Friday, January 30, 2009

Um, thanks?

Got home to find a package waiting for me. No invoice, no packing slip, no indication who it is from. Inside, a t-shirt bearing the following caption:

Hilarious; thank you, whoever its from. Morgan saw the evil mind of Heather Castillo at work. Anyone care to claim credit?

Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Perfectly Perfect

I realized this afternoon, as I was en route to Kaiser Hayward, that I went to either Kaiser Union City or Hayward three days this week: yoga in Union City on Tuesday night; my OB in Hayward yesterday morning; and another ultrasound appointment in Hayward this evening. No wonder I'm tired. But, apart from the next three weeks of yoga, I have no more appointments until March now. Yay. Though it will be a long to go without hearing our little frog*'s heartbeat.

My appointments this week were pretty uneventful. My blood pressure continues to be normal, despite not being able to have my daily smoothies and despite some icky stress related to the job. My doctor continues to tell me that everything is perfect. I think if I were a different type of patient, I would be very frustrated with him, as he's soo laid back. But he understands that I do a lot of research on my own and when I have a question, I can generally find out the answer. I'll tell him that the question occurred to me, and I'll tell him what I learned, and he'll agree. I think he kind of gets a kick out of what a non-patient I am. But according to him, the ultrasounds were fine, nothing to worry about. When I go back in March, we'll talk about the sugar test to make sure I don't have gestational diabetes.

I let Morgan skip the ultrasound appointment today since it was during the day and he already got to see all the baby's bits. Today's tech kind of looked like this guy, but was nice enough. The boy was semi cooperative; we got some good shots of his spine, but his head was apparently dead under my belly button, which is a "black hole" of ultrasound imaging (and for the record: belly button full of ultrasound gel? Just as gross as you might think). In case anyone was wondering, he's still a boy; I left with yet another picture of his tiny boy parts, illustrated with an arrow and the word "BOY!" (You know those naked baby bathtub pictures that parents allegedly bring out to embarrass their kids on prom night or whatever? We're starting our collection early.) The tech showed me the view from the top of his head, and I could clearly see his ears sticking out from the sides of his head; I am now convinced that the bug will have Dodge ears. His spine was also blocking his heart, so the tech asked me if I wanted to go for a walk and do some jumping jacks to try and get the boy to move, or if I wanted to come back another time. I opted for the walk, and added some orange juice to the mix to sugar the kid up (I'm going to be such a good mom). Apparently that worked, because the tech took a few more pictures and sent me on my way.

We received a wonderful package from Morgan's mom this week. Cute little jungle themed onesies (although apparently onesie is a trademarked name... like Kleenex), and a t-shirt, and froggy bath gear, and a rattle that the cats are absolutely fascinated by. We also got a little green jumpsuit with a frog prince on the butt ("Once upon a time...") for the boy from Morgan's manager Tasia (who also gave us the "Froggy's Day with Dad" book for Christmas). I continue to be awed by how excited and generous everyone is regarding this little boy. Already, he is surrounded by love. Thank you.

* We've changed our minds about telling people what our name choices are. Here it is...


Sunday, January 25, 2009

19 Weeks

Yesterday marked the beginning of week 19. I'm starting to have issues with some of these "what size is your baby" charts. Last week, I allegedly had a soda can sized baby. This week, I have an heirloom tomato. Unless that's a really big tomato, I see an inaccuracy there.

At any rate, the bean is coming to his senses this week; his brain is starting to designate specialized areas for smell, taste, vision, hearing, and touch. His arms and legs are finally in proportion with the rest of his body, and from here on out, the growth isn't going to be nearly so dramatic. As far as my development, I make funny noises when standing and sitting, and my feet appear to be getting bigger. Yay.* I'm looking at getting some far more comfortable shoes than the ballet flats I've been living in for the past few months. Recommendations? I just ordered a pair of Keen maryjanes from Zappos to get me started.

I was lucky enough to escape any subsequent migraine activity this weekend, and I have doctor appointments on both Wednesday and Thursday this week. Hopefully on Wednesday, I'll get some input on the results of last week's ultrasound, and on Thursday I get to go back for more pictures, since our boy wasn't being cooperative in showing off his spine last time. I will keep everyone posted.

And now, a glimpse of what we have in store for us:

* My mom has a funny story about childhood me. My friend Randi and I were always kind of mirror images of each other: she's one week older than me, and up until a certain point, we were the same height, same clothes and shoe size, etc. I don't remember exactly when it happened, but at some point, I stopped growing at the same rate Randi did, and she was soon taller than me. My mom doesn't remember me being upset about that part, but I was apparently very upset when we couldn't wear the same shoes anymore; I wanted my feet to keep growing so I could keep up with Randi.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Explaining cubism.

Earlier this week, Morgan sent me a link to this slide show of migraine inspired art, with the warning not to look at the images for too long. As someone who's lived with migraines for nearly 25 years, I was fascinated by how closely some of the images mapped to what I see when I get migraines, and by how different some of them were. There's an article by Oliver Sacks linked to the slide show, in which he discusses the geometric patterns he sees when he gets visual migraines, and how consistent this geometry is among others who get them as well. I've never been lucky enough to just get a visual migraine - when I get them, I get numbness, light sensitivity, loss of vision, headaches, and nausea - and I'm intrigued by the notion of geometric auras. My auras are never geometric; rather, I've described it as a hole in my vision, always centered in my left eye, that seems to have running water around it. You know when its been raining heavily and your windows are steamed up on the inside and water is running down the outside and you just can't see out? That's what my vision looks like during a migraine. But the geometric hallucinations/auras go a long way to explaining cubism, don't they?

I'm pretty sure its completely coincidental, but I got hit with my first pregnancy migraine last night. Its actually something I was concerned about long before I was even pregnant. I've known migraine sufferers whose headaches complete go away when they get pregnant; I've known others whose headaches increase to daily during pregnancy. A few years ago, after resolutely believing that nothing could touch my migraines, a former boss kind of changed my world by handing me one of her Maxalts when I was getting a migraine during a board meeting for which I was supposed to be taking minutes. Within ten minutes, the aura had disappeared; it took me longer to shake the actual headache, but I never threw up, and after an hour or two, was able to drive home without putting myself or anyone else at risk. The problem? Maxalt is a Category C drug, meaning its definitely not safe to take during pregnancy.

So here's hoping this migraine was a fluke, and it won't become a recurring thing during the rest of my pregnancy. As far as severity goes, this one was both mild and confusing. I didn't get as completely wiped out as I usually do, but the symptoms arrived in entirely the wrong order. After 25 years of observing the onset of my migraines and knowing almost exactly how long I have after my hands go numb until I lose my vision, until the pain descends, until the nausea sets in, this one threw me for a loop. Nausea first, then the aura, then the headache. Oh, and a mild inability to talk for a while (sorry, Mom).

It seems to have mostly passed, leaving me just the lovely hangover headache, but I stayed home from work today because in the last few years, my migraines have tended to cluster, arriving right on top of each other. I am terrified by the idea of getting stuck in Orinda, in an office filled with fluorescent lights and no soft surfaces, and not being able to get myself home. For now I'm going to take advantage of Isobel's unprecedented affection and curl up with my girl in our nice, dark living room. Sleep is honestly the only remedy I have ever found for these things.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

34 years later

I was born 16 days after Nixon resigned. According to my mother, she refused to let her first child be born until Dick was out of office. I am kind of feeling the same way today. In terms of hope for the world my son will grow up in, I am much happier than I would have been had he been conceived a year earlier. Not to steal a line from Michelle O, but today is one of the first days I remember feeling faith in my country.

And I’m very grateful that my boss gathered us up in his office and let us watch the inauguration online. Though I (and the entire state of California) could have done without Rick Warren...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Oh, boy.

This post was supposed to go up last night, but instead I went and watched my sister drink copious amounts of champagne. Sorry for delay, and happy birthday, Jill, again.

Yesterday, we had our "Big" ultrasound. The medical reason for it is to measure the brain and look at the heart and make sure all the wee little organs are there and doing what they should. The fun reason for it is to find out the sex of the baby. As a friend of mine pointed out, some people prefer to wait and be surprised at birth, but really its a surprise if you find out now or then. We were pretty surprised.

First, the medical stuff. Baby has a brain, has a four-chambered heart, which looked like a pulsing four-leaf clover, according to Morgan. There is a stomach, two kidneys, a liver, a bladder, arms and legs, a spine. The face, according to the ultrasound tech, is perfect. All right, really she was just looking for a cleft, but a mother can take pride in compliments, right? We didn't get any feedback on the state of these organs, as the scans still have to be analyzed by my doctor, but I have an appointment with him next week.

It was a different exam room than we had for our last ultrasound. That room had a monitor mounted on the wall opposite us, so we could see what the tech and the perinatologist were looking at. This time, there was no second screen, and the tech told me right off that she was going to keep her monitor turned towards her while she was taking the images she needed, and then she'd turn it so that I could see. Morgan sat at the foot of the bed and could see the entire thing. We have both kind of laughed at his coworker who apparently got bored during her big ultrasound, but given the set up of the room, I could almost see how that might happen. I didn't get bored; I was too busy watching both Morgan's and the tech's reactions to the images, and listening to her describe what she was looking at. Apparently, the most exciting part was the color-coded image of the cord: red for blood going from me to the baby, and blue for blood going from the baby to me. Morgan said it looked like a weather system suddenly moved into my belly.

And finally, the tech turned the screen so I could see. The bean wiggled around some during the exam. By this, he was laying on his head, with his body curling up and over, and his feet resting against my bladder. (Have I mentioned the amount of water they made me drink before this exam?)

When the tech was trying to take scans of the baby's face, she started laughing because each time she got a good angle, he would cover his face with his hand. Apparently our baby takes after our dog? Here's a profile shot.

Morgan says it looks like he has my family's nose, and Jill says he doesn't look like he has much of a chin. As long as he doesn't get my nose and Morgan's jaw...

And finally, some tiny feet.

This image is a little harder to read, but the little guy had his ankles crossed and feet braced against my bladder. Thanks, sweetie.

And of course, if you've been paying attention, you'll notice the switch of pronouns. We're having a boy. This kind of blew both Morgan and I away, as we'd both really only thought about a girl. We're not disappointed, of course, just readjusting. We won't be able to use our favorite name on our secret baby name list, and I'll have to rethink the stripey leggings I had in mind. And will I have to learn the rules to various sports now? Fortunately Morgan's pretty good with the sports stuff, even if he in no way engages in the typical male sports braggadocio.

So, at week 18, baby is measuring at the right length and weight for his age; he apparently weighs about 8 ounces. Its amazing to me that something so tiny has made such a big impact on body already. And its amazing to think about the bigger impact he'll have on our lives. Crazy.

And finally, some thanks. Pace and I went on a walk with my friend Donna last week, and she brought the bean a present - the tiniest t-shirt I have ever seen, with a peapod on the front, with three little peas nestled in it. Because, as she explained, there are three of us. Thanks, Donna.

Morgan spent last weekend house sitting for his grandparents, and come home with a bundle of fabric. When he was about five, his grandmother made him a pair of overalls with this fabric, and she gave him the remnants.

I love it because its evidence of a frog fixation that predates the Pacific Power PSA. So what should we make with the fabric?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


(or Kara reveals her true hippie nature)

I went to my first pre-natal yoga class tonight. First off, how much do I love Kaiser for offering such a wondrously crunchy class? The instructor specializes in Hatha yoga, which was the first type of yoga I studied, back when I was 22 and taking classes in the gym behind the library in Bernal Heights. Its not the power yoga that has gotten super popular in the last ten years; instead it focuses on breathing and gentle stretching and chanting and meditation. I've taken classes in a few other disciples, but this is the one I always come back to. Turns out, when I set aside my snarky, cynical self, I enjoy the funny breathing and the chanting and the "watching the colors inside my eyelids" during the meditation (as a particularly uptight former coworker I once took a yoga class with called it). It must be left over from my time in the cult...

I was the least pregnant person there by about a month, so I got to ogle lots of bellies and marvel at how different everyone looked. It was pretty cool. A lot of the poses were modified to make room for bellies. Like with many things, I'm in a funny in between place; I could done the traditional poses... but the modified poses were awfully comfy. I have five more classes, and then I can sign up again if I want. I'm torn between doing the class again, or taking an "Aquathenics" class through parks and rec. I suppose I could do both... or alternate.

Friday, January 9, 2009


I've packed up all my non-maternity clothes; from here on out, its all maternity clothes all the time. Except for my yoga pants. Love my yoga pants. I feel like I'm huge these days, but I'm guessing I'm not, really. The two women at work who are not my supervisors had no idea I was pregnant until I told them. But... today I popped the button on my jeans. Sigh. The first item of maternity clothes I bought, optimistically early on. They were too big for me when I bought them, and today, I popped the damn button. Oh well.

This has been an interesting week. I have been sleep deprived, stressed about the fact that my new job really isn't what it billed to be during the two interviews I had, and cranky in general.** But this afternoon, I had an epiphany.** The job doesn't have to be perfect. If I can keep my sanity in this very nutty environment, I'll be fine. Even if I only end up sticking it out until the junebug arrives, I'll be fine. In this economy, there's no way I can walk away from a job this well paying, especially since, honestly? for the work I've done this week, I'm overpaid. I guess that's to make up for the loss of my sanity... Anyway, what I realized is, holy crap! I'm having a baby. I need to keep my little nest egg (thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Sandler!) tucked away so that come June, I can stay home and bond with the bug. So there.

Okay, random, semi-incoherent rant over.

When I got home tonight, Pax was desperate for love, and since he has the biggest motor in the house, I let him climb in my lap and lean against my belly. I wonder how that purr sounded to the baby? I hope its as comforting to it as it is to me.

Seventeen weeks! I actually had to go and double check where my bookmark was in my pregnancy week by week book. Really? Seventeen weeks? This week, the bug is going to be about the size of my hand with the fingers spread out (yes, I just did that and stared at my hand in wonder) (wait: my hand, or the average woman's hand? I have small hands). Baby is also starting to grow itself some baby fat this week - good timing, considering how cold its been. Oh! and the baby weighs as much as a turnip this week. Huh. Also, its cartilage-y bones are hardening up (the better to kick me with). The big thing people start talking about in these few weeks is feeling the baby. I've felt a few things in the last week or so that might have been baby. Or it might have been gas.*** Dunno. But one night earlier this week, I was laying on my back (big no-no starting last week, according to all my books) and felt the tiniest thing, like a feather-brush, just inside from my right hipbone. I think that was the bug. It was cool.

* Or, who the hell puts non-grommeted buttons on maternity jeans? From now on, only the sexy panel pants for me.

** I'm sorry, Morgan.

*** Morgan finds this the most hilarious sentiment ever. Thfft.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Work is hard.*

I've been a bit silent in blogland because, well, I've been exhausted so far this week. Turns out working eight hour days, plus commuting 45 minutes each way is very tiring.** Makes me very happy that I was not working when I felt my worst a month or so ago. It will, however, be interesting to see how I feel about it all once I'm further along. And bigger. I've been taking BART to work, which I infinitely prefer over driving. I keep thinking I should take advantage of the disabled seats near the doors... but then I see the elderly woman with the bag full of vegetables from Chinatown, and I haul my sorry pregnant butt out of the seat. I'll give it another couple months before I stop giving up my seat.

The job is going well; its not exactly what I expected so far, though that might change as I become more familiar with the work process. I really like my direct supervisor, and everyone I work with seems very nice. We shall see...

And a baby update. We're into week 16! We've apparently reached avocado sized - about 4.5 inches (clearly not a Florida avocado!). Scalp patterning has started to form, even though there won't won't be any hair on the head yet. There is, however, fine downy hair all over the rest of the wee one's body, which will all fall off before birth. Nature is weird. Baby's heart is pumping about 25 quarts of blood a day; this will increase as baby develops. Go baby!

* I therefore apologize for any potential incoherence or randomness in this post.

** Morgan calls this the pregnancy Rube-Goldberg machine: Last night, I was sitting on the sofa with my laptop and Isobel. Izzy had a massive sneezing fit (damn feline herpes), so I leaned forward to grab a tissue to wipe her snotty little face. Laptop tipped forward, hitting me in the head. I quickly put laptop on the coffee table; knocked over bottle of juice. Juice is now running all over table (though mercifully missing the computer). Morgan kindly waited until I stopped crying to burst out laughing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

And a happy new year to you.

I'm starting off the new year with a major change: As of tomorrow, I'm back at work. I'll be working for a consultancy firm that creates policy and procedure manuals for hospitals. This is a job I interviewed for about two months ago, but they took their time with interviews and making a decision. The timing is perfect. Two months ago was just before my morning sickness kicked in, and I would have struggled being in an office 40 hours a week. Instead, I got to sleep lots and take care of myself.

Because it is actually a job I think I'll find interesting and because I would like to start out on the best possible terms with the bosses, I decided to be upfront about the pregnancy. We talked about the fact that I expect to take an unpaid leave of absence for about 8 to 12 weeks, and that I will be fine working remotely when I feel I can before coming back in full time. He sounded pretty okay with the situation, and I'm happy I don't have to deal with hiding what is getting harder and harder to hide. Bring on the fitted maternity tops! Er, maybe.

Our new years eve/new years day have been incredibly mellow. After getting my job offer yesterday, we took an emergency trip to the store to get a pair of pants that are neither maternity jeans nor yoga pants, since none of my work pants from three months ago fit me. We stayed in last night, watched a movie and played games, then dosed Pace when the punks in our neighborhood started setting off bottle rockets. We clinked our water and orange juice glasses at midnight and went to bed. Today has been equally lazy. We're about to take advantage of the last hour or so of daylight and take Pacey up to Chabot for a walk - if we can shake off his Xanax hangover. Damn punks.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope everyone else's year is off to as good a start.