Sunday, September 30, 2007

So... Where did I leave off?

Oh yes... with the Whole Foods Sneak Preview. We've been back several times since Monday evening. The actual opening was on Wednesday and we went for the breadbreaking ceremony in the morning, and then went back again in the evening to pick up some dinner. The place was a mad house. The lines to check out were so deep that it looked like the immigration stop when you fly into another country. SO many people. But clearly the entire neighborhood is happy the store is finally open. No more crummy produce or meat from Safeway! Hooray! And we can walk there. Awesome.

What else happened this week of note? On Tuesday I made a surprise trip to Labor and Delivery to have a peek at the kiddo. I was worried because there had been no movement for most of the day -- very unusual. So I called L&D, as I've been instructed to do at this point, and asked if this kind of drop in movement is normal or to be expected in anyway. I was expecting the nurse to tell me to drink some apple juice and lie down for a while and see if anything happened. But no, she went straight to "Come on in, and we'll check it out!" Yikes! So I hopped in my car and drove out to Walnut Creek. When I got there I found L&D. The nurses buzzed me in, and took me into triage. They hooked me up to the fetal monitor immediately, and to my relief that little heartbeat sound started woosh-wooshing immediately. That pretty much satisfied me right there, but the nurse was not finished. She hooked me up to another monitor, this one to make sure I wasn't in preterm labor. Double yikes! I was definitely NOT ready to think about taking a baby home on Tuesday... After being on the monitors for a while (probably 20 minutes?) an OB/GYN came in to look at the print outs and to talk with me about what was going on. She was very positive and thought that the monitoring showed that things were probably OK, but wanted to do an ultrasound in addition, just to check for other functions, and also to see if we could see any movement (because I still wasn't feeling anything). Thankfully the ultrasound revealed a little baby that was just thrashing away, pounding and kicking my placenta which was actually absorbing all the shock of contact, making it impossible for me to feel anything. We also checked out the lungs and heart, and everything was operating properly. The OB told me to be sure to call again, and come in, if I stopped feeling movement again, but we were all feeling pretty confident that all was OK.

On Wednesday it was back to Whole Foods for the official grand opening, but I already yammered about that. Henry was happy to find that they sell bagels that are actually made in NY -- they taste great, just like NY bagels. I guess the bagel shop ships the bagels to CA and Whole Foods finishes cooking them in the store in the mornings so they can be sold hot.

Thursday evening we had our hospital tour, which was awful. I was glad I had had a preview a couple of days before, because all I could focus on during the tour was how annoying the tour guide was. I don't know if she thought her job was actually to be a stand up comedian or what, but she put on this crazy act for the whole tour. From the get go I felt like her treatment of the tour was making a joke out of everything. It made me so uncomfortable that I couldn't even bring myself to ask any questions whatsoever, for fear of being treated like a straight man in a comedy club. I appreciated the fact that she was trying to keep the tour from being overly serious, but it was really taken to an extreme. I'm looking forward to the evaluation form coming in the mail. You can bet I'll be filling that one out and sending it in... And if I hear her voice in the hallway when I am in labor or in recovery, I'll be sending my doula out to make her go far, far away.

Friday morning was the day the lactation station was finally delivered. Hooray! Too bad it also coincided with a high-anxiety day. Fortunately the anxiety seems to have passed (for now), but I was just feeling so overwhelmed and scared about what it is going to be be like to actually have to take care of a baby. As much as I've had a pregnancy that I won't be sorry to leave, I am not feeling very ready to actually accept what that means -- the fact that there will be another person in this household who is going to depend on us for everything. That is terrifying! We've been working so hard to make room for things, and as I mentioned last week I had a bit of an anxiety attack when we picked up our babyshower gifts from Babies R Us. For a week I'd been staring at the huge box with the crib in it, and for a week the anxiety had been building. On friday morning we moved the box out of the living room and into our bedroom, which is when I really lost it. I'll make a long story short. We'll be setting the crib up, but not in our bedroom -- the room is just to small, and I felt claustrophobic even thinking about having it set up in there. It will be in a corner of my crafty/reading room, and I think that will be fine. My mom spent a lot of the afternoon with me on Friday and helped me get through this enormous freakout, and then helped me figure out where we could put the crib where it would be serviceable and would not cause me stress, and I felt a lot better by the time she left.

This weekend has been pretty good. Saturday was hectic -- I had not gotten much sleep in friday night (oh the insomnia!). I had acupuncture, and then went with Mom and Henry to the farmers market, got my nails done. I needed lasagne for dinner so we wound up at the Olive Garden, where I also managed to pull a muscle in my back that made it really hard to move and breathe. Fun! This morning Henry went back to Whole Foods to get me some arnica and some watermelon. The arnica seems to have worked fairly well on the muscle spasm, and the watermelon is just plain yummy. We spent the afternoon at Allyndreth's MBA graduation. Congratulations, Al! She's worked so hard for this.

And now we are staring down the barrel of another work week. I'm finding myself wishing that it was the last day of October, rather than the last day of September right now, but no... it is not. Too bad, because I would love to go on leave right this second. Day by day I get bigger and bigger, and more and more tired, and cranky too, making it really hard to do my job. But do my job I must, for another five weeks that is...

Since I still have this month still looming between me and the month where the kiddo is due, I am hoping that I can focus on the good parts of pregnancy from here on out, so that I end this experience on a positive note. I do think in some ways that even though so much of this has been so unpleasant, I will miss pregnancy -- I'll miss the movement deep inside me, I'll miss the peace and quiet that comes when it is just me and the kiddo inside during a restful moment, I'll miss the intense love rushes that I experience from time to time that are so all consuming.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yum, Yum!

The controversial neigborhood Whole Foods is finally opening its doors! Hooray! Finally, a market in the neighborhood with good meat and produce. I am so happy about this. Getting the store built has been a project for many years, it began before I met Henry, and ran into all kinds of horrible red tape and neighborhood opposition. Personally, I think we need something like a Whole Foods, and am welcoming it with open arms. Tonight the store held a Sneak Preview for the neighborhood. Henry and I met up there after work and had a dinner of free samples and toured the new store. It is going to be amazing! It opens officially on Wednesday morning, and we are going to go to the breadbreaking and hopefully be two of the first 1000 customers. Yes, we are dorks. :)


I think at last count my cohort of pregnant friends on the internet have had seven babies in the last week. Seven babies!

Coo Coo Ca Choo!

So yesterday Henry and I went to a workshop put on my my prenatal yoga teacher called "Preparing for Birth." It was a workshop for partners to learn some yoga tricks to help mamas in labor. The workshop was really pretty cool. There was much more talking and discussing than there was yoga, but it was neat to see all these women I've been getting to know through my yoga class with their partners, and it was great to have Henry get a chance to meet my toga teacher, as she's been so helpful throughout the harder parts of this pregnancy.

Anyway, we learned a few poses that will be really helpful I think in getting me through contractions. But the last thing we did in class just about killed us both. So here's what we had to do -- I hope I can describe it in a way that does it justice, because it was just so funny! By the time we were done I was laughing so hard I couldn't speak...

One partner was instructed to lie in the fetal position while the other was to sit behind him/her and squeeeeeeze him/her as hard as possible. After doing that the squeezer was to put his/her hands around the crown of the squeezee's head, and push as hard as possible, while the squeezee pushed against the hands. Now, I've always thought I would draw the line at any type to exercise that encourages you to have a "rebirth" type experience -- it is just too out there for me... Anyway, this was close to bordering on that type of thing, and I had the giggles before it even started. Henry squeezed me first and ack -- it was awful! My hair was getting pulled, and my face was getting squashed into the floor, and I really had to pee, so of course I started laughing. And then Henry started laughing too. And when we are both laughing, it is really hard for either of us to stop, and trying to stop only makes us laugh harder. So then it was my turn to squeeze Henry, and I was laughing too hard to get a grip on him at all. When squeezing the crown of his head, my fingers just could not stay together, and his head came right through. So of course my first thought was "well shoot, if I dilate this easily, labor is going to be a snap!" And then, the Beatles song, "I am the Walrus" started playing in my head. But instead of the Walrus, it was "I am the cervix, coo coo ca choo!" And then I just started laughing even harder.

It was a good thing the instructor had condoned laughing before we got started, because there was no way we could have gotten through that without any laughing. And others in the room were laughing too. After the squeezing was over we had to go around the room and talk about what the exercise felt like and what it made us think about. We still hadn't recovered from our giggle fit, but somehow we wound up having to be the second couple to speak, but we were both still laughing too hard to talk about it. We were laughing so hard we weren't even able to make any noise or begin to speak. It was so much fun.

Which of course got me thinking... we spend so much energy dwelling on the PAIN and the CHALLENGE and the ANXIETY of going into labor. But isn't any of it going to be fun? And shouldn't we try to find something fun about it? Henry and I do great when we are laughing, and I hope that we get to laugh during labor. There must be aspects of it that are going to be fun -- I mean, it will be a really intimate and new experience for us both, and at the end we'll get to meet our kiddo! This is fun stuff! And I'm excited about it, and I am looking forward to it!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bringing Baby (Stuff) Home

Someone tell me I am not the only woman who has a mild anxiety attack when picking up her baby's crib and bringing it home from Babies R Us...

We went to pick up all the shower gifts last night, and whoa nellie was that a shot of reality. Henry had to sit me down in the comfy chair department until I could get my breath back together and (yes) stop crying. In the end, he dealt with the customer srevice people while I retreated to the maternity wear department to comfort myself with a new cozy sweater that I bought on the spot and wore out of the store.

I feel much better about things today, but let me tell you, Henry and I both had a flash of panic when we saw them wheeling out an enormous box and calling our names to come get it. It is the crib and Ihave never seen such a huge box. I am still notsure how Henry got it upstairs to our apartment last night...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Rainy Saturday

Hooray! It is the first rainy day of the fall, and I am so happy about it. Since it is Saturday Henry slept late and I stayed in bed to read for a while and listen to the morning downpour. Riley got stuck outside and I went out at one point to rescue him, and Munchie just engaged in her usual routine of climbing all over us like a four year old on a jungle gym. All in all, an excellent morning.

Armed with new drugs from my new midwife I headed back to yoga for the first time in a few weeks. It was great to get all stretched out again. I'd just been too sick to go for a few weeks, but I think that is behind me now. Thankfully.

This afternoon Henry is off to hike in the damp woods, and I am making some headway on the baby quilt. I was going to crazy quilt it, and even started to do so, but lost my nerve. So I pulled it out of the machine and had to rip out what I had done already. Now, about and hour and a half later, I'm about 2/3 finished with stitching the faces together. I am thinking that making a quilt may have been a bit over-ambitious of me in terms of a first sewing project after several years of not doing any sewing, but hey -- hindsight is 20/20, right? The project is suffering a bit from me still learning how to use my new sewing machine (that's right, I bought a new Singer sewing machine!), but I am going to choose to think that the flaws give the project a "handmade homey" look. :)

Tonight it is off to Babies R Us to pick up all the gifts from the New York shower. We've spent so much time the last few weekends getting the apartment ready to move in new furniture, although I still fear we are going to have to size down a few of the items we are supposed to bring home in order to keep the apartment feeling something like a home and less like a storage facility...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What are you having?

Henry and I picked up a quick lunch at Ahn's on Saturday. When we went up to the counter to pay, I noticed two women were staring at me in a very analytical way. It didn't even occur to me that they were looking at my pregnancy. So when they asked "What are you having?" I thought they were talking to me about my lunch! I was so confused, especially since we had already eaten, so I said in an equally confused tone of voice, "well, I had a turkey burger...??" They laughed and laughed and said, "no, the baby! what are you having? I think it is a boy -- you are carrying high. But she says it is a girl. I hope it is a boy!" It was such a funny exchange.

Of course, it got me thinking. People keep offering different predictions, and often they are based on the same fact. For instance, I'm carrying high. Most people see that and say, 'I think you are having a girl.' But then sometimes someone will make the same comment, that I'm carrying high, and say, 'that is definitely a boy.' I just shrug and say, 'we'll let you know in November...' At the NY shower most everyone based on my shape was predicting 'girl'. Someone also predicted 'girl' because the shape of my face hasn't changed. Other girl predictions have been based on my pulse being stronger in my right wrist than in my left wrist. And then there was that dangle-the ring-over-the-belly-test. Result? Girl... so we'll see. I do have to admit that thanks to all these helpful and oh-so-scientific predictions that I have started to think of it as a girl, although my instinct in the beginning was strongly that it was a boy. So who knows?

Friday, September 7, 2007


Although it is not technically fall yet, I feel like the baby's season has arrived. Driving home from work today the streets of Alameda were full of crunchy, brown leaves and they were blowing all over the place. It hasn't gotten cold, but the nighttime fog has been leaving a chill in the air in the mornings, the days are starting to seem shorter, and the air is starting to smell like autumn. The birthing season has arrived.

I never thought I would think of fall as a season for birth -- I've always associated that with spring. But we found out about this pregnancy in the spring, and have looked forward to fall ever since with a sense of regeneration that I've never associated with fall. Now that the signs of season change are starting, and my belly is getting bigger, and the baby kicks grow stronger I am getting happier and more excited by the day.

I've written a lot about the toll pregnancy has taken on me, but I don't think I've written much about how it has felt to emerge from that state. Simply put, it has felt great! I've been surprised by how wonderful it feels to be pregnant, when the good stuff isn't obfuscated by sickness. The constant quickening and movement within has been startling and beautiful. Sometimes I am enveloped in a peacefulness that is very unfamiliar, yet so natural all at once. I get blindsided at times by rushes of love and gratitude for what is happening right now, love and gratitude for all the wonderful people in my life, love and gratitude for the fact that I am so lucky to have so much love in my life. All in all, it is a beautiful time, and despite the rough patch getting to this point, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.

Long Time, No Post!

It has been a whirlwind since I last posted. I've been feeling good, and working hard, and we've even been to New York and back! We made a trip back east over Labor Day Weekend. Henry's parents had planned a baby shower for us so we blew a wad of frequent flyer miles for an upgrade to first class (we did NOT want a repeat of July's Red Eye Experience!) and flew off for New York. My parents joined us there and we had a really great weekend on family and celebration.

We definitely did not repeat the Red Eye Experience. First class rocked. The plane they had us on was one of the big ones that usually is reserved for international flights, so the first class section was really, really good. The seats were all electronic and could actually fold out into a bed. It was pretty comfy, considering we were on a plane! We were such first class newbie dorks -- every time the flight attendants started heading down the aisles with something new and exciting we would get all giddy -- hot towels! champagne! printed menus! loaded video players! warm cookies! milk! It was actually really fun :)

The shower on Saturday was terrific! Maureen planned it at a Mediterranean restaurant. The food was terrific and several of Henry's extended family members and friends of the family attended. They are all so excited about the baby. It was great to have an opportunity to see them all again, and they were all so generous with their gifts. I was grateful that we didn't play any baby shower games (they tend to fall into two categories -- gross, as in Smell The Diaper; and mortifying, as in guess the circumference of the pregnant lady). It was cool it was co-ed as well, Henry seemed to have a terrific time being showered, and I was happy to have him share the attention.

Oh, and the food was scrumptious. I am still wondering how they made the sauce that was on the ziti and eggplant dish, and wondering if I called and begged, would they share the recipe with me?

The next day we packed up the cars with picnic and beach supplies and headed up to Hempstead Harbor to spend the day at the club. I love this place. It is a funky old building built on stilts over the water. You can swim off a float and members keep their boats there. Families claim rocking chairs on the porch over the water and rock the afternoon away. Henry and I took a walk down the beach quite a ways, counting washed up horseshoe crabs and trying not to sink into the clay under the sand. We hiked up into the woods and back to the club, then went for a swim. It was so great.

My parents returned to California early the next morning, and Henry and I and Mike went into Manhattan to meet up with one of my "imaginary" friends -- a woman named Kate who I've become friends with through an online forum. We met up at Chat And Chew and had a great time. Kate is a few weeks behind me in her pregnancy and we gibberjabbered all through brunch and then all along a twenty block stretch of 5th Ave. It was so good to meet in person -- she was exactly what I thought she'd be and we had fun thinking about how the next time we see each other we'll have our rugrats.

Henry and I flew back the next morning. Our accommodations weren't quite as luxurious this time, just business class, but equally cushy. We actually both managed to arrive in San Francisco feeling awake enough to go finish the rest of the day at our jobs.