Saturday, August 28, 2010

Framed and Nailed.

Some work has been done on preparing for the baby. For one, I bought her a Halloween costume (she's going to be a flower.) And we hung all of her pictures on her wall. Hey, I didn't say how intensive the preparations were. I mean, who needs a car seat or a crib mattress when you can have framed artwork, right? RIGHT.

I painted the frame holding Puff on Thursday, and then last night Tim helped me hang everything. Hanging pictures with an engineer involves a lot of math and a lot of measuring. However, unlike when I hang things myself, it does not involve very much swearing, or unnecessary nail holes. You win some, you lose some, I guess.

Lulu says "who the hell is this guy?"

Here's the view from the doorway. The top two prints feature all of Beatrix Potter's characters. The bottom four are animal prints that I bought.

Less glare-y shot of the artwork. Beatrix Potter, a seahorse, an antelope squirrel, an otter eating a bowl of blueberries, and a little black cat snuggled up in bed. Love!

Because of the risk from earthquakes, we're not hanging anything over the baby's crib (guest bed visitors however, beware of falling glass.) However, we will be putting one of her quilts from her Grandma Rosie up over her dresser - it's less of a skull crushing risk, and contains no glass shards.

This morning Tim and I got Red Cross certified in infant and child CPR. I know some are rolling their eyes, considering us overeager first time parents, but it was actually a really good class to take overall. I mean, I hope I never have to use my skills, but I feel better knowing I have them. Plus a little learning never hurt anyone. Let us know if you'd like some chest compressions or back poundings.

Then it was off to a park for the Blizzard company picnic. Lots of food, lots of entertainment. It was nice to see some of the nerds and chat with everyone, but I think it'll be even more fun when Sequins is out and can participate in all of the kiddie activities. I entertained her today by eating a hot dog and some cookies. I know, I am quite the mom.

Now we're looking forward to a quiet, near-comatose night and thankfully, another cool-ish evening. Sweating is not my thing.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Quick Hits.

Had a full ultrasound this morning, and all signs are positive.

-my BP was good this morning
-my labs continue to be good
-the baby is growing right on schedule (no specific comment was made about her weight or how much she's estimated to weigh)
-she's got plenty of amniotic fluid
-she's got visible hair on her little noggin
-there's no reason I shouldn't be able to go to Chicago

However, the doc is still treating me carefully and wants me in once a week to monitor me via the amniotic fluid check and nonstress test, just to make sure that my "high blood pressure" doesn't turn into pre-eclampsia. He admits it's a hassle, but since we all just want a healthy baby at the end of it, I'll go along for the ride (thank goodness for good insurance.) And it is important to keep an eye on, because pre-eclampsia happens more commonly during the last few weeks of pregnancy - just because my BP is good right now doesn't mean things can't change.

I will go in again next Friday. My doc will be out, but I'll do the fluid check/nonstress check and then if all is good, I will get on the plane the following Tuesday, along with my trusty blood pressure cuff. As I told the bride and mother of the bride - unless they send me to labor and delivery or put me on bedrest, I'm going to Chicago, dang it! I'm feeling great, and I'm not missing out on the WEDDING OF THE CENTURY. In the meanwhile, my doc did sign a note for the airlines in case American hassles me about bringing my fatness on the plane.

Sooooo... keep your fingers crossed that she keeps growing big and strong and fat and hairy, and that my blood pressure keeps itself in check!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Passed with Flying Colors.

Yesterday afternoon I headed back to the doctors for a couple of fairly routine tests - the amniotic fluid check and the nonstress test. Normally these are done later in the pregnancy (if at all) but me and my "high blood pressure" got pegged for it at week 32.

The amniotic fluid check just involves a quick ultrasound to measure the amount of fluid around the baby. Low fluid can indicate that the mom is having trouble keeping hydrated, but since the baby is responsible for making most of her own fluid (via swallowing and peeing) it can also show whether or not the baby is in distress. Sequins is showing no distress, and peeing like a champ. The tech was also able to see that she's making breathing motions in utero, which is good, and shows that she's moving right along.

For the nonstress test, they have you sit in a comfy chair and hook your belly up to two monitors. One measures the baby's heartbeat and one checks for contractions. The best part of the test is that you can hear the baby's heartbeat the whole time, which I love. When she moves, it sounds like radio static (at first it was me moving and apologized, and the nurse assured me it was all good.) Basically, the idea is that when the baby moves, their heartbeat should spike - much like when adults exercise their heart rates rise. If the baby's heartbeat dips, it's a concern. Also concerning if you can't get the baby to move in an hour. I was only hooked up for about 20 minutes, and Sequins scooted around like a champ and had her little baby heart beat jump every time. I only saw my doc for about two minutes - he walked in, looked at the ticker tape and said "she passed!" and then headed out (he was in scrubs.) The only bad part was when she tried to jam herself up into my lungs - normally I would have gotten up or moved around to try to push her elsewhere, but since I was stuck in the chair I just practiced my lamaze breathing and willed her to get out of my rib cage.

In other good news, my favorite nurse is back after a medical leave. I hadn't seen her since my 16 week check up, and I told her that I'd missed her, and had been pretending that she left to go go med school. She laughed and said thanks. ALSO, my blood pressure at the appointment was 128/80, which for me (at the doctors) is GREAT. I'm showing improvement! Friday I have another u/s to measure the size of the baby. The doc is saying that he wants to run all of these tests every two weeks from here until the end of the pregnancy. I think it's a little overkill, but I just want to get cleared to go to Chicago and then we'll figure it out (and by the time I get home from Chicago, I'll be 35 weeks along, and if you go into labor at 36 weeks, they don't try to stop you from having the baby. So, it'll all be a moot point sooner rather than later.)

Last night we took Baby Sequins to see her second live concert. Tim's friend and coworker Ed had emailed earlier in the summer about getting a 4 pack of lawn seats to see John Mayer at Irvine Meadows. I like John Mayer okay, and LOVED him when I was in college, back before he spent time constantly wooing starlets and running his mouth like a total idiot in Playboy magazine. But I also like Ed and Erl and figured it would be a fun night, so why not. Sitting on the lawn wasn't too terrible, and the show was good (when Mayer wasn't telling stupid stories.) But yes, his music is definitely a phase that I have enjoyed and passed through. Ed seemed to have the most contempt for Mr. Mayer, so of course we all made fun of him nonstop for suggesting that we get tickets.

What else? We found out this week that Thor is absolutely terrified of fans - both the overhead kind (we have one in our pretty room) and the stand fan that we bought to cool down the living room. Poor Thor - he's going to be real excited when we get ceiling fans installed in all of the bedrooms this summer. He spends most of his life in our bedroom as is (hiding under the bed, hiding in the closet, and sometimes sleeping against the slider) but recently I've walked in to find him with only his head and front paws hidden under the bed, with his back legs hanging out. He looks like the Wicked Witch of the West with the house dropped on him. I also think he's pretty sure he's invisible. That's because he's not very bright, that boy. Lulu continues to spend most of her day on the baby's changing table.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I apologize for the cat fur on my shirt. Well, not really, but there it is. It happens to the best of us pet owners. Especially those of us who are still in our jammies at 1pm. Eep!

But, for your viewing pleasure, here is a little mother-daughter interaction. Even when she's jamming herself into my ribs, I still think the miracle of pregnancy is pretty fascinating.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Baby's First Concert!

I made it through another week of funemployment, despite not really having plans. It was nice to get to spend so much time with the moms, and I've definitely improved my tan. Also, taken plenty of naps, watched a lot of movies and made dinner almost every night. Life is good!

As of yesterday, I'm32 weeks along, which translates to 8 months pregnant. Who would have thought? It seems like it's taken forever to get here, and at the same time, like I was just passing the 8 weeks pregnant mark.

I'm still feeling pretty good, though starting to slow down. My bellah is getting bigger and more cumbersome, and I feel it a lot in my back. There's still tons of stuff that is easy enough for me to do, but then other things that just knock me onto my butt. For example: I've been at the gym almost every day for 45 minutes to an hour on my friend the elliptical, and that's awesome. I can handle kick boxing class. But if I have to get my purse and a magazine off the floor of Tim's car and then try to exit the vehicle, I end up huffing and puffing like I just completed a marathon. Anything that requires bending really does me in.

The baby is getting bigger every day and more active in her little home - which is growing on my end, and probably shrinking on her end. She spends a lot of time up in my ribs, and there are places at the top of my belly where the skin has gotten so stretched that it's weird and tender to the touch - it honestly feels like it's been novacained. And of course, like when my lip has been novacained following a dentist visit, I can't stop poking at it and marveling at the weirdness. And my rib cage aches somedays, just as part of the fun. The other night Tim ended up running out and getting me a bag of frozen peas to lay on my ribs (and a fancier ice pack, for future usage.)

I'll get to see her twice next week - I have the nonstress test and the amniotic fluid check on Tuesday (because they are worried about my "high blood pressure") which will measure how active the baby is and make sure that she's got enough fluid around her. I am sure I will pass with flying colors. Then on Friday morning I have a high res ultrasound to check on her size (because my "high blood pressure" might cause her to be smaller than normal.) Tim's going to come along to the Friday appointment - he hasn't seen her for a few months, so I'm excited that the appointment fits into his schedule.

Last night we took the baby to her first concert - we went to see the Dave Matthews Band at Irvine Meadows. Some Dave Matthews fans are like new Deadheads, and they are quite dedicated to the band. I've always enjoyed their music, but this was my first time seeing them live. On our walk up to our seats, we were behind a guy who was so wasted that he was being half dragged by his friends. His pants fell down so I got to see his underwear, and then Tim (who was walking in front of me to block in case the dude tumbled my way) noticed that he had already peed his pants. I texted my cousin David (who LOVES Dave Matthews) and told him about the guy, and then asked "is he a friend of yours?" Pregnant or not, I will never understand why people get so wasted at concerts. If you like the band, don't you want to listen to them and remember the show? But... that's just me I guess. It was a great show, and my little baby friend definitely grooved along. She's going to see John Mayer on Tuesday as well. Such a busy life!

A camera phone shot of the stage last night.

8 months worth of beer gut!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hot and Lazy.

Being at home a little more this week is helping me better understand what our cats do while we're at work.

The answer is of course, a whole lot of nothing.

Yesterday morning after my shower I was fixing myself up in the bathroom and wondering where Lulu was. She likes to come in and get pretty with me most days. After I got dressed, I checked under our bed, and she was not to be found. She was not in the closet either. I was starting to get worried, and then I walked into the nursery to check under the bed and heard her little "oh, you woke me up, now I am making noise" noise.

This is her new favorite place to hang out, and I understand - it's like kitty heaven. It's got a nice little pad for her cat butt, it's breezy in there, and she can still watch the yard without having to sit up.

It's getting pretty warm around these parts. Last night we ran our AC for about a half hour around dinner time and that was about all we needed, thankfully. It would be nice if the living room wasn't the hottest room in the house. I think today I am going to spend the early afternoon floating in the pool. Rather than sweating on my couch.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Naturally Sweet.

Found out today that I passed my glucose screening, and so I don't need to order diabetus testing supplies from Wilford Brimley.

As a reward, I shall squirt canned whipped cream directly down my gullet.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

From One Hand Me Down to Another

I wouldn't say I'm totally nesting yet, but with 63 days left until the baby's due date, I figured it was time to get my butt in gear in terms of getting baby gear together. Yesterday Tim and I were in the midst of an epic, overdue house cleaning and I stopped to snap photos of our old dresser and write an ad on Craigslist, promising it free to a good home (or a bad one too, I don't care.) Within an hour, I got an email from a college-aged kid saying he could come pick it up ASAP if we were willing. PERFECT. Yet another reason why I absolutely adore the internet. The kid came by within an hour with his dad's van, and Tim helped him pull the dresser out and get it in the car. The dresser is now on its way to Cal, where it will spend the third act of its life once again holding an engineering student's socks and undies. It's very appropriate, I think.

With the old dresser gone, it was time to bring in... THE OLDER DRESSER. And Sequins' crib, which is a hand me down from my coworker Lisa. Putting the crib together feels like our first big parenting challenge, especially because during Lisa's ownership of the crib, the directions disappeared. We were able to get everything screwed together without any swearing or hollering, which means we are TOTALLY ready to raise a child together. As a double bonus, Tim finally busted out his Milwaukee drill that mom and dad (mostly dad) gave him for his 30th birthday. Dad had been disappointed with how little use the drill received, but when push came to shove, Tim wielded it well!

We don't currently have a mattress or any sheets for the bed, but we do have some beautiful handmade quilts to decorate with. The other good news is that without the mattress in place, the cats are probably less likely to try to jump into the bed. And for those who have never owned a cat, NO, the cats are not interested in "stealing the baby's breath" because that is an old wives tale and furthermore, Tim and I are responsible cat AND baby parents, and the kitties won't be allowed in Sequins' room unsupervised. Plus the bottom line is, most cats are 100% uninterested in babies overall. And I figure, I managed to survive spending my early years (okay, and current years) with my face occasionally plastered against a cat, and as a fifth generation cat lady, Sequins will be much the same. So please don't fret about kitties in the nursery.

Once we got the crib in place, we dragged in Tim's dresser and changing table from when he was a baby. Thankfully, everything fits and looks nice in there. Now all we need is to put all of the artwork on the walls and to bring in Grams' rocking chair and we should be good to go. Well, that and buying the baby a mattress to lay on. Details, details!

Here's a couple of shots of the work in progress:
Here's the view from the doorway. We'll keep the queen mattress in there for now.

Here's where she'll be spending some of her baby time. Sleeping, and pooping!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

And then Sparky rolled in his grave.

We have reached a new low as overprotective pet parents. We bought our cats their own water fountain, which circulates and filters their beverages. We continue to have issues with Lulu peeing outside of her litter box. She's already visited the vet once about it, and he diagnosed her with crystals in her urine. It makes it hurt for her to use the bathroom, and she's associated the litterbox with pee pain, and therefore, tries to pee elsewhere in the hopes that it won't hurt. Which is gross, and unsanitary and not good. And I feel bad for her and her little cat peehole, but most of the time, I discover the floor pee because I STEP IN IT. Barefoot.

The vet recommended that we do what we can to get her to drink more water, as it will help dilute her pee and keep crystals from forming. We'd put additional water bowls out around the house, but that wasn't working. So now they have a fancy kitty bubbler. Between that, and the recent purchase of an expensive cat brush to help with Thor's hairballs, I feel like a real sucker. And I know somewhere Sparky is laughing at me. I can't help it though, I love the little nuggets.

Even though they do things like... waking me up at 5:30 on my birthday by throwing up in our bedroom. Poor Thory's heartburn was obviously acting up again. I cleaned it up and thought I'd get back to sleep right away, but instead the baby decided she was starving, so I just got up and had breakfast and figured I'd nap later (as I always do!)

I had a fabulous birthday, other than the cat puke. Mom and I hung out and did a little shopping, we went out for dinner and I got to pet Chuckie for awhile, toothless wonder that he's become in his old age.

And overall, my first week of funemployment went well. I ended up having errands and trips every day, which I think helped the transition. I had my baby-related doctors visits, I went up to LA to visit some girlfriends, I went up to LAX at the last minute to pick Ingrid up at the airport (I thought she was coming in on Wednesday, but it was actually Tuesday. Thank goodness she texted me at 8 to say that her flight [which landed at 9:20] was on time, and that gave me enough time to throw my butt in the car and put the pedal to the metal) and on Thursday night, Tim and I went to Childbirth 101 class at Mission Hospital.

It's the only real childbirth class they offer through the hospital. With a 95% epidural rate and a 30% csection rate, the idea of lamaze is rather passe, I guess. I was worried that the class was going to be all semantics (eg: this is where you park. This is the check in desk - all of which is good to know, but not necessarily what I consider VITAL information. I mean, it's a hospital. I assume there's going to be signs, and that I can ask someone "excuse me, where should I go to push out this human baby?") The class is taught by a labor and delivery nurse and it was actually really great - it covered basically what your whole experience is going to be like from check in to discharge, including how normal labor should progress, how the baby gets out of your body and how they'll clean you up afterwards. She also discussed what would happen if you need intervention during delivery (we got to see both the internal and external monitors) and saw an animated video of a csection (I nearly puked. I can't even watch while they draw blood - I certainly don't want to know what's going on behind the curtain.)

One of the things that I love is Mission Hospital's "Baby First" policy. Because research has shown that during the first hour of a baby's life it's crucial that the baby bond to its parents (more importantly, the mother) Mission's policy is that if you have a normal birth, once that baby is out, they put it on your chest skin to skin, so the baby can hear your heartbeat and smell your mommy smell and start getting acclimated to the world (if the mom has an emergency c-section, once the baby has been checked, they will have the dad do skin to skin contact ASAP.) Don't get me wrong - half the time I still feel like I'd be okay if Sequins wanted to stay safe inside me forever, but the idea of being able to have her lay on my chest and look at me and get to know Tim and I as her mommy and daddy made me burst into tears during class. Mission is also big on having you try to breastfeed in the first three hours, and the RN we met was just so nice. I'm excited to deliver our little friend, come October.

It wasn't all tearful stuff though, no worries. The RN teaching the class was super funny and up front about all of the weird and wonderful biological stuff that's going to go on during delivery and recovery. Tim got a couple of good jokes in too - the nurse was reminding all of waddling ol' preggos to avoid high heels or platforms in the final months, just because our balance is off, etc etc, and any fall requires a trip to get checked out at the hospital. And then Tim pipes up "yeah, plus it's a lot harder to get high heels properly positioned in the stirrups." Thanks honey, always thinking.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fattie Fattie Two by Four.

So, I'm funemployed. I'm a stay at home cat mom, and now if I don't have dinner on the table when Tim gets home, he cuffs me around.

Just kidding. It's been good so far, though on Monday morning I was a little sad about the idea of someone else doing my job, sitting in my cube, getting to hang out with all of my cool coworkers. I did not, however, miss my sucky commute. I am excited though about the opportunity to get back to making dinner every night and going to the gym on a more regular basis - the stuff that got sucked out of my life when I was working/traveling for 12 hours a day, and requiring 10 hours of sleep at night.

There's been a lot of stay at home mom work already. Yesterday I went and did the glucose tolerance test, which is standard procedure to test for gestational diabetes. They make you chug this bottle of super sugary drink and then you have to sit there for an hour, digest, and then get your blood drawn. I felt pretty crappy by the end of it, but did not throw up. I think Sequins enjoyed it though - she was SUPER active all afternoon. It reminded me of the scene in Talledega Nights where the two little boys are being rude and mouthing off to their grandpa at the table - Texas Ranger screams "I'll come at you like a spider monkey! I'm all jacked up on Mountain Dew!" I swear, I could hear her yelling similar sentiments from inside my insides.

Then I went and hung out with mom, which is my plan for entertaining myself until the baby comes. We had burritos at Pedros with the angels, and a little protein helped my stomach feel less disgusting.

Today I had a doctors appointment to check in on Sequins for 30 weeks. I am still getting high res ultrasounds because of my "high blood pressure" (by high blood pressure, I mean that I test poorly in the ten minutes before and after the ultrasounds - normally my blood pressure, when taken at home, is 120/70. But obviously, the fact that it's 150/80 at the doctors is a concern for them. I still won't actually cop to having high blood pressure.) Anyways. Grandma Eileen came with me, and we got to have lunch together and peruse the darling baby clothes at Nordstrom before heading over to the doctors.

Usually if I have to wait for the high res technician, I wait 30-45 minutes, but today we got taken back right away. And oh man, is Sequins ever cute. She's already head down (which means it's been feet I've been feeling in my ribs!) and through most of the appointment she had her little hand up by her face, posing. To get an idea of the baby's size, they measure the size of her belly and the size of her head, and the tech said that she's measuring at about four pounds, which is in the 80th percentile for size. And to think, I was hoping I wouldn't have a monster sized baby.

The good news is that she's big but not abnormally so. And the fact that she is robust and thriving gives credence to the idea that I'm not suffering from high BP (if I really was, she'd be more likely to be on the small side.) When I met with the doctor, he ordered a non-stress test and an amniotic fluid check two weeks from now, and then another high-res ultrasound to check on her size. But he seems mostly unconcerned about her progress towards goals, and all of my lab work has come back perfect, so the odds of me actually having pre-eclampsia at this point are low. I'm pretty sure that in two weeks I'll pass all of the various baby tests and get my permission slip to fly out to Chicago for Kate's wedding (which, after a healthy baby, is my #1 goal for fall.)

Here's my little nugget girl. Her head is on the right side with her little nose and mouth in profile, and then her hand is up by her face.

So it's a good day! Tomorrow I'm going to up to LA to visit some girlfriends and on Thursday Tim and I are taking our childbirth class (it's not lamaze - it's basically a "this is what to do when you arrive at Mission Hospital, this is what to expect while you're at our hospital." We still need to figure out some lamaze/how to breathe while squeezing out a human being classes.) And then on Friday I'm going to sit and stare at my mom, in thanks for her giving birth to me. STARE STARE STARE.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Almost Retired!

So, tomorrow is the last day of my full-time professional life for the next few years. I am excited and petrified and sad all at the same time. This week I have been seriously tired and dragging, like my body's way of saying, "look, your job is great and all, but you are DONE with this sucky-crap commute." I know the first six weeks (okay, six years) of having a child are not going to involve a lot of sleeping, but at least I won't have to set an alarm for 6am for the next few months!

There's part of me that's so ready to go, ready to start nesting, ready to get the house all set up, ready to just take a break. And then there's part of me that wishes I didn't have to go and that I could work up to my due date. I find what I do really rewarding and I work with an amazing group of people, so it's hard to leave. The good news is that many of my coworkers have become genuine friends, and I know I'll see them plenty in the coming years (especially my friend Ingrid, who is now "in a relationship" with Jacob. That's right. I'm hand picking my future relatives. Or at least, trying to keep two people who enjoy spending 8 hours working out on a Saturday together, so that the rest of us don't have to put up with them.)

Today we went out for brunch at the Nickel Diner in downtown. My boss had seen it on the Food Network and they were discussing all of their homemade dessert options, and she knew that I would love it. AND LOVE IT I DID.

First off, they make their own donuts. Including: a maple glazed donut dipped in bacon bits, a red velvet donut, an Irish car bomb donut, a nutella donut and a strawberry donut. So, we had some of each for breakfast, along with home made poptarts. And actual entrees like French toast. Then we trekked back to the office and went into diabetic comas.

We also got dessert to go, including a "salt peanut" chocolate cake (it had peanut butter and potato chips!), home made cookies with chocolate ganache, ding dongs, red velvet cake, and a sea-salt butterscotch pudding (not pictured.) We tried these delicacies around 2pm (and then all yawned and complained until we could finally leave the office for the day.) It was all absolutely amazing. Oh, how I wish I could live downtown.

Tomorrow I have one last big report to finish up and send, and then other than my exit interview and making sure that I try to think of every last thing that I could possibly pass on to my replacement, I'm not sure what I'll be doing. Crying and mouthing off, probably.

Then it's Baby Sequins all the time! She's very active lately, though I still can't figure out what specifically she's doing in there. She doesn't wake me up at night kicking, but if I wake up to roll over (which I have to do now, like a beached whale) she usually kicks me once or twice. Though, the other night I went to bed at 10 and she went bananas for a good hour or so. It was like she was playing pong in there. Except... she was the pong ball, back and forth and back and forth across my belly. Tim came to bed and felt her kick about 10 times in 20 seconds. He was amazed, and then I pointed out that I'd been feeling her do that for a good 45 minutes, and on both sides of my belly. I was about ready to give her the three name call and say "do not make me come in there!" Mama needs her sleep.

Tonight I was laying on the couch and Lulu came and draped herself across my belly. Sequins kicked Lu a couple of times, but Lulu just kept purring. She was a mom herself back in her teenaged days (before we got her! We are not irresponsible pet parents!) I wonder what she's going to think of my little kitten when I bring her home.