Friday, January 28, 2011

Does this make me grown up?

Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in months. It was the first time he's gotten to see the bump. (Which, by the way is fast leaving "bump" status. Photos coming soon.) My ever-expanding waistline elicited a "Wow" from my friend, who is used to seeing me as the ass-kicking workout queen I was when I got pregnant.

I asked him about work and his family, and we talked about my pregnancy. I've known this guy since he was 19 (he's several years younger than I am) and feel like I've seen him grow up. In the 10-plus years we've been friends, he has gone from a bit of a slacker to a businessman, husband and father.

Friends forever -- even if we have to grow up
"It's really strange that you're having a kid," he said to me. "It's like you're finally grown up."

I laugh at that because, as I said, he's much younger than I am -- about 14 years, but we've never really thought about our age difference. Maybe because he has done the grown-up things like pursuing his career, getting married, raising a baby. While I've been a laid-off, part-time blogger, starting over and just now pregnant.

I laugh, too, because it is strange that I'm having a kid. I certainly don't feel old enough to be a mom -- despite the medical community calling me "OLD" -- and I sometimes wonder if I am grown up enough to handle all the responsibility.

Then again, maybe my (mostly) youthful attitude will help me be a better mom. And I know I have the greatest friends who will berate help me to keep on track.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Movies for Mamas

Last night, the S.O. and I watched "Baby Mama." I didn't really have high hopes that the movie would be fantastic, but I needed something light and fun.

And "Baby Mama" definitely fits that description. Despite the fact that users on IMDb only give it an average of six stars, I really liked the movie. It was silly and predictable and fun. And really, how can you not love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Plus, you get the stunning Sigourney Weaver (I can't believe that gorgeous woman is in her 60s!), the ever-charming Greg Kinnear, and goofy Steve Martin, playing a hippie-dippie mega-successful businessman.

If I had watched this movie back in 2008, when it was first released, it probably would have pissed me off. Wanting to get pregnant and not being able to, being told I couldn't, wouldn't get pregnant definitely left a bitter taste in my mouth. Sure, I could identify with Tina Fey's character when the very expensive fertility specialist tells her she has a one in a million chance of getting pregnant (my "specialist" said one in 100), but (SPOILER ALERT) when everyone ends up pregnant, that would have sent me over the edge.

Because I watched this movie as a mom-to-be, I found it to be light-hearted fun. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are great together, and who wouldn't fall for Greg Kinnear?

It's not one of the all-time great films, and definitely not the best movie I've seen recently, but it was a nice little escape for the evening. The S.O. even made popcorn.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

27 weeks: Pot roast baby

And we're back to food comparisons for my weekly update from Fit Pregnancy. They're also calling the baby "he" this week.
Your baby weighs about two pounds and is about 12 to 15 inches long, about the size of a small pot roast. If your baby were born now, he would have an excellent chance (85 percent) of surviving. He still isn't fully formed and would probably not be able to breath by himself. He would need to stay in an incubator to keep his body temperature regulated, and he would have a weak liver and immune system.
An 85 percent chance of survival is pretty good, but all the risks and complications involved with a premature baby, make me want to do all I can to carry as close to full term as possible.

With a 2-pound pot roast hitching a ride in my mid-section, I don't really need them telling me it's harder to bend over and tie my shoes. But I did find this tidbit interesting:
The volume of your amniotic fluid is reduced by about half. With less cushioning blocking the view, you'll be able to see bony knees and elbows poking out of your stomach when the baby kicks and turns. 
I have yet to see bony knees or elbows poking out, but baby is quite active. He stretches and kicks and moves around, either trying to make himself comfortable or to make Mama really uncomfortable. Earlier he was pushing quite hard against the outside, and when the S.O. pushed where I indicated, Baby kicked his hand away. I can't stop myself from imagining Baby thinking, Hey! Quit pushing on my butt. I just got comfortable.

As a side note, last night I dreamed about holding my baby and rubbing the bottoms of his little feet. It was a sweet dream and the first I've had of him being outside the womb.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The S.O. and I spent three hours Sunday creating our registry at Babies R Us. Babies sure do need a lot of stuff, don't they? About an hour of that time was spent talking to a sales associate about car seats and strollers. I thought for sure I wanted a jogging stroller or an all-terrain stroller. But I know how big and bulky those type are, so I thought we'd also want something more portable, like an umbrella stroller. After talking to the salesperson and test driving several different strollers, we decided on an umbrella-type stroller. It's portable, but has back support so we don't have to worry about Baby having a slouch before he's an angsty teen.

And because they're coming out with new colors soon, this year's models were marked down significantly. So, we went ahead and bought a stroller.

This is the stroller we bought:
It's a Maclaren Triumph. And we pretty much love it. It fits perfectly in the back of my Element. It folds up and opens easily. And it pushes smoothly. The downside is we won't be able to use it until Baby is old enough to sit up on his own. However, most of the strollers we were considering fall into that same category. Up until then Baby will get hauled around in a baby carrier of some sort. If mama kangaroos can do it. I can too.

We also bought a baby keepsake book. I went ahead and bought that so I would have the one I want and to make sure we definitely had one. I want the hospital to put his little footprints in the book when he's born.

Then, today, I ordered some fabric. It looks like this:
My wonderful friend Kate is going to help me (read: do all the work) make curtains with this fabric for the baby's room.

So we have begun to scratch the surface of the items we need.

It kind of freaks me out to actually be buying things. The worrywart part of me is afraid of what might happen. The realistic, practical part of me knows that if something goes wrong now (see how the worrywart side won't even allow me to articulate what might go wrong?), it won't be any easier if we didn't buy anything.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


As a follow up to my post about my Most Amazing Sister-in-Law, here are the gifts she sent -- items handmade by my mom for my Most Amazing Nephew.

Two dolls and two baby blankets

Close up detail of the baby blanket
More detail

Close up of the hand-crocheted afghan
I am so happy to have these items from my mom to share with her grandson. Even though he'll never get to meet her, I will make sure he knows how special she was. And he'll know what a great influence she was on my family.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's not easy being green

A friend recently gave me a copy of the book "The Eco-Nomical Baby Guide" by Joy Hatch and Rebecca Kelley. According to the cover it has "down-to-earth ways for parents to save money and the planet." So, the "eco" refers to both ecological and economical. I haven't read the entire book yet, but I have found some pretty good information in it.

For instance, I have been debating with myself whether to use cloth or disposable diapers. On the one hand, disposables will live forever in our landfills. On the other hand, they are so dang convenient. However, the following tidbit has me leaning more and more toward the idea of cloth (or reusable) diapers:

"Many parents are concerned the presence of SAP [sodium polyacrylate, a.k.a. absorbent gel] in disposables causes the scrotal temperature of baby boys to get too high, interfering with normal sperm production. Research by the Archives of Disease in Childhood showed that the scrotal temperature is higher in boys who wear disposable diapers than in those who wear cloth, possibly explaining the increase in male infertility over the last twenty-five years."

If I'm planning to breastfeed my baby because it's better for his health and may make him smarter and I plan to not circumcise him because it seems traumatic and unnecessary, doesn't it stand to reason I should try to protect his future fertility? As someone who was told she couldn't have babies without specialized help, I wouldn't want to put my son through that. I'll admit the whole idea of washing dirty diapers is icky, but I may have to do it -- to protect my son's future. And, you know, protecting the environment and all that junk.

I have to admit, though, I'm just not green enough to follow some of the advice in the book. Purchase used clothes diapers? Gross. I don't care how clean they supposedly are, I wouldn't wear used underpants and I wouldn't want my baby to.

And, I kind of feel like the authors fumble the ball a bit in telling me not to bother with nursing bras. In one chapter, they extol the benefits (economic, environmental and health-wise) of breastfeeding as long as possible. Later they tell me not to buy nursing bras because my breast size will probably change. Which means I would have to buy new bras anyway and if I'm nursing for 12 months or more, that's a long time to be yanking up a regular bra. Meaning that bra (or bras) will need replacing anyway. Do you see my logic? Bras wear out. They just do.

Still, there is a lot of good, useful information in the book for saving money and being more green while raising a baby. And the most important message I got from the book was this: "Green parenting is about progress, not perfection!"

And now, because I probably put it in your head with the title, I give you Kermit the Frog:

Baby Blogger

Your humble blogger as a newborn.

I weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces and was 20 inches long. Join me in hoping my boy isn't quite that big. Ouch.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Week 26: Milestones

I can't believe how time is flying by. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago that I was announcing my pregnancy. Now I've got just a little more than three months before I welcome my son into the world.

This week my newsletter from Fit Pregnancy tells me my little alien weighs about 1 1/2 pounds (about 1/4 pound more than last week) and "would be about a foot tall if (he) could stand." That seems huge! No wonder I feel like I'm starting to have my own gravitational pull.

This week marks a major milestone in Baby's hearing and sight, they tell me.
"Your baby's hearing system (cochlea and peripheral sensory end organs), which began fine development during week eighteen, is now completely formed, and over the next few weeks, she'll become increasingly sensitive to sound. In about a month, you'll feel her jump if she hears a sudden loud noise. Sound passes easily into your uterus, which helps her ears develop."
And his eyes are almost fully formed, they say, telling me that all babies have blue eyes in the womb, no matter what their genetic inheritance is. Apparently, baby's eyes don't get their final color until he's a few months old. However, according to my own baby book, at birth my eyes were "dark." And Mom told me my eyes were so dark, no one could tell what color they actually were. So, I'm either a freak of nature, or Fit Pregnancy isn't totally right.

As for my changing body, they're not telling me anything I haven't known for a while now, when they say, "Sleeping is definitely getting uncomfortable." They don't offer any advice on how to make it more comfortable. They just tell me:
"Try sleeping on your left side. Your baby has to battle with your backbone when you're lying on your back, and sleeping on your back will also position your uterus over a major artery, cutting off blood flow."
I've been doing that. Still doesn't make sleep comfortable. Lots of extra pillows helps -- helps me. The poor S.O. has very little room left for himself. Good thing he's a heavy sleeper.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Funny

In a case of art imitating life or something like that, the baby name game continues in one of my favorite -- albeit sometimes baffling -- comic strips.

Today's F-Minus:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dance Dance Revolution

I know breakdancing hit the height of its popularity 20-some years ago, but I'm pretty sure Baby was trying out his flares, back spins and body rocks yesterday evening. If he wasn't working on his dance moves, maybe he was trying out some kickboxing or taekwondo. Whatever it was, it was pretty intense.  My little alien was nonstop motion for about 20 minutes or so. And it wasn't just cute little flutters. It was major movement.

I think it's very cool when he moves around in there. The S.O. gets a little freaked out when he feels the baby move. I'm not sure if it's the reality of it all or if he's just weirded out by the feel of my stomach having a life of its own.

One day I really should take a video of the S.O.'s reaction to feeling Baby kick. You should get to laugh at the look on his face as much as I do.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Week 25: Entering the homestretch

I visited by doctor this morning, and everything with my pregnancy is right on track. I've gained a decent amount of weight, but not too much (despite the overload of cookies and junk during the holidays) and the growth of my belly is where it should be.

We listened to Baby's heart beat, and the doctor told the S.O. if he wants to feel Baby move around more he can push on my tummy to get him to push back. Baby is moving around a lot, just not when the S.O. tries to feel it. He'll be kicking up a storm in there, but as soon as I call the S.O. over to feel, everything goes quiet. It's kind of cute.

My e-mail newsletter from Fit Pregnancy is comparing my wee one to a bag of sugar (again?), also telling me that my baby "has a regular sleep schedule now and active and inactive periods. You may or may not be able to discern what those periods are."

I can tell you he moves around a lot right before I go to sleep and right when I get up in the morning. He seems to get really active if I'm hungry, as well. Imagine your stomach is growling and someone keeps kicking it. It's awesome.

Actually, it is pretty awesome to feel that movement and quite strange to know that in just a few short months my little alien is going to be a whole other person.

Fit Pregnancy goes on to say:
"While reaching the third trimester feels like great progress, with it comes a return to fatigue, dizziness, and constant trips to the bathroom."
A "return to" ... right. As if any of that ever went away.

My next doctor appointment will include my glucose screen,  and I'll receive a Rhogam shot because I have a negative blood type. That doctor appointment will also be my last four-week appointment. After that, I will go to every two weeks, and before you know it, I'll be writing about an actual baby boy kicking and crying and needing changed instead of the little alien kicking me to pieces from the inside.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Be Prepared

I have been reading lots of books about child care lately (lots and lots and lots). I figure I'm not going to have a heck of a lot of time after Baby is born to casually look at books, plus I might find the baby care book and buy it. Right now, the books I'm reading all come from the local library.

This weekend, our trip to the library resulted in us checking out the book "Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads." It has actual, important information, like taking precautions to lower the risk of SIDS. And it takes that section quite seriously.

But you also get actual, important information -- like Baby pooping in the tub -- that's given with a bit more humor.
"At some point your baby will poop in the tub. Maybe it's a defense mechanism, like a squid inking. It's a disgusting and frustrating occurrence, but it's one of those parental rites of passage that officially confirm you as a dad."
Some of the information is silliness, like reading "Sports Illustrated" to your baby or using Baby as your wingman if you're a single dad, but overall the book has some sound advice. Like this passage referring to postpartum mood swings:
"Keep in mind that much of this behavior is beyond her control. Right after the birth, her hormone levels are bouncing around like Ping-Pong balls, playing havoc with her brain chemistry. So when you see her throwing breast pump parts across the living room, remember to cut her some slack." readers give this book good ratings. Out of the 173 customer reviews, only 14 are less than five stars, with just three readers giving it two stars (and no one giving it only one star). These reviewers must have really expected a lot from a book with just 217 pages, calling it not helpful. I think it's helpful if Dad will read it. No, I wouldn't rely on this book as the only baby care book I'd consult -- or would let the S.O. consult -- but it's a good way to get Dads involved without overwhelming them.

Even in our enlightened age -- compared to my dad, who probably didn't know what a diaper looked like -- Dads generally are still less involved in the childcare than Moms are. I think the S.O. would find something useful in this book, where the other books I've brought home just seem to intimidate him.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Most-Amazing Sister-in-law

See this lady here?
I am naming her Most-Amazing Sister-in-law. Yesterday, she sent me a message, telling me she had I talked to talked to my brother and my nephew and asked if they would mind giving me a few of the baby items my mom made for my nephew. My sister-in-law has kept everything Grandma made him. She says, "I still have lots of other things she made him which I could never part with. I just think it might be important to you to have something from your mom."

Now, I know pregnancy hormones can send emotions all over the place, but this message made me cry -- in a very good way. I am so touched that this very sentimental woman -- who loved my mom almost as much as if she were her own mother -- would be willing to part with a few hand-made baby items so that my son could have something handmade by his grandmother.

My little boy will never get to meet his Grandma Louise in person, but thanks to Most-Amazing Aunt, he will be able to have a little piece of her with him. I don't think words can truly express how grateful I am to her -- and to my brother and nephew -- for this incredible act of kindness.

I am most amazed.

Friday, January 7, 2011

43 years ago today ...

I was born, and it was the coldest day on record, according to my parents. For as long as I can remember, I've heard about this -- either from Mom or (more recently) Dad. And sure enough, Dad called this morning to wish me a happy birthday and tell me about the weather on that long ago day.
Your humble blogger, aged 1 year

It was so cold, he told me, that I had to be put in an incubator to warm up. It's kind of neat to hear the story about the day I was born, but Mom never really shared more about that day. I don't know if it was a difficult labor. I was a pretty big baby -- 8 pounds, 10 ounces -- but I was her fourth. (Weird fact about my family: My oldest brother was premature, weighing just 4 pounds, 13 ounces, but the next two weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces and 8 pounds, 9 ounces. I guess she was building up to her big baby.)

I don't have any sisters so I don't really have a female relative to ask about her labor. My sisters-in-law had a mixed bag of experiences -- and I blame my nieces' and nephews' big heads (oh, it's fine, they know I love them). I really wish I knew more about my mom's experiences. I know that drugs were different back then. Mothers weren't really supposed to experience childbirth, so maybe it wouldn't help to know what she went through.

Mostly, I just wish I could talk to her today and thank her for going through it for me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Just don't call me late for dinner

Did you hear about the woman who is letting Facebook name her baby? 
If Alpinelli allows FabFind to help name her child via Facebook, the mom will receive a year of free deals, an estimated $40,000 value. FabFind even made a custom app where people can submit names and vote for their faves.
OK. I'll admit $40,000 worth of loot is pretty tempting, and the leading names are not awful (Aria, Melania and Sophia). Still, I'm just not sure it's worth it. What if the winning name was Rover or Miss Poopy Pants? (According to this story, the parents have to prove they actually used the winning name. The same story mentions that other names in the top 10 included Parsia, Eudaimonia and Fabricia.) That's pretty scary stuff to saddle your child with, in my very humble opinion.

Of course, I say this as someone who has NOT been offered 40 grand to let others name my baby. So, easy for me to say I wouldn't do it.

The S.O. has some Native American blood, and it gets me thinking about how some cultures don't name babies until they've earned a name. In which case, Mr. Poopy Pants may not be so far off the mark.

What do you think? Would you sell the right to name your baby?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Week 24: That's Bananas!

This week my unborn baby is about the size of a banana, so says my email newsletter from Fit Pregnancy. They also say, "It's time to schedule an appointment for your glucose screen, which checks for gestational diabetes; it is conducted between weeks 24 and 28."

I am not looking forward to the glucose screen because they accidentally ordered this test during my very first visit to my OB (at five and a half weeks). Those of you who've had this test know how pleasant tasting the goo they have you drink is. (Hint: It's not at all pleasant tasting.) Then you get to sit in the waiting room for an hour -- reading old magazines and/or watching "Regis and Kelly" -- to see how you react to the onslaught of sugar. I'm also a bit nervous because I have had a raging sweet tooth (especially over the holidays) and hope it hasn't caused major problems.

They tell me too that baby's skin is starting to become less translucent "as pigment is deposited, and it looks wrinkly because her body is making her skin more quickly than it makes the fat to pad underneath it. Your baby's unique hand- and footprints are forming." No getting away with burglary now, kiddo.

The bump is definitely sticking out there now, but I still think most people just think I'm getting chunky. So far, I've been pretty lucky to not experience some of the things that could be happening -- like heartburn, muscle aches, sore feet, and dizziness -- but I'm not so naive as to think I'm getting off scot-free. Besides, I've had my share of other stuff, like restless legs, achy ligaments and being bone tired.

I suppose I need to get used to feeling tired all the time. I don't expect that will change for a while.

Monday, January 3, 2011

More practice

I really think my dog is afraid I need practice being a good parent. Back in November, she had a little incident that tested the S.O. and me. Then, last week, she decided that a trip to the emergency vet would give us a little taste of what it's like to have a sick kid.

The S.O. and I had headed up to ski country -- skiing for him, reading and relaxing for me -- for a couple days. We left the pooch in the very capable hands of our neighbors. They have watched her many times for us in the past, including during our recent babymoon. So, I know it wasn't their fault the dog decided to hurt herself.

As I walked up to the neighbors' door, I could see through the window the teenage daughter rushing around. I rang the bell, and she opened the door to tell me, "Ripley got a cut. We're cleaning it now."

I took one look at the cut and got a bit queasy. It wasn't big but it was deep and really gross. I told the S.O. to call our vet to see if there was any chance he could squeeze us in at 4:30 the day before the day before a holiday. We haven't the best vet, but even he couldn't pull that one off. So, off to the emergency vet for us. Luckily, Ripley wasn't bleeding much and really didn't seem to be in too much pain, but the wound was open and yucky, and we had no idea what had caused it -- a rusty nail, an animal, a stick.

We got in right away but they had to keep her for several hours, so we left her for the evening and headed home to worry wait. I guess that's a major difference: If it had been our kid, we wouldn't have left him at the ER and gone home to our comfy living room.

We picked her up around 10 p.m., took her home, gave her medicine and put her to bed. She has about five stitches on her right foreleg and will probably have a lovely new scar, but otherwise she was really fine -- a little groggy from the anesthesia and a little put out about having to be away from us for another evening.

We don't know how she got the laceration but I kind of suspect it was a test of our parenting skills. We passed.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

May 2011 bring us all health, happiness and prosperity!