Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Dear Hollywood,

We have been through a lot together, haven't we? 28 years of shared memories, some exciting and happy, others inspiring and sad. You've always been able to lift me up when I'm down and make me laugh for what sometimes seems like no apparent reason at all. We have always had a connection, haven't we?

So, why? Why did you do it? Again? After all that we've been through together, you've hurt me yet again. I thought that we had an agreement, but you broke your promise and lied to me. Again. Did you think I wouldn't find out? Did you really think you could hide the truth from me forever?

I'm disappointed in you and I do not know if I will ever be able to trust you again.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

And I shall call you Doula!

I was going to tell you about my doula in my last post, but I found myself rambling on so much before the topic ever actually came up that I decided to give you a breather for a day or so before telling you about her.

When I asked my midwife if she would recommend me getting a doula, she could barely contain her excitement and jumped up to get me the information of an excellent doula.

Her name is Nancy and when I called her, I had no idea of what questions to ask. Luckily for me, she was amazing (much like a couple of the experienced daycare providers I talked to earlier) because she controlled the conversation. She had all sorts of questions to ask me, which gave me ideas for questions to ask other doulas. I knew I liked her right away, but sadly she was not available because she would be out of town around my due date.

I was heartbroken. It sucks to find someone you know you love right off the bat and then find out you have to go find someone else who you know just won't compare. Not only was she incredibly friendly, but she has lots of experience, is an RN, but she doesn't cost much either (as I learned later). My search for a doula, in a nutshell resulted in two types of doulas:

1. Super experienced, friendly and great like Nancy, but super pricey! Easily 50% to 80% more than what Nancy charges!

2. Less experienced, though still friendly, doulas who just lacked the same feeling of professionalism. Surprisingly, though cheaper than most, they were often still more expensive than Nancy!

Nancy! I love you! Come back to me! I need you!

(time passes)

Hey look at that! I have a voice mail! Oh my gosh! It's from Nancy! Oh my gosh! Do you think she misses me too?

Apparently Nancy was able to convince her partner to back her up during the days that she's out of town and if I'm willing to still take her knowing that she's going to be gone April 18-21 (my due date is April 21) then she would be available. Sold! To the lady on the phone!

The way I see it... she's out of town for a total of 4 days, and those four days are before my due date. I've been told and have read that most first-time babies are born after their due dates and that the typical range of births lasts +/- 10 days of the due date. 4 days out of 20 really isn't that much, is it? And chances are I'll be late since it's my first baby and the baby is small, right? Isn't Nancy's experience (not to mention low price) worth the risk? Besides, it's not like I'd be left alone if I do go into labor while she's gone, since one of her partners would back her up. So... the decision was made.

I felt so silly calling her back to tell her because I was so excited and anxious that you'd think I was calling a boy for a first date or something. Michael laughed at me. I can't say I blame him. In fact, I even forgot to ask her the questions I intended to ask (ie more information about her partners). I was just so giddy knowing that she was available after all! We have our first date tomorrow evening. Wish me luck!

I'm so excited ... and you will be my Doula and I shall call you Doula!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Today's lesson on cleavage

Today's lesson on cleavage:
It is VERY cold when snow falls down your shirt.

Let's just say that's a new experience for me.

I'm not completely sure what size my breasts are right now but I'd guess they're large C cups or small Ds (I need to confirm by getting off my lazy bum and buying a bigger bra!). However, rumor has it that they'll increase by at least another cup size when I start to breastfeed!

Damn! They'll be able to use me as a cistern!

Labor: Lights! Camera! Action!

I have recently learned that there are two major flaws in the way movies portray the birth process. I'm sure you've seen the same movies as I have, and will know what I'm talking about...

1. The rushing to keep up with the baby, where the mother notices her water just broke and rushes to the hospital as quickly as she can. If she doesn't have the baby in the taxi, she is pushed in a wheelchair through the ER doors, just in time to scream and tell her husband she hates him right before the baby comes out crying and everyone is smiling.

2. The only labor position option is on your back with your legs spread. I wouldn't believe you if you told me you've seen a movie where the mom is squatting, sitting in a chair, or even in a hot-tub during labor.

Anyway, as my due date approaches (it's absolutely insane that it is only a little less than 8 weeks away!), I find myself thinking more and more about the birth process. I was hoping that after my childbirth class this weekend (more on that later), I would be more comfortable with the whole idea, but I still feel like I'm just beginning the process of preparing myself mentally, and the first step is deciding whether or not I want an epidural.

Surprisingly, the more I think about it, the less I want one. And my most recent appointment with my midwife made me feel soooo much better about it all. Apparently "natural births" are becoming more and more popular again. I'm not opposed to the idea of having an epidural, but I think I want to try really hard to have as much of a natural birth as possible.

I know that if I'm going to go through with a natural birth, I need to prepare myself for the process. I have read that it's critical to know what relaxes you (regardless of the type of birth you have) and I've already come up with a pretty good list (hot baths, back massages, Out of Africa soundtrack, foot massages, having my hair brushed).

I have also read that many pregnancies, especially first time pregnancies, have a tendency of going to the hospital way too early in the labor process, and this ends up being more stressful for the mother and baby. Apparently labors tend to go more quickly and smoothly if the mother can stay in the comfort of her own home for as long as possible. I like the sound of that, but I know that I would have the same gut feeling as the rest of the first time mothers and think "Crap! Labor! My baby is going to pop out on the way to the hospital! Thank God we're not taking a cab!" After all, that's the way it happens in the movies.

So how am I going to combat those issues during my birth when the only examples I've seen have been presented by Hollywood?

The answer can be today's lesson in Greek: Doula
"Doula" is a Greek word that loosely translated means "female servant".

A what? Look it up. Google is great.

The point is that a doula can help in all the areas that Hollywood has let me down. She can be there for me while I'm at home and help me through the initial stages of labor and will know when it's right to go to the hospital. Then once at the hospital, she can help me by suggesting different labor positions and different relaxation techniques to ease the birth process.

Everyone I've spoken to who has ever had a doula speaks so highly of them, and when I asked my midwife if she would recommend one, there was no hesitation when she quickly jumped up to get the information for a recommendation for me. On top of that, when I searched for one online, I kept being told that "every woman deserves a doula!" Hey, dammit! Screw Hollywood! I deserve a doula! Google says so!

Statistics for births with a doula present:
50% Reduction in Cesarean Sections
60% Reduction in requests for epidural anesthesia
40% Reduction in the need for Forceps or assisted Delivery
25% Shorter Labors
40% Reduction in the need for Oxytocin
30% Reduction in analgesia use
Fewer Cases of Postpartum Depression
Increased success with Breastfeeding
Increased confidence and participation by the father/partner

Friday, February 23, 2007

Daycare Update

I can not believe how much time has passed since posting an update on the daycare situation! I have done such a poor job at keeping people informed, haven't I?

Last you heard, we had seen 3 places:
1. Afgani woman family care provider - This one pretty much became less and less of an option with the more places we saw. So let's move on.

2. Little Lighthouse - Smallish child care center that was excellent program-wise, but slightly expensive (especially if considering full-time price, which we aren't).

3. Luv to Discover - Very small child care center out of the basement of a house, who seemed good program-wise, cheaper than the Little Lighthouse (still expensive if thinking full-time price) but was less convenient when it came to location.

We tried to find other family care providers, hoping that the Afgani woman was not the norm (nothing to do with her being Afgani, but completely having to do with the fact that she was just a babysitter, not a teacher). We were able to get hold of someone who would have been super-convenient (just down the road), but after she canceled on us a few times, we gave up on her.

We were able to find one really great family care provider, though! Kids Honeycomb Hideout was an example of a family care provider who ran her business as though it was a child care center. She teaches her children and is so much more than just a babysitter. In a nutshell, her program seemed good, but her part-time price was in between the two childcare centers (though her full-time price is SIGNIFICANTLY less). Location wise, she was probably more convenient.

So, here is a summary of how the top three places score relative to each other... initially done in hopes of helping us make a decision...

Based on full-time price -
Lighthouse: 3
Luv: 2
Honeycomb: 1

Based on part-time price -
Lighthouse: 3
Luv: 1
Honeycomb: 2

Based on location -
Lighthouse: 2
Luv: 3
Honeycomb: 1

Based on program -
Lighthouse: 1
Luv: 2
Honeycomb: 3

Based on today's gut feeling -
Lighthouse: 1
Luv: 2
Honeycomb: 3

So, what does that tell us? Who scored scored the best?

Average score -
Lighthouse: 2
Luv: 2
Honeycomb: 2

UGH!!! Aren't statistics supposed to be useful???

So, in the end, Michael and I admitted to each other that if money wasn't an issue, we'd go with the Little Lighthouse. So we determined if money was an issue by sitting down and figuring out how much money I would make when working part-time. We put all our bills on Michael's paycheck and daycare and the majority of our savings on my paycheck. The way we figured it, bills always need to be paid but things like daycare and savings are more flexible, depending on my work schedule.

The result? Apparently we can indeed afford Little Lighthouse when on a part-time schedule. That's not to say we can afford it on a full-time schedule (at least not if we want to continue saving the way we do), but by the time I plan to return to work full-time, we're hoping to be in Colorado... so that's not an issue.

Yay! Yay! We made a decision! How strange is that? Our child will be going to the Little Lighthouse 3 days a week. Now I have to try to convince the daycare center to let me have Monday as one of those days (so that on the days that a holiday falls on a Monday, I get off of work and thus have to work less time that week). Ugh. There's always something on the TO DO list, isn't there?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sexy Grannie Ankles

Today's observation:

Huh... look at that! My ankles are huge! My feet look like old granny feet.

Hey lady! Cover those ankles! Sheesh. The indecency today's young mothers have!

Those don't go there!

One of the things I'm sure most pregnant women accept but wish they don't have to is the concept of stretchmarks. I thought I was ahead of the game because I knew I was going to get them! I knew because I already had them. It's not like it's something I go around bragging about, but I do indeed have stretchmarks on my upper hips. Shhhh! It's a seeeecret!

I've had my stretchmarks for so long that I don't really know where they came from. In fact, I don't really understand them because it's not like I ever went through a period of time when I gained a lot of weight. Well, OK... you might you count the 10 pounds in college and the 5 pounds afterwards as major weight gain, but I never have. I just figured that I had the type of body that was prone to getting stretchmarks.

So when I got pregnant, I knew I would get stretchmarks as my tummy grew and I was OK with that. In all honesty, I was a little excited about it (I'm a freak, I know) because I've seen a picture that one of my friends has from her pregnancy. The picture was taken by her husband, from underneath her tummy, looking up at her. She's smiling down past her tummy, but you can still barely see her face. This particular picture was actually how she found out she had stretchmarks on her tummy, but I love it! I am so going to duplicate that picture even if it's as I'm going into labor!

Having said all that... I was not prepared for this.... Stretchmarks on my hips? Fine. Stretchmarks on my tummy? Sure, no problem. But stretchmarks on my breasts? Excuse me??? Yes, my breasts have grown so much (I won't know how much until I finally get off my @$$ and go buy a better bra) that I now have marks on them. Sorry, no pictures will be provided. UGH! Do they go away? Please tell me they go away! Someone tell me they go away!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Political bumper stickers

Today's baby update reminded me of a bumper sticker that Michael and I saw the other day.

Today's update -
Day 202: If you are having a boy its testes are completely descended now.

Bumper Sticker -
Foreskin is not a birth defect.

Hahahaha! Let's give that a little thought, shall we? There is someone out there who actually has that written on his car! Not only that, but the market must be large enough to make it worthwhile to print the bumper sticker in the first place! God that makes me laugh.

Ok, now we get serious...
I have to admit that this decision is going to be a tough one for me.

On one hand, it's hard for me to imagine not getting my son circumcised. After all, I've never seen one that wasn't. Wouldn't it be weird? You have to admit that it would be. Well, ok, you don't have to admit it, but at least cut me some slack for thinking so.

On the other hand, I don't think it's necessary. After all, it's not nearly as common as it once was, and the medical arguments just don't stand anymore.

In all honestly, I haven't given it a whole lot of thought, even though I probably should. If we do end up having a boy, then it will need to be done relatively soon after the birth and that's a serious decision that shouldn't be made light-heartily.

So, in the end... I think it will be Michael's decision. After all, he's probably going to have to be the one who teaches our little boy how to use it in the first place. hahaha!

The other solution, which strangely I find myself assuming, is that we just have a girl. Problem solved.

What I do know for sure, though, is that it would take A LOT of convincing to get me to put a bumper sticker like that on my car!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Rubber baby buggy bumpers

Rubber baby bunky bumpers
Rubber baby buggy bunkers
Rubber baby buggy dumpers
Rubber baby bumpy dunkers
Rubber baby bumpy bumpers
Rubber baby bumpy bunkers

Nope... still can't say it.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Have I told you today...

... that I love my baby!?!

I'm having what could be a very bad day at work, but my baby has decided to be more active than normal and I love it! It's absolutely amazing how easy it is for my baby to help alleviate my stress!

I'm having a great day!

Hello, baby! Hello!

Valentine's Day (a little late)

Happy Valentine's Day! I know it's a little late, but I'm sure you're proud of me for enjoying the day instead of recording it in a timely manner. =)

I thought it would be kind of funny to duplicate Ms. Spunky Tummy and what better time do to it than Valentine's Day? It was fun to stand there knowing very well that I looked silly and I think the pictures turned out kind of cute.

The concept of a girl being surprised that her lingerie doesn't fit because she's suddenly pregnant makes me laugh. Oh dear! Where did that tummy come from?

What matters most, though, is that Michael thought I was cute too. I like spending time with my Michael, especially when he thinks I'm cute. Life is too short to take yourself seriously and life is more enjoyable when you have someone to laugh with you.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

No more potatoes! No more needles!

We got iced in yesterday and got the day off of work. Let me tell you, when it rains ice, it kind of sucks. However, it was nice to have Valentine's Day to ourselves.

How did we spend the day? Well, we thought it would be fun to spend all morning in a waiting room to get my blood drawn 4 times. As it turns out, it was finally decided that I should go ahead and take the next test to see if I have gestational diabetes. Luckily, I had been preparing myself by dieting for the last few days and so I was ready to take the test.

Some people have asked me why not just wait until the roads got better? They think the idea of a pregnant woman out on bad roads seems a little unnecessary. Well, let me tell you that it was VERY necessary! If we didn't go take the test yesterday, I would have had to go another day being forced-fed dessert and potatoes! For those of you who know be well, you'll know that this is probably not something you ever thought you'd hear me say:


And since I'm complaining... Enough with the needles too! My arm is now bruised from all the pokes!

So... how did the test go? Well I don't know official results until today or tomorrow, but I'll be honest and say that I wouldn't be surprised if the results come back too high. Why? Simply because of the fact that when I drank the orange goo, I nearly passed out from being so tired! I couldn't read my book because I was so tired, nor could I take a nap between needle stabs because I felt too nauseous.

I'm not sure if that's a normal reaction or not, but Michael was able to point out the bright side of the situation and reminded me that if I do have gestational diabetes, chances are I'll have another ultrasound! Woohoo!

On a happier note... I actually did have a good Valentine's Day. It was nice spending the day with my Michael. I'll try to post some pictures soon!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Baby Back Baby Back Ribs

I want my baby back baby back baby back ribs...

I couldn't help myself - when I decided that I wanted to write to complain about my ribs, that song instantly jumped into my head. And has been there since. BBQ sauce!

Anyway, recently I've had two major complaints.

1. My back is killing me! Strangely enough, it seems to be centralized at one location, instead of across my entire back. If Michael just presses his finger in one spot, it's obvious that's where my pain is. And it's up in my middle back, not my lower back like you'd think. Just one spot, but damn does it hurt!

2. My ribs feel like they're being pulled apart! Well, actually it's closer to feeling like someone is ripping my muscles away from my ribs, and then stretching the ribs apart. Ironically, this is kind of what's happening. As my uterus grows (yes, it's reached my ribs), my skin gets pulled away from my ribs and the cartilage between my ribs gets stretched. The end result is chest pain like I've never experienced before, not to mention a constant feeling of bruising all along my lower ribs.

Hmmm... now I'm in the mood for Chili's. BBQ Sauce!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Pixels Schmixels

It all started out on a cold winter afternoon...

...when my USB drive (aka thumb drive) stopped working. Oh $#!T!! Forget about any work-related documents I had on the drive, I instantly started freaking about the tummy-related stuff I had on it! Who knows how many tummy pictures could be lost for good?*

Michael tried to calm me down by saying he always does the right thing by copying them onto our computer at home before deleting them from the camera. He's so sweet. He just assumed that I did the same. Nope. I could remember there being a time or two where I copied the pictures directly off of the camera and onto my thumb drive, only to delete them from the camera afterwards. Silly me.

When we finally got home, I wasted no time in seeing just what pictures I'm missing from our computer. It turns out that we were in better shape than I thought we were because I was only missing one set of "tummy growing" pictures and my "overalls" pictures.

Then I got a brilliant idea! Maybe I could download them from my blog! However, when I did this, I sadly discovered that the files on my blog were not very large, though luckily they may be large enough to suit my needs (I just need small printouts for a page in my scrapbook).

Well bummer. But wait... what's going on? I see that many of my other pictures are also small files! How can that be?! I know we take pictures with high resolution unless we think we're going to be taking a lot of pictures at one time.

Well it turns out that indeed, we have been taking larger pictures. Good. The bad part is that i tend to open them in Microsoft Photo and have the "viewer" set to 25% so that I can see the entire picture on the monitor. Sometimes I have to rotate the picture, and when I go to close the file I am asked "would you like to save the changes". I'm no idiot, of course I'd like to save them! That way I don't have to rotate the picture again, right?

Right. But it turns out that I'm still an idiot because since I was viewing the picture at 25%, I just saved the picture at 25% resolution. So now, many of my pictures are small pixel-ated pictures, but not all of them! Just the ones I like! UGH!

Well that just plain sucks.

* FYI, for most cases, when a thumb drive stops working, you can pay a $75 fee to get a company to recover the files for you. If they're not successful (though they claim to be 95% of the time), you're not charged anything. However, since I can not say exactly what work-related files are on the drive, I do not have that option. Silly government for trying to control the mass-distribution of FOUO (For Official Use Only) files.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Love it. Simply Love it.

Plain and simple.
I love this picture.
Love it!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

It's a diet, I swear!

An update from my last appointment:
- Baby's vital signs are normal (heartbeat in 140s)
- I'm anemic (must start bombarding myself with iron)
- Got diabetes? Who knows?

So it turns out that there is still a bit of confusion on whether or not I need to take the next series of tests to see if I have gestational diabetes. Apparently the American Association of Diabetes and the American Association of Obstetricians have recently recommended that the cutoff for normal glucose levels during pregnancy is 30 or below (instead of 39 or below). The lab I went to changed to this number on Jan 10 (just a couple weeks ago) and my result came back 35.

We're told that this recommendation is so new and controversial that no one really knows what to do. My midwife office is meeting with the high risk specialist at Johns Hopkins next Tuesday and they're going to ask them what number they're using and then they are going to let me know if I should take the next series of tests. Yes, this is the one I mentioned last week, where they poke me 4 more times with a needle. Ugh.

Part of me just wants to say "just let me take the damn test, just to be on the safe side" but the other part of me thinks that it's silly because if I had taken the test just a couple weeks earlier, none of this would be an issue.

Anyway, in the mean-time, I'm going to start my 3-day diet so that I'm ready to take the test on Wednesday, if need-be.

Eat the food listed each day for 3 days PLUS anything else you desire -

Breakfast: Fruit (1 banana, 1 orange, 1/2 grapefruit, or 1/2 cup juice)

Lunch: Meat, cheese or egg (as desired) plus bread (2 slices) or spaghetti, macaroni, rice or noodles (1 cup). Also dessert (fruit, cake, pie or cookies). Milk.

Dinner: Potato. Vegetable. Bread. Meet. Milk. Dessert.

The diet is going to be rough, let me tell you. I don't know how I'll get through.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Pregnant Snowman

Ever wondered what a pregnant snowman would look like? Well I suppose it would be a pregnant snow woman, but that's not the point. Apparently I am one of the only people who wonder such things because try as I might, I was unable to find a Christmas ornament of a pregnant snowman, and just now I was unable to find a picture of one online. Why am I the only one with such deep thoughts?

I was reminded of this yesterday because I had to go down to a site for work. At the site, we're required to suit up in "bunny" suits. I'm sure you've seen similar things on TV. They're white, and big and bulky. Whenever I put one on, I feel like I'm magically transformed into a snowman.

OK, so that's putting a little bit more of a romantic twist to it than the experience really deserves, but we'll move on...

So today I'm working with my big white snow suit on and one of the girls comes up to me and asks if I'm pregnant. Well, more like motions if I'm pregnant, because it was really loud and it's difficult to understand what others are saying when their face is covered with a mask. So, she put her hand on her belly, rubbed it around a little in a "are you pregnant?" sort of manner.

I was shocked! Don't get me wrong, I know I look pregnant... but underneath a huge, bulky, baggy white suit? Come on! You've got to be kidding me?!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Meet Ms. Spunky Tummy

Ms. Gorgeous Tummy and Ms. Sexy Tummy have a new friend! This is Ms. Spunky Tummy. How cute is that? I think I could pull off a picture like this myself and just may do that.

And for those who are wondering, I still haven't been able to duplicate Ms. Sexy Tummy yet because my belly button is refusing to pop out. It is getting more and more shallow, though, so I still have high hopes!

Monday, February 05, 2007

At least we know it's comfy

We usually keep the doors to the nursery and guest room closed so that they are as close to "cat free zones" as possible. However, it is always surprising how quickly the cats invade if the door is left open. Rascal snuck in without me noticing (we later heard her desperate cries for help from behind the closed door), and by looking at this picture you'd think Pounce had free-reign to the room... but no. This was taken only 5 minutes after the door was open. At least we can rest assured that the crib is comfortable!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Un-necessary worrying

I used to make fun of my mom for how much she would worry about us when there was nothing to worry about. A classic example would be how if she would have to slam on the brakes while driving, she would automatically fling up her arm to hold back the child in the passenger seat, as if her arm would save us when the seat belt alone would not. I even remember on one occasion how she knocked the wind out of me by trying to save my life in such a way. Mothers. They can be so silly.

I recently got my first real taste of this un-necessary worrying. I had convinced myself that I was not feeling the baby move much and that it was abnormal. Forget the fact that I was pretty active when this thought came to mind (usually I notice my baby move most when I'm not moving myself and everything around me is silent). Without going into too many details, let's just say that it was the first time I really thought about what it would be like as a parent to lose a child. And believe me, I did not like it one bit.

And just for you worry-ers, baby is moving around just fine now. =)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Pregnancy Spurts

Do you ever feel like you just got super-pregnant over night?

No? Maybe it's just me then.

I didn't want to say anything because I thought for sure it was my imagination, but then Michael asked me a couple nights ago "Do you ever feel like you reach a plateau when it comes to your pregnancy progress and then BAM! Overnight, you take a huge leap forward?" Apparently he, too, noticed that overnight I suddenly started sitting and standing up like a pregnant woman.

And I swear it was not a gradual change. Saturday I was sitting and standing just fine, but Sunday I was all about the reaching behind me for support and standing with my stomach first. Much like when I first got my tummy in November, it was an over-the-night change.

On the bright side of things... this weekend we went shopping for anther pair of pregnant jeans (sadly my first pair might have to go into early retirement). OK, OK, so that's the the bright side yet. The bright side is that I got a pair of overalls!

Yay! Yay! I LOVE OVERALLS!!! I used to have a pair in college and I quickly learned that it is nearly impossible to wear overalls and be upset! They're magical really! But now, I look super cute because not only can I wear cute overalls and get away with it (they're not widely accepted on the East Coast), but I look super cute AND pregnant! So much fun!

Don't believe me? Well just ask and I'll tell you just how much fun they are! I believe that there might even be studies that show it's nearly impossible to be in a bad mood when wearing overalls.