Saturday, February 28, 2009

33 Weeks

I find myself having difficulty "beaching" myself comfortably these days. Can't lay on my stomach. Can't lay on my back. Don't want to sit up. What's left? A rather creative side-laying twist position that I've started to master. A few days ago I think the scale said I was up 28 pounds but it also kind of looked like 27 and it quite possibly could have read 37 (but probably not). This probably because my eyesight has also degraded quite a bit. I have trouble seeing at night even with my glasses. I've read that it's another sign of pregnancy and should return back to normal once I pop the little being out. I'll keep you updated on that. As far as weight gain, I'm pretty much on track to gain 40-ish. I think. I hope. And I'm perfectly fine with....I keep telling myself.

I had my 32 week appointment on Wednesday. I'm pleased to announce I've achieved another imaginary gold star of pregnancy to add to my wall. BP was 117/64, no abnormalities, hea
rd the heartbeat, measured within normal range. All is well in Hotel Maureen. On the plus, my doctor told me my weight-gain is perfectly fine and steady. She also remarked in surprise when I pulled up my shirt for the measurements that I had no stretch marks. Double woohoo! I went ahead and scheduled my 36, 38, and 39 week appointments. As I was doing that, it hit me that I'm that close to having this baby. It's still a bit surreal. I'm trying to tell time to hang on for a bit because I'm not ready but another part of me is about to explode with anticipation and can't wait for the clock to tick sooner.

Here's 33 weeks:

I've been struggling these days over finding outfits that 1) Fit over my ginormous belly 2) Are comfortable and 3) Don't make me look like a beached whale. I've already succumbed to the notion that fashion does not precede comfort. Yes, I'm ok with this. But it doesn't mean that I'm not at least putting effort in trying to attempt some sort of style. Thus, I've decided to share any interesting style tidbits I put together. I also got this idea from another blog I enjoy reading. She has the benefit of being petite and can make most outfits work well for her. However, for the rotund, like me, we're still screaming for solutions to the madness. Therefore, I introduce "Fashion for the Lumpy Bod" Part One:

Non-maternity sweater dress, xlarge maternity sweater, and belt are all thrifted. Tights are the amazing maternity tights that make the belly nice and perfectly round-- love them! Boots from Nordstroms Rack. Total cost: around $70. Cheerio!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

32 Weeks, 1 day and SURPRISE!

So, yesterday afternoon I headed to what I thought was a lunch date with Cory and Michelle to find out it was a super secret surprise baby shower with a bunch of my girlfriends. It still didn't click when I found Cory sitting there alone at a six-seater table, or the fact that she had made plans with me a month in advance, or even when I saw Regina in the parking lot strolling up to the front door (I thought maybe it was one of those rare coincidences). It only struck me as rather odd that Regina seemed far less surprised to see me than I was to see her. As I started to put the pieces together in my head, Cory smiled at me and told me she'd expected me to be late. The one time I'm not, it's at my own surprise shower! And I thought I was being good!

It was so exciting! I couldn't stop spazzing out I was so excited. Here's the 6 of us after lunch:

Displaying how the nursing gown works:

Showing off the awesome homemade fleece outfit Cory made for my little guy.

World's softest blanket:

I also received some pretty exciting reading material, a bunch of cute toys, a basket filled with nursing items, a diaper wallet, baby massage oil, and on and on. I have a feeling we'll have a spoiled boy on our hands!

So, because the weather was so beautiful, I had decided to walk to the restaurant (about 3 miles) to get some exercise and soak in the sun. However, I had not anticipated having to carry home all the gifts! Of course, I had no trouble getting a ride home. As soon as I dropped everything off, I pounced off to Whole Foods, excited as can be to tell Dave about the surprise shower.

So anyway, it turns out Dave is super jealous that he isn't in many pictures with the belly. So, in order to appease the anxiously awaiting father, we took a family portrait last night:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

32 Weeks

For 32 weeks, I present you side and front angle and bad hair. Dave took these last night and my hair has a habit of flipping out whenever I'm photographed:

If you look really closely you can see... NO STRETCH MARKS!!! Well...thus far.... I'm basically banging my knuckles on the wood coffee table right now.

However, my belly is stretch-mark friendly-- I do have the faint stretch mark scars of my rounder belly days. Perhaps this is what's keeping me line-free at the moment? Years ago I stretched myself out to nearly 250 pounds. Stretching out for a mere 8 pound (I sincerely hope and cross my fingers for) baby? Easy! Skin is surprisingly elastic, as I've discovered. I'm also guzzling water like there's no tomorrow and lathering up on the belly oil, even though there is no scientific proof that oil will actually help prevent stretch marks. Bah! The label says it will so I will blindly trust that instead of....*harumph*..."scientific evidence".

I spent last night in bed the reading my book for class watching my belly jump and stretch and contort into odd positions. It's fascinating. I wished I had had my camera with me to film these acrobatic feats. However, as soon as Dave came in, as usual, all quieted down on the home front. The little squirmer (belly jolter) is mischevious like that.

So I've discovered that I'm becoming one of the most fascinating people walking down the street. Since probably just yesterday alone, I've received about three double-takes, a handful of awkward glances, some all-out smiley stares, and the occasional ogle. Trust think you're being sly, but I can tell you're staring at my ginormous belly. Yes, even the quick glance-down trick. It's sneaky, but I'm not oblivious. Hell, I see my ginormous belly every day, each time I try to even attempt looking at my feet.

I had one lady follow me to the bus stop the other day. Actually, it was more like she turned around a few times to stare and then basically stopped until I caught up and proceeded to walk along with me. She told me about her estranged son and how he was having a baby and that I would have a beautiful baby. Very sweet, actually. A guy at the mall did about three obvious backward glances, including the turn-around-and-stare-while-walking-backwards trick until he finally congratualated me.

Ok, but I have to also admit I LOVE TO SEE OTHER PREGNANT WOMEN!!!! I can't help it! I ogle, I stare, I even POINT! I saw one at the grocery store a couple nights ago and elbowed Dave repeatedly..."Look, another pregnant lady! Look how cute her belly is! Look, I'm pregnant too!" The best part is when you and another pregnant lady lock eyes and both burst out into ginormous all-knowing smiles. It's like our own pregnant lady club.

Oh and strollers! I have to stare at each stroller as it passes by these days. I check out the make and model and then I strain my eyes and obnoxiously stare at it looking for the baby nestled deep in the cavern of the carrier. I can't help myself. I'm baby-obsessed!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

31 Weeks, 5 days

I woke up this morning so hungry that I thought I would throw up! I ravaged the kitchen and poured a bowl of cereal and banana down my throat. Still hungry.....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

31 Weeks, 3 days

Tonight Dave and I toured the Labor and Delivery ward at Kaiser Sunnyside, where I'll be having the baby in two short months! I was so happy to find the facilities were quite nice. The delivery rooms were equipped with a tv, dvd, cd player, lighting control, temperature control, additional bed, and individual bathrooms with bathtubs. There are like 5 or 6 birthing balls available, birthing beams/bars, and a jacuzzi! The tour guide compared the pain relief of a jacuzzi to pumping oneself full of narcotics! As far as baby monitoring, the tour guide instructed us that they'll initially hook us up to the monitor but if everything's fine, We'd be free to roam around. If I needed to be constantly monitored, they have a portable wireless monitor to encourage mobility. How awesome is that?!! The postpartum rooms were even nicer and all had views. They were also brand new! They completed construction on them two months ago.

Most of all, I loved the tour guide! Turns out he's an OB but he claimed to have never actually "delivered" any babies - only "assisted". He is insinuating that it is the mother that "delivers" the baby. He also told us his perspective on labor was that it was natural and your body knows what to do. Each labor team includes one nurse, one midwife, and one OB. It seemed like they had a healthy balance between the "natural" birth and the hospital support available, which is basically what I'm hoping for. After the tour, I feel pretty confident that the labor/delivery teams there will be supportive and encouraging to my birth plan. I am quite relieved to know I have these choices available.

On a completely different topic, my thighs and calves are sore tonight! I did about an hour of stretching and yoga when I got home this evening, which included a lot of repetitions from a standing to squatting position plus holding in various thigh-heavy poses such as Princess pose, the Warriar poses, and a lunge. I'm trying to beef up my thighs for labor. They'll be rock hard by the time I'm ready to push this baby out! I can't say much for my upper body strength these days....try doing any upper body weight-baring exercises with an additional 25-26 pounds on one's frame! Let's just say, I could hardly do a push-up before I was pregnant, it ain't happening now!

As far as the last entry about my mom, it felt really really good for me to get that out. Writing it down, relieved a lot of pressure that I didn't realize I had. I appreciate the support.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

31 Weeks, 1 day

I've just realized that there's this huge part of my pregnancy that I've completely ignored-- probably both consciously and sub-consciously. On the conscious level, I try to avoid delving into things that are negative, that may cry out to my own "pity party", or that cause me to face issues that I almost forget are plaguing me. Sub-consciously, this process has become automatic, out of years of practice. I almost avoid the negative aspects to a fault. I mean this is mostly a good thing, since I really feel like I spend more time enjoying more of this process. However, I'm blocking out certain things at the same time that are really important.

The point that I am prolonging is the fact that I cannot share this experience with my mom. I am deeply disappointed that she is not here to experience this with me. I have so many unanswered questions about my own birth and childhood that I will never learn about. At times, I am overpowered with jealousy for those going through this that have their mothers around to consult. Those mothers for shopping trips, movies, goofy late-night phone calls, and even tear-stained conversations about love and loss and all of the in-between. She passed away just as I was leaving those self-involved teen years and I never got the chance to really form my adult relationship with her-- that to this day I sincerely crave. Perhaps I'm romanticizing it a bit but I can't help but wonder how things would be if she were still around today.

Of course, I am lucky to have a fantastic relationship with my Dad. We talk nearly every day, and more often now that he's retired. However, when it comes to my pregnancy, he's frankly "a guy". He doesn't express himself the way that my mother would.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I need to let some of these thoughts loose once in a while. My life is not all butterflies and gumdrops like I'd like to pretend it to be--- although it is pretty darn good most of the time. Perhaps writing it down will help these emotions feel a little less convoluted. Sometimes it is just so hard to think about the fact that I will never be able to talk to her or consult her that I try to force it out of my mind as soon as I can. You know, pretend like there isn't anything missing. So here I am-- accepting this void. It's a part of who I am and of the mother I am going to become.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

31 Weeks

31 Weeks:

On swelling and physical activity:

I've been lucky to experience very little swelling so far. Only just this week have I noticed my ring getting uncomfortably tight. This happens towards the end of the day and usually after working out. However, I'm not sure if it's the pooling of water, or I'm just getting chubbier. Last time I checked, I was up 25 pounds, but I'm pretty sure it's even higher now! My face seems rounder and my legs are starting to get that tree-truck look to them. *Shrug*...the main thing is that I still feel strong and healthy-- although a bit achier in general towards the end of the day. I've been doing yoga 3-5 times per week along with walking or light cardio activities. I've really been keen on the recumbent bike and light jog/walking intervals. Per doctor's orders, as long as I keep my heart rate below 140, I'm fine! I judged how I was doing during the race last week by the ease of my breathing. It started getting a little heavier close to the 1st mile mark, and even though I felt pretty good, I stopped to walk when I reached it to be safe. From all the literature I've read, since I was running frequently and doing yoga before I became pregnant, I should be able to do it moderately throughout my pregnancy.

On my neighborhood:

I live in a little niche in Portland that is reminiscent of the small town enclosed within the larger city feel. I love every inch of it, from the hole-in-the-wall diner, the park, the retro theater and even to the local homeless (yet seemingly content) couple that say hello to me each morning as I head to work. I took a few snapshots as I was heading back home this evening:

Laurelhurst park near the duck pond. During the big snow storm, the entire lake froze over. I found all the ducks nestled in a patch of mucky water at one end of the pond that had somehow avoided the freeze. I think it was the combined body heat of all the ducks!

Down 28th near Staccato Gelato. This is my favorite hangout in the summer. Nothing beats lazying outside in their plastic orange chairs or bench and licking up sticky gelato as it dribbles down the cone on a hot summer day. They light it up during winter nights and people still pile in for cold treats on cold nights until 10 or 11 at night.

The cavern of leaves and branches I walk through daily. The roots of these trees have broken the sidewalk up so much that during the rainy season, it is often unpassable. There's a house nestled in on the right that looks like it ought to be situated in the middle of the woods because the yard is so overgrown.

This next building juts out about a block down from the tree cavern. It is home to Pambiche-- which serves up giant platters of delicious (and fragrant) Cuban cuisine. In fact, I have a breakfast date with my Dad and Grandma here tomorrow. Yum! Next door sits the local laundromat (with the giant 4-load washers). I've always fantacized about living in the apartments above. They're so me!

Next door is the building that used to house the Velveteria, or Velvet Painting Museam. It has since moved a few blocks over to Burnside. This local specializes in that which is often considered less-than-special. Now, due to the museum, Velvet painings are starting to make a comeback. They're not quite to the likes of Monet or Degas, but they're making progress. There's something so very Portland about the Velveteria. If you've never been there before, Dave and I will have to give you a tour. It's only like $5. Last year, Dave even got featured on a news special about the Velveteria where he was quoted, "It's not Picasso, but it's art." Now I call this building the bamboo house because the windows are draped in bamboo.

I was so lucky to find an apartment I love in the neighborhood I love. I'm looking forward to having a little one scampering around my own stomping grounds!

Monday, February 9, 2009

30 Weeks, 2 days

The Fanconi Valentines 5k was this Sunday downtown at the waterfront. I found a cheap pink tee-shirt on clearance and sewed a red felt heart on the belly to sport at the run.

It was awesome! It was a bit cold in the morning and I was only in a thermal and the crafted tee-shirt but once I got warmed up, it was perfect! I felt really good and went ahead to run the first mile with my friends. I slowed to a walking pace at that point only because I didn't want to push myself too much. Scarlet ran ten miles on Saturday so she hung back with me and we took turns walking and jogging the rest of the route. I also got a bunch of comments on the shirt!

Afterwards, we all went out for coffee (decaf for me ;)) and chatted for a while. At the run, someone handed us fliers to a free yoga class up in the pearl that started at 11. We all decided to truck over there and check it out. It was a lot of fun except the instructor was what I call a "boot camp" yoga instructor. I don't think I'd take another class from him because it was too, what can I see, personal trainer- like? I just felt like it was way too fast moving for an effective yoga class. I'm sure it'd be great for strength training and endurance but it just wasn't my bag. It was fun though.

We found ourselves starving after the high-intensity yoga class and all headed out to Henry's for lunch. I downed a ton of bread, a green salad, and a small pizza in one go. I figured I had earned it! Here are the four of us prior to the run:

On Saturday night, Cory, Dave, and I all went to see Conan the Barbarian at the Laurelhurst. As many of you may know, I am a sucker for really bad 20-year-old action flicks. This movie is probably one of the best ones out there. I mean, the historical portrayal is spot-on and we get a snapshot of Conan's (Arnold's) childhood relationship with his father, which really allows the movie-goer to sympathise with Conan's plight. It is fantastic.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

30 Weeks!

Supposedly, going forward, my little guy is going to put on a half pound a week for the next 7 weeks. What a little porker! I feel like he's popped out a ton this week and just looking at last weeks photo, I think he really has. I too feel a bit more like a porker these days. My thighs have started competing for real estate lately and my hips are getting wider. I'm trying not to notice.

I put some effort in attempting to get some reading done for class today (I did get in a good ten pages on the current American economic crisis, Reganism, and the deregulation of the market), however I found myself distracted by nice weather and random run-ins with old friends.

As I was headed to get a cup of decaf and hunker down over my book, I get a call from Megan, whom I hadn't seen since my birthday party in July. We were amid chat fest when suddenly I heard her scream my name, which happened to coincide with an additional screaming of my name from a nearby vehicle. I turned to find her screaming from a car that was driving down the street I was walking down. I screamed and jumped in return (mental picture of 7 month pregnant lady screaming and jumping at cars).

This inevitably resulted in a giggle-fest, reminiscing over our crazy youth days of making forts and trying to sell pine tree perfume. She, her younger sister and I then spent the afternoon enjoying gelato, and strolling through Laurelhurst park.

The three of us enjoying the sunny winter weather:

My personal defense system:

Showing how "useful" being pregnant can be:

We haven't changed much (circa 1990):

Thursday, February 5, 2009

29 Weeks, 5 days

My pelvis aches. It feels like I rode my bike for four hours. It's totally normal, though and I guess I can chalk it up to my aches and pains of the third tri.

I am excited, however, that I officially did something productive this week. I scheduled a hospital tour! I also tried to schedule birthing classes but they either didn't fit in with Dave and my schedule or they were full. I opted instead for the cheaper DVD courses and booklet, which just arrived today! I also signed up for a breastfeeding class at the beginning of April (yes, a mere 10 days from my due date). I really doubt I'll be in labor by then. I mean I was about three weeks late when I was born, so I can't imagine my own child will be any earlier than 41 or 42 weeks. We're a stubborn bunch. I just can hope that my own child may be a little nicer to me than I was to my mother.

Dave is a little over a month cigarette-free!!! I'm so proud of him! He really hasn't had much difficulty with the transition. It took his lungs a couple weeks to adjust but he seems to be doing fine now.

The little squirmer is poking his limbs out under my ribs these days. It's a very unusual sensation and I can't ever quite get used to it but it makes me laugh every time. I can actually feel it protruding and I've had to poke a limb or two back in a couple times. He seems willing to oblige until a few minutes go by and he shoves it out again. He also had a dance party last night when I was reading in bed. Good times.

Monday, February 2, 2009

29 Weeks, 2 days

I woke up at 4:15 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. I kept thinking about baby strollers, car seats, bottle nipples, nursing bras, gliders, diapers, onesies, etc. etc. etc. and baby registries. These images were violent and if I didn't get up now and figure it all out, I'd never get back to sleep. So I went online and redid all the items in my registry that were worrying me so. There are just so many things I worry about getting before the baby, it's hard to keep it all straight! After the baby showers, I can think of them as glorified shopping lists with all my preferences already selected out for me. After all my hemming and hawing, I finally settled on two registry locals: BabysRus and Target.

Anyway, apart from the neurotic I-can't-sleep-because-of-all-the-things-I-need-to-do-this-very-minute problem, I can't stop thinking about how incredibly lucky I am. Perhaps it's the pregnancy hormones that's turned me into a pile of mush, but I've basically been so ridiculously in love with life lately. Dave is so sweet and puts up with all my neurotic tendencies. His family has been so incredibly supportive. I can't wait to be able to meet them all at his brother's wedding in May with my little guy. My Dad is helping plan out a wedding that seems over and above everything that I'd ever expected (frankly, I'd have been happy renting out a campsite and holding a potluck!). I have wonderful network of friends that are almost as excited as I am about this baby-- even if I have not been as in touch with all of them as I ought to lately.

On a completely different topic, Angel brought up the question as to whether or not I was considering anesthetics during labor on one of my previous blogs. I've been considering just about everything. I've devoured every book I have on the topic and come to one conclusion: I don't like any of my options for anesthetics. I just can't help but think that labor is something to be experienced. Of course, this is coming from the non-experienced perspective. Overall though, I'm hardly nervous (surprising). I'm actually looking forward to it. I've been gaining a lot of confidence in my own abilities because of the prenatal yoga classes I'm taking. The teacher is a doula and training to become a midwife. Every class, she says something so inspiring about natural childbirth and I've really taken it to heart. We've practiced breathing techniques in class and working to let myself go. I'm devouring reading material on natural childbirth and have started drafting some birth plans that can help prepare me mentally and physically for it (although no preparation will ever be enough, I know). I know it'll be the most unbarable pain of my life but I feel like it's something to be experienced. I have to keep in mind, however, that there is no way to plan the perfect childbirth. If I am doomed for a C-section, then I'll have to face that when it comes. I'll probably scream bloody murder for pain medication at some point but I feel like I can get through it if I have positive support. Finally, if all else fails on the unmedicated front, my preference would be the low-dose, walking epidural. I don't ever want to be completely numbed that I can't feel anything.

I'm still wired but I know if I don't try and go back to sleep, I'm going to be a zombie all day.