Friday, July 30, 2010

Weekly Update: 21 weeks

How far along? 21 weeks, 4 days

How big is baby? Supposedly as long as a carrot and weighing approximately 1 pound.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Shoot, I'm guessing about 7 lbs, total. The bathroom scale lies to me.
Next Appointment: I get to see Doc Holiday in about 2 weeks, provided everything goes well until then.

Maternity Clothes: Indeedy. AND people are finally noticing I'm preggers. According to everyone in Lake Placid, I'm pregnant.

Sleep: Last night was glorious. And I need to be dragged out of bed in the mornings.

Best Moment This Week: Finding out we're having a daughter and feeling her moving all up and down inside me. She's a vicious little kicker, that's for sure.

Annoyance of the Week: Limiting myself to one caffienated beverage a day. Afternoons can be rough.

Movement: Baby likes to travel! On our three (!) different plane rides this week, she kicked and squirmed throughout take off and landing. Makes me wonder if she can feel the changes in cabin pressure or if her ears are popping. And she's been all around my belly after I eat something citrus-y.

Planning/Preparation: Well, now that we have a gender and a name, we were able to finalize our plans for the nursery. In retrospect, the plans weren't going to change much despite baby being a boy or girl, but it's nice to have some basic ideas to put in place. We've probably got to get ourselves registered, eh?

Belly Button In/Out: Ugh, it's flatter everytime I look down. ::tear::

Gender: Girl. Definitely a girl.

What I Miss: This week, multiple sodas a day. I don't know how I'll get through the next 20+ weeks without it.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Cleaning out her bedroom and making some babyish progress in there.

Contractions: Nada.

Milestones?: Getting through 7 days puke free! WOO HOO!!!! I don't want to jinx myself, but 7 puke free days in a row? Sweet. I had some close calls, and I think what I'm finding is that some of my nausea is related to food texture--good to know.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Gender Detector Was Victorious!

Phew! After what seemed like an exceptionally long wait in Labor & Delivery (where my hospital hides the u/s department), we finally have a gender! It was making me crazy not knowing if Baby G was a he or a she or a who knows what!

BUT...after what seemed like an exceptionally long wait, you need not wait any longer, friends! Baby G is officially a...................

GIRL! Ta da!

In one fell swoop, Graham managed to slip me an X chromosome instead of a Y, thus putting an end to 3 generations of males-born-first-G(&%#)@'s. He's always said that he was meant to have girls--clearly even his body was in on it. So, hopefully on or shortly after December 6th, 2010, a baby girl named Hannah Grace will make her way into the world.

And, as soon as I can get to a scanner, ultrasound photos will be posted.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Weekly Update: Week 20

How far along? 20 weeks, 2 days

How big is baby? About as long as a banana! Kind of  weird that I've been eating them for breakfast all week.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Probably around 5 lbs. That's what you get for being a fatty: slow weight gain.

Next Appointment: Big U/S: Take 2 is this week. Next appointment with Doc Holiday (my OB) is in August.

Maternity Clothes: Yep. Comfy pants are my life.

Sleep: It comes and goes. Sometimes I have a great night of sleep, but most nights I'm struggling to get comfortable or it's hard to stay asleep. I don't know how I'll function when I go back to work.

Best Moment This Week: Lots of little guy movement this week! Kiddo loves Mountain Dew as much as I do, apparently.

Annoyance of the Week: Still hearing, "You don't look pregnant at all!" from everyone. Doc Holiday says I'll be wishing I could hear that in a few months, but for now I'll take it. I think I look pregnant--I'm starting to see major growth in the weekly photos. I think I really went through a fat period that no one wants to comment on.
Movement: I've noticed some movement in previous weeks after eating or drinking something sugary, but this week it's been crazy, like a frat party's going on in there. Kinda wish I had an invite.

Planning/Preparation: So much to do, including reading more of those books and signing up for the Great Expectations program at the hospital.

Belly Button In/Out: Flatter than it was, but still an innie. I'll cry A LOT if it pops.

Gender: This time tomorrow we'll have an answer one way or the other, dammit!

What I Miss: Wine. Summer Shandy. Margaritas. Beer in general. Pizza just isn't the same without it.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Our trip this weekend. I can't wait to get to New York and just chill out.

Contractions: Not that I'm feeling.

Milestones? Nothing new this week, which is fine. I guess the kid can hear (supposedly) according to all the books and websites, so Graham says I need to start watching my language. We'll see how successful that is....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Weekly Bump Update

Here are a few photos from the last 2 weeks. The first is the 18 week bump taken last Saturday or Sunday (can't remember, it was late). The second was just taken at the tail end of 19 weeks (19 weeks, 5 days) this past Saturday, after a pretty crazy day. We were on our way to Graham's annual family picnic (where I donned my 3rd t-shirt of the day). All in all, a good time aside from the day's events! More on that later.

As you can see, I'm still looking pretty rough! I don't feel glowing or dewey or any of that other crap you're supposed to feel while pregnant. I suppose a lot less stresss at work and some decent sleep would help (and a hell of a lot of makeup), but other than that I'm feeling pretty good. Just trying to enjoy the last few weeks of my summer!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Weekly Update: Week 19

How far along? 19 weeks, 2 days

How big is baby? A little larger than 6 inches, and about 1/2 lb. weight-wise.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I think I'm *finally* gaining weight. According to the books I've gained about 10 lbs. My guess is closer to 3 or 4. But, baby is gaining weight steadily, so there's no need for anyone to be concerned.

Next Appointment: Next time I see Dr. X is a month from now. "Big U/S: Take 2" is next week.

Maternity Clothes: Yes. Maternity pants are awesome and I don't care who knows it. And stretchy yoga pants? Being naked is less comfortable than wearing those pants.

Sleep: Eh. The other day I slept really well, and last night I was tossing and turning all night, so I'm a huge crank today. It's hit or miss now. I'm not holding my breath that it will get better until about a year from now when kiddo isn't waking up every 10 minutes or so.
Best Moment This Week: Finalizing our vacation plans, and feeling the baby moving around, especially after dinner last night!

Annoyance of the Week: Hearing, "You don't look pregnant at all!" from everyone I meet. Not sure if they're trying to make me feel better about being pg, or if it looks like I spent one night too many at a fraternity party. Beer gut, much?
Movement: Really amped up this week. Last night I threw some chicken in the crockpot and about an hour after dinner, Junior was moving and grooving to something! Felt like a rave in there, I tell ya.

Planning/Preparation: So much to do, including reading more of those books and signing up for the Great Expectations program at the hospital.

Belly Button In/Out: Flatter than it was, but still an innie. I'll cry A LOT if it pops.

Gender: Inconclusive! But next week! (Hopefully. I pray we won't need to do a Take 3.)

What I Miss: Wine. Summer Shandy. Margaritas.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Our upcoming trip! It's gonna be amazing to get away and relax.

Contractions: Not that I'm feeling.

Milestones? Nothing new this week, which is fine. I guess the kid can hear (supposedly) according to all the books and websites, so Graham says I need to start watching my language. We'll see how successful that is....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book Review: Crossing California, by Adam Langer

A few years ago, I was house-sitting and dog-sitting for a professor on campus. Each Sunday I read her newspapers and nonchalantly flipped through each section of the Chicago Tribune. On the front page of the Books section I saw a review of Adam Langer's Crossing California, and I was intrigued. It's a story of a few families in the West Rogers Park neighborhood on the northeast side of Chicago in the late 1970s and early 1980s. My interest was piqued, because I grew up on the southwest side of Chicago, roughly due south of where the novel takes place. I ordered myself a copy from Amazon and was instantly hooked.

Maybe it was the coincidence of the book taking place about 10 miles from where I grew up--I knew instinctively the streets of California, Western Avenue, Kedzie. Maybe it was the depth of Jewish culture and religion throughout the book and I saw so many parallels between Judaism and my own super-Catholic upbringing. Maybe it was the time period and being able to see Chicago in the 1970s through my parents' eyes for the first time. Whatever it was, I loved it.

Crossing California is about just that: crossing California Avenue. In 1970s West Rogers Park, the neighborhood was divided between those who lived east of California and west of it. California wasn't just a dividing line, it was a major thoroughfare for the neighborhood, taking you north to the suburbs or south to the west side. Start walking east and you'll have to stop at the lake. The book gives you the impression that in the 1970s, the entire Rogers Park neighborhood was all but forgotten by the city, practically given up to Evanston and the suburbs.

The story centers around 10 main characters: Charlie, Michelle, and Jill Wasserstrom, a family of 3 living east of California after the death of Charlie's wife Becky; the the Rover family, specifically kids Larry and Lana, each with their own problems and each choosing to wait out the day when the Rovers will split--Larry waits it out while planning is future as a Jerusarock superstar, Lana while comparing herself to every other student at K.I.N.S. Hebrew school and making sure she's still better than they are; Lennie Kidd, a washed up never-was who is still searching for his "big break" in the middle of a mid-life mental breakdown; Mel Coleman, a businessman looking for his big break with his upcoming film epic "Godfathers of Soul"; Carl 'Slappit Silverman', a record mogul from Malibu with deep roots in Chicago; and finally Deirdre & Muley Wills, a mother-son family with a strange working relationship who struggle financially as Deirdre deals with her depression and Muley finds an interest in film and animation as he eagerly pursues Jill Wasserstrom.

The underlying theme of the story is basically that we're all connected, inextricably, from the events that surround us. The Iran hostage crisis is taking place in the background while Jimmy Carter's presidency crumbles. In the meanwhile, Jill fights being bat mitvah'd while her father struggles to keep his family afloat, ultimately finding a job from an unlikely source. Michelle continues to flounder academically while pursuing a career in theatre, keeping her dead mother's dream of stardom alive. Muley and Jill's friendship is strange and awkward. Though they're still in elementary school, Muley's in love with Jill, who keeps him at a distance because she values their current relationship.

All of the characters are linked to one another, though most of them are unaware of it. In fact, so few of the characters become aware of their relationship to others that it's a little mindblowing given the small town nature of West Rogers Park.

From 1979 to the evening Ronald Reagan is inaugerated as President, the stories unfold, one after another, each influencing the next. At the end, Jill & Muley find themselves on a street corner in West Rogers Park, each making a choice about the other that will ultimately influence the outcome of the next few years.

I first read this book in the summer of 2004 and I loved it. A few weeks ago, in the mood for some "light" summer reading, I dug it out of a box in the office and settled into a chair. I loved this even more the second time around. I picked up on more of the nuances and even more of the links between characters. I saw clearly Deirdre's depression and her son's acceptance, where before I just saw a mother who couldn't figure out how to relate to her only child. I saw Mel's desire to prove himself as a successful contributer to society, and in 2004 I just read him as arrogant, obnoxious, and racist.

This is one of my favorite novels, in part because I can see so much of my own family in it despite the obvious differences in religion. I see a lot of myself in Jill, especially that of a girl who is more contemplative than verbal, and who would rather read than socialize during family parties. I see my family in the Wasserstrom's relatives, ones who so casually throw out racial epithets but think nothing of it, and kids who wince and cringe at words like "schwartzer" and are determined to make their generation one that is more accepting and proactive than the last.

That being said, this book isn't for everyone. There's a lot of sex and a ton of "4-letter" words. It's not what I would call a beach read, either. As a reader, you need to pay a fair amount of attention, especially as most of the action takes place within the character. If you love to read and have at least an hour a day to invest yourself in a good book, this is one I'd recommend.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A New Addition

Up until the end of April, we had this table sitting in our kitchen (scroll down). It wasn't my favorite, but we got it for free from one of Graham's aunts right before we got married. Who can say no to free, right? It was kind of a pain to keep clean because of the glass top-everything showed--and it was a little too feminine for Graham's tastes. Getting a new table was medium on our priority list, but my in-laws offered us a "new" table (an extra they had in their basement), and I couldn't resist being able to sit down to dinner, rather than sit up. And so, we accepted said offer, and ended up with this:

What a treat! Sitting down to dinner is everything I dreamed it would be--and more!

It's a basic table--just a laminate top--but it's nice to have something that better utilizes our eating space better than the pub table that was there before. We had initially put the pub table in the basement (we have grandiose plans for that space down there) and we were hoping it would come in handy during parties, but my father-in-law requested it for my sister-in-law's new apartment downstate, so we relinquished our pub table and we hope to replace it with something else once the basement is a little more livable.

I really love that we're able to fit just about everything we need onto the table. It's always set with 3 placemats and napkins, just in case someone stops by, and I love that the lazy susan doesn't take up the space it used to on the pub table! And, I'm really excited that I get to use our tablecloths now. It feels so much nicer now that the table is "set" and ready to go. I can also use it for prep space when I'm cooking and baking, something I couldn't do at all with the pub table.
But, what I'm really excuted about are these chairs! Once we got the table, we needed some place to actually park ourselves for breakfast and dinner. There's a furniture store just a few blocks away from us and it was the first and only place we stopped. The store is small, and there's a decent amount of furniture in there that's not our style, but once I saw these chairs I was in love.

It sounds a little pretentious and silly, but having a "new" table and chairs really makes a difference. I love spending time in the kitchen, but when you can't sit down and eat and enjoy your meal it really messes with your chi.

So...that's the newest update. We're slowly making progress on the house and changing things as we go. I can't wait to show off the bedroom and dining rooms once they're finished! After that, the front room/living room is next on my list--that one's gonna take a while!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Weekly Update

I figure that it's time I start doing something like this each week or as often as I can. I didn't see the need to start it sooner because I wasn't feeling much that wasn't nausea or constant sleepiness. Now that we're almost halfway, I'm hoping there's more to report each week or so.

How far along? 18 weeks, 2 days
How big is baby? About the size of a baseball, give or take.
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Clueless, as I'm 1lb. heavier than I was when I had my last appointment. Puking everyday is a great way to keep from gaining weight!
Next Appointment: We were just there today, and we have our next appointment a month from now. Loving the monthlies.
Maternity Clothes: Yes. I've outgrown all my pre-pregnancy pants and I was keeping them closed with safety pins and rubber bands. I need to invest in a belly band, I think, but the few maternity pieces I've got have been a lifesaver so far!
Sleep: This is getting harder and harder. We're getting a new mattress soon (AMEN!) so I'm hoping that will help. But, it's getting harder and harder to find a comfortable position to sleep in. I'm waking up a few times a night because I'm uncomfortable and my hips are starting to hurt! Not waking up a billion times to use the bathroom, though, so that's something to be thankful for!
Best Moment This Week: Feeling kiddo fluttering around in there, like a goldfish in a brand new bowl. It's slowly gone from feeling weird to cool, now that I know exactly what I'm feeling for.
Movement: Like a goldfish swimming around in there.
Planning/Preparation: So much to do, including reading more of those books and signing up for the Great Expectations program at the hospital.
Belly Button In/Out: Flatter than it was, but still an innie. I'll cry A LOT if it pops.
Gender: Inconclusive!
What I Miss: Being able to take a deep breath and sleep through the night. ::cries::
What I'm Looking Forward To: Popping out a little more so it doesn't look like I've got a 6-pack-a-day habit.
Contractions: Dr. says Braxton-Hicks happening, but nothing that I can feel yet.
Milestones? Finally hearing baby's heartbeat! It only took 18 weeks, but this kid finally popped out from behind my pelvic bones and we could hear the heartbeat. I was starting to think that I was somehow broken because we couldn't hear it.


As of 2:18 p.m., Central Daylight Time, Baby Pool 2010 is tied! Boys: 9, Girls: 9.

As long as this kid cooperates today, 9 of you will be happy, and 9 of you will be wrong.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Topic of Conversation

Since we started telling people that I'm having a baby, I've been taken aback by a few things that I didn't expect to happen. Sure, I knew I'd get bigger, and I was absolutely expecting to throw up all the time (though throughout the first half of my pregnancy notsomuch). But to become a centerpiece in every discussion and suddenly have to discuss with everyone and their mother the inner workings of my reproductive system? Um, no.

I'm really struggling with keeping my tongue in line. My first instinct, when someone starts asking me questions like, "Was it planned?" is to respond with, "None of your damn business." Even for as far as our parents, I really feel it's no one's business but our own. I'm a walking contradiction, because on most topics I consider myself an open book. For this, though, it's really a matter of discussion between me and my husband.

Now that I'm having a baby, suddenly everyone wants to know if it was planned, which is a really personal question. If I say yes, suddenly I feel like I'm walking away from all my friends who are dealing or have dealt with infertility. If that's a thought that hasn't crossed your mind, you have some reading to do! I have a surprising number of friends that have dealt with wanting a baby and not getting one--believe it or not, it's not always easy to get pregnant, even if you were able to get knocked up in the first round.

Then again, if I say, "No, we were totally surprised!" I feel like it makes us look irresponsible and ill-prepared. Truth is, I've only known one person who was totally prepared to be a mom, and I've known a lot of pregnant people. I don't know anyone else who found out she was having a baby and wasn't totally ready to hand over her life to a baby.

The truth lies somewhere in the middle of all that. And that's all I'm telling you.

It takes a lot of my inner strength to NOT say, "This is really none of your business." It's interesting to note exactly how many people have asked me if this was planned or if we were trying. I feel like reproduction and sex and babies is one of those "taboo" topics (to me), almost like money. You don't ask how someone is managing to go on lavish vacations or spending sprees when it looks obvious that they're living paycheck to paycheck. You can wonder and discuss it over coffee and gossip with your friends, but to just outright ask is rude.

What really gets me, though, are the repeat offenders: people who keep asking, hoping for another kernal of information either for their own sick curiosity or because they've convinced themselves of the reality of our situation and they need confirmation. I've had a few people ask me over and over again if we were planning or not, and I'm really short-tempered by now. If I didn't tell you before, what makes you think I'll tell you now? Only a select few friends--the people I'm closest to--know exactly what happened. Why do only a few people know? Because I can trust them completely.

Think about it for a minute: pretend you WANT a baby (or don't pretend if you're in that camp). You've been trying for over a year and can't get pregnant. It tears you apart and you silently resent every pregnant woman you see, even your friends, because they have something you can't get. Would you actually want people to keep asking, "When are you gonna have a baaaaaaaaaaaby?" and "When are you going to make your mom a grandma?" or worse, "Don't you guys want kids?"

Asking questions like that is basically a kick to the ovaries. I hated and still hate seeing that look in a friend's eyes when she looks at a baby bump or a baby. There's a pain in there you can feel, and you can't even imagine what it feels like to be on the other side of that. I saw my friend's eyes ache so badly for a baby that it brought me to tears right then and there. Few people would intentionally inflict that pain on anyone, but asking a "simple question" can bring up a ton of emotions no one wants to touch.

For me, asking questions like, "Was this a surprise baby?" and "Were you planning?" is just as hurtful. It reminds me that my body doesn't work the way it's supposed to--that it has let me down in the past, and that it could still reject the pregnancy. I know people are curious and want to ask questions and feel like they should, but those questions sting. They remind me that I've got to be a little cautious at all times and enjoy this as much as I can for as long as I can because it could all go south quickly. My reproductive system and I haven't always gotten along and most times it's come out the winner.

What's it matter to anyone else? Regardless of whether we'd pulled the goalie, were actively trying, were trying but not really, or were totally taken off guard doesn't matter at this point. What does matter is that this baby will be loved. We're bringing it into a loving home, and not a situation where we're trying to rescue our marriage with a baby, or worse, where we're just about to fall apart financially. We've been really blessed throughout our marriage and I hope those blessings continue throughout the baby's life.

Just keep that in mind the next time you start asking questions--unless you're truly prepared to deal with the crying and anger and frustrations that will come out of that conversation, that is.

Infertility Reading:

Three Cheers for Babies

You vs. Me

Cleansing My Heart

Thoughts From the Mind of MayDayGirl

Will They Have His Eyes?

Em & Joe

Busted Babymaker

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Question

Next week, we have our "big" ultrasound. Provided this kid cooperates we'll find out the gender of the baby! (Then again, it's half mine, so there's a damn good chance it won't cooperate.)

Everyone keeps asking me what I "want", like they're asking what's on my Christmas wish list. Truth is, I don't really have an answer. I want a girl because we've settled on a girl name, girl clothes are generally cuter, and being one myself I have a generally good idea of how to play with one and raise one (pause for laughter because I know zippo about raising anything that's not a plant).

But...I also want a boy because boys are easier. They're generally more easy-going, and it's probably easier to change a boy's diaper (fewer nooks and crannies to work with). And, I think having a son would be a fun exercise for me. Maybe we'd get lucky and it'd be a Graham and not an Angie! (Meaning: It wouldn't be a huge pain in the butt all the time.)'s the evidence. Go ahead and read the following, then vote in the poll on the side. Gender will be announced as soon as we get a positive confirmation.

1. I've had a ton of dreams telling me it's a girl. 75% of my baby dreams say girl.
2. 25% of my baby dreams say boy.
3. My gut instinct says boy.
4. Some cultures/traditions/know-it-alls say I'm having a girl because I'm looking tired and drawn--baby girls steal the mother's good looks.

(Ahem....I had good looks? Huh?)

5. My grandmother always said that Italians believed that baby girls made a preggo MORE beautiful, while baby boys made the mother look tired and exhausted.
6. I'm STILL throwing up all the time, and supposedly a ton of m/s means it's a girl.
7. Swinging a necklace over my wrist and stomach has been inconclusive: back and forth in a circular motion.
8. Chinese gender prediction charts are also at odds with one another.
9. We don't yet have a boy name picked out, so there's a damn good chance it will be a boy and we'll spend the next 4 months arguing about names, all the way into Labor & Delivery.
10. Cousin Ken is 2/2 with his niece & nephew, and he says I'm having a boy.
11. All first-born Baby Gs have been boys.

There you go! Your evidence as it stands. My Aunt Karen truly believes I'm having a girl because she dreamed boy, girl, boy, girl in that order with all 4 of her kids and her dreams came true. My gut tells me it's a boy, despite all the dreams I'm having. (I think my dreams might be a little too far future predicting--maybe they're telling me about Baby 2 or Baby 3, and those are only options if this m/s stops sometime soon---I can't keep throwing up like this!!!!)

Go vote, and look for a gender post sometime next week.