Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wave of Contentedness

All is good in my world. Today I took a nap with my dog sleeping on the bed, my new kitten sleeping on my shoulder, and Baby tumbling around in my belly. It's so sweet it's almost sickening.

Other random updates...

Had a good midwife appointment yesterday. Better than last one. I think that I just didn't really "click' with the midwife from the previous appt. Thank god she won't be delivering the baby. Yesterday all was well. I don't even have much to report. I'm just...feeling good. I think the chiropractic appts are helping and everything just feels good. My wrist is starting to hurt some, so the midwife recommended a brace. That helps, but it's awkward, so we'll see. Random fact - everyone (the midwives, chiropractor) keeps commenting on my really strong stomach muscles. It's from horseback riding. Apparently, having strong core muscles is good all of the time except in pregnancy. When the midwife first touched my stomach yesterday she actually thought I was having a contraction at first. Ooops. Oh, and because no midwife appt would be complete without a comment on diet, I learned that I should cut down on the amount of fresh fruit I eat. Only 2 servings recommended per day, due to the amount of sugar in fruit. Damn.

And speaking of my diet, I've been doing so much better lately. Yay for me! I've been focusing on less carbs, more protein, cooking better meals, and packing lunches and snacks. B has been helping me out too by helping to cook more and checking in about what I eat. Don't judge...I asked him to be Big Brother for me. I need it to keep me on track. Because of it, my weight gain slowed this week and I actually went down a pound. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to lose weight, just watch what I eat. It's given me more energy to eat more often and eat healthier.

Our Baby Shower is this Sunday. It will be a co-ed party at the park with very little baby-themed stuff. Just want I wanted. Hopefully the weather holds. I'm really, really excited. Originally, I was going to post about the planning of the Shower, because it was stressing me out how my friend was trying to make it into something I didn't want. But then I just... let go and also did a better job of communicating what I wanted. Now I'm just looking forward to it. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Really don't have much else to say. Which is neat because it means that everything is just...going well. I'm surfing along on this wave of contentedness. I hope it lasts.

I'll leave you with some pics...

I hit 30 weeks today! Huge mental milestone for me. I remember looking ahead and thinking 30 weeks was SO far along and somehow an important number in my mind. It feels good.

Bear loves my belly as a perfect resting place to sleep on.

Kitten Photo Montage...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cuteness Overload

So, I was going to write a boring post about how much I got done this weekend, how I spent a ton of money at Pea in the Pod (cute baby shower dress, comfy pj's, nursing bras!), and how cool is it that my belly has started to do that pregnant-lady wiggle where you can see the baby moving under the skin...BUT. Then, something happened.



Are you prepared??


Can you believe how cute this is?
He is a master at sleeping wherever he is at....

Don't mind the double chin (it's a bad selfie-angle, ok?), but instead focus on belly, boobs and kitten all in one shot. Wow.
iPhone size comparison here...

So yeah. That happened. Those of you who have been reading awhile may remember the story of how we lost Indy, our most amazing cat in the world. I had been pushing to get a kitten to help us move on, but B just wasn't ready. Yesterday, at Monte's chemo treatment appt, the vet tech (who knew we were considering a kitten), brought in this guy to "meet us." We were goners as soon as we saw him. Apparently he is 4 weeks old and was separated from his Mommy when he was found in the axle of some lady's car. She had driven all the way to the store before she noticed him crying. He was okay, just covered in axel grease.

He's stolen our hearts completely. We are having a harder time naming him than we did naming our baby, but so far we think we've settled on Huckleberry (an homage to our Montana roots), with "Bear" as a nickname, because he looks just like a baby black bear cub.

Feel free to ooooohhh and ahhhh in excitement.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Hidden Princess

I had this whole post planned out. It was a positive post about self-nurturance and positivity. Ironically, today, I am in one of those "grey moods." I think I've noticed a bit of a trend. Since I have Thursdays off, I tend to get a bit depressed on Fridays when I have to go back to work for a day before the weekend. First world problems, right? But I think I'm having a harder and harder time transitioning from my mindset when I'm at home to my mindset at work. I just had a conversation with my boss about slowly dialing it back in my last few weeks of work before maternity leave, but she firmly informed me that I need to continue to meet my billing requirements until my last day of work. I felt like she punched me in the stomach and I lost all motivation to even physically be here today.

But you know what? I am going to go ahead with my previously-planned post, because it actually fits in nicely here. Here's something along the lines of what I wanted to say....

As I've mentioned before, I had a very idealistic view of what it would be like to be pregnant. In some secret, hidden place, I think I hoped that the world would stop and I would become the princess. Wow, I cringe to read that but I want to be honest here. Growing up, my mom used to tease me sometimes about being "selfish." People who know me know usually are shocked to hear that. But, deep down, i still have that little spoiled princess mindset. I just hide it under my save-the-world-psychologist-working-with-underprivileged-children persona. But really, sometimes I just want people to stroke my head and pamper me. So yeah. I think I was hoping for some of that during pregnancy.

But as I said in a previous post, life doesn't stop just because you're pregnant. You still have to work hard. You still have to think about shopping lists. You still have to write reports. You still have to be a nice human being. Damnit. Really?

Part of it could be that, living in LA, I'm not close to a lot family and I don't have a lot of close friends here either (maybe that could be another post in and of itself), so I don't feel like I've gotten a lot of that "oh you poor pregnant woman" attention. I mentioned it to my husband that I think it would be nice if my mom would call more often just to check in and see "how I'm feeling." And he said that my expectations are too high. And then he reminded me of the nice card she sent me in the mail. And then I felt like a spoiled princess again.

The funny thing is, I didn't marry the type of guy that would treat me like a delicate flower. I don't like those guys. In Sacramento recently, one of my male friends kept opening car doors for me and such and, honestly, it weirded me out and I felt a bit belittled. Instead, I married someone who treats me like an equal and respects me and expects me to work hard just like he does. I appreciate that about him. It's just that....lately, I've been needing a bit more coddling because I don't feel that I'm quite up to being his equal.

So I took the advice that I give all of my friends and I told him what I needed. Go figure, right? I hate when women expect men to just read their minds. So I told him I needed more from him and he's been doing his part. He's been helping me with planning healthy meals and getting me out for walks with the dog and tucking me into bed at night (very nice!). Last night, when our hot water heater wouldn't get my bath water warm enough, he literally boiled a tea kettle full of water to warm up my bath. Ha. So yeah, while he may not treat me like a little bird, he is a wonderful partner and he is stepping up.

That leaves me with my own hidden little spoiled brat. The one who just wants to sulk because her boss won't let her back out of her workload early or because she has to go to work on a Friday (the horrors!) or because...well, because the world doesn't stop for me.

So (and here is the REAL purpose of this post), I realized I needed to take matters into my own hands. I need to take care of myself. If I want to feel more pampered during my pregnancy, then damnit, I should pamper myself. This is the advice I give to clients. Why can't I do it in my own life? So I've been thinking on this for the last month or so and I came up with two new things I'm now doing for myself.

The first is going to a pregnancy chiropractic clinic. There is a clinic I found that specializes in only treating pregnant women. They have massage, acupuncture and chiropractic. I've always been terrified of chiropractors (I went as a kid and thought it was some kind of torture treatment), but the pain I was having in my upper back helped me over my fear. Little did I know what a difference it would make. Over half of the appointment is spent laying face down on a spa table specially designed for pregnant women. It really feels like a spa. You strip down to your underwear, climb under soft blankets, and listen to relaxing music. Then the massage starts. Now, it's not "relaxing" massage. It's deep, deep, tissue massage designed to loosen up tight pregnancy muscles and prepare you for the adjustment. It really does hurt. The worst place is when she has me roll over and rubs my rib cage, right under my breasts. Holy hell that hurts. She actually counts down from 5 and does 5 really deep strokes. It makes me want to punch her in the face on every stroke. But you know what? The whole experience leaves me feeling more relaxed, less pain, and better able to breathe. Which, ultimately affects my work day and how I sleep at night. It's expensive...$120 a session (insurance only covers 60%), but hey, this is something I'm doing to take care of myself, right? Oh! And she also does adjustments to prepare your hips and pelvis for labor. Who knows if that works, but if it makes labor any easier at all, then I'll take it.

The other thing I'm doing doesn't cost a dime. I have always loved taking hot baths. As a teenager, I would light candles and take baths for hours, slowing adding hot water as the water grew cold, reading books by Anais Nin or Anne Frank and imagining my future. Nowadays, we have this great, really deep bath tub that I can truly immerse myself in. The problem is, if you read up on pregnancy and baths, you will find it's a no-no. Then, if you read further, you find it's not actually forbidden, you are just encouraged to keep the water temperature below 100 degrees. Until recently I've just been avoiding baths altogether because I am notorious for taking the hottest baths ever (as in scalds your skin painfully as you ease into the water) and I didn't see the point in "luke-warm" water. But then I bought this guy!

You can't tell from the picture, but he has a digital read out on his shell that automatically tells you water temp. Yay! I diligently wait until the water temp dips below 100 and then ease in. Lucky I bought him too, because my idea of what I thought was a safe water temperature turned out to be closer to 105 degrees. Oops. So anyhow, now I can take baths. I light my candles, get a giant glass of water to stay hydrated and then just...relax. I find I don't even need to read a book, I just enjoy being and daydreaming. Baby seems to really like bathtime too because he moves around a lot in the water. Which then makes the water itself move in small rippling waves. I love it because it's a way in which he can affect the world outside my womb.

Another neat thing about the baths is that I realized taking a bath can be just as relaxing (well....almost) even if it doesn't involve a glass of wine. My pre-pregnancy baths always included a glass of red wine. In fact, a lot of my relaxation techniques included a glass of wine. So, it's been nice to see that I can take away my reliance on that other crutch to "take care of me" and to just do it myself. Not that I don't miss my old friend...

So there you have it. I successfully took a whiny rant about my whiny self and turned it into a description of the things I am doing to take care of myself. Most of the time, it works. I know there are going to be days like today where I lose my balance a bit, but I think that just means I need to jump back into the bathtub tonight.

How about everyone else? Pregnant or not...what do you do to take care of yourself? Do you ever find yourselves wishing others would do it for you? Do you find what you need changes over time or do you have old favorites that always work?

 photo f7a381a0-f703-4ba7-9c31-df7689f4f5c6.jpg Out on a walk with Monte. More self-care.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Placenta and Pasta

Here we go. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of random baby info. I'm 29 weeks today and I had an ultrasound. Follow up with the perinatologist to check and make sure that my placenta had stopped misbehaving and had moved up enough to no longer be classified as “marginal previa.”

Was I nervous? No, not really. I was more excited to see our baby on the screen. I knew today could be our last ultrasound until we meet him. Eek.

First good thing of the day? I signed in for my appointment 15 minutes early and noticed the girl signing in front of me had signed in 15 minutes late for hers. I grumbled a bit and wondered how people function who are perpetually late (oh yeah, you mean my mother?). But then, wonders of wonders, they called me back before her. Karma. (In case you’re curious, when we walked out, she was still waiting).

So we went into the room and the nurse informed me it would be a vaginal exam today. Damn. I thought I was done with those. Oh well. So I stripped down and covered myself with the stupid piece of paper that really doesn’t cover anything at all and got in the position. BOOM. Insta-nervous. How does that work? I instantly started contemplating whether I needed to use the bathroom and thinking about things like heartbeats.

Then the doctor came in and lubed up the happy “little” vaginal wand and then BAM we were looking at my cervix. 3.6cm. Now remember how this is the doctor that told us at the NT scan, ”You are not going to have a miscarriage.” Well today, after measuring my cervix, he looked at me and said, ”You will carry this baby to term. Wow, this guy doesn’t mess around. He doesn’t worry about making grand statements. ‘Course, he is also the guy who told us we’re having a girl…but still.

Anyhow. So that was good news. Cervix is great. And….placenta?? Up and out of the way! All cleared for vaginal delivery. Wow. Even though I wasn’t really nervous, I definitely felt the relief. And excitement. We’re one step closer to having the birth we want to have.

Then we switched to the abdominal ultrasound. I made him check that we’re still having a boy. I was rewarded with a shot of two giant testicles. Wow. Doctor also checked his position. He is head down! I was convinced he was transverse, based on the way I feel movement. But no, head is in position. He is right occipital posterior. So yeah, technically he is sunny side up right now, but doctor said that’s totally normal for this far along. Ok. He also showed me on the outside of my stomach where all of baby’s parts are. So cool. So that long hard curve I’ve been stroking really is his back. Neat! Oh, and he weighs 3 lbs 3 oz! That is a BABY. A little one, but a baby.

Let me pause for a minute and stop spewing random baby data at you to say this was my favorite ultrasound we’ve had. It was relaxed, slow-paced, and full of good news. I was able to actually appreciate the experience and bond a bit with B during the scan instead of forgetting to breathe and staring at the screen like a robot. Oh, and we got to watch him yawn. Which is ridiculously cute because it looks so much like a real baby just lazily yawning and chilling.

The only minutely worrisome news had to do with his size. He’s measuring a week ahead at exactly 30 weeks. The amniotic fluid is looking “great,” but then he said, “but you should watch your sweets and carbs intake.” Shit. I mumbled abashedly, “Well, I can tell you it’s not the sweets. It’s definitely the carbs.” In other words, it's definitely the PASTA.

Now, B keeps telling me I’m overreacting and that the doctor was not concerned at all. And he’s right. The doctor wasn’t. Even though I asked many times if I should be worried that he’s measuring ahead, the doctor kept saying that “everything was fine” and the baby looked amazing. But, the deal is that all signs keep pointing to the fact that I am not being strict enough with my diet. I mean, I’ve gained 24 lbs already, the midwives never like my diet choices, and now the scan is showing a big baby and fluid levels that make my doctor use the C-word. Damn.

Baby is currently at the 67th percentile for weight and size, which is just about perfect. But his projected weight on the due date? 8 lbs 11 oz. That is bigger than I would prefer to push out of my vagina. I’d be much happier with 6 or 7 lbs. Ha.

And so, in sum, the appointment was wonderful. He kept repeating over and over how happy he was with our pregnancy and how we were so “ready” for our vaginal delivery at the birth center and how now all we have to do is “sit and wait.” Can I just say, HOORAY?!? Life is good today.

Oh, and he totally has my husband's "prominent" nose. Oh well. Better on a boy than a girl, hey? And best part? Our baby looks like my hubby :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Other Half Of California

Sooo if you haven't received a comment from me in a while, don't feel special. You're not unique. I feel like I am about a week behind in commenting and I really have no excuse. But, please know, I'm still reading! I just get too lazy to comment on my iPhone. I will try to catch up soon!

Part of the reason I am behind is because we took our first trip this weekend. We had planned this trip weeks in advance. I have a lot of good friends who have (sadly) relocated to Sacramento. So we have been planning to go visit now for awhile and I finally set a date. As the day drew near, both B and I contemplated cancelling. B had had a stressful week of work with lots of traveling and deadlines. And I...well, I'm just pregnant. But we stuck to it and made the 5 hour trek North.

I am so glad we did. First, seeing our friends was great. One couple has two little girls (one is 2 years and one is 4 months) and the other couple is still transitioning into the soon-to-be-engaged phase. All four of these people are people who I feel really close with and feel so comfortable with. I'm so sad they all moved away. And, being notoriously bad at long-distance friendships, I decided to commit to the trip up. It was so worth it and something I hope we all continue doing.

Also, it was nice to see their lifestyle up north. So much more settled, relaxed, and less-stressed. All four (yes ALL FOUR) are psychologists (seriously two couples of two psychologists - what a disaster) and all four report being seriously less stressed than they did while working in Los Angeles. That is something to be taken seriously. Also, the couple with the two girls have a sweet little house with a yard and a nice cadence to their lives that I envy. It felt like I wanted to slip into that slower rhythm.

The second reason is was great is that we took an impromptu trip to Napa with the child-less couple. Yes, Napa is not quite the same when you are a wine-lover who can't drink, but it was still magical and wonderful. The trees, the flowers, the smells, the WINE, the views... I love it there. It was special for B and I because we were envisioning moving up there someday. And, there is something about wine tasting that makes time slow and worries disappear. And, I discovered on this trip, it's not just the alcohol! The magic pervades even sober pregnant people.

If you're curious, I did taste a few of the really awesome wines (i.e., the $180 a bottle wines), but really, they all taste like rubbing alcohol to me right now. Not sure if that has to do with a screwed up palate or some evolutionary thing telling me not to drink. Oh well. They smelled great.

Finally, the last reason it was wonderful was unexpected. B and I have been doing really well recently in our relationship (minor moments aside!) and things have been complacent and calm. But, after this trip, we both realized that we have been missing getting out and "having fun." We used to do so much stuff in our life. Hiking, backpacking, camping, expensive meals out, evenings with friends, day trips, road trips.... Now? We watch movies on the couch. It's been a bit mundane. Not that I had it in me to do much more. And we've both been working so hard that we've been happy with the downtime. But this trip was needed. Needed and appreciated. We made an effort to not talk about work or babies. That was hard for awhile. Seriously. But we ended up talking about life plans, school district budgets and the ethics of population reform. Among other things.

The trip was a bit hard on me being 28 weeks pregnant. Mostly because of the long hours in the car, the ultra-firm hotel room bed (I missed my vagina pillow), and the go-go-go schedule. I crashed when we got home last night and am feeling like crap today. In fact, I feel a bit like the first trimester. Yuck. Today and tomorrow are both 12 hour days. Just trying to make it through them. But, oh well. It was totally worth it.

 photo ff51542d-f3f8-4bc6-a491-f811dfbad7ce.jpg

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Life Goes On

Have you ever noticed that people in the blogging world hardly ever speak negatively about their significant others? Despite the fact that most of the blogs I follow include really emotional topics, such as infertility, pregnancy, new parenthood…I never read about the true pain and struggles that go on in the relationships behind the scene. All I ever see is most people referring to their partners as “supportive,” “caring” or “kind.” Sometimes, we might make jokes about him being “clueless” or just “not getting it.” Or, in a really negative moment, we might say we’re “frustrated” with our other half. But really people? Is everything really that sitcom-perfect?

I’m calling bullshit.

Now, before I go on, I have to admit that I’m guilty of it too. I try not to badmouth B on my blog – partially because he READS it and partially maybe because I just want everyone to think I have the best husband ever. But the truth is, relationships involve two people who are real and human. Everyone pisses each other off sometimes. Right? So this post is about being in a REAL relationship. Wait, strike that. This post is about being in a REAL relationship while pregnant.

Way back when I was barely six weeks or so pregnant I wrote a post about lying in bed next to B and feeling irrationally emotional. At the time I thought it might be pregnancy hormones making me act that way (insert ironic laugh), but now I realize it was just me. Last night was a flashback to that night. Except, last night? Last night I think was definitely pregnancy hormones. Remember when I naively said in my review of the second trimester that I haven’t been having mood swings? Well I must have jinxed myself because I swear I’ve been an emotional mess ever since.

Last night was no exception. I was lying in bed, propped up on pillows trying to get comfortable and find a position in which I could breathe but wouldn’t feel the knife-stab of pain between my shoulder blades and I started to get irrational. No, that’s not true. It started ok. I asked B how he was feeling, because he had been feeling a bit off all day. He said he was fine. I sat there a moment longer. Then the irrationality set in. I started wondering why he never asks me how I’m doing. I mean, I’m the one who’s pregnant here, right? Why doesn’t he check in with me more? Ask me if I need anything? If there’s anything he can do for me?

At this point I should backtrack a bit and explain that I maybe-just-maybe had unrealistic views of what it would be like to be pregnant. I imagined an overly attentive husband who would be running out to the store to buy things for me, rubbing my back, looking at me with concern and adoration, and basically worshipping me because I was carrying his baby. HA. Where did I learn about this silly little stereotype? The truth is, life goes on. Life cannot pause for nine months simply because there is a baby in my belly. B still has to work – and he works hard. I still have to work and go about my day to day life and no one can do that for me. Basically, we have to continue living our lives.

But still. Lying in the dark last night, I was stuck on the fact that he never even asks me how I’m feeling at the end of a hard day. So I said it out loud. ”How come you never ask me how I’m feeling?” This is where my husband gets less-than-perfect, because he says back, ”I ask you all the time. You just have a terrible memory and your memory can’t extend past whatever feeling you’re currently having.”

So obviously that didn’t sit well with me. I asked him if he wanted to get in a fight and if that was why he said that. Luckily, he chose that moment to get up and go do something in the kitchen. Smart guy. When he got back, I was still seething. I let that fact be known by lots of sighs and irritated movements such as thumping my head back against the pillow or wrestling with blankets. I am so mature. Then, somehow it rapidly switched from anger to self-pity and I found myself doing a lot of sniffing and tears and feeing pathetic.

Then, I felt B’s hand on my arm. No words, nothing more, just a hand on my arm. So, I of course started to cry more. Then, he put his hand awkwardly on my face and started awkwardly wiping at my cheeks like a baby who doesn’t have fine motor control. What the hell? He was basically swatting at my cheeks? So I said, ”What the hell?” And then he started laughing and then I started laughing and then, somehow, we just started talking about random things, like what my sister was up to recently or how annoying my boss is.

And that, my loyal readers, is how a fight ends in a REAL relationship. No dramatic, wrap-up, perfect-solution ending. It just ends and life goes on. And we’re fine. Everything is fine. I can stop being such an emotional mess (yeah right) and maybe he can start checking in with me more because I’m sure, somehow, he got the subtle message that his wife may need more attention in the third trimester. And then? Life goes on. Even when you’re pregnant. Even when you’re pregnant and your back hurts.

Update: After I finished writing this, I realized, irony of all ironies, that today is our anniversary. Eight years married. We don’t have any major plans, we’re both exhausted, B is sick, and he leaves to go on a business trip tomorrow. We decided to watch movies on the couch together tonight and then do a nice dinner on our Labor Day trip to Napa. But it leaves me with the question: do I post a less-than-glowing post about our relationship on our anniversary?? I decided the answer is yes. Because, this post is not just about having a real relationship with real arguments and frustrations, it is also about how real relationships weather time because you don’t get too caught up in the small stuff and instead focus on the strong base you’ve built that keeps you going even when you just want to scream at each other. Sometimes maybe you just need to place a hand on the other person’s arm to remind them of that.

Second Update: Look what showed up at my office after I posted this post! Happy Anniversary Flowers. I really DO have the BEST husband EVER. Just sayin'.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Kernels of Melodramatic Mediocrity

Tonight was a fail.

Earlier today things were pretty good. We were going shopping for a Rocker. I think we found one, but that's not really the story here. We ended up at an adorable store that does handmade children's furniture. Aside from picking out our potential Rocker, we went a little crazy picking up odds and ends - custom ordered wood paintings in our color scheme, adorable children's books, and cute little vintage-style puzzles that baby cannot use until he's probably six but are adorable decorations in the meantime. The best part? B got really excited and involved and ran around the store picking things out. I was so excited to see him picking out "little boy things" that featured monsters and dinosaurs and robots... I myself was looking at elephants and giraffes. It's good that our baby has his Dad to pick out boy-stuff for him.

So we spent a lot of money and I was happy. there something wrong with that sentence?

Fabric for the custom Rocker I think we're going to order...

Then we came home and did our own things for awhile until it was time for dinner. Now, I've had pork loins dethawed in the fridge for days now that I keep getting too lazy to cook and I decided tonight was the night I was going to get off my lazy ass and actually make a real dinner. I mean, I used to cook exciting, unique, balanced meals every night. I can handle this. Tonight's menu was panko-crusted ginger wasabi pork chops with sauteed boy choy and onions over brown rice. Seriously, not a hard dinner to cook.

But, let's stop for a little caveat here. I don't do brown rice. First, because I like white rice so much better. But mostly because I have never been able to cook it successfully. When I get brown rice from a restaurant it is fluffy and flavorful and the perfect consistency. When I cook it? Tastes like eating raw popcorn seeds. So, I googled how to make perfect brown rice. This, apparently, is like going down the rabbit hole of How to Hardboil An Egg (seriously, google it, you will find 3004 widely different answers as to how to boil an egg). Well, I found a recipe on and since I love everything I've made from her website, I decided to trust her. Even though her recipe varied significantly from anything I'd ever done before (it features boiling the rice for 30 minutes and then "steaming it" for 20 more).

Ok, all is going well. I am panko-ing the pork chops and chopping bok choy when B decides that now would be a great time to start decorating the nursery. Now guys, right now I am completely pathetic and anything to do with the nursery is my favorite thing in the world. Sitting in it? Sign me up. Planning it? Of course? Moving things around in there? Definitely. Actually decorating it? HELL YES.

But damnit, he started doing things right when I'm at the crucial cooking moment when everything needs to happen at once and, in my world, everything also starts to go to hell at once. So here I am, wondering why the pork chops are burning, spilling soy sauce and sherry on myself and screaming to B, "What are you hanging and where?!?" As I hear him start up the drill. I am running back and forth between sauteeing and supervising nursery decorating and meanwhile my brown rice is steaming itself and I am imagining fluffy kernels of yumminess.

But...No. B wants to hang things where I don't want them. My pork chops are seriously burning. B is moving furniture around. Didn't we agree that's not where we'd put it?? I don't have any peanut oil, damnit! B drops something and it breaks. I DON'T HAVE ANY WASABI!

And then, finally, dinner is done. My rice...should be done. But, have I checked it yet? Um no. Don't you know you shouldn't check rice when it's cooking or you interrupt some sacred heat-steam ratio? So, I check it. YEP. Dry, hard, popcorn kernels. Not rice. Raw rice. Gritty grains of brownness. Fuck. And the pork chops? Well, they smell good...let me just slice into them and...FUCK. "Browned" (aka almost burnt) panko-encrusted on the outside, raw on the inside. Great it will go wonderfully with the uncooked rice! And what the hell is he moving around in the nursery???

Enter me into nursery. "The pork chops are ruined!! The rice is a disaster!! I am a failure! WHY IS THAT BOOKSHELF IN THAT CORNER??!?"

B blinks at me. "Uh, should we just have pasta for dinner?"

At this point I just wanted to scream. I may have. I can't remember.

Long story short, we were able to salvage the pork chops and had a semi-decent low-carb dinner of sliced crispy pork with sauteed bok choy and onions. It mediocrity. Monte benefited from the rice disaster and had his regular dinner mixed in with crispy brown rice and pork drippings. And the nursery? It's a work in progress.

This is what B was hanging from the ceiling tonight. We may buy 1-2 more in differing sizes.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Playing the Calendar Game

Welcome to the Three Month Countdown. I am about to admit something embarrassing to you guys. In the past few weeks I have started playing this compulsive game with myself. It's called Calendar-Checking. Calendar-Checking is a really fun game and so easy to learn. All you do is grab a smart phone, open your calendar App, and gaze at the next three months. Really, you don't do much more than that. You just...look. You may "check" to confirm that such-and-such event is still securely planned for the 24th, or that this or that is definitely happening on the 15th. Or, you might engage in the most fun behavior of all...staring at the 31st of October, trying to imagine how you'll be feeling when that day arrives. If played correctly, this game induces a trance-like state of daydreaming and imagination. But frankly, it's just weird.

Let me tell you what I'm staring at.

August - Event-Packed Month. I may have bit off more than I can chew for the month of August. I am six months pregnant and you really can't tell from looking at my social calendar. Aside from the ongoing dog chemo appointments, midwife appts, dentist appts, Intro to Hypnobirthing, and little things like that, we have a few major things going on this month.

First, next weekend we are making a five hour drive up to Sacramento just for a quick weekend trip. Everyone keeps telling me I'm crazy. Drive five hours one way just for the weekend? But I have four really good friends who live up there (two couples) and I've been meaning to go up and visit them for a long time. I am not the best at maintaining long distance friendships and these are really important to me, so I'm making an effort. I figure it's only going to get harder after baby comes.

Then, on the 15th, we have our appointment with the Perinatalogist. This isn't like a big "event" in that it takes a lot of time or planning, but I am SO excited for it so it deserves mentioning. With the switch to the midwives, we don't get ultrasounds at appointments anymore, so I haven't seen Baby since he was 19 weeks. This time he will be 29 weeks. I know the purpose of the appointment is to find out if my placenta has risen up and I am somewhat anxious about that (but feeling positive and hopeful/excited to get good news), but really I am just so psyched to see how much he's grown and hopefully get a good 3D pic.

On the 24th, we have our Baby Shower. This merits a whole post of its own regarding the planning process, etc. But, long story short, I am really excited about it. We are doing a low-key, co-ed Shower with no baby games or baby decorations. Just a lot of people sitting outside at a park enjoying food, alcohol, and each other's company. Oh, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to the gifts!

Labor Day Weekend. Now this is another thing that you might think we're crazy about. But if you've been reading this blog you will know that I have been less than satisfied with living in LA lately and, on top of that, I am someone who loves to dream about the future. After our recent trip home to Montana, we started to dream more and more about relocating. So, over Labor Day, we are going to throw the dog in the car and hit the road to drive up North to Napa/Sonoma/Santa Rosa area and just...explore. We will have NO agenda, NO hotel bookings, and NO idea where we'll end up. We just want to explore and dream a little. I am so excited. But...really....a five day road trip at seven months pregnant? Oh, and no hotel reservations? Over Labor Day? With a dog?? Yep. Crazy. I can't wait.

September - Preparation Month . In the month of September, we have no crazy road trips planned. I promise. Instead, it will be devoted to two main things to prep for baby. First, we have classes, classes, and more classes. Every Saturday for the whole month we are attending a Childbirthing class put on by our clinic. Then, we have Breastfeeding, Childcare and possibly Hypnobirthing to fit in (still not sure if we'll do the whole Hypnobirthing series). Oh, and I want to also register for an Infant CPR class. I am going to be super-educated and prepared.

The other main preparation project for September is the Nursery. We will see what we got at the Shower and then purchase whatever is left on the Registry/whatever crazy things I decide we need last minute. We'll put the nursery together (can't wait!) and start on prepping the entire house. By that I mean, last minute projects like clearing out the closet in the nursery, sweeping dust out of places that have been dusted in years, finding a place in the kitchen for bottles and baby stuff, and just completing last minute stuff.

October - Waiting Month. I want to have everything done before October hits. We'll see if that happens, but I really just want to be ready. Not for any paranoid reason like he may come early or whatever, but I just want to feel - done and ready. Then I can use the month to just sit, wait, and psychologically prepare (aka freak out). I will leave work two weeks before the official due date and just focus on relaxing and giving myself some down time.

So that's it. Guess what? If you read through all of this, you unwittingly played the Calendar-Checking Game with me. Fun, isn't it? No? Hmm. Maybe you have to be six months pregnant and a bit anxiety-driven to fully appreciate it.

Tell me, what are YOUR plans for the next three months? Or, if you're pregnant, what are your plans prior to baby's arrival? Does anyone else play their own version of the Calendar Game or are you just more of a take-it-as-it-comes kinda gal? Come on...share!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Second Trimester in Review

Today I hit the third trimester!! (Well, by most calculations...why is it so hard to nail down a clear answer?) I've heard everything from "the last trimester just FLIES by" to "Oh my god it drags on forever." So we'll see I guess. My mood vacillates given on the moment. Somedays I am like a kid at Christmas time and literally cannot wait for the day to get here. Other days I am in shock about how much everything is going to change and I am perfectly fine with waiting.

In honor of starting a new trimester I am going to do a review of the second trimester, just like I did for the first. But I promise this won't drag on into two posts like I did with the first trimester because, frankly, the second trimester is so much easier and better than the first! At least, it was for me.

So here we go...

Emotions. My emotions played a huge role in the first trimester. Without getting into all of that again, let's just say it was awful. In the second? Well, aside from one pure week of hell surrounding our Mexico incident, I've been as close to rainbows and cupcakes as you can get while pregnant. In other words, I've been happy! It's great to walk around being pregnant and feeling good. I don't think I've had major mood swings (maybe ask people around me) and overall I've felt pretty stable. Not too anxious, not too stressed, and pretty much even keel. Now, I've had my days...but those happen even when we're not pregnant, right?

Movement I started feeling movement consistently and strongly right around 19 weeks. Before that it was weird little burbles that left me asking, "Was that....?" After 19 weeks it continued to build until I was able to discern his patterns and pick out the places I usually can feel him. I have been a bit more stressed about movement as I've moved farther on because you start hearing about these frightening things called "kick counts." Just another way to torture ourselves I think. I've noticed that every two days or so he goes through quieter periods where we doesn't move as much for 1-2 days and when he does move, its a deeper, thrumming movement somewhere inside my pelvis. Then he pops out and goes back to kicking my side. My theory is that this is because of my anterior placenta and those quieter days are when he's hiding out back there. I still haven't had any kicks that actually hurt or are uncomfortable in any way. Either that's also placenta-related, or he's just a polite guy. Sometimes they do interrupt my sentences though and then I just look at my belly and smile like an idiot. Lastly, I should say one of my favorite things he does is that, during my therapy sessions, he likes to click my right elbow as it rests on my stomach. It's like a secret conversation that no one else knows is happening.

Braxton Hicks. Not sure exactly when these started, but I do remember having them right after the Mexico incident (19-20 weeks) because I was terrified that they were signs of preterm labor. Now, I think they were stress-induced, because they then subsided for a long time and started up again a few weeks ago. Now I notice them on days when I'm tired, been on my feet a lot, or just need a break. They feel like a hard, tightening feeling running across my lower belly. Sometimes I can even feel a ridge along my stomach. Drinking water doesn't seem to help too much, but getting up and walking around seems to make it go away. So does peeing.

Speaking of peeing.... I'm sure I don't need to explain to anyone (pregnant or not), that this becomes a huge part of my life. Now, earlier in the pregnancy I was definitely peeing more often. But now, it's not just more often, but it's so much more intense. As in, I need to go RIGHT NOW or my stomach may split open. Ow. And then, you go, and it can be a disappointing trickle. Or, it could be a torrent of urine that literally is such a great release that you compare it to having an orgasm. Yep. Really. The point is, you have no idea whether your bladder literally is going to explode or it's just messing with you. Both feel exactly the same.

Sleeping. Still speaking of bladder plays a huge role in my sleep cycle, for obvious reasons. Sleeping started to get a bit uncomfortable around 20 weeks or so. I began having to prop myself up with pillows or my chest felt compressed. Now I have the Comfort-U pillow, which I love. That pretty much solved the problem....for awhile. But now, as I enter the third trimester, sleep just keeps getting harder and harder. I'm not really sure if it continues at this rate how I will be sleeping at all by the end? Here's why it's so hard: There are the obvious reasons like your stomach getting in the way, your bladder filling to painful brimming level every 15 minutes, and your back aching from a long day. But then there is also pressure in my chest, breathlessness, dizziness, sore hips, sore buttocks (seriously), restless legs (terrible), and leg cramps. I have a pattern now. I start on my left side (as you're supposed to), then I switch to my right side. Then, my hips and legs start to hurt so badly that it wakes me up. So then I switch to sitting up. I've propped up about 3 pillows on TOP of the Comfort-U pillow that allows me to sit up and sleep. Then, I repeat the 3 positions. Simple, right? The only plus side to this is, once I've gotten into a comfortable position, my husband will take pity on me and bring me things I realize I've forgotten. Like a glass of water. Or a bowl of pasta. Ha.

Back Pain I mentioned that back pain is one of the reasons sleeping is hard. I've been having back pain since the beginning of the second trimester. Since before I even really looked pregnant. It's not the typical back pain most women talk about - in their lower backs. Mine instead is right between my shoulder blades, right at bra level. Sometimes it switches from right to left side slightly, but it's always this intense, burning pain that feels like someone is jabbing a knife into my back. I thought maybe my bras were too small, but that's not it. (In case you're wondering, I'm now somewhere between a 34DD and a 36D. Awesome!) I think it's just something to do with my fucked up posture. So I try to wedge small pillows between my upper back when driving or sitting at my desk and this seems to help. Know what else would help?? A Chiropractor! I have one all lined up that specializes in pregnant women, but I can't seem to find the time to call. Hmm.

Breathlessness This isn't a big deal, but I have definitely noticed that my uterus has started sharing rib cage room with my lungs. I mean, really, lungs aren't that important, right? They can get out of my uterus's way, right? Related to the back pain, I feel sometimes feel like there is a tight band going all the way around from my back to my chest, like I'm wearing a bra even when I'm not. I think this is my rib cage expanding and making it harder for me to breathe. Also, to make it more intense, the midwife pointed out that my blood pressure is really low (not sure how low), and so this is likely contributing to the breathlessness/dizziness I get sometimes.

Energy Compared to the first trimester? I am an Energizer Bunny! Compared to normal life? Not so much. I mean, I'm still pregnant here. There may have been a 3-4 week span in the middle where I felt "normal," but that was sandwiched between still feeling sick and tired at the beginning and now feeling tired again at the end. But really, it hasn't been that bad. I don't fall asleep at my desk anymore. I go to bed around 11 or 12 most nights and I feel...good when I wake up. And this all without coffee. Which I miss very, very badly. I think I notice the energy drain most on days when I either work too many hours or try to do too many errands in one day. That's when I remember - hey! I'm pregnant!

Relationship. For the first trimester, I talked a lot about the toll it had taken on my relationship. As if I wasn't even present at all...I was a non-person. Now, it's much, much better. I feel like B and I can talk again, have good conversations again, and just be together again. That being said, B pointed out to me that it's not "quite the same." I've already transitioned somehow into being more focused on Baby than on Us. And even though I feel like I am more present and more energetic, I may be exaggerating in my own mind, according to B's perspective. We also go on fewer "dates." We used to go out to really nice dinners quite often and run away on weekend get-aways. Now, we go buy cribs and such.'s different. We both agreed that we feel extremely close and connected to each other, but in a different way. We feel like we're building something. Rather than just enjoying the Two of Us.

Sex. And definitely related to how our relationship is different, I would be remiss to not talk about sex. Pregnant sex. Pregnant sex after major horrific bleeding episode. Not so fun. Really, it's not. First of all, the sad thing is, right when we were in Mexico (before the horror), I had started to feel physically better and was getting my sex drive back (Hooray!). Which equaled a lot of great sex and enjoyment of my new D-cup breasts. But then....enter terrible bleeding episode. All thoughts of sex stopped (even though we were told it likely had not contributed to the bleeding). That happened at 19 weeks. We didn't have sex again until...I dunno, five weeks later? And even then, it's...well, it's not the same. The fear plays a role in making the sex more...gentle and g-rated. It also keeps me somewhat removed, not 100% present. Then, the belly just, well, it just gets in the way. So, sex is "fine." What does this do to our relationship? Well, it definitely doesn't spice it up...

Random Symptoms. And now for a few randoms... Let's see...I have really long, strong and awesome fingernails and hair. So that's cool. I've had some periods of minor constipation which seems to be cured by the Magnesium Citrate the midwives recommended (which also helps with the restless legs and leg cramps I mentioned). My vision seems not as good as normal (and my normal is terrible), but my What to Expect App assures me that actually IS normal. I am really jumpy. I've been this way since really early on in the pregnancy. I jump and shriek at any little noise. I attribute this to my poor heart beating harder to pump all of that blood. Oh! And I have a very faint Linea Nigra. I'll try to post a picture. We were laying in bed one morning and B says, "Um, why do you have a line running down your entire stomach?" So yeah, that's there. And that's about it.

So there you have it. Compared to the first trimester, all of these symptoms don't even hit the radar. Ok, well, maybe the sleeping issues are getting pretty hard, but even that just doesn't compare to all of the shit I went through in the first trimester (first 18 weeks really). In the last few weeks, I've started to get glimpses that the third trimester may not be so blissful, so I've got my fingers crossed that it won't get that terrible. But, luckily, if it does, I have an exit plan to leave work 4 weeks early and just lay around on the couch like a useless piece of blah.

Let me just end by saying I am really, really excited to be in the third trimester. I keep telling people in the Real World that I'm hitting the third trimester and they say things like, "Well that still means you have three more months left, right?" Oh, they just don't get it. This is a big deal. That much closer to baby. That much closer to a time when preterm labor wouldn't be the end-all, be-all. That much closer to your life changing forever.

Side Note: After I wrote this post, I went to lunch with a friend and mentor. I thought it would be a lunch to play catch up and discuss professional goals, but it turned into something I hadn't expected. My friend is a lesbian in her late 30s and has been trying for some time to get pregnant (not sure exactly how long). About a year ago she lost a baby early on. Today she told me she is 11 weeks along with twins!! So, so happy for her. Just wanted to share :)