Monday, January 31, 2011

...and then the doctor laughed at me

Many baby updates this week:

Firstly, a more full picture of our insulation story. When I posted last week about our insulation arrival, it was because I was anticipating one of the guys that Tim works with picking up the insulation that day.

Sadly, this did not happen. So that night, I told Tim we were going to Lowes to buy insulation -- I wasn't waiting any more! We made the first of what will probably be many visits to the marvelous store, and fond all the insulation we needed for: $19. Yep. Four months of waiting on a project that would give us some free insulation, and all we needed to spend was less than $20.

That said, we spent (well, okay, my participation has been minimal)the past few nights getting the insulation up, the wall up, and the mud on the walls. Tonight will be mudding the ceiling, already up for some months, and beginning to sand the wall. It's going quite well, though slowly, for that is what drywalling is. (In a funny side-note, Tim planned on spending Wednesday night shoveling snow instead of putting up the insulation, which I promptly stopped from happening by saying that I would shovel).

We've done a few other things as well - on Saturday, we spent our first day ever visiting Ikea in Baltimore with friends, which was a blast. We picked up a wardrobe for baby, who doesn't get to use one of the three closets in our entire house, and a changing table/cabinet for him as well as a few other staples like a rug for the floor, a couple of storage boxes and, to Tim's never-ending delight, a "tiny chair." Which is party of Tim's brilliant idea to furnish the room entirely with "tiny things," clearly not a great option, but one that he is in love with. Said chair can't be used until the poor kid is about two, and is not terribly kid-safe in the first place (easily tips over, etc.) but Tim was determined, to say the least.

As an inspiration of organizing storage spaces, we rearranged our only closet for all things not clothing-related, which is now in much better shape. I've also decided to get rid of my lingerie chest, which mainly helps me cycle my seasonal clothes in one place rather than storing summer/winter every year. Mainly doing this to save furniture space in our already over-crowded bedroom and make way for a small baby bed to use for the first few weeks of the little guy's life.

We've also decided to post pone our Pa. baby shower until later in March, as the invites were sent out really too late for many people to be able to come. The one in Mass is still on for Feb. 19 though, should be fun!

I was going to post on here about my doctor's appointment last week - my doctor actually laughed at me. I put on 7 pounds in the last month, which is both above the norm for me and the suggested average per month weight gain for pregnancy of 1 pound/week. It's true, I've been craving sugar like nobodys business, and have very little will power to stop myself from eating things that aren't good for me. I still have healthy meals and go to the gym regularly, but apparently the sugar outweigh those other actions :) My doctor sat down and started laughing at me - she was pretty surprised. She did say she can't tell where I'm putting it, which is always good to hear, but I need to lay off the sweet snacks! Which is hard to do in cadbury egg season, so I'm stockpiling eggs for now (my favorite candy ever, btw).

In good news though, I passed my sugar processing test (go figure, my body gets enough of it) so I don't have to have my arms stuck four times to see if I might be a candidate for gestational diabetes, thank goodness. My doc has also been sharing with me a few baby tips - we discussed feedings at my last visit. I've read from many sources (I over-research everything) mindsets of having your kid eat every three hours, regardless of what's going on (there's a name for this, I forget what though), for feeding your baby completely on demand, whether thats every 30 minutes or not until four hours have passed if they've been sleeping, and many beliefs in between. We talked about not waking the little one up at night to eat - if he's asleep when it's dark out, I need to entrench that habit, not mix him up - and then at least every three hours during the day, even if he's sleeping. Also - no more than every two hours, otherwise my body will become an all-hours-of-the-day buffet to the little tyke ;). all these things to remember!!

My doc also made a comment that our kid is pretty large - not so good for labor pains, joy. I know the guessing of baby sizes is certainly not an acute science, but she said my uterus is measuring two inches above my belly button, even though it's also being stretched down into my pelvis - which means baby is big enough to fill all of that space! I haven't caught up the past couple of weeks with my pregnancy week by week book, but I'm sure the boy is putting on weight!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Insulation Station

The insulation….has arrived….

This is one of the biggest events of my pregnancy  After waiting for four months, we finally received the stupid $40 worth of insulation to finish putting up the wall in our nursery. To be done before the weekend: put up drywall, tape drywall, sand down all putty on drywall. To be done on Sunday, barring negative temperatures outside: paint entire room.

Then all we shall have left is the chair rail and the base board painting/installation. It’s really ridiculously exciting!!

In other baby news, the little munchkin has started kicking a lot harder. Or my ab muscles are slowly deteriorating. Before it was just flutters – it feels like a twitching muscle to me. Now its actual jabs. Not hard enough to be painful or uncomfortable, but enough to make me actually notice. As the baby books say, this often happens for several minutes at a time – apparently our child is throwing himself dance parties in the womb. He particularly loved the music on the cruise that we heard in the theatre or out on deck. (I can’t remember if I posted that before or not).

Something I’ve been working hard on the past few months is my calcium intake. It’s more complicated than you would think to get your daily amount…in a household that is mostly dairy-free. I’ve had to adopt some regular intervals throughout the day to have some sort of dairy product. Thus far, I’ve been having: one cup of no-sugar-added hot chocolate, with water = 30% of my daily calcium. One prenatal vitamin = 15% of my daily need. On helping of yogurt (6 oz.) = 20% of daily need. Variable additions may include up to three cheese sticks, each 20% of the daily needed; one glass of soy milk with ovaltine, 40% of my need (b/c of the soy milk instead of regular); one glass of calcium-enriched OJ, 20% of my daily value. Some of our pastas contain calcium, and I sometimes get a brick of extra sharp cheddar cheese and have a few pieces. Tim’s solution to the calcium was to eat a bowl full of bland bran cereal every day. A) I hate bran cereal, it’s gross. And b) I like to either have hot breakfasts or my staple of yogurt and granola. On the weekends we usually eat Special K with Kashi, but no bran for me. Yuck.

I’ve also noticed that I’m just starting to feel like I’m carrying extra weight around. I think at this point I must be close to 20 pounds heavier than before I was pregnant (no chubby face yet, thank goodness). I don’t have any swelling anywhere yet, and other than my tummy getting in the way sometimes when I’m doing the dishes or reaching for something up high, I haven’t noticed it too much. But a couple of times today, walking up the stairs or moving quickly, I’ve consciously felt the extra weight in front of me. It’s not hurting my back or making me feel like I’m going ot fall at all, but before today, I honestly can’t say that I ever felt like I had any extra weight at all, except for maybe when I was rolling over while sleeping.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Where's your baby??!!

So we’ve been baby-mooning – depending on how you define the terminology.

We spent a week on a cruise out of Fort Lauderdale, to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau.

Lost: one credit card, one sock, two quarters, one pair of sunglasses, some dignity.

Gained: an entire week without responsibilities. We ate breakfast on our (free!) balcony every morning, attended very well done theater shows, read quietly in the shade, were served three-course meals for lunch and dinner, ate freshly-made Gelato, watched football games on a monster LED screen, went to one of the top ten beaches in the world, bought some rum for $8 at a K-Mart and generally kicked back and relaxed.

Highlights include a two+ mile walk, resulting in climbing 99 steps to visit Blackbeard’s castle….which was closed for the day; walking through an old cloister and gardens in the Bahamas; walking on the treadmill in the ship’s gym at the very front of the vessel (which made us feel like we were powering the boat); Reading two entire books each and working through others; making up identities for some of the dinner guests that sat around us nightly (particularly one older couple with some very expensive clothing and jewelry). I forget how very relaxing it is to just hear the sound of the ocean all the time – we’d sit in our room with the balcony door open and it was marvelous.

In pregnancy updates, I have a couple.

Two baby showers have been scheduled (that I know about – one of my jobs has been threatening a surprise party of some sort). The first is a Super Bowl Party on Sunday, Feb. 6 in Pa. if you’ll be around that day, you should come and hang out, have some wings and watch some football.

The second will be held in Mass on Feb. 19 – I’m assuming more traditional of a shower, though I have no idea what that really means. Pretty much this is an open invitation to anyone reading this who would like to come to either. And a shameless shout-out for gifts from our Registry at Babys R Us . Just let me know if you plan to make it to one and I’ll get you location and directions, etc.

I’ve started wearing some “baggy” clothes. Most of my clothes that I’ve gotten are very nice, but some of the long-sleeved tees that I wear when I’m not at work are pretty large. Yesterday at the gym I wore one such long-sleeved shirt, and I felt very big in it. I don’t want to stretch out my non-maternity shirts too much.

I must not be that big though – yesterday Tim and I were touring a daycare and standing in the infant room while the director spoke briefly with a parent. A little girl, about 4 years old, came and peered into the infant room, looked around, looked up at me, and said, “where’s your baby??!” I told her he is still in my belly, and she nodded sagely. And then started discussing how we had very similar coats. Which we did 

Other news maternity-wise is that my leave will not be nearly as long as I had been led to believe. My full time position has a “bank” where you can save up unused vacation days and “bank” them for future use on leaves of absences. However, the banked days (of which I now have 34) can only be used during government/insurance/healthcare provider approved “medical leave” and for the birth of a child, that is a maximum of 6 weeks – which can only be paid at a percentage of my current salary and which I cannot even utilize my banked days for anyway b/c I’m required to instead utilize short term disability. Hmmm. Was hoping for 12-15 weeks… I have enough vacation time for 8 weeks total, and I might be able to get maybe a week or two of 20 hours/week to transition back a little more slowly. And don’t worry, I understand FMLA and that I cannot be denied those 12 weeks of leave if I so choose, however, FMLA is unpaid leave, something Tim and I are not in a position to tackle in our lives right now. Hence all of the preparatory banking of vacation days. Ah well. I shall refrain from my usual pessimistic statement “story of my life,” referring to the continual rugs that are pulled out from under me for no reason every few months or so. I’ll just enjoy the time I have and pray to God I live through it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

...that annoying girl soccer player...

1. Tim felt the baby kick earlier in the week. I think he pro ably could have up to a couple of weeks ago, but I don't feel him move too often when I'm at home (which is almost never). We were falling asleep, and TMI, Tim and I fall asleep and wake up very, very cuddly, and his knee was resting right against my belly and our kid started poking the knee :)and then Tim put his hand on my tummy to feel more, an fell asleep like that, and then Dwight kicking woke him up and Tim got grumpy and rolled back over!

2. I have started experiencing heart burn. This is a very weird thing for me - I have what I like to call the stomach of steel. I'll eat almost anything regardless of the spice level, and if anything doesn't sit right I only feel a little gross for maybe an hour total. apparently this kid is now encroaching on my stomach.

3. I posted a couple of weeks ago that because of the lack of free insulation coming our way in recent months, we decided to finish up the bathroom instead. Tim installed a beautiful new faucet and spent two entire days cutting all of the trim pieces just right (I counted last night, I think there are 11 corners in our tiny bathroom). We'll be painting the trim soon, and then Tim's dad will help us install it all nice and pretty in February, hurrah! On the insulation front, the township that was holding up the project at Tim's job finally got their butts in gear and we should have the insulation soon, THANK GOODNESS. We really only have a couple of day's worth of work to do on the nursery, it's just been forestalled for.....threee....entire....months.....after pulling down the ceiling, studding out a wall and covering everything in sawdust.....People have started giving me baby stuff, but i have nowhere to put it!!!

4. We are heading to the Caribbean for a few days shortly. After two years of working 60+ hours each week with only a handful of long weekends, I certainly need the break, and we pretty much got the best deal in the history of cruises to go :) Good things about that so far include that they assigned us a cabin with a balcony, and we (as per usual) paid for the very cheapest room on the boat, likely right next to the engines. People find it entertaining that I'd prefer to be in the pitch black with good water pressure than a room with a window, but it's true. I also believe, unless things change, that we'll be on deck three, right at the top, same deck as the buffet restaurant! anything that gets us to the food quicker is a good thing in my book! We'll see how the rest goes. We're supposed to have a private table for two and the ship is European, so no greasy and dull American food, but cuisine of taste and flavor. Plus a 10 p.m. pizza bar. And a shout-out to Matt and Kara for the marvelous birthday present (cruise bucks). It will probably take me days to figure out what to use it for :)

5. I'm almost through the book "Happiest Baby on the Block" which is a crazy best-seller and there is much hype about it. I do not have much faith in fads, so I read these things with a grain of salt. Though I think the premise, or, whole first half of the book (the philosophical parts) are a bit shaky, the advice to calm a colicky baby certainly seems spot-on - including swaddling well, trying different positions of holding baby other than on his back, white noise like baby is used to from the womb (apparently, the white noise, or swishing sounds, babies hear constantly in utero is louder than a vacuum cleaner. who knew??!), and I haven't read the sucking reflex and I forget the fifth method. anyway. could be very, very useful information, particularly if baby is not a good sleeper and/or is somewhat irritable. Since I'm never irritable, I can't imagine that happening ;)

6. Tim's got some baby books as well, particularly one about cavemen? We took a parenting quiz and got like 80 percent (it was random facts, like how often newborns need their diapers changed, etc.)

The end of the list. until next time....

P.S. Kudos to anyone who got the title reference!