Saturday, May 30, 2009

Froglet's Prenatal Concerts 4 & 5

Or, why would a pregnant lady even want to go to a concert?

Somehow, Morgan and I had plans for four out of five evenings this week. All right, it was almost entirely my doing; the only plan he requested was Monday night's concert. Yes, that's right, I've been dragging myself around, exhausted, and our week was bracketed by Monday and Friday night concerts. Well, if we don't go now, when will we go?

Monday's show was "Formerly New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo" and they were, as expected, hilariously funny. For anyone not familiar with FotC, I highly recommend renting the first season of the HBO show. We expected this to be the easier of the two shows this week, since we had assigned seating (really good seats at that) and went to the earlier of the two shows they had that night. But due to some issues with the fire alarm system at the venue, the show was half an hour late starting and the will call line was ridiculous. I had to wade through crowds with my arms around my belly to keep people from walking into me. But it was all worth it - Bret and Jemaine were very pretty and very funny. And as we were attempting the leave the theater after the show, while the second show audience was attempting to arrive, Morgan got to turn around and snap at the idiot behind me, "Can you please stop pushing the pregnant lady!" For anyone who has ever questioned whether Morg can be menacing, yes he can. My hero.

Friday night's show was Jenny Lewis at the Fillmore. We saw her a year or so ago when she toured supporting Rabbit Fur Coat and loved her stage show. Morgan was a little on the fence about seeing her again, but we were both blown away by her performance last night, although it was as different as could be from the last tour. Whereas the Rabbit Fur Coat tour had shimmery little dresses, costume changes, and choreographed dancing, this show was much more stripped down, with more of a 70s acid rock vibe. Still amazing performances by Jenny and her band though, even if I missed the eerie harmonies of the Watson Twins. Also, no show poster. WTF?

Our big concern with this show was me being on my feet for that long (and we didn't even realize there were going to be two opening bands). I called the club the day before the show to see if it was possible to reserve disabled seats, which I noticed for the first time last month when we were there for the Ting Tings. According to the woman I spoke to, they do not reserve seats for pregnant women because "anyone could show up with a positive pregnancy test and claim to be disabled." I asked what my odds of getting a seat if I showed up with my 9 month belly; she checked to make sure that all the tables hadn't been reserved and told me my odds were good. And they were; we found the nice lady in charge of guarding the disabled seats and asked if it be possible to sit there since I am so very pregnant. She disappeared for a minute, then came back with badges for us to wear saying it was okay to sit there. And so we were introduced to disabled seating at rock shows. Morgan says he wants to always bring pregnant women to shows from now on. We did discover that probably the crappiest job at the club is the two poor women who have to herd people away from those seats; there is very limited seating at the Fillmore, and before the shows started, the two women basically patrolled back and forth, advising anyone (without a badge) who sat down that the seats were reserved. Our favorite response was the guy who wanted to argue with them: "Well, why would disabled people even want to come to a concert?" Why not?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pain Management

We went to a Pain Management and Cesarean Section class last night at Kaiser. I don't plan on using/having either of those things, so had initially ruled out the class all together. But, as my wacky childbirth prep teacher pointed out, there is about a 25% cesarean rate at Kaiser Hayward, so there is a chance I might need one. While I am going to do everything I can to avoid it, I figured I might as well be prepared.

Morgan and I both knew a lot of the information presented in the class, but it was still interesting. One of the things the nurse anesthetist said that I liked was that just by coming to the class, we were making it less likely we would need pain medication because anxiety about the unknown can contribute to how pain is perceived. I thought this tied in nicely with the book I'm currently reading. During my last massage, I was talking to Kathleen about my disappointment in the childbirth prep class we took; there was a lot of information about positioning the baby prior to labor and the importance of skin to skin contact and breastfeeding after the baby was born, but very little on coping/relaxation techniques for during labor. Which I'm kind of thinking is important. Kathleen recommended Birthing From Within, which she used for her two births.

I'm not as far as the chapter on coping techniques for pain yet, but the first few chapters talk a lot about raising self-awareness and addressing one's own conceptions about pregnancy, labor, and parenting. The author gives examples of women who have gone through her seminars, which includes creating "birth art" to explore feelings. Not being visually arty (and having difficulty holding anything resembling a writing implement at the moment), I haven't done this, but reading about other women's experiences is making me consider what my own preconceptions are.

I hope that I am not cocky. That's my biggest fear, that I am arrogantly assuming I understand what I am getting into. I absolutely believe labor is painful, but I also know it is finite. I know contractions will hurt, but I know they don't last forever. Throughout my pregnancy, I have been comparing it to running a marathon. The last few weeks have been like miles 23-26, where I really want nothing more than to lie down on the side of the road and call it quits, but I know I'm almost done and I know that when its done, the feeling of accomplishment will be worth it. I'm looking at labor the same way. When I run long distances, I take walk breaks; for every however long I run (anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes at a time), I also take a walk break (1 to 2 minutes). I'm considering the contractions the runs and the time in between the walks. I know it will hurt like hell (like running for a measly two minutes after you've already been going for five hours) but I know if I can get through it, there will be that walk/rest again. And at the end, in addition to an amazing sense of accomplishment, I get a son.

Here's where the moms I know can blast me for being naive for comparing childbirth to something like running. But I believe - I hope - that I have the strength to get through this childbirth on my terms. And honestly, my (well researched) fears about medication are greater than my fears about pain. I have phobias about numbness, which I think I've already talked about here. I also have issues with the idea of not being able to walk around once an epidural is administered. Add to that my tendency towards very low blood pressure and nausea when medicated and the 1% chance of a spinal headache, and all in all, the drugs seem like a very bad idea.

But most of all, what I'm focusing on is the fact that the end objective is a healthy baby. If I decide I need drugs, if for some reason I end up needing a c-section, I will not let myself feel a sense of failure. Because I'll have the froglet either way, and that is the important part.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Today's Laundry

4 fitted crib sheets
2 fitted play yard sheets
2 changing pad covers
4 receiving blankets
2 hooded towels
1 miracle blanket
1 waterproof sheet
1 boppy cover
14 short sleeve onesies
5 long sleeve onesies
6 short sleeve t-shirts
4 long sleeve t-shirts
6 long sleeve sleepers
1 tiny pair of pants

And I just washed the stuff that was sized newborn and 0-3 months. We'll have a very well dressed baby.

Unusual items for a newborn's room

1. Half a dozen guitars.
Morgan feels, and I agree, that the guitars are the bug's inheritance. With guitars ranging from Grandpa's Avalon (most famously played by these girls) to Dad's 12-string Rickenbacker (most famously played by these boys), they perfectly represent how much music looms in our lives. However, once this boy gets mobile, we're going to have to find somewhere else to store them. I'm pretty sure they would be considered a hazard of some variety or other.

2. Several thousand CDs.
See above re the music thing. Never mind that all our music is stored in the computer at this point and that we rarely buy actual CDs anymore. Morgan spent 10 years working as a graphic designer of a record label, so the packaging is still interesting to us both and seems worth keeping. Again, once the boy is mobile, we'll need to move them somewhere else (hopefully by then, we'll have the basement set up in something more like a room and less like a dumping ground for all the stuff we don't know what to do with). We actually rearranged the CD shelves this weekend; where they used to cover an entire wall of the "nursery," they are now tucked in two corners of the room. Somehow they look much less imposing this way.

3. Elliptical trainer.
This one is all my fault. We just don't have anywhere it fits. Eventually we'll have to get rid of it, but right now I have visions of popping the froglet into his swing and exercising for half an hour at a time when I can't get out of the house to actually run.

4. Full sized futon sofa.
The most reasonable of the oddball items in the baby's room; when I was doing google image searches for ideas on how to incorporate all this stuff into the baby's room, I actually found a number of nurseries with sofas or daybeds in them. Since the froglet will be sleeping in our room for the first several months, this will still effectively be our guest room. As long as our guests don't mind sleeping with an excessive number of CDs, guitars and exercise equipment.

Of course, one of the things that won't be in the froglet's room that most people would consider normal is his crib. We've set that up in our bedroom (with its tent... which we had to modify to get to our liking) since he will be sleeping closer to us initially. We were also lent an Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper by the wonderful Melissa and Jeremy. While we love the idea of having the bug this close to us while we're sleeping, we're also concerned about the cats deciding that the co-sleeper is actually a special bed designed just for them. We figure we'll give it a try.

All together, I feel like we make tremendous progress in getting the bug's room ready this weekend. Its still piled high with stuff, but we're weeding it down and figuring out where things need to go. I've also started washing all the bedding and clothes we've received - so many tiny things! We've decided to hold off painting the room until he moves into it full time. We'd love to paint a mural of some variety in there, and we think it will be awesome to wait until we get a sense of his personality. That way rather than projecting who we want him to be into the mural (frogs, music...), or worse, give him a generic Baby Motif, we can customize the room for who he actually is.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Maternal Instincts

I almost hit a kid on my drive home today. I was about five blocks from my house, turning off Macarthur onto my street. I saw them playing on the sidewalk, obviously some variety of hide and seek or tag: two boys, no more than five or six, stalking a third boy from behind a hedge. There was a girl too, maybe a year or so older than the boys; maybe she was supposed to be in charge. When the first two boys jumped out from behind the hedge at the third boy, he ran right between two parked cars and into the street. Thank god I had already slowed down or the Impala's squishy brakes wouldn't have been enough. As it was the brakes made an impressive squeal, and the boy stopped short, a look of terror on his face. My first instinct was to jump out of the car, grab the lot of them by their ears and drag them off to find whoever the frak was supposed to be looking after them. Instead I glared at the poor kid and pointed sternly at the sidewalk, while he pointed a hand at the boys behind him, indicating that they were the reason he was running into traffic.

My heart didn't stop pounding until I got home.

I'm certain that I gave my mother a considerable amount of grief as a kid, tearing around my neighborhood on my pink bike with its flowered banana seat. I got grounded when I was 8 or 9 for riding down the middle of the street, completely oblivious to my four-year old sister peddling furiously after me on her big wheel. But our street wasn't particularly busy and I knew the rules about which streets I could and couldn't cross. One of the reasons I love our current house is the enormous back yard. We live on a busy street; it makes me cringe when I see or hear cars or motorcycles roaring down it, knowing how many cats and children live near by. While our yard is a huge mess of weeds right now, I can imagine how, by the time the bug is old enough to play out there, we'll have conquered it, made space for a playset, with grass or clover for him to run and tumble in. So he can stay the hell off the streets.

In other news, today is exactly one month before my due date. I have very little expectation that the froglet will arrive in exactly one month (we have friends who just had their first baby - 12 days late) but its pretty amazing being this close. And I'm not even stressing about his room today.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

One Hour

Its amazing the difference an hour can make. This week, I've started downsizing my work day by an hour, meaning I leave at 4pm instead of 5pm. It doesn't seem like it should make that much of a difference, but it really does. Psychologically, getting off an hour earlier makes the day fly by. It also means that traffic is a lot lighter heading home, so I miss the backups at the Caldecott and at the 580/13 merge. (Well, I have so far this week; I actually left at 4pm on Friday and had an even longer wait at the tunnel than usual.) And what do I do when I get home that hour earlier?


At least that's what I've done so far. I didn't intend to either day, but found myself passed out within 15 minutes of getting home. Morgan worked late tonight, so didn't call for a ride from BART until nearly 7pm. And I slept until he got home - nearly two hours.

Like baths, naps are not something that come naturally to me. I can probably credit my mom, who instilled in me a belief that there was something wrong if you napped - you were either sick or depressed. And tonight, I was pretty damn cranky when I woke up, but I blame that on the fact that right before I woke up, I dreamed I was having a migraine. Hopefully after a few days of this, I'll have caught up on some lost sleep and will be able to start spending that extra hour doing stuff around the house - I'm still feeling pretty overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we need to do before the froglet arrives. Hence, cranky.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Giving In

I am not a bath person. This hasn't always been the case; I remember taking periodic baths in high school, and I distinctly remember when I had to adapt to taking showers instead of baths as a child.* But as some point I started getting itchy just thinking about sitting in dirty bath water. I have marathoning friends who swear by ice baths after long runs, but I've always found that cold showers work just fine for me.

But I am really tired of the swelling. Yesterday at our last childbirth prep class, our teacher commented on my feet, recommending I get myself to a pool. Which I know, and which I really mean to do... at some point soon. Anyway, last night Morgan offered to clean the bathtub so that I could try taking a bath.** I didn't take him up on the offer, but this morning when I woke up with the same puffy feet and fingers so stiff I couldn't make a fist (its been really warm), I decided it was worth a try. I scrubbed out the bathtub with vinegar and baking soda (because the thought of bathing in traditional cleansers makes me even itchier than the thought of dirty water), dumped in a bunch of epsom salts... and sat there.

It did help. I had a prickly, feeling returning to fingers tingling, and my ankles are definitely slimmer. The top of feet are still puffy, but the improvement was noticeable. Which I guess means I should keep up with it or something. Despite the boredom, despite the slight ick factor, despite the discomfort. Sigh.

* The first apartment that my mom, sister and I lived in by ourselves. It was also the first Christmas I spent without a fireplace, and I was very concerned about how Santa would visit (even though I was terrified of him). My mom explained that Santa had a tiny little elf who worked as a key so Santa could let himself into the apartment without needing a chimney.

** We've lived here for four years, and never used the bathtub for a bath. The cats eat in the bathtub. When I explained this to our vet for some reason, she asked if they were afraid of drive-bys.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This weekend, in between picking up yet more baby items (the downside of having ignored the idea that the froglet will need stuff is that we're spending the last few weeks picking up everything we need - now we just need to organize it in the "nursery") and seeing Star Trek, we stopped off and bought a toy for ourselves - a Nintendo Wii. Apparently the days of stalking shipment dates and lining up in stores for the Wii are over (recession, anyone?) because Target had several in stock. We also picked up Wii Fit, with the idea that 1) Morgan hates outside and will actually play on this in our living room and 2) after the froglet is born, I can hop on it for a few minutes at a time and maybe do something resembling exercise, since it will be a little while before I'm entirely back on the marathoning bandwagon (though I have had several generous offers from people ready to push the froglet in a jogging stroller out on the trails...).

First of all, its perversely satisfying to set up one's Wii Fit profile at 8 months pregnant. Obese? Sure, why not. You want me to set a goal? How about a five pound weight gain in the next five weeks. Humorously enough, my "Wii Age" is exactly the same as my real age. And I'm surprising good at (some of) the balance games. I think Morgan is a little put out that my slalom score is consistently higher than his. But really, why not?

I tend to forget that at 34.5 weeks pregnant, I'm not "supposed" to be able to do certain things. I don't forget I'm pregnant by a long shot, but sometimes I'm surprised when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, or when I realize that lowering myself into a cross legged position on the floor isn't easy anymore. Or when I can't get off the damn couch by myself. I continue to be aware of the changes going on, but I don't feel like they should make me any less capable. My boss praised me this week for being able to recite a series of training dates without looking at my calendar, telling me that I don't realize I'm supposed to be losing that capacity at this point. Really? Yes, I'm more tired. Yes, my hands are swollen. Yes, I'd like to be able to sleep through the night without getting up to pee every two hours. Yes, carrying a baby is hard work, and I know I've been incredibly lucky with an easy pregnancy. But its also a normal, natural thing (far more natural than running 26.2 miles, some could argue) and it doesn't make me any less intelligent or strong. If anything, the opposite is true.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Good news/Scary news

At the start of our childbirth prep class, the instructor informed us that Kaiser Hayward's c-section rate was between 20-30%, meaning that of the 10 couples in the class, two or three of us will end up with c-sections. At week four of the class, two couples have already had their babies, both via c-section. So that rules us out, right? Statistically speaking, we're in the clear... Right?

The scary portion of this is that both couples who had their babies were premature. The scarier part is that the couple who had their baby last week had the same due date as us. Like me, she had her baby shower last Saturday, but instead of spending a lazy Sunday, like me, her water broke and she ended up in the hospital with her son seven weeks premature. He's still in the NICU, and probably will be for another week or so.

So now we have a list of things we have to get done in the next week or so. The car seat has to be installed, the crib needs to be assembled, a hospital bag has to be packed and stowed in the car. I have absolutely no reason to think the froglet will arrive any earlier than his due date, but at this point, I'm okay being paranoid.

But seriously, froglet? Keep cooking. Thanks.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Why we bought a tent for the crib.

A gratuitous photo post...

Mo: Cozy in his sling.

Pax: Tummy time.

Chloe: If I stay up here, the boys can't get me, right?

And finally, at long last, a belly picture. This one is actually about a month old, so I'm a bit bigger now...

Pacific Grove, April 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

Morgan's Nesting Instinct

Anyone who knows us knows that Morg is a far tidier person than I am. I drive him crazy with my tendency to leave books, magazines, shoes in entirely inappropriate places. So it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that his nesting instincts have kicked in much earlier than mine.

I just didn't expect them to kick in via a fixation with door knobs.

Another aspect of our lovely 90-year old house is that most of the door knobs do not work. They are original glass knobs, very pretty except that some previous tenant was overly sloppy when painting. And well, they don't work. They don't turn, doors don't latch. Our bedroom door didn't actually have a knob, just a hole in it where the knob used to be. Since we tend to lock our cats in our bedroom when we have guests, we developed a crude but effective system: a rope was tied around the hole, while at the other end of the rope, a second loop could be fastened around the door knob of the closet, just outside our bedroom. Of course, the closet door doesn't latch either, so a pile of dumb bells are lined up at the base of that door to keep it, and our bedroom door, closed. Yeah. Of course that only worked if you were outside the bedroom. To "latch" the door from the inside, you just need to locate a pile of stuff to prop in front of the door. The second bedroom (aka, the "nursery" - gulp) had a knob that sort of latched, but realistically the door was only ever held shut by the fact that it had been painted so many times that when it was closed, the top of the door wedged itself into the door frame - you had to bang on the top of the door in order to open the door from the outside; to open it from the inside, you had to hook your fingers over the top of the door and bear down to unstick it. House guests love this, I'm sure.

Early on, we tried looking at salvage yards for parts to repair them, but had no luck. But Morgan decided that this system would really not work once the bug arrives, so we carried ourselves off to the hardware store this weekend to buy some new door knobs and a template to drill new holes for the knob mechanism (the original knobs were much smaller than modern ones). Our bedroom was the easiest, since there was no malfunctioning knob to remove. The second bedroom was harder and required a lot of prying and banging to get the knob off. The top of door also had to be planed before it would shut properly. But we now have two functioning door that open and close and latch and lock. Its remarkable.

Next up: the closet door in the froglet's room, currently held shut by another pile of dumb bells.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

And the frogs!

I can't believe I failed to mention the froggie nature of most of the items received. By the time the kid is five, he's either going to hate frogs or (as Sonia suggested) think he is one.

Also, it was determined to day that if the baby is Froglet, Morgan must be The Big Frog.


Appropriately, it rained for the shower.

This afternoon, I spent a couple hours surrounded by amazing women. It was a funny combination of family, friends I've had since high school and college, people I've worked with, people I've run marathons with and people I've coached to run marathons. Lu, the best hostess ever, kindly refrained any cruel games involving measuring my belly or pinning bows on me, and instead gave me a wonderful memory of people gathered to celebrate the arrival of our froglet. We now have more baby clothes than I could previously imagine, lots of bottles, soft fuzzy things for the baby to love, handmade hats and sweaters and booties, blankets, a boppy, a diaper bag, baby music that doesn't suck (TMBG!), a car seat and matching stroller, and, of course, a teddy bear hand-crocheted by my mom. I now feel ready to have a baby. Between all this and the crib that my mom and aunts and uncles gave us last week, we could almost bring the bug home tomorrow and be fine. Well, except for that part where I want his brain to grow a little bit more.

Many many thanks to everyone who has been and continues to be wonderful and supportive. Its so important to me knowing that the froglet has such a wonderful community to be born into.

Incidentally, the Vermeer image above? Is the card my mom gave me today. She's had a print of this painting hanging in her house for my entire life; it was given to her when she was pregnant with me. I need to find a little frame and keep it somewhere special.

Friday, May 1, 2009


I am a stomach sleeper. The last time I wasn't able to sleep on my belly for any length of time was when I got my belly button pierced. I was 20, living in England, and trying to prepare for finals in a university system I felt somewhat under-qualified to be in. When I can't sleep, when my brain won't shut off, I lay on my stomach, arms above my head. Something about the pose invariably knocks me out. I miss it.

My nighttime routine looks something like this: Go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, wash my face (if I have the energy), take the dog outside, fill up my water bottle, go to the bathroom, arrange my pillows (body pillow and wedge pillow, plus three regular pillows), pull on my super comfy wrist braces, climb into bed, pass out for an hour or so, wake up, go to the bathroom, go back to sleep, wake up with numb or cramping hands, go to the bathroom, go back to sleep, wake up with a cat either on me or wedged between me and one of my pillows, go to the bathroom, go back to sleep, wake up with aching hips or, if I've rolled onto my back, back spasms, go to the bathroom, go back to sleep, hit snooze on my alarm clock.

I miss sleep. I know I'm not going to get any more sleep after the froglet arrives, but I really wish that for the next few weeks I could get just a little bit more sleep. Oh well.

I skipped my week 32 post last week, so am lumping it in with the week 33 one. Baby is growing, so am I. There you have it. Actually, his bones are hardening up and he's losing his previously wrinkly look as he put on weight. He's up over four pounds now, and is up to around 17-19 inches long. My week-by-week book addressed multiples last week (seriously? shouldn't anyone carrying multiples know already?) and this week talks about placenta previa. Continuing in its upbeat trends. One of my email newsletters had the temerity to suggest that my sleep might be "compromised." Another mentioned the possibility that I might be experiencing achiness or numbness in my hands, wrists, fingers. Really? Crazy symptoms these preggos have.