Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Some Questions Answered

“Still working?”
I’m trying. I’ve gone into work every day this week. I left an hour early on Monday and Tuesday so I could go home and get a little extra rest. I took a half day today because I had a rough night last night (thought I could be in labor, got all excited, couldn’t sleep, turned out I wasn’t in labor). And I was hoping to meet my in-laws for lunch anyway since they’re all now in town.

“So (when) are you going to schedule an induction?” or “What does your doctor have to say about this?”
My care providers tell me that it’s completely normal to go past your due date. Yes, 40 weeks is the due date given to women, but that’s an average…meaning that half the people birth before their due dates and still half the people deliver after. And first-time moms have an average closer to 41 weeks than 40. Did I still need Michael to hold me while I cried on the bed last night because I feel like my body’s doing something wrong, and because I'm just so eager to finally have her? Yes. But I’m not scheduling an induction unless there is a medical reason that the baby and/or I need one.

Still, here’s the plan: I have my 41 week appointment on Friday. They will do a non-stress test which monitors fetal heart rate and contractions to see what all is going on in there. It’s a way of detecting if the baby is stressed out or if she’s just hanging back and chillin’ because I’ve created such a rad environment. It’s totally non-invasive, and involves two little monitors placed on my belly. This is actually the same thing that was done when I went to the hospital for my kidney infection. If everything comes up peachy, we wait another week. It’s in the 42nd week that we’ll look into another NST and possible induction using non-chemical methods.

“How dilated are you?”
I don’t know, my care provider hasn’t done any internal exams. I’ve only had one internal exam during this pregnancy and that was my first appointment with an OB (who I ended up leaving) to confirm my pregnancy. My midwife hasn’t brought the topic up and I haven’t asked. The one thing internal exams do is tell you how effaced and dilated you are. The problem with this is that it doesn’t mean much of anything. A lot of women get told at 35 weeks that they are 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced and they stress out thinking, “the baby is coming soon because look how far along I am!!” But then they end up walking around for another 6 weeks. Plenty of other women are at 40 weeks pregnant and get told that they are 0 cm dilated and they get stressed and discouraged at their lack of progress, but labor comes on that night and they progress to 10 cm in 12 hours or less.

Your amount of dilation and effacement fluctuate and therefore don’t mean much in telling you how close you are to your due date. This is one reason why I haven’t really inquired about them. I know that I’m the type of person that would subconsciously read too much into my “scores” and stress over them.

“Have you had any signs of labor?”
I don’t know. I haven’t lost my MP (using abbreviations in the hope that people who want to know what this is will and the people that don’t will be spared), my water hasn’t broken. I don’t have any unusual back pain. I have had a ton of what I think of as Braxton Hicks contractions, sometimes they feel almost constant – every 10 minutes or so. They often don’t feel like much of anything. Other times I feel them along with a breathless feeling and a crampy sensation and I get really warm. And yet other times I have crampy feelings, uterine downward pressure, little twinges of discomfort, etc. that don’t occur at the same time as the BH.

So... I don’t know if any of these are signs that my birthing time could be close. My guess is, “Sure, maybe,” but none of that means anything until it’s really go time. I just hope I’ll know it when I feel it.

I leave this post with the following picture.
Because, if I know anything about the laws of nature, it is this: simply by posting this picture (from my wedding day, by the way), I will go into labor soon. Because there is a hideous picture of me up on my first page of the blog, my birthing time will start soon so as to leave me with this post up until I'm able to come on and post baby pictures. This post will represent me for however much time passes between now and June O'Clock. And the cosmos will want this up for awhile.

It's science.

Monday, March 28, 2011

pants with a belly pocket: A Tribute

Maternity pants. Fickle friend, foil to my comfort. I need you, I must have you. But I want you gone. *snaps* To wear your large elastic band rolled down pushes in on my ute. But to wear you rolled up leaves my belly feeling itchy. I had hoped to be rid of you by now, but must endure you still. Endure you still. *snaps* I have three pairs of you. Jeans. Olive green work pants. A pair of black work pants that have been accused of being sweatpants Now by multiple people. I will continue to wear you, despite looking like sweats. *snaps* Does my butt appear flat because of your contours? Or because it’s just getting flatter from all this sitting? Life’s biggest questions often don’t have answers. Don’t have answers. *snaps* I endure you still.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tempe Festival of the Arts

Happy Due Date to me!

No baby yet, if you're wondering. No signs of baby either, for that matter. But my mother in law is in town, so there is cause to celebrate!

As an indicator of how good I was feeling - or as a way to induce labor - we decided to pursue the Tempe Festival of the Arts. First, lunch on the lovely patio of the House of Tricks.
Then walking around the festival.
Would you believe that this is now the third year in a row that Judy has been here during the Tempe Festival of the Arts? It's true! But this was the first year that she (and Fred for the past two years) didn't find some local art piece to buy.

I found a piece of art in the form a huge hunk of pineapple covered in chocolate.
That pineapple was juicy! Which led to a chocolately drip on my white dress. Michael leapt to my aid helped me clean up, but it was really a one-man job, so I just dove back in for more sweet treat.
Thanks to Judy for capturing this awesome moment on camera!

It was a nice day with great weather. We saw a lot of dogs, a lot of babies in carriers, and one dog in a front-wearing carrier.

We ended the day up at my parents' house, sitting out in the sun, going in the hot tub (just the feet for me) and going out to eat at the Fountain Hills Park. Not a bad way to spend a (hopefully) last relaxing weekend without a baby!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Due Date Dilemma - To Willfully Withstand Working?

My plan has always been to work up until the day I deliver. This mostly stems from the fact that I only get 12 weeks off before returning to work and I want to spend every precious moment of those three months with June. Taking off a week early would just be week less of time I get after she arrives.

So with my due date fast approaching (Sunday), should I try to come back to work on Monday? My boss has already said I don't have to and most people seem pretty surprised that I’m working still. My main reason for wanting to stop working now is because of how it feels. I don’t feel like I’m getting ready to birth when I’m at work all day. My day starts at 6am and I don’t get home until 5:30. What if my birthing time starts then, just in time for me not to get any sleep and I will be starting my marathon on an empty tank.

Are you supposed to have any idea when labor might start? Do you wake up in the morning thinking, “This will be the day!” Because today never feels like the day when I’m sitting at my desk all day, looking at a computer, shifting positions to stay comfortable, taking walking breaks to the bathroom. I have this weird thought in the back of my mind that even though it technically could come at any moment, it feels so very far off because today was just like every other day I’ve lived for the past 10 months. Nothing special. I can’t picture this boring day ending with excitement at the birthing center.

Work’s fine, really. I’m not on my feet all day. It’s stress-free and calm. It's distracting, which is actually nice. There are only two main problems. The first I describe above. Would being at home relaxing allow me to feel more prepared and rested?

The second problem is that I just don’t like being around people anymore. I hold my breath on the way to the bathroom hoping not to run into anyone. I dread my lunch break and have considered just eating at my desk instead of in the break room (but Millionaire is on!). The following is a small sampling of what I hear from coworkers and what I’d like to respond with.

“You’re still here, huh?” No. You’re speaking to a hologram version of me that we concocted over in Tech. Beepbeepbeep! Low power!
“Baby’s not here yet?” Oh no, she’s here. My belly just didn’t go down at all after the birth. Bummer! She’s out in the car. Don’t worry, I cracked a window.
“You know, X Coworker had her baby. Why haven’t you had yours yet?” Oh, that’s how birth works?! One person birthing means all others in her acquaintance birth at the same time. Simul-birth, it’s called.
“You should hold out ‘til April 8. That’s my birthday.” I’ll see what I can do.
“You’re not even close! You haven’t even dropped yet!” Thanks for the encouragement.
“Have you scheduled your induction yet?” *Throatpunch*
“You’ve got a ways to go still. You’ll get a lot bigger than that before you give birth.” *Chokeslam*
“You don't look so good…you’re starting to walk like a pregnant lady now.” *Back-handed slap*

Which do you think is more disrespectful – a back-handed slap or a straight palm-to-face slap? Just wondering.

Not that I don’t LOVE being reminded that the baby’s not here yet every time I see you in the hallway. (And by “every time” I mean multiple times in one day. Are you really this surprised to see me at 2:00 when you saw me at 11:00? “You’re still here!”) I'm not even overdue yet!

I love it when I know that I come across as very likable on my own blog. You don't have to like me right now!

Anyway, what do I do? Do I suck it up and come to work on Monday, and just cope with the fact that I might start my birthing time when I’ll already be exhausted? Do I stop working and just hope June comes soon so I won’t be wasting all my time off sitting around and twiddling my thumbs? Do I have a marathon of naturally-inducing techniques this weekend – belly dancing/walking/ankle rubs/castor oil/spicy food/sex/bumpy car rides/evening primrose oil/listening to birth hypno tracks/red raspberry leaf tea/visualization/jumping jacks?

The truth is that none of these work unless your baby’s ready to come out anyway.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Nursery!

It's finally time to put up some pictures of our baby girl's room. It's still not totally finished. I'm hoping to ask my mom to do a painting for us for the room and there are a few other little decor ideas I have, but this is probably the best time to put the pictures up. It's mostly done, fairly clean and waiting patiently for June to arrive.

I get such feelings of whimsy when I step in here.

So here is our nursery tour. I hope you enjoy!

This is half of the closet (the other half is empty except for our baby bath tub). We wanted some more shelf space so we bought a closet organizer system. We got this Martha Stewart cubby version from Home Depot and Michael assembled it really quickly and easily.Our dresser and changing table. I don't know if that basket and Bartholomew Bear will have permanent residence on the shelf, but they're taking up space until I can get some great picture frames and maybe some interpretation of spelling June's name out.I really do adore that dark espresso wood furniture.

The crib! The main attraction! Plus the bedding! There is A.LOT. of controversy out there about cribs and bedding and bumpers and mobiles. I can't keep up with it all.

And now the progression of my cherry blossom tree 3-D wall mural!

First, Michael painted the room. The color looks so different in different lights (natural, artificial, the flash of the camera). It's light brown, but I don't think it's quite as yellow as it appears below.

Then I put up a branch decal I found online. (Google is my BFF, but I had to look through so many combinations for the words "Cherry Blossom Branch wall decal vinyl" to get here.)

Then I hand-made little paper flowers and attached them to the wall.
You also get a little glimpse of the seat and swing a coworker gave us that her daughter no longer uses. I doubt this is their permanent location but we'll see. I'd love to get some kind of rocker for the room for those late-night feedings (after she moves out of our room, that is).
I curled up their edges to give it some dimension.
I hope she likes it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mystery Marathon

I'm 6 days away from our due date. Less than one week! And do you know what being this close to my due date feels like?

It feels like I’ve signed up to run a marathon but I haven’t been told when it’s going to begin. That on any given day, at any given time, someone’s going to run up and shout, “Clock starts right NOW!” and the marathon will begin and I’ll start running. I don’t know where I’ll be when this happens. I don’t know what items I’ll have near me. I don’t know what shoes I’ll be wearing.

But I did know the marathon was coming – shoot, I signed up for it – so I’ve been getting ready. I’ve been training, I’m in shape, I’m physically capable of doing the run. I’m not afraid of it and I know I can finish. But it still just kind of looms ahead because the start gun could go off at any minute.

There are moments when you think, “I wish the marathon would start already!” or “Now would be a great time to start. I’m ready. I’m comfortable. I have my shoes tied on tight.” Then there are also times that you pray you’ve got more time and you eye every passerby with trepidation in case they make a move to blow the start whistle. Like when you’re in a big meeting. Or when you’re walking around the Renaissance Festival. Or when you're already exhausted and you don't think you'd have enough energy to only be starting your marathon right then.

And you look forward to it, truly you do. You can’t wait for the challenge, this race you’ve been training almost 10 months for! You’re ready to test your strength and set a PR and get that rush. And you picture the moments of triumph. Sometimes your legs twitch in anticipation because you just want to run. And you can’t wait until it’s over, because everyone promised you that right after the race you get a big old BBQ dinner.

Except in this case the role of BBQ Dinner will be played by my first born child, June. Who is, you know, slightly more important and satisfying.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Group B Strep: A Disappointment Story

I’d like to tell you about a small disappointment. I’m currently postivie for Group B Strep.

I don’t really want to go into what Group B Strep is in detail because of all the men that read this blog. Oh wait, there are only two of you. One who is responsible for giving me half of my genes and the other is responsible for giving me half of the genes of this baby inside me. Fine, I’ll go into GBS a little.

It’s a naturally-forming bacteria that is present in about 20-30% of all healthy, normal women out there. It comes and goes, meaning that you might have it at one point in your life (or in your pregnancy, even) and not have it at another point. It can be found in your area, if you catch my drift. And it poses a threat to babies born vaginally if the mother is positive with it at the time of birth. These days every pregnant woman gets tested for it around 37 weeks.

So I don’t want to get into the deets, but you have two options during your birthing time. You can just have the baby and take a 1 in 200 risk that your kid will end up seriously ill, or you can take some antibiotics during labor and reduce the risk to something like 1 in 4000. If you don’t take the antibiotics, the birthing center requires you to stay for 48 hours after birth so your baby can be observed to make sure she’s not exhibiting signs of the GBS disease. If you take the meds, you can go home whenever you want.

To me it’s a no-brainer. I’ll take the meds. Even my very naturalistic, homeopathic, granola midwife said we should take the meds.

Here’s where my disappointment kicks in: you have to take the meds by IV. Well, you only need it once every 4 hours, so you get a hep-lock which is basically just an IV connected to your body but only connected to meds for a certain amount of time. This means that I will be free to walk around, get in the tub, take a shower, sit on the birthing ball…whatever. And then for 20 minutes every 4 hours I’ll get a little bag of antibiotics hooked into my hep-lock, then I’ll go back to doing my thing.
As much as I loved my Hypnobabies classes, there’s one thing that I didn’t like so much – how much distrust they have in the whole medical community. For being about such wonderful positivity, they also plant in your head that you have to be strong, assertive, informed, confident, and like armed in order to fight off the advances of medical personnel who are really just out to get you in and out of the hospital as fast as possible. This may be very true for some places, and I’ve heard too many stories not to know that some hospital staff are not concerned with the mom’s best interests. But I also feel that it might be different at this birthing center. My Hypnobabies instructor actually told me about one mom who was given Pitocin after birth to help the uterus contract when she’d never given permission for it. The nurse just stuck her with a needle and gave it to her. This has me worried that someone’s going to try to sneak something into my hep-lock without me knowing about it, and it’ll be easier because I’ll already be set up to go, hep-lock exposed and vulnerable. I had a vision of me in my state of hypnosis and a nurse slipping something onto my hep-lock while my eyes were closed. Creeps me out.

Plus there’s the whole concept of cascading interventions. Giving in to one thing makes it that much easier to give into another. Will simply allowing them to put a needle in my arm make me more likely to give into something else? “Honey, it’ll be so easy to give you X medication…just to take the edge off. Your hep-lock’s already in, we don’t need to do anything except connect it to this pretty bag of liquid.”

Michael’s sweet. First he got mad that I had even considered that he would let someone give me something without my/his approval. He said he’d watch over my hep-lock like a hawk while I'm in my hypno zone. We can confirm with the nurses every 4 hours that, yes, it’s only the antibiotics you’re putting in. He’s also going to help regulate what people suggest to me. When you’re in hypnosis you can be very suggestible, and even though I think I’d be more angry and irritated with suggestions at that point, who knows what it’ll really be like during my birthing time? So if nurses try to suggest pain relief to me, Michael will pull them into the hall to have a chat (a la the two adorable scenes in Knocked Up).

So…that’s what’s up.

I wanted to write this blog for two reasons. One is that I’m trying to cope with my own feelings of shame of being GBS+. Even typing that out I feel like I’m admitting to a sexually transmitted disease or something (IT’S NOT). I know from my research that literally millions of normal and healthy women have it at this given moment, but I still feel weird about it. Also, because now I will have a little hep-lock in my arm during my birthing time and it’ll show up in all the pictures. Don’t want everyone accusing me of lying about having a natural birth when I obviously had some intervention.

Friday, March 18, 2011

On a Troll

Here are the troll dolls that I LOVED playing with as a child:
Here are the "Trollz" dolls that June will know as she grows up:What is wrong with the world?!?

I can’t take complete credit for the subject of this blog because a hilarious and accurate blogitorial review was written by one of my fave bloggers, The Sassy Curmudgeon. I just couldn’t help throwing my own two cents and nostalgia in as well.

I loved playing with troll dolls. Last Christmas my Grandma Mickie asked us what our favorite Christmas gift was over the years and we all had to go around the table and share. I told about the year my parents ended the Martin Family Scavenger Hunt with a ribbon tied around the back door handle that led out to a snow-covered trampoline…and one of the first Christmases I remembered when I came downstairs to find a Troll Treehouse sitting under the Christmas tree. I freaking loved that thing. So much that I wasn’t satisfied with just trolls living in it…in an odd example of peaceful cohabitation I also had my Barbies live there, all hunched over and uncomfortable.Note: This is the biggest/only picture I could find in 20+ pages of Google Image searching. I searched “Troll Treehouse” which resulted in some funny and some confusing images, including but not limited to images of Sarah Palin and monster movie villains.

Seriously, that Troll hair was like crack to me as a kid. I ran my fingers through it and played with it so much that it became all ratty and gross. I parted one Troll’s coif and it was so ratty that it never merged back into one poof again. Oh how I adored the Trolls that had the jewels in their stomachs. Today’s Trollz probably all have their belly buttons pierced. And the herp.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Tech Baby Shower

Last week I had my work baby shower. It was wonderful and I was really overwhelmed with the turnout, not just from my department but from others as well.

Here's the thing about where I work: I'm in tech. My department is made up mostly of men in general and men that like talking about zombies in particular. My direct boss, however, is a woman. Don't let this fool you into thinking that she'd love frills and bows and pink for a shower. She admittedly told me that she doesn't "do" baby showers and was looking for advice from me in what needed to be included.

I said I felt a little weird planning my own baby shower, but that I'd be fine if we did a little Anti-Shower. Like a shower Tech Style. We could even order a cake that said, "Bon Voyage, Roger!" and when people were confused we'd just shrug our shoulders and say, "What with cut backs and all, we had to order a cake that was never picked up because it was on sale."

My boss, without missing a beat, said, "Great. Random. Like, 'See you in Hell, Pumpkinface.' Got it." I thought this was hilarious, especially since she came up with it so quickly. One coworker, however, took this idea and ran with it - specifically, he ran home and asked his wife to get on it, STAT.

Which is how my baby shower ended up featuring this bad boy:
It was red velvet inside and delicious.

I guess the other departments had a couple moments of indignation on my behalf (bless!). One woman who I like a lot demanded, "What...who did this?" when she saw the cake. I guess they all felt bad for me and one woman said she would have cried if her baby shower had said that. "It goes in the baby book!" they exclaimed. It was really cute. But I think my laughter at the sight of the orange thing kept them from reporting it to HR.

The thing is, I didn't mind. I had my gorgeous baby shower. I have pictures of beautiful cupcakes and pink decorations and I got to wear a dress. That's the shower that will go down in the baby book, you know? I don't mind that this is Tech's take on a baby shower (there were no decorations to speak of) and it turned out a little wonky. 'Cause anyone that has a tech department knows that tech is a little wonky. And I'm a little wonky. So it works out.

And besides, I think the baby book would be just fine with the picture of Pumpkinface above.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Belly Pictures: Then and Now

When did I get so round?
Like my Jimi Hendrix t-shirt? I bought it for Michael early in our relationship (I have no idea why...he's not a big fan or anything) and Michael proceeded to wear it exactly zero times. But it is just so soft that I stole it and it has become my favorite.

Here I am at full term! 38 weeks behind me! A possible 2 weeks to go!

Now I know that I very well might make it to the full 40 weeks (shoot, maybe I'll be your average first-time-mama and go 41 weeks!) but I wanted to publish this post before my birthing time begins.

So here it near the beginning and me near the end. 4 weeks versus 38.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Judge Julie

How beautiful the world of parenting is! Isn’t it? How interesting and strange! Everyone has their own opinions on how things should be done! And you don’t have to get a permit to have children! I do sometimes think it’s weird that you have to get a permit or license or registration to be able to drive, own a gun, vote, buy things on credit…but you need absolutely no credentials or training or qualifications to create and raise a human life.

I have a coworker who expressed to me some feelings yesterday about the public school education system that was SO INTERESTING to me because his feelings differ so much from my own.

He had watched a debate on TV about Arizona’s educational system and one woman had particularly vexed him (stinkin’ Democrats!). She was a teacher at a private school and was saying that she needed more support – from administrators and particularly from parents. She said that when kids arrive at school, some show up with all kinds of traits that make them pre-disposed to learn better or do better in school. Things like upbringing, socio-economic status, etc. She thinks that parents should work with their kids to learn some things before they even show up to their first day of kindergarten.

“Did you know,” said my coworker, “that some people think you should teach your kid the ABCs and how to write their name before they even show up to school?” As my coworker went on to explain, it is a teacher’s job to teach. That is not the parent’s job. What are we paying them for if we are expected to do their work for them? Sure, parents can help with homework after the teacher has walked the parent through how to help with homework. It’d be like a doctor telling parents to diagnose their own kids before bringing them in to the doctor’s office.

This crazy world full of different people with different opinions!

I told my coworker that – to me – it was more like a doctor asking parents to make sure their kids ate a healthy diet and got some exercise… you know, like preventative care?

Of course, what do I know? I – who is short-lived-ly childless, who can cast judgment and spout beliefs and condemn others without any repercussions because I have no children of my own! I – who doesn’t know what it’s like to actually raise a kid, who only knows what I imagine raising kids to be like. It’s easy for me to say, “Yes! I will teach my kid how to read and write and ‘rithmatic her way to an 8th grade level by the time she’s 18 months old! I know I will! I will be patient and kind (this is starting to sound 1st Corinthiansy) and my child will be perfectly behaved and never throw a tantrum. Not once! And she’ll sleep through the night at 3 hours old! Tra-la!” So maybe my coworker –who has two children – has a better idea of what is reasonable to ask a parent to teach a child by age 5. I still committed the appalling social faux pas by saying that maybe teachers are just asking parents not to plop their kids down in front of cartoons for the first 5 years of life.

You guys! I’m so judgmental! Please still read my blog anyway. (He looked at my first like I was insane, then with a pitying condescension of knowing that I would soon find out what it’s really like to have a kid. ‘You’ll see.’)

I will. I will soon see. I will soon find out that it’s not only those moments I look forward to with a burning happiness. It’s not all looking into a big old pair of baby eyes while breastfeeding. It’s not all family snugglesdays on Sundays. It’s not all heart bursting with pride when she puts the square peg in the square hole for the first time. (I had lunch with a coworker today and the pride she showed at watching her daughter use a spoon was so adorable.) It’ll be frustration and fatigue and little failures. It’ll be teething and wetting the bed and reverse cycling. It’ll be questions I don’t have answers to, crying I can’t stop (the baby’s and mine), injuries that a kiss can’t fix. It'll be exhaustion and fed-up-edness and "here, if The Wiggles will keep her quiet for a half an hour..."

But now – when I still have a potential two weeks left of awful, condemnatory, na├»ve, wonderful judgment without the actual responsibility and knowledge of parenthood – now I’d like to make one tiny statement.

I think teachers deserve the support of parents.

And I hope I have the ability, time and patience to sit down and go over the ABCs and writing out J-U-N-E with my baby girl before she turns five.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What I Miss

The pregnancy is still chugging along strong and - although I'm still mostly enjoying being with child - there are certainly some things I'm missing.

(Let me also note that I'm a sorta in-betweener when it comes to pregnancy caution, leaning on the conservative side. So within this post list, I'll create a sub-list of things other people avoid or do during pregnancy that I have not followed:

1. Abstain completely from deli meats. For the listeria purposes. I definitely cut back and chose something else if there was another option, but I haven't completely eliminated it. There was some prociutto on an asparagus sandwich at tea the other day. I had an awesome turkey cranberry sandwich at Sacks of Art Sandwichery. And I ate rather than starved at a work function when cheap little deli sandwiches were the only food option.

2. Avoid the microwave. I saw a post on a mommy forum saying, "If I have to use the microwave, I set it and then immediately run out of the room! Don't want baby getting nuked!" followed by more women congratulating her and saying how they don't use their microwave at all any more. Oh please. Now I'm not exactly rubbing my bare tummy up against the microwave door while it's running, but I have not altered my micro-use at all.

3. No preggies allowed at the haunted house. I went anyway.

4. I rode the big slide at the fair despite being unsure if this was recommended or not.

5. Ate sushi (that didn't have raw fish. The first OB I saw - for only one appointment - said not to eat sushi even if it was all cooked because the prep surfaces could have bacteria. I've eaten some delicious eel and shrimp rolls during my time and I and every pregnant woman in Japan seem to be doing just fine.)

6. I've tried to avoid but have come in contact with some: paint fumes, indirect bleach smells and second-hand smoke.

7. Caffeine. I was never a caffeine nut but I enjoyed myself an iced coffee here or a soda there. I did cut it out completely in the first trimester when it has the biggest potential for harm (some studies show increased risk of miscarriage). But nowadays I don't stop myself from two or three items with caffeine in them per week.

8. I've eaten steak that was cooked 'medium.' *Shrieks of horror*)

So after that list, I present to you:

Things I Miss/Look Forward to Enjoying Post-Pregnancy:

1. Sleeping on my stomach

2. Sleeping on my back for long periods of time

3. Raw sushi (I don't even like most sushi that features huge chunks of raw fish, I just wouldn't say no to a nice Philadephia roll or spicy tuna.)

4. A big runny egg. Sunny-Side-Up is calling my name.

5. Brownie batter, cake batter, raw cookie dough...I think you get the picture.

6. A cool glass of white wine (You thought this would be higher on the list, didn't you? Alkies!)

7. Not having to worry about caffeine intake.

8. My wardrobe. Not that I'm anything close to a fashionista, but I will enjoy being able to wear more than the 5 outfits that currently fit me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Renaissance Festival Review

To celebrate Kai's fourth birthday, the family went to the Renaissance Festival.
I think the little guy walking around over Mom's right shoulder is so great, and sets a great pace for the rest of this picture-heavy post.

I've talked to several people about the RenFest both before and after our expedition to the place. There's a lot of mixed feelings out there. Let me tell you: I loved it.

My number one reason for loving it so much was because I love people that love something passionately. I love crazies. I'm a nut about people that are nuts about something. You'd see people fully dressed in costume, talking in accents, acting strangely...and you'd have no idea if they worked at the Festival or if they just showed up that Saturday afternoon. Like these two ladies having a snack.
And how can you not enjoy a drum show when the drummer so obviously loves what he's doing?
(I'm talking about the older gent in the middle, if his head thrown back didn't give it away.)

I love eating large pieces of meat with my bare hands.
I love fanfare.
There was a cute little farm area. Kai loved the baby animals.
Michael loved the people-watching. He made me promise I'd post the below picture with only one word to describe it:

His argument: the people that know what this is about will think it's funny. The people that don't...won't anyway.

Michael and I wanted to get something for Kai for his birthday. I thought he might want a costume or something, but he was dead set on a sword. He picked his own sword (blue, of course) ("The sword picks the boy, Kai, not the other way around.")
Let me tell you, this place is like an ADD paradise. There are tons of different stage areas with different shows going on every 15 minutes or so. One show was called the Fire Whip Show where a guy flung around these long whips that could cut through aluminum cans. After he cut a flower from his assistant's mouth, he asked the crowd, "Is that dangerous enough for you?!?!"

Dad shouted a tremendous, "Yeah!" Half the crowd glared over at him - because it was obviously not dangerous enough for them - before yelling "No!"

This had me laughing far longer than was necessary. But the guy proceeded to remove his shirt and move on to the "fire" aspect of the Fire Whip Show.
There was about 5-10 minutes before the next show started, so Kai entertained us by challenging another kid to a duel. (Was my shout of "FINISH HIM!" inappropriate?)
Then was the bird show.
The last thing we did was head to the big end-of-day joust show. The section we sat in was told to root for Amadeo, who was some kind of foreign count or something, and who turned out to be a villain. While the King toasted the other champions, he poured out his tankard in Amadeo's direction. Burn!

Here's Amadeo with his firesword about ready to smite his opponent.
But in a shocking turn of events, the hero rallied and ended up killing Amadeo with a dramatic stab to the chest. I think we were all a little worried that it was too realistic for Kai, so we weren't very surprised to find that he had his about-to-cry face on when we glanced over at him.
However, from what I gathered from him later, he was upset that "the guy we liked lost" rather than the actual stabbing. He's very loyal, Kai is. Even if the King cursed Amadeo's existence, he had one true subject in a 4 year-old boy.

On our way out to the car JP decided to try his hand at the Axe Throw.
Tell me, should he be embarrassed that he was out-thrown by a girl? What if the girl looked and was dressed like so:
I say he should just be thankful he wasn't knocked unconscious by mesh bits.

Back home, Kai got to open gifts, including an Ironman powersouce, which he attached to his shirt and used to blast the rest of the family across the room.
Which was okay, because I'd already had seconds of my powersource, birthday cake.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Birthday Continued

Friday night was my family birthday celebration.

Michael and I met JP up at my parents' house. We had Montgomery Inn Ribs, which I've mentioned a time or two on this blog, and which are my favorite food in the world. We had such a great night and ended it with some red velvet cupcakes!

The next morning Michael made good on a promise to take me to the Farm at South Mountain, which is the cutest little outdoorsy/natural/laid back restaurant. There was a birthday surprise waiting for me, though, in the form of our friends Remi and Cole waiting at a table for us.

There was only a slight moment of confusion while we were walking up before I realized what was going on. "Michael, where are you going? We have to put our name down." "No, we can just seat ourselves," he said, walking straight toward the tables. "I really don't think
And turquoise was the color of the hour, if you didn't notice.

Remi caught sight of some horses over a wall and Cole obligingly held her up to get a good look.
I should totally be some kind of editorial photographer.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Birthday Beginning

It was my birthday on Thursday!

Do you remember last year's birthday post? If not, please read it before getting to the bottom of this blog post.

Michael got me the biggest, prettiest bunch of roses a quarter-centurian could ask for.
We knew the true celebrating would come on the weekend, so I didn't mind running some errands on my birthday. First we interviewed a pediatrician and then we headed to Babies R Us to buy some of the bigger items still left on our registry!

Michael and I are definitely weekend celebrators. No matter what day of the week the actual holiday is on, we usually reserve true celebrating for the weekend so we can fully enjoy it. With that being said, I have to say that I really enjoyed getting this done. It might not sound like a thrilling birthday, but to finally have our baby mattress! Our bedding! Our pediatrician picked out!

I was pretty happy.
And, also:
He thinks he's so funny.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lessons Learned

This baby's due this month, y'all! Whoa.

Do you think she'll have her dad's eyelashes? My ears? His skin tone? My preference for warm lunches? Will she fit into the outfit I have picked out for her to come home in? Will she cry a lot when she's first born, or will she quiet down and just be totally stunned by the sensory overload of the outside world? (Air! It's cold! Sounds that aren't muffled! Light! Smells! People touching bare skin for the first time!)

Will breastfeeding be as difficult as everyone makes it out to be? Will I cry when I see Michael cupping her little bottom as he holds her to his shoulder? When we hold her and talk to her will she somehow know that it's still us, we're the same people that have been giving her little rubs and singing songs this whole time?

My little hospital escapade taught me something: that this baby could come any minute. Yes, ideally she will incubate a little longer, but as of now if she comes, she comes! No one's going to stop her! And I've heard plenty of stories of babies that come early (and plenty about babies that come late, for that matter).

And if the baby came this instant, we'd be fine. We could do it. I could do it. But still, we have one month left, and I'm not ashamed to share with you all the things we have yet to finish.

1. Michael is finished painting the walls of the nursery but is still working on the baseboards.

2. I need to make and put up the wall art/decoration I have planned! Must remember to take before and after pics!

3. Need to assemble crib

4. Need to buy: crib mattress and bedding (really at this point all we need is a fitted sheet, so this isn't any big deal). I'd also like to get some kind of chair/rocker for the nursery

5. Finish packing the hospital bag

6. Get some kind of closet organizer system

7. We were hoping to get new closet doors and a new lighting fixture for her room

By the way - what is a working woman supposed to do about her hospital bag? Leave it in the car every day? Leave it at home? I always assumed that - even if pressure waves started while I was at work - I'd get home and labor there for a few hours before heading into the hospital. You know, take a hot shower. Make sweet treats for the L+D nurses. Have Michael feed me grapes...the ushe. (How does one spell the one syllable abbreviation for "usual." You know, 'the us', 'the use', 'the ushe'?) So I plan on always going home before going to the birth center, but what about emergency situations? Surely there aren't tons of working preggies out there with birthing balls rolling around in their back seats?

(Although - do you think this could somehow get me into the carpool lane? People might mistake it for a fellow passenger?!)