Monday, December 29, 2008

Baby update

Week 33

Had an ultrasound and OB visit this morning. The ultrasound was to check growth, again, because Dr. Owens is crazy. Okay, it was actually because she's still worried about the gestational diabetes (because she is crazy.) So the scan was great and Susie the Ultrasound Lady estimates Peanut to be about 4 pounds 5 ounces and all the other measurements she took (like head circumfrence, femur length, etc.) show him to be measuring right on target - somewhere in the 50-52nd percentile.

I asked her where various parts were because I've been so lopsided on the right. My belly is all hard on the right, and that's also where I get most of the big movement, so I had kind of figured Peanut was all crammed over on the right side there. But it turns out, he is head down with his back to my left side. There's a big hard bump right in the middle, just above my belly button, which we had guessed was his butt and Susie the Ultrasound Lady confirmed that, but said that it's his hands, feet, elbows and knees all over there on the right and that's why I feel so much over there. I think maybe he's angled in there with his back more towards my back and all the small parts more toward the front and that's why it seems almost empty over on the left.

Then we saw Dr. Guggenheim, (one of Dr. O's partners because Dr. O is on vacation) who was very pleased with the scan and with my 4X daily glucose checks for the last almost-a-month. She measured me and said I'm right on target too and was extraordinarily pleased with my progress. She used the word perfect several times and said she wishes all their patients were like me. The best part is that she doesn't think I have GD at all. However, she wants me to contine testing myself every other day for the next two weeks (until next appt with Dr. O) or until I run out of my testing supplies. Progress! At least I get to cut back the finger-sticking a bit and hopefully, hopefully Dr. O will DROP IT ALREADY by next time.

Although there's no way to tell on the ultrasound, the book estimates Peanut is about 17 inches long and says he is mostly done cooking. Now all he's really doing is some final brain development and gaining weight. And, as warned by the book, I am experiencing shortness of breath frequently as Peanut is taking up more and more room and blithely shoving my organs around. It's really annoying to be sitting on the couch, panting like I just ran a marathon. Lots of deep breaths help, and thankfully, it's not all the time.

And good news, we got some great baby stuff for Christmas - some clothes, the softest teddy bear ever, a swing and somehow, each of my brothers ended up getting us a Pack n Play. We have traded one of those in for the stroller/carseat travel system, so yay! Peanut won't have to go naked or sleep in a drawer now. And even better, Steve says we can leave the big stuff at his place for as long as we need to, which will prolly be until my baby shower on Jan 24, at which point we're going to call it quits for a while on trying to sell the condo and make room for baby.

Ok, finally, I am going to tell you something very much TMI that nobody told me until I started asking my girlfriends about it and then many of them breezily said, oh, yes, that happened to me, la la la, as if it was nothing. For the last couple of weeks, my, er, external ladyparts HURT. I am achy from pubic bone to tailbone, all on the outside. It's very weird - feels like I've been excessively riding a bicycle with a really large seat and is making me walk funnier than I already do what with the pregnant waddle I've acquired.

The books tell you that your ladyparts may get "somewhat swollen" and "may turn a darker color." Let me tell you that when I finally examined the ladyparts in a mirror last night because they were hurting so much, I did not recognize my own vajayjay. They are not kidding about the swelling - the entire area is puffed up like I've never seen before and is a super dark red color. The hoo-ha looks ANGRY. (This is especially funny because Mr. Fantastic, being ever-supportive, was holding the mirror for me so I could have both hands free to examine the ladyparts, and we both had matching OMG faces upon getting an eyefull of my junk.)

This would have been nice to know ahead of time, and trust me when I tell you that the books' timid little "may do this" and "might get that" did not do justice to the angry tiki god in my pants. I mean, everybody knows about the barfing and peeing and hemorrhoids (which I thankfully have not gotten, KNOCK WOOD) but nobody told me that my ladyparts would eventually look and feel like they'd been flogged BEFORE the baby comes. I mean, I expect some unhappy ladyparts after having the baby but I was not prepared for the startled puffer fish to happen already.

The doctor assured me this morning that this is totally normal and that I can take Tylenol to help but that basically it's going to stay this way until the baby comes. I have also tried stuffing both a heating pad (very soothing and nice) and an ice pack (horrible, horrible, OMG, NO) down my pants. Oh, and she also mentioned stretching...which, um, I will gladly try but I don't see how that is going to help some of the more specific of the parts as opposed to the whole ladyregion in general.

That's it for now, all is well and I'm preening over being a perfect, perfect baby maker. :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Things are looking up! Or, 69 days left.

Week 31

I am in a much better state of mind these days, thank goodness. There has been no crying and much, much less freaking out. Hooray!

Got two Christmas presents in the mail from friends recently - a handmade story cookbook and Clinton Kelly's (from What Not to Wear) book, Freakin' Fabulous. I'm excited to sit down and read them both, and was so thrilled to get unexpected presents in the mail - one from Bolton, England! Both were really nice surprises that made my day.

Mr. Fantastic and I got most of our Christmas shopping done and wrapped over the weekend, so not only is our tree all festive and happy looking, I am breathing a sigh of relief that we've got that off our plates. And, even more exciting, we got an offer on our condo! If all goes well, we could be out and into a new place by the middle of January and I can stop worrying about my poor Little Tiny Naked Baby sleeping in a drawer. (Which, truly, I am not doing so much anymore. I'm still itching to nest but I feel much less antsy about things right now.)

We had lunch with our friends Erin and Matt and their two baby girls today. It was lovely to see them, and Erin has promised to go with me this week to complete my baby registry and help me make sure I register for what I need and skip all the crap I don't. As a mother of a newborn and a less-than-two year old, she should know. She also wisely suggested that I finish registering before Christmas in case anyone wants to get us baby stuff. (In fact, every time anyone has asked Mr. F what he wants for Christmas, he says "Baby stuff!" so it's prolly a good idea.)

My cousins have planned my baby shower for January 24 and I am very much looking forward to it. Should we happen to still be living in the condo by then, we're going to call a halt to the whole moving house proceedings until after Peanut arrives so that we can set up and make a place for the baby and figure out what to do with all the baby things I'll hopefully be receiving at the shower. As a bonus, my brother has said if we run out of room, we can keep anything we need to at his place, which eases my mind a bit as well.

Ooh, and I'm going to be an (honorary) Aunt again soon! My cousin H3 is due on Christmas Eve but it looks like she'll probably be having her baby sometime this week. I can't believe it's already her time, and it makes it seem like Peanut's arrival is even more imminent. I can't wait to meet her little boy and see her become a mama.

And finally, in Official News of the Peanut: Had an OB visit this morning. It went well. I am measuring 30 cm, which is right on target. And I have been self-checking my glucose four times a day for almost a week now, with excellent results. Only two of the readings were high an hour after eating, both times after fast food, and both of which had returned to well below the threshold after two hours. Dr. O was pleased with the testing and sees no need for me to go on any medication or to do any further follow up with the gestational diabetes specialist.

The downside is that she wants me to continue the self-checks four times a day for the next two weeks because even though the majority of my tests were fine, sugar levels can only get worse as pregnancy and pregnancy hormones progress. It's like she just can't truly believe that I don't have or won't get gestational diabetes all because of the high score on the glucose test, regardless of the fact that it's biased against me AND routinely has a 60-70% false positive rate. But I can hack two more weeks of self checks. I can handle two more months of self checks if that's what it takes.

She also wants another growth ultrasound in two weeks, just to keep an eye on the baby's size. Which, yay, we get to see the baby again, but boo, because I really don't think it's necessary since I'm measuring on track and my glucose is fine. However, when I go back in two weeks, Dr. O will be on vacation, so perhaps I can sweet talk this Dr. Guggenheim I will be seeing (and by proxy Dr. O) into not worrying about all this so much. Much as the pricking my finger for the self-check doesn't really hurt, I'm already sick of doing it four times a day. I know that all of this hoopla is mostly a CYA for the doc but it's a giant PITA for me.

Oh, and she wants me to get a flu shot, even though I never get one because I seem to end up getting sick when I get them but I never get the flu when I don't get one. Weird, I know, but it was the same way with my mom. Anyway, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to give it a try this year, because should I happen to get the flu, I will be a million times more miserable being flu-ridden and pregnant.

Otherwise, I feel pretty good except for my continued lament of feeling HUGE. I am actually sleeping pretty well - have figured out a good configuration of my nine million pillows and my brain has quieted down at night. Peanut seems to have taken up residence completely on the right side of my belly - I am visibly lopsided and very solid on the right side, while the left seems practically hollow. We are apparently not worried about this right now, although it's not the best position for delivery. Plenty of time for him to get situated better in the next 69 days, according to Dr. O.

Meanwhile, Peanut is not pulling any punches in making himself completely comfortable. As he gets bigger, the movements I feel are less kicks and punches and more wiggling and squirming, which seriously gives my lopsided belly the appearance of an alien trying to escape when he starts shuffling around in there. Every day makes it more and more real that it's a Little Tiny Naked Person making himself at home in my belly. And every day Mr. F and I talk to him more and fall more in love with him and look more and more forward to the day we get to meet him.

In other news, it was below 0 all day today and ridiculously cold last night. Still below 0 right now, so I am thanking goodness for our heated mattress pad, because it gets cold in our bedroom at night, even if we run the heater. Brr! I wish my long underwear fit over my belly because I would be wearing both pairs right now if I could. But at least it feels like Christmas time with the sparkly snow and freezing weather and my happy little tree full of gifts.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Straight No Chaser - The 12 Days of Christmas

Mr. Fantastic and I heard this song on the radio today and it cracked us up.

Straight No Chaser - The 12 Days of Christmas

Friday, December 5, 2008

Television blahs

I find myself increasingly bored with all my t.v. shows lately. Heroes, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Eli Stone - I'm done with. Totally over. I don't know how it happened but Heroes became a total snoozefest that I put on in the background while I do the dishes. I figure I'll finish out the seasons on all of them, but those are three series recordings I'll be canceling. Even Chuck is somehow failing to hold my attention. I still madly love Pushing Daisies, but of course that means they've canceled it.

That said, how is it that Grey's Anatomy is finally making me enjoy it again? Oh, that's right...by making Izzy crazy and bringing back her hot dead fiancee. Mmm, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, how I love you. Also, adding in Kevin McKidd didn't hurt at all.

House, Life and The Mentalist are still entertaining me, at least. And I still love my Stargate Atlantis, but it's bittersweet because every episode brings us closer to the end. The good part about this is that means the writers can finally stop screwing up the show. (Brain Storm, I'm looking at you.)

I even went so far as to watch the first eight or so eps of Merlin and failed to be captivated like the rest of my flist has been. Sigh. Thank goodness for books. I will happily take your recs for new shows to try watching (and where I can find them) or books to read.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Peanut: It's getting harder (81 days to go!)



Week 29

I have finally succumbed to the baby hormones. The last two weeks I have started getting alternately freaked out, depressed, stressed, etc. about numerous things. The thing with the gestational diabetes started me off and now I am worrying about everything. There has been crying. And also sometimes maniacal laughter.

Some of the things on my mind:

~ Gestational diabetes. I got a 183 on the glucose test and a 69 on the regular fasting test. They are looking for something from 70-130. So even though my regular test was fine and the glucose test is basically biased against me because of my bypass, my doctor is convinced I have GD anyway. She was ready to have me start seeing a diabetes specialist and maybe put me on insulin and everything.

I’m pretty sure I don’t have it, so we discussed it some more and the doc is going to let me test my blood sugar at home for a week before we do anything more drastic. I had to go this week and pick up the meter and testing strips and everything. So hopefully I will test fine for a week and we can forget about it. (And! The glucose testing stuff - lancets, test strips and meter - would have cost me several HUNDRED dollars if my health insurance hadn't picked up the entire tab for me. Shocking that they want over $113 for a box of 100 test strips. Yikes!)

~ I am a giant whale. No, seriously. I feel like one and here is photographic evidence. Even though my doctor keeps telling me the baby is not a giant mutant, I feel like he is. My belly is getting bigger by the minute and Peanut is getting stronger every day. Which means he is giving me some serious wallops while he does his calisthenics in there. I've taken to saying URK and clutching my side when he whacks me a good one, which freaks Mr. Fantastic out to no end, so I've got to stop doing it. Exciting discovery this week: I can't get out of the car on my own. I'm learning how to do it without help, but in the mean time Mr. F has to help hoist. It makes a girl feel like such a delicate, glowing flower.

Sleeping is getting harder, too. If my brain wasn't already going a million miles an hour, I don't think I'd be able to sleep anyway because it's so hard to get comfortable. My nine million pillows are not helping, at least until I can figure out a new configuration. I may need to invest in some flying buttresses. By the way, the neice and nephew are now calling Peanut "Turkey" and doubtless it will be something like "Bowl Full of Jelly" come Christmas.

Thank goodness for Mr. F. He's been a spectacular help by providing back and belly rubs on demand. It is unbelievable how achy my sides and belly are now that they're doing some serious stretching, not to mention the low back aches from carrying around this bowling ball. I shudder to think what it's going to feel like in three months.

So I am having these fun feelings of OMG I'M ALREADY HUGE AND I'VE GOT THREE MORE MONTHS IN WHICH I AM ONLY GOING TO GET BIGGER, seeing as Our Peanut is supposed to double or possibly triple in size between now and the end. Gack.

~ ALSO. Moving. This is the big one. I cannot anti-recommend enough deciding to move house while you are pregnant. It's killing me. I am ready to start nesting and getting ready for the baby and I can't. It may be that we end up not selling our place and actually stay in the condo for a while after the baby's born. Or we might end up selling and getting a new place before then. What this boils down to is, we can't buy anything for the baby or move in the furniture from Mr. Fantastic's cousin because we have no place to put it. At some point, we are going to have to jump ship and make a decision that we're staying put until after the baby's born, and then we'll be able to stop keeping our condo showplace-ready for buyers all the time and start setting up for Peanut. The question is, when do we do that? January? February? I don't know how long we should give it but I don't want to wait until the last minute. Not knowing if we're staying or going is really getting the best of me.

So I am also having these super-fun feelings of OMG THERE'S GOING TO BE A BABY IN 12 WEEKS AND HE WILL HAVE TO GO NAKED AND SLEEP IN A DRAWER because we as yet have nothing for him to wear, play with or sleep in. I am certain this will all be rectified sometime in the next three months. I know that for centuries, babies actually did sleep in drawers and go naked and were birthed in fields and people were fine without having everything all sorted ahead of time. I AM NOT THOSE PEOPLE. So for now, my super-organized planner brain is quietly freaking the frak out.

Otherwise, I am mostly good, except for the parts where I'm not. I'm sure it will get better. Until then, so it goes.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Only 93 days to go!

Week 27

Had a routine baby visit with Dr. Owens yesterday. All was basically fine, except for the unmitigated disaster of the glucose test, which I will tell you more about in a minute.

As far as Peanut goes, still going strong and growing like a weed. I'm still measuring 3 cm big, and according to last week's size ultrasound, that puts him in the 69th percentile. Dr. O says she's not worried unless he gets into the 90s. She also asked about movement and I told her he continues to be a lunatic rock star, rolling around in there. I asked if there was such a thing as too much activity. "Nope!" Dr. O told me cheerfully, "An Active Baby is a Happy Baby!" So apparently Disney's bought stock in my womb because if fetal activity is any indication, that joint is the Happiest Place On EarthTM.

This week Peanut's hearing is developing further, and so we are supposed to practice talking and singing to him because he'll recognize our voices. I just realized that I don't really know any lullabies, so either I learn some or Peanut will just have to start liking U2. Also, last week his eyes started opening and so the book says we may want to try shining a flashlight at my belly to see if he'll respond. I'm sure Mr. F will still not let me do it because "it's mean!" Maybe I'll secretly try when he's not around. *snerk*

I'm feeling good, except that I'm starting to feel more awkward all the time with this basketball in my belly. I've gained some weight - I'm up to 5 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. Luckily, I haven't experienced any of the swelling of hands or feet yet - thankfully my wedding ring still feels the same. Mostly I'm just starting to get tired all the time again and I have some low back pain, which Mr. F is excellent for helping with. My belly button is starting to flatten out. Still an innie - it was always a very deep innie before - but not nearly as deep. It seems I've got a little crop of freckles in there that I've never seen until now.

So, the glucose test. Complete disaster. It’s routine for all pregnant women around this time to check for gestational diabetes. They give you this super concentrated glucose drink – 50 grams of sugar in like 3 ounces of orange flavored kool-aid stuff, and then check your blood an hour later to see how you’ve reacted. Depending on how you do, they either say you’re fine or they have you come back to do a more advanced 4 hour test. Everyone says how awful tasting the stuff is, but it didn't taste that bad. It reminded me of a really intense orange drink from McDonald's.

Anyway, I drank the stuff and literally 5 minutes later I was ridiculously sick. Pouring buckets of sweat, dizzy, seeing spots, throwing up – it was awful. With my surgery, I have to be careful about how much sugar I have at any one time or it causes this reaction. But since I’m able to handle sweets like cookies or candy or whatever, it didn’t even occur to me that this might be too much all at once. Dr. O felt bad and said she should’ve realized that it might be too much for me too.

So basically, I felt seriously crappy and had to lay down in the Dr.'s office for an hour. They took my blood anyway but didn’t think the test would be valid since I barfed up the stuff. So now I have to go in on Monday morning to do a fasting test and hopefully they’ll be able to get a good result from that. I eat pretty well and I feel fine, so I'm really not concerned that I might have GD - if anything, my blood sugar tends to run low unless I eat on a regular schedule.

Next visit in two more weeks...I can tell this every two weeks thing is going to get old fast. Not looking forward to when I have to start going in every week!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dad update

So I spent all of Monday and Tuesday in court for my dad's DUI trial. Ugh. While it started out interesting, it quickly got boring and repetitive and totally wiped me out by the end of each day, even though I was just sittng there in a freezing court room. I can't imagine it was any easier for Dad. Especially to have a night he'd rather forget dragged out and discussed in minute detail for two days.

The jury selection process was the most interesting part. The witness examination started out interesting but turned tedious when both attorneys asked the same questions over and over again, just in different ways. It also made me realize that I don't have enough patience to be a lawyer. You have to ferret out the tiniest details and ask the right questions in the right order and lay a foundation for the next set of questions. You have to spell everything out in detail because you can't rely on the jury being smart enough to come to the conclusion you want. You can't skip a step and it takes FOREVER to get from point A to point B.

Unfortunately, he was found guilty, which was what we expected, but the reason he went to trial is because the plea bargains they kept offering him weren't any good. Now we're hoping when it comes to sentencing at the end of January, my dad's time in rehab and three weekly AA meetings since May will help in making his sentence lighter.

On Monday, he was 175 days sober and that should hopefully make a good impression with the judge. I have seen on several websites that in Colorado, the penalty for a DUI with a previous DUI in the last 5 years is a fine of $500-$1,500, 60-120 hours of community service and jail time of 90 days to a year, with a minimum 10 days mandatory. So I am steeling myself (and trying to prepare Dad as well) that he'll have to at least spend ten days in jail because I don't think there's anything the judge can do about that no matter what kind of good impression he makes.

We're just glad it's over now and although it's nice to have another couple of months break before he's sentenced, we'd also kind of like to just be done with it and find out what's going to happen to him. We still haven't got the results of his MRI from last week and so that combined with his uncertain legal future, it's been a stressful time for all of us, but especially Dad. I'm sure worrying about the trial and now worrying about the sentencing are not helpful at all for his physical or mental health.

So that's the news on Dad, which is unfortunately, not really any news right now. Will update again when we get the MRI results and know what he's going to do about treatment.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Good things!

~ Okay, so good news for Dad - he was able to find a place to do the MRI for only $800. Much better than the $3k we started at. We do that on Wednesday and will have to decide on a treatment plan once the doc gets the results.

~ Our realtor called yesterday afternoon and said someone wants to make a cash offer on our place and schedule the closing on December 19. We don't know the amount yet, but it's encouraging to already have somebody interested enough to put in an offer. Scary though - with the prospect of an offer today, it just sort of dawned on me that part of the whole selling our home and buying a new one also involves me having to actually leave this place that I love so much. Just have to keep reminding myself that it's all for a good cause, and that despite how much I love our condo, I have been dying for more space for years. So exciting to think about a new place and the baby's room and making a new home!

~ As for me and Peanut and Mr. Fantastic, we all went and had the ultrasound yesterday. It seems I am carrying a GIANT MUTANT ALIEN BABY. But that's only if you ask me. If you ask the Susie the Ultrasound Lady, she will tell you that despite Peanut weighing 2.1 POUNDS right now, he is less than two weeks ahead sizewise and therefore we all have nothing to worry about. She also mentioned again about how active he is and speculated that he must really be thumping me good. (She's right!) He's also moved himself back to breech. He's sitting sort of in a V shape, folded in half with his butt at the bottom, his head to my left and his feet to my right.

Mr. F's favorite part, like mine, was seeing the baby move, but more specifically, seeing the heartbeat. It's so amazing and something you can't get from seeing the pictures. I'm so glad Mr. F was able to be there for it.

Susie the Ultrasound Lady took lots of pictures again, incliuding a couple of the 3D ones, which are almost less cute than the regular pics because the baby looks sort of lumpy and weird. But still pretty cute! And she measured my fluid levels, which were fine and she told us how long he was but now I've forgotten. Book says average is 1.5 pounds and 13.5 inches, or roughly the size of your average rutabaga. Not that any of us have actually ever seen a rutabega in our lives, but whatever. So, at 33 ounces Peanut is bigger than a Big Gulp! Also, bigger than an American football, which is about 11 inches long and weighs about 15 ounces. It's hard for me to wrap my head around that!

Speaking of size, we saw our neice and nephew on Halloween. I was chatting with Patrick, who is 7, and he said to me, "So, what are you going to call him now? He's way too big to be a Peanut anymore!" I laughed and suggested maybe we call him Pumpkin instead. And then this weekend, the whole Fantastic clan got together for a big dinner, and when Patrick saw me, he came over and put his face right by my tummy and said, "Hi, Pumpkin!" So cute.

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's SuperPeanut!

Week 25

Saw the Dr. on Wednesday. No news except I'm measuring 3 cm big, so I'm scheduled for a growth ultrasound on Monday, just to check the baby's size. On the one hand, I'm glad because I always want another chance to see the baby, plus since Mr. Fantastic had to miss the last one in October, this means he gets a chance to see the baby again too.

But on the other hand, I'm concerned about being labeled with a "big" baby. A lot of times that means your doctors will pressure you into inducing earlier than 40 weeks and I really want to avoid induction if at all possible. I'm not going for natural childbirth, i.e. drug-free, or anything, but I don't like what the dugs they use to induce do.

This could be concern over nothing - there's a lot of reasons for me to measure big that don't actually mean a big baby. Could be just how the baby is positioned inside or some extra belly fat on my part, etc. However, at the scan a month ago, the tech did say the baby was about 14.5 oz, which is larger than the 10.5-12 that's average. It may end up in another month that we're right on target and there's nothing to worry about, so we'll really just have to wait and see as we get closer.

I'm interested to see how big they say Peanut is now, because he certainly feels huge. And active - he's moving around like crazy these days. It's distracting, especially when I'm trying to go to sleep. It's not hurting or anything, but I do have to keep giving him a stern talking-to about letting Mommy sleep or work.

Also at the appointment this week the doc said I have to have my glucose test this month, and now that I'm in the third trimester, she wants to see me every two weeks instead of once a month. That part was surprising - I didn't think they would need to start seeing me more often until later.

My book tells me I should be gaining a pound a week now. I am doing my best - can't believe how hungry I am, all the time. I am now 3.5 pounds up from my pre-pregnancy weight but I don't see me gaining a pound a week yet. It's hard for me to eat very much at one time, what with my stomach being so small and the baby taking up so much room. So I'll eat and then an hour later, need to eat again.

I've had quite a few blood-sugar related incidents lately, just like what used to happen after my surgery before I'd figured out my new way of eating. Basically now, when I don't keep on top of eating, my blood sugar will drop pretty quickly and I'll get sweaty, dizzy and start having tunnel vision and in general just feel crappy until I can get some protein and some sugar into my system. I carry peanut M&M's with me most of the time in case of this happening because the combination of the chocolate and peanuts seems to keep me from crashing too hard until I can eat actual food.

Anyway, all that to say, I think I'm going to have to pick back up with my eating plan - at least set my alarms again to remind me when to eat and start having my protein shake for breakfast again. Kind of a bummer, because I really was enjoying my zen-like eat-what-I-want-when-I-want plan, but I'm just not keeping up with how fast Peanut is growing.

Otherwise, I still feel pretty great. Sleeping is still only mildly uncomfortable, however a lot of times I wake up tired. I don't think I'm sleeping as soundly as I could be but in general, all is well.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I voted!

Mr. F and I voted this morning. And I'm shocked, it literally took us less than half an hour, including time spent walking to and from the polling place. Also, we did our first-ever non-electric ballots - it was weird using a pencil. Felt like I was back in school!

We were prepared for long lines and waiting - we brought snacks and everything, because the last few times we've voted we've had to wait for hours. I don't know if we just got there at the right time or something, but it was funny because there were more volunteers there than voters.

Anyway, civic duty done, although this is the first time in a while I've really, really cared about the outcome. No matter who you're voting for, please be sure you exercise your right to vote!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What's going on...


Okay, first - news on Dad. Unfortunately, it's not much. They told us the cancer is "moderately aggressive" and said they didn't catch it early like they like to do, but they're not late either. They caught it "medium." So, could be worse, I guess.

First thing they want to do is have him get an MRI, then they'll determine what kind of treatment they'll do. The two options are to do surgery (which is less expensive) or to do radiation for 7 weeks paired with a hormone treatment (more expensive). However, this all depends on the results of the MRI and also what kind of side effects Dad is willing to accept on a possible permanent basis. The doctor was really great about acknowledging Dad's situation regarding insurance and money and trying to come up with the best plan of action.

So Dad has homework now - he's got to get the MRI done within a month, but as a self-paying customer, he can go anywhere he wants to go, as opposed to just where the insurance or the doc says to go. So his homework is to research places to get it done and negotiate an acceptable price. The doctor said he should be able to negotiate a price the same as whatever their best insurance company pays, especially if he pays with a credit card. That's pretty much it for now.

In other news - which means Peanut, because face it, unlike most of my other hobbies, this is one I'm doing 24 hours a day and am therefore completely consumed by it - things are moving along nicely. I'm in week 24, which means I am 6 months pregnant, yikes! It has gone by so fast and I can't believe I'm already halfway through. Less than 4 months until my due date.

I am still feeling really good, although sleeping is getting harder. Aside from starting to feel uncomfortable, I feel like I'm just not sleeping very soundly, and of course have to get up to pee at least once a night. All very common, according to my books. I've also gained some weight! Last I checked, I was one pound over my pre-pregnancy weight, so we are at a net gain of +1 now. Slightly under the +20 my books tell me, but the doctor wasn't worried at the last appointment, so neither am I.

I do seem to be growing by leaps and bounds, however. Though I'm not putting on much weight, my belly is getting bigger and bigger. To be honest, I feel huge and ungainly despite the fact that people keep saying I'm "tiny." Har har, I've never been "tiny" in my life. At 5 feet tall, short, yes. Tiny, no. Anyway, I'm finding it's getting a little harder to breathe and harder to eat very much at one time, what with Peanut taking up all the good real estate. If I feel like this now, I shudder to think how much of a whale I'm going to feel like in two months!

Peanut is VERY active now - moving around like crazy and has even given me some pretty painful thumps that were quite a surpise. And he's no longer playing Hide From Daddy, so Mr. Fantastic and I have a new pastime of laying on the couch with his hand on my belly, just feeling Peanut. Also, we enjoy putting the remote control on my belly and watching it twitch.

Maybe it's just because I'm perpetually sappy, but I really love sharing that time with Mr. F. I love how much time he spends rubbing my belly or resting his cheek on it or kissing it...especially since my entire life, my biggest physical insecurity has been my flabby belly. It's so much more attractive (to me) now and where I had always shied away from Mr. F touching me there, now I welcome it. Plus, it's absolutely adorable watching him and I find it completely endearing. It's making me love him more every day. [/sap]

And finally, might I add that LL Cool J on last night's Martha Stewart was priceless.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just when things are going good...

Something else happens. Don't worry, I'm good, Peanut's good. But we got some bad news about my Dad last week...he's got prostate cancer.

We won't know anything more until we meet with the doctor next Monday to discuss everything. I know this kind of cancer is easily treatable, and I am encouraged by the fact they waited two weeks for the conference as opposed to rushing right away to meet with us. I take that to mean they’re not overly concerned at this point. So right now at least, I’m feeling pretty optimistic.

The worst part about this right now, is actually the fact that Dad has no health insurance. We’ve been unable to get him coverage for several years because he’s not old enough for Medicare but his “income” is too high to qualify for assistance, yet he can’t afford individual insurance on his own. He is one of the many uninsured in America that "slip through the cracks."

I honestly don’t know what he's going to do and I have no idea how much it’s going to cost. We really have to wait and see what kind of treatment they're recommending before we can have any idea what to expect cost-wise. And of course, it would be pointless to get him health insurance now, because any individual policy he purchased would give him a pre-existing condition exclusion for any treatment related to the cancer.

I haven't updated about my dad much lately, because he's been doing really great and I didn't want to jinx things. But back in June, he quit drinking. He even completed an intensive outpatient rehab program and has been going to weekly AA meetings. He even has a sponsor. Mostly, he chose to quit as a reaction to his DUI in hopes that his sentencing would be lighter (we'll find out in Nov), but as the program progressed, he really seemed to have a change of heart and came to a real understanding about what he's been doing.

The biggest difference I've noticed this time is that he no longer acts like he doesn't have a problem. In the past, he's never admitted that he's an alcoholic, never said the words aloud. This time, he has. Now, he talks about not drinking as something he has to do for the rest of his life. It's been really good for him, mentally as well as physically. He seems happier, is more pleasant to be around and he just looks a million times healthier and heartier than he used to. I am so, so proud of him for recognizing his problem and making such a huge change in his life.

It's such a shame that he's made this wonderful change in his life, only to get sick now. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we'll be able to get him well quickly and without breaking the bank. I really want him to be around for a lot longer, I want him to be a part of Peanut's life, I want him to continue being a part of my life.

As always, I'll take any good karma you want to send our way and I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

State of the Peanut


Week 22

Still feeling great for the most part, although I think I'm developing lactose intolerance or at least some kind of a thing with milk. I can have dairy – cheese, yogurt, even ice cream – with no problem, but if I just drink some milk it makes me incredibly sick. Very strange.

Before my surgery, I drank a ton of milk but after it was much harder on me and I cut back. But just in the last month or so, if I have any more than a mouthful, I get terrible stomach troubles. Ugh. Mr. Fantastic is worried about my calcium intake but I have assured him I take calcium daily in addition to my prenatal vitamin, and I also drink calcium-fortified o.j. So nothing to really worry about except I hope I'm not passing on some kind of milk allergy to Peanut.

Mr. Peanut is still being a rock star, more so every day. Right now he's got a lot of room inside still and so has plenty of space to move around. Which means he is all over the place – I'll feel movement on one side and seconds later, there he is on the other side.

Every time I feel a twitch, it makes me smile. I have neverbeen pregnant before and had no idea how it would feel, how I would feel. It's weird, to think of this whole other being inside you, sleeping and hiccupping and going about his day. But it's also justan absolutely amazing feeling, having these frequent reminders that it's my child in there and I'm growing a person.

It's also really funny to feel Peanut react to certain things I eat. Depending on what it is, sometimes he really goes crazy. Like when we had Mexican food the other day – seriously after about two bites he was jumping all over the place. He got so active so suddenly that it surprised meand I started laughing at the table. Or I'll take a bite of something and immediately get a twitch in response and I'll say, "Oh, Peanut likes this!"

I can't wait until Mr. F can feel the movement. It's something I really want to be able to share with him. Especially because I think Peanut is playing a game with Daddy, trying to see how many times he can make him come over to feel and then hide.

Peanut: *twitch*

Me: Oh!

Peanut: *twitch twitch twitch*

Me: Hee!

Peanut: *twitchtwitchtwitch twitchtwitchtwitch*

Me: Heeee!

Mr. F: Really? *feels my belly*

Peanut: *crickets chirping*

Mr. F: *sad* Darn.

Me: Sorry, honey.

Peanut: *gleeful cackle*


Really, it's prolly another couple of weeks before Mr. F will be able to feel from the outside, but I still can't help imagining Peanut is being devious, especially considering who his parents are.

By the way, I had croissants with Nutella baked inside forbreakfast today, per a friend's suggestion. NOM. Very, very delicious and so easy to do. And seriously, like one of the best things I have ever eaten in my entire life. As good as theNutella crepes we had on the Eiffel Tower. Maybe better because I didn't have to go all the way to Paris for them. I highly recommend you try it. (The croissants, not Paris. Although, Paris isn't too bad either.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's a...


Boy!

So the 28% of you who voted boy may now feel smug in your correctness. Sorry to you 49% who voted girl. Consolation prize to the 23% of you who voted Peanut would be an uncooperative little dickens who won't show us his or her bits, because Peanut did indeed begin the scan by uncooperatively holding the umbilical cord in front of his privates. However, he was movin' and groovin' like crazy and eventually gave us several excellent crotch shots with clear and definitive evidence of a willy. The ultrasound tech called him a "rock star," he was moving around so much. In fact, when we started the scan, he was in breech position (butt down) but by the end of the scan, he had flipped himself around and ended up in vertex postion (head down).

The visit went well - everything looks great and they estimated he weighs about 14.5 ounces, which is bigger than my book suggests for this week, but which the doc said is right on target. I also gained 1.4 pounds since my last visit - well done, me! And they are not concerned in the slightest about my weight because the baby is growing just fine and that's all they really want. I'm feeling great - lots of energy, not sick at all, plus I'm feeling lots of movement now, although I was shocked that I didn't feel it at all when Peanut did his big flip.

So now we have to start thinking names, which we haven't really done with much seriousness beyond me throwing things at Mr. Fantastic everytime he jokes that we should call the baby Gorak. Mr. F was very excited to hear it's a boy - he, too, was certain it was going to be a girl. H3 and I decided everyone thought girl because I'm such a girly girl that it just seemed fitting. Anyway, now Mr. F can start thinking about football and all the other exciting boy things we'll get to do. My poor neice will have to settle for continuing to be the only girl cousin - until next time!

Today was such a great day. Cousin H3 came to the appointment with me since Mr. F is still out of town. And then we went and got some lunch, then pedicures, then absolutely blissful prenatal massages followed up by yummy dinner at PF Changs. It was wonderful to spend the day with her, and I'm so glad she was there to share the ultrasound with me. We are both so thrilled we're both having boys!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

State of the Me

Okay. Time for another state of the me. Lots happening.

Firstly, I've got the plague again, even worse than last time. I'm feeling better today, but for the last few days I've felt like death. The worst part is not being able to rely on my precious DayQuil to fix me. My OB says Tylenol and allergy pills, but the 24-hour Claritin I had wasn't making a dent. Mr. Fantastic took my miserable self to the grocery store where we spent like $50 on cold remedies and Halloween candy, both of which made me feel immensely better. The doctor suggested I try Benadryl or Sudafed instead of the Claritin, so we got both, but so far I have only tried the Benadryl. I must bow before the altar of Benadryl, for it hath ended my misery. Thank goodness! I haven't taken it since I was a kid, because it used to make me super hyper. Now, it puts me right to sleep and dried up all my sneezy sniffles. Ahhh.

Even though the plague is under control, we still have a lot going on. With Peanut on the way, we've decided to sell our one-bedroom condo and buy a house. Yikes, in this market?! I know. But we don't have room in our place for us, let alone a baby. Technically, we'd prolly have room for the actual baby, just not for all the associated crap that comes with a baby. Anyway, so the realtor came over last week to check out our place and basically told us that half our stuff had to go. So this weekend, despite the plague and general feelings of avoidance, Mr. F and I rented a storage unit and packed away a whole bunch of stuff. It was a very daunting task which mostly involved heavy lifting on Mr. F's part and the filling of boxes on mine. Plus both of our brothers came to help with the lifting and driving portion, so it went pretty quickly.

We have crazy storage space here – awesome closets which, over the course of 6+ years, I have been able to cram full of an amazing amount of crap. It was kind of cleansing going through and tossing stuff or putting things in the goodwill pile. Plus, now my closets look unbelievably organized and actually as if they will hold more than I already know they do. Huh. I would've thought it would be a bonus for buyers to see just how much crap you can fit into a closet, but apparently not.

Our place, now devoid of all "personal" touches such as photographs and tchotchkes and literally half our furniture, looks like a hotel. Well, a very messy hotel, anyway, until I get around to straightening up and arranging what's left of our stuff. Once the place is all spiffed up, our realtor will come back and take pictures and such and get us on the market.

It's kind of sad, really, but I guess not having too much stuff or anything personal is what helps potential buyers imagine themselves living in your home. I don't want to leave here but there's just no way we can stay. *sad face* Still, I am really looking forward to a new house and preparing for this next step in our lives. I hope someone sees our place and falls just as much in love with it as we did. And then wants to give us lots of money for the privilege of living here.

The scary part of this whole moving house thing is that we can't buy a place until we sell ours. Which means once we get a contract on our place, we have like three days to pack the rest of our stuff and move out, as well as look for and buy a new place of our own. Yikes, again. I suppose if we had to, we can put the rest of our stuff in storage and live in a hotel for a week or whatever until we find a house we love. Daunting prospect, regardless!

So, along with the plague and the moving house thing…Mr. Fantastic has changed jobs. He hated his old job, has done for a long time and basically was dreading going in to the office every day. It was draining all the life and happiness from him. Even though it's not exactly the best time for it, he left. The good news is that he got a contract for two to three weeks with his brother-in-law's company. It's great money for such a short period, and it's doing something completely different which will be a good change for him.

The bad news is the job is in Nebraska. He left this morning. He was very wary of leaving me for such a long period of time, and truthfully, I'm not thrilled to have him gone, but we decided it was the best thing for us to do right now. I'm fine and there's no reason for him to worry about me or the baby, although that's not going to actually stop him worrying. Mostly, I think we'll just miss each other a whole bunch. I already feel kind of lonely in my half-empty house that's now empty of him, too.

We're not entirely sure how we're going to manage this whole packing up and moving and whatnot with him being gone, but we'll make it work. He keeps reminding me not to lift anything heavy, but it's mostly toasters and lamps and pillows and such now, so I'm not worried about that. And we still have to think about what Mr. F will be doing when he gets back in a few weeks, but I'm sure we'll figure something out.

Anyway, I've got a lot on my mind. Monday was a bad day – I was feeling so dreadful and thinking about all the things happening and had a few spontaneous bouts of weepiness that I know made Mr. F feel awful too. Now that I'm not feeling so sick, things don't seem as overwhelming but it's still a lot to have going on all at once. I know everything will be fine but phew, some days it feels like too much.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pants pants pants! Or, Peanut update.


Week 19
You may have noticed there has been a dearth of Conversations with Peanut lately. This is because Peanut chose to go on radio silence around about the time he or she stopped making me sick. This is what's called the "second trimester" and is apparently a boring time that messes with your head and makes you wonder if you just imagined being pregnant and feeling crappy for 16 weeks.

The baby hasn't started moving yet and you have no outwardly visible "baby bump," you no longer feel sick or exhausted, and in my case, your pox-ridden skin clears up. Although my boobs no longer hurt, they are still the size of Alaska, which for a few weeks has literally been the only thing reminding me that I am actually growing a human being somewhere in here. It has been the most bizarre thing and has made me question my sanity.

Most of my conversations with Peanut recently have been one-sided and very much like this:

Me: Yoo hoo...anybody at home in there? *poke*
Peanut: [silence]
Me: Hellooooo... *pokepokepopke*
Peanut: [silence]
Me: I know you're in there! It was like, just two weeks ago you were making me eat Cheetos. You can't have gone anywhere. There's nowhere for you to go. I would have noticed.
Peanut: [silence]
Me: Sigh. *pokes morosely*
Peanut: [In my imagination] Leave me alone, lady! I'm growing bones in here!

Thank goodness for my pregger peeps (my girls who are pregnant or have had kids and are sagaciously helping me keep my sanity) who have kept reminding me that it won't be long until I'm feeling Peanut move and am looking pregnant. They have also wisely reminded me that I should be prepared to one day just "pop" - meaning that I will blithely go about with my trousers unbuttoned lamenting the fact that I am never actually going to "seem" pregnant and then the next day there will suddenly be a BABY in there and no amount of pants unzipping will make me comfortable. This happened yesterday.

Mr. F and I went to pub quiz with his mom, brother and sister last night and as I got dressed, I noticed my jeans felt a bit tighter than I'm used to. I zipped them up and left them unbuttoned as per usual and put on my bella band but when I looked in the mirror, I noticed a marked difference from the day before - there was quite obviously a bump there where there had just been my flabby tummy previously. And it just got more noticeable through the evening. I was really uncomfortable, both my belly and my back - I couldn't get comfortable sitting and had to pee a billion times, and eventually ended up with the pants all the way unzipped (thank goodness for the bella band!). I took a couple of pictures when we got home. Proof that I have not imagined wee Peanut!

And despite repeated warnings from multiple people that I should have some maternity pants on hand well before I actually needed them, I did not, so Mr. Fantastic had to take me pants shopping today. I am now the proud owner of one new pair of maternity jeans from Target, which are super cute but also weren't cheap and so I will be hitting up friends and family for hand-me-downs.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Open letters to Recent Television

Spoilers for recent episodes of things, so don't read if you don't want to know.

Dear Heroes: Yeah, you were losing me at the end of last year. Sars already broke up with you and I don't blame her. The new episode(s) didn't really do a lot to reel me back in. Where did Molly go? Please tell me Nathan is not going to stay a God-squadder. And the business with Claire? Not on. How could you let Sylar become unkillable? (By the way, can anybody explain what exactly Sylar did with whatever thing he pulled from Claire's brain?) Also, was Mama Petrelli's "Luke, I am your father" moment metaphorical or…seriously, Sylar's her son? Wha? And don't even get me started on the replicator currently inhabiting Mohinder's body. You are officially on notice.

Dear Sarah Connor Chronicles: Same to you, pal. You started losing me at the end of last year, too. You're also on notice, although you're much further down the shit list than Heroes. I'm glad you made John get a haircut, though. And this business with Cameron is interesting, so I'm willing to stick around for a while longer yet. Maybe you'll grow back on me.

Dear Fringe: I tried. I really, really did. If you maybe had more Pacey and his kooky dad and less annoying blonde, I could've stuck it out. Also, fewer disgusting special effects wouldn't have hurt. Don't feel bad - this isn't really a break up; we were never really together in the first place.

Dear House: Welcome back, darling! Oh, how I've missed you. Wilson breaking up with you just made you more interesting. Besides, you know it won't stick. Foreman, you rock. So do you, private investigator guy. I do have to ask about tonight's episode, are organ donor recipients allowed to do shit like Mixed Martial Arts? I always thought you sorta had to take it easy on yourself, even five years later. Anyway, kisses! See you next week.

Dear Biggest Loser, World Series of Poker, Eureka, Whatever, Martha!, Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway and America's Next Top Model: Kisses! Love you. ♥

Peanut update

Week 19

We're in week 19 and so far I'm doing great. Feeling pretty good for the most part. Have noticed a definite increase in hunger, which is great since I'm still down about 5 pounds from pre-pregnancy. I've also started feeling round ligament pain, usually right when I stand up. It's a sharp stabbing pain in my groin that goes away in a second or two and means my ligaments and bones and such are all stretching and whatnot. Also been having ocassional low back pain but that's easily helped with a heating pad.

Something interesting I learned this week: During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called Relaxin, which causes your muscles and ligaments to loosen up and stretch out. Although it's mainly to help the abdomen and pelvis accomodate the growing baby, it affects your whole body and is the reason many pregnant women get clumsy as they progress. It's also the reason why your feet get bigger, and if you don't wear form-fitting shoes during your pregnancy (many preggers live in flip-flops), your feet can stay permanently stretched out post-partum. (Note to self: keep wearing tennis shoes!)

I still feel cold all the time, although Mr. F says my skin is hot a lot of the time. The other day I went out in 85 degree weather in jeans and a sweater and felt fine! Let's see, my skin's finally back in good shape - in fact on Friday at work, one of the girls told me how great my skin looked - and she didn't know I was pregnant!

Speaking of which, it feels weird that I'm almost 5 months pregnant and you still really cannot tell when I'm wearing clothes. My pants are definitely getting tight - I don't wear any of my pants fastened now, thank goodness for the bella band. Mr. F & I can both feel my lower belly is definitely firmer and swelling a bit, but otherwise, that's really the only outward sign. I was moaning about it the other day to H3, basically that you really can't see that I'm pregnant and I'm not really feeling the baby move yet and she said her doctor told her when she was this many weeks that this is the "boring time" of pregnancy. It's true! I'm just waiting for things to happen. I should just stop being antsy and enjoy feeling so good right now.

So, I'm not sure if I've felt the baby move yet. The doctor told me not to expect it before 20 weeks, and I don't really know what I'm supposed to be feeling, so I'm not sure. But I have been feeling something almost like bubbles bursting or like a little twitch in my abdomen, so maybe that's it. One of my books said the baby is reactive to light now and that if I were to shine a flashlight against my tummy, the baby would most likely flinch away from it. I've been tempted to see if I can get the baby to move by doing that but Mr. F says it's mean and I should just be patient. Sigh.

Last week Peanut weighed about 5 ounces and was about 5.5 inches long, which by the way, is measured "crown to rump" and so doesn't include the legs. He or she also learned how to yawn last week and the nervous system came online. This week Peanut is 6 inches and 8 ounces, about the size of a large mango. (What is it with the fruit comparisons?) Also this week, cartilage throughout the body is turning into bone.

I love the picture the website has given me of what the baby looks like this week. Apparently, the kid's a yoga master. Heh.

Anxious for my next appointment on 10/8, where we will hopefully be finding out if it's a boy Peanut or a girl Peanut!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Whatever, Martha

Okay, I'm watching this new show, Whatever, Martha! in which Martha Stewart's daughter Alexis and her friend Jennifer watch old clips from Martha Stewart Living and mock them. It's great fun. I love Martha Stewart, in both an ironic and a non-ironic way, so I get a huge kick out of this show.

In the first episode I watched, there's a clip where Martha's guest is a guy who has a vast and varied twine collection from all over the world. The guy is really into his twine and Alexis kind of gets it, can see where the spools of twine are beautiful and stuff. But Jennifer just keeps saying, "HE COLLECTS STRING."

And in the episode I'm watching now, there's a creepy looking dude named Peanut Butter (no, seriously!) who claims to be a clown, although he looks like no clown I've ever seen. The closest he comes is maybe a second-rate Cirque du Soleil type clown, but mostly he looks like Jambi in a pink skirt.

Anyway, two thumbs up from me.

Oh, John McCain, No.

[McCain keeps contradicting himself on the economy - strong one minute, in crisis the next]

[McCain's for regulation of industry today - but he's one of the legislators who voted for deregulation and helped bring about this mess]

[A side by side comparison of the McCain and Obama tax plans, broken down by income level]

[And McCain plans to tax employer-provided health insurance benefits. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?]

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Oh! That's your uterus!

I forgot to tell you guys when I went to see the digestive guy, Dr. Fishman - I really liked him. He was very personable and warm and somebody I would love to be friends with. Plus he was from South Africa and had an awesome accent. Anyway, so as part of the exam, I had to undo my pants and lay down so he could poke and prod at my belly.

Dr. F: (on my upper belly) *pokepokepoke*
Me: ...
Dr. F: (on my lower belly) *pokepokepoke* Hmm. *poke...poke...poke*
Me: ...
Dr. F: Hmm! *prod...prod...prod* Oh!
Me: *raised eyebrow*
Dr. F: (delightedly, poking some more at my lower belly) I was going to ask you if you're consitpated...but that's your uterus!
Me: LOL!
Dr. F: (abashed) Sorry...I don't see many pregnant women.

He was so excited to feel my uterus, it was adorable. I'm supposed to go see him again in three months and I'm looking forward to it because he was so charming.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

All's well in PeanutLand

Week 17

Had my 4-month baby visit today and got to meet my new OB, Dr. Owens. She's really great, and I'll be sticking with her for the next few months until the last trimester, then I'll rotate through the rest of the docs so I can meet them all.

Pretty routine today, talked for a while so she could get to know me and my history. Listened to the heartbeat - always goofily exciting. Plus there was all this background noise which Dr. O said was the baby moving and kicking. I can't believe there's something that big in there that I can't even feel! She said not to get too impatient because most first time moms won't feel anything until 20 weeks.

They also took some blood and are doing something called an AFP test which is routine and checks for defects. I think they told me we'd have results in like 48 hours. Am scheduled for my anataomy scan next time at the 20 week visit, which is when they look at all the parts and hopefully tell us if it's a boy or a girl, as long as Peanut is cooperating.

Dr. O also said it was okay for us to use our heated mattress pad when it gets colder, thank goodness. I was worried about that because one of my books (my least favorite and most alarming) said I should never use a heating pad or electric blanket, take a hot bath or use a hot tub. So far only the hot tub is verboten. Anyway, the doctor chuckled when I asked, saying, "Yeah, sometimes the books can be a little..." and she did this head waggle eye-rolly thing to indicate the panic-inducing, apocalyptic tone of voice some of the books take in instructing you what not to do.

So this one book I have has a section each week called HOW YOUR ACTIONS AFFECT THE BABY. And basically it tells you that every little thing you do (or do not do) can cause untold catastrophic harm to your little one. The dire warnings about everything are very disconcerting and make you worriedly think back over the past month about what you ate and did and how you slept and everything and wonder if you were doing it wrong. Oy. Also, there are warnings in practically every chapter about how my alcohol use/recreational drug use/promiscuity is BAD FOR THE BABY and I really ought to consider quitting. Last chapter was almost entirely dedicated to how to get myself out of a domestic violence situation. I mean, these are all good things to know, but I am clearly not the demographic this book was aimed at. How about you tell me to take a prenatal yoga class or get a massage or something?

My cousin has the same book, only an earlier edition. She called me a couple months ago freaked out because of the ominous section saying sleeping on your back would deprive the baby of all the vital things it needs, such as blood supply. H3 is a back sleeper and was having trouble transitioning to side sleeping and when she went to check the book became suitably alarmed. She had me check my later edition of the book which had the same dire warning against back sleeping verbatim. Right then I decided to take this book with a grain of salt and appreciate it for the excellent pictures of WHAT YOUR BABY LOOKS LIKE THIS WEEK and use my copy of What to Expect for real answers to stuff.

This week Peanut has fingernails, toenails, fingerprints and footprints. Sizewise, he's about five inches long and more than three and a half ounces, about the size of my open hand. I still can't believe there's something that big in there and I can't even tell. I'm really not looking pregnant yet, although my lower belly is getting firmer and some pants are feeling a little tight. Also, my boobs are the size of Alaska but at least they stopped hurting. Skin seems to be pretty much cleared up except for the ocassional spot, and I'm in general feeling pretty good.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Health update

Had a consultation today with the whatsits, the digestive guy my surgeon sent me to after the whole bellyache debacle in early August. He was initially very excited to see me as I am apparently an interesting case. And then when I told him I was pregnant he got all disappointed because it meant he couldn't run all the exciting tests he wanted to do. Like, he visibly deflated at the news.

However, we had a nice chat and basically he told me besides doing a bunch of tests which he didn't want to do because of the baby, he would prescribe for me the same medicines they gave me in the ER (Protonix and Sucralfate) and that he wants me to come back in three months or if things change.

The good news is that he's pretty sure what happened both in August and in late February is that it was a gall bladder issue - that I either passed a small stone or what they call "sludge" which is basically the precursor to a stone. These kinds of gall bladder problems are common in people who have lost a significant amount of weight and also with pregnancy. So, not really a surprise but I'm glad somebody had an actual definite opinion on what the problem is as opposed to everybody saying there was no discernible cause. The bad news is there is basically nothing I can do about it to prevent it happening again. Really the only thing I could do is diet related but I'm already doing all the things I'm supposed to, so he told me to keep on like I have been. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that it doesn't happen again so I can continue my Zen relationship with food.

Have an OB appointment on Wednesday, so we'll have a Peanut update then.

ALSO, I am watching John and Kate Plus 8...they're camping out in the backyard. Now I want a S'more. A real, live S'more made over a campfire. Yum. Is there a way I could conceivably make them in my kitchen? If only I had a gas stove, I'd totally roast me a marshmellow.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Cheesy Poofs are Awesome

You know, it's funny - now that I've decided to go all Zen-like about my diet and just eat whatever the hell I want, whenever I want...I've been eating a lot better. Been eating more but also better quality than just Cheetos and other orange things. I still heart my Cheesy Poofs, don't get me wrong, but aside from those and chicken nuggets, I've also eaten good stuff, like yogurt and apples and chicken! I'm sure me not stressing over it anymore is also creating a better environment for Peanut, so yay me.

By the way, I quite possibly felt some movement yesterday! The books tell me I likely won't realize it when I first feel it because I'll probably think it's gas. They describe it as possibly feeling like a bubble bursting, which is what this felt like, but you know...could've just been gas. Anyway, possible yay?

Hey, another yay me - I got a $250 bonus from work today for my hard work on a very long, very huge project that wrapped up this week. Cool! And always nice to get a pat on the back like that.

Are you watching Project Runway? I adore this show and have a raging serious platonic crush on Tim Gunn and his giant vocabulary even though I don't have much interest in fashion. I've been reading the recaps at the Advocate and highly recommend them.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

All hail the nugget

Some of you will be pleased to know that I have officially accepted the chicken nugget as a legitimate food source. Did you know Wendy's serves an excellent chicken nugget? And I find their honey mustard sauce delightful. Best of all, peanut likes them too.

In other news, as seen on cleolinda : What do Christian Bale and Kermit the Frog have in common? Quite a lot, it turns out.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dinner of Champions!

Tonight's Dinner of Champions: Pumpkin seeds and a mini Babybel. I did manage to eat three chicken nuggets from McD's earlier, which was quite tasty. I was really hoping not to eat a bunch of crap, but at this point, I'm happy to be eating at all.

Urg. *Achoo! sniffle.* Plague time! Hooray!

Hooray, I seem to have picked up some sort of bug. Sniffling, sneezing, aching, stuffy head, fever...yeah, everything but the cough. Bleargh, I feel awful.

I'm going to have to call my OB, I think, just to find out what medicine it's okay to take. Right now all I know is Tylenol is ok.

My books tell me that it's not unusual to get sick when you're pregnant because your immune system is supressed (so as not to reject the baby.) Plus, the rampant hormones running around my body are making all of my mucous membranes get soft and such, which means it's also common for pregnant women to have the sniffling, sneezing thing going on in perpetuity. Sigh.

In other news, work is making me cranky today. Or maybe I'm already cranky due to plague and therefore it's much easier for people at work to piss me off. Either way...grr. This woman sent me something to review and approve on Friday afternoon. She is already calling and IM'ing me asking if we're done yet. No, lady, we're not done, seeing as everyone, including yourself, took off early on Friday afternoon and so nobody even looked at it until sometime today. Give us five minutes, wouldja?

ETA: Doc says Tylenol for the aches and Claritin for the sniffles. And I'm recommending a nap. We'll give that a try and see how I feel later.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mmm, orange.

Week 15

Feeling pretty good these days. Still tired - had our Fantasy Football draft today and then went to H3's for family BBQ and to see her newly-remodeled kitchen and great room. It's absolutely beautiful and I'm so jealous of her giant kitchen! We left her house at 7 and I was barely able to stay awake in the car on the way home. Took a nice little nap the minute I hit my comfy chair and am awake now for the next few minutes before I actually get into bed and sleep for at least the next 8 hours. Had a great dinner at H3's - good food and I was actually able to eat a fairly good sized meal (for me, anyway). Tomorrow's weigh day, so we'll see if I've managed to gain any weight this week.

I have determined that Peanut must really have a thing for synthetic cheese flavor or possibly FD&C Yellow No.5 because even when I couldn't eat anything, Peanut still wanted Doritos. Now we seemed to have switched to Cheetos, although Goldfish are also popular as is anything colored orange, except for actual oranges. The excellent thing about being pregnant is that while we're grocery shopping I can throw crap into the cart and assuage my self-inflicted guilt by saying to Mr. F, "the baby wants Double Stuff Oreos!" Unfortunately, this is having a bad effect on Mr. F because inevitably I end up eating three of whatever it is and he eats...more than that.

I've been telling Steve about the weird things Peanut wants me to eat, like ice cream and Cheetos and such, and today he said, "I'm tellin' ya, I like this kid already!" Hee. He is going to be the best Uncle ever.

Got the results of our first-trimester screening test in the mail this week. All good news, everything within normal limits, so that's great. You get those tests done and then you basically have a low-level worry in the back of your mind for the next ten days until you get the report in the mail. I'm so glad it all came back normal so we don't have to do any more. Although, of course, due to my ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE, they recommend further screening. But even before we got the results, Mr. F and I decided not to do any further testing regardless because it's riskier than just a blood test and ultrasound.

This week Peanut is as big as a navel orange and weighs a little more than two ounces. Apparently, baby is moving around like crazy this week but because he's so light, I still can't feel it. Books say that should start happening about week 19 but I wish I could feel it now! Right now the only indication I have of actually being pregnant is feeling bloated all the time. So my pants are starting to get a little tight but my belly's still soft and so I mostly just feel like I'm getting fat. Which, logically, I know isn't happening because the scale isn't moving. Sigh. Next appointment is 9/10, although I don't think I'm having an ultrasound then. Maybe we'll hear the heartbeat again.

Also scheduled for an "EGD consultation" on 9/8 as follow up to the bellyache situation. Not really sure what all that entails - I'm assuming we're just going to talk about it as opposed to doing the actual procedure at that time. Which means I have to wait longer to see if they think anything's wrong when I'd really like to come to some sort of conclusion. Arrgh, voodoo.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sweet! Obama

My cousin Dan got to meet Barack Obama this morning! Unfortunately, even though he looks like a slavering fangirl in the picture, he is still a Republican. *shakes head sadly*

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hm. Well, no news is...no news.

Finally heard back from my doctor regarding Monday's gall bladder ultrasound. Basically, they can't see anything remarkable or any reason for me to be having pain. So, on the one hand, no gall stones and I don't need my gall bladder out...but on the other hand, what the hell? It's not like I'm making this shit up. I would like to find out WHY this has been going on. I'm scheduled for an endoscopy around Sep 8, and my doctor said he wants to wait until after that to decide on next steps. Well, great. That's entirely unhelpful to me right now. Sigh.

At least I've been able to eat, although I'm not really eating a lot - still haven't managed three protein drinks in one day yet. But I have gained back a pound of the six I lost, which means my total weight gain so far for the pregnancy is -5. Meh. I'm working on it.

As for Peanut, we've just started week 14 and he's about the size of my clenched fist and might possibly even be growing hair. My skin is clearing up, my boobs hurt much less and I'm less tired. Still peeing a lot, though.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Say cheese! Or not.

Got to hear Peanut's heartbeat at this week's 3-month appointment - 151 beats per minute. Was very exciting and of course made me all teary eyed because I am a giant sap. Also got an ultrasound, although we didn't get very good pictures. They were trying to get some measurements and the girl kept pressing harder and harder with the thingy - I swear eventually Peanut got fed up with it, because at one point you could actually see him get all huffy and flounce over onto his side, turning his back to us. Aww, my little angel is camera shy! That must come from the Fantastic side of the family because you know it doesn't come from mine! Next ultrasound's at 20 weeks.

Sadly, Dr. Murahata told us she won't be doing deliveries after the end of this year, so I decided to change over to the practice she shares an office with - Consultants in OBGYN, where my old OBGYN used to be until she moved to Parker. They have a number of doctors that I'll rotate through, hopefully getting to know each of them so I'll be comfortable with whoever does my delivery. I'd have preferred Dr. M but I'm sure I'll be in good hands.

Saw my surgeon, Dr. Snyder, this week also. He and Dr. M both say the baby's fine and my trip to the ER is a totally separate issue. I'm scheduled for a gallbladder ultrasound on Monday, which will hopefully give us some conclusive answers. Plus, judging by the quickie look they took at my gallbladder in the ER, I'll also get to see Peanut. Apparently, he's got the condo next door.

Bellyache aside, I'm feeling pretty good - able to eat again, sort of, not as tired and best of all, I think my skin really is clearing up. HOORAY. However, the whole bellyache thing has blown the food plan entirely out of the water, so I guess I need to try and get back on track. I've lost 6 pounds since Sunday - not a very good start on gaining 15! Now I have to gain 20.

One of my books tells me Peanut is about the size of a lime this week, the other says he's the size of a plum. I don't eat either of those things so now I have no concept of the size. Both books affirm that all systems and such are formed and for the next 28 weeks, Peanut'll be concentrating on getting bigger and putting the organs to work.

More Adventures in Medicine

Hoo boy. Ugh, had me another visit to the ER this weekend. Everything was fine, I was minding my own business, doing nothing out of the ordinary, when whammo! Was awoken about 6 a.m. Sunday morning with awful, horrible pain in my belly, just like what happened to me at the end of Februray.

Awful, awful stabbing pain in my front going all the way through to my back, and I couldn't get comfortable no matter what I did - lay down, sit, stand, nothing helped. I thought maybe it was dehydration like last time so I tried to drink some water, but just like last time, even a sip of water gave me a stabbing pain the second it hit my stomach. I was also feeling really bloated and gassy but nothing was happening - no movement, couldn't even force a burp or anything. The pain feels like the worst gas pain you've ever had. Like a constant dull ache with periods of sharp stabbing pain, especially with any food or drink.

I tried to get on with my life and do stuff but it was hurting too much and I sent Mr. F off to his mother's for a BBQ without me. By about 4 I'd had enough and called him to come home and take me to the ER. I was hoping they'd get an IV in me and that would fix me right up.

They were much quicker getting me back this time, but maybe that's because it was Sun vs. Fri night and because I couldn't stand up straight and had Mr. F wheel me in. They got an IV in and gave me some pain killer - fentanyl again - which helped a lot but didn't make the pain go away.

They did some tests and stuff but basically couldn't figure out what was wrong. They sent me home after 4 hours with an Rx for Vicodin and another for Protonix, which I guess treats heartburn, acid reflux, etc. Even with the vicodin that night, I had a terrible time sleeping. The only thing that helped was to sit up cross-legged, hunched over a pillow in my lap with a heating pad on my back. Mr. F helped a lot by rubbing my back and also by pounding on my back - almost burping me like a baby. That helps for short periods of time but isn't lasting.

As before, it just got worse and made me nauseous. Ate nothing at all on Sunday and had a few sips of water. Monday was much the same - felt generally crappy what with both my stomach and back hurting and not having gotten much sleep. Didn't eat or drink anything all day Monday either, although Mr. F convinced me to eat two crackers on Monday night. It hurt but it did help the nausea. Had a lot of Vicodin and Gas-X and what sips of water I could manage. I called my surgeon on Monday but the soonest they could see me was this morning.

Slept a little better Monday night and things felt less bad on Tuesday. I managed to drink a whole Gatorade and some more water and two more crackers. Took less Vicodin but more Gas-X. The pain was still there but not as bad. Stil felt really bloated and gassy, though, and it's hard to explain, but my stomach feels unsupported. I actually put on my swimsuit and slept in that Monday night and Tuesday night. Somehow the slight compression made things hurt less. Maybe I ought to look into some sit ups.

Tried to have some chicken soup on Tuesday but it was an unmitigated disaster that caused hours of pain. Just for spite, later I had a couple oz. of milk and an oatmeal cookie, which, surprisingly, didn't bother me at all.

Finally saw the surgeon this morning. I've lost about 6 pounds since I saw him last week. I know most of that's water weight which is very, very bad. He's not sure what's going on either, especially since it's been four days and hasn't gone away. I'm going to have an ultrasound to look at my gall bladder and also an endoscope to check for ulcers or anything else out of the ordinary. And he told me to keep taking the Protonix and gave me something else specifically for ulcers which he wants me to start taking right away, just in case it is an ulcer.

I have been able to drink quite a bit of water today without too much pain and am now working on a protein drink since I've still had basically no nutrition since Sunday. Still having the pain but it's about a fourth what it was on Sunday. I hope we can figure out what's going on because I seriously don't want this to become a habit. I wish I could figure out if I did something wrong - did I eat something I shouldn't or eat too fast or not get enough water? I don't know and would dearly love to be able to correct my diet if possible so I can avoid ever having to do this again.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

From the Conversations with Mr. Fantastic Files...

Today Mr. Fantastic was telling me about a weird Olympic event he saw last night that he was unfamiliar with.

Mr. F: So, it's basically like a horse...walking around in a rectangle.
Me: Oh! You mean dressage.
Mr. F: I can't believe you know that. *facepalm*

And I didn't know, but apparently he thought it was hilariously geeky of me to know immediately what he was talking about and also actually know the name of the sport. So tonight, we were hanging out with my brother and I overhear Mr. F starting to tell this story, making fun of what an enormous geek I am.

Mr. F: *mockingly* So, I'm telling her that it's bascially like a horse just walking around a rectangle--
Steve: Oh! You mean dressage.
Mr. F: ... *headdesk*

LOL! Poor Mr. F, surrounded by geeks.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

It's all about the compromise.

Okay, we seem to have made a compromise on the peanut butter issue. I made it a chocolate peanut butter smoothie and used half as much peanut butter. One hour later and I still feel good. Yay!

In other news...it's entirely possible that my skin may be slightly clearing up the tiniest bit somewhat. I am trying not to celebrate pre-emptively. I also seem to be able to eat regular food a bit better now and I'm way less depressed about the whole "food plan," which is good.

This week Peanut is two inches long - half of which is the head, but the book promises that's normal. Also, progesterone, while very good for the baby, is not my friend. Apparently, that's what's responsible for the gassy, burpy, bloating business.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Urk.

Nevermind.

The baby hates peanut butter. *turns green*

Yum!

OMG, peanut butter protein smoothie, where have you been all my life? How is it I've been having a minimum of one protein shake a day for 15 months and I never added peanut butter? Y-U-M.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Reflections on my brother

As many of you know, roughly a year ago, my brother Steve got sick. At the end of last July, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was removed and found to be malignant - a form of melanoma. There were long, worrisome days in the hospital, then more at home as he recovered and went through chemo for six months. Then, this year in March, he had the bottom lobe of his right lung removed to take care of a tumor there that hadn't responded to the chemo. There were more long, worrisome days in the hospital and then again at home as he dealt with an infection.

Finally, at the end of April he was pronounced No Evidence of Disease - the closest the doctors will get to saying he's cured. We still have follow up appointments to do for the next year to keep an eye on things, but in general, it's over. For now, and for ever, hopefully, we're done dealing with this. Steve's back to his old self, back to work, back to living. To see him today, you would never even know he had been sick. I cannot be more thankful for how well he's come through this.

It has been quite a year, for him obviously, but for me too, and my family. Watching him go through all this has been incredibly scary but also amazing - seeing his strength as he faced a life-threatening and life-changing disease. He was always in good spirits even after weeks cooped up in the hospital, after two operations, countless poking and prodding, frighteningly severe reactions to medications, painful procedures and most of all, just plain not wanting to be there, wishing he was at home in his own bed - through all of it he never lost his good humor and sweet demeanor that those who know him find so endearing. I was so impressed at what a model patient he was. So good natured - but that's who he is, who he always has been.

I know it was frightening and life-altering for him, but it was for me, too. While I did my best to be there for him, to be supportive and do whatever he needed to get through it, I felt so helpless knowing that really, there was nothing I could do besides care for him in all the little ways I could and make sure he knew I loved him. I hated feeling so helpless and I hated being afraid that we were going to lose him. I'd spend days with my heart in my throat, afraid to leave the hospital for fear that something would happen while I was gone but unable to stay because my own life was still moving forward outside. It seemed like things would get better only for something else to happen and I'd be back there, scared to death.

Going to the hospital nearly every day was so difficult. At first it was hard for me to see him like that - so helpless and hooked up to a million tubes and wires and machines. But even later, when he was doing better, some days it was hard to make myself go - I was so sick of the hospital and what it meant, what it could mean. I took some days off but not being there was just as difficult - I felt guilty for leaving him alone there, knowing how much he hated it, knowing that life is fragile and anything could happen while my back was turned.

Coming so close to losing him reminded me just how much I love him and how much he does for us. How much I would miss him if we were to lose him. I did my best to let him know in deed and word how much I love him and how important he is in my life. I hope he does know.

When my mom died in 1997, I remember vividly how much I grew up practically overnight. I have always said that if losing my mom hadn't been the most awful thing that had ever happened to me, it would've been one of the best. I know that sounds weird, but what I mean is that it forced me to find myself, to face the absolute worst thing I could conceive and find that I was up to the task. I was 24 and still a stupid, spoiled girl who never lacked for anything. People - my mother, especially - took care of me. I had barely any concept of misery or loss or pain. I had never been tested because the people who loved me protected me from it. I learned so much from my mother's death. I learned that I could help my dad and brothers make decisions I had never even considered. I learned that I could write and give a dignified eulogy to a church crowded with friends and family without crying. I learned that I could give comfort to others even when I needed my own comfort. I learned that I could make up my own mind. I learned that I already knew the right thing to do. I learned that I could get up every day and go on even though my world had just ended.

I learned so much about so many things but mostly, I learned that I was capable of so much more than I had ever really given myself credit for.

Everything that happened this year with my brother served as a reminder to me of what I learned so long ago. I can do it. It doesn't matter what it is or how much it hurts, I know I am strong enough for whatever comes my way. Almost as much as I am thankful that we get to keep my brother for a little while longer, I am thankful for the reminder of who I am and what I can do.

Friday, August 1, 2008

It's a "food plan," not a diet...

Okay, so I'm getting depressed about this whole...food thing. Not the 20 pounds part, that I can deal with - but the sheer frequency and amount I'm supposed to be eating.

Even if I wasn't still feeling pretty meh about food, it would be hard enough to eat as much as Dr. S wants: 5-6 meals a day plus 3 protein shakes. And these meals are supposed to be 6-8 oz of food each, which is a huge amount for me. Normally my meals consist of a handful of nuts or some string cheese or a couple slices of lunch meat. Nowhere near 6 ounces. I eat a large meal like that once a day and am very full - I can't imagine eating that six times a day.

In between all the eating and protein shakes, I also have to drink at least 64 oz of water a day, but I have to wait an hour after I eat before I'm allowed to drink anything. That particular rule really throws a wrench in the works of the new food plan. I actually had to sit down and write a schedule so I could figure out when to do what to make sure I got it all in. Behold:

9:30 AM Protein shake
11:00 AM Meal
12:00 PM Water- 16 oz
1:00 PM Meal
2:00 PM Water- 8 oz
2:30 PM Protein shake
4:00 PM Meal
5:00 PM Water- 16 oz
6:00 PM Meal
7:30 PM Protein shake
8:00 PM Water- 16 oz
9:00 PM Meal
10:00 PM Water- 8 oz

Ugh. This is very daunting. I get discouraged just looking at it, trying to imagine actually sticking to that schedule every day for the next six months. I don't want my life to revolve around when and what I eat any more than it already does! Anything for Peanut, right?