Thursday, May 31, 2007
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
Monday, May 28, 2007
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
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
Friday, May 11, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
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
That sound? It is me breathing a huge sigh of relief.
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.
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.
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?)
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.