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).

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Final Countdown

I know it's been a few weeks longer than a month, which means I'm pretty much already a terrible mother, right? Actually, I meant to update a couple weeks ago, but the photos I cajoled Scott into taking accidentally got deleted, then we got a new computer (Compy 2000 was like, 10 years old, had been rebuilt 4 or 5 times and sounded like it had a jet engine, not to mention it only had enough RAM to run one program at a time), and then I went into the field for a week, and you know how it goes.

Ooschie - that's what I've nicknamed him (it's a German boy's name that means "waterfall") - is getting rather big and kicking the shit out of my guts. Conversely, when he's not kicking the shit out of my guts he seems to be pressing on them with his tiny feet, preventing the shit from coming out of them. I also found out that the random seizing of my ute into a rockhard balloon is the early Braxton-Hicks contractions. They don't really hurt yet, but trying to walk in the midst of one is somewhat akin to eating a huge meal, then chugging a liter of water, then getting up and trying to walk. Whilst wearing a thick, elastic band around your waist.

My energy waxes and wanes a lot. I get winded just walking through the house carrying a stack of towels, and feel like I need about 12 hours of sleep on the weekends. I'm trying to stay active so the rest of the pregnancy is smooth sailing, but I've also begun counting down the number of weekends I have left to sleep in.

Getting Oosch all fired up is a fun and easy task. Drinking a swig of juice or grabbing my belly and giving it a good, stout shake both work to get him to perform for my friends. "DANCE FOR ME, COLIN!" is one of my new favorite things to yell at him. When he kicks too much Scott likes to scold him in a babyfied stern and patronly voice, "Ooschie! Be nice to your mother!" and then we collapse into giggles at our horrible fetal mistreatment.

Anyways, now that I've entered the third trimester (I've gained about 25lbs) - the home stretch, the final countdown, if you will - I will try to update more frequently. No more procrastinating! We've got the nursery at about 50%, and I'll show you all the cuteness when it's assembled.

p.s. When I was putting this post together and he heard a snippet of the mp3 I was embedding, Scott said he was totally gonna play this song in the delivery room, but I told him I'd rather hear Eye of the Tiger.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Snips and snails

Had the "find out the gender" ultrasound yesterday, and guess what?

If there were ever a more obvious ultrasound picture, I have yet to see it. The little fella is still under a pound (lucky number 13oz, in time for my birthday on the 13th), and he's started squirming with enough spastic flourish that I can feel the light thump inside me once in awhile. It feels like a fingertip flicking against the inside of my belly. My favorite part of the ultrasound was seeing him get bucked around in my womb when I laugh - he's in his own private moonbounce and I am the conductor of his lulz.


Other exciting gestational updates: started getting intermittent heartburn (chugging ice water helps, will start the Tums when it really starts to pick up) and woke to my first raging charley horse the other night. Word of advice: punching a leg cramp doesn't work to relieve the pain. I just woke up so abruptly (sleepily screaming a muffled "aghhh!") and started pounding it with my knuckles like so many big brothers demanding a cry of "uncle". I tried rubbing and stretching it and was eventually able to return to sleep.

* * * * *

Stretched out on the couch last night, legs strewn across Scott's lap, it occurred to me how fleeting these moments suddenly are; those lazy evenings lounging with my mate, watching whatever happens to be on the TV, with no care but my personal comfort, are numbered. Tomorrow, we'll be spending a week in Hawaii to revel in ourselves, our relationship and to reflect on the vast turns our lives are about to take.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Moonstones are more than orthoclase

Scott finally took a few shots of the belleh, but he still needs a little practice with my camera. This one, the best of the lot, was a bit blurry so I added some softness effects to it in Picnik. It's still so hard for me to believe that the little nugget is only about as big as a croissant, yet my body has changed this much. How did my intestines move so far up into my abdomen? At 14.5 weeks, some women have barely started showing and are perhaps still hiding their pregnancies, whereas I had strangers asking me about it at 8 weeks.

The appetite is still weird. I'm hungry a lot, and can eat more variety of foods (the aversions are pretty much gone, though the texture of shrimp is still completely appalling to me for some reason), but I can only eat a fraction of the volume of food I could pre-pregnancy. Kinda sucks, I was really looking forward to packing it away with a lumberjack's abandon before I got pregnant. I haven't gained any weight in a month, and I feel like I should have at least put a few pounds on. I'm up only ten pounds, and that was all gained in the first trimester.

Water aerobics has been fun. The girls in the class are sweet and funny, and not at all Stepford-y like I assumed they'd be. It's really wonderful to see so many round bellies and curvy bodies in their various stages of gestation. I feel like I can now relate to other women in a way that I always thought so "women with a y," so yaya/travelling pants-ish, so eyeroll-inducing. A lot of my cynicism about "sisterhood" is still there, but I think I'm starting to soften up a bit in a way that I kind of like.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

By the skin of my teeth

I spent last week in the verdant hills of the Central Valley, approximately 30 miles from Fresno. The last round of botany surveys (on this project) sent us to the east side of the valley, among the mariposa and datura, and the intoxicating perfume of orange and lemon blossoms wafting up on warm breezes from the citrus orchards below. Last week I hiked from the foreground of this photo (actually, about a quarter mile from it) to the bottom of the last big hill in the background. Only a couple miles, as a crow flies, but it felt like forever when climbing a hill with a 45° pitch for a half mile.

You can see by the angle of the tree trunks and fence posts to the hill the steepness of my climb. I had the worst of it, being on the steepest side. I just put my head down and wove back and forth in a tight zigzag pattern to keep from sliding down the dirt cow path (I still ended up sliding, and grabbing the wooden fence post to break my fall yielded a stout splinter in my thumb). If I stopped too long to catch my breath, the mosquitoes would get me, so I really had to keep moving. I cursed under my breath the entire time, but felt like a complete champion at the top. It'dve been a tough stroll for anyone, but pregnancy adds the sweet nuance of being at 5000 feet above sea level - the shortness of breath we experience from the ongoing surge in progesterone makes even normal tasks feel monumental.

I'm still finding myself too nauseous to blog about food, or even look at photos of it (sorry about the slack in my commenting, but I assure you I'm still visiting), and I'm still pretty iffy on eating much but ice cream and fruit (I've moved on to a cantaloupe-with-a-little-salt kick), but I find that what really helps with the puky feelings is staying active and moving around. Not always what I want to do when I'm tired, but even puttering around the garden for a few hours helps.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dream a Little Dream

I dreamt about the baby last night, that I was nursing it in the backseat of a car. It wasn't the first time I've dreamed that I had a baby, or even that I'd nursed, but it was the first one since I've been carrying a little blob around in me. In my dream, it just latched right on and went for it, and left me feeling like it would be obvious and natural, and I wondered how women could possibly need to be trained in nursing their babies. But this was just a dream, and I suppose I'll have to be taught how to properly insert the nipple and plug it against the alveolar ridge, just like many American women.

The baby in my dream was a generic Everybaby - big, dark eyes; a soft, round face and silky, brownish hair on its head. It was genderless, as are all babies spare the colors in which they're dressed. It was an amalgam of all of the babies you see on tv or in magazines, and I loved it. I keep having the feeling that I'm carrying a girl, maybe even two of them.

This weekend we're going to visit Ecohaus for green flooring options and no-VOC paints. We need to replace all of the flooring in the upstairs (and repaint) thanks to the complex social lives of cats. Unfortunately, this means spending around $4/sq ft instead of $1/sq ft to get something guilt-free that won't offgas our baby into asthma.

We're going for a Totoro theme for the nursery, and I can't wait to start painting snails, ferns and jack-in-the-pulpits in the forest on the walls. Plus this will fold a most beloved franchise perfectly into all of the Fuzzy Town shit that I've been dying to start collecting (seriously, the baby flying squirrel and owlets make me squee). I heard a horrible, terrible rumor that Fuzzy Town had closed its business, but the website being online is giving me hope. Plus the store that told me that said it was a Japanese company, and this appears to be in Washington.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Feeling fine...a little *too* fine

Something a little new this week (sort of starting over the weekend) is that the nausea has really subsided. Like, I feel totally fine (just always peckish). I was talking to Susan about being queasy all the time, and she said that she had been glad for her nausea during her pregnancy with Sage. The first couple of pregnancies she had didn't take, and the abrupt cessation of her pregnancy symptoms was always followed immediately by spotting and miscarriage. So of course now I'm totally paranoid, though that I'm not spotting probably means it's sticking around. Besides, my mom always said that she was never sick, and something like 20-30% of pregnant women aren't sick in their first trimester. Still, the rates of miscarriage are significantly lower in women who are sick, so I'm a little worried.

I'm feeling kind of silly about how pregnant I look, even though I'm only 8 weeks along. I look at least 4 or 5 months pregnant, thanks to bloating and distention (yay, constipation and gas!). At least now people can tell pretty easily that I'm pregnant, and not just fat.

Hey, has anyone ever tried the BabyPlus system? I'm very curious about it - it sounds like drum and bass for fetuses. I know I'm not going to give birth to a baby fluent in Mandarin by putting headphones on my abdomen, but supposedly this "prenatal education" system is linked with higher rates of alertness, calmness and nursing at birth, plus learning first words at around 6 months instead of 9 months. Though if we go with infant sign language (which I always wanted to try, and of which I have witnessed the amazing efficacy in the Hopester), the kid will hopefully be able to communicate plenty. I'm thinking of picking the BabyPlus anyways, though, since I'm completely nuts about the idea of building a wee Zen genius. Plus, I like the idea of being able to play similar music after the baby is born for a calming effect during fussy times.

Okay, starving now. Strawberries and a cheese stick, coming right up.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Something actually worked

I filled up on cereal, brownies and milk right before bed, and no morning ick. Win! Throat still feels cracky-dry/sore in the morning, but I can live with that.

Saw my coworker/new BFF Becca last night with her newborn Jake. It's funny how when you tell a woman (pregnant or mom) that you're With Child you instantly share a new bond, like war buddies. Brought her some rigatoni with homemade Bolognese (canned from homegrown heirloom tomatoes last summer), a baguette, and some of the brownies. She swapped me some pregnancy books (can't remember the titles but one is a general pregnancy/birth book and the other is something like Raising a Green Baby or sommat). I need to remember to take advantage of offers for loaners and swaps, since pregnancy is fleeting and I really don't need to own every pregnancy book on the market.

Scott is reading The Expectant Father (thanks again for the rec, Natasha!) and really stepping up to the plate. He cleans and offers to fix dinner much more often than he used to. I think he's starting to get it.

Letting go of the notion that I can do everything myself (clean house, gourmet meals, homegrown organic veggies, etc.), plus work full time, plus maintain a blog and social life is taking some work, and some priority shuffling.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It Begins

I'm not quite vomiting, and won't bother pulling the trigger since I know it's not coming from my stomach, but I've begun to experience the joys of progesterone blood poisoning. I feel perpetually hung-over with nowt to do about it but eat pomes (apples and/or pears) and try to stay hydrated. Peppermint tea is nice. Moaning and whining helps a little.

The smell of OPF (other people's food) is so not helping.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sore Tits and Insomnia

Well, it's been a week since I peed on a stick (twice, just in case) and though I haven't really been "feeling" it, my tits are officially sore. They fucking hurt. Every now and then my arm will brush past and it's like they felt when I first grew them.

I also have been experiencing interrupted sleep. I used to sleep like an angel, even with a full bladder I could just roll over and sleep it off. Nothing fazed me. I didn't even know that S has bouts of insomnia, as I always blithely slept through his tossing and turning, his heavy sighs of frustration as I either robbed him of blankets or shoved them all on top of him (whichever is worst, I seem to do, it turns out). Not anymore. Now I wake every night from weird dreams, then realize I need to pee, and when I return to bed S is harumphing to himself and I can't get back to sleep for at least an hour (if I'm lucky enough to wake before 5am).

I guess since my last period was on February 18, I'm technically about three weeks along. Does that mean I'm in my second month? The books are so confusing about when your pregnancy actually started. I picked a couple more today on Natasha's recommendation: The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy (already WAY better than that kumbaya snoozefest What To Expect When You're Expecting, and extremely reminiscent of my bloggy gf Brittany's writing) and The Expectant Father for S, so he can read something besides blurbs on the internet.

I leave on Sunday for the field for 5 days. I'm a little worried about being exhausted and starving the entire time (it'll be ten-hour days in the sun), and about having to explain myself earlier than I want. Luckily, I'm working with all women this time - last year I had to hunker down in an abandoned oil refinery to change a tampon because I was working with all dudes in the middle of a grassland.

Monday, March 23, 2009

JoJo the Embryo

I found out I'm pregnant a week ago. We've nicknamed my uterine parasite "Cletus the Fetus", though it's still an embryo for a couple more months. "JoJo the Embryo" doesn't have the same zing as Cletus the Fetus.

S didn't have the celebratory reaction I was hoping for. It was planned and everything, but he's being guarded in case of bad news (he's seen it before in friends and coworkers). But I'm young and healthy, so I feel kinda like I've been robbed of a perfectly good reason to celebrate.

I listen to a lot of Joni Mitchell, Kenny Loggins and Steely Dan lately - seems gentler on the system (though I do still listen to Talib Kweli and NERD at the gym).