Monday, October 31, 2011

Conversations #8

J: So I’m guessing you didn’t go into labor in the middle of the night?

S: Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you. The baby’s in the crib.

J: That would be so awesome.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

37 Weeks

Two things happened today. Thing one is that Baby H reached “full-term” status, meaning that if he chose to be born NOW, no one would stop him. Because he is officially eligible for release into the world. According to SCIENCE. Of course, we all still want him to stay in as long as he wants/needs, because such things are so individual and we don’t even know him yet, so how could we possibly judge his readiness? Totally up to him, I say. (And I do mean that -- I am not yet in the get-this-baby-out-of-me phase that I have heard so much about.)

Thing two that happened today is that I developed a case of a terrible tummy. It came on in the middle of the night and I was so sad and nauseated that I sat shaking for a bit on the floor of the bathroom. The good news was that we recently bought a plush new bathmat. So my accommodations weren’t so bad. But oh did I ever feel sorry for myself. When morning came, and I announced the news of my terrible tummy to my baby’s daddy, he said, “Isn’t that one of the possible early signs of labor? Flu-like symptoms without fever, including nausea?” Because you see, my baby’s daddy has taken a class or two and is now a professional at diagnosing such things. And, of course, he is also right.

This, in turn, leads me to two thoughts: Yay, a baby! But also: I can’t have a baby this week! I have way too much to do, and my boss would never forgive me for dumping my current workload on him. So, it’s decided. No baby this week. Maybe next week, preferably after I get my hair cut.

The produce report this week is incredibly lame. Baby H is as long as a stalk of swiss chard. Yeah, I know.

Meanwhile, I am either HUGE or way-too-tiny-how-could-you-possibly-be-having-a-baby-in-three-weeks-? depending on whom you ask. Not that I ask any of them. People like to share. My baby’s daddy, meanwhile, thinks that Baby H has dropped. I was thinking the same thing, so when Dr. Halekas confirmed it, I figured we must be on to something. Peer-reviewed findings and all (that’s science!) And no, I do not call him Dr. Halekas. Very often. I mean, really, very rarely.

Please excuse the terrible-tummy-day face:

Baby H was the guest of honor at another baby shower this week, this time at my office. It was delightfully decorated, boasted more than enough gluten-free goodies for me to hurt myself, and exhibited a startling level of generosity. We are so darn spoiled, let me tell you. Also this week, our neighbors (whom we really barely know at all and only ever chat with over the fence, and even that only maybe once a quarter at the very most) popped over to congratulate us and wish as well. They brought us a bottle of wine and a terribly generous gift card, then followed up with the offer of all manner of hand-me-down baby gear. And they couldn’t have even known that hand-me-down baby gear is my favorite! So we scored a Baby Bjorn and a high chair. Seriously, if you are feeling in need of attention from the world at large, I cannot recommend pregnancy highly enough. (I mean, don’t do that -- terrible reason to get pregnant!)

Bonus pictures today! Reese and Puppet, helping to break in one of the new carpets we got to make our floors more baby-friendly:

Number of people who have touched the belly: 23 (two new ones this week!)
Number of baby-wearing apparatus in our collection: 3

Thousands of dollars spent this week on the removal of one giant leaning tree that hung threateningly over Baby Halekas’s yard: 3
Number of rugs added to our decor this week when we realized how very hard our wood and granite floors would be for tummy time: 2

Number of actual contractions I believe myself to have experienced this week: 4
Number of baby-related training classes we have completed: 6
Number of baby-related training classes still on the agenda: zero!

Number of costume ideas we have for making the most of my gigantically pregnant situation: 2
Number of actual costumes that are ready for wearing tomorrow: zero! (the grossness has really derailed my plans for the day...)

Number of bags that are packed for the hospital: 0 (okay, might be time to go ahead and get on that)
Number of weeks until my maternity leave starts: 1
Number of proposals/reports I need to submit prior to starting maternity leave: 3
Number of times I have started to fill out my forms so that I can collect my maternity benefits, only to have the state of California crash the site mid-way through: 2 (and isn’t this a clever way for the state to try save money?)

Swiss chard: Baby Center

Sunday, October 23, 2011

36 Weeks

This week we learned that our sweet and adorable baby is in perfect exit position. And let me tell you, he is being really quite exceptionally cute about it. The lumps I thought had to be his knees? Yeah, that’s his tush. He’s sticking his tush out and dancing, like, all the time. Have you ever heard of anything so charming in all your life? (I didn’t think so.) And also, he is diligently practicing his breathing, which is obvious from the movement in his cute little ribs. (Seriously, cutest ribs ever, people.) This is all rather brilliant of him, I’d say, and he should be quite ready to greet his public in a few weeks. As for me, I have “beautiful pockets of amniotic fluid” and a “nice and high placenta.” (Really, my doctor is the best when it comes to flattery. What will she think of next?)

At about six pounds, Baby H is now the size of a crenshaw melon. (Yeah, I know... a crenshaw? Really? No less-obscure six-pound melons or gourds?)

And I am growing quite the prominence of belly in which to house this dancing-melon-baby. It’s so eye-catching that random strangers ask me about it on the daily. See? It’s hard not to say something:

Today my baby’s daddy and I attended a childbirth class, to learn how to get the baby out without ending up in divorce. I actually completely loved this class. And Jasper totally didn’t hate it. We agreed it’s the most worthwhile of the myriad classes we have taken. For one, it convinced us (even more than we already were) that we are clearly going to win labor. And if you know anything about me and Jasper, you know that we are fond of winning. I realize you probably think of Jasper as the bigger winner, due to the actual winning of footraces and the being the star of rocket science and all, but let me assure you, I am no slouch. I’ve won an award or two, mostly for some very nerdy things, such as being the best grammarian. I also once won third prize in a talent show for lip-syncing La Isla Bonita. I even won a footrace once. (It was a VERY small field...) And none of those things is a joke! And I still regularly win cocktail parties, in my head at least.

So, winning labor. Yes. That’s us. And don't you appreciate that the first-time parents are admitting to this, for your entertainment? Rationally I know we have no idea what we are getting into, but I think this is one of those times when over-confidence is better than fear.

In class we practiced pain management by holding ice cubes in our fists and figuring out which techniques made the minute-long “contraction” feel shorter and more tolerable. I LOVED this game. We learned that I like my regular breathing more than the special breathing. Also, doing what I call “the Puppet” (just checking out and pretending that the bad thing is not happening) is very effective. Finally, visualizing myself trail running or looking into my baby daddy’s eyes (both things I thought I would HATE) are awesome.

Things that should be avoided are touching my face, massaging my shoulders, and giving me a “heart hug.” For those not in the know, a heart hug is a squeezy move wherein my baby's daddy is to put one hand on my back and one in the center of my chest. And it feels akin to suffocation if you are me. We also learned that Baby H loathes relaxation exercises. When I imagined the light pouring in through the crown on my head, he became downright violent. So, we won’t be doing that.

We confirmed our nerdy over-preparedness when, during one of the videos, we turned to each other and said, “That baby’s latch sucks.” Pun not even intended!  

Number of people who have touched the belly: 21

Number of bags partially packed for the hospital: 1
Number of lists of additional things to pack at the last minute: 1
Number of snack bags still to be packed for the hospital: 1 (If Granny J taught me anything, it’s that you should never leave the house without a snack bag.)
Number of baby song books of guitar music my baby's daddy has assembled to accompany him and his guitar to the hospital: 1

Number of baby-related classes we have taken: 6
Number of baby-related classes still on the agenda: 1

Number of disposable diapers we have for the early days: 176
Number of ridiculously cute cloth diaper covers we have for the slightly later days: 4

Crenshaw: Baby Center

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Conversations #7

Random lady on sidewalk: Are you having a boy or a girl?

S: A boy.

RLoS: Lucky duck. I had this one [opens sunshade on stroller and points] two months ago. Another girl. I didn’t want another girl.

S: Oh, she’s so cute.

RLoS: Her sister is one. I didn’t even want to be pregnant again. But when the doctor told me I was, I figured I might as well have her.

S: Oh, yes, I guess so.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

35 Weeks

And then it got awkward. I mean, it had to happen. And I’m officially just over eight months, even using regular math as opposed to the fun-house arithmetic that is “pregnancy math.” (In pregnancy math, 32 weeks = eight months. Because when you’re pregnant, every month is February, I guess? This is how women end up claiming that pregnancy lasts ten months, as if this is a well-kept secret that is clearly a conspiracy perpetrated against womankind. By men, I assume. Who else? I won’t deny... it bugs the heck out of me. I won’t even go into the part about how you’re really only pregnant for 38 out of the 40 weeks of pregnancy...)

So, yes, these days things like rolling over or getting out of bed require a plan. Not, like blueprints and apparatus or anything, but some brief consideration of how I can create adequate momentum to move myself in the direction I would like to go. This is highly compatible with getting up every hour during the night, let me tell you. This reminds me of something that happened yesterday that made me laugh out loud, made Reese check on me, and made my baby’s daddy fret and remind me that I had meant to get some tractiony things for the bathtub. (And he’s right, I have been meaning to do that.) So, after showering, I flipped my head over to put a towel on my head, as one does, and I just... kept going. It wasn’t scary or anything. I just slowly continued to tip until I was on my hands. Too much momentum.

At a little over five pounds, Baby H now weighs as much as a honeydew melon. Of course, at this stage, the weight estimates become pretty generic and potentially misleading. The average baby is a little over five pounds at this stage... but babies can range from six to ten (or more!) pounds at full term, so, you know... we’re ballparking at this point. But we do know he’s pretty close to full length (probably just under 20 inches these days) and all that’s left for him to do is mature his lungs and pack on the fat. Which means I get to eat whatever I want. In the name of fattening my baby. At least, that’s how I heard it.
Now, when you see me, the whole story about momentum will likely make a lot of sense. As you can see, these late weeks of baby-fattening are turning out to be quite belly-enlarging. It’s a wonder I don’t get toppley more often:

In other news, I turned 33 this week. Last night, my baby’s daddy took me out for a date night on the town. I learned two things. The first being that Baby H loves date night with all his might. He danced his way around town, charmed a bartender, and gave the mocktails very positive reviews. It led us to ponder things like... would an infant carrier fit on this barstool? (Aren’t we the best parents?) The second thing was equally unsurprising. And that is that I have more of a “gift” for choosing restaurants that make notably delicious cocktails than for discerning which will have exemplary food. We started at Gitane, where they made me a delicious strawberry-lemon-mint sparkly thing and the baby’s daddy had a potent rum-based cocktail that included ingredients such as grapefruit marmalade and mint-infused orange bitters. They also had a truly special and extensive gin list and, if I’m being honest, gazing at such a truly special and extensive gin selection while eight-months pregnant is something akin to torture for a lush like me. Then we had dinner at E&O Trading Company where I enjoyed a cucumber-cilantro-lime spritz and my date had a really very impressively balanced lemon-thai-basil martini (with gin of course, which is always the right choice). I took the tiniest, barely lip-moistening tastes of the baby daddy’s two cocktails last night and dang. I did good.
Number of people this week who told me I look HUGE: 1 (this really amused me)
Number of people who told me that, if I am a whale, I would have to be a beluga, the most slender and cute of all the whales: 1 (seriously, how nice are my friends?)

Preferred baby birthdate of a chatterbox of a clearly drug-or-alcohol-dependent, questionably homed woman: November 24 (her birthday)
Preferred baby birthdate of my baby’s daddy: 11/11/11, which would also be quite compatible with going into labor on the full moon, which for a space physicist is all just irresistibly nerdy and fantastic
Preferred baby birthdate of Granny J: November 19
Preferred baby name of Granny J and Gumpa: still Oliver. adamantly Oliver.

Number of outfits for Baby H we have selected to take to the hospital: 3
How much other packing for the hospital we have done: none

Number of baby-related classes we have attended: 4
Number of baby-related classes we have on the calendar this week: 2
Irrational thing I have considered worrying about this week: What if I have high blood pressure and can’t tell? Now, this is clearly possibly, because, well, it happens. But it’s sort of random for me to fret over it since I have had low blood pressure at every appointment so far. Like, 100/60 low (which is normal for me, and suggests worrying over this particular thing is, well, kind of silly). Being well-informed during pregnancy is a recipe for unnecessary worry, I find.

How much I am looking forward to being a lady of leisure for at least a week between starting maternity leave and giving birth: so much (I am going to get my hair did in the middle of a weekday! Can you even imagine?)
How much my baby’s daddy thinks I am counting pre-hatched chickens, because clearly I am going to give birth that first weekend after starting leave: so much (and isn’t he a cranky-pants with his glass all half-empty like that?)

Baby H’s favorite things this week: date night; “Harrisburg” by Josh Ritter, as played and sung by his daddy; pretty much everything else too... he has not stopped moving this week

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fashion Friday #6

When you are almost finished being pregnant, people will tell you to live it up while you can! Go out to fancy restaurants on a whim! Have lots of crazy circus sex! Drink deeply of the rich chalice of freedom! And to that I say, well, I mean, yeah. That’s just how we do.
Going out for mocktails:

Fall maternity (night out)

Sequin tank top, $125
MuuBaa cropped jacket, $157
Maternity, $80
Repetto flat heels, $215
Fold over clutch, $157
Kenneth jay lane jewelry, $190

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Unsupervised #3

These are the things I did while my husband was away in Paris. (And no, I didn’t join him, because the flights were not eligible for miles and I was obviously not going to pay them real money for a three-day trip to Europe.) So, I did this:

  1. Went on a coffee date with Lauren and Chris, who now live in Reno, which is far away and makes me sad. (That they live far away. Not Reno. Reno’s existence has no bearing on my emotional state, as it turns out.)
  2. Went to pick up my wedding dress from the cleaners, only to discover that the cleaners was closed. This was pretty terrible, because I had really had to motivate hard to run that errand.
  3. Spent an entire lazy Sunday late afternoon/evening lounging around without any pants. Just me and my fuzzy-brained dogs -- who needs pants? I sometimes do this when Jasper is home, but he prefers that I don’t and I have no idea why. This is one of the mysteries that keeps our relationship lively.
  4. Ate lots of party leftovers. Like lots. Holy sudden appetite of enormity.
  5. Got excited for fall, and then got scowly when it warmed back up.
  6. Pondered pumpkin recipes, but held off, due to the warming-back-up.
  7. Pondered my impending birthday, decided I really didn’t care, then realized that a birthday is a good reason for cake, and decided I do care. For the cake.
  8. Pondered Halloween costumes, because it isn’t every year that you get to be gigantically pregnant for Halloween, and it may never happen again and so...
  9. Convinced myself that I was going to go into labor, because I felt funny. But I didn’t. (Go into labor.) (I did feel funny.)
  10. Spooned Reese.
  11. Worked really incredibly hard at my job. My final month of coasting before going on leave is so not happening as I envisioned it.
  12. Drank a blueberry smoothie, because Baby H wanted one. And wouldn’t you know it but that baby was right!
  13. Received the following greetings from strangers: “Hello, mommy.” (Ummm... gross?) and “OH! Bless yo’ baby!” (why thank you!)

Photo: Paris in a Box by MUJI

Sunday, October 9, 2011

34 Weeks

This is the week that I started wearing my husband’s clothes. This actually had less to do with my size and more to do with our suddenly fall-ish weather. We had some chilly mornings, and some rainy mornings, and well, my outerwear just does not cover the belly anymore. And I am certainly not going to buy something new now that we’re in the home-stretchy time. So, I wear Jasper’s fleece vest, and sometimes one of his many rain jackets with his name embroidered on the chest along with one of the ridiculous running achievements he has accumulated due to his blazing cheetah-like speed. It’s sort of like wearing your boyfriend’s letter jacket, which is pretty hot, if I’m being honest. I have decided that this negates the frumpy-pregnant-lady-in-her-husband’s clothes effect. Because it’s like he’s my star athlete boyfriend! Hot!

And how’s Baby H? Well, he is as heavy as a cantaloupe, but much larger than that. About five pounds and 18 inches long.

And he is still quite assertive about the fact that my uterus? It is not big enough for his giant personality along with all his baby parts, and so maybe we could expand it a bit? Being a baby, of course he gets what he wants:

That picture was taken by my dear friend Lauren, whom I met for coffee this morning along with her husband. And she is so sweet that she knew it was Sunday, and Jasper’s away, and so she had to take my belly picture. How thoughtful is she? So thoughtful. She and her hubs made our wedding cake, and people still talk about that deliciousness, with a sort of eyes-rolled-back, dreamy groan. It was that good.

Which brings me to this week’s theme. I didn’t know this week would have a theme, but as it turned out, it did! And it was the best theme! It was the week of people being really nice to me!

At work this week, we had lots of meetings, of which I was not a part. But these meetings, they had catered breakfasts and lunch, and they always had leftovers. Which meant free food for me for several days, and that is super nice!

Then the HR lady told me that I am allowed to take up to four weeks off before my due date, because according to the state of California, I am officially disabled at that time. And it doesn’t subtract from my post-baby leave, because it is a whole separate pot of leave for a whole separate issue (being gigantically pregnant, as opposed to recovering from a birth). I don’t plan to take that much (I’m going to take two weeks), but thanks, HR lady! And thanks, California! So nice!

Then on Friday night, I was preparing for our baby shower on Saturday and I realized that I had forgotten to buy cupcake liners and the Rite Aid didn’t have any and I was so very overwhelmed by the prospect of running another errand -- into the car, drive, park, out of car, wait in line, back in car, exit parking lot, drive, out of car... it was clearly too much, and I was going to cry if I had to do it. And then my baby’s daddy told me he would get my cupcake liners and I was so grateful I cried anyway. Then he made the cutest chart for our baby shower game, and I cried again.

Then on Saturday, Baby H’s Auntie V threw him a lovely, nerdy baby shower, and our family and bestest friends spent the whole day paying attention to us and giving us presents. We had asked them to help us stock our baby’s library, so that he turns out rather bookish and clever. And they stocked it good!

Some people didn’t follow instructions, because, you know, there are always those people. But we love them anyway. Baby H’s Uncle Flapjack gave him not only a very classy volume of Lewis Carroll, but also an envelope of cold hard cash, as though we are a mob family. Which we so aren’t! We have red hair! And our super-talented friend Katy made Baby H an amazing map blanket:

Would that I had such craftiness!

It was such a lovely day, with nerdily named food, and kids running around, and Reese learning about cleaning cupcake off of toddlers (he’s pretty ready to have a baby). I didn’t take nearly enough pictures, but see what fun we had?

So, yes, it was the week of being nice to me. If you missed it, I will not begrudge belated niceness this week, or even next week. After a while, though, it becomes a bit awkward and it’s better to just pretend you forgot and not bring it up.

Number of people who have touched the belly: 20 (Yes! A new one! One of my attorneys! And he rubbed my belly with great vigor to elicit kicks. I don’t know whether HR lady would have liked it, but it was cool with me. I’m tight with my attorneys.)

Number of weeks left before I go on maternity leave: 4, which is just completely blowing my mind. The whole idea of leave is completely blowing my mind.
Number of contractions I think I might have felt, but I’m still not totally sure: 1

Number of books in Baby H’s library: 16
Number of duplicates he received, when everyone was asked just to “bring your favorite”: zero!

Number of Christmas gifts I have already picked out for Baby H: 1

Cantaloupe picture: Baby Center
Belly picture: Lauren

Friday, October 7, 2011

In my dreams, I am a terrible mother

Not in my aspirational dreams, of course. But in my dreamy nighttime dreams. Over the past seven months, I’ve had just a few dreams where Baby H is already born. And in almost all of these dreams, I am a really terrible mother. Behold:

Exhibit A: In this dream I am riding in a big van, and Baby H is there. But not only is he not in a car seat, he’s just rolling around the floor. So, when the van stops, he tumbles along the floor under the seats to the front, and when we start up again, he slides to the back. This is so not an approved method of baby transportation. Also, when I notice him, I only know logically that he must be my baby. Like... oh! a baby! I must have had the baby!

Exhibit B:  This time, we are at home, and Baby H is crawling around. And then I realize I don’t really know where he is, because I haven’t been watching him, like, at all. And I realize the back door is open, so I wander out onto the patio to see if he’s in the back yard. It’s basically like he’s a third dog in this dream.

Exhibit C:  I give birth and I’m all breastfeeding like a champ. Baby H is super good at it, and we are this rockstar breastfeeding team. Then the day after I have him, I feed him in the morning and then just GO TO WORK. I mean, I left him with someone... that wasn’t the thing. But when I’m at work and it’s late afternoon, I realize he’s probably hungry, because you totally have to feed babies more often than that! And of course I didn’t have time to pump, because I just had him yesterday.

Now, I’m pretty sure parenting will be hard, but I really don’t think I’ll forget to feed him. What is my sleepy brain thinking with all this nonsense?

Unrelated: I also had a dream in which, roughly two hours after being born, Baby H was speaking in full, very complex sentences. And he came pre-potty-trained. Even in my dream, I was confused. Like, I thought we were having a *baby*?

And also, I know that hearing about people's dreams is the worst. You didn't have to read it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

33 Weeks

This is such a great week in produce that I have to start there because I can’t wait to tell you about it. Baby H is a PINEAPPLE!!! He’s more than four pounds heavy and almost a foot and a half long! So, this big:

Due to all this growing and fattening up, he is supposedly not kicking me so hard. Um, no, that isn’t happening. I am still gasping on the daily when he nails me in the hip or jabs sharply into my bladder. His heft has diminished his exuberance for vigorous activity not at all.

I am also continuing to grow and fatten up. At my appointment this week, I measured exactly 32 weeks, so maybe I am not growing a mutantly gigantic baby? But instead a baby that’s just right? These measurements aren’t the greatest indicator, but a girl can dream, right?

So, 33 weeks seems to be about the time that everyone starts to think that my pregnancy is pretty much over and before we know it there will be a baby and it’s all going to happen SO FAST and OMG ARE YOU SO EXCITED OR ARE YOU KIND OF FREAKING OUT???!!!??? And, I mean, I guess. It still feels fairly distant and theoretical to me.

I cleaned the house with tremendous zeal yesterday. It didn’t feel like it had anything to do with Baby H’s impending arrival, but I still felt like a nesting stereotype. I mean, I bleached the shower curtain. And at one point I found myself cleaning a light switch. Which can’t be normal. I also excavated the vacuum, where I discovered an entire Reese-ful of fur. It was deeply satisfying to dredge it all out. Don’t you love cleaning jobs like that? When I was little I would purposefully let my Elmer’s glue dry all sloppy so that it would get clogged, so that then I could un-clog it. Which also can’t be normal. Maybe I should have been a plumber. Except I think that’s probably a totally gross job and I actually wouldn’t care for it at all.

Baby H’s doctor-speculated positioning: head-down (based on location of heartbeat)
Baby H’s parent-speculated positioning: diagonally head-down, at best (based on, “if he’s gone vertical, then what the heck is that?”)

Number of times this week that some guy checked out my posterior, only to then see me from the side and be mortified: 1, but that was plenty to entertain me for the better part of a morning

Number of times this week I realized belatedly that I had stood for too long: 1
How long I was sore afterwards: 24 hours. No joke.
Why this happened: I was at a work reception and Baby H’s Auntie V was not there to tell me to stop socializing and sit down already, because hello, I am super-pregnant. She remembers this so much better than I do.

Baby H’s favorite music this week: Jasper playing and singing Taylor Swift tunes
Baby H’s least favorite music this week: “Pour Some Sugar on Me” It was undeniable... he was in the midst of a wild dance party and then for the entirety of PSSoM, he froze all akin to a mime. Not a movement. When the next song came on, he was back to dancing.
And to this I say: Really, Baby H? Because if there is a song that might lead your mother to, say, remove her top and dance on a bar, well, PSSoM is that song. Not that I would ever do that. I’m fun, but not that fun.

Things that made me misty-eyed this week: a sitcom with an adoption storyline and listening to Jasper play “Hey there, Delilah” on his guitar. Yeah, I know... “Hey there, Delilah.” It made me think about how much we are going to love Baby H (SO much) and yes, well. That’s all, really.

Pineapple photo: Baby Center

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Something nice

When speaking to the enormously pregnant, people say things they would never say to people normally. And they say them as compliments. I find this hilarious, because I tend to be easily entertained. What people have said to me this week:

“Your belly is getting SO big!”

“Your face hasn’t gotten fat at all!”

“You are ALL belly!”