Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas - week 33

I can't believe Christmas has come and gone already. Hubby's birthday is the 23rd of December and this year was marked with a doctor's appointment. All is well with nothing new to report. I was wrong, thinking we would now be starting on the weekly appointments but I guess I remember how things go much differently than the reality. I still have every-two-week appointments until mid January. My doctor tried to prepare me with the fact that just because I went into labor all on my own with big sister two weeks before my due date doesn't necessary mean I will do that again. I've been thinking all this time that even though I'm due on Feb 13th that I most likely won't even be pregnant in February. I am trying to prepare myself for the possibility but we all know how much I am NOT a patient person, right?

This week marked a very huge milestone for us - we have a baby room! First the art supplies were removed and the dresser put in place. Today, the desk and computer were removed and there's only baby stuff in there now. I got all the new clothes put into the dresser drawers and breathed a sigh of relief that now I really am ready. Who cares if there aren't cute matching curtains - or even a curtain rod - hanging at the windows, and that there isn't anything on the walls or even the crib set up. At least we have a place to house all the baby items, a place to change the baby and thanks to 'Santa', a new glider rocker to rock the baby in. This week's agenda has me focused on getting all the baby items I saved out of storage so I can wash and put them away. I know I have 5 boxes but what exactly I kept is still a mystery.

I feel like I grow several inches in girth every day and I am starting to waddle - as much as I hate to admit it even to myself. I know most of this is all in my head because I still have only gained 16 lbs total for the entire pregnancy. Having practically no room for my stomach to hold a 'normal' size meal helped me to not overeat for the holiday. I'm hoping I didn't gain more than a pound or so between doctor appointments when I go back in a week and a half. I still am sleeping well minus the multiple trips to the bathroom during the night. At least I can sleep well between visits and I know that makes me one of the lucky ones. I've been fairly sleep deprived the week leading up to Christmas with last minute family gatherings and wrapping activities after big sister finally would go to bed. I'm looking forward to the quiet week between Christmas and New Year's to get caught up on my sleep. I'm starting to feel like it really is the home stretch and wonder where all the time has gone.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Progress is made... week 32

Not much to report for this week.  Baby continues to grow and I find myself out of breath with very little effort and I get heartburn if I eat a normal-sized meal since there's not much room for my stomach to share with my uterus.  So, I'm eating more often and much less at a time and keeping it at bay.  I have all but abandoned thoughts of wearing shoes that tie unless someone else is around to tie them for me and pretty soon I'll have to have help getting my own socks on at this rate!  Movement from the baby is no longer an interesting or even awe-inspired time for me, now it is bordering on the painful most often.  I swear she's in there trying to stretch out instead of just remaining confined to her little space.  Sometimes she kicks me so hard it takes my breath away!  She's still a fiesty one, my little bun in the oven!

I took time this week among all the Christmas shopping and wrapping to update and pretty much finalize my baby registry online.  It is weird for me to even go through the motions of registering and talking with friends and family about baby showers since I always thought it was tasteless for people who have already had a baby to have a second baby shower.  It's like having another wedding shower 40 years later just because you renewed your vows, or so I thought until it had been eight years and I have very little to welcome this new baby with.  All the people willing to give me gifts are now much appreciated!  I took a trip to my parent's house to pick up the bassinet and make sure the crib was still in functional shape after lending it to my brother to use when one of my nieces was born.  I found a treasure trove of things I thought I'd gotten rid of years ago just hanging out in storage which made me pretty overjoyed.  I spent this week cleaning up the bassinet - luckily they come apart and are washable!  And it is now setup in the master bedroom ready for baby to arrive.  The hubby is still moving at a snail's pace in clearing out the art supplies from baby's room but I think seeing the bassinet all ready and waiting gave him a dose of reality check.  Or at least I hope so! 

Christmas and New Year's are around the corner and then it really will be the end game.  I am in my 33rd week which means that about three weeks from now I could be having this baby and she'd have all sorts of chances of having zero issues.  Hell, in four weeks she'd be the same gestational age big sister was when she was born.  I probably should think about packing a hospital bag but somehow it seems too early.  Murphy's Law pretty much guarantees I will go into labor before I'm packed regardless of when I do it so I'm just going to wait until after the holidays.  I have the first of my weekly doctor appointments later this week which really makes things real for me! 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back on track for the end game - week 31

This was a great week for good news in the pregnancy department!  First, I am not as bad off as I thought in the eating department and my blood sugar levels have been maintained with very little effort.  (If only my poor Mom could say the same thing!)  This week was my first of the every-two-week variety of doctor's appointments and included a follow-up ultrasound to check on some of the questionable issues from the first one.  I am happy to report that the placenta is high enough for baby to get past for a normal exit strategy and unless there are complications on the day of her birth there is not a c-section in sight for me.  Also, my cervix is still normal so no bed rest or even significant slowing down required.  Even Daddy got to go with me this time and get a glimpse of baby on the ultrasound.  We took yet another opportunity to verify that we are still having a girl and what a difference 11 weeks makes since the last glimpse of the "girl parts".  Before it was like decyphering cryptograms to figure out what the gender is, now she is developed enough it looks like porn and I feel like I'm breaking all sorts of rules just lookin'! 

After a couple of sleepless nights with nightmares about early delivery before the baby has an actual place to sleep or put her things (added to the multiple bathroom breaks already going on!) I stepped up the nagging about getting furniture moved with Daddy.  We'll see if I have to call in the cavalry in the form of my brothers and my Dad in the next week or so...  Daddy wouldn't be happy with other people touching his stuff which is why we are such a perfectly matched pair of folks who don't share well.  I officially gave up my graveyard on-call shifts for the January schedule and had a severe reality check when I realized my last Saturday shift for the month might be the time I am having this baby.  So crazy to think it is that close!  Maybe that is really the explanation for all the furious nesting I am compelled to do?

Monday, December 7, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Recap - I did it!

What an amazing month November was as a new milestone in writing for me and what a difference a year makes!  I first participated last year in this annual quest to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November.  2008 was also a miserable failure where I think I chalked up a total of about 3,000 words before throwing in the towel.  This year I not only participated, I won with my final validated total of 50,105 words on November 30th.  My so-very-supportive writing group helped me celebrate Saturday and it was such a great debriefing.  What were the differences this year?  Only things that when you list them out would seem like cons to winning.  Last year we went on a 10-day vacation where I took my laptop and even have proof I wrote while on the beach in California.  This year, I worked all month at my full-time job, dealt with all the craziness of 'normal' life shuttling my daughter to dance and playing single mom 3 nights a week while hubby works.  And on top of it all, I'm 8 months pregnant!

So what do I chalk up as my secret for winning?

First, the last year was a very emotional rollercoaster of a learning experience.  I had just started being serious about writing a novel last year before beginning NaNoWriMo.  Since then, I've written and tossed out 15,000 words of a first draft that I had gone about writing completely wrong.  I've read books and educated myself on the how-to's of actually being a writer.  And in that process figured out I was going about it all wrong.  The first draft is all about telling the story and it isn't for anyone but the writer to ever read.  Then you edit and then you let people critique because by then their critique cannot get you off-track or send you and your characters down a path you as a writer didn't envision.  It is one thing to just write and let your characters tell you the story, it is quite another to have no real sense of where your story is going and let others point you in what they think is the right direction.  And, as I found out, the first draft is supposed to suck!  That's why there are so many editing stages! 

Second, I set my mind to doing it and committed myself to doing it right and finishing.  I applied my scientific mind to the task and analytically - as is my nature - dissected the month into workable chunks of requirements.  The first week I vowed to just write everyday with no limitations just to get into the habit and get into the groove.  I averaged about 600 words a day once I got started that first week.  The first weekend, I had found a voice for my story and it had started to come alive.  And remember the 15,000 words I had tossed?  Well, now I'd come to the point where the original story line fit into the current manuscript.  Of course they were written like shit (I can say that, they were my words!) and so I merely re-wrote the scenes and the material but didn't have to think too hard about what came next.  This was where I broke through and really knew I could do this thing because I was chalking up daily word counts over 2000 words and coming close to being on track based on the daily 1667 words, if written every day of the month, would get me there. 

Third, I got a push of needed competition from a fellow writer.  One of my writer friends who also needed a push on her manuscript but wasn't participating in NaNoWriMo asked if I wanted to get a friendly competition going.  This is her personal way of pushing past blocks and I thought, 'what the hell, I am going to do this anyway, I might as well have someone on the journey with me'.  So, we started checking in everyday to see where were both were.  She'd been at her current project for about 6 months and already had more words written than I did but I quickly caught up and eventually overtook her that last week.  I know it helped me to stick with it knowing if I wasn't the first one in the morning to check in, she'd be there expecting me to tell her what I'd done and of course I wanted to look good and have something impressive to share which kept me motivated. 

It came down to the final days and hours of that last weekend before the Monday night deadline at midnight where I didn't think I was going to make it.  I had writing go out the window a couple of times that previous week and going into the weekend I was still looking at needing 10,000 more words before Monday night.  My big plans to get all caught up over the weekend only halfway came through and with only one day left I still needed 4200+ words.  When I realized I had unthinkingly committed to a birthday party the night of my deadline, I thought all was lost.  But, I cut the evening short, tucked my daughter into bed earlier than normal (but really her bedtime) and had three hours before the deadline to do the impossible.  I let my character rant and rave and count to one hundred (starting in the twenties because then each number counted for two words) and all the other tips and tricks I had come across along the way to boost my word count and focused not on quality but merely on quantity.  And with thirteen minutes left before the deadline I uploaded my manuscript to the validation tool and was confirmed as a winner.  I even got choked up a bit sitting at my kitchen table - all alone and wanting to shout from the rooftops but unable since I'd wake the neighbors.   

Is the first draft done?  Not yet.  Did I have to go back and edit that last big push to get myself back on track after my marathon three hours of suckage leading up to the deadline?  You bet your ass.  Did I take a couple of days off to rest?  Oh yes and man was it nice.  Am I back to writing every day?  Pretty much - I'm thinking I'll be six-days a week kind of a writer from here until it is finished.  Will I do it again?  Most definitely!  Do I recommend NaNoWriMo?  Whole-heartedly yes!  It was the best thing I have ever done and now I know I have it in me and the writing world should take me serious because I can deliver!

Here's to finishing the first draft by the end of the year and embarking on the next step of the long journey to being published.  Bottom line, I am an author and for the first time ever, I am taking myself serious about that title!  And I would be a complete bitch if I didn't acknowledge the sacrifice my family made in supporting me through this crazy month.  My hubby who was always supportive of me not doing normal things with him so I could write, and my daughter who even started to ask "are you writing, Mommy?" before she'd interrupt me.  Without that unconditional support I wouldn't have been successful no matter the rest!

Diabetes sucks - week 30

Diabetes sucks so thank god I don't have it!  My follow-up blood tests came back normal but because my levels had been high at least once, my doctor ordered me to go for some diabetes education which I did early last week.  In addition to finding out the 'how' of eating to maintain balanced glucose levels, I inherited a glucometer in order to monitor my levels. Considering the strong history of diabetes in my gene pool (both Mom and Dad have it plus fraternal Grandma and Grandpa - yikes!) I was very interested in gathering data.  Many of my obsessive (and sometimes irritating to others) habits in the last couple of years are direct results from my vow to never get this awful condition.  I spent a few days testing my sugar every few hours and gathering data - us problem-solvers by nature LOVE data!  Now that I am armed with education and seeing how the food choices I make actually correspond to my blood sugar levels, I am feeling less worried about what is happening to baby and confident I can maintain the normal levels I've had the last week of monitoring.  With the education, I am now also armed with how I can still eat in moderation some of the things I am craving without it impacting baby in any way.  She should be happy about that, too!

The amount of time I have left is starting to get real for me.  I had some friends over on Saturday and everyone was asking to see the baby room.  Yeah, the baby room has not been transformed one ounce and it kind of hit me.  We haven't even gotten the bassinet we are intending to use out of storage at my parent's house yet.  If I went into labor early (which is the new worry of this stage of the game) we would be scrambling to even have a place for the poor darling to sleep.  So now I am trying to find time to put up Christmas decorations AND clear out the room designated for baby so it can be transformed.

My baby bump is ginormous and baby is constantly moving.  It is fun to interact with her and start thinking about the kind of baby she will be.  Will she be as well-behaved as her big sister who was so easy and slept through the night after 4 weeks?  I sure hope so since the alternative makes me tired just thinking about it.  I went down to our storage room and found a super nice surprise - 5 boxes of baby stuff I had packed away and we had moved 3 times without discarding.  It is surprising to me that they ended up sticking around out of nostalgia - since that was the only reason to keep them because we said we were done having kids really - especially since Daddy is not a packrat and tends to throw things out even when we might someday need them.  I guess subconsciously we both knew we weren't done having babies?  I have tons of blankets and burp cloths and even still have a monitor and some bottles.  It was like finding treasure in the back yard and now I will have even more things to put away once the baby room IS a baby room.