Saturday, May 31, 2008
Since the pregnancy began I have been taking Prenatal Yoga from Alice, who is in my opinion the very best Yoga instructor for a person with any fears or doubts about pregnancy.
I love this class. Most of my prego-related aches and pains have been alleviated by practicing with Alice. As an added benefit Alice is a Doula and her mother is a Midwife so she has lots of experience with pregnant ladies and birth. I have found her advice and reassurances to be invaluable the closer I get to my due date. I have found Alice's methods to be very respectful of all her student's choices with regard to prenatal care and delivery. She doesn't push an agenda, she just offers support.
The other incredible positive aspect of this class is the other pregnant ladies. Today I was running late and one of my fellow students offered me her free pass to the class! Wonderfully sweet thing to do. When I got into the class they were short on supplies (balancing blocks specifically) and a lady who was 33 weeks pregnant with TWINS offered me one of her blocks. These things are used for balance ya'll and she could certainly have used both blocks carrying two babies into the third trimester. In each class we say our names and how we are feeling. I mentioned being 37 weeks and having suspicions that this is a big baby. One of the ladies said that her ultrasound showed 7 pounds and the kid ended up being 10 pounds! But the point of her story was not to freak me out but to let me know that everything was fine, even with the big kid.
She also gave me a positive recommendation for my pediatrician. As it turns out we are using the same doctor.
I wish I had attended even more classes during my pregnancy (I was trying to save money) and made more of an effort to get to know all these great ladies.
I hope to see them again in the Postpartum class.
Friday, May 30, 2008
In other news, at my last prenatal visit my doctor asked me to get another ultrasound to check the baby's size since I am measuring a little large. The results of the ultrasound show that this kid could be 7 pounds 12 ounces, 8 pounds 12 ounces, or 9 pounds 12 ounces. Which means...nothing.
I don't think I am a sure candidate for induction at this point and certainly not for a c-section. It's just something else to worry about. However, I choose not to freak out about the possibility of a great big baby rocketing out of my innards. Instead I am going to enjoy my rice crispy treats and revel in my new baby photos. At 37 weeks the kid is almost impossible to see clearly but it's still nice to see her live and in person.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
So here I am, clearly pregnant, having an uncomfortable moment in the cookie isle when suddenly I am buffeted aside by a late 30's woman and her male friend. No "excuse me" or even a warning grunt to let me know that they wanted the entire isle to themselves. Just a shove via their cart.
At that point I started paying attention to the reactions my pregnant self engendered amongst the Memorial Day shoppers.
Teenagers: Used their youth and vigor to rush way ahead of me, thus preventing any interaction.
Men over 60: Let me go first without making any eye-contact
Women over 60: Cut in front of me while looking me in the eye.
Women with kids: Not only made eye contact, smiled, and let me go first..but actually moved obstacles out of my way!
This last group universally had their arms full of children/food/purse but they still made the effort. It reminded me of Chicago when everybody would vacate their seats when a pregnant lady stepped on the train. I vow to follow these ladies example and be extra considerate to fellow mothers.
P.S. I can't imagine my Mother, Grandmother, or Mother-in-law cutting anybody off (pregnant or not) in the supermarket.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Another photo from the lovely Nancy of our office shower thrown by the good folks at St. Edward's University. Thanks especially to Karen for pulling the whole event together. Excellent lady Karen.
Last Thursday the lovely folks in Tony's office threw us a wonderful shower for our baby! The cake pictured above was made by Tony's colleague Michele. It was a carrot cake with lots of pineapple and perfect cream cheese frosting. There was a complete consensus among the partygoers that the cake was a hit. If you are in the Austin area and looking for a wonderful cake I would recommend Michele's services. I have her business email address if anyone needs excellent baked goods.
This photo was taken by Nancy (a fine friend and excellent photographer) who was kind enough to lend her skills to documenting the shower. Feel free to follow the linked photo above to her Flicker page. I am including a link on my blog to her excellent work.
I used the word "excellent" at least three trillion times in this post. Pregnancy has sapped my vocabulary reservoir.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Me: I wonder who has that job, throwing flower covered chicken through the cascading waterfall of spices?
Tony: Hee! Whoever it is should have an apron that says "Chicken Flinger"
Me: Ha Ha! Yes they should! And they should have seminars on "Breast vs Wing- the Aerodynamics of Poultry"
Tony: Yeah...Hey how hot was it outside?
Me: The car's thermostat said 101 degrees.
Tony: Huh, I guess that's why we're talking about Chicken.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
7:20am the phone rings and Tony stumbles into the living room.
"Hello? She's here! What does she look like? Dark hair, beautiful, just like her big brother. Oh, ok, talk to you later!"
This is an excerpt from the call my brother-in-law gave us on the way to the recovery room so we found out less than an hour after she arrived. I am so pleased for Karen, Toby, and (new big brother) Andy! Mom and baby are doing well and looking forward to getting to know each other over the Memorial Day weekend.
Now my kid is the only gestating member of the family.
(FYI: The picture is from a set of holiday stickers Karen commissioned from me last Christmas)
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
A: Babygate / swing / naptime
Q: How do I shop for clothes with a new baby?
Q: How do I manage a long stoplight in a hot car with an inconsolable screaming new baby?
A: Desperate Prayer
These questions were all asked at my first local Mommy Group meeting with the Le Leche League. The thing is that everyone else at the meeting already had a kid (or four) so the answers were all for my benefit. The ladies were very helpful. They were careful to reassure me every time someone mentioned something a bit scary. Like when one mommy mentioned the way her kid keeps gnawing on her nipples and wanted to know if that might end sometime soon. I must have had a freaked look on my face because another member of the group told me that not all babies chew on their mothers.
(Another Mom assured me that MOST babies bite but there are steps you can take to curb that impulse)
I enjoyed spending time with more experienced mothers. It gave me the impression that I might soak in their combined knowledge through some sort of airborn osmosis transfer. Maybe I won't have any freaky troubles with my kid. Because I went to a meeting!
Also they had donuts.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
The lovely condo belongs to my sister-in law Becky who was also co-host/planner for the event. This is a picture of Becky with my beautiful cousin India. I think you can see in the background my other lovely sister-in-law Karen (also a party planner/host) who is the cute pregnant lady in white.
Here I am talking to cousin Kristy and her new baby boy Josef. I am actually thrilled to be chatting with Kristy (who is lots of fun) but also being kicked in the ribs. This is my "Please stop kicking me baby" face.
We now have a baby monitor, activity center, Boppy, Bjorn, and backup Papasan. In case the first vibrating Papasan doesn't suit the kid. I didn't even know that it was possible for a baby to reject an expensive soothing device. Cathleen clued me in to reality and let me know that her third baby completely rejected all his hand-me-down soothing items and would only accept a new baby swing. So it's good to have a back-up on hand just in case. These folks have such great kids. Their eldest daughter (Ella) went through our kid's future books and let me know which ones were more appealing and which were a waste of bookshelf space. Ella was much more diplomatic about the loser books than I am, she is a very polite girl.
Right now Tony is engaging in the soon-to-be rare treat of napping. Later tonight we plan to see a movie (also a rare treat for folks who are saving for house/baby). I am so grateful for all the wonderful items that our friends brought us as my to-do list has shortened drastically with their help. I am also incredibly nervous about the unavoidable reality that there will be a baby up in here very soon.
We also painted our room blue. Just for the fun of it.
Happy Mother's Day to all the ladies out there raising the kids up right.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Our family dog B.J. passed away. This happened about two weeks ago and I hadn't intended to post about it but I came across these pictures and felt like he deserved a bit of memorializing.
B.J. was half coyote and half golden retriever. Though a complete snuggle bug (see pictures above and below) he was definitely more coyote than dog. You would pet him and he would look at you like a random stranger might if you began petting said stranger on the head saying "Who's a good boy?!" Confused but polite.
B.J. in his illustrious career as a survivor has; been run over (three times by the same missionary's van), beat prostate cancer, lost most of his teeth, had all the cartilage in his right hip deteriorate, and been shot.
B.J. originally came to our lives when we moved to the Hopi Reservation in my Freshman year of High School. A few months after our beloved golden retriever Buddy ran away from our rent house this scrawny dog-creature appeared looking like "Buddy J.R." and thus he was named and became part of the family.
The incredible thing about B.J. is that he not only survived all sorts of doggy tragedies, but he thrived and completely recovered from ALL of the injuries I listed above. He even grew from a 30 pound dog to a 70+ pound dog. I'm not talking fat, this dog was all muscle. He grew like a goldfish when you put it in a bigger bowl. B.J. was always a conundrum to our vet. At every visit the vet would make us swear that this was the same dog, as B.J. just kept getting younger! Now, most of B.J.'s medical miracles were due to my Mother's (and sister's) monetary sacrifices and ongoing tab with a great vet.
On B.J.'s last day he managed to eat pizza (just the crust) and take a nap in his favorite room before passing away very quickly. I felt terrible for my Mom and Sister since they had to deal with the logistics of burying a 70+ pound beloved dog. Mom said that we should wait to buy a dog for our kid so that she will be out of the house before the dog dies. I didn't feel better about B.J.'s passing for not being there to help them. So I would disagree.
Here is a final shot of B.J. snuggling with his favorite person, my sister Jesse. I have obscured her face in this picture because as an adult Jesse is a teacher and I have seen enough newsmagazine reports about students making fake MySpace pages of their teachers to dare post a clear picture of Jesse as an adult.
Still, even though you can't see her face her affection for this silly dog (and his for her) is very clear.
This is the final bikini I mentioned in my last post. When I was in middle school we lived in Phoenix and had a pool. I was in that thing almost all the time. When the temperature would spike at 120 degrees (though a dry heat) I would walk home from school, out the back door, and straight into the pool. No point in changing clothes or taking off my shoes. Just right into the water until my brain cooled off. Good times.
I have obscured the face of our neighboor's daughter but the other girl in this picture is my sister. Such a cutie with the sassy finger gun!
Evidence of the site's popularity is that the author (Heather Armstrong) was featured on the Today show this week. For some reason Ms. Armstrong was subjected to a reporter/ celebrity host dual interview by Kathy Lee Gifford and some reporter I didn't recognize. I'm not fond of this format. The viewer is robbed of a proportional amount of actual information from the guest they presumably tuned in to watch. I know that folks who attended South by Southwest paid a small fortune to hear Ms. Armstrong talk about her road to blogging success, but I suppose the Today show knows their business.
I saw a clip of the interview this morning and the subject of privacy came up. Specifically whether it was a good idea for Ms. Armstrong, and indeed any blogger, to post about their children complete with pictures and intimate details. Actually, that topic was more intimated than clearly stated. Kathy Lee Gifford scrunched up her face and said "I'm not gonna make any judgement at all but there's something that worries me about it. I don't know enough about computers obviously, I just know about my fears about computers." In response Ms. Armstrong brought up the point that all these parents who blog about their kids (the Blogfathers, Sweet Juniper, etc) are reaching out to other increasingly isolated parents to say that the work of parenting is difficult, and that it is ok to be overwhelmed.
I enjoy reading these blogs even though my little sprout hasn't made her appearance quite yet. Long before becoming pregnant I felt that reading parent blogs were a way of preparing myself for the daily reality of constant child care. Plus it's fun to hear intimacies about people you'll never meet. My own comics have an element of that innocent (I hope) voyeurism if you don't actually know the participants. I have even found some of the blogs to be immediately helpful like when Bethany of daveandbethany.com recommended the great customer service of gDiapers or when Dooce told a cautionary tale about how to tell when there is a wild animal in your fireplace .
On the other hand I am not a spooky freak show out to do dirty things with random kid pictures online. Nor am I a lazy graphics editor who will steal cute pictures of kids for random ads without parental consent.
But much like Kathy Lee I am a big fraidy cat about all things online due to my own ignorance and paranoid freakouts. I don't ever post pictures of other folk's kids (without permission) because I don't want to bring down parental wrath. I worry every time I swear online, mostly because I worry that my Mom might see it, and I hardly ever post pictures of myself.
Being pregnant feels like a free pass to post pictures of myself, since the point of the picture is not how good I look but how much my circumference has increased since the last time you saw me. And let me tell you buddy, I am ROUND.
Here is something for the "too much information" file. Almost half of my rotund tummy is blanketed in stretch marks. I'm sure they are way beyond the norm. The stretch mark lotion that I apply every night without fail? DOES NOTHING.
In actual fact I don't really care about the red marks. I have never really been a midriff baring person. My last bikini was worn thin by my thirteenth birthday and retired. However, this is the kind of pregnancy intimacy that someone else might like to know. Your fancy skin cream? It may betray you, even if you have no family history of stretch marks and you probably (like me) won't really care.
All of this blog/privacy musing brings me to my actual point. I am going to take many pictures of the kid when she arrives, should I post them here? I am full of conflicting feelings.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Even though a snake was sighted in the backyard only hours ago Tony braved the wilderness and cut back an explosive shrub at the request of a neighbor. I was really worried that he might get some sort of creepy crawly on his toes and asked him to use boots instead of sandals.
As it happened Tony found the boots to be no protection against nature. I'll let him tell you what happened.
"I was cutting a branch off a bush by the back fence, and when I was tossing a felled branch out, I saw and felt something fall from the branch into my protective boot. Then I felt a little something scrabbling in it. So, rather than freaking out, I looked down and saw a gecko trying to climb out of my boot, but one of his feet was stuck to my sock. Then he saw me and decided to retreat further into my boot. So, I gently took off my boot and he dropped out and ran away into the bush. The boot went back on, and I finished cutting the branches."
Writhing up from the slots in our deck was (a much smaller version of) The Snake I saw in our garage! I blithered "SNAKE!! SNAKE!! TONY COME LOOK!!" Which totally freaked out my Mom until I explained that the snake was on the other side of our sliding glass door. Tony ran to the door and saw the snake wiggle out into our overgrown yard and disappear. So I'm NOT crazy! It does exist! In fact Tony is outside trying to find it again to take a picture even though I am scared he will be eaten whole.
Ok, no luck on the picture but we found this similar looking snake at texassnakes.net:
The website says this bad boy is non-poisonous, thank goodness...
Tony says I must link you to this site in celebration of the snake: badgerbadgerbadger.com
As I mentioned before, my Mom came into town and made curtains for our new home. Here are Mom and Tony carefully determining the definition of "level". The resulting curtains are lovely and a huge relief, because our back door faces directly into our neighbor's back window. Nice folks, but I think they were tired of avoiding eye contact with us every evening.
Speaking once again of great family. This was the gift from Tony's brother Toby and my Sister-in-law Karen. They got us this combo stroller/car seat/ base unit for the kid. Karen was very careful to get the stroller that I was most interested in (for safety reasons) and she even made me specify which colors I liked best. We were thrilled by the gift. Also a little bit terrified, because now we have a concrete "There is definitely a baby coming" sign sitting in our living room. No backing out now.
They also agreed to be the Godparents for our baby which was a great thrill for us and had nothing to do with the lovely gift. We cannot be bought. But we do love presents!
I am playing the part of Vanna White in this picture because of two requests for "bump progress" pictures. As you can see, I am pretty round.
Like I said in my last two posts. I have been very lucky in the in-law department. My Husband's parents not only helped us purchase this house they also helped us move all our furniture from the crappy apartment. My Father-in-law was actually ill at the time but he still made the drive, rented the truck, and lugged furniture. My Brother-in-law Mike (for the second time in 5 months) moved all of the really heavy stuff, including a huge steamer trunk that we bought on a whim years ago in Chicago.
The folks also brought us an antique chest from my Mother-in-law's family that my own Mother found very impressive. My Mom told me that I am forbidden from changing the baby on such a fine piece of furniture. My Mother-in-law suggested that a glass top for the dresser might be a possible solution. Tony suggested that we purchase a changing table from IKEA, which was the eventual solution.
They even brought us four excellent dining room chairs that were "liberated" from a college storage unit. Really these chairs wouldn't have been used by any other human being if the folks hadn't found them. It was meant to be.
The photo above is their latest baby present (there have been several already). My Mother-in-law knows that one of my fondest wishes is to rock our baby to sleep in a comfy nursery chair. She suggested the chair that had rocked Tony and all of his siblings. The family rocker had in fact been rocked into the ground and is just barely hanging on at this point. So the folks bought us a new one! My Mother-in-law was very careful to make sure that I really liked the chair and wouldn't prefer another. As a rule she doesn't believe me when I state a preference. Seriously, I love this chair and I can't wait to use it!
The kid in my tummy is blessed with a great family on both sides of her genetic stream. She should have nothing to complain about in the family department. So...she's never going to rebel...right?
One of the hosts had just moved into a beautiful 1950s condo a few days before the shower, the other host was herself 8 months pregnant. Together my glorious sisters-in-law threw me the prettiest shower in the history of time! They made tiny cupcakes and had cookies frosted with the shower details. My sweet Mother-in-law made lovely finger sandwiches (a nod to the traditional X-mas tea mentioned in the last post). They invited all of the friends and family that they could find in the DFW area. A few folks missed out due to my failure to give a proper address. See, I suck at party planning.
It was incredible good fun! The ladies even handed out "advice cards" for my baby book. Here are some of the best:
"I suggest making some quiet time to just listen and feel your baby moving inside you."
"My advice to you is just to ignore everybody else's."
"Once she starts eating solid food - avoid giving her corn!"
The best part of the whole event was having an occasion where my family (my Mother, Grandmother, two Aunts, and two Cousins) was able to interact with Tony's family. They all know each other but they rarely have time to all relax and enjoy (spiked) punch together.
Of course I brought my camera. Who wouldn't on an important occasion like this? However, if you were to ask me "Holt, did you take the camera out of your purse during the festivities?" The answer would be, "I'm an idiot."
Happily my Sis-in-law Karen (who is very clever) gave her camera to one of my energetic cousins and she took loads of pictures. I haven't downloaded these pictures from Karen's camera yet, but when I do I will post them.
It was a wonderful party, and I hope I can repay these ladies for their kindness very soon.
"You don't marry another person, you marry another family...so make sure you choose people you can live with until everybody's dead."
Sage advice. Though it is tough to vet all possible relations before you sign onto a joint checking account. I have listened to many a horror story from friends and family about the in-law(s) that seemed delightful in the wedding haze but was in actual fact, the devil. Right now I have a flurry of friends who are coming to this realization.
A smattering of rage-filled comments I have been witness to recently:
"His brother sells crack! Why did no one tell me this a year ago?"
"Apparently I am too white (asian/hispanic/native/catholic/gay) for my father-in-law to deal with."
"My Mother-in-law hasn't spoken to me in seven years."
"She addressed the package, 'To Paul and his Whore'...what do you think that means?"
Don't you just want to sympathize with these folks? Maybe give them a snuggle and say, "I know just what you're saying, in-laws are tough. We're in this together buddy." Unfortunately, I'm not qualified to reassure anyone.
The thing is... my in-laws are Magnificent.
Here's a for-instance: My Sisters-in-law? At our first Christmas gathering as a new family these girls realized that my Birthday is close to X-mas and were worried I might get overlooked in the present department. So they decided to take me out to English Tea for the express purpose of giving me birthday presents. Then they repeated the tradition EVERY YEAR.
When I became pregnant these two wonderful ladies deduced (accurately) that I was planning on skipping a baby shower. I had just moved to Austin and didn't know many people here. Plus my parties always suck. I am not gifted in the party planning department. Check out the next post to see what they did for me.