Wednesday, February 27, 2008

No progress

A brief update following my OB appointment yesterday. NO PROGRESS! As someone who values progress in general, as well as values my own basic ability to breathe, this was a bit distressing to me. Not surprising, as I haven't felt so much as the first twitch of a contraction, but distressing nevertheless. Especially when I keep hearing about women due after me who are now holding their little ones. Sure, I'm thrilled to have a full-term baby. And it's not like he has to come today. I am just worried that between Bean and myself, neither one of us has the know-how to get this show on the road. When my OB walked into the exam room, she astutely commented, "It may seem like you'll be pregnant forever, but I promise you, you won't be." Hmmmm... while her medical degree and years of experience lend to her credibility, my dad always taught me to gather my own information. So upon returning home, I collected some preliminary research from the obvious source of infinite knowledge: google. I was first assaulted by tons of irritating articles about how Halle Berry wishes she could be pregnant forever. (Yeah, talk to me in week 40, chica.) I then found several articles claiming that the longest human gestation was 12 to 12.5 months, and one even suggesting 17 months. While I couldn't unearth any information indicating that the possibility exists of being pregnant forever -- unless you are this woman -- I also didn't run across any conclusive evidence that it is impossible, either. My worry remains.

But I digress. Back to the appointment, when the OB was listening to the heartbeat, Bean decided to show off and do some acrobatics. The doc's eyes got wide and she remarked, "Whoa! I just saw your stomach move in four directions at once! He's a strong little guy, that's for sure." Big and strong, that's my Bean. Which got me thinking, instead of him popping out with that chubby aging rockstar look, we may be welcoming a future linebacker. "Dick Butkus" has a nice ring to it, don't you think? I hope people can get over his thick mustache.

Monday, February 25, 2008

One week and counting

Despite drinking an ocean of raspberry leaf tea, indulging in spicy Mexican fare, and traipsing up and down Pike Place Market on Saturday, Bean remains securely lodged in his home of the past nine months. In fact, I am now so large that I have my own weather system (today's forecast: mostly sunny with some low-lying clouds). No, this does not mean that I am suddenly dying to get him out. I'm uncomfortable but reasonably content hanging out with him in our intimate partnership, mommy and Bean. It's actually poor DH who is about to expire from the anxiety of waiting. In an unfortunate coincidence of timing, his team at work has a huge deadline this Friday. Being new to the group, he's still learning while trying to finish up his projects on time -- making for long and stressful days. Then he comes home and has a heart attack every time I move from one position to another, which now always involves one of those ugly preggo groans. He's already crated the dog and started the car before I can assure him that my labored breathing is simply the result of lugging around 40 pounds of baby belly. Ugh.

Meanwhile, I'm a bit worried that Bean is done baking but can't find his way out, as it seems he may have inherited his mom's sense of direction -- or complete lack thereof. When I am the navigator in the car with DH, I'm neither surprised nor insulted when I tell him to turn right at the next light and he immediately jumps into the left-turn lane. Bean, in a similar way, seems to be determined to push his butt up and out the top of the womb, instead of taking the door like most babies. Tomorrow is my last scheduled visit with my OB before my due date arrives... maybe I can ask her to yell to him or something. Follow the voice, Bean!

Back to DH, he was an absolute hero this weekend, taking charge of the to-do list so Bean and I could rest. Remember those little elves whom I had hoped would clean up the house overnight? Well, they worked their magic in a different way, instead arranging for a last-minute visit of one of DH's best friends and roommates from college and his wife. They were in town on business, and as DH hasn't seen this friend in years, he was all smiles as he vacuumed, dusted, and Windexed before they arrived. We spent a sunny and beautifully mild Saturday with them at Pike Place Market. Besides a long walk up a steep hill back to the car at the end of the day -- with DH literally pushing me from behind as amused Seattlites walked around us -- it was a great success.

We also made great progress on the rest of Bean preparations. I finished the "before you were born" section of Bean's baby book, all signed and dated in time (whew!). For the nursery, I repurposed a side table to use instead of a bookshelf, which will work just fine until we move in a few months. (Thank you HGTV for the word "repurposed," which makes it sound so much more glamorous than using an old table I salvaged from the mess in the garage.) We also put up the video baby monitor from my aunt, and DH hooked up the receiver to our new TV downstairs. Welcome to the 24-hour Bean Channel: all Bean, all the time. In high def where available. Take-out and delivery restaurants have been identified, and the dog is packed for her mini-vacation with DH's coworker. The final item on the list is the hospital bag for me and DH. While it's easy to decide which season of Family Guy DVDs to toss in the bag, I'm finding too much discrepancy in what else to pack. Nursing jammies or stick with the hospital gown (so the jammies don't get icky during recovery)? If I bring everything that's recommended by one source or another, I'll need three full-sized suitcases. Which goes against everyone's advice not to overpack. I give up.

I will leave you with this image, I hope it's clear enough to read. While stopped on the highway because of an accident up ahead, which added 20 minutes to our drive and turned out to be a very minor rear-end situation, DH and I were stuck behind this truck. For the laugh it gave us, I'd say the delay was worth it. I guess we're just that immature.

Oh, and you'll be happy to know that I purposely decided not to include a horrible pun with the pic (something about "getting behind" this cause). You're welcome.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Baby update: 38.5 weeks

Finally my doc is back from her island vacation, safely in the office where she should be, awaiting her big opportunity to deliver my baby. And speaking of big opportunities, I finally was able to talk with her about the enormity of Bean. She noted that he is in the 90% percentile of weight estimates, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. She was speaking solely for herself there, obviously. She then asked what specifically concerned me about the estimate. I thought it was quite obvious: I only have 10 cm to give this kid no matter how much he plumps up before heading out (get it, heading out? ha ha ha... oh dear, I've been pregnant too long). Anyway, she assured me that from her perspective, things are looking great and that my pelvis should be able to handle a larger baby. Which I am inclined to believe, considering my thighs are now about 3 feet apart when I stand up.

The doc then did a physical check to see if there's been any progress. She said that the front of the cervix is open but the back is still closed, and there may be some effacement but it was difficult to tell. She said she felt minor changes, and without me having any contractions yet. Hopefully a sign that I can make some progress before I am completely miserable.

I have moved past the round belly stage and have become quite lumpy. It's difficult to tell from these pics, but if you look closely, you can see the exact outline of the baby in my tummy. And if you ask nicely, he'll even move his butt from one side to the other, creating a significant wave effect that makes me vaguely seasick.

Everyone assumes that I'm dying to get the baby out at this point. Sure, I'm looking forward to seeing my toes again. But I'm not sure which is greater: my fear of labor pains and bringing a real baby home with us; or my fear of having the longest human gestation in recorded history (and subsequently the largest newborn). For better or worse, it doesn't really matter whether I'm ready or not, because he's going to pick his own birthday. Although I did start drinking raspberry leaf tea this morning, which some people believe can bring on contractions. DH is convinced I'll go into labor within hours of finishing the first cup, so we'll see.

As far as our to-do list goes, we got a few important things accomplished this week:

  • One of DH's coworkers offered to dogsit, so the pooch is covered while we are at the hospital. No word on whether the coworker will take the dog long-term when I kick her out for waking the baby up AGAIN with her incessant barking.

  • Camera and camcorder are charged and packed. I already reserved the right to delete any image(s) that might cause emotional trauma to me or Bean at any point in the future.

  • Finished the birth plan, which included just two brief requests: a healthy baby and a healthy dose of drugs.

  • Loaded my iPod -- thanks for the suggestions on song themes. I still cried through most of the selection process, but I cry at the Muzak at the grocery store, so what can you do.

  • Printed a selection of maps to the hospital, with different route options to avoid various highways, depending on the online traffic cams. We find comfort in the false belief that we can outsmart Seattle traffic.

  • Set up Bean's furniture. Here are some pics, starring Evey, for your enjoyment:
    • "I didn't do it, mama, I swear! But the mess of garbage on the kitchen floor..."

      "All this work is making me tired. Clean this place up, it's a mess." (See her on the rug?)

      "I've had enough. My bone and I will be hiding in the back of the closet next to the doggy door if you need me." (She dragged the cushion from her travel crate to that spot.)

      Just a few things left to finish this weekend, and we'll be in good shape.

      • Complete the "before you were born" section of his baby book. They make you sign and date it, so I can't cheat and do it after.

      • Get a bookshelf for his nursery. I went to Ikea for the first time and came up empty. Although I couldn't stay long because 1) I realized I had no idea how to actually purchase something from the displays and 2) the place was so huge I was afraid to go into labor while being 2 miles from the entrance of the store.

      • Clean the house. No nesting instinct for me yet. The house is a disaster and I have neither the inclination nor the energy to clean it. I'm kinda hoping that little elves do it in the middle of the night or something.

      • Make dinners to freeze. (Translation: collect menus from local take-out and delivery restaurants.)

      • Pack an overnight bag for me and DH. The dog also has her own travel bag, and if you can't guess who had it made for her, then you obviously don't know my family.

      Finally, being only a week and a half from my due date, I thought it was time to add a new poll. When do you think Bean will join the world? And please, be kind.

      Tuesday, February 19, 2008

      The BFP

      In honor of Bean's approaching due date, and because I wasn't blogging when we got pregnant, I wanted to document the day I got my first BFP (big fat positive) on a pregnancy test. As DH will readily attest, I have a horrible memory, so this is more for my own reference than because I believe it'll be interesting to anyone else. Sorry, but it's my blog, and them's the breaks.

      First, a tiny bit of background. Specifically, DH's marriage proposal. Back in June 2001, the two of us were in Cincinnati on internships. I won't get into the details of the romantic evening he planned, but the critical piece of info is that he had wrapped a bridal magazine, and as I unwrapped it and stuttered "wha...?", he got down on one knee with the ring. After some hyperventilation on my part and a year of planning, we were married.

      Fast forward to June 2007. It was our last month of injections and IUI before we faced a difficult choice: IVF, adoption, or back to the breeder for more dogs. Wouldn't you know that DH, Evey, and I each had different ideas of where to go next. For that final try, were repeating a treatment protocol that had failed in the past, even with 3 fabulous eggs (triplets, anyone?), a lining to die for, and an "Olympic gold quality" contribution from DH, so I was entirely convinced that this final cycle would be a bust. My attitude was negative, I took my shots whenever it was convenient instead of rearranging my life for the sake of timing, and I was extremely stressed at work. So much for "The Secret" and all that TTC nonsense about relaxing, I was going through the motions because the doc felt the treatment could work. But I was just counting down until I could start getting coffee at QuikTrip every morning again. (Damn, I still miss that stuff.)

      After 21 previous months of hopes dashed, I was pretty in tune to the symptoms indicating that AF was on her way. This month, however, my radar was thrown off by a mild case of OHSS. I was convinced that it developed because my doc had given me a higher dose of hCG to release the eggs -- but it can also happen when fertilization further boosts hormone levels. When my normal pre-AF cramps began a few days later, I cried over the failed cycle (okay, so obviously there was some hope in there I hadn't been able to squash) and geared up to have a giant margarita. Or several.

      But before I could drown my sorrows , one of my online TTC buddies wanted me to take a home pregnancy test anyway. On Monday morning, June 25, I broke down and did it. I had one lone test in the cupboard from the dollar store, and I decided that the "I told you so" was worth a buck. When DH was downstairs eating breakfast, I put that final stick to use and laid it on the bathroom counter.

      After the control line lit up, a second pink line appeared next to it.

      I stared at it.

      And stared at it.

      And looked away.

      And then stared at it again.

      I heard DH coming up the stairs, so I quickly hid the test behind a picture frame in our bedroom. Normally, I am the worst at keeping secrets. I don't think I've ever made it to DH's birthday or Christmas without giving him his gift several days in advance. (Yeah, seriously.) I'm also a horrible liar. But I wanted to be absolutely sure I was pregnant before I told DH, as false positives are quite common, and it was a cheapie test at that. So as not to get his hopes up before I was sure, I managed to kiss him goodbye and wish him a good day without raising an ounce of his suspicion.

      As soon as he left, I ran back to the test and looked at it again. I could hardly believe my eyes, it still had two lines.

      My work schedule at that time was very erratic because of the private practice, and fortunately, that happened to be one of my short days. Only 5 hours at the office (not the most productive 5 hours of my career) before I could bust out to Walgreens to get more tests. I was in a state of utter confusion as I left work and ended up spending $65 on HPTs and a parenting magazine before I finally made it home. I was certain the tests would be negative, but from the cheapies to the digital tests, it was unanimous: I was pregnant.

      I somehow managed to keep from bothering DH at work and telling him to come home early. He finally called me on his way home, and after a brief greeting, he asked what my temperature had been that morning. (For those of you lucky enough not to be familiar with this, a woman's body temp increases after ovulation and then dips right back down a day or two before AF arrives. So a consistently high temp indicates that AF is nowhere in sight and a BFP could be in the near future.) I was able to respond that my temp was lower than the day before. Which was the truth, although I sneakily noted to myself that he didn't need to know it wasn't a significant dip, he he he. I thought I had successfully dodged that topic until he asked specifically how much lower was the temp than yesterday. That's an engineer for you! I was annoyed that he was inadvertently testing my flimsy resolve, so I didn't have much trouble snapping back that I couldn't remember exactly and it was low enough and the cycle was over and just come home.

      He still pulled into the driveway despite my faux moodiness, gotta love him. I told him I had a present to give him before we made dinner. I sat him on the couch and handed him the wrapped parenting magazine, with two positive HPTs hidden in my back pocket. He unwrapped the magazine, froze, and responded in flat disbelief: "No ****ing way." I broke into a huge smile at his uncharacteristic reply and handed him the pee sticks. He stared at them in dumbfounded silence for a full minute before blurting out, "I don't know how to read these." The plus means positive, sweetie. A baby.

      We eventually collected ourselves and decided neither of us had the capacity to cook at the moment (no comments, please) so we went out to eat. We spent the whole time smiling and giggling across the table. I couldn't have asked for a more magical day, I still can feel the tingling throughout my body as I anticipated sharing the news with DH. My heart felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from it, like it could rise from my chest at any moment. The next day, I was firmly planted behind an armor of self-protection in denial, thanks to a combo of normal preggo fears and IF scars. But the day of the BFP was filled with unbridled excitement and emotional celebration, and I count it among the most special of my life. Now it's just about time for another special day -- meeting the beautiful creation that was once a microscopic speck of a bean, turning that line pink and changing my life forever.

      Friday, February 15, 2008


      Finally, after weeks of feeling like I am making no progress on important tasks, we are getting some results. Here's what's been happening this week.

      The breastfeeding class on Tuesday was a success. My first goal was to make it through the evening without having to show anyone my ta-tas. Fortunately, that was never an issue. I also achieved my second goal of learning more about the "natural" way to feed a baby. It's so natural that after two hours of instruction and a video featuring millions of boobs, I am now 25% confident in my ability to breastfeed. Meanwhile, DH was in the next room learning about Bean's basic needs, which include sleeping and crying. They don't give much credit to new dads, do they?

      My OB is in Hawaii, so I saw another doc in the practice on Wednesday. She reported that the ultrasound from last Thursday looked great. Bean is positioned head down and has the perfect amount of fluid to keep him safe and healthy. Only one tiny concern... or should I say enormous concern... the baby was estimated at 7 lbs 5 oz! The stand-in doc thought this number was wonderfully moderate and commented, "Not too small and not too big. We don't want a 10 lb baby!" I just smiled nervously at the time, but I've been freaking out ever since. I'm no doctor, but I am still capable of simple math. If I was 4 weeks from delivery at the time of the ultrasound, and the baby gains 1/2 lb every week during late pregnancy... that's a 9 1/2 lb child coming out! DANGEROUSLY CLOSE to a 10 lb baby, thank you very much. I realize that there is quite a large margin of error, and Bean could easily show up several pounds lighter. But that uncertainty goes both directions, meaning I could give birth to that 20 lb turkey after all. Which worries me for obvious reasons, among those being that DH and I have decided to wait to meet Bean before finalizing his name. The two of us were born with dark hair, so I imagine staring at this enormous, hairy newborn and none of our name selections fit him. Welcome to the world, baby Elvis.

      Shock of all shocks, Bean's crib and dresser have finally arrived! (The glider-rocker is coming later, giving me something else to complain about starting next week.) We decided to save the cash and pick up the furniture from the store instead of having it delivered, meaning that poor DH spent literally 6 hours getting both pieces upstairs by himself and breaking down all the packaging they came in. I was even less helpful than the dog, because at least she ripped apart some of the cardboard for him. I'm a little disappointed that we won't be able to decorate the nursery as fully as I'd like, because it's a rental house and we hope to buy again very soon. Which reminds me, anyone want to come out and help us move? I'll supply the pizza and beer.

      We also got the car seats installed and inspected. It's been weird driving around with a baby seat in the back of my car... it causes me a lot of double takes when I am opening my door. I can't believe that in a couple of short weeks, I'll look in the rear view mirror and see little Elvis back there.

      This weekend will be a busy one as we try to continue to make progress on our to-do list. I've been trying to get Washington plates for our cars for the past 2 months, and the struggle continues. I've talked to several DMV people on the phone and in person, getting different information on what documents are needed from each conversation (always something I don't have, of course). And remember how difficult it was for us to get driver's licenses too? All this trouble has me absolutely baffled, especially in light of an article I recently read about how Michigan is going to start denying licenses to illegal immigrants. Politics of this aside, how did these people ever have the right paperwork to get licenses in the first place? I'm extremely impressed and would pay thousands of dollars to know their secret! I am about as officially American as they come... born and raised in the Midwest, our nation's HEARTLAND for cyring out loud. Who else would drive a Pontiac? Next time we move, I'm just going to say I'm an illegal immigrant, because apparently it's easier for them to deal with the DMV. Gracias for the plates, amigos.

      Thursday, February 14, 2008

      We will miss you

      This started off as a very different post last night, but unfortunately we received some sad news in the meantime. DH's beloved grandpa Pops passed away yesterday, after a battle with cancer.

      What I will remember most about Pops is his warm smile -- he was such a happy man, which grew from his love of the family. He was ever the proud grandpa, always cheering on DH and his many cousins at their never-ending stream of sports games. In return, he was absolutely adored by everyone who knew him, both in the family and the community around him.

      We are devastated that Pops won't be able to meet his first great-grandchild, but we are glad he got to share in the anticipation and excitement of Bean's impending birth. DH won't be able to join his family for the services because of my rapidly nearing due date, so I appreciate any thoughts and prayers you can send out to Seattle.

      Monday, February 11, 2008

      Birthday gifts

      I have to post today, if only to see "February 11" at the top of my blog. It feels like my day, even if I share it with roughly one in 365 people -- including a coworker, DH's cousin, two sorority sisters, Lisa's brand new son Zach, Jennifer Anniston, Cheryl Crow, Leslie Nielson, and my personal favorite, Burt Reynolds. Happy birthday, Mr. Reynolds and everyone else luckily enough to be born on 2-11!

      After having some birthday duds for the past few years, I am feeling enthusiastic about this one. Contributing factors include: my annual birthday dinner at The Melting Pot on Saturday, the limited-time-only apple-sized Hershey's Kiss that I got to gnaw on all day (a benefit of being born near Valentine's Day), and the chocolate-covered Donettes I had for breakfast. But I am especially grateful for three gifts this year, none of which have to do with gorging myself on yummy food.

      Full term. My weekly pregnancy email informed me that today at exactly 37 weeks I am officially full term. Bean's lungs are developed, and we expect no problems if he joins the world now. I realize we still have many hurdles before we can pronounce Bean a healthy newborn, but it certainly feels good to have gotten this far. Happy birthday to me!

      Milestones. For those of us who struggle with TTC (trying to conceive), milestones are particularly cruel. Most of us are unaware of our future IF diagnosis, and we naively begin TTC with the same blind hope as our fertile counterparts. As soon as we pull the goalie, our female minds rush ahead with enthusiasm, checking the calendar for upcoming occassions when we'll proudly be able to display our burgeoning bellies: the holiday, the birthday party, the graduation, the vacation, the wedding, the birth of our pregnant friend's baby, etc. We're not sure exactly when we'll get pregnant, we know it may take a few months, but we giddily imagine the adorable dress we'll purchase at the maternity botique downtown. Then, either with the sudden force of a PCOS or endometriosis or MFI diagnosis, or the irritatingly slow passage of fruitless months/years inherent in an "unexplained" diagnosis, our world begins to change. That wedding? If we need a new dress, it's because the fertility meds we are on cause us to bloat up like a Macy's parade float. That friend's baby? It seems like he'll be learning to drive before we need to purchase a nursing bra. Each milestone that we once eagerly anticipated becomes a painful reminder of dreams (and wombs) unfulfilled. I had a particular distaste for birthdays while awaiting my double lines, but today I can finally celebrate. So what if I'm too huge to fit into that cute maternity dress -- I'll take my victories where I can.

      DH. Maybe it's my hormones continuing to rage dangerously out of control (I feel them building up more as my due date approaches), but I have been feeling especially sentimental toward DH lately. As we were holding hands driving to The Melting Pot on Saturday, I had a flashback of my 17th birthday. DH bought me a Mr. Big CD because I was obsessed with the song "To Be With You" -- although looking back I can't fathom why, good song as it may be. Anyway, I remember us sitting in the backseat of my parents' car, holding hands and grinning happily while they drove us all to Macaroni Grill. Back then, I could not have forseen what the future would hold for us, but I did know that I had quite a catch in the seat next to me, and I loved him with all the capability of my 17-year-old heart. Now 11 years later, he has proven to be even more incredible than I could have imagined. I am monumentally blessed and lucky that he is still here to hold my hand, and even when there is a toddler swinging his arms and giggling in between us, I'll love him with all the capability of my heart.

      What's on the agenda this week, other than sappy tributes to my DH?

      Hopefully a trip to Bellevue Square, which is my new favorite mall. I can hardly afford anything there, but DH got me a gift card for my birthday. The Gates family lives nearby, and I wonder which came first: Melinda, or the really expensive fabulous mall? It's the affluent chicken and the golden egg. All I know is that if I had as much money as they have, I would definitely live near the most fabulous mall ever, even if I had to have it physically relocated.

      We are still awaiting the arrival of Bean's crib and dresser. The mountain passes into the city have been closed due to avalanches, so the truck has been delayed. I'm not sure which bothers me more, the fact that our furniture is late or the fact that we live in a place where there are avalanches on the highway. Adding to my misgivings, when we drove to the accountant's office on Saturday to drop off tax info, we passed two signs that said: "Volcano Evacuation Route" with arrows pointing to apparent safety. If I ever need to use those signs, I will be VERY pissed.

      Tomorrow DH and I will each attend a class at the birthing center: Breastfeeding and Conscious Fathering. I would prefer to attend the fathering class myself, but I'm guessing DH will insist on taking that one, so I'll be stuck learning how to get in touch with my inner cow. This childbirth thing is so unfair. At least he won't be able to claim ignorance on proper diaper changing procedures. Me, on the other hand...

      As a side note, you may have noticed that my profile at the top right has been replaced by "Contributors." I granted blog access to my friend Mary so that she can post an update when I go into labor and Bean is born. There is no Internet connection available at the birthing center and we are too cheap (and out-of-touch, let's admit it) to add text messaging to our phone plan, so Mary has graciously offered to be my connection to the blogosphere until I am happily reunited with my computer a few days later. I know you miss the adorable thumbnail pic of Evey Louise, and so do I. But in the meantime, you can link to pics of Mary's twins for your cuteness fix.

      Saturday, February 9, 2008

      Lessons from Mom

      Remember when I complained that grocery stores in Seattle don't sell Count Chocula cereal? Well, today a package arrived in the mail containing these.

      Now that's a good mom.

      Thursday, February 7, 2008

      One last peek

      We had our final ultrasound today. Talk about anticlimactic! It made us miss our previous OB in St. Louis and his love affair with his 3D/4D ultrasound machine. So much effort to make this special appointment, meet with the tech and her magic wand, and get virtually no new information. The tech did say that the baby was head down (when I asked), just as we all suspected. Then she sent the images to our OB for interpretation, so we left with nothing but a grainy photo of Bean's... well, you can read her caption.

      I had DH take some belly pics tonight, at 36.5 weeks. I don't think any of them really do justice to the baby mountain (formerly the baby bump), so I picked this one because the dog's in it. I love my dog.

      I want to end by sending a prayer up for the families of the innocent people killed tonight at City Hall in Kirkwood, Missouri -- not far from where DH and I recently lived. Another unthinkable tragedy, my heart goes out to all of them.

      Wednesday, February 6, 2008

      Easter 1982

      In general, it's not polite to air the family's dirty laundry. But considering this controversy revolves around... well, laundry, basically... I hope it's not too upsetting for anyone involved.

      With the discussion of layettes, matching socks, and kathy v's request for a visual of the Easter 1982 fiasco, my parents have willingly handed over a picture taken on the only day in my life that my dad dressed me. (I believe my mom was in the hospital after giving birth to my brother, which helps explain why they didn't have any more children after him.) Without further ado:

      My dad emailed it to me this morning with this text:

      "Two things I want to note in my defense.
      1.) I dressed you for the Easter Bunny in an 'Easter Egg' color scheme, and
      2.) It’s not like I bought those clothes for you; they were already in your wardrobe."

      Perhaps my dad did feel that a pink "Big Sister" shirt, light blue corduroys, dark blue socks, and black patent leather shoes would make the perfect ensemble. Or perhaps he was passive-aggressively making a statement about the division of duties around the house (like the time my mom mowed the lawn in a "vacuum" pattern instead of in straight lines).

      Either way, my mom has been the official fashion director of the household ever since. You'll have to decide for yourself how necessary you think that was. Personally, I think the Easter Bunny himself was scarier than my outfit. Yikes.

      Tuesday, February 5, 2008

      36 week check

      A quick update following my OB appointment today. No dialation or effacement, the little guy is still happily baking away. This is not surprising, since it's still early at 36 weeks and I haven't had any contractions (even Braxton Hicks). The doc did say that if Bean decides to come now, we won't do anything to stop him. I am a little nervous that he'll surprise us soon, since we still have some major items left on our to-do list, but my gut tells me that we have a March baby on the way. The doc also said she thinks he's either positioned head down or he has a very round butt. You can guess which one I'm hoping for.

      Monday, February 4, 2008

      (Un)natural Woman

      While the rest of the country was watching the Giants pull off an amazing victory in the Superbowl last night, DH and I were at our childbirth class watching a video of three women delivering babies.


      I didn't think so.

      The good news is that I didn't pass out during the movie, and it seemed to be really helpful to DH to learn more about what to expect. But as I delve into the details of childbirth, one word that keeps sticking in my mind is "natural." Laboring and giving birth is a natural process. Natural deliveries are amazing. Breastfeeding is natural. The whole thing seems as natural to me as hunting wooly mammoths, gathering berries in the forest, and driving a Japanese car in Detroit.

      I don't mean to step into controversy here. I know quite a heated debate can ensue between women favoring a more "natural" process and those who schedule medically unnecessary c-sections. It's not my place to judge someone else's choice, I'm simply speaking for myself that I have yet to be swept into the primitive appeal of this. I have much respect for women who do unmedicated births and home deliveries. If that's the experience your heart longs for, then by all means go for it. But no woman has anything to prove to me. As far as I'm concerned, reducing my pain and discomfort as much as possible while ensuring a healthy baby is what my heart longs for. In fact, I asked the anethesiologist we met at the hospital last night if it was too early for the epidural. (Apparently, yes it is.)

      Does my failure to "get it" have something to do with the creation of dear Bean? It's possible. I'm fairly certain Mother Nature did not intend for conception to occur with the aid of a smiling doc in a white lab coat, a cheering section of nurses, and a glorified turkey baster. But then again, I can't speak for Mother Nature, so I'm not sure. Many couples use the aid of cheap alcohol, too, and those conceptions are generally considered natural.

      I know I'm not alone in my fear of impending birth -- far from it. During a bathroom break last night, one of my preggo classmates (all of age 19, I'm guessing) asked me with wide eyes, "You are getting really close. Aren't you scared?" As my mom would say, CHA. But despite the part of me that's wondering if it's too late to back out of this, I'm curious to see if and how my view changes after I experience birth from the mom's perspective this time. Who knows, maybe I'll be so moved by nature's gift that I'll use organic cloth diapers and puree my own baby food (from home-grown veggies, of course). I doubt it, but I'll let you know.

      Moving on to lighter topics, thanks for all the tips and advice on Bean's layette. DH and I went shopping over the weekend, and our little guy is now the proud owner of several pairs of pants. Teeny tiny pants that he'll wear 4 times and that cost as much as any pair DH and I own -- but at least his legs won't be cold. We still haven't resolved the mismatching socks problem, but one step at a time. (No pun intended, ha ha ha.) Oh, and as we were checking out at Old Navy, the young clerk smiled at me. "Any day now?" she asked, glancing at my tummy. "Still a month left," I responded. "Really? My sister is due to go any minute, and you are bigger than she is," she observed. Well, your sister must be ridiculously small then, mustn't she?

      We also met with and selected a pediatrician on Friday, which was a big relief. This week we are focused on getting and assembling Bean's furniture, meeting with the OB tomorrow (she'll check to see if I am dialating and effacing... and if I am, I'll probably faint), and having our final ultrasound on Thursday to estimate his weight and check what position he's in. It's amazing how quickly everything is progressing. I am now exactly four weeks from my due date... less than one month. Gasp.