Thursday, May 31, 2007

Summer is here

Good christ, it is hot. Blech. I am using the power of positive imagery to get through this. In my mind, I am sashaying my sleek fecund form around town in my litte tank top and flowy skirt, my now long curly hair swinging in a pert cute way as I glow my way through the end of this pregnancy. A reality check would show that I am waddling around with my thin clothing clinging to my glistening ever-more rotund body, 'flowing' curls gently sticking to my face and neck as I schvitz in the heat. This body which had the coffee shop guy exclaim this morning, "Wow - you look ready to pop any second now!" and the used baby goods store proprietor offering to carry my purchases to my car for me. (I take in hand-me-downs that hit the gross trifecta - pink, frilly and floral - and exit with lovely orange clothes and dirt cheap baby-proofing devices for our house. Win-win for everyone.)

No news is good news to the OB. I saw the wife of the practice this morning, and all is well. Baby is clearly dropping, as I am finally measuring behind (I am almost 38 weeks along, and measuring only 36 weeks, which means about 2 weeks worth of baby growth is now lodged in my pelvis. Yahoo, I say.) The most significant change from last week is that peeing has become a directional event. I sit down and nothing happens. I have to twist, turn, shift, crouch, and jiggle until I find a position that allows my bladder to find a way to work around the human head blocking its way. Most interesting, and I'm sure I'd enjoy the humor if I didn't have to PEE. I walked out of the OBs office with a doctor's note stating that I am not allowed to work more than 4 hours per day (Yippee! and thanks to all who talked me through the decision to put myself before my job). She narrated as she wrote, "Homestead Mom is only allowed to work 4 hours per day from now until the end of her pregnancy, as the process of creating a human life is contra-indicated with working full time at this point." When I read the actual script I was a little sorry that it didn't really write it like that. I think it was totally accurate. I will now be napping in the early afternoon, and then working on the house, or taking walks with Pequita in the best stroller in the world, or riding the lawn mower over our acreage (hey - the vibrations might induce labor!) or - blessed be - lying on the couch watching BBC America reruns of gory mysteries (all of which seem to star Robson Green) with a tall glass of iced anything balanced on my belly. Damned luxurious, eh?

The homestead is clean - Homestead Mama and I were up til midnight last night getting it put to rights so I can relax and not dread going into labor in squalor. My mother says she'll tidy when she arrives, but she'll be taking care of Pequita, which is at this clingy stage a full-time job. I've gotten rid of so much superfluous crap that I think the dogs believe that we're moving again - they are annoyingly underfoot in case we make a break for it & leave them behind. They aren't stupid. I hope the garbage collectors have enough room in their truck for all our bags by the curb.

Life is good, my friends.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Hoo, boy, am I grumpy - my patience for idiocy and annoyance is nil.  I am actually cruising for a scrappy fight, I can tell.  Not so conducive to a good working environment.  I'm meeting with HR today to let them know that I need to cut back my work hours.  I need more nap time & rest time, and also more time to get personal stuff done.  I'd quit today if my sense of responsibility were any less developed. 
And if I want to deliver on the 31st (because there is a blue moon that night) then I have to start excercising.  :)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Garage sale update

Homestead Mama earner herself over $300 hawking her beloved items on our lawn (mostly stuff that has been packed away and hasn't seen the light of day in over 6 years).  At the end of the weekend, we were tuckered out and sunburned, but the house is much emptier of stuff we don't need, Homestead Mama has a huge pile of papers & stuff to burn in our fire pit (she prefers this to recycling), and she admitted that, "purging our stuff feels kind of good."  Phew.  We advertised that after 3pm today, everything left is free in the spirit of NOT taking anything back inside.  We had cars starting to drive by, scoping out the things that were left, starting at noon.  At 2:45, people parked and waited for us to say they could take what they wanted for nothing.  Oy vey.  We finally culled out the few things we want to get actual money for - the antiques and collectibles - and let them have at it.  Starving students, people so cheap that $5 was too much to pay for a lovely new area rug, families with one full mouth of teeth between them, all had Christmas in our front yard.  Doesn't matter, really, as long as we no longer have to vacuum around this stuff. 

Next step: rearrange what's left. 
Secondly: deep cleaning of house. 
Thirdly: start chipping away at small task list of easy things to do on house that will make it more pleasant for visitors.
Fourthly: deliver new baby and come home to a lovely, tidy, slightly more sparsely decorated home. 
Somewhere in there is: pack bags for hospital, write birth plan, and pack a bag to send with Pequita to whomever her caregiver ends up being when I go into active labor.  I'm not sure why I have a block with this.  For Homestead Mama's delivery, I was ready 6 weeks before her due date.  I guess I am a little in denial in addition to assuming I'll have several hours of extra time to kill once my labor starts but before it gets bad.  An assumption that I shouldn't count on.  Oh well.  I'll make a packing list at work tomorrow in some spare time.

Pequita has been needy, clingy and snuggly ever since her vaccinations on Friday.  She was like this last time, too.  It isn't so bad, it is just that whoever is tending to her can't get much done - since H-mama was doing all sorts of heavy lifting and sorting, this was me.  Pequita spent the whole day today on my lap playing with a toy or two under a sun shade observing the garage sale.  She particularly likes traffic now - cars go by and her eyes light up.  Cyclists pass in pairs and her eyes widen as she follows their progress.  Bikers go by on their Harley Davidsons and she drops all toys, swivels her head, and watches the horizon after they have left her sight, then she turns to us with her mouth in the shape of an O and her eyes ablaze.  The noise is clearly captivating.  No wonder Harley tried to patent the sound of their motorcycles.  I don't see the appeal, but Homestead Mama, who had her years as a motorcycle rider, feels great pride. 

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day weekend

Homestead Mama's big garage sale is upon us.  We've emptied the house of piles of assorted extra stuff we haven't used in years, a good amount of furniture, and some things from the garage.  We will sell it for Sun, then on Monday it becomes a Freecycle sale, which means everything left over is free for the taking.  This is a great way to ensure that nothing comes back into the house.  We have a few antiques we are selling that we'll take to an auction house if we don't get the price we want.  This is a big relief for me - I'm a little worried about trying to raise 2 young kids in a death trap house full of clutter.

The OB appointment on Friday morning was great. I dropped my knickers for the first time w/ him, and he swabbed for the strep B test. then he checked me for any progress. First thing he said, while chuckling, was that I have a HUGE pelvis and should have no trouble delivering the baby. I suppose I should take that as a compliment - not something I ever thought I'd want to hear, but in this instance he couldn't have delivered a nicer more reassuring compliment. My cervix is 1 cm dilated, and he could feel the baby's head, which I assume means I am effaced to some degree. The OB said that while we have no idea what will happen, he thinks I'll last at least one more week. Monita/o's heartbeat is holding steady in the 140s, and my BP was nice and low.  Thanks to the bad reaction I had to the spicy food, I had lost a half pound.  Regardless, Homestead Mama still keeps noting how I am looking enormous (she's sweet like that). 

We went to the farmers market in town this morning for breakfast and coffee with Hottie Friend which was delightful.  We mean to go every week, but usually get waylaid with sleeping in, or appointments, or dog activites.  There was a troupe of drummers playing which entertained Pequita very nicely.  She garnered a lot of attention, as she is quite enchanted with all things public these days, and consequently enchants those around her with her grin and giggle.  A woman I knew only by sight from softball years ago, and whom I keep running into around town now that I have joined her in motherhood and frequent similar places, approached us and we had a nice chat, and we agreed to start up a play group for our ~7 month olds after I deliver.  She seems really nice, and clearly has a similar lifestyle, so I am excited at the prospect.  Plus, she's got two older kids so must have good experiences & advice to share, which is always good.

After the farmers market, we proceeded on to the hospital for the second non-stress test, and all looked good. I am having contractions that stop me in my tracks with some regularity. If I have to go to the bathroom, it is pretty uncomfortable/painful.  At least they are now being productive, which makes it easier to take.  We had the nurse help us today who was our nurse when Homestead Mama delivered Pequita.  I have a strong dislike for her - she is a bit of a dolt, with no social skills and lacks warmth and affect.  What kind of nurse interrupts the doctor when he is speaking about how things are going to offer a drink or adjust the monitor or anything?  Yuck.  I have instructed Hottie Friend to eject her from my delivery if she somehow gets assigned to us - I can't handle her energy when I have all my faculties at my disposal, let alone in labor.  Homestead Mama dislikes confrontation to the point that I think Hottie Friend will be a better hard-ass-on-call. 

I was planning on working up until I go into labor, but I'm starting to think that at least going half time will be a good idea soon. I have a lot to do at home, and naps are just delightful at this point. It is rough, also, picking up our DD, who at 7.5 mos is 20 lbs (90th percentile, and heavy!) We'll see what happens. I have some tidying up of my desk & workload to do for my replacement.

The ticker at the top of the blog says I have only 20 days left til due date.  Yikes!  I need to get the bag packed for the hospital. I have a small pile of stuff to take, just have to finish it and put it in something. More importantly is getting a bag of stuff ready for Pequita. We have a few folks to watch her, depending on the time of day I go into labor etc. but they'll all need clothing, diapers, formula, etc., not to mention a page or two of instructions.  Hopefully, my parents will have enough time to get here from Boston so my mom can watch the baby before we're otherwise occupied with heavy labor.  

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Homestead History

As I've mentioned, we live in a farmhouse house built in 1851. We bought it from the 70 year-old son of the folks who bought it in 1940. He remembers growing up in this house, having the indoor toilet installed in the 1950s because they got tired of going outside to the outhouse, building the now-decrepit chicken coop out in the yard for a 4-H project. Both Homestead Mama and I always wanted to buy an old house and fix it up, putting our own stamp on it. The house is extremely solid with good bones - the main beams that it is framed out of are clearly recycled from older structures, as they have mortise & tenon joints in them that don't pertain to our house. These huge 10" - 12" square beams are like iron; we broke many a drill bit in them trying to run the electric wires. Our house has some sags and nary a square angle to be found, but it is solid as can be.

The house came with 10 acres of land which is made up of about 1.5 acres of mowed landscaped lawn surrounding the house & garage, replete with huge lilac bushes, maple trees, perennial flowers, and walnut trees; the remainder of our property is meadow and trees. We bought the place 'as is', gutted it of all the horsehair plaster & lathe, and with judicious use of contractors, friends, Girl & Boy Fridays, and much help from our families, have carved out a livable space. We put in all new plumbing, electrical wiring, fantastic insulation, reframed the upstairs to create 2 small bedrooms and a huge master suite, refinished the 150-year old floors ourselves, and had all new windows installed.
It is close to being a stunning example of a renovated farmhouse. We still have some smaller projects to do (to install trim around windows and doors, frame out the closets that we built into the master suite dressing room, strip paint off some old doors we reused, install some door hardware, etc.) Then there are the larger projects still to come – we’ll need a new roof in the next 10 years, and there are 3 or 4 layers of shingle up there to be taken off first. We’ll install clapboard siding in the next 15 years, and get the details on the exterior we want. We also have 400 square feet of an addition to finish, and we'll attack this in the summer of 2009. It is an uninsulated ell of the house that will become a lovely family / guest room and a laundry room. This ell had been built after the turn of the century directly on the earth, and for around 75 years has been sitting wood on soil. It is a testament to the old growth wood that houses used to be built with that it was in amazingly good condition - we had a contractor excavate and install a nice new foundation under it last summer (stage one of the ell renovation) and there was only a few feet of wood sill that was rotted out and needed replacement. The contractor couldn't believe it.

Now that we've owned it for 6 years and have (almost) 2 babies, we are thinking how nice it would be to have enough extra money laying around to pay someone *else* to put our stamp on it. I have a list (those of you who know me can snigger here, as you know it is more of a sorted prioritized database) of things to get done and is regularly re-prioritized to accommodate our lives. Before each baby, we go through a mad rush to deeply clean, tidy, finish a couple more construction items in preparation for not having any extra time for at least 6 weeks. Now with the second baby, 6 weeks seems optimistic, but I'm maintaining my optimism as long as I can.

We have a Girl Friday, a handy-woman who helps us by doing all the things around the house that we are either physically incapable of doing (at least one of us has been pregnant for a couple years now) or don't know how to do. She worked in construction for years and is really capable and talented. She works a lot faster than I would, and thinks things through, often making things better than we had planned because the opportunity presented itself in the course of her work. She installed a new bathroom floor in the house we own across the street and rent out, and she built us the most beautiful flagstone front path to the house with stone we retrieved from our property. In many ways, she is a dream. The only downfall is that she now has a regular job and is only available a few hours per week. She showed up at 8am this morning ready to put in a few hours of work. Amusingly enough, Homestead Mama let Girl Friday in downstairs when she was letting the dogs out and the next thing I know I hear a "Hi!" from behind me. I was on the bed in my underwear, on my hands and knees over Pequita letting her play with my dangling necklace hoping to get another glimpse of her new tooth. Ass to the doorway, oblivious of company. My, did I get red in the face. Thank goodness she is a friend and a woman, or the screech I let out would have lasted longer and been a lot louder. Her arrival actually got me out of bed (I was running very late, having been up from 1 - 4:30am with hormonal insomnia). I was out the door with the baby in 20 minutes; Homestead Mama was tending to the animals and getting Girl Friday set up with tools & supplies when I left. By 9:30 I realized that I had left my cell phone at home in the morning rush, and called H-mama to let her know that, and to remind her that it was my birthday today (38 years old!). After apologizing for forgetting the day, she told me a little story than only affirms my deep affection for contractors/laborers that are bonded and insured, which Girl Friday is not.

Girl Friday started her day working on finishing the hole surrounding the upstairs bathroom skylight. Our ceilings are sloped on the second floor, so the skylight is the only window in the bathroom - a vast improvement. Homestead Mama's father came to help her install it, and we never insulated around it and patched the drywall that was disturbed in the installation. Girl Friday apparently cut the rigid foam board insulation (that has been stored behind the tub for a couple of years in anticipation of this project) to fit the holes, then was sealing around the edges with a can of expanding insulation foam. Since the ceiling is sloped, this is above her head, and the foam promptly started falling onto the floor and instantly adhering to the finish. Drat - I had meant to supply her with a drop cloth. H-mama ran to get some paint thinner which was supposed to clean the foam off surfaces. The two of them opened the can, splashed out some chemicals onto a rag in Girl Friday's bare hand and then were startled when her skin started to burn and turn red. Did they READ the can before using the product? Sure, enough to ascertain that it said Paint on it somewhere. Were they concerned when it poured out think and glutinous and not at all like paint thinner? No. Guesses as to what they had just exposed themselves to? Anyone? Yup, highly caustic, toxic, carcinogenic, only-use-with-special-hazmat -gloves paint stripper. (Of course, those words could be used with thinner and they still would have used their bare hands, despite all the nagging I do.) H-mama had no exposure, thank goodness, as she's still breastfeeding, but Girl Friday had to wash her hands repeatedly and keep them in cool water until the burning subsided. I believe that she is still in my house working, but I hope she takes it easy. We have all summer to insulate that window, and I have other projects for her to do for which she’ll need her skin.


Joy abounds, usually with much flapping of arms in this household. (Now that it is hot here - 85 degrees today - I'd like to mention my new found adoration of little tank-style shortie outfits. Chubby thighs, lots of skin, cuteness abounding.)Pequita's first tooth broke through sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday. I have been checking her gums daily in disbelief that, at 7.5 months, she hasn't cut any teeth yet. Wednesday afternoon, upon picking her up from daycare, we were having our usual discussion ("Bah bah bah?" "Da da da da da da" ad infinitum) while I strapped her into her carseat and lo and behold, she has clearly cut a tooth. I couldn't photograph it very well, since she is quite opposed to holding still or pausing her tongue explorations (that phrase ought to garner a couple of new visitors to the blog; won't they be disappointed with the context!) long enough for a nice clear macro lens shot. It is there, her lower right tooth, the sharp edge just emerging from her slightly swollen gums. I was both thrilled at the milestone and already mourning the loss of her perfect little gummy smile. Homestead Mama is mourning the loss of safe nursing.

We haven't seen any of the symptoms that I expected to precede this event - we were prepared for fevers, sleeplessness, behavioral changes, all sorts of awful things. She has had her first persistent diaper redness over the last couple days, but it hasn't even been a rash. That and she has wanted to stay up later with us playing, but I attributed that to her learning to crawl. So much is happening so fast. I wish fourth grade could have passed this quickly.

Sunday brunch

The order in which I post pictures has a lot to do with the speed in which I download them from the camera. I'm willing to try posting more regularly, especially if I am up in the middle of the night for the remainder of my gestation.

Last Sunday, Homestead Mama and I took the baby out to brunch at the local hippie coffee house cafe. Live jazz guitar, a futon window seat to spread out on, and yummy vegetarian food all are gravy on top of the child tolerant atmosphere. We drank coffee, started to eat and then Pequita started grabbing for the fork. We let her try some plain yogurt from my fruit crepe, which elicited a bit of a sour scowl but didn't diminish her zeal for more. She much preferred the avacado on H-mama's omelette.
She's taking to food quite well. No allergies so far, although we have agreed that a more systematic approach could be a good idea.


Here it is, 3 am, and I've been up for two hours. Since it is a little late to take Benedryl to go back to sleep and still manage to function tomorrow morning for work, I've decided to start learning how to use my new video editing software.

The insomnia thing is something I am used to after a lifetime of difficulty staying asleep. I can little afford it now, though, since I am so fatigued most of the time even with 8 hours. My loss = your benefit, though.

Pequita has been expressing a strong urge to eat & drink what we are consuming. We missed the signals for a while, then ignored them, then started letting her participate to see how she'd do. The results are so entertaining we have decided to officially begin non-breastmilk consumption every now and again. We gave her some rice cereal my sister left here on her last trip a few days ago, to much excitement. Her favorite thing to do is drink anything out of the large goldfish pint glasses that we use for watered-down juice. Voila!

I'm not sure why Youtube is hit or miss for me. Clearly, hormonal mush-for-brains isn't helping. The video is here, too, in case there is an empty hole above this text.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I love this dropping belly phenomena so far - since it has started to drop I am so much more comfortable! I actually forget that I'm pregnant with some regularity, which is nice. I can breathe a bit more, I can finally eat - boy can I eat! - and am sleeping better. I expect that when Monito/a drops a little more I'll be engrossed in a whole new kind of discomfort & waddling, but not yet. The round ligament pain I've been having? I think I was wrong. I believe that it is cervical pain & cramping, which is great news, meaning progress is happening. Everyone describes contractions as being like period cramps, which mine aren't as all my non-pregnant cramping was in my lower back. The pains I have now are exactly like when I was dilated for assorted procedures on the road to pregnancy.

Monita/o has fallen in love even though still in utero. The object of affection? My bladder. S/he loves it and and squeezes it and probably calls it George. I just hope s/he's willing to leave it behind in a few weeks and transfer its affections to a nice stuffed animal. Oy.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Homestead Mama and I met in March 2000. It took us about two months to fall in love and admit it out loud. Our anniversary is the first weekend in May - we've been together for seven years now. We'd been together for about a year and a half when we bought our house in October 2001, and the following spring I bought her a Redbud tree. We planted it in the front yard, and every spring it is the first thing that blooms in our yard. It never fails to inspire us and remind us that we are still in love and still quite thrilled to be together.

35 weeks

I remember posting something about feeling sleek like a seal. While my belly continues to impress me, it is 45" diameter of taut flesh and sleek isn't exactly how I would currently describe myself. Here is a picture from 35 weeks. You can tell where my vanity lies when I tell you that I spent more time trying to photoshop out the pile of laundry behind me than to cover up my pink bits. It is a week later now, and the belly has dropped. There is a huge amount of pressure in my nether bits, and my bladder is being regularly poked and palpated by the baby. Quite cool, and more uncomfortable than I would have imagined, although it is so bizarre that it is easy to have a good sense of humor about it. Pequita is blooming in so many ways. She is verbalizing a lot, learning how to yell and whisper, and playing with her voice much of the time. She is particularly pleased with the call and response game - she makes a noise, we mimic it, and she chortles with pleasure. Her love for her tongue manifests in much spitting and long Bronx cheers. Delightful! She is also beginning to crawl, and can spin in circles and scoot short distances. She has started to pull herself up on our bodies and furniture. She is still wobbly, but her desire is so strong that she tries repeatedly until she succeeds. We have been holding off on offering her real food, relying on breastmilk and a little formula as needed. Today, we stopped for ice cream cones and she was so motivated by all the licking that she grabbed repeatedly. I touched my double scoop of black raspberry to her lips, and she was startled by the temperature, but sucked it off. After her trying to grab the whole cone and me pinning her arms to her sides, she enjoyed several more tastes. By the third or fourth, she had figured out that opening her mouth and sucking a little garnered her a better sample. She is a pro now. So many things in our evolving parenting style aren't what we expected - we have many more plastic toys than we intended, we watch TV with her in the room sometimes (volume very low, only while she is engrossed in her toys). Feeding her ice cream as her first food was never on the agenda, but here we are. Homestead Mama is inordinately proud of her. Tomorrow: bananas and rice cereal, like normal healthy people.

Late for work

We are late for work regularly because we can't stop admiring Pequita. Blame us?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sick and tired

I am due June 14th-ish. I keep thinking about how nice it will be to deliver on May 31, as it is the blue moon (second full moon of the month). Haha, what fun and all that jazz. I've joked about getting lots of exercise, eating spicy foods, making a little whoopee, etc to spur on labor at the end of May. I am not joking any longer. I ate some really spicy food that my SIL brought over last night, not to try to induce but just because I was hungry and I love Thai food. BIG mistake. I can no longer handle the spice - I have had the worst upset stomach since, am home from work today and go through waves of wanting to die. My intestines are so mushed by the baby that it takes me longer to digest anything, which is prolonging this experience.

I FORGOT that the reason spicy food induces labor is that it gives you stomach/intestinal distress, which releases hormones that mimic labor and can fool your body into getting started. I don't care if I deliver in July, I am NOT going to chance spicy food again.

On the plus side, taking the day off to be near my own bathroom has allowed me to sleep for many many hours, which is true bliss.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lesbians on mothers day

Someone asked me, "What do lesbians DO on mother's day?" The answer is easy. We go to EMS (East*rn Mount*ain Spo*rts) and buy ourselves a new Thule roof rack for our newish car so we can haul around our mountain bikes, canoes, furniture, etc. What good is a car with no roof rack, I ask you? Then we go out for lunch (Mexican) then home for a nap en famille. Perfect.
Greg, our intrepid EMS employee and Thule specialist helping Homestead Mama install the roofrack in the parking lot. I might have been able to get it cheaper online, but after they struggled for 30 minutes to get it on correctly, I think we made the right choice.

(The second thing *I* do, quietly, is tally up the cards Homestead Mama receives for Mother's Day congratulating her on her motherly status but making no mention of me at all. Then I delete the sender's addresses from our Christmas card list. Unless, say, it is my father-outlaw & his wife. No luck Homestead Mama will forget their address, so I just toss the card when no one is looking. Bad me.)

The real question is what do lesbian's do on Father's Day. For us, we've decided to make it Family Day, and celebrate the adoptions of each other's kids each year. I'm midway through the process of adopting Pequita. Once Monito/a is born, Homestead Mama will have to adopt him/her too, or it will never be safe to travel through Oklahoma or Virginia, or many international countries. One more method of discrimination. I could totally use the $3000+ on something else, like French doors for our kitchen, or a nice trip to Europe. Instead, we'll invest it in making our family as legal as a straight family gets to be for free. And we'll be grateful we have the opportunity to do so, unlike many other gay families around the world.

Friday, May 11, 2007

35 week OB checkup

I just returned from my 35 week OB checkup.  My levels are all normal, my weight is down a few pounds (goodness knows how.  Here I sit at 10:30 am halfway through my lunch of leftover gnocchi, broccoli and garlic) and the fetal heartbeat is steady and strong in the 140s.  The doc offered to give me an ultrasound since my weight is down and I've only gained 5 pounds at this point.  I asked what the benefit would be - what would we do differently?  He replied that if the fetus was actually undersized they might take it early, as it might thrive better outside the womb.  Then he checked my fundal height, and I'm a generous 35 cm, which means the fetus seems to be right on track.  By the amount of discomfort I'm having due to sheer bulk & the number and nature of kicks inside me, I'm not worried about the vigor of the fetus at all.  The doc agreed that it looks fine.  (Oy, can you BELIEVE I turned down an ultrasound chance to see the kid again?  I can't, but I'm really not worried about the size of the fetus.)
I go back in 2 weeks for my strep test and they'll check my cervix at that point if I want to see if I've started to dilate.  SURE I want to know if I'm dilating or not - who wants to risk having their water break in a work meeting in front of all your colleagues and boss?  Any clues to help me avoid that would be most welcome.
Given my energy levels and my fairly constant discomfort - and the +/- 5 weeks left - I may actually adjust the start time of my leave so I stop work a week before my due date.  I'll have to see.  I go meet with the HR rep at work next Teusday to discuss how much leave I have left, having already taken 4 weeks off last fall for parental leave.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I hate hospitals.  I've had 20+ surgeries to repair orthopedic / car accident breaks, so have had plenty of chances to change my mind.  I won't use hospital soap, as the smell of it stays for hours and stinks (has anyone else noticed that they all use the same brand?)  I know and loathe the smell of the laundry detergent they use.  With my eyes closed, I can have a good guess at which ward I am on by the ambient sounds that waft in from the open elevator doors.  I can no longer eat Jello (actually, this does not sadden me too much.)  I get hives at the sound of the musical intro to morning TV shows from all the long, boring days spend alone in a hosital room with TV as company.  Walking into the hospital brings on some fierce PTSD every time.  I get weepy easily in hospitals, and spend a lot of time being stoic and hiding my stress. 
Due to all this, I always thought I'd go for a home birth or a birthing center, but after Homestead Mama's birth experience in our local hospital, I decided to bite the bullet and follow in her footsteps.  I don't think that it is a bad decision, and I certainly have given it an enormous amount of thought.  Firstly, our OB docs are fantastic, laid back, willing to give us the natural approach to childbirth that we want regardless of hospital norms.  Secondly, the maternity ward is great - the nurses are, for the most part, sweet and fantastic, it is nicely decorated and pleasant to be in (unlike many other wards in the hospital) they have a birthing tub, and they now have a neonatologist/perinatologist on staff.  The standard labor/postpartum policies are very much in line with what our birth plans were listing, so we don't have to do battle every step of the way to get what we wnat, like to have bare skin time immediately after birth, keep the kid with us 27/7 if we choose to, decline tests & procedures commonly done to newborns, etc.  The rooms are small, but a heck of a lot cleaner than my living room. 
Given my history, I have had a rather higher than average amount of physical pain in my life, and hope that it helps me cope with the labor.  If I can make it through with no meds, I'd like to, but if I want something to take the edge off I'll have it handy at the hospital.  I have always felt that I was made for birthing babies - my mom birthed 4 kids like a pro (and I was 8 lbs 13 oz and breech - butt first!)  I have her hips, which will certainly help.  On the flip side, I actaully believe that if something bad can happen, it probably will to me.  I was hospitalized for mono & also had to have a tonsilectomy in high school.  Since my car accident at 18 years old, I've had a string of bad luck that had nothing to do with the accident but required surgery: appendectomy, a second rhinoplasty to fix my already beleaguered nose when a softball smashed it, my last ankle fusion NOT FUSING and having to go through the surgery all over again 4 months later.  See a trend?  Abnormal amounts of physical trauma - this is my life.  I am doing as much meditating and ruminating on all ths to help keep my mind right - labor and childbirth will be the first thing I enter a hospital for that I may have some control over, that are not inherently medcial conditions, and that I could technically do all by myself without a surgeon.  The mind boggles.
You can safely assume that music and aromatherapy will be a big part of my expected labor experience in an attempt to transport my brain to a happier locale than the one we'll be in.  Homestead Mama played the same Carlos Nakai cd over and over during her labor - it did help a lot to make her mind peaceful and inject a nice vibe in the room when we were able to focus on it (which wasn't all the time).  I want to have something less like air pudding (I will be best friends with anyone who knows where that reference comes from without googling it).  I am thinking that some music that is peaceful, upbeat, rhythm-driven and not too complicated would be good.  I love the album Baka by the group Outback (  Does anyone have any suggestions?  A nice drum circle cd, pleasant upbeat chanting album?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Silent Auction, my style

We have a Relay for Life team in our office who raise money for the American Cancer Society every year. And every year they hold a baked goods silent auction. Yum. This year, I cleverly figured that we have a huge freezer, and will want yummy sweets once the new baby comes. so I bid on a sour-cherry pie (Homestead Mama's favorite) and an orange layer cake with buttercream frosting (which was so pretty I couldn't resist). It was for charity, so I feel no guilt. Baby wants cake.

And yay for us all, I won!

Better than daycare

We have Pequita in a home daycare with a single woman. She is good with the kids, and Pequita loves to play with the other kids. She is the youngest there, and all the older kids (14 months - 30 months) dote on her and like to bring her toys and interact with her. This is good. One downside is that we don't like the back up caregiver - if Daycare Lady has a doctors appointment or something that pulls her away from the kids, I make every effort to take time off work or get my own backup. This morning, Daycare Lady was at the chiropractors so Hottie Friend came over first thing to care for Pequita until she can safely be dropped off at daycare. I received this photo on my cell phone at 9:43 this morning - clearly, all is well. She even put sunblock on her! Apparently, there was a little explosive diarrhea right after this pleasant interlude, but that just meant that a nice bath was the surprise activity of Pequita's morning. Yay for Hottie Friend, a.k.a. Fairy Godmother.

Daycare Lady just called and is back home. Hottie Friend is having such a good time with Pequita that they will remain in the yard for a bit longer, enjoying each other's company.


Delivery to daycare was delayed due to a sudden nap - baths are exhausting. I will take this opportunity to thank my sister & sister-in-law for the adorable pink elephant overall shorts. We all love them.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Parrots begone

We are down to only one parrot, the feather-plucking one who is tame. We sent the last adoptable one to his new home last week. The house is noticably quieter, and will be much cleaner (once we have cleaned it to begin with, so it has a chance to get dirty again.)

That sound? It is me breathing a huge sigh of relief.

Birth class (redux)

Homestead Mama and I attended the abbreviated version of birthing class this past Saturday. (Before her birth, as complete novices, we did the 6-week course.) This one was a 4-hour yoga based class taught by a local yoga teacher who also teaches the prenatal yoga class I attended until I was unable to lay on the floor. To be accurate, I could lay on the floor beautifully, I just can't get up OFF the floor without assistance. My bones settle as my relaxin-affected
tendons stretch, and it is most painful trying to hoist myself off a hard surface. Hysterically funny to watch, by the response I get from Homestead Mama and others, but excruciating.

Saturday was a gorgeous day here, and the windows were open on Yoga Teacher's second floor loft space. They overlook our town's central pedestrian square, with coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants, art and fountains. There was a hippie ensemble playing music the whole afternoon and the faint sounds of banjo, guitar and harmonica wafted in as a soundtrack for the class. It was lovely. There were seven couples attending, and the mood was jovial and excited. We learned comfy, supportive poses to utilize in labor. (Yes, I know, 'comfy' and 'in labor' don't belong in the same sentence. Humor me - I only have a few weeks of denial left.) We had facilitated discussions about our (perceived) greatest challenges - mine? Clearly, that I will be trying to take care of everyone else in the birthing room. Homestead Mama's? That she will fail me, be too nervous to support me in the way I need. Good to know - both seem manageable. We did actually learn some positions that seemed like they'd work for me. With my left ankle fused at 90 degrees, many of the squat/kneeling/floor positions are difficult without special support, which we addressed. I will have some special props, but ought to be ok.

Midway through class we got a text message from Hottie Friend, who had graciously taken time out of her busy end-of-semester schedule to care for Pequita. She sent some photos to assure us that the kid was still thriving and happy, and enjoying her first ever hammock experience. I have come to rely on these visual updates, and love the reassurance that the kid is ok, but more importantly that she loves her Auntie. And her tongue, which makes an appearance in the second picture.

We left the class and grabbed a quick bite of sushi to fortify our tired bodies. It was absolutely delicious - we haven't had fish since before Pequita was born to avoid the mercury in everything. The recent reports are that there is little to no harm for pregnant women to eat sushi as long as it is fresh, so we indulged with vigor. Then off to pick up our by now cranky baby, and home for a long night of birth talk and rest.


Pequita has a little piano that I ordered for her. It is in the shape of a caterpillar, and the antennae are the xylophone hammers. The keys cover one octave, so I can play her simple songs. She has clearly figured out that the hammers make better noise than just whacking it with her fists, and she is quickly learning to master her grip of the hammers to maximize her noise.

Long weekend

My weekend started on Tues last when I took off from work to cover Pequita's daycare, since our provider had to go out of town for a few days. Bliss! Temperate weather, time with the baby, and best of all, my sister came for a visit and brought 13-month-old Nephew along. Things were a bit hectic, as our house is not childproofed at all (= a death trap) and Nephew is walking, not to mention helpfully clearing all things (particularly anything breakable, sharp, or made of rusty metal) off the lower shelves and floors of our house. Pequita was completely enamored of him, and they got along well as long as Pequita was tossed aside when Nephew noticed that his mom was holding her and NOT HIM.

My sister and I spent some time locating and playing at local playgrounds - not something I gave much thought to before Pequita. Clearly, it was a much safer plan to send Nephew down big corkscrew slides all by himself than to let him wander into our bathroom, out of which he came happily rattling prescription bottles containing enough allergy medicine to keep his nose clear for a decade. Since Pequita was born in October and we live in the cold Northeast, we haven't had much opportunity to play outside. This is evidenced in her great love of grass - she can run her fingers over it ruffling the blades for much longer than I can tolerate sitting next to her. Luckily, the option of eathing it hasn't occured to her yet.
The first playground we visited (on the day we forgot all cameras) was small and had no swings (is that a real playground then, you ask? I'd vote no) but it had DUCKS! wandering around who would nibble food out of your hand. These were more interesting than the play equipment for many kids. Nephew was quite enchanted, Pequita was so overwhelmed by the whole experience that she mostly stared with rapt attention at whatever was in front of her. The second day we tried a different, bigger park, also by the lake, but it had swings to enjoy. I was pretty sure Pequita would love the little bucket swings, and she did. I had to stuff my coat and sling around her to keep her secure, as she was a little small still, but she quickly started laughing and chortling as I gently pushed her.
The merry-go-round was also a big hit with Nephew, and brought back all the memories I had of nausea at spinning in small circles. Blech - my sister accompanied Pequita around, as I started to turn green after only two or three circles. Pequita was less impressed with it than Nephew, but then maybe the ride loses something if you have to be clutched by your overall straps like a baby.

We have more playgrounds in our town that I shall have to explore on my own - it is proving to be as child friendly as I had thought when I chose to live here. It has some great playgrounds built by Bob Leathers that I can't wait to explore, but those are mostly in school playgrounds so we'll need to coordinate to miss the recess crowds. (Do elementary school kids even get recess any more?)
Sister and Nephew bolted town a couple days ahead of schedule since he started to rain snot from his nose and get a little fussy. He was cutting a new tooth and possibly coming down with a cold as well - my sister was justifiably nervous about being alone in the car with an already sick boy for the very long drive to get home. Leaving on Friday meant that he was sleepy and not feeling full-blown awful, and they made it home with little incident. I wish so very much that we lived closer, as meeting in the park or for coffee is a huge treat with my sister, and the cousins playing together is a delightful image.

Feet? What feet?

My feet are only in sight now when I am walking and they are out in front of me. If I stand straight, hold the camera most of my arms length away from me and shoot down, I see this:

I have been trying to get good belly shots from the side, so you can see and appreciate just how big I am getting, but Homestead Mama has been working late and I can't find the tripod. So this dark, not-so-clear photo is the best I could do alone for now.

I have ~5.5 weeks left to go (excuse me - holy shit! I have been thinking 7+ weeks!) and Monita/o will do most of its bulking up in that time. I feel impressive and fecund. I really love this.

I took my navel ring out when I first started IVF with all the ultrasounds - didn't want to interupt the equipment. I popped it back in to see if it would still go, and it did. Took it right out again, as my belly button has become very shallow, and the LAST thing I want to do is catch the piercing on anything. It is a vestige from my youthful rebellion, installed back when it was risque and a novelty. I'm not sure I'll ever wear it again. We'll see how my self-image holds up to two kids, diapers, no time for the gym, etc.


I have many posts in draft stage, and will get to them, I promise.  Lots of pictures and a few movies.
In the meantime, I have a question for you all.  Let's say your office holds an event which is catered.  You are 34.5 weeks pregnant and feeling rather enormous and unwieldy.  There is, in front of you, a large platter of cheese cubes left over from the event - no one is around, and it is about 3 in the afternoon. 
How many cubes of cheese is a good number to consume?  Three?  Seven?  Ten?  Bag them all up in a Ziploc and take them into your private office so no one witnesses your multiple trips back to the platter? 
Sigh.  In my defense, I can only offer the fact that apparently I have developed a taste for Pepper Jack. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


We were lying in bed this morning admiring the kid while she nursed and cooed.  When she's hungry, she grabs Homestead Mama's whole boob and wraps her pudgy little arms around it in a big proprietary bear hug while she latches on; once she starts getting full, she blows and makes sounds around the nipple and pats it happily.  It is quite cute.   As this is happening this morning, all of a sudden I feel a sharp needle-like stabbing in my left nipple (and you'll know you aren't a close enough friend or family member to be reading this if you just grimaced) and I looked down to discover that witnessing Pequita's boob-love of Homestead Mama was making me leak what could only have been early colostrum.  Bizarre, and the first time it has happened.  My doc said it could happen, but I hadn't seen it yet.  Maybe this is why Pequita, after 4 months of having NOTHING to do with comfort nursing on my 'dry boobs',  is willing now to latch on me when trying to go to sleep IF Homestead Mama isn't around.  Maybe she's been getting a little something from me.  Quite remarkable.  I feel very proud for some odd reason.  And like a cow.


Uh huh. Sure.