Friday, December 28, 2007

Measuring large

I just got back from the midwives office (driving in blinding snow, no less). The wee babe is measuring large, topping the 90th percentile for his head size. My uterus is measuring 24 weeks, and according to the original due date of May 5th that's way too big. However, last Thursday during the ultrasound they moved my due date up to either April 27th or April 29th. 

So, according to those dates I think that makes me 23 weeks along.  I have no idea. Math is hard, Barbie! 

He had the hiccups this morning, at least I think that's what was going on. The movement was very rhythmic and lasted about five minutes before it stopped. 

We spent the holiday weekend at Patrick's parents' ranch in a teensy little town of about three hundred people about an hour outside of Dallas. This is a picture he took of me with Geoffrey, one of his parents' four donkeys. 

.

My mom lives in between Dallas and Ft. Worth and my dad and stepmom live about 45 minutes south of Ft. Worth, so we did a lot of driving around. A lot. It's odd, I haven't lived in Texas since 2000, Patrick hasn't since I think 1995. Part of it feels like "home" still, but a lot of it is amazingly foreign to us both. 

Our families were all delighted about our surprise wedding. We're heading back to DFW in a month for our baby shower. We had a wonderful Christmas together, I got a new laptop (which I desperately needed) and a few other things from him. So I suppose I'm technically a mac convert now. It's taking some getting used to - but I like it. 

We're both coming down with a cold/the flu or something, so I'm sorry this is so utterly boring. 

Thursday, December 20, 2007

And the bride wore black.

Today, at sometime between 3 and 4 p.m., I'm getting married. In a black dress, no less. We're keeping it quiet, not even telling our parents. Instead we'll be surprising them over Christmas. 


You would think that I would be petrified. As I'm divorced. Twice over. 

The first time, was just a month after I turned 19. We'd been dating since I was 16 - and I was in love with the idea of being in love. We were having the big princess wedding. My dress weighed close to thirty pounds as it was so heavy with crystal beading. Incidentally, I hated it. His mother picked it out, and bought it for me. I never had the chance to find my own wedding dress.  We got married where his family was from, and I stayed up the night before crying because I didn't want to go through with it.  But there were 500 people coming the next day, and I was afraid of embarrassing my parents. I was afraid of disappointing everyone. Halfway down the aisle, I had to swallow the bile rising in my throat and fight my instinct to turn and bolt.  Looking back, I should have gone with it, and ran into the mid August Texas heat.  We were married only 13 months. We lived together for about half of those. I decided I couldn't live with a man who hit me, who called me a whore almost daily - and yet oddly wouldn't sleep with me. A man who would leave the most vile, violent - bloody pornography on my computer to shock me. I left him in the middle of the night, when he was out of town. I truly believed that he would follow through on his promise and kill me. He's now remarried, and the father of a son and a daughter (I know this because he has an annoying habit of tracking me down to tell me how sorry he is that we didn't work out). 

The second time, I was 22. He was 38. I thought I was "grown up" and knew what love was. We started dating in May and were married by August. We eloped, getting married at sunset on a beach in the Virgin Islands, just the two of us.  My father was so angry he didn't speak to me for almost four months. There were times when we were happy. We were poor and still in school. Then the lies started coming unravelled. He refused to tell his best friend (incidentally his ex-girlfriend, and oddly now, one of my closest friends who no longer speaks to him) that we were married for over three months even though he spoke to her daily.  I found out the truth about why he left his last job as a professor, after he swore to me for three years that what I feared the most hadn't happened. Instead, I read the truth in a copy of a court transcript when I was looking for a computer cord in his laptop bag. And yet, I stayed with him. But his perennial depression made me feel so unloved I honestly felt as if I was dying. He wouldn't work and I was struggling to support us both. I made mistakes too - huge ones, that were simply unforgivable. Ones that I regret with every ounce of my being. I wanted children, desperately. He didn't. We tried for four years (he said later he did so to placate me), infertility treatment for about half of that. Nothing ever worked. I now am so thankful that it never did. 

Today, I'm a different person. I'm 28. I'm a bit jaded. I've lived in four states in two years. I want a partner who is financially responsible, who works hard. I want a man who I can trust, who will love me for being myself. I want a partner who makes me laugh, who will be a good father, who has the deep seated desire for starting a family and making our own traditions. I want a man who is equally comfortable in a five star restaurant and just sitting around talking to my very poor family.  I want to spend my life with someone who is honest, who's laugh makes my heart warm. I want someone who isn't afraid to admit when he's wrong, and by the same token has the heart to forgive me when I am.  I don't want a savior, but a partner. Someone to hold my hand and face what life throws our way together. I want someone who has some of the same referents, who understands my quirks, who enjoys long drives to no particular destination on a whim. I want Patrick, by my side, forever.  And I mean forever. I want to grow old with him. I want to believe in our future. And for the first time in my life, I do. 

I can see him holding our son, hear his voice singing lullabies. I respect him.  For the first time in my life, I can't honestly picture myself intimate with any other person. 

And I love him with every fiber of my being. I see his flaws, and I am brave enough to show him mine. And we love each other in spite of - or perhaps because of - them. 

And so today, we will make our bond permanent - from a legal perspective. As honestly, our lives are so inextricably entwined, that regardless of what status we have on paper - he is my only.

I'm wearing a black dress (a long story - but I tried to find something more appropriate, but this was the first dress that made me feel beautiful since I got pregnant).  And I will be amazingly happy. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And now begins the psychotic dreams...

For the last week I've woken up at least once every night in a sheer panic. First there was the dream about someone kidnapping me and cutting Julian out of me. So horrifically gory and real. Then there was the dream that I gave birth to him, only he was see-through - like this phone I had when I was a freshman in high school - and I could see each vein, artery, organ, etc.

Last night was a doozy. I had a dream that he was huge when he was born, and he was possessed. He could talk and crawl immediately and was saying the most vile things. Then I had a minorly weird one that everyone in my dad's family sent shower gifts, but they were each personalized, and none were his name - as they didn't like it, so they each named him something different. The last one, he developed sharp cat-like teeth in utero and chewed himself out through my belly a la alien style rather than be born.

Yeah. I don't sleep so well at night anymore.

Since travel has been such an important part of our relationship, we decided to go with a travel theme for the nursery. Patrick found an adorable screen-print painting at Land of Nod of the ABCs where each letter is a different world city. We're going to paint the ceiling blue with white clouds (and glow in the dark stars) and the walls will be green with a mural of a city and train tracks. We found an old 1950s biplane that's about 2 feet wide and bright red in the basement of the house, and we're going to clean it up and suspend it from the ceiling. Patrick bought a huge lot of Dr. Seuss books and Richard Scarry books off ebay. So, Julian's library now includes over 70 total - which means the world to me as we both love to read.

I've made a few compulsive purchases - some onesies and a few all-in-one cloth diapers and some vintage diaper pins. We're likely going to do a combination of cloth and disposable diapers.

We've started the internal debate on circumcision, and I have to say it's a lot harder decision than I expected. (I want to forego it as I'm afraid they'll mangle his wee little penis - Patrick wants him to have it done).

I've got to start being better about my weight. After all my bragging that I haven't put on hardly any weight (3.5 lbs at 18 weeks) I somehow have put on over 7 in the last week and a half. And I'm having huge issues with swelling. I've always managed to have very slender ankles, but now - at night, I can barely take my shoes off because my feet are so swollen. My ankles literally disappear into the vast rolls of flesh that used to house my slender ankles. The same thing is happening with my hands, though to a lesser degree. I'm having to take my ring off during the day at work because it's starting to cut into my finger.

Patrick saw my ankles last night after I had them propped up for a few minutes and was really concerned. But the swelling isn't pitting - (i.e. if you poke it with your finger the dent doesn't stay) and I'm not having headaches (any more than normal, anyway) or other symptoms of preeclampsia. I guess I'm just one of the lucky ones for whom edema seems to happen early in the pregnancy and when it's less than thirty freaking degrees outside. I shudder to think what would happen if I was pregnant in the summer.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

More Ovaltine please.

I'm addicted to Ovaltine at the moment. Though I sometimes cheat on it with a big glass of carrot juice. The carrot juice sends Patrick into convulsions as he thinks there's nothing nastier on the planet.

We're supposed to fly out this Friday to go to Astoria, Oregon for the weekend. Unfortunately, those plans are on hiatus as the poor people there have been deluged (quite literally) with horrible weather. We were expecting a potential weather snag in our travel plans when we went to Key West in late July, but I can't say that I saw this coming. I guess now we'll land in Portland and travel east a bit instead. Who knows.

It snowed over 7 inches last night, and has been snowing all morning (though lightly). It's gorgeous. I'm working from home - trying to pretend that I'm being productive, but mostly looking outside and wishing I had the energy to get up and make a snowman. Or I don't know - wash dishes or do laundry or something similarly exciting. I do feel better than I did at first, but the energy reserves are still running very low. The midwife said my iron is too low, which is what's causing it. I'm trying to fix it via diet rather than pills, and I'm not sure how well it's going.

This last week I started leaking colostrum rather badly. It startled me, as I sprung a full fledged leak while wearing a silk shirt. I thought it was a bit early for this to happen. Meh.

We got our first baby gift in the mail today - a Christmas ornament from a friend of mine in KC. I was very touched, and had big heaping sobs when I opened it and saw what it was. It's still so surreal to me that this is happening.

And with this boring post concluded, I'm heading to make more Ovaltine.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wow.

It's not often that I'm able to say that I'm right - but...

It's a boy. Very, very definitely a boy.

(He even shook it at us a bit, lest we were unconvinced.)

His face, however was much harder to catch.

We're having a boy. Wow. A son.

I don't even know what to do. I've never been around a baby boy. I have three younger sisters, Patrick has one. We're both hopelessly lost as to what to do.

Next year, our tree will have a "J" on it.

For Julian.

Julian Randall.

Our son.

Wow.

Myths, Old Wives' Tales and Urban Legends

We started out with this pregnancy saying we were going to be surprised in the delivery with the sex. Except - well, I am the world's most impatient person.



At 18 weeks (give or take a few days) I'm decidedly rotund. Everyone who sees me in person swears to me that it'll be a girl. Oddly, I've felt a surety topping 80% that it's a boy from the beginning.

The midwife practice that I switched to won't do my ultrasound until December 20th, so Patrick and I decided to "treat" ourselves to an early Christmas present at one of those 3d/4d ultrasound places. Our appointment is at 8:30 tonight - and I'm well... honestly I'm a little freaked out by knowing. Why? I have no idea. I'd be happy either way, and I know he would too. I think he'd honestly prefer a girl, but that preference is waning with time.

Just for fun, I thought I'd try out a few of the "old wives' tales and see what they predict:

Carrying High, Carrying Low

The way you are carrying during your pregnancy is one of the most oft cited ways of determining the sex of your baby. The general story goes that, if you're carrying low, you're having a boy. If you are carrying high, then you must be having a girl.

I'd say that I'm carrying fairly high, but that's because the bebe is right smack at the tip top of my uterus.
Prediction: Girl.

What Your Urine Says

This next test to determine a baby's sex may not be for everyone, although it is very simple. Just take a sample of your urine and mix it with Drano. Depending on the color change of your urine, you will have a boy or a girl. Unfortunately, there is no consensus on what color equals which sex. So, if you do decided to try this and your urine turns bluish yellow, brownish, brown, black or blue you will be having a boy. If your urine looks more greenish brown, green, blue or doesn't change at all, then you're having a girl. But be warned: if you decide to do this test, there could be some pretty harsh fumes produced - not to mention the possibility of an explosion!

Yeah. I didn't try this. Sorry. The thought of urine and Drano together, just no. I don't care what my "urine" says.
Prediction: Who knows.

Heartbeats

One belief that has been around for some time, and even had some acceptance in the medical community at one point, is that the fetal heartbeat differs for boys and girls. If you're having a girl, then the fetal heart rate will be above 140. A boy will have a heart rate below 140. However, that pesky science has reared its little head again to say that this is complete fiction. A baby's heart rate is not affected by its sex until it is born, when a girl's heart rate will increase considerably compared with boys during labor.

Heartbeat two days ago: 155.
Prediction: Girl.

Craving Something…Sweet?

Many people believe that your cravings are caused by the sex of your baby. So, if you can't get enough chocolate, you could be having a girl. Does the idea of drinking straight lemon juice sound delicious to you? Then those sour cravings are a result of the little boy inside of you. However, if you go by the scientists, then some of them will claim that you're not even having cravings because cravings just don't exist.

Considering I only crave sour, salty and spicy things, I'd say:
Prediction: Boy.

Weight Gain

Thankfully, this one doesn't refer to your weight gain. The belief is that, if your husband puts on weight during your pregnancy, then you will be having a girl. If he doesn't put on a pound, then you're carrying a boy.

Not sure how in the world this is even credible as far as old wives tales go, but he's not gaining weight...
Prediction: Boy

Is Her Face Round and Full?

Some say that the shape and fullness of your face during pregnancy can indicate your baby's sex. Every woman gains weight differently during pregnancy, and every woman experiences different skin changes. If people tell you that because your face is round and rosy you are having a girl, they might be right!

They may also be wrong. I'm actually much thinner in the face now than I was before I got pregnant.
Prediction: Boy

Breast Size

Here's a test that you can do next time you change or get out of the bath. Look in the mirror at your breasts. If the right one is larger, you're having a boy! A larger left breast indicates a girl (if they're the same size, does that mean you're having one of each?).

Prediction: Boy. Bet you wanted to know my right breast is larger eh? They're both big, but the right is larger. Of course, I think it's always been a little larger.

The Dangling Wedding Ring

Hold your wedding ring over your wrist on a string or a strand of your hair. If the ring swings back and forth, you're having a boy. If it is more of a circular motion, then it's a girl. This can also be done by suspending a ring on a string above your belly.

Prediction: Boy.

Acne Analysis

Do you have acne? Some believe that getting acne during your pregnancy indicates you're carrying a girl. Maybe the acne is caused by twice the amount of female hormones?

Prediction: Boy. My face is actually much clearer than normal - er, aside from my forehead, so maybe "indeterminable"?

The stupidest one of all...

Pick up a key. If you've picked it up by the thinner end, you're having a girl. Picking it up by the bottom, rounder part means a boy is on the way. Did you pick it up by the middle? Then congratulations! You're having twins!

Prediction: I'm not having twins, that's for damn sure. Nonetheless, boy. Picking a key up by the skinny end just seems wrong to me.

Woman's Intuition

What you think you're having. In a study that asked women with no previous knowledge about their baby's sex, the moms-to-be correctly guessed the sex of their baby 71% of the time.

Prediction: Boy. I have no reason to think one way or the other, but I'll honestly be (pleasantly) surprised if I'm wrong.

Chinese Lunar Calendar

Prediction: Boy. 99% accurate my ass.

So, to sum it up: 7 things say boy, 2 say girl and I'm treating two as "undeterminable."

In other words, who knows - but hopefully we will after tonight.

So, wondering if I'm going to need an "E" or a "J" for my tree next year. (yes, we've got names picked out already)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Registry questions

My sister Vanessa is throwing us a baby shower while we're home over the Christmas holidays. I'm very grateful for it - but she's pressuring me to go ahead and register... and well - I haven't given the slightest thought to what we need or want.

I decided to go with Target and Land of Nod - but have no idea as to what to actually register for. So for those of you who have "been there, done that" or those of you who haven't - but have heard from those that have...

What recommendations do you have? What were lifesavers that you couldn't do without - and by the same token - what were wastes of money?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Injectable turkey.

Patrick's parents will be here either tonight about midnight or mid-day tomorrow. The house is about 60% boxes still. I have never used the (rather dated) oven before so I have no idea how evenly or accurately it heats. I may make a few pies tonight to make sure that it does indeed work.

Last night I had a weird dream that I was injecting the turkey using the leftover needles gathering dust in the bathroom from my old infertility treatments. I don't even want to know what that's supposed to mean.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Out, out damn spot!

I have to leave in ten minutes to board the train to take me to the closing.

I am going to be so happy when this is over and done.

After weeks of no nausea - this morning I vomited so violently while brushing my teeth that my face is again awash in red blotches, thanks to the lovely petechial hemorrhaging. While they usually were contained to my eyelids, this time they're everywhere - under my chin, on my neck, my chest, my shoulders, my arms, my eyes, cheeks, chin. The only area that seems to be immune is my nose. My great-grandfather affectionately nicknamed me "Spot" as a child because of the smattering of my freckles across my face. Somehow, the moniker seems more fitting now.

And... I'm also spotting again. Likely a result of too vigorous celebratory sex (pre-vomiting, mind you).

I seem to be damned to the red spots.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

One less thing...

On Monday night, I got a call from someone who'd seen our apartment ad on Craigslist. It was late, and we'd just had a huge meal out at one of our favorite restaurants - Bistro Campagne and we were in a hazy food coma. I always get the gratin de macaroni - a delightfully sinful concoction of macaroni made with heavy cream, real butter, Gruyère and Emmental cheese. It's so tasty.

I really didn't want to return her call, as I was tired and itching myself to death over that dreaded wool dress... but on the way home I did. I was hoping I'd be able to talk her into coming by on Tuesday, as it was already after 8:30. She was very pleasant and said "I'm in the neighborhood, could I swing by in about 15 minutes?"

Hesitantly, I said yes. It was a good thing I did. She signed a one year lease yesterday - so we are out of our lease now! Hooray. We have to be moved out by the end of the month, and she takes over her new lease on December 1st.

Whew! Since she signed the lease directly with the landlord, we don't have to deal with the sublet.

Now... if I could just get the response I need about how much dolla' dolla' bill y'all I have to bring tomorrow to the closing for the house.

I feel a nosebleed coming on.

As a random aside, someone asked me if I was going to have twins as I was "as big as a house" already.

Considering I am only 16 weeks, this does not bode well for the future.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Decorating secrets

Now that we'll be moving in to the new house, we're trying to slowly divest ourselves of our um, "eclectic" furniture. Granted, we have a cute apartment.


View from the front door.



From the kitchen, looking into the living room. I'm going to miss the built-ins for this place. And yes, the blinds and curtain in the left window are all wonky because Jack likes to try to attack them.




The kitchen, with the six boxes of china/crystal I managed to pack. Notice the eleventy billion bottles of wine, and alcohol stored on the countertops that I can no longer partake of. Oh. and the giant duster? Best $1.99 I've ever spent at IKEA because it conveniently doubles as a cat toy. Jack & Ennis HATE that thing with the power of a thousand blazing suns.

But it's just very, "apartment-ish" and our furnishings are going to look really out of place in the new house. When I left my old house, I left almost all of the furnishings behind. They were my ex-MIL's cast-offs, and while I was very appreciative of having the furniture, it just wasn't my style. And I felt weird about taking it after the divorce. So, aside from my bedroom furniture, I left it all there.


So, we're currently looking for almost all new furniture for the house. We have a little table that will work for the breakfast room, and his IKEA bedroom set will work in the guest room until we're able to buy something nicer. We've bought some vintage mid-century Thomasville furniture for the baby's room (three small dressers and a twin headboard for $300 via Craigslist). Now I just need to find a somewhat matching crib. We found a couch and chaise that I loved at Macy's this past weekend. But after spending about 30 minutes ordering it last night - the damn thing's on back order until LATE January. Screw that. I'm not waiting that long - and not paying for something that expensive (and lo, it was expensive) that I won't get for months.

So - anywho. I'm scouring Craigslist for a dining room set that is modern and clean enough for his tastes, and traditional enough - and has enough china/crystal storage for me. We're looking for random furniture, and will be largely replacing many decorative items as well.


That's where you come in.


Give me the scoop. Tell me your favorite decorating secrets, what catalogs/stores, etc. you find your best items in. We've got a somewhat flexible budget - mostly I'm just a tight ass and don't want to be spending money we don't have to for things.

I (apparently) dress left

Things around our place have been insane as of the last week. We close on the house this Thursday. Which means, as of Thursday our asses will be po' (so much so that we will be unable to afford even the remaining "o" and "r" to complete the word). But we will have keys to our new abode! We've still got 3 months left on our lease - so we're hoping we can find a sublessee soon. The landlord said if he can find someone who will take a new 12-month lease on, that he'll let us out of the contract.

I guess we're maybe 25% packed. Hmm. We move Saturday. As in - today's Monday which according to the little multi-colored one brightly colored for every day of the week panties I wore as a kid, means we'll be left only with let's see... Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to pack. [Aside, I was a bit of a neurotic kid - and refused to wear the Saturday panties on say Tuesday. If it wasn't Saturday, I wasn't wearing them.] Um, yeah. It's going to be nuts, but we will get it done somehow.

In other news, P got a job offer today with a firm downtown that he really wanted to work for. It's in house, so the constant threat of him having to travel Monday - Thursday night every week again is gone. Salary is comparable to what he makes now (a modest jump) but it comes with a 20% of salary bonus - which is HUGE. And, he has the flexibility to work from home on occasion, which will be nice when Baby G is here. To top it off, he'll be promoted to a director position - and will be able to really utilize his skill set. I'm so happy for him. He's just elated with the news. If you know him via Flickr, please don't make mention of it - as he's not notified his work yet - and a few people from there are privy to his site. I'm delighted as this means we'll be able to work downtown together, stealing the occasional lunch date - and be able to ride the train together every day. That's an extra 2 hours a day together, of just quiet existence and it delights me to no end.

Somehow over the weekend I have either pulled something or have bruised my tailbone. Well, just to the immediate left of my tailbone. It hurts to walk, to sit, to lay down - anything. I'm hobbling like I'm about 8,000 months pregnant or that many years old. Very attractive. And my ute apparently leans fairly toward the left (and backward too). I thought as it got bigger, it would somehow 'correct' and be more typical. In the mornings though, when I'm laying in bed, I can feel the rock hard lump immediately to the lower left of my belly button. Weird. I apparently, dress left in case you were wondering. I hope as I get larger things start to be more centralized, otherwise it'll look like I'm smuggling a basketball on the left.

As I was bent over packing a box Saturday, I stood up quickly and was shocked to have my first real bout of what I can only surmise is round ligament pain. And for a brief few seconds, I seriously thought that I had been stabbed in the lower abdomen. I hope this doesn't recur often as it literally felt as if someone popped me really hard inside with a taut rubber band.

I think I may be losing my mind - but I think that maybe I felt the baby move this last weekend. I was laying down on the couch a little while after drinking some orange juice, and there was this weird sensation that sort of felt like popcorn popping inside. I think it's too early though to feel anything, as I'm just now at 16 weeks.

In other news - the pooch is getting bigger. Well, it's not so much that the pooch is very large, but I've completely lost my waist. I'm just incredibly thick throughout the torso. Maternity pants (the low-rise ones) now stay up without shenanigans on my part. And while I didn't expect to be in them this early, I will say that screw it - I am only wearing what's comfortable from now on. [Which, note to self - pregnancy did not somehow absolve you of your allergy to wool, thus the very pretty grey maternity sweater dress you bought still itches like a MOTHER FUCKER when you wear it]

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Traditionally non-traditional bling

Indeed I did forget to follow through on my promise of pictures of the ring.


These pictures are kinda blurry but at least you get an idea for what it looks like. And that big speck on the sapphire? That's sensor dust on the camera. Too lazy to fix it for you this a.m. The ring is a 2.1 carat sapphire set in 18K white gold with about a half a carat of diamonds on the sides. The ring was originally made in 1910 - and now that it's sized down, the ring fits a little different on my finger than it did in these pictures. I love it, but the prongs on it snag often on clothing - and are always catching little bits of fuzz in it. I think you can click the picture to make it bigger.








Monday, November 5, 2007

I swear I wasn't...

Before you can be sworn into the bar, you have to pass a character & fitness investigation. Basically, they want to make sure that you're not behind on your debts, that you are honest and trustworthy, that you're a good person, etc.

Well - I had submitted my background information back in May - and I still hadn't been cleared. I was starting to panic, as we had to be cleared before November 1st in order to be sworn in. On the 31st, I received a letter that I hadn't been cleared and that I needed to report to a member of the committee for character and fitness. I was in an utter panic. Granted, there were some minor credit issues that I had from about 8 or 9 years ago, but I'd cleared those up and had paid them all off in full. I'd gotten sued in an eviction action by a landlord who had literally forgotten I'd already moved out - and the case was dismissed with prejudice. But there was nothing that was truly troublesome in my past. As it turns out my current employer accidentally mixed things up and essentially said that I was practicing law in this state. The problem with that is you can't technically practice law until you're sworn into a state. So, I can't advise or meet with clients directly until I'm sworn in. Thankfully, I was able to clear the matter up and I got cleared by the committee member in about 15 minutes. What a nightmare though. They also granted me a special exception, and I now get to be sworn in during the big mamba-jamba ceremony this Thursday. Unfortunately, they didn't correct my name in time for the ceremony - so I'll be sworn in under my previously married name - but hey - at least I get sworn in.

Then a week from Thursday we're closing on the house. We're trying to get the house packed up, but I'm now thinking I should have just paid someone else to pack us up. We've got so much crap - and I left so much behind when I left Kansas City. Sheesh.

Pregnancy is going pretty uneventfully. I'm in a weird sleepy phase right now - similar to right at first. I'm asleep every night by 9, and then up wide awake by 3 a.m. - and I try to fight to go back to sleep until 6 or so. I've started gaining weight, but thankfully it all seems to be in the belly thus far. I think my ass, which was sadly a bit flat to start with - will actually end up "negative" space the way things are going. Someone gave me their seat on the train today, so I suppose I must be "looking" pregnant to outsiders now. Heartburn is a bitch, and I'm in love with maternity underwear.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This does not bode well...

First, let me just say how much I hate people who steal pumpkins. We bought two pumpkins (a huge orange one) and a teensy white one during a trip we took to Traverse City, Michigan. Granted, they didn't cost much )the huge one was maybe $5) but we were planning on carving it tonight.

Of course... someone nicked it from our front porch last night. So we can't. Grrrr.

A few nights ago, Patrick reached over as I was getting undressed and said "oh honey, you've gotten something on your stomach" and tried to wipe it off. It is an angry, red stretch mark on the underside of my pooching belly about an inch and a half long. I'm only at 14 weeks. I shudder to think what my stomach's going to look like at 9 months. As I got horrible stretch marks during puberty on my hips and breasts, I knew it would happen, I just didn't expect it to so quickly.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

This is addicting...

This is utterly fascinating.

http://babynamewizard.com/namevoyager/lnv0105.html

When is this going to stop?

I spent much of the morning clutching the toilet begging God (or any other deity that would listen) to make me stop throwing up.

Granted, the vomiting isn't every day anymore, but it hurts. My abs and my side muscles ache from it - and my face hurts.

At what point does this actually stop?

I've tried to cut out all the triggers that seem to make it worse. I don't eat things that I don't like the smell of, I shower with the bathroom door open (the temperature change from the steamy shower to the cold apartment sent me reeling all the time). I don't sit in train seats with unobstructed views of the outside.

There are some things though that I have to do - namely, brushing my teeth. Once meticulous about my dental hygiene, let's say that since the pregnancy started, I've been using a lot of mouthwash. I just can't handle the toothbrush in the back of my mouth. Floss either for that point. Gross, I know - but I can only stomach brushing in the morning, and usually every single time it ends up with me prostrate on the tile floor heaving.

After hitting 14 weeks, I thought it would stop. Apparently I was mistaken.

And how is it that something so tiny can make sleeping so damn uncomfortable all the time now? I can't find a single comfortable position at night. Any suggestions for that would also be appreciated as I'll spend 10 hours in bed, and wake up completely exhausted.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Now back stateside with genetic counseling report

Sheep grazing in a peat field in Donegal County. They're spray painted like that after they're sheared each spring to provide a quick way to identify who they belong to from afar.

Meenaclady in County Donegal right across from Tory Island.


View from our bedroom in the hotel in Gweedore, far Northwestern corner of the country. Gweedore is actually a completely Irish speaking area - and English was hard to come by. The shipwrecked boat in the picture can be seen up close a few images down.



Sunset at The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland.

Looking back over the cliffs close to Portrush, Northern Ireland.

Decaying boat run aground in Gweedore (Northwestern corner of Ireland).
(If you click on the pictures, you can see them larger)
  • The trip was lovely, though it rained the majority of time we were there - and was a "bit" blustery. Think sustained winds of close to 60 mph. with gusts topping 80. We flew into Dublin and rented a car (which was "upgraded" to an SUV). Sigh. The roads there are far too narrow for SUVs, never mind the cost of gasoline in something that large. We spent the first night in Gweedore, Ireland (Gaoth Dobhair) - in the far northwestern corner. Gaoth refers to an inlet of the sea at the mouth of the Crolly River. It is the boundary between Gweedore to the north and the Rosses to the south. Dobhar is an old Irish word for water. Gaoth Dobhair translates as the aqueous estuary. The next day we slept in a little and then traversed across to Northern Ireland along the coast. Now, Ireland uses the Euro and measures distances by kilometers. Northern Ireland (part of the U.K.) uses the Pound Sterling and measures distances by miles. We had to quickly do conversions in our head as the Pathfinder only had kms on the speedometer.
  • We drove to The Giants Causeway on the northern coast, and then back down to Belfast and then through to Dublin. Our flight left early the next morning, and honestly after all the travelling we'd done. We'd upgraded to business class and we lucked out and had the new lay flat seats on American. Loved them. When we got home yesterday we just sort of chilled with the kittens, and decided to take the day off from anything strenuous.
  • Today I got the results back from my genetic testing. We have a 1 in 1,128 chance of Down Syndrome and a 1 in 10,000 chance of the other two trisomies they tested for that I don't honestly remember what were. Huge relief.
  • Patrick's taking the remainder of our earnest money to the real estate agent today. We close on Nov. 15, so it's only about two weeks away. We're hoping to move that following Saturday - so we're starting to pack up the apartment, get utilities set up, etc.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Inspector Gadget is confused.

House News

Well the inspection was this morning, and took about five hours long. *Yawn* Thankfully, Patrick went in my place and he was actually about 25 minutes late, but it was largely irrelevant as the inspector took ages to finish up. There are some minor issues with the house - including a gas leak next to the heating system that will have to be fixed before we can move in, a few gas pipes that need to be sealed off and a few more that need to be replaced. There's some minor electrical work that needs to be undertaken - splitting a few fuses, etc. The only thing that truly concerned me was the presence of asbestos tape in the basement around a few pipes. That will need to be removed soon.

There weren't any structural problems, and the roof is in good place. Patrick said that seeing the house today made him sure that it's "our" house. We've been running around all day trying to get the last documentation for the loan, modifying insurance, etc. It's been a pain, but that's o.k. The contract's under attorney review and we've got a meeting with the attorney tomorrow afternoon about that.

Pregnancy Question

Well, questions rather. Last week (at 12 weeks) they did a triple-screen for me as part of my prenatal testing. Only, I'm a little concerned as to why they did the bloodwork, when it apparently is usually given between 15-20 weeks pregnant. Is a blood test result going to come back wonky because of this and freak me out?

My regular jeans still fit, though badly. I've gained maybe 2 pounds since this started - but it seems to all be boobs and belly. Now for the way TMI part... The one article of clothing - other than bras - that I find almost completely bothersome right now? Panties. Please give me recommendations for comfortable knickers because I'm at the end of my rope. Maybe I'm just crazy - but everything seems swollen "down there" and all my underwear are chafing me raw. Irritating. Any suggestions? I tried some new cheapy Hanes barely there things this weekend - as I didn't want to spend a lot on stuff to get me through this awkward inbetween phase, but they were glorified pantyhose with the stockings cut off. Gah. horrible.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal!

The house is a fair bit out in the burbs. 40 miles out to be exact. If it was actually in the city, or one of the closer suburbs we'd easily be paying about four times what we are for the house.

We bid $29,000 under asking, and requested a credit of 1.5% of the sales price as a credit to help cover our closing costs. They just countered with two choices: either $5,000 above our initial offer or $10,000 above our initial offer with the sales price credit for closing costs. We're taking the second option because they end up being pretty much equivalent from a financial standpoint.

I am shaking I'm so excited. And deliriously happy. We were able to negotiate only putting down a $10,000 deposit - and now have less than thirty days to come up with the remaining portion of the 5% down.

Here's a better shot of the front of the house.

The two windows on the top left would be the baby's room, the middle is the hallway and the two on the top right are our room. The bottom left two windows are the dining room, then the front door, then the two right would be the living room and then the ones with the awning on them is a den that's got windows all the way around that we'll be using as an office and as an additional guest room. There's actually a deck above the office, but it's only accessible through the WINDOW in the master bedroom. Eventually we'll likely put a door in there, but not for a bit. There's a huge walk out roof-top deck on the back of the house that's accessible by a door in the guest room.

This has been a really, really wonderful day.

I apparently got nasty with Skeletor...

Well, we're still waiting (somewhat impatiently) for a response on our offer. Our agent called us late yesterday and said that it may be mid-day today before we heard anything. I'm nervous - but trying to be patient.

I got no patience and I hate waitin' ...

The first trimester screen this morning went really well. The nuchal fold was well within "normal" range - though I have no idea what the actual number was. Baby's heart-rate was 163.

Seeing it this time - wow. Breathtaking. It looked like an actual baby and not just a blob with a head.

The baby was moving around, kicking and sucking its right thumb, then playing with its toes. For a second, it turned its back to us, and shook its bum at the sonographer. Cheeky one.

Patrick and I were laughing that all of a sudden Tom Cruise seemed a lot less crazy for having bought an ultrasound machine, because we could have sat and watched that all day.

I really liked the shot of the baby in profile - but the one she printed out was the baby looking directly at the probe. And I know I've heard other women say it before - but there's something vaguely disconcerting about the fact that your baby bears a striking resemblance to Skeletor.

We met with the geneticist for awhile about our risk factors, and then I was sent off to the lab for bloodwork as part of the triple screen. We'll get results back in about a week, but as we'll be (I hope) in Ireland at that point - we won't actually hear anything for a week from Monday.

Watching the grainy black and white images of our baby on the screen, I fell completely head over heels in love with Patrick again.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Well there's a red house over yonder, that's where my baby stays.


Nothing like a little Hendrix to start your morning eh?

Keep your fingers crossed for us. We just put an offer down on another house.

This one was built in 1927, and is a three bedroom, two and a half bath with a huge formal dining room, kitchen with a breakfast room, a den (which we will be treating as an office with a daybed for occasional guests), large living room with original marble fireplace, a full unfinished basement and a walk up attic. It's got a lot of cool features, such as a huge triple armoire-styled closet in the master bedroom that's all lined in cedar, arched glass french doors throughout the house, hardwood stairs and railings, etc. There's a huge walk out deck on the roof over the attached garage that is accessible from a door in what would be the guest room. The house is on a corner lot and has a huge fish pond and fountain in the large shady back yard. The hardwoods in the house are all original and in immaculate shape. The same couple has lived in the house since the 1940s, and honestly - while they took great care of the home, there is a lot of work to be done. The master bathroom will have to be gutted almost immediately. There's 1960s wallpaper up in the kitchen that will be torn down (though I'm keeping the vintage metal cabinetry), and we'll have to tear up the carpet in the kitchen. WHO carpets a kitchen anyway?

We're planning on redoing a lot of the decor in "Hollywood Regency" style - think old Hollywood from the 1940s. It will be a long, slow process but I think it will be worth it.

Outside, our first projects will be ripping down the metal awnings, and the horrendous antenna, changing some landscaping (we're not fond of the large bushes up front but those would have to wait until next spring to come out at the earliest - to keep the snow from building up around the basement). Eventually, we'd like to finish out the basement and put a family room and children's play room down there - as the basement is dry and utterly massive.

We're supposed to hear something back on our offer by 6 p.m. today. We're keeping everything crossed. We bid just about $29,000 under asking price (based on the updates we're going to have to do) and we're nervously excited. Thankfully, our mortgage broker just called to tell us that rates had dropped .125% today, so we're in better financial shape than we thought.

As the house is vacant, we also asked for closing the week before Thanksgiving. Patrick's parents are coming up the Monday of Thanksgiving week, and we'd love to be in the house (albeit in boxes) when they get up here.

We'll have to find someone to lease our apartment, as the lease isn't up until April, but we decided to go ahead with the house now and see what happens. I didn't want to be moving at 9 months pregnant.

In other news, I've hit 12 weeks. Feeling tremendously better as the morning sickness seems to have (mostly) left - and I'm not so exhausted anymore. Our first trimester screening is tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to seeing Baby G.

And I promise, I'll bust out the camera for some ring pictures this weekend.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Doh!

So. This "pregnancy brain" busines...

I'm back in the office after being out since last Wednesday - and there was a cup of water on my desk that I cleverly thought - "Oh! I'll water my orchids with it."

Yeah. I did.

The arrangement of potted FAKE orchids that have been in my house or on my desk for the last two years or more.

Sigh.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Potentially grounded - with a side of sparkles.

I had another follow up today with the OB - my urine's finally mostly clear and just is too concentrated. Lots of floating white flakes in it - though I have no idea what they were, and forgot to ask. Doctor said he wants me drinking a lot more water and cranberry juice. No protein in the urine though, which is good. He put the doppler low on my stomach and after a fair bit of searching that freaked me out - he found the rapid whoosh whoosh whoosh heart beat. It made me cry. Again.

The pelvic was more painful than normal, but I swear to God it feels like he tries to fist me when he's doing those. Because I'm still bleeding, he's sending me to a perinatologist next week.

We're scheduled to leave for Dublin, Ireland two weeks from today. The doctor was pretty adamant that he does NOT want me going. I'm heartbroken, as it's the only time before the end of the year that we'll have for vacation - and our tickets are non-refundable. He said that it's possible he'll clear me for the trip, but not until after the visit to the perinatologist - and my ultrasound next week, and then another visit to him the day before the trip.

Sigh. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I really want to go to this trip - but obviously, I'm not going to put the baby in danger.

Oh. and I'm now sporting a new bauble. Patrick proposed. As nothing in our relationship has been traditional, he picked a very non-traditional ring. A 2.1 carat blue sapphire set in an Edwardian swirl of diamonds in 18kt white gold. The ring is from 1909 - and is gorgeous. We had to size it down from a 6.75 to a 4.75 - and while it's still a bit too big for me, I'll be able to hopefully wear it through the pregnancy. Our parents are delighted, and while we're debating whether to get married before the baby comes - at least for now they're placated.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cravings

At first, I thought I didn't have many odd food cravings - and really, I suppose the ones I do have aren't terribly "odd" but I thought I'd take a few minutes to jot them down here before I forget.

1. Water with LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of lemons. Essentially lemonade minus the sugar.
2. Brown mustard on whole wheat crackers, or even by the spoonful.
3. Buckets of jalapeños and incredibly sour dill pickles.
4. fried egg sandwiches with lots of pepperjack cheese
5. raisin toast with cream cheese
6. tuna salad sandwiches on rye with extra jalapeños (I know, I'm weird, I liked these before I was pregnant)
7. fish sticks (this is the only one that seems really odd to me, as I haven't eaten them in probably 10-15 years)
8. watermelon

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

sick.

I fell ill last Monday... at first it was just insane pressure in my sinus cavities and a fever. I missed Tuesday for work due to being out of town, and then Thursday and Friday from being sick. I finally went back in yesterday, only after having to leave by noon due to being so sick I couldn't sit still. I "worked" from home for the remainder of the day.

I have a lot of work to do - but I honestly feel miserable. The infection seems to have spread to my bladder and kidneys. It hurts - incredibly bad - to wee. And when I go, the immense feeling of pressure is never really abated because I can only go about a tablespoon full at a time. I know that I should be making the effort to actually go in the office, but I feel so wretched that I don't think I can manage it. If I stay here, I feel like I can get a lot more accomplished.

Bah.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Yeah I like Texas, Ain't it fine here...

Like to pick my guitar down in Luckenbach, and drink that Shiner Bock beer...

Playing around with the pregnancy calendar today, I realized something.

Zee bebe was conceived in a hotel in Austin when I was down for my best friend from high school's bachelorette party.

So, us two native Texans technically managed to make another one.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Good news...

One snipped of good news that got relatively brushed under the rug today...

I passed the IL bar!

Woo!

Stranger in a place I once called home.

I'm laying in one of two empty double beds in a sterile, institutional hotel room. It's 1 a.m., and I have so much work to do, but I simply cannot summon the energy to work on it. It feels oddly surreal to be back here, this place that I called home for two years. I know the streets so well that I can drive them absentmindedly, my brain still working on automatic mode.

I saw my old cats this evening. One is topping out at a whopping 24 lbs. and the other a "svelte" 19. They look so drastically different from my two new kittens. Then there was the inside of my old house. The drastic changes as well as the blatant reminders that some things simply never change. When I first moved here, I was full of such hope, such excitement. After tomorrow, I doubt I will ever be back. This place does not (on the whole) hold fond memories for me. I wish I wasn't here at all, but things had to be taken care of in person - and now that chapter will be completely resolved. Time to move on without looking back.

I picked up the last of my belongings from the house that I wanted, and in the stack of DVDs was the one that came with my follistim pen. He laughed and said "well, in case you decide you want to try to have kids again..." My breath caught in my throat and I was silent.

Sometimes, you can't say the "right" thing because no words, no matter how eloquently strung together would fit the situation.

I thought I would feel more passion, not in a romantic sense - but just in terms of scale of emotion. I feel rather hollow instead. Empty. Depleted.

I still want good things for him. I want happiness, love, health and good fortune. All the things that we couldn't seem to make last for the two of us.

I will be so glad that it's finally, completely over. And yet, there is a part of me that as happy as I am about that - is sad too. I failed. I'm afraid of failing again.

I think I need to go to sleep.

Monday, October 1, 2007

*cough* I hab a weally bad cold. *sniff*

I went to sleep last night at a decent hour, after a panicked run through the entire apartment trying to find my driver's license and debit card - as I'm leaving today to go out of town and had to have my DL to rent the car.

I woke up at 3:30 to go to the bathroom (something that irritates the um, piss out of me - as I was never one to wake up in the middle of the night, and now it's about twice a night) and I couldn't fall back asleep. My sinuses were full of so much pressure and I just couldn't get comfortable. I finally fell asleep at about 5:30, and the alarm went off at 6. It seems I've done nothing since then except blow my nose. The mucus - my god. It's unreal how much of it there is. My head feels like it's in a vise - and I have to fly this evening - which never feels good with a sinus infection/cold/whatever kind of plague is upon me at the moment.

I can't seem to get ahold of my OB this morning, and was wondering if any of you knew some "safe" over the counter meds I can take as I'm in a bad way this morning.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Trying to find the silver lining.

Well, the house that we were bidding on? Not any longer. The day after their realtor called our agent to set up further negotiations, they pulled the house from the market. I don't understand. I guess everyone has their reasons - but I wish they'd made that decision before they got our hopes up again.

In a strange twist of fate, we're now looking at another house two doors down from that one that's not quite as big (about 2,800 square feet - and about $50K less because it needs some major updating - think 1973 wallpaper throughout), and five more in the general neighborhood. I'm hoping something comes of our searching soon - as I'd like to be settled in before the holidays. We're going to look at seven more houses on Wednesday after work.

Speaking of work - I love my job. I do, really. I am really exhausted though. This week we've been working on a big deal closing and that required me to work 15 and 17 hour days plus the commute. To say it's been a long week is an understatement.

Nausea seems to come and go. I prefer the "going" bit personally. My weight's dropping steadily I'm down 8 pounds from this time last week. I just have no appetite. I realize the baby doesn't need much at this point but it worries me a bit.

I started bleeding bright red again this morning after um, yeah. So, I think the "no sex" ban is back in place. I'll be out of town two days next week, and then we have a guest coming in next weekend, and then Patrick will be in London for a week - so unfortunately I think that's easier to accomplish than I'd hope.

I would love for this to just be a "normal" pregnancy...

I bought some stuff to start quilting something for the wee one. Next ultrasound is on Oct. 19. I think I'll hold off starting in earnest until then.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Toothbrush 3, April 0

I have weird issues with my teeth. I carry floss with me at all times, I actually enjoy going to the dentist. I'll sit and suck on my teeth all day after a cleaning. I religiously use Arm & Hammer baking soda toothpaste (squeezed from the middle - I'm a brat like that), but as a kid used only Crest (the blue gel). Through college and grad school I used the cinnamon red gel stuff - though for the life of me I can't remember what brand that was. Colgate?

My younger sister Daphnne was fascinated with Miss Piggy bubblegum toothpaste with silver glitter in it when she was little, and to this day it makes me gag to smell artificial bubblegum flavoring. When I was about 13 or so, I had very expensive liquid sealants that hardened into little enamel covered caps put into my back molars. I walked out of the dentist's office and chewed a piece of gum and they all immediately popped out. My family was not happy with me. The dentist had to redo them, twice.

They still popped out.

I'm really bad about chewing on things - pens, ice, my nails... etc. or using my teeth to open things. Very bad for them, I know. I've never had a cavity in my life, though I think I'm getting one now as the enamel on one of my molars feels a bit sticky. I'm horribly afraid of dentures (my great-grandmother used pop hers out at us with her tongue to scare us when we were really small and I was petrified of them). If and when I lose my teeth, I'll get implants because the thought of dentures squicks me out to no end. My next door neighbors growing up (April and Mark Grogan) had two sets of baby teeth come in and fall out. I thought that was incredibly cool, though everyone teased them that they were really part shark.

As a July baby, I was one of the last kids in my class to lose a tooth. I lost my bottom two front teeth first, during the same weekend in first grade. One wasn't even really loose, but I wouldn't leave it alone until it fell out. I was so proud of my snaggletooth school pictures the next week. I lost a tooth in a Hostess chocolate pudding filled fried pie (oh my god, could you get any more Southern than that?) and haven't been able to eat them since. I also lost one eating a caramel apple, so every time I eat one now a part of me worries that I will lose another one.

I once left a letter under my pillow for the tooth fairy to leave a picture of herself so I could know for sure she was real. I wasn't sure I believed, but I didn't want to be wrong and miss out. Blind faith has always been difficult for me I guess.

My sisters all had braces. I didn't.My teeth used to be fairly straight, but now - thanks to severely impacted wisdom teeth - they're a bit jumbled on the bottom. I also have a mild overbite. I'd like to get braces now, but feel silly at my age about doing it.I chipped my right front tooth about two years ago and had to have the dentist file it down for me. It was really sharp and I wouldn't leave it alone with my tongue. It's just a very subtle spot, but I'm extremely self conscious about it.

One of my front teeth has a flouride stain on it that makes it have an incredibly white stripe in it. It looks sort of like the little stars that cartoonists use to show that something is shiny. I used to be horribly embarassed by it, but I sort of like it now because it makes my smile unique. I had all four of my impacted wisdom teeth extracted at one time. So unlike normal adults who have 32 teeth, I have 28. I busted out all my stitches and got oreo crumbs stuck in the holes because I just couldn't take any more jello and mashed potatoes. I ended up with more stitches.

Which I again promptly pulled out.

My tongue is just barely long enough to flip up and cover my upper teeth. I dream about my teeth a lot... about them falling out or swallowing them.

Anyway, right - to the teeth (yes, I listen to Ani upon occasion). I was brushing my teeth this morning, and like every other morning for the last month I started gagging when I did so. Usually, my stomach muscles get a little sore from the heaving, but I don't actually throw up. Today, however, the toothbrush won. I threw up so violently that blood vessels burst on my face all around my eyes. It's happened twice since then. Apparently, it's fairly common and actually has a medical term "petechiae" and looks like little red freckles all over my cheeks and around the side of my face. Basically it looks like someone took a red fine point sharpie and just went to town dotting the hell out of my face.

I'd already given up my tried and true "tongue brushing" and had honestly let the last few molars back get only the occasional cursory swish of the toothbrush, relying instead on the paint removing power of Listerine to freshen up.

So ladies who lurch - how did/do you deal with fighting the toothbrush?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Woman cannot live on cheez-its alone.

Cheez-its are the only thing right now that helps quell the nausea. I'm not vomiting, but I have the reeling of too much tequila feeling pretty much all day. Oddly, the only time I feel fairly human is first thing in the morning.

I hate cheez-its. Well, hate is a strong word. Perhaps I don't care for them. There's a strong dislike there. But something about the salty slightly bitter taste works. So I've been eating them, one 100 calorie pack at a time.

The only other thing I've found that has helped is stone ground mustard on whole wheat crackers. The idea of anything sweet makes me ill. Salt and vinegar pringles worked for a bit - but they're so oily.

Any other ideas as to things to try?

I would be most grateful for input - as well as divine intervention to make the nausea stop. I'd take that too.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I've heard beached whales wail.

In the eight months or so before I got pregnant, I lost about 30 pounds. Through the majority of the weight loss, I still was wearing the same size - about a 12. Right before I got pregnant the 12s got to big, and I was able to comfortably wear 10s. Thus, I was a little surprised to find yesterday that I can get almost nothing in my closet (even the biggest, stretchiest 12s) on without looking like a stuffed sausage around the "pooch" area. This - despite only having gained about 2 lbs. total since my last period 64 days ago. I'm actually noticeably losing weight in my arms and legs, and my clothes fit fine there. My stomach though. Ugh.

I think (way TMI I know) part of it may be because I seem to be struggling continually to go to the bathroom. It's like my entire digestive system has shut down and ain't NOTHING leaving anytime soon. But the fact of the matter remains, my pants, they do not button. And really, I just can't handle the rubberband through the buttonhole thing - mostly because I don't wear pants that often, so that's not really an option. I don't look pregnant, I look like I've had about eight thanksgiving dinners in a row. And oddly, going up a size(or two) in clothes doesn't seem to really help much. It's still straining on the belly, and hanging off my hips and thighs.

I (mistakenly, apparently) thought I'd be able to sail through the first trimester in normal clothes with no problem.

If you hear wailing, it's just me. Beached whales do that.

oooooooooooooooaaaaaaaarwwwwwwwwwwwwrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

2/2 urbanite seeks 5/2.1 suburbanite with strong foundation...

In July we decided we'd like to buy a house together, rather than continually pouring money into our (rather nice) landlord's pockets. When we decided to move in together, we picked out a 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment on the north side of the city and it's a great place. Granite countertops, a gas fireplace, hardwood floors, a cozy back deck, a huge basement, etc. But the neighbor upstairs is incredibly loud at times, and while it's "homey" it's never truly felt like home.

Thankfully we both make very comfortable salaries and both of us have been working diligently to pay off debt, so the fact that I still own a house with my ex didn't hamper us from qualifying for another mortgage. I took the Illinois bar in July, and we decided that when we got back from vacation afterward that we would start looking in earnest for a house as we have an assignment clause in our lease which would let us get out of it at any time during the term provided that an alternate tenant can be found.

We both knew we wanted an older home with character (think creaking floorboards, well worn stairs, etc.) and it needed to be at least three bedrooms. Both avid gardeners, it also had to have a substantial size lot. As he was looking for a new job downtown, both of us also made the requirement that the city had to have metra or el (train) service direct to downtown.

We went on a drive to go look at a rambling three story victorian about 40 miles south/southwest of the city and stumbled upon another house a few blocks down the street that we fell absolutely in love with. The house is an arts & crafts style home built in 1919 with dual living rooms, five bedrooms, two studies off the master bedroom, a full partially-finished basement, a screened porch off the main front porch, fireplace, formal dining room, glassed in breakfast room, a library, and a detached two car garage. And the house is on about half an acre of professionally landscaped gardens complete with arbors. Remarkably, it's about the smallest house on the street.

Now, this sounds very "crunchy granola" but when we walked into that house - we fell absolutely and terribly in love with it. We felt instantly at home. The owners had lived in the house for more than thirty years and now empty nesters were looking to downsize.

Sometime in the week after we saw the house, I fell pregnant. We looked at a few other houses with our agent, but that house just felt right. So, a day before I found out I was pregnant, we put an offer in on the house.

The couple who owns the house refused our request for concession of payment of a portion of the closing costs out of the proceeds of the sale (a very minor request that is pretty much de rigeur in today's market) and then asked for sixty days post close possession in order to get their things moved out. That simply wasn't possible. We weren't going to spend thousands and thousands of dollars for the original owners to continue living in the house after closing. The owners were leaving out of town for a month, and the deal fell through.

In the meantime, we started looking at other neighborhoods, and luckily interest rates on the 15-year mortgage we were looking for dropped about 1/4 to 1/2 a percentage point. I got a call from our real estate agent yesterday that the owners were back in town and that their agent had contacted our agent and wanted to revive negotiations.

To say that we're nervously excited would be an understatement. This house is well within our comfort zone of affordability - and it's huge. Sure, there are things that I'd love to change (such as ripping down every bit of godforsaken wallpaper in the house, tearing out some overgrown shrubs, replacing the amazingly shallow tub, and ripping up some ceramic tile in the kitchen and breakfast room that looks strikingly like 1970s linoleum) but the house is definitely move-in ready.

And, we'd be able to start preparing a nursery and actually settling down. With 45 days from offer acceptance to close mandated by the lender, theoretically we could be nicely settling in by Thanksgiving. We haven't heard any firm details from the sellers yet, but we're keeping our fingers crossed. Here's some pictures of the exterior of the house. Note that I didn't take these shots, as if I had, I would've spared you from my rapidly expanding caboose!




Friday, September 14, 2007

Houston, we have a heartbeat.

The ultrasound technician started the morning with an abdominal ultrasound, and I had to laugh - after five years of infertility treatment, I had never had one before. My uterus is tipped so far back that she was having a hard time finding the embryo and asked if I would be willing to have a transvaginal scan so that she could get a better picture.

She did the transvaginal and I saw the yolk sac and the embryo right away - along with the tell-tale flickering of the heart on the screen. Poor Patrick was utterly confused as to what we were looking at, but she was very patient in answering our questions and gave us I think 8 pictures to take home with us.

And then she surprised me, and she turned on the speakers and we were able to hear the rapid whoosh whoosh whoosh of the heartbeat. I thought based on the measurements we wouldn't be able to hear it yet. I don't think I've ever heard a more beautiful noise in my life. She said the embryo is measuring 6w6d (so still further behind than I expected, but at least it's "caught up" two days from the last scan). The heartbeat clocked in at 153, which from what I understand normal rates are 120-160, so we're delighted. They've moved my due date up to May 5, so we may end up with a Cinco De Mayo baby.

In other good news, she couldn't find a reason in the uterus for the bleeding, so she said it's likely just an abrasion on the cervix. Doctor is to follow up with us on that issue.

I am so thrilled right now I can barely breathe.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

To the quick.

My follow-up ultrasound is tomorrow morning. When I was scanned two weeks ago at what should have been 5 weeks 5 days, they found a small gestational sac in the uterus, but that's it. My HCG level the day before had been 6,200+ - but there was no fetal pole, no yolk sac (and God Almighty am I tired of trying to google "gestational sac in uterus and no yolk sac" and getting back hit after hit for "yoke" sac. Freaking yokels.) I know I ovulate late (usually day 17-18 on a 28/29 day cycle) so I wasn't going to be terribly surprised if they said that the pregnancy was dating behind but when she said it was dating only about 4 weeks 4 days, I was a bit taken aback.

So, two weeks later we're hoping we see an actual embryo in there with a strong heart beat. I'm still spotting on and off - I've just stopped talking about it because really, that gets boring after awhile. I'm still nauseous all the time - especially at night, but I'm not vomiting. I just get the "oh holy jesus I should've stopped after four shots of tequila last night" queasiness (yes, I've quit drinking completely - but you can't tell me you've never had that feeling before, and if you have, don't tell me) and the unmistakable feeling of the room spinning. Oddly, the one thing that triggers my nausea the most is watching something move - looking out the car or train window, scrolling through a document at work and watching the text fly by - or even watching the pantry door shut. The boobs are enormous, and sore and swollen and the nips are on constant TERROR THREAT ORANGE alert. (I dare you to spend more than an hour in Chicago O'Hare and not go insane listening to that over and over and over and over and over on the loudspeakers). I'm still out cold most nights by 9:00. I just cannot stay awake that late, though the crushing desire to nap during the day is lessening.

My stepmother has told my entire extended family it seems (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) So we're hoping and praying that everything in the scan goes well. I've read plenty of success stories about women with strong HCGs and retroverted (my ute is essentially flipped back toward my spine, and she "dresses" left a bit as well apparently) uteri showing a healthy heartbeat a little later than normal.

Tomorrow will mark cycle day 55, and I think I ovulated around day 17 - so that should put me at uhhhh 38 DPO? Why I'm even keeping up with this I have no idea. I'm having a hard time switching to the week/days dichotomy that seems to be peppered through the pregnancy sites that I've lurked on (trying to temper my feelings of being a fraud). If I was supposed to be 5 weeks 5 days 2 weeks ago - then I guess I'll be at 7 weeks 5 days - or by my calculation right at 7 weeks 1 day or so?

I've been biting my insanely long - due to prenatal vitamins - nails all day in nervous trepidation.

If I was a religious person, I'd be deep in prayer right now. Oh - who am I kidding, I'm praying to anyone who will listen. Ganesha, Allah, Yahweh, Sweet Baby Jesus, whatever. I'm an equal opportunity employer.

If you've got any good mojo to spare, I'll happily take it as well.

And in case you were wondering, today was apparently the day for parentheses.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ugh.

In case you were wondering, reading on the "el" and morning sickness do not good bedfellows make.

At all.

Ughhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Monday, September 10, 2007

And yet another thing...

I swear I just shaved my legs late yesterday afternoon - and yet.... my legs now resemble a poky brillo pad and it's not even 5 a.m. My body hair has always been a light reddish blonde, but now it's dark. Really dark. One could even say it's borderline black. And it's growing copiously.

What the hell?

Is this some kind of pregnancy conspiracy to make razor manufacturers more money?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Who is this person?

It's amazing how I am noticing the smallest changes in my body.

About two weeks ago my breasts started swelling, and they're not showing any signs of decreasing their rapid expansion yet. I'm now spilling out of DDs, and hoping I don't have to move into "watermelon breast" territory soon. My nipples are oddly sensitive, but not in the same way they were before. I can't feel some things that would have bothered me before. Yet, their sheer mass makes my shoulders ache. I can trace blue veins all along them - even through the nipple.

The nausea is actually picking up in a hurry. So much for telling the doctor I was concerned that I didn't have it.

Oh, and I've had my first odd craving. I wanted pineapple juice, but with jalapeño juice mixed in so badly last night. Very weird, I know. I've gained two pounds, but I chalk that up to copious amounts of queso in Dallas last weekend and bedrest. The sense of smell isn't as noticeable - except for certain smells (usually unpleasant ones).

I'm definitely a long way from showing, but I think it's a result of the incessant constipation perhaps - my waist looks "thicker" and less defined. I've always been a big girl, but I also had a very large difference in my waist and my hips - but it's not as noticeable to me.

I alternate from sleeping like the dead to insomnia. There is no inbetween. Oh, and I'm snoring now too - though I blame that on the fact that I can't breathe at all through my nose.

Oh. and the belching. My god, Homer Simpson would be jealous.

Everyone keeps saying my face is flushed, and I feel either oddly warmer or colder than normal.
I've also started changing my behavior apparently. I usually drive like a bat out of hell, and Patrick commented this past weekend that I was driving way too slowly. It's as if I'm suddenly hyper aware of every risk I take.

I have utterly no desire for chocolate whatsoever, something completely foreign to me. All I want is fruits - but I'm really craving anything salty/spicy. The spicier the better.

I feel like I don't even know who I am anymore, and it's just beginning.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Reassured

Went to the doctor this morning after cramping on and off most of the night. The doctor said my cervix is closed and that everything looks good inside. My bleeding had stopped but he said he was glad I came in, so he could make sure I was o.k.

So my HCG results are:

Day 33: 224
Day 35: 557
Day 40: 6,222.

This was a huge deal as I'd misheard him on the phone and thought he said my HCG for day 40 was 1,222. Slight difference there. Instead of doubling every 96 hours or so as I thought, it's actually doubling faster than every 1.5 days. He said to up my prometrium to 300 mg. a day (100 mg. 3 times a day) and that I could go to work, but that otherwise he wanted me to stay off my feet for the next few days. Lay down and be lazy? Sure. I can do that.

So now, Jack & Ennis (my kittens) and I are curled up on the couch eating Thai delivery.

I feel so much better.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Spotting. Again.

Cramping on top of it. Brown and light pink spotting. Still internal but enough now that I'm really starting to worry.

I'm not ready to give up. I want this baby so much.

Spilling the beans.

I talked to the doctor late Friday after the ultrasound and he wasn't concerned at all about the results. He said he appreciated that I was scared, but that at this stage, given my HCG levels, and the fact that I know I often don't ovulate until day 16-18 or so at the earliest that everything was "fine."

He said my HCG was rising, though not doubling every two days. The upward progression was fine and in line with what he was expecting - and that apparently HCG doesn't double every 1-2 days as your levels rise. I asked him what they were, but I missed his response as his cell phone broke up at that point. I told him I was extremely concerned about miscarriage, and he said "not to worry - enjoy your pregnancy."

Obviously this man has never been pregnant.

Based on his reassuring comments however, we went ahead and told our parents this weekend when we were down in Dallas for a wedding. My stepmom, my mom and his mom's birthdays were all this weekend - and they were overjoyed with the news. We cautioned that there was still a lot of risk, and that I'd been having light spotting (only one day of red spotting - about a week ago, and then pale barely noticeable brown spotting for the last two days) so not to get too excited. It's not even enough for a panty liner, just a little on the toilet paper in the bathroom.

But it's nice to know I'll have a support network if the unthinkable happens and I lose the pregnancy.

I'm trying to stay positive. I woke up insanely sick this morning, and my breasts are up a full cup size and very sore. The spotting scares me (another call into the doctor is pending) but I'm trying to just take it easy and minimize worrying about it as much as I can. My mom told me she spotted and even bled all through her pregnancy with me.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Just a sac.

I went in for an ultrasound today. The doctor's calculations (according to my LMP) had me at 5 weeks, 5 days.

The sonographer did find a single sac, nestled in the top of the uterus, but it's measuring only 4 weeks and 4 days. There's no fetal pole. Nothing. A small cyst on my left ovary.

I usually ovulate around day 16-18, so I wasn't terribly surprised if it had been 5 weeks 1-2 days. But 4 weeks 4 days? What does this mean???

The doctor on call at the sonography center gave me directions to come back in two weeks "so we can see the heartbeat then" but of course, my fucking doctor is out of the office and I'm unable to find a single shred of positive information online.

So terribly afraid.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Math is hard, Barbie!

Well - last Thursday at 3:30 my bloodwork showed an HCG level of 224. (Cycle Day 33, and I'm guessing I ovulated around day 16-17, so roughly 16-17 DPO)

Saturday a.m. at 11:00 it had jumped to 577 (Cycle Day 35, 18-19 DPO). So it may have gotten off to a slow start, but at least it's doubling at about a 1.46 day rate.

Repeat draw and examination tomorrow. So thankful for good news - now let's just hope it stays good.

So if Saturday was 577 then tomorrow's draw should show at least 3,500 -4,600 or so I think. Maybe. This is harder to calculate than I would like to admit.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A ball of nerves.

Thank you for all your well wishes and comforting words. They were greatly appreciated and helped calm me down tremendously. I tried calling the OB yesterday (why is it that I keep wanting to say "O.G."? The thought of my older, balding Indian doctor as the Original Gangsta is just too funny.)

I'm going to be missing about a half-day to a day or so of work every week for the indefinite future as a result of the myriad of doctor's visits. So, I have an appointment at 10:30 to speak to my partner/advisor and I'm going to be breaking the news then so I can have someone running "interference" for me at the office. I know, it's tremendously early - but I want to quell rumors about why I'm out of the office so often before they get out of control. The only problem is my mid-year review is also scheduled for this meeting - so if it doesn't go well, it may not be the best time to bring this up.

And there's the other issue... I'm not entitled to paid maternity leave (3 months at full salary and an additional 3 months of unpaid leave) until April 9th next year, when I'll be at my job for a year. Baby G as P and I have taken to calling it - is due just about two weeks later. And granted, while first time babies are typically later - there's no guarantee that will be the case for us.

Add that to the issue of "potential bed rest" that's been bandied about by the OB and me wondering how I'm going to manage to meet my hours for the year.

It's going to be a stressful time. And right now I'm so nervous I'm about ready to projectile vomit.

Sigh.

(And why has no one ever discussed how awful it is to uh, "take care of business" when you're on super prescription strength prenatal vitamins. I feel I may be compacted to death.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Red is perhaps my least favorite color.

My nickname in college and graduate school was just "Red" because of my blazing red tresses. It's always been one of my favorite colors - symbolizing love, passion - fire.

Until now.

I didn't listen to the doctor. I know, it's my own fault. But I was overcome - er, so to speak, with desire and I all but begged. You see, we're the once or twice a day couple, and it had been nearly a week...

About five hours later, I went to the bathroom and was startled when I saw red. Bright red. Lots of it. I cried to the point where I couldn't breathe - choking - rendering me incomprehensible. Patrick was trying to find out why I was crying and as I finally blurted out

"I'm bleeding. Bright red."

We both crumpled onto the bed, and he held me as he consulted Dr. Google.

Apparently not uncommon in the first trimester, blood is nonetheless a very frightening thing to find. All night long I laid in bed and grieved, sleeping fitfully about 10-20 minutes at a time when my sobs just finally overwhelmed me.

This morning, I'm still spotting, but it's brown and very scant. Of course, the doctor's office isn't open yet - and I don't know what to do.

Sigh. I will never forgive myself if one bout of sex is what makes me miscarry.

And if it doesn't - he better be prepared for the fact that I will not touch him again for a long, long time.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Endless doctor's visits and pelvic rest.

Well, apparently I better get used to sitting at the doctor's office. P went with me this morning, which was a good thing as we were waiting a LONG time and it was nice to have company.

My blood work came back, and well, the results weren't exactly stellar.

HCG: 224

Progesterone: 15.4.

The doctor said to keep taking the progesterone 2x a day. I had a follow up blood draw and he's faxing everything over to the perinatologist, and they're trying to get me in as quickly as possible. And I have a follow up appointment with the OB next Thursday. Sigh.

Pelvic rest until 8-10 weeks. Poor P. The doctor said "of course, you can do anything else that you're both happy with." P smirked. He does that often.

He said to lay off the hair dye (which my roots are frightening at the moment) and to try to limit my contact with the kittens as much as possible. Poor babies aren't going to understand why I'm so averse to touching them right now.

I really hope with every part of my being that this sticks.

I am so afraid of losing it. So, so afraid.

Naughty.

Last night, I did the unthinkable.

It's far too early for this, and I know it is - but I couldn't restrain myself.

We were out for a walk, and decided to peek in a trendy baby store in Lincoln Square. Oh. My. God. I folded.

I know, I know. But I couldn't help myself.

Still more than 80% of the pregnancy until there is (hopefully) an actual living baby in my arms, but I was so stupid... and I bought something.

Well, two somethings actually.

Errrrr, um, well, more than that.

He found a onesie that says "I can't read" that was so cute.

And then as we were paying for it, I spied another stack that had been taken off the shelves - in green with green text that says "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner." I asked why they were off the shelves, and she said that the manufacturer had been sued by Lionsgate - the studio who made Dirty Dancing, and that they were required to pull them. I said - well, is there any way that we could buy one and pretend we got it before you got the pull order? She laughed and said, well - provided you're not an attorney I could probably do that. I giggled and said, well I am - but I'm essentially a tax attorney, you have nothing to worry about.
Nobody puts Lionsgate in a corner apparently.

But glad I snapped that up when I did because as embarassing as it is - I must've seen this movie about eleventy billion times (you can look it up - that's an actual number).

Dirty Dancing

So. In my post-baby good contraband euphoria, I went home and surfed Etsy. Ohhh. dangerous. Especially for someone who is as keen on hand knit baby items as I am. A sweater, two bonnets and two pairs of booties later, I had to force myself away from the computer.

I pray that I'm not jinxing things.