months now, all toasty and snug as a bug, he has no idea just how COLD his new home is. Now, don't think that we're not going to hike up the thermostat. We have to. You can't keep a baby happy in a sixty degree house.

But we had to make some "minor improvements" in the meantime to ensure that baby's house is an energy efficient. Put in brutally honest terms, to ensure that we can pay the bills that heat baby's house!

Our house is nearly sixty years old and it has the original casement windows. While they're pretty to look at, the Northeast's extreme temperature fluctuations, UV rays, and time itself have all taken an extensive toll on the windows. We might as well have had Saran-wrap on the windows. We just had them installed this week, and not a minute too late.

Here the upstairs window has just been replaced. They'll do the big downstairs one the next day.

Voila one new window, freshly installed. It looks so strange with no molding or trim!

I'm fascinated by all the layers in this shot. This is what it takes to keep out the elements??

The new windows are amazing! For one thing you can't feel a breeze anymore. Now there's a novel concept. And they're so warm. Did I mention that you can open and shut them without the assistance of pliers and a hammer? That actually saves a lot of time, you know.

We had all of the upstairs windows replaced as well as the downstairs front window. It was so cool watch them rip out the old windows. Normally, I get a little nostalgic about change, but in this case I was happy to see them go, because everytime I looked at them all I saw were piles of dollar bills going up in smoke. The contractor told us that a few of the windows had sustained the worst damage that he'd ever seen. Hmm, that would explain the outrageous heating bills.

Here are a few photos of the new windows.

The most significant modification that we had to make was to select a 2-unit casement set-up instead of replicating the 3-window casement that used to be there. Today's building code standards require an egress width that was wider than the old windows that we had. I had never given thought to getting out via the window in case of an emergency. While Joe and I would probably have been able to squeeze through those old windows in a pinch, others may not have fared so well. Scary thought!

The other thing you may have noticed is that the wood is a little light in color. That's because it's unstained. Oh Pella will stain it for you alright, you just have to give them your first born. :-) And , after all the hard work that I put in over the last nine months, that's not going to happen. Looks like Joe will be keeping busy this spring.

I'll have to report out on the energy savings in the next few months. I am PRAYING that it's substantial!

Week 36: Quick update

This is more of an emotional update than anything else. I'm still in disbelief that I'm within three weeks of my due date. I have some ambivalence about the upcoming birth-day. In many ways I’m really glad that I don’t have much more time to incubate this little guy because he seems to be growing at an exponential rate now. My appetite has increased—“doubled” is accurate—in just the past few weeks, and I still can’t get over the circumference of my midsection!

Aside from these physical changes, there are other shifts going on. Once I crossed over the T minus two months mark, I started to feel panicky. Being under two months drove that point home all the more that this *is* going to happen. Everything I thought about suddenly revolved around this monumental event. I felt an overwhelming desire to begin to organizing everything I could. Got that bag packed? Got those newborn clothes washed and ready? Have enough diapers? Things is--checking these things off the list didn’t really make me feel all that better. A little better, but not significantly.

I realized that I just had to face the big pink elephant. Even though we have been to (literally) 40+ hours of childbirth education classes, several sessions of prenatal yoga classes, and read through stacks of books, the fact is I’m scared out of my wits. It drives me crazy that there is no way of knowing anything, that it is all spontaneous! As the weeks tick on, I am reminded that there is no getting out of this. (Don't get me wrong, I want the baby, just don't want to push him out. :-) ) Little by little, other happenings are decreasing my patience and making me stronger to face the music, and the contractions. I'm getting so uncomfortable. I have frequent low pressure. I sleep poorly. I'm short of breath. I am in a perpetual state of fatigue. And the list goes on. And then, I remember that all of that will "go away" once I just face up to what's coming and get through it. It's not forever. Plus, the reward on the "other side" is going to be so amazing. A few days ago, I felt something giving way. Was it my stubbornness? Was my will to fight ceding? I noticed that a sense of acceptance is starting to work its way into my psyche. Where this comes from I have no idea. Suppose it's just knowing that the delivery is imminent is forcing me to deal with my fears and concerns.

In the meantime I've begun to take stock in and really enjoy all of life's little moments that will change the moment little baby Vinciquerra takes his first breath. No more lounging around at night without a care, no more willy nilly schedule (should we eat at 6 or 9?), no more periods of silence in the house that could last hours. I'm fine with all of these things changing, but I wanted to revel in them for the last few times before they really do change, because I think that I have underestimated how much I appreciate them. Don't mistake me. There's no trace of lament in my voice here. All of these things will come back one day. This, I know. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm just trying to just live in the moment right now, not wanting to wish away these last few weeks and yet at the same time looking forward to the extraordinary moment when life will change forever with the birth of our child.