Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Brain Freeze

At every appointment in the last few months, Doc has pulled out a measuring tape and measured from the top of the uterus to the bottom. (Which really means just measuring the belly - all of it.)

I feel like I'm a blank wall and he's trying to find the proper placement to hang a picture. Or maybe that's my nesting instinct talking.

Being almost 35 weeks at the time, and being kicked to a pulp the night before by Ninja Bjorn, I asked him if he could tell what position Bjorn is in.

After pushing and prodding enough to give Bjorn a few more dimples, he said that Bjorn was head down (where it's supposed to be and hopefully won't go anywhere), back to the right and legs curled aroung the other side. Kinda like this. And, you know, in the fetal position.

And my first thought?

Since he's head-down, does all the blood go rushing to his head? Is it like standing on your head for more than ten minutes or eating a Sonic slushie too fast and getting brain freeze?

I didn't ask Doc, but I'm still kinda interested in the answer. . . . .

A contraction is: would've, should've, could've, etc.

I've been having contractions for a little over a week now.

Wait, wait. . . before you freak out - let me start at the beginning. But just to calm you down a little - I am not in labor. I am not having a baby. There, now you can read a little calmer, right?

I woke up a week ago with cramps. Not bad ones. Just noticeable enough to make me wince a little and think 'Wow, did I have some bad Mexican food last night?' (Which, in fact, we had had Mexican food the previous night!) I told DTB and he blew it off - probably just gas. Everyone knows Preggo's get some pretty bad gas sometimes.

I did what any first-time Preggo would do; I tried to self-diagnose myself on WebMD. After tossing aside the verdicts of cancer, heart attack and infertility, I finally decided that I was just pushing myself too hard lately and needed to relax. (NOT a WebMD diagnosis.) Did I even think about calling my Doc? Nope. I'm not one to call Docs, and I didn't think a little crampage warranted a frantic call. I'll take a nap and call later if I need to.

I relaxed on the couch, got absolutely nothing accomplished for the day and felt great that evening. Next morning, same abdominal hurt again. Which, really, I shouldn't be surprised about, right? After all, there's alot of new stuff going on down there and who knows what that might be twisting and pushing and straining.

Our appt with Doc was the next day, so I just took it wasy again in the morning and in a few hours, all was fine.

When DTB and I normally have our appts with Doc, it's in-and-out. We usually see him for about 5 minutes: listening to the heartbeat, being measured from a standard Home Depot measuring tape and talking about everything from hockey to airplanes to the price of IPods in China. I don't have any problems and we don't have any questions. Easy, breezy - we're in-and-out.

This time, the appt lasted a little longer. I mentioned the cramps I had felt the two days before and how they weren't anything bad - not even winceable, really - but just that they were something new and different. And what Doc say?

'Yay! Good! That's exactly what we want to hear!'

What? These things were good for me? And, apparently, once again, I am the last to know about these things. (Maybe I should have read all those What-to-expect-in-pregnancy books!) See, around 35 weeks, your body begins to prepare for the delivery. (Smart body!) It's an intense process and your body wants to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. So, at 35 weeks, it is hoped that a Preggo starts to feel some contractions - very few, mind you, less than 5 an hour - as this is the cervix's way of getting the whole thing started. And, yes, it does last the entire last five weeks of pregnancy. It is completely normal, expected, and hoped for. The more ready your body is for this, the smoother it should go.

This appt lasted a total of 7 minutes.

I had no clue that the mild cramping was what everyone called 'contractions'. Shouldn't contractions be mind-numbing, bending-over-at-the-waist, breaking-someone's-hand painful? Shouldn't I feel a tightening around my belly, like a vise being strapped on?

Apparently not. There are millions of different ways to feel contractions, and those mentioned above are just a few of them. Contractions also feel (which I have) like mild lower abdominal cramps or gas pains from too many enchiladas and beans. Not bad. I can handle this for the next month.

This does not mean Bjorn will come early. It only means that my body is gearing up for the big finale.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

If you're good at something, stick with it!

I have a confession to make.

A confession so bad that I couldn't even make myself confess on websites meant for these things such as this and this.

So, deep breath. . . . are you sure you're ready?

My confession:

I love being pregnant. And I am very, very good at it.

This is not to say that I wouldn't love to be able to bend at the waist again. Or sleep on my back.

I know. It's not politically correct at all to say this. No one wants to hear it. Other women want to commiserate with me about nausea and heartburn, hair growing in weird places and splotches and stretch marks. They want to hear how much my feet have swollen, how my back aches so bad I can't get out of bed and how the weight that is supposed to be going to my belly is being re-distributed to my cheeks (the ones on my face), my cheeks (the ones on my butt) and my legs.

No one wants to hear that, so far, none of these things have happened.

I am probably tempting fate here. Recently I was told of a certain culture that don't believe in baby showers before the baby, because buying anything - anything at all!!! - before the baby is born can jinx the whole pregnancy. So, saying that I am feeling great and doing fine may jinx me as well. I guess we'll have to see.

Sure, I'm uncomfortable sometimes. Carrying around an extra 40 pounds can do that to anyone. And, no, I have not been sleeping well and I don't think I will for the next 5 weeks either. But I've never slept well, so that's really not anything new for me.

At our prenatal classes, I've been talking to some of the other Preggo's, making new friends. Turns out, they all have issues. With a breech baby or an already-thinned cervix, with migraines or swollen ankles they can barely stand on. It's no wonder that our Doc visits only take about 5 minutes each time. I have no issues that need to be worked out or questions beyond 'Will it give the baby dimples if we poke too hard on my belly?' (The answer is no, by the way.)

But I know better than to say how I really feel to these other Preggo's. The last thing a miserable, waddling, swollen-like-the-Michelin-Man Preggo wants to hear is how great I am doing. So I just nod sympathetically and cluck my tongue as if to say 'I understand'. When, really, I'm thinking - 'Geez, that sounds like it sucks!'

It's not politically correct to be good at being pregnant. To actually enjoy it. Which I have.

This is not to say that there have not been bad days, or crappy things that occur with pregnancy. But before I got knocked up, I had bad days then, too. And I never thought my life was bad. A few bad days here and there don't mean the whole situation is wrong. It just gives you a chance to see the good as that much better.

So, I'll say it again - and even though I won't shout it from the rooftops, because I know how moody some Preggo's can get and I don't want to be the recipient of that fireball of anger, I still do feel this way completely - I love being pregnant. Love it.

Maybe TLC should find us for the next 18 and Counting. Can you see it? DTB and Preggo: Pregnant Again.

I could do that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Joy of Pregnancy Cookbook

Awww. . . the joys of pregnancy. You always hear about the Joy of Cooking, but no one yet has described all the wonderful Joys of Pregnancy. I mean, after the nausea, heartburn, added cellulite and sore back/neck/hips/take your pick at the next body part, what more additional joy could there possibly be?

Oh yeah, the going to the bathroom every few hours joy.

Sigh. . . isn't it all just so beautiful?

Not only do I have to plan my day around potty breaks ("Ok, Preggo, make sure you go before you leave the house, and if you don't drink a thing while you're out, you probably have a little over an hour to grocery shop before you have to be near a bathroom again. Start counting. . . now!!!") but I also have to plan my nights around them too! I now clear a path from the bed to the bathroom before I lay down for the evening. The first few nights of tripping over pillows (who needs those damn "decorative" pillows anyways???) and the dog's bed caused me to re-analyze the layout of the bedroom.

This has to be a cruel joke. Mother Nature's idea of 'pulling a fast one' on Preggo's. Because I know that the next ten years will be filled with planning my days around potty breaks and my nights around interrupted sleep. Until all kids (and, yes, I'm thinking of future ones after Bjorn when I say this) are potty-trained - and even for a little while after that, I'm sure - the marathon shopping-and-errands days that I normally run are out of the question. Six hours running around town getting everything done in one day? That would probably wear me out more than splitting it up into three separate days.

And don't even get me started on sleeping. At night, I'm exhausted - can't even lift my head from the pillow to get a drink of water. I just open my mouth and pour the water over my face, hoping some of it falls into my mouth. Kind of like being stuck under a rainstorm - 'Truman Show' style. Then I wake up two hours later to go to the bathroom. First trip of the night. Followed by the second trip around 4 am. Always around that time. At which I am now wide awake, so I spend an hour or so playing around on the computer, folding clothes or picking up stuff in the living room. 5 am rolls around and I'm finally sleepy again, so I head back to bed, where it is incredibly difficult to get up again at 8 am when DTB gets up for work.

And the cycle continues the next night. And the next. Never changing.

Many mothers have theories about this. It is supposed to 'prepare your body to wake up in the middle of the night for your baby'. Awesome. I can't wait to see what is planned to prepare me for projectile vomit and diarrhea.

Another thing - if this is meant to 'prepare me', then why the hell is DTB still being able to sleep through the night? Shouldn't he be prepared to? And the battle of the sexes rages on. . . . . .

Monday, April 20, 2009

Summer starts early for me. . . . .

"No more peanuts, No more cokes
No more pilot's dirty jokes"

That's right, folks - I am officially on maternity leave! No longer will you see this Preggo flying the (ahem) friendly skies from one coast to the next. So what will I do with all of this free time? Hmmmmmm. . . . . .

* Make lists for DTB of things to fix, buy, paint, build, lift and hang. After all, with all this free time to look at the inside of my home, I can see all the projects that need to be done!
- Just a few of the many projects: Buy/plant citrus trees, paint and repair garden fence, spackle and paint in living room, stain patio floor, build project bench in office, install ceiling fan in nursery, etc.

* Start and finish all the things on my list of light and easy projects around the house.
- My projects include (but are not limited to): Baskets/organizers for nursery, decorate nursery, buy and hang pictures in nursery, hang curtains in master bedroom (done!!!!), buy and hang curtains in nursery and guest bedroom, get filing cabinet, keep house clean/laundry done/pantry stocked, etc.

* Finish scrapbooking our honeymoon/trip to Scotland/baby scrapbook. I have had all the materials for months, but it takes forever to scrapbook anything - especially when I want it absolutely perfect. And scrapbooking is a fairly light project - no heavy lifting needed. Perfect for a Preggo.

* Sit outside in my makeshift maternity lounge chair. Get a tan. Eat some bon-bons. Nap a little here and there. You know, the usual.

* Learn to sew. That might have to wait until I get a better sewing machine in June. Or a sewing machine at all, rather than this medieval monster that eats needles and spits them out for breakfast.

* Write. This is the hard one. I mean, look at all these projects I have to do around the house! How can I ever find time to write? (And how could I ever stop procrastinating. . . . . . )

* Cook. I spend hours everyday scouring the internet for cheap, easy and good meals. Although our agreement has long been that I clean and DTB cooks, I don't think that is fair when I am sitting at home everyday and he has to go to work. So, he still cooks alot of the time, but I'm trying to pitch in my fair share. Right now my favorite meal is the Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti, but I'm thinking that the Creamy Baked Beefaroni might rival it. I love me some pasta!! (These are all courtesy of The Menu Planning at the Cozy Country House.) So if you have any great recipes to share, please do so! I'm not an eater of chicken, but I'm trying to be! Have any recipes that kind of disguise the whole poultry taste and feel?

* Check out all the museums in town. Although this might wait until Bjorn is here. I have a friend who took her kiddo to all the museums during the three months she was on maternity leave, and she said it was great. The baby slept in a carrier, and Momma was able to stay in the wonderfully air-conditioned indoors, while still being entertained. Sounds like it might work. Or I could go now. It's a toss-up.

Hmmmm. . . I think that's all on my plate right now. Can you think of anything else I should do? I mean, six weeks goes fast, but not if you're sitting on your butt doing nothing all day!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Belly pillows, sore muscles and a chance to spaz out at the spa

All any girl really wants is to be pampered. A little foot rub, some nice lotion and maybe a chocolate or two on the side. So when DTB offered up a 90 minute prenatal massage, I jumped at the chance.

Even though it did mean I had to drive 50 minutes across town to get it. 90 minutes of massage? I'm in!

I showed up at the massage spa and met my massuese, a mom of two in her early thirties. She loves getting and giving prenatal massages, and spent a few minutes making sure I was comfortable with the process, showing me all the different types of pillows that could/would be used. (Including one with the belly cut out, which looks pretty close to the outdoor lounge chair I made, with a belly part cut out. Except hers probably cost hundreds of dollars. And mine was free!)

For the first time in probably five months, I was able to lay on my stomach. Granted, I was lying on top of a large pillow with a hold cut out for my belly, so I wasn't lying on Bjorn at all, but still, I was face-down, and I haven't done that for what feels like forever.

And it started out great. And then, somewhere after the first half hour, I started to feel it.


Yep, that's right. I am sitting in a spa room, someone gently kneading sore muscles, water crashing into a distant shore being gently piped through the stereo system and I am panicking. What is wrong with me?!?

I take a moment to readjust my thoughts. Bjorn is fine - I'm not squishing him at all, so stop thinking about that. I'm not warm, I'm not cold, I can breathe just fine, I don't need any water.

Except the second I try to re-think, I am cold, I am warm, I can't breathe, I am squishing Bjorn and all of a sudden I feel parched, like I just walked through the Sahara (or Lubbock on a particularly dry and windy day).

I tell the masseuse I'm thirsty, and there is a glass of water in my hand immediately. I try to calm the thoughts again and lay face-down, but there's no going back now. My mind won't let me.

The masseuse suggests flipping onto my back - another position I haven't been in about five months and which also requires special pillows. It starts out great, again, and then - whammo!!! - ten minutes in, and I feel like I can't breathe. I try to find a mantra, a calming ritual, a spot on the ceiling to stare at - nothing. I had to move again, to the only position I have been able to get into all these months.

My side. Always my side. FOr me, its an oldie but a goodie. And if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

And it is only on my side that I am finally able to relax, at least a little bit. But in the back of my mind, I didn't forget how uncomfortable and anxious my back and stomach had made me and I couldn't quite settle down enough to really enjoy it. Kind of a bummer. I don't think massages are for me, even prenatal ones that everyone is supposed to enjoy. Give me a good pedicure, facial or haircut any day, but a massage - I think I'll pass.

The best news of the day, tho: This was the first time in about three months that there was an entire 90 minute period in which I did not have to get up and go to the bathroom. And that is an accomplishment in itself.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A poem for Mothers

I'm not a sap, so I usually don't go in for this stuff. But one of the Mommy blogs I follow had blogged about this poem, and I couldn't help but share it. Especially since I'm a cleaner and a launderer and a dish-washer. I can't stand a sink full of dishes.

But maybe if I put this poem on a wall hanging of some sort, it would make me remember what's really important. . . . . . .

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rock-a-bye, Lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek-peek-a-boo).

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo.
But I'm playing "Kanga" and this is my "Roo."
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rock-a-bye, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

Ruth Hulbert Hamilton
Published in Lady’s Home Journal in 1958 as “Song for a Fifth Child”


I think it's hilarious.

This kid has the hiccups more often than the average comical, stumbling, side-of-the-road drunk seen leaning against the concrete bridges of underpasses.

He just keeps hiccuping. Not enough to make the tummy jump. And not enough that DTB can feel it, probably. Just enough to let me know that he's got the hiccups.

I already tried to yell "Boo!" to see if I could scare the hiccups out of him. Now I'm going to stand on my head and drink water from the opposite rim of the glass. Isn't that a cure for hiccups??

Officially Preggo. . . .

I think I am officially preggo.

Yes, yes. . . I really did say that.

You might think I was officially preggo went I graduated to maternity clothes. And then to the next largest size maternity clothes. You might think I was preggo when I received sonograms from Doc's office, complete with fingers, toes and dimpled smiles. You might even say that I was officially preggo when we went nuts getting this beautiful nursery primed, painted and furniture-filled.

But, nah. . . not me.

I wasn't officially preggo until I saw that I had a linea nigra. Or as DTB calls it - a loppa doppa. (We really can't remember all these fancy-schmancy names for stuff these docs keep making up.)

A linea nigra - for those of you who, like me, had never freakin' heard of this before - is, literally, a dark line that stretches straight down from your belly button. Apparently, everyone has it, but can't see it until the hormones and pigments are all jacked up from pregnancy and it darkens. It usually shows up around the fifth month, and as I am in the 8th, I thought it just wasn't going to happen to me.

I should have remembered that I haven't been able to see below my belly button since my fifth month. I had no clue if there were stretch marks or linea nigra's or tattoos and henna designs. Until DTB took pics this week to update our photo album.

And - look! - there's a linea nigra. A dark line that can be plainly seen from afar. Why does this make me happy? I don't know. It's not really a big deal. But for some reason, some unknown crazy reason, I think it's pretty cool.

My very own loppa doppa. When you say it that way, it almost sounds like I have my very own Dhali Llama.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Jurassic Park, sleeping and Michael Phelps

Bjorn is either the next Michael Phelps or the next Jackie Chan. I can't decide. He takes turn working on his kick-turns, water sprints and martial arts. He's kicking the crap out of me!!

Yesterday, I was balancing a coffee mug on my belly (we don't have a side table by our couch, so my belly works quite nicely) and it quivered. Jumped, really. Remember the scene in 'Jurassic Park' before they see the first dinosaur, but they notice that the cup of water is shaking? It was exactly like that. My baby, the mini-dinosaur.

Good news is: he doesn't keep me up at night at all! This kicking, squirming, sprinting from one side of belly to the other thing is sporadic, completely unexpected at times, and never happens at night. Maybe this is one baby that will sleep through the night before and after birth!

Other completely and unrelated news - DTB now thinks Bjorn is a girl. Should I start calling him 'her' on here, just to let the girl idea get proper play, too? Hmmmmmm. . .

Well, now that you have more time to think about it and you've seen the pics below of Bjorn, I'm starting a new poll. Once again, do you think its a girl or a boy? Results are in from the first trimester poll - have you changed your mind since then? Go vote, because, remember, if you don't vote, you can't complain about the results!

Friday, April 3, 2009

More Infant stuff. . . . . .

Talking to DTB last night, he reminded me of two other baby tidbits we were formerly unaware of. . . .

While in utero, Bjorn is growing his fingernails. Anyone who has watched Juno knows this. But did you know that he may be scratching himself in there? He may be born with scratches on his arms/legs/face/wherever he scratches!!! I'm okay with that - hey, maybe he has an itch, right?! But I'm now very creeped out by the idea that he may be scratching me. From the inside. Ooohhh. . gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

Also, Bjorn is practicing his 'sucking motions' now; you know, to help him eat when he is born. So, while in there, he maybe sucking on whatever flies by his mouth - whether that be his arm or his umbilical cord! The class instructor said that she was at a birth where there were four different hickeys on the umbilical cord from where it floated in front of the baby's face and he grabbed on and practiced eating! Crazy!

On a completely different note, I am never ever ever watching A Baby Story again. I'm not scared about having a baby - not yet, at least. But no one looks pretty, graceful or in control when they are in the delivery room. And no should ever tape it. Including DTB.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I can't stop this feeling. . . . .

Our hospital offers new parents a few birthing classes for a (small) fee. These classes cover everything from diaper changes and labor/delivery processes to recovery steps and breastfeeding. Seeing as DTB's first diaper change will be on Bjorn and Preggo hasn't cracked a book on what-to-do-after-the-birth, we decided to take full advantage of these classes.

Last night was the first night.

Because of class size and schedule, DTB and I started class on the 2nd-to-last week of class. (We'll do the whole class, but we had to start in the middle of one and then start at the beginning when this one was finished.) We began with the after-delivery stuff, while the rest of the class has already been through what to expect before and during. Needless to say, we were a little confused. And overwhelmed.

But it was very helpful. Some of the recovery processes for Preggo will be rough - and no one ever told me about them. I hate hospitals and no one told me I would have to be there for 2-3 days for a normal delivery. Longer if cesarean. I figured since Preggo's have been having babies for thousands of years, they would know what they were doing and get me in and get me out. Guess not.

I also didn't realize that (probably because they are a public hospital) they were going to spend so much time on contraceptives after the birth. Do we really need to get into that at this point? Aren't their other things I should be focusing on then that? Guess not, or some of my classmates wouldn't be in this position in the first place!

My favorite part of class? Newborn facts and tidbits.

Did you know that babies are covered with a cream-cheese like substance when they are born? With even more of this creamy-cheesey stuff if they are born early and less if born later? It's called vernix, and when I went to a google search to get that info (because I didn't take notes and had forgotten it's name), the first link was to a movie site. FYI - apparently makeup artists actually smear cream cheese on newborns in films to give them this look-at-me-I-was-just-born look. Weird.

Other interesting tidbits: Preggo's sometimes try to reshape a conehead baby. Don't do that! It will reshape all on its own! Babies can get birthmarks called "stork bites" (red patches usually on the face, chest or nape of neck) or "Mongolian patches" (which look like bruises on the back or butt). These are normal and no big deal. And last, but not least, the most interesting fact I learned about newborns. . . . . boy or girl, their breasts may swell after birth and actually excrete milk. Weird, definetely, but completely and absolutely normal. It's because Preggo's hormones are still roaming around in the newborns body!

My least favorite part of class?

Meditation and breathing exercises.

Let's start with meditation.

The instructor has all the Preggos and DTB's close our eyes and (in the sing-song, meditative voice heard in all sitcom hypnosis skits)"

"Imagine a ray of golden light flowing into the womb. Feel the intense love and devotion flow to your baby. Connect with your baby. Give it all the love you have. The yellow light radiates through your body and to your baby. Now, find yourself face-to-face with your baby. You may see characteristics of your baby. Talk to your child. Tell your baby how much you love them. Listen to them. Give them your love, all the while surrounded by the golden light."

Yeah, I'm defintely not a yoga or meditative person.

When I was told to come face-to-face with Bjorn, I found myself in the birth sequence of "Look Who's Talking" with a smart-ass baby - who looked just like the sonograms below - and had a New York cabbie's mouth. Bjorn started dancing around, one arm pinching his nose, the other waving above his head, his knees bending as he did a swim dance in the amniotic fluid. Instead of immersing myself in a golden ray of light, Bjorn and I danced in a disco-ball room, just like the dancing baby on 'Ally McBeal', complete with 'Hooked on a Feeling' in the background.

I think we're going to get along just fine.