Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! Two more down, 10 (or 8) to go - weeks 28 & 29

The last two weeks have been very crazy! Big Sister danced at an NBA game for halftime last week and between rehearsals and the performance we were barely home. I found it very difficult to walk from the arena to dinner and was super grateful for an understanding sister-in-law who offered to pack around half of my crap and eat somewhere based on location rather than offerings. It is, indeed, the little things that count and I wonder if she even knew how much it touched me...

Last weekend saw the first big step complete on the way to baby having a room of her own. Big Sister got her room re-done and re-organized with her new dresser. She is super happy and now the baby's dresser is actually in what will be her room. This weekend is scheduled for furniture moving to move the computer desk and art supplies downstairs. I think the hubby had a huge dose of reality on how quickly this pregnancy is flying by when I informed him I was now at the stage where I go to see the doctor every two weeks instead of every four.

This week was Thanksgiving and we ended up doing something completely different this year - we went OUT. Meaning I didn't stress about menu planning for weeks ahead of time or food assignments based on an ever-changing guest list from the extended family. I didn't obsessively coordinate with my sister (who is worse than me when it comes to OCD and entertaining) about who was coming, where we were all going to sit, etc. I didn't rearrange the furniture in my home to accommodate seating for 25+ people or have to set a table with china and all the trimmings the day before. I didn't get up at the crack of dawn to slave over the oven and stove in order to have everything ready by the time guests arrived with enough time left over to at least pull a brush through my hair and hope I looked presentable. In other words, it was blissfully relaxing! Someone else cooked, someone else cleaned up, someone else did dishes. And, we still got to spend the day with family and ended up with the entire extended family for pie in the evening. It was exactly what I needed to keep myself rested and in the best health I can be for my little one. Hopefully it will become a new tradition because I could sure get used to being pampered on Thanksgiving and focusing only on spending time with loved ones.

I have been spending all of my free time working on my writing and I have 40,000 words and about 107 pages of my first draft to show for it. I'm entering the final stretch of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which ends at midnight Monday with a manageable 10,000 words left to write in order to "win". It is amazing how much fun I am having participating this year and even have a little friendly competition going with one of my writing group buddies which helps keep both of us motivated. (Today I am finally winning!)

Last week was my regular doctor visit and the dreaded blood glucose screening. This is a dreadful ritual where you must drink a syrupy sweet orange flavored concoction, wait an hour and then have your blood drawn to see how well you tolerate glucose. Well, mine came back slightly higher than the normal range. Oh, and on top of that, I'm a touch anemic (probably because even pregnant I have an aversion to meat and rarely touch the stuff). So, this week came with more blood tests and now we wait for the results. I'll most likely be put on a restricted diet similar to those of a diabetic for the remaining weeks until she is born which means no more donuts for her or HFCS. (Poor baby who makes her mommy crave these things!) I'm scheduled for a follow-up ultrasound at the next appointment to evaluate my low-lying placenta and "on the shortest side of normal" cervix. Findings from this new ultrasound will tell me if I will be on any form of modified activity or bed-rest due to my cervix and whether I can expect a c-section delivery or not based on the location of the placenta. I'm hoping all will show normal with both and I can continue with no changes. I am really looking forward to getting another glimpse of baby now that she is all developed and just filling out waiting for the big day of her arrival.

Almost overnight, I can no longer bend over to pick things up off the ground, can barely tie my own shoes or put pants on, and have a hard time getting into the car AND reaching over to pull the door shut. It doesn't seem like I'm almost 8 months pregnant but that's what I will be next week. Hopefully I will be done in eight more weeks since I only went to 38 weeks with my first but 10 at the most isn't too bad of a booby prize either. Seems like just yesterday I was counting the weeks until I was out of the dreaded first trimester at 12 weeks but here we are officially heading into the final stretches. With the holidays upon us, I know these last two months will fly by even faster! Baby is active all the time, kicking and squirming and flipping somersaults - enough activity that people can see it on the outside and more and more get to actually feel her. I can't wait to see if she is as feisty outside of the womb as she is on the inside.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Baby's room, writing and other random thoughts - week 27

Wow, what a week!! My first leg cramp - a very painful charlie horse - woke me up in the wee hours of one morning and I thought I was going to die. Ok, maybe that's a little melodramatic, but it really hurt! I walk with a noticeable sway now... not quite a waddle yet but we're surely getting there. The baby is very active and, for those patient enough to sit with their hands pressed to my bump, she will get over her shyness and move. Well, at least for Grandma and big sister it has happened. Another memorable highlight was my fabulous find of a pair of comfortable maternity jeans. FINALLY! I'll probably wear them out in the last 2 or three months that I have let because they are so great. Like angels singing and rays of light shining down on me when I put them on great. Seriously!

This was the last week before officially heading into the 3rd trimester and I guess you could say I have started the nesting process which at our house means a domino effect of activity that starts nowhere near the actual baby's room. First, a new set of bookshelves for the master bedroom so I can organize some of my inner sanctuary (ie. books) that are currently taking up the extra space in there (and driving hubby nuts). Theoretically this was not a necessary step but it was something for me and because it also benefits hubby, I went with it! Next the exercise bike will be banished to the basement from the master bedroom so the bassinet will have a spot in the corner. Then we move on to big sister's room since she is currently the owner of the dresser that matches the crib since it was hers to begin with. We acquired a new dresser for her - a tall chest of drawers that will hold more than her current one and which she is so excited for. But first, we must de-junk her room (or at least that's what I've told her is the first requirement because it is a disaster in there!). We spent part of the past weekend organizing and getting rid of things and made a dent but are far from done. Once we get the new dresser out of the living room and into big sister's room, the baby dresser will go (let's be honest for a minute) into the living room while we move the computer desk and painting easel's and supplies from what is currently the office/art room to their new locations in the basement. Then the dresser and crib for baby's room can be setup and curtains acquired and hung, etc. The fact that 1) we have a definite plan and 2) we have started the plan toward getting the baby's room done is great progress for us so I'm celebrating! I stressed so much about it in the beginning and now I remember that big sister's room wasn't done until after she was born since we knew she'd be sleeping in the bassinet with us for the first few months anyway. Minimum requirement is the dresser/changing table setup in her room and a place to rock during feeding time. Piece of cake at this rate!

The best part of the week was spent feverishly writing and my word count for the month is now hovering just below 25,000 words. I made a deal with myself that if I got half done before the 15th so I could slack off for a few days and read this month's selection for the book club and still get my 50K by the end of the month I could read. Now, I've gotten so far along in my manuscript that I find myself not wanting to stop to read someone else's work and I only have two days to finish the book. I will force myself because it is a book I really want to read but I'll be kicking and screaming and mind wandering back to my own characters the entire time I fear.

No doctor's appointments or other noteworthy events this week other than our first home visit as part of the National Children's Study baby and I are participants in. 3 1/2 hours at our house and what felt like millions of questions and samples later, I'm officially helping make a difference in finding the cause of autism and other childhood diseases for the next 21 years. People are still panicking about the swine flu everywhere here and I think it is silly. Even the CDC person I heard interviewed on NPR said (and I paraphrase) that yes, it is different than the seasonal flu because it hits younger kids more often that older people but that it was just another strain of the flu. If you always get a flu shot, get one but if not (like me) and you never get the flu then there's probably not much to worry about. I laugh about the hysteria the "mainstream" news sources seem to thrive on inciting and how many people buy into it. (My soapbox for the week, I guess!) Oh, and hubby is now on Facebook – aka the mother of all time wasters – after months of bitching to me about how much time I waste and how he would never join. He spent "Football Sunday" glued to it and I laughed… and tried not to actually say the words “I told you” outloud.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Taking time for myself - week 26

This was a pretty quiet week as far as pregnancy goes. Life in general was exciting and full of things going on but not much of it had anything to do with the bun in the oven. The hubby and I celebrated our 15th year of marriage with an evening out just the two of us. It was nice to get out and forget about being parents for a while and just enjoy one another. It was also the first week of NaNoWriMo (otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month) so all of my free time - what there is of it - was spent writing. I'm behind in my word count if I want to do the minimum each day and get to the required 50,000 words to "win" the event but considering everything else I have going on with a full time job and keeping up with a very involved 8 year old, I can't help but be proud of my current 4500 words in less than a week. The best thing is it is all new material and better than I thought I had it in me to write. Of course it is only a first draft and even when finished not fit to be read without at least one edit, but it is a fossil that I'm excavating out of my subconscious bit by juicy bit. If I accomplish all I want to, I'll 'win' NaNoWriMo with 50,000 words and then finish up the first draft by the time the baby is born in late January/early February. Then I'll take a break to adjust to a newborn again and pick it up for an edit around the same time I go back to work. I love the creativity and the big dreaming - an indulgence I rarely take for myself as I grind away at day to day life.

As far as the baby news is concerned, things have been extremely quiet compared to the previous couple of weeks. I had a bout of heartburn that made me have to sleep on the couch - what a pain in the ass that was - but a few hours later I was able to lie down again comfortably. The weather was unseasonably warm this week and I got out walking a couple of afternoons at work and a couple of mornings before work with the dog. I don't remember being this active when I was pregnant the first time and I think it is why I have so few complaints this time around. Not to mention that I'm keeping the weight gain under control which makes me very happy. No doctor visits or new complaints this week either. Just an uneventful week of fetus development. Here's to at least a couple more weeks like this before we head into the final stretch.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

In other news...

Today is November 1st...  The official start of National Novel Writing Month!  Yes, I'm embarking on the journey again this year.  "Pregnancy will not slow me down" is my mantra!  No vacations on the menu for me, no hosting of Thanksgiving dinner, nothing to distract from the process for the entire month.  A year of toying with my writing style and learning (and re-learning) the rules of grammar later, I feel much more equipped than last year.  I'm tossing the current version of my novel and starting over because, if I'm being honest, it is crap and can't be used for anything other than a learning exercise or a rough draft at best.  This is the year, I can feel it!!

Just say no to H1N1 and the return of uncomfortable things - weeks 23 thru 25

The last three weeks have been an eye opener for me. I have been thoroughly enjoying my second trimester which I realized recently has been flying by so fast it is pretty much over already. I had been feeling so great I didn't see some things catching up with me until they were staring me in the face - and laughing maniacally!

First, I know this is the mark where if I had been allowed to be running I'm sure I would have to be stopping because I physically can't do the same things I could just a week or two ago. I've kept myself pretty active - I walk 3-4 times a week - and have only gained 9 lbs so far for my efforts. About a week ago I was leaving work and by the time I walked down 6 flights of steps and out the door to walk to my car, I was aching and out of breath. WTF?! I hoped it was a fluke - maybe I was a bit dehydrated or something? - but every day it is the same thing. Even my backpack with my laptop seems heavier lately and my mind goes over ways I can lighten my load. Maybe I don't need to carry a purse AND a backpack to work every day? What a drag... Second, I don't have the energy to keep up with all aspects of my life anymore. I haven't slowed down in the Mom department or the work department and last week the keeping up with my 8-year old and her dance schedule on top of my work schedule with graveyard and swing shifts on call from home really took a toll. By the time Thursday night rolled around I was ready for bed at 8pm. Me, the ultimate night owl! Third, the aches and pains and discomfort of my body as it grows huge to accommodate this baby I'm carrying are starting to annoy me. I feel like I'm back in my first 12 weeks again and always needing to sit on the couch with my feet up except it isn't because I'm exhausted but because my legs hurt and my back hurts and even sitting there I can't get comfortable. Even my sleeping has been impacted. I've had to start the pillow dance at night in order to be comfortable. What is the pillow dance? It is the weirdness of propping pillows between your legs and under your belly and snuggling with them like a lover in order to find just the right sleep position. If it sounds like a drag, you're right, it is. But, it is worth it to be able to sleep all night. And fourth, there's the bladder bothers. Having to wake up in the middle of the night at least once for a bathroom visit is now the norm. And during the day is even worse with visits becoming more and more frequent. I know that will only get worse as things progress but man is it ever so annoying!

The baby bump is still growing and I look my 6 1/2 months along just as much as I'm feeling it. She is still a feisty baby who likes to kick my innards at all hours of the day and night. The funny thing is, the minute I voice that she is kicking and anyone around me touches my belly to try to feel her, she stops. How can she be my kid and be that bashful? I've started to employ this to my benefit and when I want a break from her acrobatics I call her sister over to touch my belly. It works like a charm every time!

Last week was a routine doctor visit. Everything looks good - baby sounds great and my ultrasound results are as good as the sonographer indicated. The placenta is a little low and I'll have to have a follow-up ultrasound in a couple of months to make sure as things grow there's enough room for her to squeeze by on her way out. If not, there's a C-section in my future but I'm hoping that isn't happening. My doc said we'd just have to take a look and see in a couple of months to make sure and was pretty calm about it so I'm staying positive.

The insane (and in my opinion unnecessary) panic and pandemonium about the H1N1 Swine Flu caught up with me twice in the last two weeks. I have said before, I am a healthy girl and I never get the flu - except those two years about 10 years ago when I got flu shots! - and I do not ever get flu shots. This year was no different for me and I'm not giving into the panic and craziness about the newest strain of flu that is getting so much attention. Yes, the swine flu is a nasty flu and yes it kills people but that is no different than the "regular" flu every year. I discussed it with my doctor at my visit and of course he gave me the party line that it is recommended for me to get it because I'm in one of the risk categories. I respectfully declined and I'm sure he wasn't too happy with me but I'm not going to get scared just because we are now collecting different statistics in order to scare larger pieces of the population. I work in healthcare and I know for a fact that we've never collected statistics on flu specific to pregnant women. With H1N1, now they are and I had those statistics thrown at me at the doctor's office. I asked what the stats were for pregnant women and the regular seasonal flu and he couldn't answer. Sorry, not compelling enough for me. Especially when I read on the CDC website that there are insane things like mercury and formaldehyde in the vaccine. Sorry, I don't ever want those things injected in my body for any reason! This last week our company got a limited number of vaccines from the Health Dept and they were only being offered to pregnant employees. Another respectful decline, thanks. It amazes me how easy it is to incite panic in the masses and how trusting people are. Maybe it is my cynical nature but I'm not ever going to be ok taking something that has been so fast-tracked on the way to market that the safety factor is based solely on the history of the companies making it and not on the actual manufacture process itself. "It is assumed to be just as safe as the regular seasonal flu shot" isn't good enough for this doubting girl! Just say No!

All in all, things are progressing nice and quick and holy shit I'm almost in my 3rd trimester! Where did all the time go? Better get my ass in gear and get working on getting the nursery put together or she'll be here and we won't be ready for her!