Thursday, December 20, 2012


Now that Levi's almost twelve weeks old (Sunday!), I figured he was old enough to tackle a quick jaunt to Chicago.  'Jaunt' doesn't quite convey the circumstances under which the trip was taken (a funeral), but it was certainly a whirlwind of a 24-hour trip.  

I got to catch up with a lot of people; Levi got to meet a lot of people.  And he did so well!  He was exhausted from missing a few of his naps both Tuesday and Wednesday, and I'm amazed he managed to hold himself together after realizing just how tiring the trip was for me!  I could barely get out of bed this morning, and I didn't even miss out on a significant amount of sleep like Levi did in missing some naps!  

Yes.  I have an amazing son who, at almost three months of age, entirely possibly may be more easygoing than I am.  The lack of a schedule and the seemingly endless parade of new faces and places didn't really seem to faze him. I, on the other hand...I was relaxed by Janna standards, but still a bit stressed about the timing of everything.  Levi agreeably took naps anytime I put him in his carseat, and woke up cheerful when I got him out.  He sat quietly on my lap through the funeral and looked around.  (note to self...take him to see live music as often as possible...he loved the music at the church).  

Yep.  We have one rockin' little dude for a son.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Maternity Leave

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Janna who was only going to take six weeks off after the birth of her first child.  In fact, she was willing to go back to work after only three or four weeks if circumstances necessitated it.

It's been eight, almost nine weeks now.

And she still doesn't really *want* to go back.


It's not that I don't want to go back to work per se.  It's more that our original plan - for me to work just enough to keep my benefits - is incompatible with Chris's work schedule (new as of mid-October).  He's gone from 6am - 8pm, Monday through Saturday.  Ergo, we'd have to get a babysitter for two of my three requisite (to keep benefits) shifts, and that's assuming I want to work on Chris's one day off.  Which I don't.

We went back and forth on what to do about this dilemma.  It's not necessary financially or insurance-ly for me to be working, since Chris has benefits through his job and works more hours than both of us used to work combined.  However, it's costruction.  Getting laid off, even temporarily, isn't a matter of "if" so much as it is "when."  Trader Joe's doesn't pay enough for us to live on long-term, but it's absolutely enough to put gas in the cars and groceries in the fridge for a few weeks or a month at a time.  So I'm going back at twelve weeks part-time.

Extreeeemely part time,  Like, one shift a week part time.  I'll probably go back up to three shifts once Chris is working forty hours (as opposed to seventy) a week, but for now I'm going to be a few hours a week from being a stay at home mom.

Crazy, right?

I'm typing this with Levi sleeping next to me, and I can honestly say that while my social life is pretty limited these days, I have a hard time being away from him for more than a few hours.  One shift a week should be just enough to keep me from vanishing down the rabbit hole of home life...and honestly, I miss my coworkers!  I don't miss every day and certainly don't miss working full time, but it will be fun to catch up with all the customers who got to watch my belly grow from January through the end of September.  And now I have baby pictures to show off!

Broccoli Soup

Now that I'm starting to get the hang of parenting (and that Levi's starting to nap during the day), I'm starting to cook again.  I made great strides in the kitchen while pregnant and not working much, and they were put on hold for the first month and a half of parenthood.  I was lucky if I managed to keep edible things in the house (as opposed to just getting carryout) and there was much re-wearing of previously worn clothing.  ANYWAY...

Broccoli soup, so easy that even I can make it from this 'recipe'

(copied verbatim from Momfilter)
Ariel’s Broccoli Soup
Sauté 1 chopped onion and 1 large carrot in butter and a bit of olive oil
Add peeled potatoes that are quartered or eighthed depending on size of potato, resulting in 2 cups of chopped potatoes
Add broccoli florets and cauliflower if you like, loads of them
Add good quality vegetable stock 
Top up with water so all ingredients are submerged
Add salt, pepper and a touch of cumin
Simmer for 20 minutes
Puree in food processor
Serve with grated parmesan or cheddar on top

    Friday, November 2, 2012

    I'm back!

    It's been awhile.

    Levi turned a month old on Tuesday (or Sunday, if you consider 'four weeks' a month).  It's been good...not easy, but good.  My mom was here for the first two weeks, and Chris went back to work after a month and a half off a few days later.  I may or may not have cried for about four days straight (placental encapsulation sort of saved the day...perhaps I'll blog about that someday!).  But we got through it.

    Breastfeeding (yes, I'm breastfeeding, and doing so happily) is going incredibly well - Levi gained 2.5lbs and grew 2" in his first month of life.  He's still a little munchkin, but he's outgrown his NB - sized clothing and is about to outgrow his NB diaper wraps too.  A trip to Modern Natural Baby is in order in the next few days, so we can continue to cloth diaper successfully.  We've been using entirely too many disposable diapers lately (errands, combined with the inconvenience of stuffing a bulky cloth prefold into an almost-too-small wrap).  And while I'm not getting as much sleep as I'd like, he wakes up consistently at 2:30 and 4:30 to eat if we put him to bed between 11pm and midnight.  I can't really complain...he's just shy of five weeks old, and he gets hungry/poopy/lonely often and easily.

    Levi's about to wake up, but I'll leave you with one thought (to be expounded upon later).  It seems like a lot of women on the BabyCenter October 2012 birth forum are asking "when do things get easier?" or something along those lines.  The first month of life is frustrating, exhausting, and sometimes miserable.  I don't claim to have had a rough run of it by any means, but I've had my struggles.

    I realized today as I was putting the third load of laundry of the day in the washer (after cleaning the bathroom for the first time since Levi's birth) that the answer to the above question is "Today!"  And "Yesterday!"  Also, "Tomorrow!"  I may not have realized that yesterday was the day that things started getting easier yesterday, and may not realize that things got easier today until next month, but every day is progress in the right direction at this point.  Today is the day that I was able to take Levi out for three hours without a peep from him.  Yesterday was the day we figured out that cloth diapers are easier on his skin (after a few days of mostly disposables).  They're small things, but they add up.

    Maybe your kiddo's been screaming for three days straight, but today you figured out that he only likes Soothies pacifiers.  Perhaps yesterday was the day you got up the courage to tell your MIL that you, not she, is the mother of your daughter.  Tomorrow might be the day you and your son figure out a latch that works for breastfeeding comfortably and successfully - or it might be the day you decide that formula would be best for your sanity and your baby's growth.  I don't know what's going on in your house - my point is that progress is a continual parade of tiny, tiny steps.

    But hey - I'll take it!

    Pictures, for those who are interested.

    Levi and Chris

    Sometimes, a screaming baby can be absolutely adorable

    And the first smile caught on film (er, 'imaginary film').  He was awake for this, but his eyes were closed at the moment I managed to snap the picture. 

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    The obligatory 'birth story' post

    By Friday the 28th, a mere three days before my due date, I'd given up hope on having a baby by October 1st. I posted a status to this effect on Facebook that afternoon. While I'd been having symptoms of early labor all day (and had actually left work early on Wednesday because of cramping), none of this was anything new - I'd felt fairly cruddy for the previous two weeks. Thursday night, I'd given castor oil a second try. It didn't work, and I was good and thoroughly frustrated by Friday evening.

    To make matters worse, by dinnertime on Friday, I was feeling quite possibly worse - or at least stranger - than I had at any point in the past few weeks. I started talking about calling in sick for my Saturday 5:30am shift around 6, though it took me til 8pm to actually do it. I felt massively guilty, lazy, etc, but settled in for the night and decided to simply enjoy another day of getting to stay up late and sleep in late with Chris while it was just the two of us.

    I was bouncing on my exercise ball and meandering aimlessly around the internet around 11pm when the first contraction hit. It was, quite obviously, different from the intense Braxton Hicks (false contractions) I'd been having for months, though I timed a few of them before I said anything to Chris. They were about 8 minutes apart, and at that point, moderately painful. We sat up timing them til about 1am, and decided to go to bed since they weren't getting any closer together. I curled up with the heating pad, and actually managed to fall asleep. They didn't stop that night (though I woke up twice to time them, just to make sure they weren't going to stop!). By morning, they'd slowed to slightly irregular 9-10 minute intervals but increased in intensity. I emailed my doctor to let her know that labor had started, called work to let them know the same, took a shower, and set to work tidying up the apartment and packing my bag for the birth center.

    While the contractions weren't as consistent as I'd expected them to be, they were painful enough by lunchtime Saturday that I had to stop what I was doing to get through them. This continued all day - me cleaning like a madwoman, texting periodic updates to my family, and trying to decide what clothing to take for me and for the baby - all in 6-10 minute intervals. Contractions were nearing a minute long and 7 minutes apart when I finally called my doctor about 4:30 that afternoon. She gave me the go-ahead to labor at home as long as I saw fit, or til contractions were 4-5 minutes apart. Chris and I decided to go for a walk around 7pm in hopes of getting labor to progress (I couldn't quite stay upright or walk through contractions, but they weren't budging past 6-7 minute intervals). Apparently, walking works wonders when the body is ready for labor! About a block from our house, the first contraction of the walk hit - a mere four minutes after its predecessor! This continued for the rest of the walk, with me leaning helplessly on Chris through most of them. Chris was pretty set on to the birth center as soon as we got home from walking, though I dragged my feet til 9:30. While I met the usual criteria (<5 mins apart, >1 minute long, for over an hour), I felt good/normal enough in between contractions that I was afraid of being sent back home. Since I refused to go in just yet, Chris busied himself with changing table assembly while I sat on the floor and focused on getting through each contraction.

    He finally succeeded at getting me out the door after 9pm. We were met at the door of the hospital by the oh so lovely hospital policy of sending women in labor up to the third floor (Labor&Delivery + the alternative birth care unit) in a wheelchair. I felt thoroughly ridiculous, since my contractions had magically vanished in the ride to the hospital. "Oh well," I told myself, since it was too late to turn around.

    Upon arriving at the ABC, we found out that I was actually 5-6cm dilated and 100% effaced, rather than the 3cm I thought I was. Excited to be over halfway to having a baby in my arms, I hopped in the birthing tub armed with grapes, a Luna Bar, and my water bottle. Time gets pretty hazy after this point. Contractions started back up, though the water made them far more bearable (barely noticeable for the first, say, two hours in the tub). As soon as I got out of the tub for the first time though, I realized they'd gotten far, far more intense - I hobbled to the bathroom doubled over and clutching my belly. Chris had fallen asleep by this point, and I decided to get out and stay out of the tub a few hours later. This lasted about an hour, before I abandoned my resolution to labor quietly and woke up Chris! The pain was almost unmanageable, it was a bit after 1am, and I was hoping I was nearing the end of labor. My doctor, who was sleeping in the next room (she was on her third delivery in 24 hours, and hadn't gotten any sleep the night before) came in to check on me, and we found that I hadn't progressed at all in terms of dilation.

    Discouragement set in - I couldn't imagine labor getting much worse, and I still had a long way to go. One of the nurses suggested leaning on the birthing ball with the shower on my back, which did help. Chris sat next to me, rubbing my head sleepily. I stayed there for probably an hour before crawling back into the tub. The nurse checked me again around 3am, and I still hadn't progressed. The baby's head was slightly twisted in the birth canal, preventing my cervix from dilating fully (pressure from the baby's head is the primary cause of dilation). The nurse suggested trying a hip release technique (from the 'Spinning Babies' site, as I later found out), and while I wasn't feeling very optimistic, I was up for anything since labor hadn't progressed in the six hours I'd been there.

    I didn't feel any different afterwards - if anything, I felt worse in the hour or so between the hip release and when I decided a bit before 5am that I needed some sort of break from the pain. Contractions had, unbeknownst to me, become 1-2 minutes apart and I was too exhausted to handle them anymore. The nurse put in a hep lock and ordered a short - acting muscle relaxant. My doctor, having noticed the frequency of the contractions, decided to check my progress before giving me anything that might slow down labor. I was at 8-9cm! As much as I wanted even a half hour break, she said I was so close that pain meds probably wouldn't help.

    30 minutes later (about 6:30 at this point), she deemed me "fully dilated and ready to push when I felt like it." I don't know when I actually started pushing, but I do remember thinking the urge felt less obvious than I'd expected. I do know I felt like I was much closer to actually delivering a baby than I actually was - while it felt like I was crowning for most of it, I really wasn't sure how far I was til the nurse told me to reach down and feel the baby's head. It was so tiny! While I'd been terrified of not being able to deliver a baby, I realized that this was going to be a very manageably - sized baby and decided to do everything in my power to get the kiddo out as quickly as possible. And so it came to be at 7:18am Sunday the 30th of September that Levi was born. He was so tiny! I'd been expecting a somewhat larger baby, and I was rather overwhelmed by just how tiny his 6lb 4oz body was. And he was so warm, felt so right to have him lying atop the belly in which he'd resided for so many months. The nurse tucked a blanket around him to keep him from getting chilly, and he opened his eyes for the first time, squinting in the bright sunlight coming in the window. His stare was so intense, broken up only by the wobbling motion of his head as he struggled to lift it off my chest. It was unbelievable, really - I couldn't shake the thought "this is him - this is my baby boy!"

     Once the umbilical cord stopped pulsating, it was clamped - Chris got to cut it. I was far too busy nursing Levi for the first time to notice by the time the placenta made an appearance. In retrospect, I wish we'd had the presence of mind to take pictures of his first hour of life - of the first time I held him, of the first time Chris held him, etc. I doubt I'll ever forget that first hour though, tired as I was.

    Friday, October 5, 2012

    Levi William Wells

    Levi joined us September 30th at 7:18am. 6lbs,4oz, blonde hair, blue eyes. Labor was rough, but he's absolutely perfect and stolen our hearts already. We're stuck in the hospital sorting out jaundice issues til the end of the week, but pictures and details will follow as soon as we're home for good.

    Friday, September 28, 2012

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

    Interesting study regarding average length of gestation

    As I'm now a mere four days from my due date and seemingly stalled in terms of progress, it seemed reasonable to start googling things such as "average length of pregnancy."  Said quest yielded this study, which, based on a survey of 1412 first - time moms, concluded that the average length of gestation for a woman with no previous pregnancies was 39 weeks, 5 days.  56.3% of these women delivered on or before the due date estimated by their health care provider, which indicates that the majority of first time moms don't go past 40 weeks.

    Further, the average length of gestation for women birthing a second child was found to be 39 weeks, 6 days.  The statistics for this category indicate that this results in 56.1% of women having delivered said younger sibling on or before their estimated due date.

    In other words, my chances of going past due as a first - timer are no better and no worse than they would be with a second (or even a third child - round three arrived, on average, at 39+4).  If 'average' is my goal, I still have two days to go.  And if 'on or before my estimated due date' is the only thing for which I'm striving, I still have five days. 

    It seems positively cushy til I remember that I've been experiencing prodromal labor (contractions + cramping) for so long now that I no longer remember to time them even if I try.  Twelve days, to be exact.  And in twelve days of discomfort of varying degrees, I've added a whopping one centimeter, snapped at two absolutely well - intentioned and concerned coworkers, and and eaten more chocolate than I did in the two stabby weeks between conception and finding out I was pregnant. 

    Please, universe?  Is it really too much to ask that I go into labor at no later than 40.0 weeks?

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012


    It's hard to explain just how boring life can be even in the midst of relatively oppressive exhaustion and nine-months-pregnant determination to work as close to full time as possible.  I'm staying busy,, and trying to get in enough naps to keep my body relatively prepared for labor at any time keep me occupied for most of the day.  There's also a seemingly never-ending supply of dirty dishes and carpets in need of vacuuming and laundry in need of washing, to fill in the spare minutes and hours between work and sleep. 

    I've spent the past eight and a half months trying to emotionally and physically prepare for parenthood, and I've come a long way.  Almost all the baby laundry is done; we have the vast majority of the baby gear we will need for the first few months.  And I'm really, genuinely thrilled to meet this little person.  It's hard not to be impatient when he or she has been my constant companion for going on nine months. 

    It's also hard not to be unbearably bored with this whole business of still being pregnant a week and a half after the start of early labor.  I've gone on with my life despite the increasing exhaustion and discomfort, but it's really getting hard to care about much anything other than delivering this baby at long last.  It would be lovely to be able to carry on as before, but that's easier said than done while contracting!  I've given up on vacuuming the carpets and sweeping the kitchen floor; even showering has taken the back seat to lying in bed idly playing on my phone.  The dishes still get washed, but I lost interest in behaving civilly a week or two ago, when the symptoms of early labor started.  I've timed my contractions so many times over the past week and a half that I no longer consistently remember to do so (though I try to time them at least once or twice a day).  And with the rate at which my attitude towards labor's imminence is going south, I'll most likely end up delivering this baby on our living room floor because it would take transition - esque intensity to convince me that it's the real deal and not just another false alarm. 

    I spent so much time trying to be prepared to meet our child that I never bothered to prepare for the reality that my due date might come and go without yielding a baby.  It's still five days away, but I'm no longer holding my breath. 

    Saturday, September 22, 2012

    Attempts at starting labor

    Two days ago, I tried taking castor oil.  I can't say it was an absolutely awful experience, though it's not one I'd soon repeat without good reason (seeing as I'm still pregnant forty - eight hours later). 

    Yesterday I went to the gym.  I ran a mile on the treadmill and two on the elliptical, and used the thigh adductor/abductor machine.  And then I made spicy jambalaya rice for dinner (with extra red pepper).  It felt good to work out, and the rice was delicious.  However, I'm still pregnant. 

    Today I worked a full shift, ate the leftover jambalaya rice, went to the gym (1 mile on the treadmill, 2 on the elliptical), and am two slices from finishing off an entire pineapple.  While I've been having a great deal of pressure and a great many contractions all day, I'm still (you guessed it!) pregnant. 

    And something tells me I'm still going to have to go to work tomorrow. 

    Friday, September 21, 2012

    I'd be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated to still be pregnant.  Thirty eight weeks, five days along (34+4 after finding out this tiny person was going to be joining our family), I can honestly say I thought I'd have delivered by now. 

    I've been telling myself since the braxton - hicks contractions started at 21 weeks that my body would be well - prepared for labor by the time I hit full term at 37 weeks, and that the fact that I 'dropped' and started dilating at 31 weeks would leave us lucky to make it to 35.  35 weeks came and went, and then 36, and then 37.  We're about to watch 38 do the same, and I'm no closer to labor than I was a week ago.  I'm having contractions every 5-10 minutes, cramping, and frequent nausea - but this has been the case for the past week.  And I'm still only 2 centimeters dilated. 

    I get that the 'average' pregnancy is 40 weeks long.  I also get that there are definite benefits to keeping the baby in the toaster til at least 39 weeks.  However, it doesn't seem fair, given that most women aren't experiencing the symptoms of preterm and prodromal labor for the last three months of pregnancy like I have been.  And most women aren't working a physically demanding job til they go into labor.  I might have more patience for this baby arriving on his or her schedule if it weren't for the fact that I have to drag my crampy, heavy, pregnant self out of bed to go break down pallets at 5am, five days a week.  I might have more patience if it weren't for the fact that it's not financially doable for me to quit working until labor starts.  The physically taxing eight - hour shifts on my feet, dealing with people who don't think I should still be working...these won't and can't end til my body decides it's baby time.  I'm miserable, cranky, achy, and...stuck, til this baby decides to come un-stuck.  Try running a cash register cheerfully with contractions every seven minutes.  People want to touch my belly, and it's getting embarrassing because it so often feels like shrink - wrapped coconuts stuffed up my shirt. 

    At least it's proof that hard physical labor won't induce labor, I guess.  My coworkers and customers alike  seemed so sure breaking down pallets of produce cases was dangerous during pregnancy.  Well, then.  I almost wish carrying fifty - pound bags of carrots across the store would induce labor, because walking, running, sex, castor oil, and pineapple haven't done a darn thing.  I now have legs as toned as they were before pregnancy, a less...frustrated...husband, a squeaky clean digestive system, and a baby who is as comfy and squirmy within my belly as ever.  And seriously - it's been almost 24 hours since the castor oil adventure, and I think I'm having fewer contractions and less nausea now than I was before (but no fewer baby wiggles).  Maybe that's not a bad thing...

    Seriously though.  Someone needs to tell this kid it's time to make like a migratory bird and head south. 

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    38 Weeks (or, "a week into 'full term' and still pregnant")

    Not much else to report.  I'm dilating, slowly but steadily and have had one round of false labor (two nights ago).  It's to be expected, given that this is my first pregnancy - dilation can begin weeks before actual labor starts, and neither I nor my body know exactly what the experience of going into labor is like.  I'm still working four or five days a week, still running occasionally, and doing my best to get things ready for a baby in the meantime. 

    Most of the baby laundry is done, and our second baby shower was yesterday.  We're about as ready as we're going to be now aside from ordering a pump and a few 4oz bottles to use at first.  Oh, and finishing all the remodeling in the apartment...  That almost certainly won't happen before we are three though.  On the bright side, I'll be around all the time to take care of the kiddo while Chris guts the kitchen, moves it into the bedroom, lays a new floor in the now-kitchen, and makes it into a bedroom.  It's going to be a lot of work, but worth it because we'll be able to fit a crib in the bedroom once the switch happens.  He's currently working on re-routing the wiring in both rooms, which is interfering with my need to clean but moving towards something worthwhile in the long run! 

    Updates to come as there are updates to be made. 

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    Still here, still pregnant.  Thirty - seven weeks and two days pregnant, to be exact...we've not only made it past the requisite thirty - six week mark to deliver at the ABC, but have even made it to full term!  It's exciting, and I wish I was energetic enough to fully appreciate it. 

    Despite being back to full time employment at TJ's (thanks to the fickle nature of construction) I have been keeping busy.  I'm working on upcycled flannel wipes (cut from old pillowcases), running load after load of baby laundry, collecting odds and ends of baby gear, and helping Chris rearrange the apartment in preparation for switching the bedroom and the kitchen (because no matter how close to my due date it is, it may be awhile before he has this much time off work to focus on home improvement).  I love the new layout of the living room - it's much cozier and more inviting, and it honestly feels bigger since the couch isn't obscuring a third of the window. 

    So's down to the 'waiting' part of the game now.  It doesn't feel like it though, doesn't feel like we could be leaving for the birth center any day now as a two - person family and returning home as a family of three.  This third little person has, for all intents and purposes, moved in already - his or her clothing is washed, folded, put away in the dresser.  A tiny tub sits in the closet, a crib and carseat in the basement.  The freshly - washed sheets for the crib are neatly folded in the bottom drawer of the dresser, to keep them clean while we're moving furniture and uprooting cabinets.  I still need to find an appropriate jar for storing cloth wipes, and I don't know if we're ever truly going to have enough diapers but...we have most everything we're going to need to bring a baby home from the hospital but the baby! 

    Sometime soon, when the changes to the apartment are complete, I'll post pictures.  And, obviously, I will post pictures when our family goes from two people to three as well! 

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    I'm 36 weeks pregnant, and today I'm scrubbing the plastic window blinds in the bathtub.  With shower gel, no entire apartment smells delightful and 'Moonlit Path-y.' 

    This mad sort of nesting impulse is, apparently, a precursor to labor in many instances.  I'm not too sure it means anything at all for me though...I've been having similar bursts of energy to power similar compulsions for months now.  I've stood at work, mentally going through my closet and deciding what clothing to get rid of, fantasized about organizing the cabinets while at Target, imagined sorting and re-allocating my dresser drawers while trying to decide what to make for dinner.  It's madness, but once an idea plants itself in my head, RoundUp wouldn't kill it.  Two nights ago, I patched all of Chris's holey pants.  I now wish he had more semi - destroyed clothing so I could continue sewing productively. 

    Know what's funny though?  None - or at least most - of this productivity is going to make any difference in the long run.  While clean window blinds and un-greasy refrigerator tops and sparkling kitchen floors are nice, a) they'll never stay that way, and b) we won't likely be living in this apartment for more than six months or so.  It's a lovely little place for two people, but it would be a bit of a nightmare with an ambulatory third person.  There simply isn't enough storage to keep everything out of reach of small hands, and there's no room for toy clutter of any kind.  There isn't a corner we can designate a play area, and sharing a bedroom with a toddler might get old. 

    Oh well.  Knowing that almost nothing about our current living situation is permanent (or even indefinitely workable) diminishes my sense of accomplishment somewhat, but not enough to stop me from prying the other two windows' worth of blinds out of their brackets and throwing them in the bathtub. 

    Friday, August 31, 2012

    A full - term pregnancy is, quite literally, right around the corner.  It's hard to believe I've already been pregnant for eight months (though I know this year hasn't necessarily passed any more quickly than last year or the year before that - time flies these days).  I guess I just expected pregnancy to slow down the clock and the calendar for some reason. 

    People with children of all ages tell me that this doesn't change once the kids escape the womb, and that the teeny, bleating baby they brought home yesterday is now in kindergarten, in high school, starting a family, etc.  I can't wrap my head around having an actual baby yet, much less looking back on his or her infancy with nostalgia. 

    We're nearing ready to bring this baby home, at the very least.  I know nothing will prepare us emotionally for the experience, but we're slowly accumulating the things required to sustain the life of an infant!  Our travel system sits in the basement waiting for the day we (hopefully remember to) grab the carseat and base on our way to the birth center.  Two large boxes of baby clothes+bedding (in need of sorting and washing) should get us through the first month or so in terms of not having a naked baby.  We have a few bottles, which won't see the light of day for a few weeks if all goes as planned.  A crib, dresser, and changing table await assembly; we still need to get a mattress for the crib.  I bought nursing pads and baby wipes at Target yesterday.  (nursing pads, incidentally, are massive - like, 'half an overnight menstrual pad' massive.  no wonder nursing bras are so huge and bulky!) 

    The only thing outstanding is the diaper situation.  We've been planning on cloth diapering all along, but it may be the last thing to fall into place before or after this baby is born.  While I have several dozen pre-folds, I'm honestly not crazy about the idea of using those as our primary diaper.  They're not particularly easy to use, and they won't fit a newborn.  And the cost of starting out with all - in - one cloth diapers is imposing at $17 apiece.  Assuming this kiddo goes through as many NB diapers as I did, we'd be looking at $30-35 a week (at Target prices) if we were to use disposable diapers.  It doesn't sound like much, but that becomes $120-$135 a month.  Most cloth diapers advertise that they pay for themselves in less than six months, which I don't doubt.  It's just the start-up cost...we don't, and won't, have an entire paycheck to throw at a cloth diaper stash between now and October 1st.  I guess it wouldn't be the end of the world if we gradually acquired cloth diapers and used *some* disposable ones in the meantime.  I've been stalking the interwebz for gently used cloth diapers as well...hopefully I come across some good deals.  The cost of disposable diapering for well over a year is enough to justify continuing to acquire cloth diapers whenever possible - especially since this kiddo probably won't be an only child! 

    Craigslist + Amazon may end up being this mother's best friend as far as raising an affordable child goes.  I'm driving out to Livonia today to look at some cloth diapers, and picking up a Moby wrap for $10 tomorrow.  It's driving, yes, but hey - it's cheaper to run the AC in the car than it is to run it at home!  And it's supposed to be 90 today and tomorrow. 

    Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    Pregnancy hormones...

    ...they're like the voices in your head.

    When they tell you that you should mop the kitchen floor with a scrubbing pad, you don't bother to question whether or not spending thirty minutes scrubbing linoleum on your hands and knees at thirty - five weeks pregnant is a good idea.  You just do it.

    But hey - my kitchen floor's now way cleaner than the Swiffer would have left it. 

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    Thirty - five weeks, two days

    We're 1cm dilated and 50% effaced! 

    This may or may not mean anything, either to you or to the pregnancy.  While effacement is a marginally more accurate indicator of the imminence of labor, it's hardly an exact science.  I might deliver next week, or in six weeks (I'm hoping for something between 37 and 39 weeks).  Either way, everything looks good, and my body (and my baby) has/have begun the descent towards labor! 

    Sunday, August 26, 2012

    If this baby arrived on the sort of timetable that Chris did, we'd have our very own small human in a week and a half.  Madness. 

    And while I am, obviously, still pregnant with #1 and thus have yet to complete a pregnancy, I can say this much : how you carry a baby is almost 100% genetic.  How you take care of yourself is all on you. 

    Saturday, August 25, 2012

    The New York Times tackles the issue of postpartum bodies

    In Celebrity Climate, From Bump to Paunch, Pudgy Moms Can't Get a Break

    Although this piece was run almost a week ago, I somehow missed it (despite perusing the NYT daily!).

    And I'm honestly not sure what to think.

    As someone who approached pregnancy with a great deal of trepidation, having heard more than enough about the horrors of both postpartum bodies and society's expectation that mothers to 'bounce back' ASAP after giving birth, I (admittedly) spent more than my fair share of time googling "Miranda Kerr pregnant" and "Adriana Lima pregnant" during my first trimester.  These image searches returned literally hundreds of hits, and I pored intently over pages of them, searching for signs of irreversible changes to their bodies during and after pregnancy.  There were none to be found, and I crept only slightly reassured into my second trimester after more than doubling the recommended weight gain for the first.  "It can't be so bad," I thought on my good days, "I can still fit into my pants."

    It appears I was not alone, either in my morbid fascination with celebrity pregnancies or in the belief that gaining visible non-bump weight was unacceptable.  The author describes her horror being asked by a nail technician when her baby was due - four months after she gave birth.  Although personally comforted by the fact that she was, in fact, forty - two years old and the mother of three home-grown children at that point, she found the task of conveying this to strangers with critical eyes embarrassing.  I spent most of my first thirteen weeks of pregnancy worrying neurotically about how I would respond to such a question, knowing I'd be back at work six weeks after giving birth.  Weighing in at eleven pounds heavier than pre-pregnancy, I rounded the corner on second trimester unable to shut up on my bad days about how terrified I was of returning to work before my body had returned to "normal."  I vowed to gain no more than thirty pounds, finding comfort in the fact that when my grandmothers were pregnant, women were told that they shouldn't gain more than fifteen.  I vowed to start tracking my caloric intake.  And I vowed to work out regularly through as much of my pregnancy as humanly possible.  I was going to do everything I could to avoid being stuck with a postpartum body past my six week maternity leave.

    Here's the thing though.  While the shitstorm surrounding Jessica Simpson's seventy pound gain last spring was, in fact, impressively venomous, it was hard to feel all that bad for someone who was a) famous for being famous, and b) openly admitting to eating buttered PopTarts.  The author alludes to this, conceding that "There is no virtue in letting oneself go after giving birth."  Further, "If our livelihood depended on wearing a swimsuit in front of millions, we’d probably put down the doughnut too."  No weight gain goes unnoticed in Hollywood, amongst those who (more than) pay rent with their faces and bodies - why should pregnancy be an exception?  Jessica Simpson posed nude for Elle magazine while pregnant.  By the time the photos were published, it was painfully obvious from her size that they'd been taken months earlier and also heavily 'touched up.'  I'd have pitied her if she weren't trying to use her pregnancy to resurrect her moribund career. 

    While the nagging fears of first trimester persisted into the second, I found as it progressed that my mother had been right in saying that the weight gain would slow down.  The workouts I'd sworn to continue had evolved into an honestly enjoyable four to five runs a week, and the calorie - tracking had become more of a means of making sure I consumed enough protein to grow a baby than an attempt to stave off weight gain.  I was more fit than I'd been in years, and eating more healthily than ever before. 

    The author laments how society's expectations, dictated by Hollywood starlets with millions to spend on trainers and diets and surgery, have made it hard for ordinary women like herself to feel ok with (much less love) their bodies after giving birth.  It's funny though - as someone who, at thirty-five weeks pregnant, is on track to gain the (medically) recommended amount of weight, I'd venture to say that society is far more forgiving than she thinks.  The sheer number of times a day I hear "you're all belly" or "you've barely gained anything" or "you can't possibly be due in five weeks" leads me to believe that most people expect the pregnant women in their lives to exceed the recommended twenty-five to thirty-five pound gain.  Customers' reactions to the fact that I'm still running lead me to believe that society expects the average pregnant woman to be far more sedentary than the average person (despite official recommendations that all pregnant women exercise for thirty minutes a day, seven days a week).  I've been averaging twenty minutes, four days a week - nothing amazing or extreme.

    My point?  While I've done my best to have an active and healthy pregnancy, I haven't exceeded (or even met, in some instances) the official recommendations for all women with uncomplicated pregnancies.  I exercise regularly, but not as much as I should be.  I generally eat healthily, but that hasn't stopped me from indulging in ice cream weekly or eating out more often than I should.  And people are amazed by how little pregnancy has changed my body.  If society's expectations for most of us actually mirrored those they have for Hollywood, this would not be the case. 

    Hollywood is, was, and will be Hollywood.  And life for the rest of us is, was, and will likely continue to be just, well, life.  I don't think the two are nearly as entangled as this piece would have us believe they are. 

    Friday, August 24, 2012


    Taken shortly after waking up, as is probably obvious from the pajamas...

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    We found out last night at childbirth class that (were I to go into labor spontaneously) I could deliver at the The Alternative Birth Care Unit as early as 36 weeks (while it is a hospital - based birthing center, they're not equipped to handle premature births on the unit). 

    As in, 13 days from today. 


    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Seneca Crispy Cinnamon Apple Chips

    Beware, or be happy.  We brought a bag of these home from Kroger last night, and there may or may not be mere crumbs left.  They're not kidding about the crispy part or the cinnamon one either - they're light and crunchy like a potato chip (but still just apple slices), and have cinnamon sugar on them.  It's like apple pie, in a potato chip suit.  And they're delicious. 

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

    Pregnancy - themed post

    It might seem a bit silly to be so impatient for labor at 33 weeks, 4 days. 

    The kiddo's not ripe, we don't have a carseat, breast pump, or nearly enough diapers, and the kitchen/bedroom swap hasn't yet happened in our apartment (there isn't room for a crib in what is currently the bedroom, and while the plan is to cosleep, a crib is good for naps and stuff).  And it would be a gross exaggeration to say I'm miserable even at this point in pregnancy.  I get tired more easily than I did a few weeks ago, yes, but I'm still far more energetic than I was first trimester.  I'm heavier than I've ever been, yes, but I still run four days a week.  And I'm achier and more sore than usual, but no worse than I used to be the day after doing yoga (when I didn't do yoga regularly, that is!). 

    As I've said before, I have no room to complain about pregnancy!  The braxton - hicks contractions (inefficient, 'fake' contractions to prepare the uterus for the real thing) are annoying and frequent, but not usually painful.  The rule of thumb most doctors use is that anything more than four braxton - hicks an hour is a cause for concern (and a phone call), but I've been exceeding that regularly for months now.  They're more frequent than ever as of late, but since they're irregular and I'm not progressing towards labor/dilating, my doctor isn't particularly worried.  They've become painful on occasion this past week or so, but progress, no regularity, no cause for concern.  I guess I'll have a very fit and toned uterus by the time I actually do go into labor! 

    Life goes on.  The reality of our impending parenthood is about halfway sunk in - it still seems extremely hypothetical and hazy, but the alternate endings ("this was all a dream" "something went wrong and we didn't end up with a baby" etc) have fallen away and left us to (hastily) prepare for the day I go into labor and beyond.  I've begun shopping for baby clothes, Chris offered to set up the baby's dresser whenever I decide I'm ready, our work baby shower was last week.  I've begun, as suggested by BabyCenter's pregnancy app several days ago, to wash the baby clothes we have so far.  Tiny elbows and feet and a scrawny little baby butt regularly jut out of my stomach, indicators of a strong and healthy baby whose bones are hardening with each passing day.  At my next appointment (which will be my last bi-weekly one - they'll be weekly from there on out) she's going to run the final lab work before delivery and check for dilation.  It's becoming real. 

    And I can't wait to see those tiny arms and legs and feet and hands for myself.  46 days to go...

    I'll leave you with an awesome picture, courtesy of the photographic skills of my lovely sister in law...

    We went urban spelunking last month, baby and all.  Hear that, kiddo?  Your mom and dad are not lame, and we took you awesome places even before you were born.  

    Pajama shorts

    I found the perfect pajama shorts the other day.

    The thing is, they're not technically shorts!  They are, in fact, tapered cut boxers.  I found a pair of blue and white printed ones mis-filed in the ladies pajama section of a thrift store, and I happily snapped them up because they were so cute.

    And they fit better than any short pajama bottoms I've ever had.  Because the leg openings are narrower than regular boxer shorts (and than those on pj shorts), they don't ride up or bunch.  And while they're a cotton-polyester blend, they feel like 100% cotton.

    I want about six more pairs since I don't want to sleep in anything else ever, so I googled 'tapered short boxer.'  As far as I can tell, Jockey is the only company that makes such a thing, and they no longer make them in mens' size small (the size mine are).  They are, however, $16 for two pairs on Amazon - definitely cheaper than pajama shorts from Target!  I might compromise and order a pack of mediums to see how they fit.

    and yes, I did just write an entire post about buying boxers from the thrift store. that's what the washing machine on hot is for!

    Sunday, August 12, 2012


    This makes two weekends in a row of Chris and I having [a] day[s] off together. 

    I could really get used to this, and may have to change my work availability when I go back to work after the baby is born.  While a single "weekend" day as a family isn't an absolute necessity, it would certainly be a welcome luxury and make it much easier to do fun things as a family.  Education of small humans can take place anywhere (and should take place everywhere), but it's fairly important to us that our child experience farmers markets, museums, live music, bike rides, and any number of other such things.  A trip to Kroger for produce can be educational, but a trip to Eastern Market can be an experience.  I don't want to raise a child on mac & cheese out of a box, plastic toys with batteries, and "educational television."  While all three will most likely be present to some degree, we'd definitely prefer to have real food, real life experiences, and National Geographic documentaries on sharks or plants or history or culture be the primary narrative. 

    Call me an idealist.  Call me naive.  And for the love of all that is good and beautiful in the world, slap me if I ever reach a point where I'm considering letting my child watch something like Dora the Explorer. 

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    Yesterday marked 32 weeks and also our first week of (three) childbirth classes. 

    Our kiddo's birthday is getting, really close.  And as we learned this past weekend, Chris entered the world of his own accord at 36.5 weeks.  While that's not technically considered premature anymore, it was then.  The fact that he was nine and a half pounds and ready to rock and roll a few days shy of a month early was a bit surprising to everyone. 

    Needless to say, we should probably make it a goal to be (mostly) ready for parenthood (in every sense of the phrase) by 36 weeks!  While the size of my belly makes it unlikely that Chris and I will end up with a baby as large as he (and my dad + two of my siblings) was, it's certainly not outside the realm of possibility.  The fact that I've stayed as active as I have lends itself to the idea that my abs are still stronger than average, thus creating a more compact bump than most women have at this point.  And, in all possibility, a cramped baby who never stops fidgeting for more than an hour or so at a time because there isn't much room anymore.  We've been head-down for several weeks now, and baby feet are spending what seems like a majority of their time in my ribs. 

    At class last night, there were fairly extensive discussions of ways to shift babies into the proper position for birth - useful information for sure, but focused on getting an improperly positioned baby where he or she belongs rather than getting feet out of ribs and whatnot!  It was an enjoyable class, though I can't say I necessarily learned anything new.  Hearing natural birth stories was encouraging.  Everything I've read thus far is extremely aggressive in preaching that a birth plan can't be set in stone, the implication being that you never know when you're going to give up and decide you can't continue without an epidural.  At the Alternative Birth Care Unit, they mean "you shouldn't write in your plan that you're going to labor in the tub, because you might end up deciding the shower feels better."  Obviously, 100% of births carry the risk of ending in an emergency cesarean - barring medical complications leading to that though, I'm planning on a natural, unmedicated delivery (I think I've mentioned that on here before, but if I haven't...yes, 'tis the case).

    Anyways.  The work baby shower is today, which should be a lot of fun.  I work Friday and Saturday, and am planning to head up to Lake Huron Saturday afternoon.  My sister Caroline will be in town Sunday evening through Wednesday, and oh my goodness I have so much to do between now and October 1st (give or take a few weeks!).  It will be fun though.  Pregnancy's turned me into a machine of both productivity and nap - taking, which really isn't a bad way to live life. 

    Perhaps I'll update with pictures from the shower tonight or tomorrow if I get the chance. 

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

    Tuesdays at Eastern Market

    Since I've worked every Saturday in recent memory, I haven't been able to make it down to Eastern Market like I was hoping to this summer.  Chris and I tried to go the one Sunday I wasn't scheduled, and found that it doesn't happen on Sunday as we'd assumed it would.  We did, however, discover that from the beginning of July to the end of October, there's 1+ shed's worth of vendors every Tuesday.

    It's a much smaller crowd than on Saturdays, but there's still plenty of variety.  And the best part about Eastern Market Tuesdays?  The free yoga.  Since only shed two is used for the market itself, there's plenty of space for a good-sized class to practice yoga in the well - ventilated shade of shed three.  All that is required is a yoga mat (a bottle of water is also a good idea), and the classes are structured to be accessible for a variety of skill levels.  And unlike any yoga class I've ever taken before, the music is live (provided by one of the local Buddhist monasteries, I believe).  It's a thoroughly lovely experience despite the large class size that appears to be larger by the week.

    And really - what could be better than an hour of semi - outdoor yoga followed by shopping at the farmer's market?  Last week, I bought yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, fresh basil, and several ears of corn.  I sauteed the squash and zucchini with sliced onions, and cooked down diced tomatoes and basil over it (served over plain cooked quinoa) for lunch afterwards.  Simple, high in protein and fiber, and delicious.

    Also worth mentioning - they have yet to open a shop, but make it to three or four markets a week.  Rightfully Raw makes delicious raw 'baked' goods and other assorted treats and snack-y things, all of which are dangerously good.  Two weeks ago, I got their raspberry crumble; this week it was the chocolate mousse with cookie crumble crust.  And yes, I ate the entire thing both times.  Good thing they're small portions!

    Sunday, July 22, 2012

    Pregnant Running Essentials

    To preface this post :

    I'm not an elite runner by any stretch of the imagination.  I'm a 2-3 miles a day-er, and I haven't run competitively since high school.  However, running while pregnant (as I've been doing since first trimester) isn't about speed, mileage, or racing.  And it requires some degree of thought and planning that running wouldn't otherwise entail.  With that in mind, here are some things I've found helpful thus far (30 weeks tomorrow).


    Pregnancy itself requires roughly 75 grams of protein daily according to the WHO.  Protein requirements for running increase with mileage, but are estimated to be comparable if not greater than that for pregnancy for those who are training consistently.  Runner's World recommends 75-120 grams per day.  While their recommendations may be a bit high for those of us running only a few miles at a time, the point remains : an increase in dietary protein intake is a non-negotiable component of running while pregnant.  I generally shoot for at least 80 grams per day, and haven't had any issues thus far.  If anything, I think I've gained muscle because my diet was lower in protein than it should have been pre-pregnancy.   

    Excellent Sports Bras

    Most women go up at least a cup size or two while pregnant, and let me tell you - that much growth in a short period of time is not comfortable.  Neither bouncing nor throbbing are conducive to an enjoyable run!  I went from an A to a C, and run in either a sports bra with an underwire, or two regular ones.  I'm a fan of this one (above) for doubling up because it's fairly supportive and not bulky and also not expensive.  

    Maternity Workout Attire

    Maternity workout - specific attire isn't necessary (tends to be expensive and a bit silly in my opinion), but a few seasonally - appropriate maternity shirts and a few pairs of shorts or pants in a larger size are a good idea.  Since the majority of my pregnancy has been during warm weather, I generally run in one of these tank tops and a pair of non-maternity running shorts a size up from what I wore pre- pregnancy. 

    Good Running Shoes

    For the average (non-pregnant) runner, the impact of each stride is roughly seven times his or her body weight.  A healthy pregnancy involves weight gain, which can increase strain on joints.  Further, a pregnant body produces a hormone called relaxin, which causes joints to be looser than normal (to allow for childbirth).  Thus, pregnant running is running with 'weaker' joints under more strain than usual.  This isn't necessarily a problem, but well - fitting shoes in good condition are a must to absorb some of the impact on the joints and to reduce the likelihood of injuries related to improper running form.  I'm all for running in shoes with minimal support and for perfecting one's form, but pregnancy is not the time to do it.  Go to a running-specific store, take an old pair of running shoes (so they can make recommendations based on your wear pattern), and be prepared to spend $70+.  Target makes great shoes for chasing the kids around the yard or for low-impact exercise, but they're not suitable for running under 'extenuating circumstances.'

    Maternity Support Belt

    It's not necessary for the entirety of pregnancy, but may be useful towards the end (heavier, larger bellies are harder on the lower back, and thus more likely to affect one's running form).  I bought the Gabrialla Belt around 28 weeks, and I haven't run without it since.  It's also proven quite useful for work, since I spend 8-9 hours on my feet a day (cuts down on the tendency towards 'swaybacked and waddling' towards the end of the shift!).  

    Stretching (before and after)

    It's probably a good thing to do regardless, but it definitely helps get the body warmed up for a run.  Choose stretches that target your back and legs, since both are under more stress than usual.  And hey - thanks to the aforementioned relaxin, stretching can be more fun than usual.  Don't push joints too far, but don't be surprised if they seem slightly more flexible than before.  Supposedly, flexibility gained during pregnancy can be retained postpartum if a stretching regimen continues after birth.  I plan to give this idea a test run once I have the chance (as in, once I have this baby!).  

    Other Assorted Tips...

    Overheating while pregnant can be dangerous, so I generally limit myself to running when it's below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  And I've made a point of stopping every mile or so to stretch and make sure I'm not getting too hot since early second trimester - this may or may not be necessary, but I'm sticking with it at this point.  Running when the sun is not out definitely helps avoid overheating as well.  Tangentially related to the issue of overheating, yes - I have run in only a sports bra while pregnant on warmer days.  It garners a lot of weird stares, but take comfort in knowing that a pregnant body is nothing to be ashamed of (alternately, seek comfort in the fact that there are far scarier and more scantily - clad bodies to be seen at any public beach or pool!)

    For most runs, sunscreen is a great idea.  Pregnancy leaves the skin more susceptible than usual to hyper-pigmentation, which is exacerbated by sun exposure.  I hate sunscreen, so I generally opt for vampire runs (running before the sun rises or after it sets). 

    A lot of websites recommend running with a water bottle while pregnant, though I've never done so.  I hate carrying anything, and drinking water immediately before or during a run tends to make me feel sloshy and heavy.  And then there's the issue of where to pee when you're dripping sweat and a mile and a half from home...  Drinking plenty of water in the few hours leading up to a run has proven adequate in my experience.  

    On the issue of 'where to pee' though - plan your route with at least a few potty options, and don't be shy about asking to use a restroom if there isn't a public one.  Fast food restaurants are good options, and even smaller businesses are highly unlikely to turn away a pregnant woman in need of a toilet!  I've peed at the Mercedes-Benz dealership, at AutoZone, at mom&pop hardware stores, in the CVS employee restroom, etc... 

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    29 - week checkup

    It's funny - in the midst of the two and a half week glucose tolerance testing saga, I never had a 'bad' appointment.  All my freak-outs were over the phone, either at work or at home.  Office visits were remarkably positive the entire time, which I suppose speaks to the quality of care at a "patient - centered medical practice."  I'm quite lucky to have the doctor that I do, because pregnancy would have been considerably more stressful thus far with pretty much anyone else overseeing my prenatal care.

    The critter's heart rate was a good solid 148, though (sadly) there was no kicking of the doppler this time.  It's getting easier and easier to find his or her heartbeat though (a stethoscope would actually work at this point) so less baby-bothering doppler pressure is required to hear it.   My weight gain and fundal height are on track at 20 pounds and 28 weeks/centimeters, respectively.  The only thing that wasn't as it should be was my blood pressure, which returned to its usual checkup 140/70 in the midst of worrying that Rothenberg might have lost patience with me over my response to the glucose tolerance screening and test.  Thankfully, she hasn't.  In fact, she went so far as to say that she wishes all her OB patients were as health - conscious and active as I am, which was nice to hear.  She's excited that I'm planning on delivering at the Alternative Birth Care Unit as it's her favorite place to attend births.  Hell, I'm excited to deliver there...pregnancy's all fine and good, but I'd happily tackle labor and delivery tomorrow if there were a way to time-warp to 38 weeks and somehow complete the required four - week childbirth course in the process! 

    Really though, being 29.5 weeks pregnant isn't so bad.  Since beginning iron supplementation (in addition to my prenatals) and getting a maternity support belt, I haven't felt particularly inconvenienced by pregnancy.  My belly's currently put growing in a southerly direction on hold to focus on conquering new territory to the east and west, which means I haven't had to take any articles of clothing out of rotation for a few weeks now.  I ran a mile this morning (the plan was two, but it started pouring and I hate squishy wet shoes), and curled up on the couch right now, I feel pretty much like not-pregnant me, with a belly.  And huge boobs, but I tend to forget about them since they're smaller than my pregnant stomach and don't interfere with my ability to see my feet! 

    Iron supplements or no, though, I need to go take a nap before Chris gets home.  We're going to the Secretary of State after he gets out of work, and I'm dozing off while attempting to type.  Yay, pregnancy! 

    Chris and I at Alison's wedding on the 6th.  I'm short, unlike Chris. 

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    It's been a productive day. 

    And for as much shuffling of papers as marriage/name - changing involves, it's proved to be a surprisingly speedy process.  In addition to laundry, cleaning the kitchen, and thinking about vacuuming, I also managed to procure (buy?  It was $15) a certified copy of our marriage license and get my last name changed at the Social Security Office.  I would have plenty of time to get my DL switched over today, but it takes 24 hours for a name change to register in the WWWDotGov system.  I suppose there's always tomorrow for that.  My new social security card should be here within two weeks. 

    And in the meantime, I have a piece of paper that resembles mail addressed to Janna Beth Wells, to prove to the cranky ladies at the Secretary of State that I have, in fact, legally changed my name! 

    And while digging out my old social security card, passport, and birth certificate to take to the SSO, I found the social security card Chris was sure was in the wallet he lost last weekend in Kansas City.  This is most excellent news, because being without a driver's license, SS card, health insurance card, passport, and debit card is something akin to waking up in a foreign country with no recollection of who you are or how you got there (at least in a legal sense).  A SS card is required to get a new driver's license, and a DL to get a new SS card.  A birth certificate, of which we lack a legal copy, is required to get a new SS card, but a DL and an SS card are required to get a certified copy of a birth certificate.  And a DL, SS card, and birth certificate are necessary for getting a new passport.  Losing more than one piece of identifying information at a time, it seems, is legally quite messy.  Thankfully, the situation became considerably less complicated as of two hours ago. 

    The moral of the story?  That the ladies at the SSO are much nicer and more cheerful than those at the Secretary of State (and the wait much shorter).  Also, that I should probably [re-]hide Chris's social security card before he gets home from work, to stop him from rubber-banding it into his makeshift wallet out of habit (I got it from him when applying for a marriage license, and absentmindedly filed it away with the rest of our documents).  Yep. 

    Our kiddo is either 29 weeks ripe, or 11 weeks premature today.  It's getting hard to be patient, because we're pretty impatient to meet our tiny new human. 

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    All is (once again/still) well in the world...

    After 36 hours of worrying (actually, not even 36 hours...more like either 34, or two and a half weeks), I found out tonight that I passed the three - hour glucose tolerance test.  I should have known I would all along because my diet and activity level are as healthy as they are, but hey...I like to worry.  

    So now, after a 2.5 week break[down], it's back to trying to relax and enjoy this last chapter of pregnancy.  There are childbirth classes for which we must enroll, changes to be made to the apartment layout, a trip to Chicago to be taken (to visit friends before traveling becomes somewhat more complicated), and so many other things...I'm guessing these last 80 days will fly by. 

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Well, then...'s been awhile. 

    I'm now in my third trimester (I was last week too, most likely...).  Either way, yesterday marked 28 weeks and the start of the third and final leg of pregnancy. 

    A lot has happened since I last posted.  Chris and I got married the 1st of July; for our 'honeymoon' we drove to Kansas City for my sister's wedding.  It was a beautiful outdoor wedding, and also 106 degrees.  I failed the one - hour glucose tolerance screening, not once but twice.  We bought a second car (a 2003 Saturn Vue).  And I gave in and bought the belly support band I've been postponing buying because my belly's now heavy enough that it makes my back and abs hurt if I run more than two miles.  Review of said Gabrialla Belt to come as soon as it does (Amazon says it should arrive tomorrow). 


    I have my follow - up three hour glucose tolerance test tomorrow morning, so I'm stuck fasting from now til lunchtime tomorrow.  It's frustrating, knowing that there's such a strong correlation between gestational diabetes and excess weight (being overweight before, or gaining too much during pregnancy) since I will, in all likelihood, still have a 'healthy' BMI for someone who is not pregnant on the day I deliver.  And I hate needles/blood draws/doctors' offices/etc.  Here's to hoping I pass it, because the sheer number of trips to the doctor thus far in pregnancy have been difficult for me - management of gestational diabetes would involve four or more appointments a week for the last month if not longer.  That, and the fact that I might starve if my (gluten+dairy free vegetarian) diet were any more restricted than it already is.  I know it's worth it to know whether or not I have diabetes, and to manage it properly if I do - still, though.  It would certainly be more than I signed up for, and quite possibly enough to make this kiddo an only child. 

    At least it's only 83 days til my due date.  In undergrad, I always said (when trying to decide if I could handle a particular courseload) "I can put up with anything for three months."  And fewer than three months of pregnancy remain.  I have a healthy, bouncy baby who hasn't slept for more than two and a half hours at a time in two and a half weeks, a pregnancy that has been absolutely uncomplicated thus far, and a husband with incomprehensible patience for both the physical and emotional symptoms of 'being with child.'  And one who kisses my belly goodnight on a regular basis.

    I don't really have that much room to complain.

    At Alison's wedding, seeking refuge from the heat in the shade of the pavilion. 

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012

    As second trimester draws to a close...

    Monday will be 27 weeks, which is either the last week of second trimester or the first week of the third (depending on who you ask).  Either way, it amounts to ninety-something days til the kiddo arrives. 

    That's not a very long time. 

    Some days, it feels like I've been pregnant forever and will most likely be pregnant forever.  Other times, I blink and feel like I've missed entire weeks and go to bed thinking I might wake up tomorrow with a baby.  Honestly, I have a slight preference for the latter.  As someone who has now been pregnant for roughly six months, I feel quite comfortable saying that I've given it enough of a try to know it's not (and will probably never be) my favorite chapter of life thus far.  I know for a fact that I won't miss the nagging, middle-of-the-night fears that my occasional half-glasses of wine (or continuing to take Cymbalta through 22 weeks) might have done permanent damage to the kiddo.  I won't miss the weight gain, or the aches and pains, or the meddlesome comments I get every time I order a cup of coffee wearing anything skimpier than one of Chris's hoodies (in case you were wondering, yes, it is possible to hide six months of baby that way).  And frankly, the one redeeming thing about pregnancy - feeling the baby kick - will be old news when I have that wiggly baby in my arms. 

    Only 13 weeks (give or take a few) to go though.  My checkup on Monday found that we're back on track for growth (measured 20 weeks at 23 weeks; measured 26 weeks at 26 weeks!) and also produced the best blood pressure reading thus far.  Apparently, the key to getting anything below 140/80 for me is showing up a few minutes early - giving myself some time to breathe in my nose and out my mouth while sitting quietly produced a remarkable 122/75.  That's normal for most people (and normal for me at home), but is the lowest reading I've gotten at any sort of checkup in two and a half years.  I won't have the results of the glucose tolerance test they ran on Monday for a few more days, but I'm not worried. 

    The best thing about potentially finding a way to fix the blood pressure situation?  It enables me to deliver at the alternative birthing center, barring any complications between now and then.  I was planning on skipping childbirth classes (some "feeling like I learn better via independent study" and a lot of "lack of interest in putting up with other parents-to-be), but since they're required for delivering at the ABC, I need to look into them and get registered.  They can't be that bad, right? 

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    Gap demi panel always skinny maternity jeans.  These lovely things arrived in the mail two days ago, and I've only taken them off to sleep (and run) since then.  They fit perfectly, flatter everywhere that "normal" jeans do, and provide just enough belly support to make life a bit easier on my back during long days at work.  While the reviews on indicate that they run a bit small in the legs, I didn't find this to be the case - I'm one of two pant sizes at the Gap when I'm not pregnant, and was fine ordering the smaller of the two in maternity because it happened to be on sale. 

    It's truly amazing what a comfortable pair of jeans that fit well can do for the self esteem. I try to steer clear of retail therapy for the most part, but the price of happiness last week was $27.99 (+shipping).

    In other news, the critter's noggin must be growing because we've been head-down for two days now.  It's a far more comfortable position from a maternal standpoint.  I should clarify that by "head down" I mean "if my uterus were a clock, baby feet would be between 9PM and 3AM" - we're not quite settled into position for the final descent, but moving in the right direction!  In the absence of a tiny person dancing on my bladder, I find that I'm generally making fewer trips to the bathroom - I think I only got up once last night to pee (like a racehorse, yes, but only once!). 

    Today is 25 weeks.  15 more to go (and oh so much to do between now and then!).  Chris and I have been putting off shopping for baby stuff thus far in the interest of getting other stuff in order, but the clock is ticking!  Acquiring a second (carseat - friendly) vehicle is the current priority, but we really do need to start a checklist of what we need to buy, borrow, or make between now and when we bring our child home.  Perhaps I'll start one as a post on here tomorrow. 

    Friday, June 15, 2012

    24 weeks is, as I've mentioned before, commonly accepted as the point of viability - that is, the earliest point at which a fetus has a chance at becoming an infant who is capable of survival if circumstances necessitated delivering early.  There are a handful of babies born even earlier than this point who have survived in the past few years, but such events are a rarity. 

    Needless to say, this crucial threshold did not go unnoticed in our house.  Monday will be 25 weeks; I've read that chances of survival increase a startling 2-3% a day from weeks 24 to 28, which translates into every day now being at least as significant as, well, every other day thus far. 

    And if the growth of my belly these past two weeks counts as evidence that our critter is growing like crazy, then...yeah, he or she is getting bigger, possibly a lot bigger!  After hearing that we're measuring a bit small at my 23 week appointment, I decided to increase my protein and caloric intake (by 10g of protein and 100-200 calories/day).  And while I haven't intended for this to be the case, I have cut back on my running a bit (some days, I'm too worried about the baby's growth; some days, I'm just too tired).  And as a result, I had to buy my first pair of maternity jeans this week. 

    They're jeggings from Old Navy, and they really don't fit very well.  The legs are baggy and the butt poofy, and Old Navy doesn't actually make a smaller size (tragic, right?)  I've been reassured (reassured?) that I'll grow into them - a prospect I dread.  In a perfect world, my bump would be conquering territory to the north rather than to the south, and my butt and thighs would remain unchanged.  I guess I can hope for the latter, since the former has already necessitated buying jeans with a stretchy knit waistband. 

    Ah, the life and times of Janna... 

    Otherwise, pregnancy's unremarkable.  The kiddo decided to go two days without moving last week, which was alarming.  He or she followed these two days with a full 24 hours of nonstop movement, and I'm really hoping that this isn't an indication of what postpartum life will be like (as if anyone would be surprised if Chris and I produced offspring inclined to party for a full day and then sleep for two...)

    Wednesday, June 6, 2012


    It's funny, how the things over which I lose sleep have changed in the past six (well, almost six) months. 

    When I first found out we were pregnant, I feared 'losing my body' and losing my social life.  I feared losing my close relationship with Chris in the midst of trying to meet the physical and emotional needs of a baby.  I feared losing my independence and identity to that of "mother."

    Now, four days shy of six months pregnant, a lot has changed.  I still fear all of the above to some degree, but they no longer seem so pressing.  I know I'm most likely not going to lose my body (I actually still look like un-pregnant me, with a pregnant belly and pregnant boobs), not going to lose my social life (if anything, people seem inclined to seek us out to hang out with the critter!), and have only grown closer to Chris over the course of this pregnancy.  And while who I am will inevitably change, there's nothing about becoming a mother that dooms me to a life of neurotic helicopter parenting and perpetual frump. 


    These days, I tend to worry more about the health of the baby.  We found out at my last checkup that my belly is measuring a few weeks behind where it should be, and I'll be honest - I've spent the past few days worrying about that at the expense of other things.  Did I get the apartment cleaned and the laundry done?  Yes, but only because I needed a distraction from thinking about what would happen if something were to go wrong with the pregnancy or the baby. 

    It's probably nothing - it's the first time anything has been off, so we're simply waiting to reassess at my next appointment.  If I'm still measuring small in three weeks, she'll probably order an ultrasound to make sure the baby's growing and developing normally.  And all babies grow at slightly different rates. 

    I'm still worried, but yeah...of all the things that could go 'not as planned,' this is probably the least significant or concerning.  And since we're approaching viability (24 weeks is the earliest possible 'age' for survival ex - utero), I should be able to start relaxing soon. 

    Tuesday, May 29, 2012

    As of this morning, Chris and I officially have a tiny, uterus - dwelling human being whose movements are visible on the surface of my belly!

    He or she was, apparently, feeling quite energetic when I woke up this morning, and remained so til after my morning coffee (go figure...maybe like mother, like child?  My AM cup of coffee puts me back to sleep half the time!).  We've passed the period of baby movement that feels like bubbles, and moved on to wriggling and kicking, as often as not in response to me doing something he or she didn't find agreeable.  Bending over too far?  I get kicked.  Lying on my belly anywhere but our cushy bed?  Also get kicked.  The best are the braxton - hicks contractions though.  My uterus is preparing itself for (eventual) labor, yet its inhabitant finds being squashed by the accommodations quite objectionable.  Poor kid, it's going to be a long, hard life of learning that things that are necessary to achieve a desired end are not always enjoyable! 

    I had a gal (who is 18 weeks pregnant) tell me today that I'm huge for only being 22 weeks.  I felt like pointing out to her that only one of us was in maternity pants (that someone not being pre-preg 'fat pants' still button!).  And one of us was wearing a tight t shirt (me).  UGH, woman wants to hear that she's huge! 

    I'm just glad I'm carrying high.  A lower bump would be much more inconvenient in terms of lifting, bending over, finding clothing, etc, and I'm really appreciative of the fact that I haven't (yet) had to modify my activity level for the most part. 

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    Pregnancy + running update

    In looking back on my posts, I realized that it's been a few days shy of two months since I last wrote a post about running.  I'm now 21.5 weeks pregnant, and still running.

    And honestly, it still feels great most days.  The exhaustion comes and goes, but it doesn't factor into my ability to run (if anything, exercise tends to energize me).  Overeating is the only thing which significantly interferes with running - as my baby and uterus have grown, they've begun crowding out other organs (like my stomach).  Some days I'm almost too stuffed to run right after an average - sized meal.  I suppose this might be the long - awaited push to master the art of eating only til I'm full - a lifelong struggle for me.

    Besides that though, I'm still going strong!  My pre-pregnant eight - minute miles have gradually become nine - minute miles, and stretching before, during, and after runs (I stop every mile or so to stretch out my legs and to make sure I'm not overheating) is a must.  Walking til my heart rate drops post - run is also increasingly helpful - keeps my leg muscles moving while they cool down, and prevents the post - exercise tendency to overheat.  While I'd hoped to work my way up to five mile runs by this point, I'm still doing no more than three and change at a time.  I can't complain though - I'm still running, and while early pregnancy runs were between one and three miles, almost all of my runs are three - milers now.  Any more than that and my left hip starts complaining.

    I need to buy a belly support band at some point - while I don't need it yet, I'd rather have it on hand for when I do than miss out on running while it ships.  And I'm likely to drag my feet on deciding I need it when I do, so yeah...going to try to get one ordered in the next few weeks, just in case. 

    And while I have still managed to gain 14 pounds thus far, I can still fit into plenty of my regular pants.  I guess that's a plus, and an indication that not many of those pounds are fat!

     This morning, mid - run.  21.5 weeks, my belly has surpassed my boobs. 

    Thursday, May 17, 2012

    Baby clothes!

    The first (of many) article(s) of baby clothing has taken up residence in our apartment - I bought a long-sleeved onesie this afternoon.  It's starting to feel very real, this "we will have a newborn living here with us in four months" thing, and I'm terrified we're not going to be ready. 

    This is the onesie I bought, except in beige/white stripe:
     New as of today is the fear that my lack of preparation for this baby thus far will a) make everything after now rushed, which will b) make things unwelcoming for the baby once he or she arrives.  I'm suddenly terrified that our lives are not going to be hospitable enough for a child, that my body thus far has not been a hospitable enough dwelling place for this baby, and that I'm not going to have enough love to be a mother to this tiny human.  I've spent so much of this pregnancy determined to not let this baby ruin my's scary now, thinking that I haven't done enough to take good care of my tiny human, or that I've taken too many risks thus far. 

    This is, most likely, a completely normal experience. 

    My doctor stated that she's "quite pleased" with how my pregnancy is progressing at my prenatal checkup on Monday.  This is a good sign.  The fact that I both look and feel great?  Also reassuring.  And getting to see the ultrasound, and to hear that this baby is, as far as the tech and my doctor can tell, healthy and right on track as far as gestational age goes?  I don't have much reason to worry, at least about my ability to take good care of this utero dweller. 

    I'm still terrified.  And I suppose this is a good thing.