Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Mighty Wind

Here he is, little Zephyr Arndt Anderson. After nearly three weeks, I'm ready to start writing again. His story picks up at his new blog, The Legend of Zephyr. Join us, won't you?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fully Cooked

Stick a fork in me, I am done. Or Ooschie, is, rather. Now that we're at 38 weeks, he could be born tomorrow or in a month (god forbid). As you can see from this photo that was taken a week ago, he still hasn't dropped. I haven't resorted to draping myself in curtains instead of getting dressed (tempting though it may be), but a wonderful woman named Justine Light of Natural Light Photography took maternity portraits of me (I scanned and edited this one with some interesting effects - Justine'll also do the newborn portraits), and these curtains were the only flowy, drapy thing I could find around the house after my round of backyard Earth mama nudes. It was my first time walking around my backyard buck nekkid, but luckily it was an unseasonably-warm 65 degrees and sunny, and I felt unencumbered by self-consciousness. When you're pregnant, there's not much you can do about your body but love and accept it.

I can barely wear any of my jewelry anymore (been wearing my wedding ring around my neck for the past month or so), and even my bangles are hard to slip over my hands these days. I actually tore a chunk of skin off my thumb knuckle trying to get my favorite bracelet on the other day. Luckily, any puffiness I seem to be collecting is minimal, and is evenly-distributed across my entire body. I'm happy that it's waited so long, and that I seem to have avoided most of the other icky symptoms (no "mask of pregnancy" or stretch marks, and only a couple bouts of mild heartburn).

Until it hit me, I never realized how real and powerful the nesting instinct is. Two weekends in a row, I busted my ass completely in half cleaning the house like a fucking crackhead: vacuuming the lamps, bleaching the ceilings, washing the candles and mopping the walls. I tried to take it easy one day, but kept catching myself at the sink with a toothbrush in my hand, scrubbing grout, or at the front door, removing bits of adhesive that have been bugging me for months with a paper towel and Goof-off. I'd go sit back down, back and feet aching, and then find myself in another part of the house performing some equally non-essential task, totally unawares, as though I had been sleepwalking (the laundry room needed reorganizing, I swear!).

For the sake of good feng shui, I moved all of the dead houseplants out of the house and filled the empty spaces with my lovely potted crassulas and cacti (avoiding leaving them outdoors in the freeze of death this year). However, my favorite mummified coyote head is currently displayed beneath a bell jar in the house's creativity corner, with some scented candles. I'm not sure what that means for our house's chi, but everything looks so much nicer now and I swear I can feel a difference in the energy and flow of our home. (Ooh, I was just poking around the internet and apparently the SE corner of the house, where I put the coyote head, represents the "eldest daughter," which is my role in my family of origin. The SW corner, where I put all the nice, new plants, is the "mother corner," which is my role in my new family. When did I turn into such a hippie?)

I can tell my body is getting ready for labor, because now when I'm kicking back in the evening I randomly get a pinching jolt in my cervix (ooh! there's another one now!) as it opens and softens. As of last Friday, I am already dilated 1cm. It's so exciting! Ooschie is unbelievably active for being in such tight quarters, and his movements trigger lots of Braxton Hicks contractions. I feel like my uterus is clenched like a fist on and off for about 50% of every day (and night). It's kind of awkward moving around when my abdomen is so distended, but I guess I do alright.

Here it is: the fabled Totoro mural. Scott did such an excellent job. We still need to pick up the cozy little pad and cover for the changing table (as well as a few other little things) but as you can see, the nursery is pretty much in full effect.

The cradle at the foot of the bed was a gift from Scott's mom, who'd had it for years. We couldn't find bedding that fits, but I recently realized that the Moses basket I scored at Picolina's fits perfectly into it, so this will definitely be used a lot.

Some of you have probably spotted the red flags (dangerous crib in front of window/next to curtains and the choking hazard of the pull-cord to the blinds), but we know it will be a couple of months before we really have to worry about these things, and will rearrange accordingly.

I have no idea if I'll update again before I go into labor, but I'll try to keep everyone updated. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Like a rolling stone baby

Ooschie has this new thing where he likes to seize up into a hard little knot and just curl up inside my ribcage. I call him my stone baby when he does this, and sometimes if it's really feeling awkward I try to gently push him back down a bit. This never works.

Stone babies, or lithopedions, fascinate me. Like most prenatal horrors, I learned of their existence shortly after I became pregnant, watching some program on TLC (why are there so many shows about what can go morbidly wrong with a fetus on TLC?). This was when I first realized I had theretofore been completely blind to every single reference to pregnancy and babies that are apparently ubiquitous to pop culture (either that, or everything really is about babies, just all of a sudden). Even this season of Dexter begins with our hero, Dexter Morgan, sleep-deprived to the point of incompetence because of the new baby in his household. Last week's season premiere included a hilarious remix of his morning routine, after new fatherhood:

Note his former hipster kicks have been replaced with a sensible Hush Puppy.

Anyways, in case you're too lazy to read the wiki I linked above, stone babies are a rare phenomena wherein a miscarried fetus is calcified inside the mother's body rather than reabsorbed or aborted by the woman's body. This calcification prevents the dead fetus from becoming infectious to the mother - like some frightening pearl, only fetus-shaped. There's one somewhat famous case of a woman in her 90s delivering a lithopedion that she had carried for 60 years.

Less frightening (in fact, probably a comparative zero on the gross-out scale), Oosch, rapidly running out of stretching room, is now relinquished to sliding his knees, elbows and feet across my abdomen with such fervor that I swear I can see his footprint.

Not my (or any real) belly

Well not quite, but it is quite alien to see tiny appendages poking through my skin (sometimes a half inch out of my body).

What else is new? My linea nigra has started to develop, but so far it's really faint and only above the belly button. So far, my new hypnobirthing class does not seem to be too crystal-woowoo-hippie, which is something of which I had been sort of wary. My pragmatism allows me to keep a sense of humor about plenty of it, but I actually don't find myself rolling my eyes about everything. I guess sometimes keeping an open mind can be helpful.

My diabetes is being so easily controlled by diet that I am still suspicious of a misdiagnosis. So far, the only glucose spikes I'e experienced have resulted from white bread: a hot dog (and bun) on the train last week, and twice from Popeye's biscuits (I was able to deduct that it was the biscuit because I ate the same thing twice - once with and once without the biscuit, and only when I had the biscuit did my blood sugar jump). So no more white bread. Cherry Garcia cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, however, seems to have no effect (I reckon the fat and protein helped slow the absorption of sugar into my bloodstream).

The nursery is seriously almost done - the furniture is being delivered this week and we have only to organize the closet and storage space to start arranging things. The Totoro mural needs only a few details to be complete. Will post photos when that happens.

Now I need to go fix dinner because this tiny golem in my belly is getting restless.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Got the Diabeetus

I couldn't find the original video of when Wilford Brimley was "on" the Colbert Report, but this original PSA is still unintentionally hilarious. "I've slipped up. I've eaten ice cream and apple pie and I've done things I shouldn't do" sends the imagination racing, dunnit?

It's true. I had a score of 190 on my glucose screen (10 points from an instant gestational diabetes diagnosis), and although I scored a point or two below the cutoff on each blood test during my oral glucose tolerance test, my midwife wants to err on the side of caution and is calling it. I have my first meeting with a diabetes counselor and nutritionist tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I have been inundating myself with a dizzying array of information on GD from the American Diabetes Association, WebMD and Nutritiondata.com on eating a low-glycemic index/glycemic load (GI/GL) diet. I'm pissed that, after years of counting calories, grams of fat and fiber and logging minutes spent on a treadmill in an effort to manage my weight, that during my one chance to go all out, I have to start worrying about having a macrosomic baby.

I'm sorry, but that is just not cute. You might think this is an extreme example, but the grandson of one of my coworkers was 11 POUNDS (the mom had GD). All of the other complications that go with GD don't really scare me (except the injured shoulders, which I think only happens to giant babies). I know it's relatively common (4% of all pregnant women doesn't feel that common to me), and everything usually goes back to normal after the birth, but I don't give a shit. I'm being robbed of my archetypical pregnancy if I can't sit on the couch with a bowl of ice cream balanced on my tummy. No pregnant woman should have to count carbs and avoid desserts. It's cruel.

Getting enough calories when all I can eat is white meat, brown rice and veggies is hard - the first day or two when I started trying to manage my carbs I only got 1500 calories. Diet and exercise are the best ways to manage this, and I'm not kidding myself about that, but I still resent having to do this. To me, it's just one more big fat "No" that I have to hear.

And don't tell me "it's better for the baby! you'll feel great!" in that chipper, non-GD-having voice, because I'm not buying it. You get to eat cake. All I feel right now is desperate. I now spend my free time obsessing about the GL of foods (and trying to stay within 80-100/day), what I can and can't eat, and starting tomorrow I'll have to start test my blood four times a day to prove that I'm not cheating. Last week, on my way to the gym after work, I smelled cinnamon rolls and started crying.

I know I'm probably making this much worse for myself than necessary, and I should probably just wait to hear what the diabetic nutritionist says, but the "information" they sent me looks like it was written for a fucking fifth grader and suggests such snacks as "popcorn and meat". It's going to take all of my remaining strength to stop from rolling my eyes and saying "Don't talk to me like I'm a retard" to the diabetes counselor.

By the way, agave nectar is not as sweet as people say, even if it does have a GI of only 27.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chair, Reupholstered

Take a $20 chair from Goodwill, add fabric from Mill End Store and pay the nice folks at Alamo Custom Upholstery to stitch it together, e voilà! A brand new(ish) chair that cost much less than those fancy ones from the upscale baby boutiques, without the guilt of additional resource consumption and the joy of rescuing furniture from the landfill. Best of all, my lovely mother-in-law Linda has a comfy chair for rocking her grandbaby when she comes to visit.

Delfina and Francisco completely stripped the ugly (yet sturdy) upholstered rocker down to its bones and fully restuffed it before giving it a new cover. Here's a detail of the gorgeous fabric that I am completely fucking in love with:

I have about a half yard left of this fabric, which will probably become a pillow for the living room. It matches my décor perfectly (the natural history theme in cool, soothing colors is fairly consistent throughout the house). Once Ooschie hits his destructive toddler years, this chair will be moved out of his room and either into the living room or to storage, depending on his propensity for either sticks or twelve-sided dice.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Best unintentional maternity wear find

Looks like a regular, long tunic dress from American Apparel, right?

Think again! It's a regular, long tunic dress from American Apparel that also has this bizarre boob-access panel for easy breastfeeding.

And I have a cute new top to wear after all this "being pregnant" nonsense compromises my sense of style (seriously, having to wear flats every day is killing my spirit).