28 October 2010

More Nursery Stuff

I feel so good that everything in the house is ready and waiting whenever we bring our chickpea home. I had a chance to take some more pictures of the baby preparations to post here.

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For the first few months, Chickpea will sleep in our room in this Pack N' Play.

We set it up last weekend after Monterey. The model we chose has the extra attached changing table and newborn napper on top; she'll sleep/nap here and I'll be able to change diapers here in the middle of the night without going to her room.

In the future, these attachments are removable and it can be used as an infant bassinet, then a play yard that we can travel with. Made by Graco, it fits in this corner nicely and was one of the few with a pattern that didn't rub me the wrong way.

My favorite feature in her room is still the wall decal over the crib. It's eye-catching and I'm proud of the hours I spent putting it up there.


The changing table is right by the door, and it's well stocked with little clothes, hair barrettes and ribbons, and baby care items.


On the other side of the door is the closet. I've hung her wardrobe (as much as I could) because it's easier for me to see what we have. Things like T-shirts, onesies, socks, and hats live in the dresser, so here we have all her jammies and bodysuits. As you can see, I have not washed a lot of things and left tags on in case they don't fit. I added dividers to help me differentiate sizes: 0-3 months, 3-6, 6-9, etc.

On the other side of the changing table by the window, we've stashed the Diaper Genie out of sight with extra diapers. The laundry basket I found is the best, tall with easy-to-carry handles. It fits in the little space perfectly. The blue thing is the bath sponge that we'll use on the counter for sponge baths, then later in the tub for regular baths. It will live in the bathroom, but it's here for now.


Next to all that is the crib, sheets and bumper washed and ready.


In the other corner by the second window is the glider, which glides back and forth and reclines almost completely. Our hospital bags, hers and his, are on the floor next to a few decal birds.


The bookshelf faces the chair on an angle. It's quite large and we'll need the growing space. So far we have some of my books, books for older kids and a few for toddlers and babies; the baby monitor; iPod filled with kids' music; toys; and bigger blankets.


Also some pictures: two of Ray and I on our wedding day (sorry about the flash on you Ray :), and a shot I really love of my mom and I in Charleston when I was two.

Not permanent fixtures: on the floor next to the closet are the infant carseat and Snap 'N Go stroller. The Snap 'Go turns the carseat into a stroller; its very light and the seat fits into it perfectly. We're purchasing the main stroller (which comes with a bassinet) this weekend.


That's about it!

27 October 2010

37 Weeks

Today I'm full term, which sounds so beautiful. It means that if she's born now she'll do really well. Her lungs still have a bit of development left and she needs to put on more baby fat, so hopefully I have at least another week or two.


Only part of me thinks that, because I'm READY TO GO!! I'm nesting like crazy- cleaning, baking, organizing, and gardening until I almost keel over. I spend that time on the couch with the last blanket I'm knitting for her. I need to finish it before she arrives or likely I won't finish it at all.

Today at the doctor, I'm now a full centimeter dilated and she can feel the baby's head on my cervix. The exam is painful which scared me- if I can't handle that how on earth will I handle labor? I shared my fears with my doctor and she was nicely reassuring. She had her first baby about a year ago so I know she can give pretty first hand advice. She said the adrenaline during labor and 'the zone' you get in make a big difference. Not to mention the prize at the end!

I'm putting on a happy face!! Until next week, back to the waiting game. . . .

25 October 2010

Monterey Weekend

It's a beautiful, crisp, sunny day with the flavor of autumn in the air. I can't tell you how lovely it is to have light streaming through the windows and no heat!

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This weekend we meandered down to Monterey on Highway 1, along the coast from Half Moon Bay, stopping in Santa Cruz for lunch at Erik's Deli.
Monterey is a special place to us; we became engaged there in March 2006. Saturday afternoon was spent at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We both love the aquarium and its temporary and permanent exhibits. The jellyfish exhibits are always a favorite, we can stare at these amazing creatures for a long time.




A special exhibit of seahorses was pretty amazing too- these are babies.

These may look like sea plants but no- they are seahorses too!
I also got to experience an extra treat- visiting every single bathroom in the aquarium. Awesome.
Saturday night we had a nice dinner at The Whaling Station off Cannery Row. The meal was excellent. (save for the spill I nearly took on the way in the restaurant. I went down on one knee and Ray caught me, though about 20 people saw and it was quite embarassing) We shared some gnocchi and Dutch apple pie, with prime rib for him and wild salmon for me.

Our hotel room was quite lovely, but I slept badly in the strange bed with an inferior pillow and the room was too warm for me. The next morning we went to breakfast at First Awakenings, where we've eaten on every trip we've taken to Monterey.

Sleepy-eyed me, enjoying my decaf coffee.

I am nuts about the pancakes at First Awakenings. They make amazing apple cinnamon oatmeal ones from scratch, with nice chunks of apple. Ray likes their raspberry granola cakes. But they are HUGE and I forgot this so I ordered too many! Two to eat and one to go, I would have been better off ordering one to eat and one to go. As it was I ended up taking almost two whole pancakes to go.

I brought the rest home and froze a good portion. They will be a nice and easy treat to pull out in the coming months.

We drove home shortly after, in time for the really heavy rain that we'd avoided thus far. We spent the rest of the day laying around, watching football and knitting.

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22 October 2010

Check-Up

So happy it's Friday! It's chilly and rainy but I'm enjoying the cozy gloominess. I also did a new workout this morning which made working through it more enjoyable; exercise can get boring so it helps me to do a new routine every now and then.

After a quick shower and assembly of a breakfast-in-the-car (two pieces of whole wheat toast with peanut butter, banana on one slice and strawberry jam on the other), I headed to my 36-week appointment. Ray met me there since I'd be having an ultrasound.

All good reports from Dr R.; I am so blessed and thankful to have all positives right now! She performed the test for Group B Strep and will have the results next week. The vaginal and rectal swab were a little painful but short-lived, as was the exam of my cervix. I'm almost 1 centimeter dilated which is really good. While it isn't necessarily an indicator of impending labor, it is a good indicator that I won't go past my due date. My uterus is measuring about 34 weeks; I was worried when she said that but she followed up immediately that at this stage it's not so exact, that it's give or take two weeks so it's a fine measurement.

Next she performed the ultrasound, taking measurements of the head, abdomen and legs. Our baby is in the ideal position- head down with her back facing the front. That little head is indeed down in my pelvis (pressing right on my bladder) with her back in the upper right quadrant of my belly, and her feet on the left, almost a C shape. She is resting very close to my cervix.

With the measurements taken, the machine gives an estimate of the baby's weight- 5 lbs 3 oz, give or take 15%. Dr. R. believes our baby is smaller than this amount, which shows how different each baby can be from the numbers in books. Right now all of my pregnancy emails and books say the baby should be upwards of 6 lbs; not the case! Our little girl will likely be about 6 lbs at birth or slightly smaller.

She gave us information on who to contact before going to the hospital, as well as postpartum care instructions. I'll be getting my pertussis booster shot after delivery in the hospital which is excellently convenient. My next appointment is this coming Wednesday when I'll be full term. The countdown begins!!

20 October 2010

36 Weeks

Or 9 months. So shouldn't I be due by now? It's such a mean trick that pregnancy is actually ten months long.


I've had a few practice contractions this week, as well as more sharp pains inside my vagina. Two other end-of-pregnancy symptoms I've had are a stringy discharge and loose stools. These are all indications of impending labor. . . or not. Don't you love the specificity in that? Argh.



I'm definitely getting antsy; since I'm not working, everything is ready for the baby, and have limited energy, I have too much time on my hands. I'm trying to split up household chores every day and I'm knitting one more blanket. Catching up on tv shows while knitting is quite a pleasant way to pass the time. Ray and I have a mini getaway to Monterey planned this weekend so I'm looking forward to that. It's forecast to rain the whole time but hopefully we won't get too damp. :)


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I'm breaking my no-(real)-dessert-during-the-week rule today. In honor of the 9 month mark, I purchased three small cupcakes for us to share after dinner tonight: red velvet, carrot (the one I was craving!), and vegan chocolate.



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This morning I tried to get her movement on video. It's tough to capture since it's quite random and doesn't translate well on film, but she moved about 12 seconds in on the top/left side of my tummy.


19 October 2010

Craving Alert: Cereal

When I look back on this pregnancy, the major bona fide craving that I've had will definitely be cereal. I've desired certain foods for a meal, but cereal is the one food that I've had to have repeatedly that's out of the ordinary for me.

I've never been a big cereal eater. When I was little, I didn't like how you had to eat it quick before it became soggy, and I never drank the leftover milk which got me in trouble since it was wasteful. It also does not fill me up so it's a real waste for breakfast. Today I like a little now and then, no more than grabbing a handful from one of Ray's boxes and eating it dry.

A few weeks ago I started having a bit of Ray's cereals dry or with soy milk added. I quickly graduated to buying my own boxes and wanting some almost every day. I had to, like everything else we have different taste in cereal! He favors the cereals from our childhood like Corn Pops, Lucky Charms, and Blueberry Morning. High in sugar and nothing much useful. Which might explain why that small handful of mine was so yummy :) For myself, I've been buying Kashi Go Lean Crunch, Special K, and Honey Bunches of Oats. Not all super duper healthy but lighter on calories and sugar (by a bit in some cases) and fortified with vitamins. And most importantly, delish to me!

This is Special K Vanilla Almond, and an unusually big bowl of it. Normally I make a small one with soy milk added; I'll even just have some in a little ramekin if I've already had most of lunch and just want to satisfy the craving. This week I've had Honey Bunches of Oats, a new apple cinnamon flavor which I LOVE. I'm at the bottom of the box, it's time to buy a new one. This one and the banana flavor are delish and say 'limited edition' on the box, hopefully they keep it around. For at least 3 weeks.

14 October 2010

35 weeks

35 down, 5 to go.
No doctor's appointment this week; yesterday I was running around like a mad person with lots of small errands and some work on our house. We had three-prong outlets installed all over the house (it's an old building and only the kitchen and bathroom had been updated) and two dimmers- one in the baby's room and one in the hallway.




Our Little Chickpea
Main change continues to be putting on baby fat and practicing blinking, sucking, yawning, and rolling. Lots and lots of rolling and pushing.

Me
We had another heat wave this week (hopefully the last one!) so I've been very uncomfortable. When it's really hot I just feel like a huge incubator, not in my own body. Starting today the temperature will be dropping, by the weekend we should have high 60s. Can't wait. I've had some sharp stabbing pains inside the vagina over the past few days, I looked this up and could be my cervix dilating. Doesn't mean I'm going into labor any time soon, but my body could be getting ready. No practice Braxton-Hicks contractions yet.

11 October 2010

Mini Nursery Tour

The room is 98% finished now and it's beautiful. Just a few small things left, but here's a quick video tour. My iPhone only lets me email very short videos so I wasn't able to give an extensive tour, but you can see everything.
I know I'll appreciate seeing it in its immaculate state a few months down the road.


If you look sharp, you'll see a small canvas face down on the bookshelf. It's a sweet little painting with her name on it but since it's still a secret I laid it down for you. Sorry :-)

07 October 2010

BABIES


Babies has just been released and I got a chance to see it this week when Netflix sent it to me. My mom and I watched it together amidst lunch at my house. I really enjoyed it. The film follows four babies from around the world from birth to one year, with a quick jump to three years at the very end. There is no dialogue. You hear parents' voices now and then, quietly in the background, but it's hardly noticeable as you watch the babies- and their siblings- interact with their world.
It's fascinating to see how babies are raised around the world. Bayar from Mongolia is left on his own for hours at a time- sometimes tied by a string to a bedpost to keep him from wandering off, other times crawling across the hills around his hut in the countryside. In Namibia, Ponijao eats dirt, bugs, grabs at his brother's private parts, and his mother doesn't bat an eye. Mari in Tokyo has all the latest toys and travels in a high-end MacLaren stroller. Hattie travels in a bike buggie around San Francisco with her parents. All four children harass the docile and complacent pets in their households. Even the parents' behavior is interesting. Bayar's mom hops on a motorcycle to get home just after giving birth. Ponijao poops on his mother's knee as an infant; she rubs the stool away with a corn husk and feeds two kids from her poor dangling breasts. (Why many African tribes never thought of an apparatus to offer breast support is beyond me. I'm not talking modesty, I'm talking comfort! But that's another story.) Mari's mother takes her to Mommy and Me classes while Dad lets her play with CDs on the floor while he works.
Besides the entertainment value of watching these babies in their environment, I was very aware of the lesson to be learned here, for myself and other young mothers living in the US. Everywhere I turn, there are products and equipment for raising a baby, much of it touted as essential for raising a happy, healthy, and safe baby. But all of this junk is not necessary. It is up to us to decide what we want to use and do, it is not up to our relatives and the retail stores.
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Last night Ray and I attended an "Infant Care" class, 3 hours taught by a 20-year pediatric nurse practitioner. She talked about taking baby home, breastfeeding, formula feeding, bathing, diapering, identifying and treating run-of-the-mill baby ailments. At the beginning she went over a list of the minimum baby essentials, prefacing that you don't need all the gizmos that are on the market. I loved that she said this. I don't want every piece of kid paraphenalia out there- we have a small house! Starting out giving the firstborn everything sets a bad standard for their life and the life of their siblings IMHO. Not to mention tripping over all the stuff as I try to make my way through the day with no sleep.
The teacher gave a lot of advice and instruction, and I intend to heed much of it and ignore some of it too.

06 October 2010

Thirty-Four


I am big. And slow.
Here we go, I am feeling the slothy and slow, the tired and achy. As my doctor said this morning, it won't last long and these last 6 weeks will go fast. And despite it I feel so lucky, it could be much worse.


Baby:
Honeydew and pineapple are the comparative fruits right now. Sheesh! She's also capable of remembering sounds and songs she hears. Packing on more baby fat and urinating up to a pint a day- lovely.

Our Little Chickpea:
She's moving around so much now. Not many little pokes, lots of all-over movement and shifting. Throughout the day something hard and flat will poke out of my upper-left belly: it's her little bottom! She gets the hiccups two or three times a day which is pretty funny. It's a rhythmic popping sensation. Ray has felt it at night before bed a few times, no other movement is as easy to define.

Me:
Still measuring right on with no stretch marks (yay!), my workouts since I posted on Saturday have been a little more sluggish. I'm feeling tired and weary about 70% of the time and good for the rest which isn't too shabby. The shirt I'm wearing today is not maternity, but I do have to tug it down from time to time so my tummy doesn't hang out the bottom. I flat out refuse to buy any more maternity clothes. I'd much rather buy something new postpartum around the holidays. :-)

Nursery:
Her little room is nearly complete. Our hospital bags are in there along with the stroller frame and carseat; as soon as my glider arrives (which I hope is very soon!) I will post pictures.
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My next doctor's appointment at 36 weeks will be much more interesting. My thyroid levels will be checked one more time, and I'll also be tested for Group B strep, a bacteria that can live in the vagina. If it's positive I'll get some antibiotics to protect Baby during delivery. I'll also have an ultrasound and pelvic exam to see exactly how she's oriented, her weight, and whether I've started dilating which means if my cervix has begun opening.

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02 October 2010

Exercise All the Way Through- A Video

I'd like to share a little more about exercise during my pregnancy.
*Note: Everyone is different- many women have doctor's orders to restrict or cease exercise while pregnant, and I have no medical restrictions. This is my own story.

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When I was still in the first trimester, I researched everything. Probably creating a good amount of anxiety as well as gaining knowledge. One of my biggest focuses was on how to be careful during while pregnant yet maintain as much of my regular routine as possible. I searched websites and forums for information from experts and testimony from other women. Sometimes the info conflicted- some claim to keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute, others say that's an antiquated notion and that the 'talk test' is the way to go. Length of time, extend of exertion, activity, and impact- I found tidbits on each of these, but nothing concrete. This makes sense in a way because every woman is different and so is every doctor. But despite all this research, I was disatisfied with the information.

The first months I scaled back a ton, way more than necessary in hindsight but I was terrified of causing injury to the fetus. I didn't have a heart rate monitor prior to pregnancy, but I purchased one early on and use it every day. Initially I set my heart rate limits between 120 and 140 to be safe.

By 13 weeks I felt a bit liberated and comfortable pumping it back up a bit. I decided to trust my body and my interpretation of how it felt. If I felt out of breath or over-exerted, I'd ease up. I have decreased the impact gradually; today I don't do jumps anymore. I'll bounce when I can :-) with one foot always on the ground. Weights have decreased: I still use 1, 3, 5, 7, and occasionally 8 lb, but I haven't touched the 10s and 15s for months.

As my belly grew in months 4, 5, and 6, my lungs and diaphragm had less room so my heart rate jumped more quickly. Now Baby has dropped down into my pelvis, my lungs have more room and it's easier to breathe again and control my heart rate. I've modified soo many movements- push-ups, ab work, even stretches. And I never used to drink water while exercising but I do now. I keep a cup of water close by and take gulps of it when the need strikes.

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Today I'm still working out every morning. Every single morning, there is no reason for me to skip a day while I'm feeling good, and the rest of my day can be fairly sedentary so it's important to get the movement in. I always wear the heart rate monitor to both watch my exertion AND to track how many calories I burn. I shoot for 60 minutes and tend to burn between 350 and 400 calories, with an average heart rate around 136. The max I've set for the past 3 months has been 150 beats per minute- this feels comfortable to me, higher than that and I might fail the talk test. I do a variety of exercises- kickboxing, step, low-impact aerobics, interval training, all in my living room. I still shy away from yoga. I know it's good for pregnant women but it has never satisfied me as a workout, so I keep yoga to my ending stretches for now, while I can still move more vigorously.

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This morning Ray took some video of me working out. I think it's hysterical when I catch a glimpse of this in the mirror.
I wanted to show you what I would have liked to have seen months ago. I'm 8 1/2 months pregnant and still very active- the big belly shouldn't stop you! I'm staying in as good shape as possible; pregnancy is not a time to go to seed! Maintaining an exercise program will help ease and even avoid lots of late pregnancy discomforts, as well as help out during labor and delivery. And of course bounce back faster postpartum, and who doesn't want that?

Today I did 45 minutes of a step routine, followed by 15 minutes of kickboxing and stretches. Max heart-rate 156 beats per minute, average 136, 387 calories. Of course I'm doing the beginner modifications in each case which is more than enough for a satisfactory workout right now. I try to incorporate weights when I can; in the video I'm holding 1 lb weights to utilize my arms more efficiently.
*When my heart rate jumps, my monitor starts beeping at me to take it down; when this happens I just take out the arm moves for a bit which you can see.

It's short and sweet but I hope you find this helpful if not entertaining!