Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bassinets and a Cold

I wish I were a minimalist sort of person when it comes to 'stuff' that one likely doesn't need... but no matter how much I try, I don't seem to be able to rein in the desire for items that seem really, really necessary - but which I know on one level are absolutely not necessary at all. And so having a baby gives rise to this opportunity to have more extremely important stuff... but stuff that you could likely get away with not having.

So I'm trying to determine what we'll really need, versus what I would just like... To be honest, since we're planning to co-sleep, buying a crib was a difficult decision, and so we decided to invest in a crib that turns into a toddler and then a full size bed. And I don't know if co-sleeping will work out...

But the question is whether we will need a bassinet? Jen pointed out that the little one naps very nicely when in a sling, and then there is always a comfy laundry basket with a blanket, etc. And my mum has just ordered a lovely babysit which, from the reviews, the baby can nap in... but, an actual bassinet?

Most of my worries about NOT having one relate to my concerns about co-sleeping and wanting the poppet to have somewhere secure to sleep in a basket/bassinet which is in the room with us (obviously). And then there are the naps.. because I am not in the least bit confident that I won't need a bit of time without wearing the babe. Oh, and this is where lots of guilt becomes entangled in this relatively straightforward decision... Oh my.

If we decide to get something, then there are lots of other decisions about what we should get... a bassinet, a moses basket, a pack n' play, or something else entirely.

Thoughts, anyone?

In other news I am feeling quite, quite sorry for myself as I'm lying here on my sofa, surrounded by cough sweets, water, tissues, and juices trying to get some relief from this cold which feels worse everyday. What was a sore throat last Thursday evening is now a rather horrid cold. Sleeping is very tricky because as soon as I lie down I start to have a coughing fit, and so last night I slept (sort of) propped up with some pillows. This is not a comfortable way to sleep. I even broke down and took tylenol as my head is pounding and my sore throat is not liking the constant hacking cough. And has anyone experienced the lovely sensation of acid reflux burning an already very sore throat... Oh, delightful!!

I know that pregnancy is meant to lower your immunity, but I'm a bit taken aback as this has completely wiped me out.

Fortunately those lovely fruit shakes I've been making help with both the nausea and throat stuff.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

79 days...

It's the final day of classes!! We have meetings, the grading of finals, etc. to do but the semester itself is finally at an end. I am teaching 2 summer courses, but they're both online. I have yet to construct one of the courses, though, so the next few weeks will be hectic. Working from home, though, will be fine, and I suspect that something to keep me busy during June might be a good thing.

I have been feeling extremely smug about having avoided all colds this year.. in fact I so rarely get colds that I often feel smug.. oh dear, because now I have a horrid head-cold. I barely have a voice (much to everyone's delight, I'm sure), my head is pounding, and I have a nice little cough to boot. I know that pregnancy lowers your immunity so I shouldn't be surprised that I feel so rotten. What doesn't help is that the poppet is enjoying squishing my lungs, at the moment, making it difficult already to breathe.

The delights of pregnancy :)

The time is really ticking now, though. Just 79 days to go.. and on the basis of my last scan it's more like 68, or something! We're slowly getting ready. I painted precisely one wall of the nursery and Rich has been doing the rest. Hopefully, we'll finish it this weekend - and that includes the furniture up, etc, too.

After class I'm rushing off to Babies R Us to buy a rather delightful organic bunny bedding set which is on sale until tomorrow... What do you think?

Now, though, I'm rushing off the class...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

must do more yoga...

I've not been doing very well at all in following my 'plan' to avoid feeling stressed... So much for yoga, meditation, hypnobabies practice, etc. And so today is the day when I turn this around...!

Every few days, when I wake up at 1am-ish for a trip to the loo, I am startled to note that Poppet isn't moving as much.. if at all. And no matter how many times this happens with everything turning out just fine (i.e. he is kicking up a storm by 4 or 5am), as soon as my 'night mind' latches on to the thought that something might be wrong I lie there awake - WIDE AWAKE - for hours in a semi state of panic. Feeling him move a little bit doesn't necessarily take the fear away, either...

Last night was one of those nights, except that it took me even longer to get back to sleep. Perhaps the little tyke is helping me prepare for his arrival!? One thing that I have noticed, though, is that a very stressful day leads to both increased nausea and vomiting as well as a nerve-wracking sleepless night. It's a bit of a vicious cycle, too, because as I lie there worrying, I have all sorts of thoughts about the preceding day's stress harming the poppet, which elicits guilt and more worry and, yes, of course, more stress!!! I worry I overdid it in the gym, that my level of frustration during the day did something to the placenta's ability to provide nutrients and oxygen... I worry that I walked too far, lifted too heavy a weight, that my crossness with the stupid breakdown service (which never turned up to fix my flat tire) caused some sort of trauma..

Of course in the morning these anxieties somewhat dissipate, but in the middle of the night, when everything feels more compelling and ominous, these thoughts are so real and frightening that I lie there somewhat paralyzed.

Thus today is the day when I really start to be mindful of keeping down the stress. After a lovely early morning at the gym and walking with a friend, yesterday turned into an utter shambles. As inferred above, my car had a flat and we spent the entire DAY sorting it out. It was was one of those infuriating days when everything you have planned has to be canceled.. which is stressful in itself. I also don't do too well keeping my crossness in check when a big corporate breakdown service fails to provide a service you pay for. Grr.

IN the end I called Kate and Dave and Dave and his son Taylor(!) helped us out :) THANK YOU DAVE!!!

Now, though, I am behind and have to cancel all the fun plans I had for today to catch up on the chores and work that I didn't do yesterday.... But I'm going to make some time for some yoga and I'll spend at least an hour or two working through some of the hypnobabies material.

Namaste, everyone :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Poppet on Film: Part Three!

The beginning is a little dull, but forward to around 2:30 minutes and you can see Poppet doing all sorts of cute things (if you can work out the body parts). He winks, rubs his little eyes with his fist, and is basically all around sweet.

28 weeks

We had our 28 week scan this morning. I had a bit of a scare in the night when I woke up and realized that I couldn't feel the little guy moving. He is usually extremely active at 1:30 in the morning... and so I lay there trying to prod him awake, I went downstairs and grabbed a very cold drink hoping that would stir him. Not much did. I could feel some gentle movements when I really prodded, but for two hours I lay there worrying. I eventually nodded off back to sleep at 3:30, only for my alarm to get me up an hour later. Of course he was moving around at 5am - and I was glad for that!

As ever, I was a bit nervous about the scan. Rich requested the usual Russian sonographer (also a medical doctor) and we were fortunate that she was available. We saw immediately that he was bouncing around.. and that he looked great! Some of the highlights:

He is a BIG fella. His head size is measuring almost 2 weeks ahead, and his abdomen is not far behind. He has little legs, though (like his mama, it seems), but he weighed in at a whopping 2 pounds 9oz which means he's measuring over a week ahead. In spite of all the sickness this little guy is really growing. We watched him 'practice' his breathing - which is apparently a great sign as his central nervous system is powering up (I may be making that part up!). Oddly enough he already has HAIR!

The Dr. said that this was quite unusual at such a young age, but then asked if I was still sick? She responded that the same powerful hormones growing his hair are the same ones that are making me sick as can be.

So, we have a monkey-baby on the way, with a huge head and shortish legs :)

I'll post a couple of DVD clips later - but if you watch it you can see how he opens his eyes and winks at us, pokes out his tongue, and then very sweetly rubs his eyes with his bunched up fists. He started sucking on his hand at one point.. very adorable :)

Hiding from us....

Sticking his tongue out!

Here he is winking at us :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hungry with no appetite.. just lots of aversions.

A quick hello and update...

I saw Deb today for my 28 week appointment. We went over my test results and all looked great. Last week my bp, when I was supine, had been around 85/55 - or something like that - which I'm sure was not helping with the dizziness. While I've been feeling pretty fatigued again, and quite lightheaded, even with rest, I have been feeling better for the break from work. Today my sitting BP was 110/70 - perfectly normal.

And yet I still have been feeling those symptoms.... with no sign of anemia, or anything else, for that matter, we talked about what could be contributing to the extreme fatigue. Whilst I have a bit of a lupus rash on my face, I don't think what I'm experiencing are lupus related things, and since no underlying factors showed up in the blood work then we talked about how my diet might be contributing to these symptoms.

I didn't gain any weight this past two weeks (just 12 pounds to date), even though the poppet was measuring perfectly. But the sickness, nausea, and food aversions have been terrible, and I've even been taking zofran twice a day - instead of the once that I was getting by on. How can I be 7 months pregnant and still suffering with this dreaded sickness? This past couple of weeks have been especially bad, though. I am often hungry but have zero appetite, and it's not just a lack of appetite, I feel like heaving when I think about what I should eat. Foods that are fine one minute are undoable the next... and I feel as though I am fast running out of options. I will be honest and say this is pretty miserable.

I find it easier to eat food that's prepared by others - and since Rich is a terrible cook I only ever eat food prepared by others when we're out. I have even been going through restaurants, too!! I was regularly at Panera the first few weeks of pregnancy but developed a strong aversion to soup. After a few months i managed to go back and was eating their salad... until I was extremely sick after I ate it in Florida. So, Panera is out. I was also regularly eating at Whole Foods... and, alas, that's out, too. I am a little worried that I won't find anything soon.

Any ideas?

Recent new aversions: oats, oatbran, etc., most cereals, veggie slices, some salad, some protein powders, veggie burgers (that was new of last night), potatoes, most grains...

Jeepers, there are very few things that I can even consider.

Things that I can still eat with little trouble:

oranges, apples, melon, usually toast (helps to eat it in a restaurant!), some brands of soy milk, tomato sandwiches, chocolate covered raisins, bananas, one type of Luna bar, grapes, sometimes soy yogurt with raspberries, blueberries...

Please please please let these aversions magically disappear when the poppet arrives. I used to salivate over my favourite red pepper hummus and pita and now the idea of them is nauseating.

Still... despite all this, everything is great with the boy (though did I mention that I STILL refer to the poppet as a girl!!?). Deb, thankfully, thought it would be okay to skip the glucose test for now given that my blood levels last week showed my level to be around 72.... I don't think I'd have stood a chance of keeping orange gunk down!

I would love it if anyone has any ideas about things to eat... and if someone wants to cook for me, well, that would be lovely too :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

baby shower excitement!

I don't know what to blog about... our baby class, which we attended yesterday, or the upcoming shower. I cannot express enough how excited I am about the shower! I am not a huge celebrator, and generally avoid the fact, for example, that it's my birthday. Even when I received my doctorate I decided against attending graduation and don't recall that we did anything whatsoever... and then there are anniversaries and holidays... well, we're useless. I don't love the spotlight, either, and it's partly what compelled us to have a tiny, tiny wedding. We had just a few guests, we organized everything the week before, and did absolutely nothing special... well, we did head to the cinema and watched the horror film 'Red Dragon' on our wedding night... The idea of lots of people coming to a wedding whereby I'd (we'd) be the focus was a little horrifying, and yet here I am as excited as can be about our upcoming baby shower!

Jen, David, and Sage are hosting the shower at their home. I really feel so grateful to them... what great friends we have. We have a 'green theme' for the shower (organic, natural, environmental, etc). Jen picked out a few templates for the invitations - all of them based on a woodland theme... all were beautiful but we eventually picked one out. We're having the shower on May 16th, with a rain date of the 17th planned. It's a vegan/veggie potluck event, and hopefully it'll be warm and dry so that we can spend some time outside.

I've only ever been to two showers (we don't have them in the UK), and my sense is that they weren't especially traditional ones. Like the ones we've been to (Jen's and my friend Kate's) it's going to be co-ed, and I don't recall playing games.. so maybe we won't be playing games!! We have registered... and while it does feel a bit icky to list things that we want people to buy us (eek), we're at the same time so very appreciative.

Of course I'm also a bit nervous about the shower. Will people come, will Rich faint or pass-out when he has to open gifts in front of people (he enjoys being in the spotlight even more than me :) ), will my very diverse friends get along... and what will I wear (also read as 'what will I be able to squeeze into)?' At least I don't have to worry about a family member getting very drunk... :)

Even with some of these anxieties - which might ordinarily put a stop to any thought of celebration or festivities - I'm really excited. It feels like such a wonderful, affirming thing to celebrate a new addition to a family.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Here's the new addition...

Here are the first pics of baby Rory Samuel. What a cutie. He's 7 pounds 5 oz.

Tomorrow we have our intensive baby class at Mercy. I'm quite excited about it! Will report tomorrow about what we learn. I'm also doing a home study program called hypnobabies...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

hello third trimester and new nephew :)

EDITED to add photos of past weeks

Depending on which source I confer, the third trimester begins either at 27 or 28 weeks. I'm going to opt and go with the source which says 27 weeks because I surely feel as though I am in the final tri!

Almost 16 weeks

19 weeks

23 weeks

And here's me at 27 weeks - almost SEVEN months - pregnant. Wow, I really don't feel THAT big! The funny thing is that from one side my tummy looks perfectly fine.. from the other side there's a great big bump poking out, seemingly randomly, where the little poppet has some body part jabbed into one of my vital organs... Oy, I do look a little deformed :)

I am carrying HIGH! I feel like a big egg!

Here's a close up of the odd bump... any guesses as to what part of the poppet it corresponds?!

In really exciting news, my sister had a little boy this morning. Rory Samuel weighed in at around 7pounds 5 ounces. Everyone is doing well. I'll post a pic as soon as I get one.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

rest, rest, rest

I have been feeling really 'off' this past few days. It's hard to explain, precisely, but it's a combination of lightheaded-ness, breathlessness, this weird breath work (almost like a double inhale when I lie down) and a tingling in my legs and arms. Added to that a headache and just a feeling of weakness everywhere, and it's not been the most enjoyable time. Yesterday at the gym I was on the elliptical and noted how much I was slowing down. I usually do 6-7 miles with not much effort, but yesterday everything was off. I struggled with a VERY slow 6 miles and kept on slowing right down to bring my heartbreat down.

Needless to say I was a little worried and didn't workout today! But this morning, after feeling pretty good, I was in class and suddenly felt very faint. I was in the middle of lecturing and out of the blue I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen and started to feel heavy and dizzy. The tingling in my legs and arms was quite disconcerting and I found myself burning up. I caught my breath and sat down to finish the lecture. How fitting that we were discussing healthcare delivery :)

I ended up calling the Dr's and since Deb was not there I saw another Dr. We did some blood pressure readings in various positions and they changed by quite a bit. My pressure lying down seemed very low and what was most notable - apparently - was the relative shift between that reading and the standing reading. I had some blood work done to check my thyroid (not sure why), blood sugar (I think!) and a blood count... I think that perhaps I could be slightly anemic, or something.

I don't think it's anything serious but the Dr. asked me to take a few days off - which means no work and no exercise, etc. At least it's not complete bed rest. Honestly, though, while I don't mind missing a department meeting (!) I could go out of my mind as I am not known for my ability to sit still!! So, expect updates every 10 minutes.... !

Sunday, April 12, 2009

quick update

It's been a few days since I last wrote... and so now I am closer to 94 days to go. Yikes. I woke up this morning feeling like a truck had hit me. The third trimester is clearly approaching fast. Depending on the source, the 3rd tri begins either at 27 or 28 weeks. I can't believe how this is flying by.

We had a busy week... work, as usual, was frantic. Jen gave a wonderful talk on campus on Friday, which I was so happy to attend. it was on women and health and it reminded me of how fortunate I am to have Deb as my doctor through this pregnancy. Frankly, I have heard of some horror stories about mothers being given interventions that just weren't warranted. Added to that the paternalism of much doctoring - especially when it pertains to child birth - and the medicalization of something that is, after all, a pretty normal and natural phenomenon.

I had an appointment last Monday and everything looks great. We began to measure fundal height a few weeks ago and, once again, the poppet was right on target. My BP was fine, too. I've gained a total of 12 pounds - which is probably a lot more this week - because, despite not changing much in the way of eating and exercise - my body keeps going through these massive growth spurts. This week is the week I am scheduled for our monthly tummy shot. Wowsa, you guys will be shocked!! There is just NO mistakin' that I am pregnant. Now perfect strangers feel comfortable announcing my pregnancy to me.

Anyway, we also talked about birth plans.. or, more specifically, our possible preference for a water birth. Deb is very open to the idea.. and even if we end up just laboring in the tub I feel really good about it all. Next week I also have to go in for the dreaded gestational diabetes test. Given my record drinking juice lately (I'm invariably sick) I am not confident about being able to do the proper test - which involves drinking 50 grams of carbs in some orange gunk. Nancy, my lovely prenatal massage therapist and PT, suggested that I eat a breakfast with the same amount of carbs... there are menus, apparently! We'll see... hopefully I'll feel okay enough to just do the regular test.

Talking of food... I am really looking forward to the day when I can enjoy food again. I haven't really enjoyed anything I've eaten this past 6 months. If I'm hungry I often don't have an appetite, primarily because nothing really sounds appealing. However we did go to the Green Elephant last night, a lovely vegan/vegetarian restaurant in Portland. The food is excellent. And even in my nauseous state it tasted pretty darn lovely.

Going out to dinner was part of one of my plans to spend more time with friends... well, it was very nice, but, unfortunately, I woke up feeling dreadful this morning so we didn't get to spend our Easter Sunday with Jen, David and it was a very low key Easter. I painted one wall of the nursery.. this will be slow going!

Here are some decals and pics and bedding we're hoping to get for the nursery.... to go along with the woodland/forest theme


In even more exciting news... Jen and I have been emailing about the baby shower... we're shooting for May 16th with a rain day planned for the 17th. I am really so grateful that Jen offered to host a shower for us. I will have to write a post about it tomorrow. But, really, I am really, really excited about it - and feeling very grateful that I have such lovely friends.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

99 days

That's all we have to go :) That feels both like a LONG time.. but also like no time at all. I feel quite a bit better that we have some things ordered and that we're planning the other things. Today I booked us in for an intensive birthing class at Mercy, and our hypnobabies home-study course arrived. We'll see how they go before we decide whether we want to take a hhypnobirthing class with someone Deb recommended.

I am a hopeless procrastinator so I'm going to write a quick list of things that I want to do - or be more consistent in doing between now and THEN :)

1) Yoga... I feel so much better when I do it. Tonight was the first time I'd done some in weeks. I'm going to sign up for a prenatal yoga class at Maine Med.

2) Start working through the hypnobabies home-study course! I know that I could put this off until week 38, or something!

3) Paint the nursery.

4) Relaxation techniques: guided imagery, meditation, etc.

5) Spending time with friends...

There are many more, of course - mostly revolving around cleaning and painting and tidying and sorting.. and then there's the outside to contend with.

I have a feeling this next couple of months will go by quickly. Just three weeks of school left.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


What a busy weekend. In between grading, going to the gym, and cleaning up, we visited Toys R Us to check out cribs. I've been looking online for weeks trying to find a crib made of eco-wood and non-toxic paints. Alas, unless we mortgage the house (again!) it'll have to be a compromise. I found one that's made out of solid wood and non-toxic paint, at least, and was able to invest in a really great organic mattress without the horrible toxic stuff they usually put in them. We also went and picked up some non-toxic paint to start on the nursery....

Here's what I ended up ordering online (I also ordered a changing table to match the crib).

We decided to buy a crib... We plan to co-sleep but we plan to have him nap!! Just in case we don't use it very much, we invested in a crib that turns into a toddler bed and full bed.

We decided to invest in an expensive, organic, non-toxic mattress. Boy, was it expensive!! $300 was more than we spent on our kind sized mattress :) But this got super reviews, and from everything I've read on SIDS a mattress is really key.

We bought a maxi cosi car seat to turn the stroller into a travel system. The car seat has fantastic safety reviews and is very lightweight.

I also started to register for stuff. I feel very odd doing this - though also so grateful that we might get some help :) We're planning on a green theme for the shower (thanks, Jen). I will need help with some shower etiquette, people!Shoppin

Friday, April 3, 2009

time for a change...

What a misery I've been this week! Fortunately the end of the week brought with it some perspective.. and some optimism. So a quick lulu list...

1) I was coughing all night and feeling very ill and even had Rich cancel my wonderful prenatal massage appointment.. but, thank goodness, I felt better later this morning and managed to get to the gym. Ive been using the elliptical whilst pregnant and since it's non-weight-bearing I don't feel quite so graceless. I also lifted some weights and felt grateful that I feel so strong and fit, even!

2) Even though work is crazily busy, I'm extremely grateful that the end of the semester is drawing to an end, and I'm extremely, extremely grateful for being granted leave in this fall. Thank you!

3) I ordered the home-study hypnobabies class on Wednesday. Time is moving so quickly...

4) Rich is putting cream on my feet, as I type, and I am very grateful for that.

5) ... and having the poppet.. and how, despite all the sickness, that this has been such a healthy pregnancy thus far.

6) Whilst I have a lot of longing for family and belong, etc., I have really a lovely surrogate family in the form of my friends. And for you readers, too :)

7) Very excited that someone - Jen and David! - have offered to host a baby shower for us. What a lovely, lovely thing.

8) And, again, whilst the homesickness is there I feel more than fortunate that Deb is taking care of me and the poppet and that (all being well) she'll help see him into this world. It's very, very special.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

work, overwhelm, moan

Thanks, everyone, for both your help and encouragement with diapers/nappies as well as your lovely support re: comments from others...

Unfortunately this is not a terribly upbeat blog, either. May cannot come fast enough. Feel free to bypass the following whinge:

I'm not a happy camper this week. I don't know if it's being pregnant - and more tired than usual, combined with ongoing sickness, which I am really, really sick off now (no pun intended) - but I am feeling thoroughly overwhelmed with work. I almost wish that I would come down with something so that I could stay at home and hibernate, or, in the very least, so I could catch up. AS it is I'm in the midst of putting together a power point for a guest lecture I'm giving tomorrow morning. As I do it I'm looking at the stack of long LONG exam essays I have to grade this weekend (50, to be exact), as well as the notes and grades I have to write up for another class... and, oh, four letters of reference.

I am of course not alone with all this work. It's a busy time of year in academia. But I am really well and truly overwhelmed by it all. I don't want to do any of it. The thought of driving to campus tomorrow morning for this lecture just makes me want to cry. I could quite easily give up work and be a stay at home mama... at least for a bit, anyway. As I snuck in a walk late this afternoon, I thought about how wonderful it would be to focus on one thing (i.e. parenting) as opposed to a trillion different things that one has to contend with at work. I am feeling very lucky that classes end soon... though did I mention that I am teaching two summer classes... hopefully they'll finish before the baby comes :)

I've also found myself whimsically wishing that we lived close by to family.. or, in the very least, that we lived someplace where one of us had grown up, a place with childhood friends and easy connections which are familiar and easy. I've a little envious, even, of people who live close to their extended kin, who have their relatives popping over, offering to help! I think the poppet is bringing into sharp relief the fact that Rich and I are really not from here, and whilst we love it (and, goodness, our friends are just so wonderful) I do feel the melancholy of feeling as though I (we?) don't have the depth of belonging that I might like.

Well, this is cheery :)

I have some more positive blogs brewing... I promise!