Thursday, June 30, 2011

Last Day of Work... for FIVE MONTHS!!!

I can't quite believe it, but between summer break and maternity leave, I don't go back to work for five whole months! (I'll spend a couple days in September in the office to make sure everything is set up for whoever the temporary medical provider is... but I will safely disappear again before the children return.)

It feels wonderful and strange. I'm happy to not have to commute on the subway anymore. That's been the hardest part -- it just wears me out.

Eating a Big Gay Ice Cream cone in Union Square last night, celebrating my second-to-last day of work.  (My medical assistant cut and straightened my hair at work -- we were "practicing" for my maternity photo shoot in a week. Did I mention it was really quiet at work with the kids gone these last two days?) The picture doesn't really capture the size of my ankles and feet.

Now that I've got more free time, I'm bound and determined to be better hydrated, and also to try putting my feet up really high and see if that helps with the disturbing swelling going on down there. Really impressive goals, I know!

I also want to finish my online lactation consultant courses (even though it looks like it will be impossible to complete the clinical hours), to start doing squats to prepare my leg muscles for labor, and to continue Hypnobirthing (and Kegels).

In other news, my belly now props up my breasts -- how strange!

Saying goodbye to brothers Matthew (left) and William (right). They are such lovely boys -- so affectionate and sweet -- and I have loved watching them grow up these last four and a half years. Matthew now goes on to the gifted and talented middle school nearby, and William will start at a small specialized high school in Williamsburg. William hugged me goodbye at least four times. I will miss them!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ultrasound at 34 Weeks

I had my growth scan today, scheduled in case I hadn't gained weight at the prenatal visit yesterday (which, it turned out, I did... see previous post). Just as I was finally called in, I got to see my pregnant teenage patient (and her less-than-delighted stepmother) come into the ultrasound unit to schedule her ultrasound just as I was finally called in. I'm glad I got to see her, and hug her, and wish her a good summer.

I made the mistake of asking the ultrasound technician, "Um, can we just double check to confirm the sex? Everyone keeps telling me that I'm carrying like it's a boy. Even though I know you are extremely competent and thorough?" (I may not have used those exact words, but I was careful too be dismissive of my concerns and assured about her skill.)

So, of course, I got a short lecture then, and a long one later, once off the table (when I was about to faint from low blood sugar... I finally just whipped out a granola bar and started munching, hoping she'd take the hint... she didn't... after I finished eating and started to open the door to leave, I think she finally wised up.) The gist of it being: other ultrasound technicians may make mistakes, especially at those fancy-schmancy 3D ultrasound places that charge too much... but never her.

I digress.

Lentil's body parts all measured spot on for 34 weeks. Her heart chambers were opening and closing beautifully (I saw this myself, she didn't actually tell me this). Her heart rate was perfect. Her femurs looked long and strong (to my untrained eye). Her kidneys looked... like kidneys are supposed to look, I guess (I don't have much of a frame of reference for this). And her weight is right around five pounds!

According to Baby.Center, at 34 weeks, the average weight is 4 and three quarters pounds, so four days later... five pounds sounds about perfect to me!

Despite her warning me that it's very hard to get good pictures of the baby this far along -- too crowded in there, and the fluid pockets are too small -- the technician gave me several nice ones. One good one of the face, another of the profile, and a third of her (unmistakable) labia.

Okay, I guess I can go ahead and wash the pink neck-stabilizer-for-the-car-seat thing now. This is one of the only new things I've splurged on for my girl. Everything else has been a gift or purchased used of my local parents' listserve. But it was just too cute to be resisted -- fuzzy white on one side and quilted pink flowers on the other.

After that, I scurried off to our School Based Health end of the year luncheon slash baby shower for me. I got a card stuffed with cash, which was nice but feels a little weird, somehow, plus a few sweet gifts. I will have to bundle up the cash and find something specific to buy with it for the baby, rather than using it for groceries. Harder to remember with cash than a gift card. My former social worker came as well as our former medical director. She got there late, so we sat for a couple more hours in the backyard of this restaurant, enjoying the slight breeze and the shade and the birdsong, and catching up. I don't always miss her as a medical director (too thorough, to the point of making me crazy sometimes, which sounds like a good thing but can really hamper productivity), but as a friend, she's amazing.

The children had their last day of school today. And I have only two more days of work left! Developing "fat" feet today, not just ankles, makes me feel incredibly grateful that I don't have to be schlepping to work in the heat and final weeks of pregnancy. Of course, I'm so eager and impatient for my girl to arrive, and would rather have the time with her... but still, I've been getting tired recently. It's hard to imagine working right up until the end, too. And if she happens to come right on her due date, we will still get almost four months together, since I get twelve weeks off once the school year starts (regardless of her arrival date).

And finally, seeing her little face today... and not just marveling at the miracle of it, which I still do, but also feeling like, "isn't she just the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?"... makes me feel like not just an incredulous pregnant patient.... but also like a mommy.

How did I get so lucky?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thirty-Four Weeks

How about that round-ass belly???

I went to the midwife today and yeehaw, I gained four pounds!

I don't really get it, since I feel exactly the same as all those times I didn't gain... you know, BIGGER... but my  midwife was pleased and I was pleased to find that I didn't really care much one way or the other. I was worried that I was secretly gratified not to be gaining much, and well, if I was, I let go of it pretty easily. So I think I was more likely mystified. I've been pretty, uh, solid the last few years, so it certainly wasn't what I was expecting.

Of course, I had assumed that the weight wouldn't have changed, again, so I finally caved and made an appointment for an ultrasound to check on Lentil's growth. And they had an opening for tomorrow. The midwife said I might as well keep it. So maybe I'll have some fun photos to share!

I'm also hoping they will verify the sex. Someone on the subway said to me on Saturday, "Oh, so you're having a boy!"

Um, no.

At least, I don't think so.

Would it be better to know now, with all those pink outfits prettily organized but with time to change them out, or to find out at birth?

I'm not sure.

My blood pressure was nice and low, I think 110/60. My cankles didn't put in much of an appearance until later in the day.

Okay, if you have a weak stomach, skip the last section. Seriously.

On the advice of a friend, I asked my midwife about her management of postpartum depression. I've struggled with depression (dysthymia, really) in the past, but have been pretty much happy as a lark (however happy they are) throughout the pregnancy. I'm seriously hoping this sticks around, but also trying to be realistic and well educated. So she recommended... and I am not making this up... encapsulated placenta.


I was hoping that this was some Chinese, ground up, essence-of-placenta-without-really-being-placenta thing.

But no.

She would come to my house, and cook up my placenta (I warned you!) and then somehow put it into capsules.

For those of you who are thinking that I get what I deserve for using a midwife... she is a hospital based nurse-midwife.

I was trying not to make gagging faces, so I just commented, rather mildly (I think),

"wow, that might be too groovy for me."

She said that she has a patient taking it now, a woman who suffered from PPD with her first child. She describes her dose of encapsulated placenta as "like a five o'clock cocktail." It helps with mood and also, apparently, energy levels.

I know animals eat their placentas -- very high in iron as well as keeping the potential predators at bay -- but I am pretty skeeved out by this. And I think of myself as pretty open minded.

So please, if anyone has anything positive (or otherwise) to say about this, feel free to chime in! (Although if your comment is "ewwwww," I must warn you, I thought of that already. But feel free, regardless.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Strange Pregnancy Maladies

Pregnancy has taken a turn for the weird this week.

The last four days, my belly has been noticeably bigger than the previous day. Yesterday, this happened during a nap. I've noticed little growth spurts before, where suddenly things look bigger than the previous day... but never has this happened multiple, consecutive days.

So now I'm wondering: is this going to keep happening every single day?

Because I'm suddenly getting to a place where things feel a bit crowded. The shape of my belly is a bit more like a loaf of bread (sticks out in the middle, narrower on the sides) and less like a basketball than it was before. The separation between breasts and belly seems to be shrinking, such that now I'm more of a wall o' belly than huge bosoms plus a beach ball.

Two days ago, Tuesday, my legs were a little sore when I got up before work to do a [very short] workout on the elliptical.

Sunday I had gone for a very long walk in Prospect Park (at one point, I wasn't paying attention to the crumbling asphalt I was walking on, and literally fell off the path. It was impressive. I got up, peered around to make sure no one saw the pregnant lady take a tumble (no one noticed) and dusted myself off. I have some good looking road rash now but am otherwise well.)

Anyway, Tuesday morning, I figured, with some glumness (is that even a word???), that my fitness has taken such a nose dive that even a long walk (a slow sauntering/waddling through an urban park without substantial hills) could make more sore these days. So I continued with my (easy) workout. 

At lunchtime, I went out to grab a bite, and noticed that my legs were really hurting. By the time I got back to work, my right leg was throbbing. Walking home from the subway later that day was really quite uncomfortable.

(Oh, I forgot to mention, I had already spoken to the midwife that morning, worried because the baby seemed very quiet. She didn't do her usual post-decaf-iced-coffee dance that she likes to do. One pouch of disgusting fruit punch from my clinic refrigerator later, she was back to her active self... and I was a little sheepish, though mostly just relieved.)

So I got home and texted the midwife to let her know that while The Girl was reassuringly active, my leg was really bothering me. My medical self was, of course, worrying a little about DVT, deep vein thrombosis. We pregnant gals are at increased risk for them. After a few texts back and forth, my midwife instructed me to call, which I did. I giggled and nonchalantly reviewed my symptoms with her by phone, sure I was being a total hypochondriac, but just puzzled. Nothing sounding like a DVT (heat, redness, point tenderness)... but it didn't feel like a muscle ache, either. After two and a half hours of rest on the couch, it felt better... until I got up and walked to the kitchen. Then the symptoms returned -- a throbbing extended from the bottom of my foot up both sides of my calf. 

Long story short, I made a remarkably easy trip to my employer and its not-so-local (to my apartment) Emergency Room. Membership has its privileges, yada yada yada. They whisked me right through, which was great. An ultrasound of my leg revealed.... wait for it... no DVT. I know, I was shocked too.

However, a rather pleasant surprise... the resident treating me asked if she and her student could practice ultrasound on me, since they rarely see women so far along in pregnancy in the Emergency Room (usually they are sent to OB on the third floor). So I got a nice view of the girl, the first time since 24 weeks (when I last freaked out and went to the hospital, that time for so-called decreased fetal movements... I got an off-the-record ultrasound then... have I mentioned that membership has its privileges? it's good to work for a hospital, sometimes), including.... a beautiful, head-on view of The Girl's face!!! It was incredible, seeing her facial features. She was beautiful. It made it all so real to me, that she's not just human, but a very specific human being. 

(Can I just say: it's ridiculous, how impatient I am to meet her! Then I start worrying about my magical powers, and how wishing I could meet My Girl sooner rather than later was really using them (my magical powers, dammit, stay with me here!) for ill, because who knows what sort of problems we might discover later if she comes too soon?)

I took a cab home, my leg still throbbing painfully... and woke up the next day with... wait for it again... zero pain. 

Yesterday, though, was horrible, because I was so damn tired from my long night. Even though I got a decent amount of sleep, by pre-pregnancy standards (and probably a great night by the standards of a lot of other pregnant women... just not mine, because I am spoiled), about 7+ hours, only it was very frequently interrupted (by the sun and my internal alarm clock) from about 5:30 AM on. I was at work, where it's dead quiet, because the high school students are done with classes and the younger ones are mostly off on field trips... and I was just so miserably tired that I finally just left. Our administration does not approve of this, and we're supposed to walk to the hospital (somewhat near my job) to get cleared by employee health... but I called my friend in Employee Health, who almost certainly doesn't know this rule, and she thought that was dumb. I couldn't reach my administrator, so finally I called my medical director, who likewise doesn't know this rule, and she told me to go home. 

Thus cleared, I went home and took a two hour nap. Then I met a friend in the city for an early dinner, and went to bed very early again. I had such a strange night, waking up multiple times. I woke up at 3 am with reflux aka heartburn. I don't get it. First, this has never happened to me before. Second, and this is true with me and heartburn in general... aren't you supposed to get it soon after you eat??? I only seem to get it hours after you eat. In this case, I ate dinner starting around 6:30 or a little later... so why would I get reflux eight hours later? 

Do you get reflux (heartburn) when you're hungry? Because I felt like I could've been a little bit hungry by that point. But what sounds appetizing at 3 am, anyway??? 

I popped a few papaya enzyme tablets (new discovery, and SOOOO much better than Tums! try them!) and went back to sleep until the next wake up call.

I felt fine today, except despite getting up early, I couldn't convince myself to work out (I took yesterday off as a precaution against Throbbing Leg Syndrome). I'm usually pretty good with exercise, such as it is these days, so I don't know what to make of that. "Work," if you can call it that, was fine. I went to the 8th grade graduation and then went out to a very long lunch with my former, and totally awesome, co-worker. Those kept time in my actual office to a brief minimum. In the afternoon, a few kids showed up, so I gave an asthma treatment, filled out a college forms, and dispensed some Plan B and condoms, and called it a day.

I got home, after a SLOW trudge from the subway station, and my mom called. She kind of irks me on my best day, but talking to her today was particularly annoying. The bluetooth connection was hard to understand (she only calls from the car... why waste her free time at home on a phone call? but already-wasted time, such as on the commute home... what better time to call? my sister's even luckier... she gets the calls on the way to work. Because who doesn't want to chat about her day as she's trying to get the kids out the door to school?) and it just felt too loud. My mother reminding me that first time babies "usually come late" and that "just because my babies came early doesn't mean yours will" just annoyed me. Is it the fact that she's my mother that everything she says bugs me? Or is she really that annoying? Or maybe both??? It's hard for me to put my finger on it. 

I've been cranky ever since. The fact that my cursor picks up and moves to a new spot in this mess of a blog post every thirty seconds or so isn't helping. (If anyone knows why this happens, or how to fix it, PLEASE let me know.) I finally took a nap at 7 pm, just to take a break from myself, even though I know it's likely to mess up my sleep tonight. I need to tidy up because I have company coming tomorrow, my cousin and her daughter, but have zero motivation.

What is happening to me? Suddenly, in the last four days, life feels different and harder, and certainly more tiring. I have FIVE, count them FIVE days of work left. (Then summer break starts, not my maternity lenave.) Please let me get through them easily and graciously. 

(If any of you made it through this whole post, you deserve a medal. Seriously.)

In other news, a relative (through marriage) just confessed to a fourteen year habit of bulimia and anorexia to her husband, my relative that I am close to. I have talked to him several times in the last week, and I'm really sad about this. It's also giving rise to weird body insecurity, mostly wondering: if she thinks her (gorgeous) body is so bad, what must she think of mine???

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thirty-Three Weeks

Things are going pretty well. I woke up one night this past week, repeatedly, with pain in my back and hips. Pain I didn't have when I went to bed. This was the conversation I had with myself.

"Wow, that's some kind of pain!"

"Yeah, I know, crazy!"

"Where did it come from, you think?"

"I don't know! It's weird that it wasn't even there when we went to bed."

"Right??? You think we could be in labor?"

"Wow, labor!"

"I know, wouldn't it be trippy???"

"Totally! Only... wouldn't there be.... CONTRACTIONS if we were in labor??? Because this pain is pretty steady, and contractions would be starting and stopping."

"Ohhhh.... Yeah, good point. I guess we're not in labor."

"Oh well. In that case, I reckon we should go back to sleep.

"Sounds about right. G'night, then."


(Yes, I really do have conversations with myself.)

Lentil did a crazy stretching or bouncing up and down thing today, such that I felt pressure at the top and bottom of my uterus at the same time. It felt pretty odd. She's also taken to bouncing on my bladder at random times, which feels quite disconcerting.

I keep getting this rib pain, but only my right side, which is actually quite bothersome. But I haven't had to resort to Tylenol yet.

My ankles are looking a little better today -- I've been spending time flexing my foot back and forth, with the thought that perhaps it would aid circulation, and it seems to be working. I also read that lying on my left side would help with this, so I've been trying to favor that side... who knows, maybe that is having an effect? Or maybe it's all just a fluke. Yesterday's standing around made things pretty narly (?sp) looking down there. Maybe my long walk through Prospect Park today helped, too.

And in non-pregnancy news... yesterday I went for a "hike" (a half mile each way) with my new gardening friend, Mylinh, and her friend Jess. We took Metro North along the Hudson River (spectacular views!) to Croton on Hudson. It's a nature preserve with a beach tucked into a little nook off the river. What we didn't know was that there was a huge music festival going on there this weekend.

Reading the line-up made my heart hurt, but at $85 a ticket, it didn't make sense to buy one, given that we would only be there for a couple of hours.

(In case you can't read it, the line-up includes Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Dar Williams, Indigo Girls, Suzanne Vega... some of my favorites! And yes, they are playing to a certain demographic... the one that can afford to live in Westchester! I heard the haunting sound of the Nields singing, too, while we were walking around... they aren't a big enough name to make the poster, apparently, which makes the line-up all the more impressive to me!)

We had a beautiful time swimming and hanging out on the beautiful beach, and I promised myself that I will be back next year for sure, baby in tow! I'd love to make a SMC Father's Day Weekend tradition of it. Anyone else want to go?

(This spot would also be wonderful for camping and hiking on other weekends... there are lifeguards on duty, and beautiful trees, and no doubt beautiful nature trails as well. The beach would be perfect for little ones. Indeed, there were lots of them there. And check out the backdrop of the Palisades across the river!)

God, I love summer! (Nine more days of work!!!)

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Ahh, diapering.

Who would've thought that a topic so seemingly simple (into what receptacle shall my child take a crap?) could arouse so much passion?

Cloth diapering folks are indeed, so passionate, it's a little hard to wrap my head around it. They love cloth diapering. And I'm not against it, not by a long shot... it's more of a "huh???" reaction that I have about anyone getting that excited about bathroom business.

Given my attitude, it's surprising to me how much thought I've given this topic. I reckon I've got three four five issues to deal with here, at least:

  1. cost
  2. convenience
  3. impact on the environment aka guilt 
  4. efficacy 
  5. impact on baby's tush
(Isn't "tush" a funny word? Never mind "tushy!" I'm assuming it's Yiddish? All you folks in non-Jew land... do you use the word "tush" too?)

So cost is a big one for me. I've started to think about my unpaid leave, and it makes me awfully anxious. Then I remind myself that this is what I've been saving for all these years... this is going to be an incredibly special time in my life, one that can't be replaced. It's worth it. For sure. 

But even when I go back to work, because of needing to pay for childcare, money is going to be very tight, indeed. So cloth diapering services, at $35 a week, are out of the question for me. 

Whatever my solution is, it can't be too expensive.  

Convenience is key, too. If I was a stay at home mom, I would just wash my own diapers, and save lots of money, I am sure. But given that I don't have a washing machine in my apartment (I do have one in the basement of my building -- that was a non-negotiable with my latest move, since I knew I was planning to get pregnant... and even if I wasn't, I had come to the place where laundromats were pretty much the bane of my existence). Convenience is also a factor for daycare: that is, I am assuming they won't agree with a diapering solution that isn't easy for them. 

I assume that impact on the environment aka guilt is fairly self explanatory. 

Efficacy is probably self explanatory also, but just in case it's not... a diaper that constantly leaks is no good to me. 

Impact on baby's tush is pretty easy to comprehend, too. But beyond my desire to avoid painful diaper rash, I also worry about the longer term impact of having all sorts of chemicals against her skin. 

So today... drumroll please... I brought home 280 disposable inserts for the G diaper system (purchased at a steep discount via the local parents' listserve... this particular mom's baby grew out of them much more quickly than she expected). I also bought, via the glory of PayPal, six "Little G" diaper covers. Used. 'Cause I'm not squeamish like that. 

So the diaper covers and diaper liners (they go on the inside and create, I think, a moisture barrier between baby and diaper insert) get reused, and diaper inserts get disposed of. What's cool is that the diaper inserts can be flushed or even, if they have urine only, composted. (Whether or not my local community garden is down with composting my diapers is another question, one I have not yet addressed.) So there's no bad petroleum or other man-made items in there. A side benefit of flushing the poopy ones is that there's no smell lingering around the house! A potential negative to flushing is that you apparently have to poke or peel the layers apart to make sure it flushes easily. They sell a kind of stick for this purpose (of COURSE they do!).

The cost is a bit steep, to be sure... Twenty-six cents per liner if I buy them from Amazon via Subscribe and Save, versus sixteen cents a diaper if I bought Pampers Swaddlers from Amazon via the same. Of course, if I buy cast-offs from another parent, it could be even cheaper. Today's purchase worked out to 4.6 cents each!  

That doesn't, of course, include the cost of the covers. But I'm pretty sure I can get those used from the G diapers Yahoo group. 

So I'm excited to give this all a try and see how it works. I know it works great for some families, and not so well for others. Hopefully I haven't just thrown away a hundred bucks. But they certainly are cute, aren't they???

gDiapers Flushable Refills (Pack of 4)

(This is not my baby. I don't have a baby. Yet. Soon, I fervently hope!)

I also have three packs of NatureCare disposable diapers to use for the first couple of weeks, also bought from a local parent whose newborn stash was too big.

And finally, I'm hoping to keep my costs down somewhat by doing Elimination Communication. My friend Emily did this with her now three year old, and had unexpected success with it, starting at three weeks of age. She never meant to start this early, but she said that it was just obvious a lot of the time when her baby needed to go. And it was the cutest thing to see -- when she would put her tiny baby on the potty (stationed on top of the dresser), this little baby would grin. There was no doubt about it: she definitely preferred the potty. And the communication between them -- it was amazing to see.

Emily certainly wasn't trying to potty train at a world record age, it was more, as she pointed out, that why would she make her daughter crap in her pants instead of on the toilet, if Emily knew her daughter needed to go? And so I think little A was mostly diaper free at home, not including nighttime, by a few months of age. And Emily didn't need to use diaper wipes on the potty, just toilet paper, so all told, she saved a lot of money.
Of course, she used a nanny (certainly not a savings over daycare) who, while uncertain about EC at the start, was on board within a day or two -- A's signals quickly became obvious to her as well. I'm pretty sure my daycare will not be so amenable.

If anyone's interested, this is the book that explains how to do it.. and not to worry, it doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing. You can definitely do it part time. And you don't have to be a believer to try it out!

The Diaper-Free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative

Thirty-Two Weeks

Here I am at thirty-two weeks (though by the time I'm posting this, I'm already almost thirty-three... yippee!)

Both my belly and my ankles continue to grow.

I started my (home) Hypnobabies course last Saturday. I'm not very impressed so far... but according to them, you don't have to believe it's working, you just have to listen every day. So I'm listening. I alternate tracks each day, and then there's another track I'm supposed to listen to every day called "Positive Pregnancy Affirmations" that's the only track that's not hypnotizing. So I can listen to it while washing dishes or cleaning or what have you. It seems a little more logical to me. It keeps saying things like, "your body is doing a perfect job at growing your baby," and "your hemoglobin level is perfect." Okay, the latter one cracks me up a bit! Throwing in a technical word seems so... odd. But still, we hear over and over again what might go wrong... it's good to be reminded that most of the time, everything goes right.

Though I must say, I'm a bit confounded by how many people I know who have had C-sections recently. Shannon and Obernon, fellow bloggers (congratulations and welcome to Elsie! born today!!!!), plus my non-blogging friend, Sarah, all in the last month. All healthy folks with no significant health concerns, that I know, prior to labor. Okay, well, Sarah did have a brain tumor.. but that was a while ago, and that didn't have any bearing on her ending up with a C-section.

I don't really mind the idea of a C-section per se, it's the recovery that worries me. I really want to be up and about and active as soon as I can after labor. I'm not looking to set any world records, but I don't want to have trouble getting to a standing position a month after giving birth, either!

Oh well, one more thing I can't control!

Speaking of which, I've done really well and have totally let go of worrying about my sister or anyone else in terms of when I go into labor. What will be, will be!

I helped my friend Emily successfully find an apartment today... less than two blocks away from me! So that's one more person who will hopefully be nearby if I need help. She's a fellow SMC (though we were friends long before I embarked on this journey) and has an adorable three year old, so that limits her availability somewhat, but in a pinch, if she's around, I know I can count on her. And my darling medical assistance even offered her help, too!

Last night my friend and colleague, Elizabeth, and I went to a Department of Health focus group about Expedited Partner Therapy for chlamydia. Who would've ever thought that a discussion about chlamydia would lead to so much laughter? Gallows humor, maybe?

Earlier in the week, in the midst of a totally jolly, impromptu conversation about the need for rectal chlamydia and gonorrhea testing plus anoscopy (Pap smears in the butt) for MSM (men who have sex with men), I started to get woozy, so I pulled up a stool (not that kind of stool, a stool for sitting on, silly) and said, "all this talk of gonorrhea and chlamydia is making me hungry," and unwrapped my Cliff Mojo bar. It was delicious.

Anyway, due to my "late night" last night, I woke up this morning to work out and thought, "no way am I going to make it through the day at work." Now that the high school students have finished classes for the year, the clinic is very quiet. And dragging through the day, exhausted, is miserable. I've been exhausted most afternoons as it is. So I called in sick. I don't think I've ever called in sick so unexpectedly before, except for when I had Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome and couldn't stand up without feeling like I was going to faint (I STILL need to write that experience up). But it was nice. Although after going to see an apartment nearby with Emily, and then going along to the broker's office to fill out paperwork... I was totally exhausted again.

The last week I've been feeling more tired again. Stairs are mostly easier, but I seem to be needing more sleep again... at a time that I was worried I might not be able to sleep. Thankfully I'm still sleeping "like a baby" (that's a joke for all the new moms out there).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Strange and Scary Experience

Last night I went to see Book of Mormon, the new musical on Broadway by the creators of South Park and Avenue Q. It was awesomely, wickedly funny! But had some redeeming social merit as well, I thought.

The only bad thing during the first act was that the seats seemed remarkably small and thus uncomfortable. When I commented on that to my friend, he laughed, and said, "maybe it's you that got bigger. The seats seem the same to me as always."


So by the end of the first act, I was really ready to get up and move around. The fact that we had an enormous cheese-based meal at Artisinal, just prior to the show, probably contributed to my discomfort -- the full belly plus the girl plus the tiny seat. I didn't really need the restroom, but figured it would be a good idea to go, anyway, so I made a beeline for it, as much as a pregnant woman can make a beeline for anything.

The back of the theater, moving towards the bathrooms, was crowded, and got only more so as I walked. The masses of people were moving more and more slowly, until finally we ground to a halt, as more and more people poured out of the aisles and down the stairs... and there didn't seem to be any movement at all towards the one staircase that led to the bathrooms. There was one guy, who seemed to be a fellow theater-goer, who was standing up higher than the crowds and who was sharing the occasional instruction with the crowd ("men's room that way, women's room the other way,") but mostly we were all just standing there, not moving, and most people seemed to not no which way to go.

All of the sudden, I just couldn't be there any more, and started to panic. The sight of the crowd growing ever larger, and with no visible escape route just completely freaked me out. It seemed so darn dangerous. Perhaps because of being a health care provider, or maybe it's just my personality, but I'm very sensitive to public health violations. I muttered to someone near me how dangerous this was, that it seemed like a clear fire hazard. Another woman heard me, and told me to follow her back out of the theater to the hotel bathroom next door.

But I wasn't focused on needing the bathroom, but on my growing rage at the danger of the situation.

Still, I started to follow her back out.

As the crowd eased up, I saw a woman with a headphone on, clearly an employee of the theater, and went over there. I'll admit I could've been nicer, but I had been in full-on panic mode, and my adrenaline was pumping.

I told her, "that's a fire trap over there! you have to do something!"

"Ma'am, we have the same situation every night. It's fine."

"No, it's totally not fine. I am fucking eight months pregnant, and I couldn't move, and no one knew where they were going, and it was terrifying! That's a fire hazard!"

"I'm pregnant too. And it's not a fire hazard. If there was a fire, we could open all the doors to the outside." (Note to the rest of you, she may have been pregnant, but she was sure staying well back of the crowds... so how could she appreciate how bad it was?")

"So then open all the doors!"

"We can't do that. It's fine. It's just a full house. It's fine."

"It's not fine. It's a fucking fire hazard."

"Ma'am, please stop cursing at me."

At this point, I walked away. I leaned over the railing of the back of our seats (we were in the back row) and squeezed my friend Scott's shoulder and said, "I need you. Please meet me at the end of the row."

He met me by the tiny lobby, and I said, "It was so crowded, and I couldn't move, and nobody knew where they were going." And I burst out crying, in shaking sobs. My teeth were chattering, my whole body was shivering.

He was a bit bewildered, but the security guards were very nice, and told me to go next door to the hotel bathroom.  My friend Emily followed us out to the lobby, where she saw me wiping my eyes, and was entirely sympathetic, and took charge of getting me next door.

A few minutes later my teeth stopped chattering.... but I will admit the rest of the show was ruined for me. A shame, as it was truly a great theater experience. But wow, pregnancy trumped it. What a strange experience. I've never been claustrophobic before. This was like my conscious brain just shut down and I went to some primal place.

Anyone else experienced this?

(I think I read on someone's blog recently that this happened to her when her subway car got stalled and it was crowded and she was very pregnant. Strangely comforting to know that I am not alone. I don't think I've ever sobbed in public before.)

(I'm still mad about the danger, though I guess I overreacted a little, given that I was able to get out of the situation when I needed to. After the show, I apologized to the theater manager for cursing, but said that I will be calling in a complaint to the fire department, that it was certainly unsafe. While continuing to be defensive -- how hard would it have been to say, "thank you for sharing your concern, I am going to look into it," even if she was lying??? -- she gave me the business card of her boss. I've already left her a message. We'll see if I am organized enough to call the city to file a complaint. I hope so.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Very Slight Meltdown

I called my sister today to fill her in on the appointment with the midwife yesterday.

For the rest of you: I gained one pound, half of which was the snack I had right beforehand -- I know this because I weighed myself an hour before and was only up half a pound -- and I'm pretty sure the other half pound is based entirely in my ankles cankles, but you know, whatever! the belly and the baby is growing nicely! So I'm not worried. I'm vaguely curious how I'm not gaining more, because I'm pretty positive I'm not losing from elsewhere in my body, and my belly is certainly getting bigger... but I don't really care, either. Although I do think it would be kind of nice if my thighs didn't rub together when it's this hot out!

After I filled her in, I asked her about her fourth of July plans. I think I'm going to go up there to the Berkshires to visit one last time, before they pack up. I will be thirty five weeks at that point, and they are only 3.5 hours from Brooklyn, and her husband will be around and not working, so he could watch their daughters if, worst case scenario, I went into pre-term labor and needed a ride to Brooklyn.

Then my sister told me that they are thinking of having their movers come after my niece goes to sleepaway camp on July 24th. I will be 38 weeks on July 23, and originally her plan had been to drop the older niece at camp, spend "a day or two" getting the younger niece settled in eastern MA with my cousin, then head to Brooklyn. I was already a little anxious about this plan. But now she would extend her time in western MA even longer... though she said she would have her husband fly back up from his new job in FL to be there, in case she needed to come to Brooklyn in a hurry.

So truthfully, probably she will still be available the same times as she had said before.

But something about this change in plans just completely freaked me out. I called her back an hour later and just burst into tears. Me, who has not, to my recollection, cried once this entire pregnancy. This is a record amount of happiness for me... well, up until today, anway.

She assured me that she won't let moving get in the way of being here.

But I'm freaked out anyway.

I talked my cousin, who I am very close to, and she strongly urged me to have a calendar in place with each day labeled with a person who is available and on-call.

But just thinking about this idea made me tired. And also just want to say, "forget it."

Part of me feels like I got myself into this mess, and it's my responsibility to carry the burden. Not that it wouldn't be great to have my sister here, and hopefully it will also be nice to have my mom come for a week after baby girl arrives. But I think I need to stop counting on that, emotionally, if that makes any sense? I need to get grounded in this being my thing, my experience, and then welcome (but not exactly rely on) the help that will surely come my way.

It makes the idea of moving away in a year or two less daunting, too. The idea that I can do this on my own. It certainly made me a lot less teary to think about it this way. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Premature Nesting?

Here I am at thirty-one weeks.

I'm feeling pretty great, for the most part.

Exceptions to the above: It's suddenly much more uncomfortable to bend over, for example, to pick something up. And I go to the bathroom with ridiculous frequency. And I've now altered my commute -- I go to a further subway station to avoid having to climb an insanely steep flight of stairs (now I go downstairs instead of up... much better), because it was getting embarrassing, how slowly I climbed said stairs. But that's about it.

I'm still sleeping really well (hopefully I don't jinx myself for admitting that), for which I am eternally grateful.

Girlfriend's movements suddenly feel a lot less like kicks and punches, and a lot more like the shifting of tectonic plates. It's pretty cool, in a somewhat startling way. It's extremely difficult to ignore it, say, when I am with a patient, and not to stop what I'm doing and rest my hand on my stomach.

Tonight I went into premature nesting mode.

I just saw my friend Catherine's baby room, and it looked fabulous. She did such a beautiful job. The rug, dresser, crib, and walls, contrasting colors with amazing tree decals, all go together perfectly. It made me a little wistful for having my own baby's room... but then I remember that the baby doesn't care... or rather, that she wants to be with me (what I would prefer, down the road, remains to be seen).

So I contented myself with poring over Etsy tonight (for the first time in my life), and finally picked out wall decals of my own (this is where Catherine found hers). I decided yesterday to order a rug from (also following Catherine's example)... but now that means I have to decide if I care whether the rug and the decal match. The answer to that is probably not, but I'm tired enough that I am deciding not to decide tonight. (The rug is not for decorating purposes -- I much prefer the look of my hardwood floors -- but to keep my extremely fussy downstairs neighbor from going completely apeshit on me about the sound of the baby crying. Hopefully.)

I also stripped the linens off the bassinet (in order to wash them), and organized the few remaining new baby clothes to be washed, and scrubbed the bathroom, and put my skirt in to soak (totally busted for eating chocolate before 9 am by the dark spots on my white skirt!) and cleaned and organized the freezer (thanks, Obernon, for the inspiration), and baked the rest of the batch of meatballs I made last night, and swept the kitchen floor, and cleaned the kitchen... and generally felt a little hyper about suddenly wanting everything cleaned, organized, and put away. Yesterday I stocked up on maxi-pads for the post-partum period, no pun intended. A confounding experience, since I haven't worn pads since high school.

Anyway, this all felt quite a bit like what I imagined nesting to be like... maybe it's good to nest now, when I still have some energy and maneuverability? Scrubbing the tub at 39 weeks will be a lot more challenging, I am sure. I have this slight paranoia about having the nesting impulse this early... hopefully the next appointment with the midwife will be a little more reassuring, and I can stop worrying about the possibility of Intrauterine Growth Retardation (to be clear, the midwife never uttered these words... it's just, I used to work in the NICU, and I read between the lines). I feel quite sure the girl is growing... she feels so much more wedged in there than she did two weeks ago. But some validation from Catherine (my midwife)... or from an ultrasound... will be very reassuring.

Oh, and on a final note, I figured out one of my dreams (from the last post). My sister is dropping off my niece at camp (my old summer camp) on July 24, and then will spend a day or two getting my younger niece settled with my cousin before heading to Brooklyn to be with me in preparation for Lentil's arrival. I realized that I have been worrying about "waiting" for her, and that she won't get here in time (I will be 38 weeks on July 23rd)... So I talked to her, and she reassured me that she can get here more quickly if need be, and could even come before my niece leaves for camp, though she will have to leave for that first day of camp. So that was comforting.

Of course, she has to leave on August 12th, at the latest, a mere 6 days after my "guess date," to pick up my niece from camp. They leave the following day... to move to Florida! So that's one more thing to worry about... but luckily my brain hasn't locked on to that one just yet. I think I'm in denial about the possibility of my pregnancy going longer than 40 weeks, though of course it is a distinct possibility.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Crazy Dreams

Dream One

I am watching my friend Emily's two gorgeous children (and I'm not just saying that because she reads this blog! they really are beautiful) and I'm nursing the younger one (with Emily's permission, so I can learn how to do it), and Emily comes in and is watching me, and says something approving, along the lines of, "you're doing fine."

And I say, "yeah, but look at these growths coming off the side of my breast."

And she glances at these enormous red globular things growing grotesquesly out of the side of my left breast, and says reassuringly, "Well, get it checked out, of course, but I'm sure it's normal."

Dream Two

I am at my old summer camp, waiting anxiously for my sister to arrive with my six week old baby... who I have never met. I either used an egg donor, but somehow didn't get the child right away, or else adopted the baby. Why my sister has the baby, I don't know.

But as usual, she is running very late, and I am pacing back and forth in front of the window, watching for her car.

Finally she arrives and I rush out to get the baby from her. The baby is shaped like a concrete block, so chubby she's practically square (no neck whatsoever). I see from the birth certificate that she was born weighing ten and a half pounds. She has straight, jet black hair (mine is brown and curly, the donor's was dirty blond as a child), piercing blue eyes (mine are brown, the donor's are hazel), and porcelain white skin (I am more olive). 

I don't feel any pangs of recognition whatsoever. I'm not sad, just bewildered. I go to work, cuddling the baby against my skin, and doing all the right things, assuming I will feel something soon... but it's all very strange. 

Interpretation of Dreams

(PS No, I did not go into premature labor last night and forget to mention it. As it happens, I'm still pregnant. And the girl is still moving about reassuringly. Go figure.) 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Feeling Weird

I mean, I'm always weird.

But I'm feeling a little weird physically.

My bra has been bugging me lately -- the underwire digs into my ribcage, but strangely, only bothers me on the right side. I only notice it at random times, though -- during the long car ride this past weekend, and then lying on the couch today. Finally I gave up and took the darn thing off.

And two hours later... my ribcage is still aching. So I don't think it's the bra, after all.

But what else would make my ribcage ache?

And then, I've just felt extra tired and a little off today. Mostly at the beginning and end of the day. Work was fine once I got engaged. But tonight, I'm exhausted. Same with this morning, walking to the subway... the walk felt long, for the first time.

The girl, she's been moving a lot. Bigger, whole body movements that are a little "whoa" in their intensity. And for the first time, this morning, she was moving a lot while I was walking. Usually, she's totally still when I am moving.

And I'm feeling so darn excited to meet her, really focused on it today... and then I start to worry that the very fact that I am thinking about it so much means something.

And that scares me.

But I can't very well call my midwife and say, "Gee, um, my ribcage is sore, I'm tired, and really focused on meeting my girl. Do you need to see me right away, or what?"

So I'm left feeling weird.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

This is Why We Wear Black

The second photo was taken six days after the first. The first is at 30 weeks, 3 days, the second is at 5 weeks, 3 days.

The big white thing on my bed in the first photo is my rejected Snoogle pillow. The thing makes me feel like I've been attacked by a stuffed shark.

I've only learned how to take advantage of regular bed pillows in the last couple of days. I think the Snoogle may just be beyond my limited capabilities.

In other news, I've developed cankles.

They are extremely attractive.