Friday, March 30, 2007


Yet another mindblowing (to me) milestone.

I feel a foot. There was a lot of kicking, and I reached down to feel it as I always do, and for the first time the foot was pressed into the wall of my ute and I could press back at it. I played a little me-push, you-push with Monito/a for a few minutes until it got tired. Had me crying a bit with happiness. The moments when it feels especially real and baby-like are very poignant. According to the books, the fetus is 2.75 lbs and about 16" total length now, so it is no wonder that it can push back - it has leverage now. I guess I should be glad it wasnt' bracing against my bladder.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

7 month belly

Fabulous in-laws

We received some great Christmas presents. From my mother, Boston Grandma, we received the fushia owl suit. Clearly, it was a hit with Pequita.

Then, from Pequita's Oma (my sister's partner's mother), the amazing cat suit. It is warm, fits beautifully, and is so damn cute that we make Pequita wear it more than is proper. You can see the stripes down the back in the pic where she is nursing with Homestead Mama. Now I understand why my Aunt used to let my cousin wear the hand-me-down bunny Halloween costume for months, to preschool, to the grocery store, all over. They are too cute to say no to.

Brand love

I love Phil & Ted. Witness, please, the best stroller in the world, and our new solution to a cumbersome high chair which kept tripping me and getting in the way.

We'll get another table seat/high chair for the new baby, too. It is so bloomin' convenient, 2 lbs, and travels really well.

Friday, March 23, 2007

RIP Garrison Keillor

I usually enjoy Dan Savage's writing, from his ever-enlightening sex advice column "Sav*age Love" to his political commentary and even his books. Yeah, sure, he's achieved a level of success that occasionally allows for more abrasive language than most adults choose to employ. But he's now managed to properly capture and express my indignation and sense of betrayal that Garrison Keillor sparked in me with this little gem in Salon Magazine. All I could do when I read it was stammer and feel confused, betrayed, then angry. For years I have listened to "The Writer's Almanac" on NPR every week, enjoying the commentary and Keillor's mellifluous voice doling out the literary trivia and poetry, even staying longer in my car when late for work to hear the end. I've been trying to articulate my feelings about his Salon article to no avail even as I have been waiting for a retraction or apology from Keillor, and then today I found Dan's response, here. So there, Garrison. (And for the record, I always hated Guy Noir. Stupid, stupid, and boring.)

Update: Keillor's apology here, and Dan's second response here.

Product Review: Conceiv*ex Conc*ption Kit

(For an actual product review, usually I’d use the product in question. The press is so enticing for this new product, though, that I couldn’t help bringing it to your attention.)

Jumping right on the bandwagon, they are. Good old FDA. The brand new Conceiv*x Conception Kit contains everything you need for a fancy ICI (intracervical insemination) attempt. Yay! Let’s actually HELP couples get pregnant. Except that the kit (which contains no medicines or needles) will require a prescription. If someone can figure out what is so risky that you’d need monitoring by a doctor for this, I’d be happy to hear about it.

This kit is pretty hetero-specific, focusing on intercourse as the key (fitting right into Bush’s religious-right choke-hold on the FDA.) The conception kit system contains 3 semen collectors, 3 samples of a ‘sperm-friendly intimate moisturizer’ (amusing named Pre-seedex) and 3 Conception Caps, for a 3-month supply. Ah, remember the good old days of thinking it actually *would* happen on the first try, or that you could pick the zodiac sign of your choice for your kid? I guess they have to sound optimistic, after all, the folks who are using this product probably are just starting out.

The website for the kit has a dictionary for people new to the trying-to-conceive lifestyle. The first entry?

AF (Aunt Flo)-This is a slang description for your menstrual flow. Normally on days one through five the lining of the uterus breaks down and passes through the vagina.

Good for them, trying to level the playing field and bring everybody up to speed.

Maybe this is the start of caring attempts by the FDA to do the right thing by people experiencing infertility. We’ll see. My cynical side is assuming that it is just a way to exert control over who is choosing to get pregnant, or a way for the medical professionals to collect insurance fees & payments for the only method of assisted fertility that was still free (previously known as the ‘turkey baster method’)? This drives me a little crazy.

Birds, update

We have found good homes for the two hardest birds to place, Magpie the goffin cockatoo, and Kyri the Umbrella cockatoo. The house is SO much quieter! Homestead Mama is still interviewing people to adopt Baron, the African Grey. He'll be gone by next week. We'll keep Peaches, the bald goffin cockatoo, since she is very tame and pretty ugly since she plucks out all her feathers. She and Pequita are developing quite the mutual admiration society. Hopefully they'll be good buddies and no one will sustain injuries.

We're off tonight for a weekend in the Adirondacks to let H-Mama's dad see the baby again. We sleep in their 30' camper which is parked in the driveway when we visit, so it is like having a very compact B&B room to ourselves, which is far, far preferable to sacking out on the leather couches in the living room, especially with the baby. I never realized how important it is to have a guest room! We had two in our house, but one turned into a nursery. When we do the last stage of renovations (currently scheduled for summer of 2009) we'll be creating a family room / guest room, so we'll be back up to 2 places for guests to sleep.

I have many new pictures, belly shots and other things, but haven't had time to post them. Hopefully this weekend, if I can get internet access. If not, early next week. Pequita is changing and growing so much! (As am I, I suppose.) I haven't had time to return phone calls, letters, emails. I'm sorry! If you're waiting to hear back from me, I'm working on it & thinking of you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

28 week OB appointment

I saw my lovely sweet OB doc this morning. I have 12 weeks to go until my due date, which is starting to sound like less and less time.

As expected, my frequent and increasingly intense Braxton-Hicks contractions aren't the best thing at this stage. Since I'm having so many strong ones, I have been instructed to cease and desist from all activity that brings them on, which means no more stairs, walking fast or long distances, carrying Pequita in her carseat, amongst a couple other more personal activities. Bother. He said that once I hit the 34 week mark I can do windsprints if I want, as getting Monita/o out at that point is just fine, but to do what I need to in order to keep it in me for now. Makes sense - the fetus is only 2 lbs, and at fairly significant risk of complications if I went into labor now. So I will increase my water intake (even if I weren't pregnant I'd be peeing every hour given the quantity I drink), triple my magnesium dose, and rest more. Darn. I KNEW we should have budgeted for a butler to help out.

At the next appointment I get my initial glucose test and Strep-B test. I'm allergic to both meds typically used to treat Strep-B, so if I end up having it, we could face a challenge. Also, if my nosebleeds continue I get to have the inside of my nose cauterized - whoopee, eh? Since breaking my nose in a car accident, and then years later breaking it on a softball, the framework of my nose is decidedly non-standard. I always get nosebleeds in the winter, but since getting pregnant they have been coming fast and furious. It is not unusual for me to be up for 45 minutes in the middle of the night trying to quell the deluge. Most disconcerting.

On the plus side, the fetus is already head down, and the heartbeat was 136. My doc always points out that low heart rates are associated with boys, but Pequita hovered in the 130's until she got out, so maybe it is just a family thing. Also, despite the several gallons of chocolate ice cream I have consumed since my last OB appointment, plus the lime sherbert I have been utilising as a palate cleanser, I have only gained a half pound. This will, I imagine, begin to change as I decrease my exercise level to stop the B-H contractions. Plus, the little bugger in me has to gain another 5 or 6 lbs, at least. (And please goddess, let that be all it gains!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Parrot update

Twenty-three emails awaited me about the birds were awaiting me at work. 23! This means that we don't have to toss them out the door to the first taker, but Homstead Mama can interview people and select a new owner. Oh, happy day for all.

Freecycle love

Some of you have met the 20+ year old parrots that Homestead Mama has owned since college. Others of you may just have heard me bitch about how loud, dirty and under stimulated they are. They have a sad life since we are too busy to tend to them and give them the attention they deserve. I have been trying to get them a home with better prospects (out of my house) for over 5 years, much to Homestead Mama's dismay. It is true that one of the things I fell in love with was her sense of responsibility, which extends to her pets with a vengance. She has acquiesced, finally, that they need a better situation in life, and has been trying to get her mind right about giving them away since I started pushing hard. This hard pushing coincided with her getting pregnant and I (accurately, it would seem) predicted the end of our free time, extra house space, and extra mental space.

Just yesterday, someone at Homestead Mama's office got her all excited about Freecycle (via a free breast pump offering) and I took the opportunity by the horns to get her to dictate an ad for the parrots last night while she was trapped under a nursing baby. I submitted a post about the damn birds at 7:30 or so, it hit the web after we went to bed at 10:30 pm, and we started getting calls at 7:30 this morning. Huzzah! There is a lot of interest - we already have a short waiting list. The first caller is coming on Thurs night for the African Grey and the Umbrella Cockatoo, the second woman is interested in the Goffin Cockatoo. I'm thinking that even Peaches, our bald feather plucking Goffin could find a new home at this rate, bald and all. but Margie has to think on that a bit more, as that is the one she is still close to.

The lovely alcove next to the dining room that currently houses the huge bird cages is one step closer to being what I designed it to be - a kid's nook, with a reading chair, bookshelf, activity table and all the colorful plastic toy detritus housed there that is now cluttering up our living room. I am positively giddy with optimism. (To illustrate why, for those of you who haven't stayed overnight chez nous and haven't experienced it, the parrots awake at dawn and salute the sun like roosters. Loudly. And further, the African grey is very smart and has learned to mimic EXACTLY our smoke detector alarm, his current favorite salute. I'm hoping we get rid of him before he perfects his cry that mimics the baby screaming. What a catch he'll be then!)

By the way, if you live in the US and don't know about Freecycle, you should check it out. has local chapters in many cities, and is a place to give away and acquire things for free. We've given away computer monitors the size of my car engine, hundreds of planting containers, and several bags of packing peanuts. We've gotten a pressure cooker, baby swing, children's books, a shelf, and now my alcove back!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pequita's 4 month checkup

Yes, she's 5.5 months old now, but there was a huge snowstorm last month and the doc's office closed, and she missed her appointment. We are most pleased with her progress. She is now 17.32 lbs and 25.5" long (tall?), which puts her in the shocking 90th percentile in weight and 75th percentile in height.

On the other hand, we WILL be switching doctor's office, because Homestead Mama & Pequita have been at the docs office for an hour and a half so far and STILL hasn't received any vaccinations. They're 'running a bit behind'. I told H-Mama to stop nursing and comforting the baby and go stand by the check-in desk with a squalling bored infant and let them revel in their scheduling ineptitude. If we switch, it will be to the downtown hippy pediatric office which is lovely, there is never a pile-up in the waiting room and the docs are highly recommended. They don't take our insurance, so we'll have to pay out of pocket & then get reimbursed, but good lord, what kind of office makes you wait w/ a baby for over 1.5 hours? Sheesh. They are lucky it isn't me there with the kid.

A banner day

Finally, as it warms up and I am not wearing a bulky sweater for the first time this pregnancy, it is clear that my belly has gotten big enough so that my butt looks downright dainty.

Glory be!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Brain dump

Lack of posting doesn't mean lack of activity or things to stew over/ rant about. I am clearly behind on the posting. With many topics and too little time, I'll do the best I can to catch up. My exhaustion continues, but now I've added leg cramps - charley-horses the likes of which I have never experienced. Definitely pregnancy related - I'm all hopped up on magnesium,. potassium & prenatal vitamins, and am still limping during the day from the last incident on Sat night. One bonus is that my left leg, with the fused ankle that is the source of so much pain and annoyance, seems to be exempt from the cramping. An unexpected bonus.

1. Homestead Mama and I celebrated a belated Valentine's Day to make up for the one we missed due to illness by going to see Solomon Burke in concert. He's been one of my favorites for years - I wooed my sweetie to some of his music, so it was fitting to go see him for V-day. He's aging, and I hope I remember to write up a piece on his concert; we were awash with both exhilaration and joy and a little pity. Very interesting. Bottom line? He performed his butt off. Hottie friend babysat for a few hours. She is the BEST babysitter - how many parents get regular text-messaged updates & pictures of their happily playing or sleeping babe throughout the night, plus a handwritten log of activities awaiting them upon return home? Yup. We're lucky. Funny thing about novelty, though. Pequita can stay in one outfit for a couple days (or more, if Homestead Mama is supposed to changer her clothes). If it is clean, we aren't opposed to her staying in what she has on. Hottie friend changed her while we were gone just for the fun of it. Very cute. (And she picked out a winner outfit!)

2. My parents came for a visit from Boston for a long weekend, and what a grandparent joyfest it was! They wanted to keep up with Pequita's growth & development, as well as the belly I am sporting. They expect to come for another visit before I deliver in June(ish), aiming for a visit every 6 weeks or so. They are very concerned with giving equal time/attention to both their grandkids, which is pretty noble given that one lives 30 mins away and we are six HOURS away. Much fawning happened all around. My mother is getting over a knee replacement surgery, and amazingly after only 3 weeks was up and walking a bit with no crutches. She did great with the baby. She still remembers (most of) the songs she sang to us when we were little - it was lovely to hear them sung to my kid.

3. We allowed Pequita to accidentally tumble off the couch and hit her head, luckily on the colored foam playmat we now use as a living room rug. Still, the thump was heard around the house, as was the screaming. Horrible. Afterwards, when we had watched for concussion, checked for damage & injury, and nursed her into oblivion, the stories of other folks kids being dropped came our way and helped assuage the guilt we felt. I had hoped to have NO falls, but clearly that is no longer a goal. Homestead Mama and I are permanently traumatized. Pequita seems ok, still drooling out of both sides of her mouth evenly and still chipper and tracking visually quite well.

4. Something weird happened to Pequita, probably in daycare, that we have no explanation for. Pequita came home on Friday with a rash of broken blood vessels around her eyes. We took her in for a checkup on Sat to confirm that it wasn't something we have to treat, and the nurse confirmed my worst fears, that she probably cried/ choked/ strained hard enough to cause it. It is very worrisome in the big picture, although all seems ok on the whole. Our daycare lady told Homestead Mama upon drop-off this morning that Pequita just hasn't been crying lately, and she is unaware of any incidents that could have caused it. I need to further investigate the possibility that a fill-in caregiver might have been there when it happened when I do the pickup tonight. *If* it happened at daycare. All I know is that in her 21 weeks with us, Pequita has screamed her head off, pooped her little heart out, and had more than one incident of choking on breast milk/ bathwater/ etc., not to mention FALLING ON HER HEAD without developing broken blood vessels. What the hell happened this time? I'll figure it out, but being a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) is looking better and better, and soon.

I don't like Mondays.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Sleep, sleep, perchance to dream...

Fine, fine. While Hamlet's anguish is at its height in that soliloquy, I am merely exhausted. I took Wednesday off from work with a bad headache & nausea & such fatigue the likes of which I haven't had since the first trimester. I slept all day, waking up at 7pm, and happy to go back to sleep at about 10pm. It must be the hormones, which is better than the stomach flu, which was my initial diagnosis. Except that the flu would be gone by now and I'm still flat out exhausted. I fell asleep at my desk yesterday. That's a touch embarrassing, I might point out, when someone barges in needing something. Blink blink - stammer stammer. Yup, no way to coolly cover that up. Homestead Mama is outwardly very supportive and understanding, and is happy to take Pequita after work - all I have to do is pick the baby up on my way home from work & entertain her until H-Mama appears. We do this in bed w/ many toys and me laying flat. Secretly, Homestead Mama must be thinking how much better she had it - she has no recollection of any hormonal effect on her at all for the duration of her pregnancy. *I* remember her momentary lapses, fits of pique and rageful stomping. Hindsight is fleeting - maybe I'll forget all this in time.

When I was very young, my dad used to come home from work tuckered out & be met at the door by three small kids totally bored with their mother, having spent all day doing nothing with her but making puppets, forts, assorted craft projects, playing outside, you know, boring stuff. Then wonderful, magical, novelty DAD would appear and we'd start clambering for his attention. One of our favorite games was "Sleeping Giant". He would take off his coat and tie, lie down in the middle of the living room floor and pretend to be a sleeping giant, complete with fake snoring and grunting. We'd giggle, creep around him, working up our brevity to approach and poke at him - at the first touch, he'd rear up and roar loudly, flailing his arms, baring his teeth, and make ineffectual grabs for our limbs. We would run screaming and laughing from the room, delightfully frightened and very pleased with this game. It would take us a few minutes of planning to work up to another assault, and the same thing would happen. This could go on for a long time, and we never got tired of it. On a few rare and special occasions, our uncle would be visiting and would play "Sleeping Bear" right alongside the giant. Oh, the paroxysms of joy.

As a parent, I now know that the snoring wasn't fake, the 'sleeping' was really happening in fits and spurts, that poor tired dad was in need of a nap and this was the best way he could fit it into his day. I think it was an ingenious adaptive game. I just wish that Pequita was old enough to enjoy a little terror in the name of fun.