Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Growing...

As one might expect, my belly continues to get bigger. Scary to think that the baby pretty much gains a half pound each week now, so it's going to keep getting bigger at a frightening pace! A lot of people around work have been remarking that I've really popped...though I've obviously had a pretty significant belly for at least a month or so now. I'm not sure what it is, but I think I know what they mean. It's really starting to stick out a lot. Before everything seemed pretty in proportion to my body, and I suppose it still is, but it's definitely on the verge of going beyond that. I keep noticing just how big it is no matter what I'm wearing. In fact, some of my clothes are going to start getting too small, and considering how big they were when I first bought some of them, it's really amazing to think how much I've grown in the last few months. Fortunately, the stuff that's getting too small is all winter stuff, so hopefully I won't need those much longer anyway, right? I keep waiting for more spring stuff to go on clearance so I can bulk up my wardrobe a bit before the next run of warm weather. I have a handful of things, and can use some of my winter stuff at work for a while since my office is pretty cold, but I will definitely miss the flexibility of my old wardrobe in the coming months. As I was clearing my summer stuff out of the closet in the baby's room I got a little sad every time I saw one of my favorite articles of clothing, knowing I'd probably go a good chunk of the summer not being able to wear it. Definitely gives me something to shoot for, though, once I can work out again.

On top of the size issue, it appears like the baby is running out of room again. It's been moving around a LOT the last couple days, sticking out body parts here and there. Still tough to identify much, but there are times that it seems like the baby is using its butt or shoulder to push its way out of there! It's entertaining, but at times it can be pretty distracting. I've probably felt about three cases of hiccups (I think), which is really funny. It feels a little like a heartbeat, just evenly spaced pulses in my belly. They'll go on for a few minutes. They seem a lot less violent than some adult cases of hiccups, but that's all I can imagine they'd be. It's definitely odd to have this little human inside, but it was very interesting to see a little baby (a week old, only 6 lbs.--the newborn daughter of my parents' friends' daughter, who lives down the street from my parents) over the weekend, and think about how her movements relate to our baby's movements. Still tough to picture, but it was cool.

Hard to believe, only nine more weeks and we'll see it all for ourselves...

Monday, April 28, 2008

The first shower...

Well, my first shower was a success. It was a pretty low-key affair, which was just fine with me. While it's always fun to have a lot of people get together to celebrate you (especially in my family), I suppose it wasn't such a bad thing to work me back into this shower thing gradually. My mom did a really great job with everything. Look how nice the table looked:

The greenery spread around the table is little pots of Baby Tears wrapped in pink and blue "diapers". And those roses in the center were gorgeous...I'm still enjoying three of them at home now.

Since there weren't a ton of people, the gift pile may not look that impressive in the picture below, but believe me, there was a lot there. And the best news? It all fit in my (rental) car so one complete load of gifts is officially at our house. The best news out of the gifts is that we got the pack 'n' play, so if I were to have the baby tomorrow (God forbid), at least it would have somewhere to sleep. Thanks again to everyone for their gifts...and my goal is to at least start these thank you notes before the list gets extra long this weekend after shower #2.


Other than the pack 'n' play's functionality, I was most excited to get the crib set, our beloved Snoopy and Family set that my mom had to track down online because it was discontinued. It is so stinkin' cute, and at least it brings me into the mindset of decorating a nursery. I still can't do much without furniture, but hopefully we'll make some progress on that sometime soon. At least I have a color reference now. And it makes me smile just looking at it, so that's nice to have around the house, too.

Unfortunately I don't have any good pictures of me in my really cool dress that I wore for the occasion, but considering I have two months left and will probably abuse that dress during that time, I'm sure it'll pop up here eventually. All in all it was a really nice afternoon and I just want to thank everyone again for everything.

Now I just need to psyche myself up for this weekend's rather large shower with Craig's side of the family. The Knighthawks lost on Saturday, which was rather sad, but I will look on the bright side and enjoy the fact that I will see Craig for the majority of 3 of the next 4 weekends, including having him around for this shower. Based on the gifts we got this past weekend, we're definitely going to have to pick and choose what comes home with us this time. But the more we get, the more I think we'll really get mentally prepared for this baby. It may be overwhelming, but it's all part of the process...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Big Weekend

This weekend marks shower #1. This one is definitely going to be the easiest for me (barring any bizarre tricks from my aunts, I suppose--hopefully they got that all out of their systems at my bridal shower) since it's my family and it's only going to be moderately attended. I guess we're officially getting into busy weekend season. Anyway, next weekend is shower #2 with Craig's family, which is going to be much bigger and a lot more intimidating, since I won't know some of the people there and Craig may not be able to make it in for it...all depends on how the Knighthawks do this weekend. If they win, they're in...and then Craig might be out due to playoff game travel. I can't root against the Knighthawks because they won the championship last year and have never missed the playoffs, so I guess I just have to hope (as much as it scares me) that they end up playing Buffalo in the first round, because at least Craig would be local. The Friday after that is my work shower, which should be fun (and full of good eats) but could end up a little awkward. I live in my own little world on one side of the office with my two co-researchers, and my interaction with some of the other folks in the office can be pretty minimal. It all sets up a potentially awkward situation if hardly anyone shows up, because then you find out what people really think of you. I'm sure it will be fine, but showers in general make me nervous. I'm not great with the center-of-attention thing a lot of the time, though I will admit that it's a bit of a relief that baby showers don't have the threat of embarrassing lingerie appearances or other sexual innuendos when you're sitting among family. Although...the mere existence of a baby does insinuate that that lingerie came in handy at some point. Hmmm.

The biggest difference between a bridal shower and a baby shower seems to be want vs. need. When you register for your bridal shower, it's like Christmas on steroids. You register for all of the stuff you want, even if you already have backups at home or have no real need or use for it, just because it's new and cool. That's not to say that you don't need some stuff when you get married. You're combining households with someone (in some cases, anyway...if you haven't already) and might have to get some stuff to make that merge work better. And in the midst of wedding planning, getting gifts is so much better than buying them yourself. However, for a baby shower, you're desperately hoping you get most of the stuff you registered for because the baby's going to need it. In most cases you don't own any of this stuff already, and babies take a lot of equipment--equipment you might not have the time, energy, brainpower or money to get when the time comes. So, while you still have your wits about you, you go out and register for all of the things you think you'll need, based on what you've read, other people's advice, and in some cases, what you find interesting. But at the end of the day you hope you get all of the necessary stuff, if only for your baby's sake. It's a big switch from hoping you get that cool vase or picture frame, that's for sure. We'll be thankful for whatever we get, obviously, but I'm just hoping we're not overflowing with too many of the same things and not enough of the rest of the stuff we need...hence why, when used correctly, registries are beautiful things.

I really think the only extra frivolous thing on our registry is the wipes warmer. There are other unnecessary but useful things (like the bag hooks and cup holder for the stroller, or storage baskets for the nursery), but the wipes warmer is the only real luxury, I think. Someone told us they're nice to have because babies scream when the wipes are cold. We put it on there because it sounds like a good idea and there might be someone who swears by them and is dying to buy us one...but honestly, if we don't get it, I won't be too crushed. But there are plenty of necessities that I'd rather not have to buy ourselves later on, so hopefully the showers will take care of those and we won't have to worry about them. I don't think I looked at our wedding registry more than once after our wedding, but this one will serve as a checklist...one that we'll have to revisit post-shower, armed with gift cards, ready to buy whatever else we really need for when the baby arrives. Wow, do we ever have a LOT to do between now and then!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

More than he was expecting...

Since my car is out of commission and I had to wait until today to get my rental (to give me enough time to have it for the weekend), Craig had to drive me to yesterday's scheduled doctor's appointment. For those of you wondering, everything is officially ok with me and the baby after Monday's accident. Everything seemed fine then, since I never felt any stress to my belly, my blood pressure was normal, and the baby was moving around just fine. Since I didn't have any negative symptoms, the doctor's office just told me to keep an eye out for anything strange. Believe me, four hours of monitoring was the last thing I needed this week! So, we're all good there.

Anyway, Craig hadn't been to any of my routine visits. He wasn't missing much, other than hearing the baby's heartbeat for those 30 seconds each visit. This time, he got more than he bargained for. In addition to hearing the heart, the doctor had him feel the top of my uterus (through the skin, of course) and press down firmly but carefully on my lower belly and feel the baby's head. He was a little freaked out by it all, but it was definitely an interesting experience for him. We were told that the head was in my lower left abdomen, which made me guess that the two bumps that I feel protruding from my belly a good chunk of the time are the butt and shoulders, instead of the butt and head. Still just a guess, of course, though you'd think I could figure out what's kicking me where, for all the moving the baby does. Oh, and yes...yet another doctor told me how active the baby is. As if I didn't know it already...but again...should I be worried that this baby is going to have endless amounts of energy? Yikes!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Times they are a changin'...

This morning I said good-bye to my car. It was my first car, and it served me well for over eight years and 90,000 miles. We had our issues, but overall I think it probably performed better than I ever thought it would since it was sort of a throw-away type of car. After my accident the other day, it was deemed totaled because the cost to repair all of the hidden menaces under the hood was within range of what the car was worth these days. Other than whatever my insurance gets jacked up, it's probably not a bad deal because I'm probably getting more for it this way than I would have as a trade-in. Still...it was a sad end to a long relationship. Even though I had been working toward getting a new car (I was actually waiting until we had a stroller, to make sure it fit ok in the trunk--the things you have to think about with a baby on the way...), the sudden nature of saying good-bye to my car made it sadder than I thought it would be. So, now I'm off to find a new one.

I guess I should just get used to this feeling, since this is just one change of many that will happen over the next few months. Ever since I got married I've been a little extra conscious of changes that happen around major life events. For example, like most women, I got my hair cut almost immediately following my wedding. I grew it out beforehand to make sure it could do whatever it needed to to work with the veil and all that, and by the time we got back from our warm-weather honeymoon, I was desperate to cut it. It hasn't been any longer than my shoulders in the five years since. As a result, I can look back at pictures from around that time and know whether it was before or after the wedding. The downside is that it creates a bit of a mental barrier. When I see myself with long hair, it immediately triggers this "old me" (or really, "young me") response...that I look so much younger before this life-changing event. I'd probably judge a picture of me from just after the haircut as looking much more like I do now, even if my face looks identical to a "before" picture.

Now that we're coming up to another life-changing event, the ramifications of the "before" and "after" stuff keeps running through my head. I'd like to go for a shorter haircut heading into the summer, but then I think, "Am I going to look at that years from now and be like, 'Yup, there's the beginning of the 'Mom hairdo'?" Even with this whole car thing...Is my Neon going to turn into a symbol of my "carefree" life before parenthood? As it is my body probably won't be the same after...but hopefully the changes won't be so obvious in your average photo (though no matter how good I look in clothes, I'm sure I will know the difference), so pictures won't taunt me for years to come!

I know this before and after stuff seems a little silly, but it amazes me how those before-and-after wedding photos can make me feel so much older...and considering how old having a baby is probably going to make me feel anyway, I don't need any additional mental assistance with that :) Oh, well...again, it'll all be worth it anyway, right?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Yikes...

Well, had a bit of a scare today. More mental than anything, but still. I got into a little fender bender on my way to work (long story short--stop and go traffic...your usual rear-ending...me being the rear-ender), my first ever accident. Luckily I wasn't going that fast, but let's face it--accidents are never good. I'm feeling tremendously blessed, however.

My car had some damage to the front end--a bent hood, scratched up bumper, broken grill, leaking antifreeze--but luckily that was the worst of it (that we know of so far). The car I hit only had scratches and a crack on the bumper. So, that could have been worse (even if the actual accident probably wasn't as bad as my car looked). The woman I hit was incredibly friendly. She was extra worried when she saw I was pregnant, and was just really understanding about the whole thing. She works in the insurance industry, so she gets that this stuff happens all the time. All of us were fine, including the baby. My seatbelt was placed well and the jolt wasn't really that bad, so I really felt no ill-effects. The baby moved as usual all day, and since I didn't have any symptoms of problems, the doctor said I could forego the usual four hours of monitoring (!) that they'd usually do after something like this. I have an appointment on Wednesday anyway, so I guess they can double check things then. Even something as simple as the weather being beautiful while we were getting things sorted out was a blessing...it IS April in Rochester, after all. It could have been miserable, but instead it was 70 and sunny.

All of this made me think about how much worse it could have been, from something serious happening to me or the baby, to it happening after the baby was born and having the baby in the car, or there being a baby in the other car (the woman said she had a baby not too long ago), or the people in the other car being hurt. The other car could have been full of nasty people who would have stressed me out. It makes driving again a scary thought, because something like this makes you realize how quickly things can change. Having a baby does indeed change everything, in more ways than you ever realize.

Thank God today was just a minor incident in the grand scheme of things and the baby is still safely inside kicking me like crazy. Definitely counting my blessings...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Class Report...

As I mentioned earlier in the week, we had another baby class on Thursday. It was Baby's First Year. It was ok. It was a much smaller group than the last class...I guess people figured that if they had the newborn stuff down, the first year must be easy :) There was a guy in there that will be taking classes 1 and 2 in the May cycle whose wife has been on bedrest since 24 weeks. She's still got another month or so to go. Yikes. I can't even imagine. The young single mom was there again, and we're pretty convinced that she's young. Maybe not teenager young, but early 20s young. She was sucking on a lollipop this time, which may have helped the young image, but wow...that girl's got quite the life ahead of her.

Class started with another video, this one about caring for your growing baby. Nothing really fascinating, but there were a bunch of cute babies in the video, which made all of us smile. Of course, then they ruined it by talking about kids and discipline, and showing some bratty toddlers. Can't we just pretend our kids are going to be perfect angels? We ended up talking about how to know and what to do when your baby gets sick, about vaccinations, a little about daycare, switching to solid foods, first aid, and things like that. Probably the most humorous part of the class was looking around when we started talking about taking the baby's temperature rectally. I think a lot of people have not-so-fun memories of that from when we were kids (did they even have ear thermometers back then?), and the thought of it now isn't all that pleasant...so there were a lot of funny faces during that discussion. We also discussed that plastic chemical that's supposedly leaching out of baby bottles. I feel bad that I've registered for bottles that have that chemical (I think there's only one brand that doesn't have it, and the Playtex drop-ins are better (but do I want to keep buying those? Not really.), but I'm not going the glass route), but here's the thing...and not to make light of the issue...but haven't there been millions of babies that have used these same bottles and turned out ok? I don't know.

The class as a whole was a lot more laid back than the other one, and less annoying since I didn't have the frustration of the totally unrealistic fake baby. That was my one comment on the class survey, that they need to get better babies in that class. That really ruined it for me, that I could have taken one of my rock-hard baby dolls from when I was a kid and had the same experience. At least get soft ones, or get a set of parents to loan their baby for a couple hours so we could see things done to a real baby...the instructor's a nurse, so the baby would be in good hands. I'd probably offer ours up six months down the road if I could take the classes for free now, you know? It's all for a good cause :)

I am looking forward to taking the real first class in a few weeks, the Getting Ready for Baby portion. I think that will be helpful for filling in any holes on our registry (after 2 of 3 showers, but that's ok) and making sure we've got what we need. There might be some handy tips and tricks we'll pick up, or at least I hope so.

I hope everyone in the Buffalo-Rochester area has been enjoying the great weather this weekend...and now that I have a pair of shorts, so can I. :)

Friday, April 18, 2008

A much better day...

Well, today was much better than yesterday. I was sitting at my desk feeling very blessed this afternoon. Why? Well...

- I finished the project at work that tortured me all day yesterday.
- I got to eat a lot of good food at a farewell party at work.
- I slacked off a bit this afternoon, for probably one of the first times ever since I've been at this job. We had cake as a "part 2" of the farewell party, and I ended up chatting with some of my co-workers for a while, mostly about pregnancy and kids, which was interesting and fun. I know slacking off is bad, but bonding with co-workers is good, and honestly, I've been on my own at work all week, with no one on my side of the office to talk to...I needed interaction.
- Craig sent me roses to make sure I had a good day today, and my co-workers are in awe that he sent them for something other than an anniversary or an apology. I have a really awesome husband.
- The weather was phenomenal...and it's supposed to be again tomorrow!
- I'm nearly seven months into this pregnancy and all is well.
- Craig's on the road for the weekend, which isn't so fun, but I have a full list of things to keep myself productive...and I like productive weekends. Just tonight I cleaned out most of the stuff from the baby's closet and found temporary homes for my summer clothes.

I will say the the summer clothes thing was a little sobering. I still look pretty good, so I was thinking pretty positively about how my body was reacting to all of this...and hoping it bodes well for the future. Well...I tried on a handful of my summer clothes to see if I could make anything work (and save myself from buying any elements of my summer maternity wardrobe). Well...dumb idea. I knew things wouldn't fit right, but I didn't expect sleeves to be tight. And while I knew my shorts, capris and skirts were a no-go at the waistline, I was surprised by how tight they were in the thighs and hips...which means that those parts have expanded without me noticing. I guess maybe that's why God makes the belly get so big...so you don't notice as much when other things expand as well. I think this was the first time in a while where I really considered the fact that my hips may never go back to where they were, and many of those clothes won't fit me ever again. Weight is one thing, bones are another. Bummer.

I can't let this stuff bug me, though, because I know I look fine. I've done everything I can to keep myself looking good, so I just have to be content with that. Let's just hope my shopping trip tomorrow goes well and I can find some shorts or capris, so I don't swelter the next time the weather gets this warm! Warm weather is a good problem to have in April :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The hospital



It's sort of funny to me that I can see the hospital where I'm going to have the baby from my desk. I can look out the window directly in my line of sight (yeah, the picture above is what I see...it can be very distracting at times) and see the hospital nestled among a patch of trees. It's just funny knowing that I will be there in a couple months or so, working harder in one day than maybe all the energy I've exerted at this desk in the entire year and a half I've been sitting here (and I do work hard, I swear). And wouldn't it be interesting if I could see my building from my hospital room? While I have no illusions that being in the hospital is going to be any sort of vacation, I'm still hoping that I'll be happier to be there (for obvious reasons) than just spending another day at my desk. I generally really like my job, so that's saying something. Today, however, has been a rough day at work and as a result I think I had my first real case of pregnancy hormone-induced insanity this morning. Really annoying project sort of got the best of me for a little while. An unrelated conference call and a late lunch have hopefully cleansed me a bit. We shall see when I try again in a few minutes.

Speaking of the hospital, tonight is child care class #2, Baby's First Year. We're interested to see what they teach us, because honestly, isn't the newborn stuff the trickiest? We figure they'll cover solid foods and childproofing and maybe some "next step" type stuff from last week, like making sure their diaper keeps fitting right as they grow or transitioning them into the big bathtub. But beyond that, we're stumped. I am hoping that maybe they'll talk about sickness, like when to call the doctor and things like that. Maybe daycare? Who knows...but again, we're clueless, so any little bit helps. Hopefully a report tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Word of advice...

Just a quick bit of advice for any women out there who are or sometime plan to be pregnant:

Beware of buffets.

The good news is that you don't have to feel crazy guilty for overeating a bit. You still have to be careful, of course, but I decided tonight while looking around that as long as my butt still fits completely on the seat, I'm ok. The second it doesn't, no more buffets for me. And yes, I was looking at someone specifically when I made came to that conclusion. A whole table of someones, actually.

However...why beware? Well...let's just say that when you're a normal person, the skin around your stomach has some give. But when you're pregnant, most of that give has been taken over by the baby. So...if you eat a lot, prepare for your stomach to be tight. I'm not even particularly stuffed (I definitely could have eaten more...pregnancy is so crazy sometimes), but man, right now my stomach is really sticking out and the skin is super tight. Wow.

Thank goodness it's Chinese food, though, because I'm sure I won't be full for long :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Too little of a rush?

Now that I'm getting a little farther along, people are starting to ask if I'm ready for the baby to be born. In essence, am I getting uncomfortable enough that I'd rather the baby was here already? The answer is a pretty solid "no" right now, for a lot of reasons. Part of me is a little worried that it's a little too solid, but I'm hoping that's just because of all the other reasons. I mean, first of all, I haven't had any showers yet so we have NOTHING for this baby...no crib, no diapers, no clothes, no nothing. That will change in the next four weeks or so, with three showers on the schedule. I think that once we start getting some of that stuff, it will not only help us prepare physically, but mentally as well. It's tough to feel ready when nothing about your home screams "baby". Within another month we'll probably have so much stuff to sort through that we won't know what to do with it all, and I think the process of dealing with all of that will help.

While I'd like to think I'm just being content and doing my best to savor every moment of pregnancy, I know that much of the reason I'm not rushing things is motivated by pure fear. As I've mentioned many times, we're going into this pretty unexperienced. On top of that, I don't think we've ever really been one of those couples that was like, "We're sooo ready to have a baby!" We've had to work up to it a bit. We knew we wanted kids one way or another. We had our fears of inexperience and reservations about Craig's crazy work schedule, but we basically just got to the point where we didn't want to keep waiting to feel more ready. We just sort of hoped that we'd get there by the time the baby was born. I know that sounds a little casual considering it's a big, life-changing decision, but rest assured that we wouldn't have done this if we didn't think we'd actually get to that point. I'm still hoping that when this baby is born I am bestowed with the maternal instinct I haven't had up to this point. So yeah, there's definitely fear as far as the practical stuff goes, as well as all that mind-blowing emotional stuff...like constantly worrying about your child, your life never being your own again, etc. Like the whole labor thing, part of me doesn't even want to go there for fear it will completely freak me out. I'd rather just deal when the time comes than worry myself like crazy. On the practical side, going to our childcare (and eventually childbirth) classes will probably also move this preparation process along, helping us feel a little better prepared to take care of a baby.

So while I feel a little bad that I'm not one of those, "I wish I could meet the baby right this second" people, I'm getting there. Each kick makes me more curious about what's going on in there, and who's doing all that kicking. However, I am perfectly content to enjoy the next couple months of nice weather and savor what's left of Craig's and my life as just the two of us. The baby needs all the time it can get inside me, too. If all of this really is just a lot of fear, hopefully I can channel that energy well in the meantime and get it out of my system (enough, anyway) by the end of June. And then we'll just take it as it comes!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Finally another picture :)


Voila...the latest picture of me. Yep, the belly's getting bigger...practically every day it seems. Sometimes I catch a view of myself in the mirror and it freaks me out all over again. It's really ok, but it's really crazy to see. I think it was just a week or two ago that I noticed that my stomach was out past my chest, and as you can see, it's moved quite a bit beyond that now.


I had a challenging evening tonight, another round of clothes shopping. I was settling into my winter stuff nicely, and now I get to go through this all over again. I did relatively well, but it definitely left me with some issues heading into warmer weather. I am having trouble finding a happy medium between a cute fitted t-shirt and something shapeless that makes me feel like a blimp. See, it gets a little more challenging with shorts, because there's all sorts of proportion issues...namely finding a shirt that doesn't make your shorts disappear. Tight shirts at least make me feel like I still have a shape (even if it's mostly round), but they look weird in the hip region because they're long and clingy. But there's a lot of other shirts out there that are shapeless and make me look so much bigger than I am. My other issue is skirts. I LOVE skirts in the summer. However, I can't figure out what kind of top to wear with skirts that doesn't look weird...again because of the proportion issue but also because skirts tend to flare, and so do most maternity shirts...and that just looks weird. So on those fronts I'm a little stuck. I also still need to find shoes that I can wear with my longer pants (or shorter pants--no luck on that yet). However, I did get a couple dresses, a pair of capris for work, a few shirts, and a couple tank tops (yeah, it hurt to buy all that in one night, but if you find it and it's reasonable, you might as well get it). It was a challenge, though. I'm beat, so I'm going to bed now :)


Our First Class

Well, we survived class #1. Of course, our class #1 was actually class #2 for most people. The childcare classes are in a series of three, and due to various scheduling issues, we had to do class #2 first...we'll pick up class #1 in May, around the time we start our month of childbirth classes. So anyway, last night's class was newborn care. It was...interesting. I definitely had this image of what you see on TV and in movies with classes like this, and honestly, it wasn't far off...just not as comedic, unfortunately. Not that it didn't have its moments, but it was a lot less exciting than I thought it could be. A lot of it seemed like validation of common sense...like duh, when you give the baby a sponge bath, you should make sure you get in all the creases (armpits, ears, etc.). I suppose if you've never had exposure to reality TV shows showing births, the video we watched at the beginning was probably a little eye-opening. We spent time discussing how the baby was purple at birth, how its head was misshappen, how it was covered with white goo (vernix), and things like that...all very normal things if you've ever seen a real birth on TV.

I will say that parts of the video went a little beyond what you see on TV, though, particularly when it came to breastfeeding. I really could have done without the up-close shot of a nipple dripping with colostrum (the nutritious yellowish fluid that breasts produce for the first feeding, before the real milk comes in)...for some reason that creeped me out. I also wasn't excited to find out that you do your first feeding almost immediately following delivery. I know I've heard of that before, but I didn't necessarily realize that was the norm. I sort of imagined the first feeding would be me, the baby, and a lactation consultant...rather than having the entire delivery room staff there to experience the awkwardness. I know they've seen it all and after all of that labor I might not care who sees what, but still...the thought freaked me out a bit. Just because I want to nurse doesn't mean that the idea of it doesn't get to me now and then. I know it's better for the baby, and I know it's cheaper and a little less prep work in the middle of the night, but it's just...awkward. Let's face it...when breasts' entire function in life up until this point has been of a sexual nature, it's a bit of a switch to have them be part of something so decidedly un-sexy. I'll admit I sometimes wonder if they can ever serve in their previous function the same way again...hence the reason I'm perfectly ok with Craig wanting to stay up by the top half of my body during labor...no sense leaving him with disturbing images of all of my body parts.

I think my biggest issue with the class was the fake baby. Walking into class we were issued a baby. Since we're don't know what we're having, we got a girl...and at least it was white. We felt a little bad for the late arriving white couple that ended up with the black baby, because considering I was having trouble with my imagination to begin with, that probably would have done me in completely. Fortunately these weren't those fancy, technologically engineered babies that cry or pee, but at the same time, they were SO un-lifelike that it really made them useless. It didn't help that our "washcloth" for the bathing portion was a napkin. Between a stiff baby and a stiff napkin, you just couldn't quite get a realistic image. Getting the baby dressed and undressed was probably equal in difficulty to real life, because the stiffness of the doll (seriously, we almost had to rip the arm out to get the shirt off) probably compensated for the squirminess of a real baby. Judging the tightness of the diaper was nearly impossible, and really, isn't the hardest part of diapering the actual cleaning part? Even swaddling and holding the baby was a little annoying with such a hard doll, because my belly with the real baby inside was getting in the way. Long story short, half of the stuff we learned was stuff I knew at age five when playing with my dolls. I really think we'd have been better off just watching the instructor do these things to an actual baby.

I'm still glad we went, even if just for the little tidbits of information we picked up. We took notes, but what are the odds we'll bring them out when the time comes? Next week is Baby's First Year, so we'll see how that one goes...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A busier schedule...

It seems that now that we're into the last three months of this process, things get a little crazier. Aside from all of the nursery stuff (that we haven't done anything for yet--although, other than maybe painting and clearing the rest of the stuff out, there isn't much we can do until after my showers), there's now a steady stream of things to take care of. I have doctor's appointments every two weeks, our child care classes start tonight, and we still have to take care of visiting potential pediatricians (on the radar, at least) and daycares (waiting on some info, but not really jumping head first). Lots to do. Craig's schedule should ease up a bit after the next few weekends, unless the Knighthawks get a lot of help from other teams and make the playoffs. Just in the last few days Craig has had lots of craziness with his job...there's a decent chance (barring some extra crazy happenings) that he'll have a greatly reduced schedule this summer, which will be really nice. It could be just one sport, six roadtrips and 12 games total. It still sounds like a lot to jam into 3-4 months, but it's better than all of that plus 20 additional home games. He needs the break and I'm sure I will need the help! I think the next step is moving the other bed out of the baby's room and donating it to charity. It's old, and we don't have a lot of extra space to store it anyway. I guess we'll only be able to accommodate one guest in a real bed, and any others will have to deal with the air mattress. Sorry to any of our future visitors...but that bed wasn't that comfortable anyway. No idea if we're going to paint or put up a border in the baby's room. I still can't quite visualize it all, but maybe once we have some furniture to put in there it will help get things moving. I do need to clean out the closet in there as well, though that's coming as soon as I get around to seeing if any of my summer clothes have any shot at fitting me...and if not, I may just have to move them into my closet anyway and do wholesale switches each season. Yikes!

Anyway...I did have a doctor's appointment today, and all went well as usual. Tonight is newborn care class, which should be interesting. I will hopefully have some fun goodies to report on that soon. And I will post a picture of me soon, too, I promise!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Being "Cute Pregnant"

For all of my potentially childbearing years, I have dreamed of being "cute pregnant". For those of you unaware of the implications of that, the only thing I can really say is that you'd know it if you saw it...and conversely, you'd know when you were seeing the polar opposite. Upon seeing pregnant women over the years, there have always been the ones where I was like, "Man, I just hope I look that good when I'm pregnant," and others where I was like, "As long as that never happens to me, I'll be ok." There are definitely some women whose bodies handle pregnancy better than others, though I suppose that just because one pregnancy ends up cute, it doesn't mean anything when subsequent pregnancies come along, for many reasons.

Judging by the reactions of people (namely family and co-workers), I have succeeded thusfar in maintaining a cute pregnancy. Whew. Very thankful for that one. The compliments are nice, but I don't quite know how to respond to them. It's like, getting a compliment once in a while in normal life is nice. But on a day like your wedding day, or maybe the prom, days when you look way better than usual, you have to adjust to getting a flood of compliments. I'm not saying every day brings a flood, but even hearing once a day every day that you look good is just...different. I just say thank you a lot and leave it at that.

I've decided that half the battle is dressing yourself well. That's the case in normal life as well, but when you're pregnant, a cute fitted top and pants that fit go a long way. Of course someone in clothes like that is going to look a heck of a lot better than someone in sweats or other shapeless clothes. Heck, I need to go out and get some maternity tank tops so I feel better working out...the oversized t-shirts just make me feel bigger than I am. It's harder to tell it's a pregnancy belly vs. a beer belly when I'm wearing an adult large t-shirt. But in something fitted, there's no question...and that's how I'd rather be seen. If my belly is relatively cute and round right now, I might as well show it.

Speaking of working out...I do credit that with keeping things under control. Being in shape gave me a good starting point when I got pregnant. And now, while my workouts aren't exactly strenuous, they've probably negated most overeating I've done. They've also kept me in an active mindset. Those couple hours at the gym each week are a couple less hours I could be sitting on the couch and eating, and just keeping on my usual schedule of working out 2-3 times per week probably keeps my eating mentality on a parallel level to what it was pre-pregnancy (I eat mostly what I want now, but since I never got in awful habits before, I don't really have them now).

This has all made me wonder how many "cute pregnant" women I've seen over the years were among the naturally skinny, and how many actually made an effort at it. It's tough to tell how much of it is based on genetics, pre-pregnancy body composition, actual effort, and clothing choices. I think each of those has played a part for me, but I'm sure there are some people who come by it completely naturally. I know my body has a propensity to gain weight if I let it, so I don't think I'm totally in the genetics zone. Being in good shape to start out and not sitting down with a half gallon of ice cream have probably helped a lot. I don't know what my body will do in the coming months, but it's nice to know that a little effort has kept things looking good so far. I can't even describe how relieved I am to make it this far without ballooning up...so awkward or not, I'll take the compliments and use them each time as a reminder of how lucky I am to be where I'm at.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Kids at heart

Yesterday reminded me yet again how lucky I am to have Craig. As much as I wish he worked less and all that, he's still a great husband. And, assuming he can maintain some flexibility with his job and all of the craziness that's been going on there for the past few months doesn't stress him out too much (when paired up with parental responsibilities), he should be a great father. Part of the reason why is because he's still a bit of a kid himself.

Yesterday was a prime example. Craig was having a field day playing this game online. A year or two ago he discovered Lego Star Wars, the video game that recreates the Star Wars movies with Legos. Then he found out that they were coming out with Lego Indiana Jones, to coincide with the release of the next Indy sequel this year. He's been excited about it ever since, and found a game on the Lego website that uses a Lego Indiana Jones as its main character. It's a Super Mario-esque game, and we had a blast when we first discovered it. We got through the first two levels, only to find out that the last two were still "Coming Soon". Months later, the last two levels were finally released, and it was so funny to listen to Craig playing it over the phone yesterday afterhours at work. He got such a kick out of Indy riding his Lego horse, or the bad guys throwing Germans out of the back of their Jeep to throw Indy off track. It was really cute. While watching him play the game later, it struck me just how much fun he's going to have as a father, reliving a lot of his childhood experiences through our kids. Obviously boys will be more conducive to that, but he'd adjust to a girl somehow as well...even if it's just playing with her stuffed animals and giving them voices. Heck, he entertains me with that stuff right now. Anyone who's been around our house knows about our stuffed moose collection, and Craig can make me laugh just by pulling one down from the top of the couch and bringing it to life. I do worry a bit that he's going to be the "cool" parent, that he'll be the one the kids want reading them their bedtime stories because he can do funny voices, but I suppose that as long as I get to watch, that's ok too. Thankfully, we've both got our kid side, and I'm thinking we'll definitely need it in the years to come!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sorry for the long break...

...but I meant to post over the weekend and never got around to it. It was a full couple days, that's for sure. Off to Buffalo Friday night, Toronto with Craig most of the day Saturday, and some quality time with my parents yesterday. It was a good, quality weekend with great weather...but I think it tired me out more than I thought, because I am beat today. I fell asleep on the couch last night by the time Craig got home from the Amerks game, and did a little tossing and turning last night (sleeping is getting a little tough these days), so I'm sure that didn't help either. Add on that I've got a TON of work (annoying stuff, too, which doesn't happen a lot) and today is really not a fun day. I'd much rather be sitting out in the beautiful sunny weather taking a nap, you know?

I did get to see quite a few family members while I was in town, so that was nice. Judging by their reactions, I've gotten quite a bit bigger just in the two weeks since Easter. I probably could have guessed that, because I've really been noticing how much my belly projects now, but sometimes it all starts to run together. And like I've said many times, it all depends on what I wear from day to day. In any event, I'm big enough now that random people were coming up to me and my parents after church congratulating us...so yeah, it's that obvious. The good news is that everyone (family and friends) are complimenting me on how good I look. I guess it's a relief that my body hasn't totally spazzed out yet, though like I said a couple times yesterday, we'll see what happens when I actually have to push this baby out of my body...no guarantees until I've actually done that!

Working out is getting harder seemingly every week, but I'm going to keep trying. Of course, our first round of baby education starts this week, and it's right after my usual weekly class, so I'm not sure I'll be able to pull class off for the next couple weeks...which could be bad news for trying to go back to class beyond that. We have a bit of a convoluted class schedule, but by the end we'll have 6 hours of infant care classes and 8 hours of childbirth classes (including the hospital tour and all that). Once a week, two hours in the evening each time. We have one week where the classes overlap, but I don't think it will be too bad. We're really starting from scratch, so those classes should be really helpful. Hopefully it will give me something interesting to blog about for a change :)

One last funny story for today...Last week I was waiting to get on the elevator here at work, and another girl walked up to wait. She looked pregnant, and finally a guy came up to wait as well, and said something like, "Both of you, eh?" We smiled and then he said something about it being in the air or water...and she confirmed it with there being three pregnant women on her floor and me mentioning the four on mine (plus one wife of a co-worker). We chatted a bit about due dates and finding out the sex before the elevator got to my floor, but it just confirmed yet again that there are a TON of pregnant women out there right now. I don't think it's just the age, either, because I'm hearing about it all over the place, from all ages of people...people going to parties and being outnumbed by pregnant women, things like that. Who knows if it's the time of year or what...but it's pretty crazy. And I'm sure that as the layers come off with the arrival of spring, I'll be seeing more and more pregnant women out there in the world...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Human Punching Bag

I'm feeling a bit like a human punching bag today...only the punching is coming from the inside! The baby has been moving a TON all day. Most of it has been on my right side, as usual, but it's been pretty constant. There have been short spurts where the baby will settle into a certain position for a while, but generally that hasn't been comfortable either...like right now where it feels like something's trapped way on my side. A couple times it felt like the baby was trying to crawl its way out of my belly, through the skin. As I've said before, it's not really painful as much as it's just uncomfortable. It can be entertaining to watch my belly move like there's some sort of alien in there, though. I remember back a couple months ago where I was dying to feel movement, and I knew that at some point I'd be kicking myself because all that movement can get uncomfortable. It is still nice to know that the baby is in there and doing ok, though. I guess that's the trade-off.

I've been noticing in the past few days little signs of why pregnant women are so ready to just have the baby by the time the 9th month rolls around. I know that my little issues are nothing compared to how I'll be feeling by then, but I just keep getting glimpses of it. Like when I try to get off the couch and it takes a couple tries. Or when I'm trying to put socks on and have to use an alternate method than the one I've used for the previous 20-some years. Or when I try to lay on my side to sleep or relax (the only option when pregnant) and STILL can't get comfortable because of where the baby is hanging out. Not to mention all of this movement. It's not waking me up yet, thank goodness, but I'm sure that's just around the corner. The frequent bathroom breaks aren't too fun either. Yesterday I went before I left work, and spent about 45 minutes driving and doing a couple errands before I had to pee so badly that I was practically rushing out of my last stop so I could just get home. And there are times where 10 min. after I go, I feel like I could again...but mentally I know I can probably wait. It's better when I'm sitting...walking seems to trigger it. But I'm slowly starting to see why full-term women are so uncomfortable and so ready to just get the baby out...can't wait until that's me in the middle of what is sure to be the hottest June on record! ;-)

But really, I know I've had it easy thus far, so I suppose I'm due for some discomfort. Beats the heck out of three months of puking.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Random notes

I hope everyone out there had a good weekend. It turned out to be a busier weekend than I had anticipated. I had some spur-of-the-moment company on Saturday when my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Mark made a random trip to Rochester. Luckily my day was free and I got to spend time with them (and my cousin Lori, who was headed over to my house anyway, before they even showed up). The baby even survived its first garbage plate! Then on Sunday and Monday we had to head back to Buffalo for a funeral on Craig's side (a great aunt). While it's not a great reason to have to go there and miss work, it was nice to have a couple bonus days with Craig. He's got a busy week ahead of him, so the extra couple days were nice.

The belly is getting bigger every day, it seems. One of these days I'll have to post a picture again. It's really looking like a pregnant belly now, pretty round and sticking directly out from my otherwise normal-sized body. I've definitely got the basketball thing going on. Not complaining. I'm very appreciative of the fact that my face, hips and everything else have stayed relatively the same size as they were before. As I've mentioned, it's a little tough to tell since I can't wear any of my old clothes to compare, but I did wear a skirt yesterday that was maybe a tiny bit more snug in the thighs than it used to be, but that could just be because I had to wear it slightly differently than in the past. But that it fit at all is all that matters, right?

The baby's been keeping the painful positioning to a minimum in the last few days...not too much jamming into my ribs or staying in a particular area for too long...but there are still moments where I can tell it's put all of its weight into one area or another, and that can still get a little uncomfortable, depending on where the pressure is focused. I noticed a little assymmetry of my belly a few times over the weekend as the baby moved around...still nothing noticeable unless you're really looking, though. People are probably thinking I'm nuts, though, because I rub my belly a LOT. Sometimes it's just something to do with my hands, to check on the baby's position or something, but a lot of the time it's when I feel a body part (still unidentifiable) push out and I want to see if I can figure out what it is. I've also been doing it to cover up obvious movement, so people don't get too creeped out if they happen to see it. I suppose I also do it because it's just that freakin' crazy how big my belly is, and I almost have to feel it to believe it's there!

That's about it for today, unfortunately. The baby is jamming me in the side so it's pushing my arm out of its normal typing position, so that must be my sign to quit for today! Catch ya later!