Thursday, April 28, 2011

no more hiding

All my pregnancy books and journals have a spot to write down when a stranger noticed you were pregnant for the first time. Mark it down - 24 weeks and 1 day.

Yesterday, I was working my temporary second job passing out parent surveys at after school programs when a staff person said, "best wishes on this new phase of your life," nodding at my round belly.

Today, I went to pick up my friend J at lunch and a fourth-grader in her class pointed and said, "you got a baby in there?" J then proceeded to smile for the next hour, touch my tummy and swore she could see his head. Her only question was if he cried while he was in there.

She declared that since I didn't have a daughter, only a son, she would be my daughter and the baby was her brother.

Also, she'd like me to bring pictures next week - of her brother.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Since it's apparently confessional Wednesday, it must be known I was born in Lexington, Kentucky - the horse capital of the world. You'll just have to believe me because my birth certificate has to be requested and there is probably some fee involved.

I am scared of riding horses. Even at camp.

We bought a Bradley Method book last night and chose the one without color pictures.

We bought the book for $17. The classes cost $300. Now we just have to read it without passing out. And take a one-day labor class at our hospital.

I read this birth story and totally cried at my desk. Big, fat tears of horror and panic. Then I read this one and felt better.

I'm not good with change. We're moving this weekend to a house with storage, a yard, a second bedroom - all good things. However, I am fixating on the logistics of carpooling to work, the small kitchen and figuring out how I can stretch the few maternity clothes I have to go a whole month since we won't have a washer and dryer until Memorial Day weekend.

My mom bought a poop light (think the lights that show blood on CSI). Now I am completely grossed out at the thought of the wall behind the toilet. I will be scrubbing.

Hallmark pre-paid postage cards are kind of lazy. But I love it.

I was really sad about leaving our apartment. Then a random neighbor talked to me for 15 minutes about how the mailman's wife is dying but that is no excuse to deliver our mail at 7 p.m. Also, he sleeps on the lobby couch for hours at a time. Then, I was ready to move.

I need to clean out my fridge. I have seriously considered throwing out really nice glass bowls. And putting our nice pans in the dishwasher.

I have put my underwear on inside out more than once this week. And it's Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

24 weeks

Dear baby boy,

You're a foot long now (mm...Subway) and have reached the age of viability. If you chose to exit today (something I do not recommend) you'd be a real little person! Your brain is growing quickly and your lungs are starting to develop to prepare for breathing in the outside world. Lungs, wow. That's usually the last thing that develops so your mama is feeling a bit apprehensive about how quickly this is all going.

You are still kicking up a storm, and this morning you jumped at the sound of daddy's alarm going off. We celebrated Easter this weekend and you got the cutest baby-powder smelling elephant from your grandma and grandpa. And then to further spoil you, our friends Andrew and Laura got you adorable baseball outfits and a teeny little jacket. Neighbor Eleanor gave you little car bibs and two sleepers with green frogs. Spoiled already, I tell ya!

Your mama's uterus is the size of a soccer ball, which I find a bit alarming. Our bout with dizziness seems to have ended with my self-diagnosed anemia and subsequent self-treatment. Taking calcium pills and prenatals in the same swallow = no iron absorption. The books tell me I should be having joint pain, ugly veins, stretch marks, itchy palms, headaches and leg cramps. Other than a few days with fairly uncomfortable back pain, I really have minimal complaints.

This week we move to a new house, finish classes, study for finals, set up new house, go to a Twins game, and you know, work. Hang on, in two weeks we'll be lounging around, stress-free.

Love you little one,

Monday, April 25, 2011

help me with a teeny, tiny nursery

I am spatially handicapped. And currently decision handicapped - I think it's the disappearing brain cells. Bad combination when you're trying to figure out how to make a nursery in a tiny space.

The good thing is I have this blog with all of you clever people. So here's the challenge: We have a 8 x 10 nursery room. And we have no space for guests but will likely be having a lot of guests in the next year.

Option #1

Pros:  Matches our crib style. Drawer storage.
Cons: Trundle is nice but uh, you can't really pull it out in this room.

Option #2

Pros:  Matches our crib style. Drawer storage. Cute pillows make it a nice seating area.
Cons: Not so great for tall people. From Ikea so have to wait for a Minnesota trip.

Option #3a

Pros:  No headboard/sides that takes away breathing room. Cheapest option.
Cons: Tight fit.

Option #3b (same bed, different arrangement)

Option #4
Go with a traditional nursery. No guest bed and buy a rollaway to move in when we have visitors, and store in basement when they aren't around.
Pros: Toy box, hamper and rocking chair can now fit in nursery instead of regulating them to sun room or living room. Cuter and more roomy, if you can have a roomy 8x10 room (you can not.)
Cons: Really annoying for guests and whoever has to lug that thing up from the basement (hubs). Lose ability to sleep in nursery when baby boy is sick and crying and I don't want to have to keep going back and forth. Because I am lazy.

There you go. Please help!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

the first of many sacrifices

I had my 23-week doctor's appointment today.

Here's the good and neutral news:
  • Baby boy is healthy with a heartbeat of 150 bpm 
  • I only gained four pounds this month (13 total). Though my midwife did say "Whoa!" when lifting up my shirt and seeing my suddenly round tummy.
  • Baby is still breech which is still OK but will make me more uncomfortable as the weeks go on.
  • I have been told that for next week's move I am not allowed to lift any boxes. Win.
Then comes the first of many sacrifices that I am sure motherhood will bring. 

I've been getting dizzy with increasing frequency in the past week or two. Today I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and immediately got dizzy, which luckily I was on my way to see my lovely midwife. My blood pressure is fine. My weight is fine. Nurse: "Hmm..we haven't done your glucose yet but yeah..."

Long story short, I'm on a diabetic diet til Monday to see if that helps my dizzy/hot flashes/tiredness episodes. The diet isn't that bad - just not overloading on carbs, avoiding sugary desserts and drinks, drinking lots of water and eating more protein. Oh, and eating six times a day. If it's not better by Monday, I'm in for an early gestational diabetes test, which has to be repeated at 28 weeks regardless of the outcome.

I have no Type 2 diabetes in my family. I'm not overweight or old. I didn't gain too much weight in my first tri, in fact I gained zero. Here's hoping a good diet fixes the problem and there are no finger pricks and bans on Yogurtini in my future.

Because it's almost summer. And I want my frozen yogurt.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

a sad story about sugar

Very nice coworker brings me a cookie from local bakery.

I eat cookie following veggies, fruit and cheese for lunch.

I start to feel really warm and queasy.

OK, now not just warm but H-O-T. Cheeks and ears are on fire.

I race outside to "check something" and let the thankfully colder than normal day wash over me.

I come back in and get hot and queasy again remembering this is exactly how I felt last time I had a blood sugar yo-yo something going on. Plus now I am so tired I lay my head on my printer.

I get on the Google horn and discover this is normal for some preggos. I'm thankful for my doctor's appointment tomorrow. The talking to my midwife part, not the scale.

Freak out that I will fail next month's glucose tolerance test. And my baby will be 11 pounds. And I do NOT want an 11-pound creature coming out of my body. Even if it's my adorable son.

I cry.

I decide that feeling like this is worse than giving up sweets so I pledge to eat no more cookies and other tasty desserts. Except frozen yogurt because it's almost summer and I'm not delirious. Just hot.

I cry.

23 weeks

Dear baby boy,

You're 23 weeks, and we're starting our sixth month together (sixth, what?!) After two weeks of uncontrollable hunger, we seem to be back to a normal, more sane level of growth. Your lungs are preparing to start breathing and sounds like Mac's barking or the cats' whining for food are starting to become familiar.

We're packing for our big move to a little house so the only books left for our nightly readings are "I'll Love You Forever," "God Made You," and a book about Martin Luther King Jr. Family, religion and culture! We saw a little baby baptized at church this weekend, and your mama was full of tears. Although everything including discovering we are out of chocolate milk makes me cry, it was emotional to imagine you being baptized at Christmas time.

Your mom is feeling like she's quadrupled in size in the last three weeks and is not looking forward to Wednesday's appointment where the damage will be assessed. Daddy found a stretch mark this weekend but I can't find it today so we're going to count that one as a fluke.

This week is busy for us, little one. We've got packing, studying and Eastering to do.

Love you,

Monday, April 18, 2011

i miss running

We went on a three mile walk Sunday morning and the weather was perfect... for running.

I promised myself I'd keep running when pregnant. I read all those inspiration blog posts and articles about women that ran up until the day they gave birth or ran a half marathon while five months pregnant. I was sure that'd be me. And then I got pregnant.

I ran fairly normal in the first month. Then I got sick for five weeks, and had trouble sitting up without vomiting or falling asleep, let alone running. Then it was winter, which means cold and icy plus two graduate school classes and increasing stress level at work. I tried running again, three and four miles at a time in February. March was vacation which didn't involve running but did include 16 miles worth of bike riding.

Now it's already mid-April. Although our Sunday morning walk, fueled by a pancake breakfast in bed, was good it just isn't the same. I miss running (and my waist).

I didn't think it'd be easy but I really didn't think it'd be that hard. I didn't really anticipate the 12-pound weight gain in the belly would matter that much. Or the shortness of breath would actually mean I would be gasping for oxygen at the end of each block. I never knew about the shooting pains to the crotch.

There are days when finding protein or getting my aching hips massaged is a much higher priority than working out. But now that my energy has returned I have to do better because they tell me it's going to get harder in the third trimester (just five weeks away!). And you know, supposedly labor is hard work.

First, finish grad school paper, study for two finals, move from apartment to house, conquer work to-do list, find childbirth class and decorate nursery. Then, run.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

a budget finish line

I frequently have thought our budget goals were much like my half marathon training. Slow and steady rewards, occasional vomit-inducing long runs and absolute joy when crossing the finish line. When it came to budgeting, my initial reaction was a dramatic fit of tears (you want me to do what?!). Then we created a viable plan that wouldn't make us crazy but still kept us on track. And then we suffered the challenge of sticking to it.

Tomorrow we'll reach a milestone, which calls for a celebratory update.

- We've paid off almost $10,000 on our second mortgage by paying five times the monthly minimum payment.

- We took a babymoon trip to Belize using only funds from our travel savings account and not dipping into other accounts. And we have money left over to start saving for the many "meet the baby" trips to come this fall and spring.

- We still managed to put a significant amount in our three savings accounts (travel, money market, emergency) each month. We had a detailed budget plan to stick to until we reached the milestone a pretty lofty goal for the balance in our main savings account. And tomorrow we will hit that amount thanks to some hard work by the hubs and a lot of budget dedication.

At the end of the month we're moving into a rental house that is $65 more in rent per month plus a bit higher utility bills ($27 is hard to beat). Plus we have to budget for daycare, continued graduate school tuition bills, a high-efficiency, cloth-diapering friendly washer and dryer and you know, stuff babies need. (Facts I am totally NOT obsessing about...)

So now it's time for a new training plan, this one probably at the marathon level (and a new running goal, too?). We'll have new goals, a new budget and then new rewards. But for now, yay! We done good!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

22 weeks

Good morning baby boy,

You're cruising along, now the length of a ruler  - the size of a spaghetti squash or football. You're just getting bigger in there and developing all the little details that are going to make you you.

You've been exercising those strong legs and arms, kicking so hard we can see you move from the outside of my tummy. Grandma and Grandpa even felt you kick this weekend. You're starting to react to sounds and when we walked into church this Sunday, you seemed to be dancing to the loud music.

Mama is doing great. The bump is now noticeable and starting to attract hands. A few nights ago I woke up withering in pain from calf cramps. I'm told it's normal. But jumping out of bed five times screaming "help, help!" wasn't so fun.

Daddy says I've got the glow, and we're really enjoying feeling you every night jumping around. Daddy read a book to you this weekend, and we'll keep doing that every night for the rest of your life until you protest. Four months til we get to meet you, little man. We're WAY excited.

Love you,

Friday, April 8, 2011

trip report: belize, part two

If you didn't catch part one, start here first.

Mr. Chan drove us to Placencia on the beautiful Hummingbird Highway, which was lined with orange groves and banana trees. Earlier in the week he'd stopped by the market and taught me that green oranges are actually tastier than orange ones (fact), and I bought eight for 50 cents. When we arrived in Placencia, a more touristy, beach village on a eight-mile peninsula, we said our goodbyes and posed for a few pictures, which he wants for his Facebook.

We stayed at the Laru Beya Resort which we found to be much less friendly and accommodating compared to our last four days in San Ignacio. Plus we had a room adjoining someone's kitchen, and they liked digging through an ice machine at 6 a.m. Luckily, our routine seemed to be sleeping by 9 p.m. and up by 5:30 a.m.

We only did one tour - a boat ride and hike to Monkey River where we saw howler monkeys that had deafening howls (true to their name) when the guides pounded machetes against their trees. On the way back we saw lots of birds, manatees and dolphins.

The rest of our trip we spent by the pool or biking the four miles into town to grab cheaper dinner or Tutti Frutti gelato. Total miles biked: 16.

And other than sweat pouring into our eyes, there were other biking hazards:

I wish I could tell you about all the great food we ate but really, if it weren't for the baby belly, I'm pretty sure I would have lost 10 pounds. We drank water and ate Luna bars more regularly than good meals. Traditional Belize food is rice and beans with chicken or beef, which is good for two meals tops. A nice grounds keeper at the hotel, noticing my round tummy, cut down a coconut to drain the water for me because of its extreme health benefits.

The disappointing service and food made us miss San Ignacio (and home!) but it was hard to argue with the scenery.

And my 20/21 week belly shot, which I'd like to point out significantly grew in eight days. 

We had to take a small, teeny tiny plane to get back to the Belize City airport, which had laminated boarding passes (confidence booster). The entire time the baby was kicking me, and I was motion sick and bargaining with God. But we landed in one piece.

Our final and completely unexpected memory was Jet's Bar at the airport. He's famous, all 4'5 of him. And prides himself in taking pictures with women while shoving his head into their chest. The dozens of pictures around the bar prove it.

And, you know, just for fun:

Sadly the biggest problem I have with this sign is the random capitalization. But it does beg the question, who is flushing toilets with their feet so much that it's creating a noticeable problem worthy of a sign?

When we got to Atlanta Monday night, I may or may not have eaten half a large pizza.

All in all, we loved Belize. I can't tell you I'd go back because I don't like repeating trips. Most tourists go to the cayes for snorkeling and scuba diving. But alas, we are both terrified of deep water so we chose culture, relaxation (and apparently a lot of exercise) and excursions instead. It was a good choice for us.

Bottom line, we got to be together for nine days without interruption, which has pretty much never happened. And probably won't happen again for a very long time. We just celebrated everyday as a family of two. I loved it so much that I cried on the plane home because when the wheels touched the ground it meant work, cooking, cleaning, packing moving boxes, and spending at least eight hours apart every day.

But I think we're ready now to be a family of three. But in four months... don't rush me yet!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

trip report: belize, part one

We chose Belize for our vacation mostly because we had enough Delta miles to go there for free and in general wanted to avoid touristy, resorty, snotty islands.

After the three hour flight from Atlanta to Belize City, we met our driver, William, who took us on the two hour drive to San Ignacio in the Cayo district. San Ignacio is only about 15 minutes from the Guatemala border.

We stayed at the Cahal Pech Village Resort, which means "place of ticks." Despite that, we saw none. What we did notice was the blistering heat pushing 110 degrees. Luckily our cabana was equipped with a fairly effective window air conditioner and a hammock that dipped dangerously close to the ground (and no, not because I am getting that fat).

We did most of our adventuring here with a trip to Jaguar Paw for cave tubing (awesome but pictures are still on an underwater camera) and then a trip to Guatemala to see the Tikal ruins. I'm a sucker for history/anthropology type activities so this was by far my favorite day despite the fact it was HOT. Tikal is the largest Mayan ruin site in Central America complete with temples, pyramids and palaces, which we can now tell you the difference between the structures. Our guide, Jose, was a 18-year-old Guatemalan who used to live in Pennsylvania and is as close to an expert of Mayan culture as I have ever met. I am convinced that because our guide was a teenager, I got to do a lot more climbing than if we'd had an older guide who was much more aware of my pregnant belly. For example, when you are in Belize and cave tubing pregnant, you will not carry your own 5-pound intertube.

We first climbed Temple IV, where the warning held "the wall is your friend." It's 230 feet high, the tallest pre-Columbian structure.

That's it. Little ledge, large cliff. Shea ended up climbing Temple V which Jose tagged as "the dangerous one."  I stayed at the bottom with another guide who told me pregnancy was no excuse for laziness and the reason I was having a boy was because I ate too many oranges.

Shea's waving (to the right of Jose in the yellow shirt)
Jose was great about taking us behind the scenes where the other visitors weren't going as well as showing us the wildlife - like these monkeys! Just chilling with their babies.

monkey! monkey!
He showed us the all spice tree (smells just like your spice drawer) which when crushed and placed on your tongue alarmingly resembles Novocaine. He kicked a tarantula web which we were definitely NOT interested in seeing.

On the way back, we got a little delayed because of about 100 of these:

Our driver dropped us off at the border where we ambled through really big guns and scary immigration guards only to find ourselves alone on the other side hassled by a cashew salesman until our driver showed up. Guatemala is a very different place from Belize, and many Guatemalans don't recognize Belize as a country since at one point back in the British ruling the world days they were one territory. Plus, they've got really big guns there.

The rest of our time in San Ignacio was spent hanging out at the pool, wandering into town for food, drinking a lot of watermelon juice (best.thing.ever.) and playing a lot of Bananagrams. The town was about a mile down a very large gravel hill, which we comfortably walked until a couple got robbed a gunpoint. Then we sprung for the $2.50 cab ride. Still, we found the people of San Ignacio to be very accommodating and taking great pride in their culture. We took long naps every afternoon and found that eating was second to drinking liters and liters of water each day.

Mid-week we headed to Placencia on the east coast with our favorite driver Mr. Chan. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

21 weeks

Hello my little kicker,

You're a busy, busy boy! I'm not sure what you're practicing for in there - baseball, soccer, gymnastics, karate chop specialist? Either way, you are definitely letting me know you're alive and well. I've started feeling you consistently throughout the day except for your afternoon nap, and you seem to kick the hardest just when your mom is ready to sleep. Probably great foreshadowing...

Daddy felt you for the first time last week. He's super excited and loves to put his hand on my tummy when you're kicking hard. Sometimes I think you show off when you know he's there. We even saw you bust out near my belly button just by watching my stomach for a second.

Life has been pretty crazy in our world. You took your first international trip, which involved a lot of heat, climbing ancient temples, cave tubing, howling at monkeys, swimming and many glasses of watermelon juice. Pretty good right? Plus the people of Belize really took care of us. First we got green mango as most women crave it. Though I have no idea why because it was lip-puckering sour. Sorry about that. Then we got a coconut macheted open for us for the healthy water inside. Anything for you, my dear.

You're the size of a carrot or large banana in length. You'll get your taste buds this week, and you'll continue to swallow a lot of amniotic fluid. Your mama is getting big fast it seems but feeling great. Other than the challenge of getting dressed every morning, we're cruising right along. Couldn't complain if we tried.

Love you to pieces,