Monday, February 28, 2011


The S.O. and I spent most of our weekend at a prepared childbirth class. We opted for the two-day weekend express to get it done, rather than spread it out over four weeks and risk missing one (something always comes up, doesn't it?).

It was very informative. We've done a lot of reading but nothing quite compares with seeing where you will give birth and watching the video of a baby entering the world. Here's how I know I'm ready for this: When they showed a video of a baby crowning, then being delivered and placed on Mom's belly, I got choked up and tears came to my eyes. That same image a year ago would have elicited an "ugh," and I probably would have watched the scene through my fingers -- if at all.

Instead, I was fascinated, touched -- and a bit jealous. She was done! She had her baby and now gets to move on to the actual parenting part. The only part that didn't make me feel all motherly was when, as the baby's head emerged, Mom asked, "Does it look like a baby?" All I could think was, "No. It looks like my grandpa."

But when they gave us a tour of the birth center and stopped by the nursery (where there were just two babies because the hospital has a "room-in" policy) I oohed and aahed with everyone else -- and almost got choked up again. (Damn these pregnancy hormones!)

It was nice to see where we'll deliver our baby and where we'll get to hang out after he's born. In addition to the tour and videos, we got to practice some breathing and relaxation techniques. It has suddenly dawned on the S.O. that labor and delivery isn't going to be a walk in the park for either one of us. I think he really believed he'd get to just sit and play Angry Birds while I did all the work. Instead he'll be helping me focus, rubbing my back, holding me up when I need it and being available to my every beck and call and crazy laboring momma whim.

We still have a long way to go and plenty of things to buy before we're really ready for Baby, but the class definitely made us feel better informed and more emotionally ready. As a bonus, I think it brought us closer to each other -- we really are in this together.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday cuteness

I know I am completely biased, but I think my little alien is just too cute. Check out his latest ultrasound picture.
His little round button nose and his chubby cheeks make him look like his daddy.

We also got a good look at his wee wee-wee, and he was hanging on to it. I told the S.O. he's the one who gets to tell the boy that it's OK to touch it, just not in front of other people.

In other news, his heart looked and sounded good, he's got both kidneys, and the size of his head indicates about 33 weeks growth (the tech said they don't get too excited about head size at this point because they're all so different. I just hope his head isn't too big.) The tech estimated his weight at about 4 pounds.

They'll now compare these numbers to the numbers from our 20-week ultrasound and see how he's progressing. It seems to me like he's percolating just the way he should and will be here before we know it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week 31: Two months to go, two months to grow

Just this morning it occurred to me that I have just over two months left before I get to meet Baby. Part of me can't believe it will be here so quickly. Another part of me -- the part that just keeps getting bigger and bigger -- can't believe it's going to be so long.

We saw the doctor this morning, and my weight is good, my growth is good, and Baby's heartbeat is strong. We will have another ultrasound in a week or two to check Baby's growth. Oh, and my glucose levels were very good so I don't have to worry about gestational diabetes. Whew!

When I got home from the doctor, my e-mail newsletter from Fit Pregnancy was sitting in my mailbox. It tells me:
Your baby weighs between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 pounds. She continues to gain weight at a faster pace than she lengthens, which will give her those cute chubby cheeks. She's about fourteen to sixteen inches tall, although individual growth rates vary. Your baby begins to run out of room as she puts on weight. You should feel about ten kicks an hour.
They go on to say that some care providers may suggest keeping a "kick chart" (mine hasn't) by writing down how many kicks you feel in an hour, so that you are aware if there's a decrease in activity. Baby is so active at certain parts of the day, I don't know if I could keep track of the number of kicks he gives me then. As I've mentioned before, he seems to quiet down when other people want to feel him kick.

I find myself thinking about this summer -- outings and trips to see family and such -- and it is so strange to me to imagine those things with Baby in tow. I know a baby changes your life and I'm ready (as ready as I'll ever be) for that but it still feels strange.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Most-Awesome Friend

Yesterday, my good (and extremely talented) friend, known here on the Internet as Jackadillo Princess, brought me two huge boxes of baby clothes. The clothes range from newborn to 12 months. Look at these boxes:
They are also damn cute. Here's a sample:
Football footies!
Polka dots!
Paw print on the butt!
I had three older brothers, so I grew up with hand-me-downs from my closest girl cousin. Sometimes it was great. Sometimes not so much. As a parent, I definitely see the appeal -- and practicality -- of hand-me-downs. It's especially great when I'm really the only one who cares what he wears. I'm pretty sure Baby would be happy -- and totally cute -- naked. But getting these clothes sure makes me feel like I'm that much closer to being ready (or closer to as ready as I'll ever be).

Thank you, Most-Awesome Friend!

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's delightful

My good friend over at Grandma's Briefs writes about delight today, asking "When did you last experience delight, by any definition?"

In answer to that question I'll tell you about my afternoon yesterday. Because I am due late April, which falls right toward the end of our tutoring sessions, I decided to take this semester off from my duties as a site coordinator with our local children's literacy center. However, I have acted -- and will act -- as a substitute when I can.

Yesterday afternoon I covered two sessions at one of our library sites. And while I find that particular site coordinator to be a -- ahem -- challenge, the students and tutors at her site were delightful, especially one little girl who couldn't help herself and put both hands on my tummy. "Is it in there?" she asked.

If an adult had done the same thing, he or she would probably have gotten slugged (unless it was a friend who asked first) but this little girl was so cute and so gentle, I couldn't help but be delighted. It is probably one of the sweetest things that's happened to me in a long time.

Naturally, Baby picked that time to be completely still. He'd been kicking and wiggling and squirming most of the day, including early in the morning while I was trying to sleep. But when this sweet little girl wanted to feel just a tiny little kick? Nothing.

I think he just likes being contrary. I can't imagine where he gets it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Week 30: OMG! Did I just type 30?

I had a dentist appointment this morning, and my wonderful hygienist was so thrilled to see my expanding waistline, we spent several minutes just chatting about the pregnancy. Last time I saw her I was technically pregnant but didn't know, and in those first few weeks, I did everything wrong. I had dental X-rays. I ate sushi. I drank beer. My doctor has assured me that Baby was merely going through cell division at that time and there was little chance of my hurting him way back then. And that huge lead apron must have done something to protect those little dividing cells, because here I am: 30 weeks pregnant.

Fit Pregnancy tells me at 30 weeks:

"Baby's length is about 16 inches—about as long as a laptop computer—and she measures almost 11 inches from crown to rump. She weighs approximately 2 1/2 to 3 pounds. From now until delivery, every baby will gain weight at a more individual rate. Your baby has doubled in height over the past six weeks, and from now until delivery, she'll gain only a few more inches in length."

Baby's brain continues to develop, and they tell me, his eyes are able to track light.
"Some researchers have theorized that exposing your belly to light may stimulate development. Try moving the beam of a flashlight slowly over your belly in a dim room, and see if she reacts."
If I try that, I will let you know the results. Baby is so active these days, I don't know if it would be a fair test, though.

They also say my belly is about the size of a watermelon (so now we're comparing me to food) but I'd say it's more like a basketball and reminds me of my medicine ball workouts from last summer.

One thing they don't tell me is how Baby seems to occupy all my waking thoughts. There are all so many things that have to center on Baby: doctor's appointments, eating habits, birth classes and other preparations. But even when I try to do things that don't center around Baby, he wiggles and brings my mind back to him. Did other moms experience this? Does it ever stop or is your child(ren) always on your mind, forever and ever?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love is in the air

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A letter to Baby

Dear Little Alien,

While I really love feeling you wiggle and squirm around, when it's not yet light out, could you possibly confine the movements to more of a slow waltz rather than the Jitterbug? Mommy would really appreciate it. You'll have my full attention soon enough, Baby. A little extra sleep right now would do Mommy a world of good. Save it for when Daddy can enjoy it too.

See you soon!

Your mommy-to-be

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Week 29: Eyelashes and dreams

This week's update from Fit Pregnancy assures me that my additional weight isn't just due to too many Super Bowl party snacks. "The volume of your uterus alone can be up to 1,000 times larger than it was before you got pregnant!" it says.

Still, if the little one inside my weighs about 2 1/2 pounds, as they say, I have added a lot of extra weight. I know how important it is, but it's still really uncomfortable.

They also tell me Baby's brain can detect rhythmic breathing and control body temperature, so he's less likely to need breathing assistance should he be born early. Also:
(He's) growing eyelashes, adding fat, and developing (his) brain. Because of brain wave activity, researchers have speculated that babies can even dream at this time!
As for my expanding body, they tell me it's not unusual to feel fatigue similar to what I felt in the first trimester. As tired as I continued to be throughout the second trimester, I have to admit I did feel better then. Naps are more frequent now, as are trips to the bathroom -- thanks to my uterus putting more pressure on my bladder.

My trip to the doctor this week included measurements -- I'm exactly where I should be! -- as well as my glucose tolerance test and a Rhogam shot. It was a long appointment because I had to sit for an hour after drinking the yummy glucose mixture, then return to the doctor's office for the shot after they drew blood. Thank goodness for my iPod and my digital copy of "Despicable Me." I can only take so much of "The View" after all.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Crafty nesting

I never learned to knit or crochet, and sewing isn't exactly my forte either. But I can cross-stitch, so over the past week or so, I made this:

Here's a close up of the stitching:

I created the design with the help of a couple different Web sites, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  It's the first thing I've made for Baby and the first cross-stitch pattern I've completed in many years. I feel so crafty, I might try something else soon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dummy Dads

The S.O. and I read and reviewed "Dad's Guide to Pregnancy for Dummies" for my good friend Lisa over at Grandma's Briefs.

Mary Louise

June 26, 1937 - Feb. 8, 2008
Mom often told me the details of the day of my birth -- not how many hours she was in labor or how bad the pain was or whether or not drugs were administered. But I heard often how it was the coldest day on record -- temperatures dipping to well-below zero. How even though I was a big baby -- weighing in at 8 pounds, 10 ounces and bigger than my three older brothers -- the doctors and nurses couldn't get my temperature up, and I was placed in an incubator. I wonder now if this is the reason I feel cold all the time.

It never occurred to me that my birth may have been difficult for my mom or that her pregnancy was anything but easy. I don't know if it ever occurred to her. It wasn't like her to complain or to speak of her children as burdens. I believe we were a source of pride. But she was never one to brag, not about her kids, not about herself. She was self-deprecating, to a fault. But she was talented -- she knit, she sewed, she made the most amazing cakes that were like works of art. At the age of 70, she was learning to use a computer.

I wasn't ready to say goodbye. I can only hope that when I become a mom, I do as good a job as she did.

reposted from Rambling Pam, Thursday, April 24, 2008

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday morning giggles

While I usually post my weekly update Tuesday or Wednesday, this week I have a monthly update for you, courtesy of Let's Panic About Babies:

Seventh Month: Are we done yet? Not even close!

What’s Going On Up In There?
This month your baby is heading into the home stretch and finishing up her developmental touches. She will grow up to three feet in length from crown to rump, and of course will develop the thick layer of subdermal blubber she’ll need to insulate her those frigid winter months. Continue to eat all the clams, sea cucumbers, and cephalopods you want, mama!

Here’s Your Baby!

Guess what?
You have magically morphed from “noticeably pregnant” to “kind of freaky pregnant.” Strangers will laugh at you. Instead of taking it personally, delight in your ability to brighten their otherwise bleak existences!
I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, so I'm going to double-check these "facts" with her. I'll let you know how that goes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Year of the Rabbit

Today is the beginning of the Lunar New Year. This year is the Year of the Rabbit, according to the Chinese Zodiac. So my little one, like his daddy, will be a Rabbit.
The Rabbit symbolizes such character traits as creativity, compassion, and sensitivity. Rabbits are friendly, outgoing and prefer the company of others. They also prefer to avoid conflict. In confrontational situations, Rabbits approach calmly and with consideration for the other party. Rabbits believe strongly in friends and family and lacking such bonds can lead to emotional issues.
I'm not usually one to follow the zodiac (Chinese or otherwise) but I find it interesting that Baby will share signs with his daddy. He will also (most likely, unless he comes very early) be a Taurus, like Daddy.

What does all that mean? Probably nothing. If Baby is like his daddy, we will get along well. If he inherits my personality, we will probably disagree on everything.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Not just a bump anymore

As promised, new pictures of the belly. I don't think I can call it a baby bump anymore.
January 18 -- The belly covered, your blogger dressed for work

February 2 -- The belly exposed, your blogger dressed for a frigid day at home

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Week 28: A bag of flour

With approximately three months left in my pregnancy, things are starting to get really real. I have started purchasing some items. The S.O. and I have created baby registries. My friends are starting to plan a shower. I've even started my hospital checklist. And we'll attend a birth class this month.

My e-mail newsletter from Fit Pregnancy this week tells me I may start to experience Braxton Hicks contractions around this time. For those of you who don't know (like me):
Braxton Hicks contractions  are "irregular, mild tightness or cramping, usually felt in the lower abdomen, lasts a few seconds and may increase during the night and while exercising. Unlike true labor contractions, Braxton Hicks do not progress in frequency."
The information about Baby is pretty interesting:
"Your baby has doubled her weight in the past month and is the size of a bag of flour. She now weighs almost 2 1/2 pounds. Her total length is nearly fifteen inches. Your baby's lungs are now capable of breathing air! This is big news. It means if the baby is born from now on, she'll be able to survive with less medical intervention. Your baby's main job right now is to put the finishing touches on major organ systems, such as her brain, lungs, and liver. As you can probably tell, she's also working on gaining layers of fat. Her body fat is about 2 to 3 percent. Your baby's eyes, which were covered by her eyelid folds at the sixth week of development, are capable of opening this week. Her sucking and swallowing skills are improving."
But the info on my changing body is a bit redundant now as I already see or am experiencing those things without being told. "You're getting larger, and as you get larger, you become more uncomfortable. Your legs may ache or cramp, it's hard to get a good sleeping position, and the baby is big enough to give you some sharp kicks to the ribs!"

Yep. You don't need to tell me I'm getting larger. I see it. Almost daily. Everything is more difficult now. I'm still working out, but at a much, much lower intensity. Just walking up and down the stairs has me out of breath, but I know how important exercise is, so I'm keeping at it. (In fact, I recently became a Certified Fitness Trainer! That should help motivate me to get back in shape after Baby is born.)