Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's probably time for an update.

I'm halfway through this pregnancy, as of this past Sunday. I hit 20 weeks, my belly is looking more pregnant than fat (the fat is there, I just no longer feel obliged to suck it in since people can now pretty much tell I'm pregnant and assume my belly is all because of that), and the baby is starting to become a uterine acrobat. Fabulousness.

I was asked to present a session at a conference today, and it just so happened said conference was put on by the agency I used to work for. This means I ran into a lot of people who I used to work with (Board members, staffs of other agencies in that field, etc.), and for the first time this pregnancy the pointed glances at my belly were quite obvious. Most of the day, it went something like this:

Other Person: "Hey! Good to see you! How are :::looks at my belly::: things?"
Me: "Great! I'm just staying busy with work and family! How are you doing?"
OP: "Great, busy as well. :::Furtive glance at my midsection, questioning whether I could be pregnant or just helped myself to too many buffet trips over lunch::: How's your daughter?"
Me: "She's wonderful! :::Letting them off the hook and rubbing belly::: We're expecting our second baby next March."
OP: "Oh, you are?!?! :::clearly relieved they didn't have to ask, and seemingly presuming I didn't notice the belly stares::: Congratulations!"

Funny enough, EVERY ONE of these conversations involved the OP asking me about Luca, presumably to create a segway for me to either tell them I am pregnant again OR explain how, when she was born her twin was left in my uterus, and that's why my gut looks like an old man's on a beer binge.

There was one lovely woman who, when I offered up that I am expecting baby #2 in March, looked at me in shock and exclaimed, "My daughter is due in March! And she is easily twice your size! You look fabulous!" LOVE LOVE LOVE that woman. Want to fold her up and put her in my pocket, and take her everywhere with me so that when I fell shlumpy or fat or lazy I can unfold her and she can bestow me with praise and compliments.

In other baby news, I've been doing a ton of reading to prep myself for the labor and delivery this time around. Among the books I've read (and there have been many, many books), I'm loving these:

The Birth Partner (by Penny Simkin, who is like the Queen Goddess Supreme of all things pregnancy and birth): This is a fabulous book, which was actually suggested to me as part of my Doula training. It's intended for birth partners (duh), whether they be the baby's dad, a family member, a friend, or a professional such as a doula. Much of the book focuses on natural birth, and each section goes into great detail about what the laboring woman is experiencing, what the birth partner might feel, how they can help mom, and what the medical professionals may be doing. I think it's a great book for partners to read, but it also has been helpful to me because it gives me a better idea of what to expect, what 'signposts' of labor to look for, and comfort measures to try. I really recommend this book!

Birthing From Within (Pam England): A great book about ways to mentally and emotionally prepare for birth. A little crunchy and 'soft', even for my hippie liberal bleeding heart self, but an inspiring and centering read none the less.

Gentle Birth Choices (Barbara Harper): A fabulous book covering a variety of 'gentle' idea for labor and delivery. Covers the basics (lighting, people present, comfort measures), as well as in depth information on things like the history of water birth and data on medical interventions and their safety and risk factors.

In May's Guide to Childbirth (Ina May Gaskin. If Simkin is the Queen Goddess Supreme, Ina May is the Ruler and Protector of All that is Birth): This book is like THE Bible of natural birth. Gaskin is credited with starting The Farm, a commune in Tennessee where natural birth reigns. Her knowledge and experience provide the structure of this book, and it's full of stories and anecdotes. In fact, the first half of the book is entirely birth stories from women who gave birth at The Farm. It's my #1 suggestion for women wanting a med-free delivery. It restored my faith in a woman's body to DO labor without having to be helped or medicated or rushed along.

I have an appointment with my midwife this weekend, and I'm hoping to begin talking to her about prepping for birth. I've been trying to stretch regularly and get out walking as much as I can, since I know those things are important in pregnancy. But I'm hoping she has some other ideas for me of things I can do to prep.

One last weird note: I've noticed that my skin is reacting strangely to metals this pregnancy. I've worn my engagement ring for 7 years, my wedding band for nearly 5, and my earrings for a year now...all without a single problem. However, a few weeks ago I noticed the skin below my rings turning red, itching, and peeling. And just this past weekend, my earlobes started to itch and get red. It's leading me to believe this baby is causing my skin's pH to change....so add that to the list of reasons I suspect we're having a boy.One 20-ish weeks until we know for sure!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Six Things.

You all owe Lindsey a giant thank you for making me do this.

Six Weird or Unusual Things About Me:

1. I'm terrified of the ocean. I know I'm far more likely to die driving to work than by shark attack swimming in the ocean, but that level of reasoning does not change my fear. And it's not just sharks...it's everything under the surface of the water, just lurking and hiding and waiting to attack. I was stung by a sting ray in Mexico the first time I braved the surf there, and it hurt for days on end. On our honeymoon, we did a snorkeling tour of the protected reef and I was so scared something would sneak up on me that I made sure there was always an old person or a 10 year old boy behind me, so they'd get picked off first. Nice? No. Self-preservation? Yes.

2. I am addicted to Beverly Hills 90210 reruns. A friend offered me her old Tivo, and I took it for the sole purpose of taping all those episodes of 90210 that Soap Net plays while I am at work.

3. I know the lyrics to so many songs, it's ridiculous. I may not know who sings it, or what it's called, but I know the lyrics. My old co-worker used to refer to me as 'The Human iPod' for my ability to just randomly sing lyrics to songs from the 50s all the way to now.

4. I enjoy being pregnant. Yes...enjoy it. The growing belly...the feeling of baby moving...even the birth. Love it all. Would do it 10 times if I could afford to.

5. I'm pretty shy. I force myself to be an extrovert sometimes, but usually I'd prefer to hang out on the periphery and wait for someone to talk to me than to try to make small talk. Small talk kills me. I hate it.

6. I can't think of a 6th weird fact about me. Which must make me boring.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sweet Little Pumpkins.

Luca and her BFF Melody paid a visit to the pumpkin patch yesterday. As far as pumpkin patches go, the one we went to was fair to middlin', but all we really wanted was the photo op and some outside time for the kids, so it served its purpose. We also left with 2 pumpkins. Darrick had to find 'the biggest pumpkin here', and then we let Luca choose one her size. We finished up the evening by going out for pizza and root beer (that's about as wild as it gets when you have 2 toddlers and 2 pregnant women at the table). Luca had so much fun that she crashed out as soon as she was strapper in her carseat, and slept 12 straight hours.

And now....the pictures.

Friday, October 24, 2008

An early Halloween

My friend, Cyrena (aka The Kool-Aid Mom) invited a bunch of moms and babies over to her house for an early Halloween party, and it was so much fun! All in all there were 12 babies ranging from a few months to over 2 years old. It was cuteness overload for sure, and I made sure to take some pictures for posterity. You just HAVE to admire all the baby cuteness...and part of the charm is that there's not one single picture where everyone is calm and happy. Classic.


Mady, Madison, Caleb, Lily

Elle, Luca, Katelyn, Mady, Madison, Caleb, Lily, Kristen, Noah

Madison, Lily, Kristen holding Timmy, Noah

Elle, Luca, Mady, Caleb, Madison, Lily, Kristen holding Timmy, Noah

Madison, Lily, Kristen holding Timmy, Noah, David

Luca and Mady

Madison the alien/monster and Lily the bumble bee

Madison, Lily, and Caleb

Luca, AKA the World's Cutest ASU Cheerleader

Monster Madison

Lily Bee

Noah the courageous lion

Luca and Mady

Mady and Luca

Thursday, October 16, 2008

POP goes the belly!

It's official...I have a baby belly now. I've been feeling different for a few weeks, but in normal clothes it was not obvious. Yesterday, however, I went into the restroom at work and caught site of a gut in the mirror. I stopped, as customary for most women, and attempted to suck that belly in. No luck. It wasn't going ANYWHERE.

I went back into the office and showed my co-worker. Now, I'm not one of those pregnant women who wants to look pregnant 4 weeks in. I'm not prone to showing off my belly either. But just last week, she was asking me when I'd start showing, so I had to give her a peek and see if she noticed the belly too. She kindly said, "I see something, but barely." Of course, she has to say that because she is skinny and adorable, and cannot risk insulting the hormonal chub in the next office over. But I digress.

Today I was getting dressed and this...this...thing kept getting in the way of wearing my normal clothes. So I put on a loose purple top and black pants and was going about my way. And then it happened, again, in that same restroom at work (what...like it's odd for a pregnant woman to spend lots of time running to the bathroom?). There was that belly, and it was even bigger than the day before.

What happened is what's referred to in pregnancy land as 'popping'. It's when the knocked up chick goes from looking like she's had too many chips and cookies to looking pregnant. Last time it didn't happen until about 25 weeks (though I noticed it right at 18 weeks then too), but I expected it earlier this time. I just really hope this isn't a sign I'm going to END this pregnancy bigger than the last.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sleeping by yourself at night can make you feel alone.

A side effect of Darrick's shoulder surgery is that he's not able to sleep in bed. The first night after his surgery, he was up and down between the recliner and the couch, and even tried to prop himself up in bed...to no avail. Add a teething Luca to the mix, and suffice it to say no one got much sleep that night. By about 4 am, he discovered that the couch was the most comfortable, and that's where he been every night since. He has an arsenal of pillows down on the couch, as well as a thin sheet (for when the pain meds make him sweat) and a comforter (for when he misses the feeling of my fluffy ass next to him?). In the morning, they get piled up on top of Luca's chalkboard table, and in the evening he has to fight the dogs to get possession back of 'his' new bed.

So we're essentially living like Lucy and Ricky, sleeping in separate beds. The first few nights I'd wake at 3 am startled and worried he wasn't next to me. I've since adjusted now that we're a week into this arrangement. Truth be told, while I miss him, I am relishing a few things about this change. One, Darrick is a wretched snorer. He snores pretty badly on the couch, but I have the luxury of being able to shut the bedroom door and shut the snoring out. Two, I now have a California King bed all to myself. And, really, what could be better?

Well...actually...I know what could be better. My hubby. Next to me every night, and feeling all better.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Some random updates.

I'm officially in my 5th month of pregnancy now. Holy shit...when did THAT happen?!?! I had an appointment with my MW last weekend. It was a busy day, so Darrick ended up staying home while Luca and I went. Everything is going well; weight gain is low but fine, blood pressure and all past bloodwork are normal, and baby Sprinkle seems to be growing just fine. Sprinkle's heart rate was 163, and he/she was moving like crazy when our MW put the doppler on to listen to the HR. We talked about whether or not we will get another ultrasound (most people have one between 18 and 22 weeks to check the baby's growth, location of the placenta, amniotic fluid levels, and baby's brain and vital organs). A lot of moms who homebirth skip u/s entirely, unless there's a medical indication one is needed (less fetal movement, trouble finding heart beat, growing too fast or slow, etc). However, my MW told me a good number of the moms she works with do the u/s around 20 weeks, both to see the baby and to find out the sex. Since we're not planning on finding out the sex and we had an u/s and pretty in-depth bloodwork at 13 weeks, she left it entirely up to us to decide whether to have another u/s done. We're leaning toward not having one...everything indicates both baby and I are healthy, growth is on target, and the previous u/s and bloodwork show us things are very likely to be just fine. It's a decision we still have time to make: the MW can give us a referral at any time for an u/s, so we have time to change our minds.

I sometimes get random questions from friends and family about what care under a HB midwife is like. One question I get is, "Do you have to pee in a cup?". Indeed, I do. The only real difference is that I pee in the cup, dip my own test strip in, dump the pee, and hand the strip off to my MW. My MW did give me shit for not eating or drinking enough that day (apparently those pee strips you do tell a LOT more than I knew), so I need to be more conscientious about my food and drink intake, especially when I get busy.

Another question I get is about whether I have to weigh in at every appointment. I do, but it's not as strict as most MW/OB practices. She has a normal bathroom scale, and I step on and report to her what it says. At my last appointment, I forgot to step on the scale, but she asked me about my weight gain and I told her what I'd gained, and she was happy with it. It's kind of nice to not have 'scale stress' at every appointment!

Also on the baby front, I am really feeling this baby move now. I've been feeling 'flutters' and 'bubbles' since I was about 12 weeks along, but now it's real movement I am feeling. I forgot how awesome this part of pregnancy is! It really drives home for me that I need to take more time to focus on myself and prepping for this birth.

In other news, Darrick underwent rotator cuff (shoulder) surgery on Tuesday of this week. Back in mid-August, he tore a ligament in a jiu-jitsu tournament, and he needed to have it repaired. He's on fall break right now, so he thought that would be the best time to do it. The surgery went really well, and the Dr was confident he'd recover quickly and fully. In the meantime, though, he's going to have to take it very easy and he's dealing with a significant amount of pain. It's been rough on him to have to get help with things like putting on a shirt, and Luca's had to learn that Daddy has an 'owie' and be gentle with him. But he's doing pretty great and I have no doubt he'll recover like a champ. :)


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