Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The 25th Week

I am dead tired! I've been battling a cold this week, and today was an especially busy day. We had our January check-up with the OB, did some grocery shopping, and started our registry.

The doctor's appointment was brief and uneventful. My OB has remarked that my pregnancy is "boring" and it really shows in the way her demeanor toward me has changed. In the early weeks, when we were still concerned about my history and my SCH, she would actually sit to talk to me, she always had a grave look on her face, and she never seemed in a hurry. But now that Remy is doing so brilliantly she breezes in, cheerfully reads over my chart, checks a couple of things, asks if I have any questions, and breezes back out again. It's refreshing leaving a doctor's office without a single inkling of dread...and yet weirdly anti-climactic.

Even in her breezy mode she's still rather severe. (Did I mention her comment, "caffeine kills babies"? Yup, that's what she told me in the first trimester.) Today she told me I could treat my cold with Tylenol and cough drops, but NO antihistamines or decongestants. It's a little frustrating since I know that other women's OBs let them use that stuff, but on the other hand, I really do appreciate having a doctor that worries more about things than I do.

Later in the afternoon we headed over to Babies R Us. We had a 20% Off coupon that was about to expire and we wanted to get a JJ Cole diaper bag. My brother and sister-in-law have one and really like it. It's super comfortable to carry, comes with gear to attach it to your stroller, has lots of compartments and pockets, and is awesomely unisex.

Even though we'd been planning on waiting until February to register we figured this was close enough and we might as well get started. Ug, and that is what we spent the rest of the day doing. It's a lot of work, registering for baby stuff!

Especially problematic is Ross's phobia of furniture. I think he has PTSD from helping too many bachelor friends move over the years. He absolutely balked when it came time to pick out a dresser. He kept trying to lift them at the corners and exclaiming, "do you realize how heavy this is???" So we registered for a changing table instead which we will stock with baskets for storage. Oy vey.

At first he was equally opposed to a glider. But then I got him to sit in one for a few minutes and he warmed up to the idea :P The other tricky choices were the travel system and the pack n play. We made total fools of ourselves pulling the display models down off the shelves and playing with all the features, but in the end I felt a lot more confident making a choice that way.

After registering for about 6 pages of items we were thirsty and tired (and I was sick of continually having to hoist up my maternity pants in public) so we decided to save the rest for another day.

Here's how baby is doing, according to

Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. Her weight — a pound and a half — isn't much more than an average rutabaga, but she's beginning to exchange her long, lean look for some baby fat. As she does, her wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and she'll start to look more and more like a newborn. She's also growing more hair — and if you could see it, you'd now be able to discern its color and texture.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Incubator

At Home Depot two nights ago a nice lady stopped us to ask when the baby was due. I told her May 13th. She thought about that for a second and then her eyebrows shot up and she said "you are gonna be HUGE!" Yeah, I'm kind of realizing that too.

Anyway, it was a good trip. We got a programmable thermostat, some paint for the nursery ("water sprout"), wood putty for the crack in the front door, and some random painting tools.

Ross also bought some sandpaper. He told me he wants to sand and paint the front door. I hope he doesn't mean now, in the dead of winter, but one of the first things I learned about marriage is that trying to have these conversations in the middle of Home Depot is a bad idea.

I called the hospital today to ask about classes. There were three I was interested in - a birthing class, a breastfeeding class, and a baby care class. The breastfeeding class is the cheapest, even cheaper than meeting with a lactation nurse, so I will probably do that one. But the others...I don't know. Can't I just learn everything I need to know from TLC's Baby Story and the internet?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

24 Weeks Pregnant

I'm 24 weeks pregnant today. They say that if you go into preterm labor at 24 weeks your baby has a 39% chance of survival. At 25 weeks it leaps to a 50% chance. I know I shouldn't think about these things, but I do.

According to the baby books, Remy has gained about 4 oz. in the last week. That sounds impressive...until I remember all the spaghetti and yogurt and eggo waffles I ate this week! Oy. With all the food I've been scarfing I would expect him to be the size of stinkin' soccer ball by now.

Occasionally I'll get into a little funk about my weight, but mostly the eating feels so necessary that it doesn't occur to me to feel guilty about it. However when Remy comes out, and the belly isn't so conveniently stretching my skin tight over all this access weight, I'm sure I'll be kicking myself for all the cream cheese and m&ms. It's ok, Remy and I plan on taking a LOT of walks.

Remy is a busy little guy in there. I'm so aware now that in everything I do, everywhere I go, I have my little buddy with me. It's sooo different from the early days. Back then "feeling pregnant" meant feeling nauseous, weepy, exhausted... now "feeling pregnant" means feeling a little dude kicking my bladder or trying to burrow out my side.

I've been so exhausted lately that work on the nursery has stalled. Ross promises though that he will help me finish it soon. We still need to register but I heard that a lot of stores get new merchandise and clearance out the old in January so February is a better month to do it. I think my next doctor's appointment is next week but it should just be a routine check up. After that I'll get the GlucoseChallenge Test. And on February 17th I graduate to the Third Trimester! That's less than a month! Woot, woot!

(Here's little Remy again, in case you forgot how cute he is.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Summer Dreams

There is so much to do, and I'm so exhausted, the only reasonable action seems to be to make a cup of hot cocoa and sit back down.

The latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens arrived yesterday reminding me yet again how much I miss my garden. When I dream of the summer to come I imagine Remy in a sun bonnet and me with my camera, out in the yard with the flowers.

Here are some pictures of last year's beauties:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Remembering MLK Jr.

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Can Megachurches Bridge the Racial Divide? by David Van Biema, Time Magazine

In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. famously declared that "11 o'clock Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week ... And the Sunday school is still the most segregated school." That largely remains true today. Despite the growing desegregation of most key American institutions, churches are still a glaring exception. Surveys from 2007 show that fewer than 8% of American congregations have a significant racial mix.
But in some churches, the racial divide is beginning to erode, and it is fading fastest in one of American religion's most conservative precincts: Evangelical Christianity. According to Michael Emerson, a specialist on race and faith at Rice University, the proportion of American churches with 20% or more minority participation has languished at about 7.5% for the past nine years. But among Evangelical churches with attendance of 1,000 people or more, the slice has more than quadrupled, from 6% in 1998 to 25% in 2007.
In 2003, [Hybels] recalls, he threw down the gauntlet, telling his flock that the church's racial outreach was "part of who we are, and if it can't be part of who you are, you probably need to find a church that doesn't talk about this issue."
Some white congregants left. But total attendance kept climbing — and people of different races now clasped one another's hands during prayer. When Bibbs disclosed that he had booked speaking engagements elsewhere on Martin Luther King Jr. Day because Willow did not observe it at the time, Hybels inaugurated an annual 48-hour celebration, and Bibbs recalls breaking down as the entire Willow staff joined in on "Lift Every Voice and Sing," the "black national anthem." In 2008 an 18-minute multimedia presentation on the King holiday received a deafening 20,000-person standing ovation. "I've never been so proud of the church," Bibbs says. "It was like everybody had crossed over."

By February 2009, Willow had hit the 20%-minority threshold that signifies an integrated congregation. Today its membership is 80% Caucasian, 6% Hispanic, 4% Asian, 2% African American and 8% "other" ethnicities. Says Bibbs: "The church would never be the same again."
When I ask Hybels how important racial reconciliation is to Christianity, he says, "It's absolutely core to the Gospel. It speaks to whether all humans are made in the image of God and have the capability of being redeemed and used by God to perform his work. I'm going to persevere on this for the rest of my life."

Read more.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


"The more I think about it, the only reason various societies work is because we're not all depressed at the same time."

"I remember how I used to have these anxiety attacks about the kitty putting a pillow on top of the baby's face while he slept or pinching his little nostrils and mouth shut. That's why I like that line so much about my mind being a bad neighborhood I shouldn't go into alone. It's too often 4:00 A.M. in one's mind, the hour of black dogs, and there are so many muggers and drive-by shootings and piles of dog shit you step in just when you're starting to feel better about things. One's heart is the only safe place to be. There's light there, there's company, and quiet." -145

"I heard this old man speak when I was pregnant, someone who had been sober for fifty years, a very prominent doctor. He said that he'd finally figured out a few years ago that his profound sense of control, in the world and over his life, is another addiction and a total illusion. He said that when he sees little kids sitting in the backseat of cars, in those car seats that have steering wheels, with grim expressions of concentration on their faces, clearly convinced that their efforts are causing the car to do whatever it is doing he thinks of himself and his relationship with God: God who drives along silently, gently amused, in the real driver's seat." -113

Thursday, January 14, 2010

23 Weeks

23 weeks. Remy is getting stronger and more active every day. A few times this week I experienced some jabs to the bladder - that's an interesting experience! He also seems to let me know when he wants me to sit up straighter in my chair or roll over in bed. Sometimes his movements are leisurely and sometimes they are furious. Ross hasn't felt him kick yet, but I'm sure he will any day now.

Moving around is getting more uncomfortable. When I stand up I sometimes get the unpleasant feeling that my protruding belly is not strong enough to support everything it's holding. Flipping over in the night is also getting trickier. Getting out of the bed or the bathtub now requires some upper body strength. It's making me wish I had kept up some kind of exercise during the first trimester. I can't even imagine what moving around will be like at 8 months.

I've started clearing out the nursery. We are using the L-shaped room with the half bath that has been my office/guest room. I've got one and a half closets clear and half a book case. Once everything is boxed up the desk will go into Ross's office, the book case will go into the basement, and the boxes will probably end up in the garage where they are less likely to get water damage.

After that the next step will be painting but I haven't figured out what color to go with yet. The bedding I've picked out is sage, espresso brown, and white. Right now I'm thinking maybe a soft, subtle yellow?

And the fun part will be putting in all the baby stuff! I haven't officially started my registry yet but I've started doing the research and I already have a lot of the big things picked out. We're going with a woodland animals theme and here is pic from the bedroom collection that I like.

Each new phase of pregnancy seems to bring its own worries. I don't worry about miscarriage anymore, but I do worry about preterm labor, and umbilical cord mishaps. Oh, and I had weird nightmare last night about amniotic fluid leaking out of my belly button. But with all this waiting, the worrying is inevitable and I think I am getting better about not letting it steal my joy.

And having my thyroid behave itself certainly helps me stay calm! I saw the endocrinologist this week and he said that everything seems to be going well. He said that I have Toxic Multinodular Goiter, also called Plummer's disease, and that it is so mild at the moment that it poses no real risk to me or the baby. In a couple of years he advises surgery because of the size of the lumps, but that is a long way off.

The next milestone with the medical stuff will be the Glucose Challenge Test for Gestational Diabetes in a couple of weeks. I'm hoping I'll get word about our Medicaid application before then, but I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Pregnancy Update

I am 22 weeks, 2 days pregnant with just 17 weeks, 5 days to go!

This morning I was shocked out of sleep by the dreaded "pregnant lady leg cramp." Wowza!!! I thought maybe my leg was going into labor! I hope it never happens in public because I'm a screamer and I WILL make a fool of myself. Luckily it only lasted about two minutes but now my poor leg feels exhausted. I will definitely be doing some gentle stretching before bed tonight and I hope that helps.

I have a few major gripes this week. 1) Sleep. Or lack thereof. I have to wake up every couple of hours to switch sides because my hips start to burn and my arms fall asleep. I am VERY glad that I have given up caffeine or I'm sure it would be worse. 2) Weight. I was doing alright in this department but then the holidays hit and I gained 10 lbs in a month. I am hoping that now that the Christmas cookies and candy are gone the weight gain will slow down. 3) Yeast infection. (Sorry if that's tmi, just keepin' it real.) In the past I've known to be on the lookout for a YI if I'm on antibiotics, which I'm not, so this one kind of caught me by surprise. Now I know that they are common in pregnancy and in fact the odds are good I'll have more by the time Remy comes. (((sigh)))

In other physiological news, my belly button looks like it's considering a transition from inny to outty. It's not there yet, but it has gotten very shallow and, with a well placed poke, actually pops out. Also, the skin around my belly button is getting darker. I'm wondering if that is the beginning of stretch marks. My linea nigra continues to darken. Whenever I go into the bathroom I take a second to pull up my shirt and check out my belly. The morphing never ceases to amaze me!

Remy seems to be doing great! I really notice him being active in the morning for an hour or two after I get up and again at the end of the day before bed. I love being able to feel him and it's made me much less anxious. Even though now I have his shifting, somersaulting and kicking to let me know he's okay, I still break out the fetal doppler every couple of days just for the joy of hearing his heartbeat and the sound of his hands and feet swishing around in there.

Ross has started talking to him. This is very sweet...but also kinda awkward. It's just odd having your husband lean over you and speak to your belly in his best talking-to-the-cat voice. People are encouraging me to talk to Remy too. I have been talking to him for a long time, but mostly in whispers and thoughts, and the transition is tricky. It's not like I can put my mouth next to my belly like Ross can, and I don't want to shout at the poor boy! I like to pat and rub my belly where he is lying but I doubt that with all the padding he notices that. I just can't wait to cradle him in my arms and talk to him face to face.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Random Goodies

Sugar. She reminds me of a fox.

A segment from Radiolab about numbers - the Benford's Law stuff is really interesting.

Trailer for the new season of Doctor Who (which I heard they are calling Series/Season 1.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Bye, Bye RTD

On January 1st the BBC aired the conclusion of The End of Time and it was, sort of, the end of an era. With this episode Russel T. Davies has resigned his post at the helm of one of the most historied and beloved tv series ever, and he went out, not with a whimper, but a bang.

While I admire Davies for resurrecting the old sci-fi classic with such panache and marketing savvy, I am not really sorry to see him go. The episode that made me fall in love with the show was The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances two-parter from the 2005 season, and that was penned by Steven Moffat, who will be taking over for Davies in the new season.

I'm bouncing-in-my-seat excited about what the new season will bring, but in the meantime I'm happy to engage in a little nostalgia for the Davies-era. Here is a good, not overly sentimental look back at Davies' work with Doctor Who.

Whoops Apocolypse
by Paul Kirkley (excerpt below)
From the beautiful chips-and-friendships coda of The End of the World to the holographic Doctor telling Rose to have a fantastic life; from that devastating farewell on Bad Wolf Bay – “I’m burning up a sun, just to say goodbye” – to the whip-smart, deliciously timey-wimey first meeting with Martha Jones; from the Doctor and Donna’s hilarious mime in Partners in Crime to our hero’s heartbreaking final sacrifice, curled up like a helpless child in the bottom of that glass booth, this was television built to last. Though whether it will last five billion years, like the respective oeuvres of Soft Cell and Britney Spears, remains to be seen.

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Hot Spot

If you are a cat in my house this is the single most precious piece of square footage you can find. And, now that we have a brand new blower installed in the furnace, it conveniently doubles as a giant hair dryer. This is a feature cats find surprisingly delightful. If you have nothing better to do, it pays to just sit and wait for the heater to kick on.

Otherwise you might encounter a gathering crowd, like tourists in front of the Bellagio before the big water show. Sharing the heating vent is not quite so fun. It requires tact, and diplomacy.

And, if you find yourself trying to share the vent with Piper, who has "personal-space" issues, things can get a little tense. Here Jojo is trying hard not to blink or breathe too noticeably.