Saturday, February 28, 2009


Thursday night Mr. b asked me if he thought I was going to make it through the weekend. I replied, "I honestly don't know."

We got a rather decent sized snow storm on Thursday afternoon. All evening I felt just shitty. Extra contraction-y and lethargic and weird. I figured it must be due to the barometric pressure change. I know a full moon can trigger labor so it made sense that the air pressure would, too. And then it would fit in with family mythology perfectly: when I was little I would ask "why" and "how come" questions of my uncle unendingly. Legend has it that one day he got sick of actually explaining things and exasperatedly responded, "It's the air pressure, [belsum]!" My parents have never let me live that down.

Yesterday morning I felt fine so it really seemed that it was, indeed, the air pressure.

But last night it started in again. Early evening and into the night the contractions started up. I wasn't timing them or anything but there was certainly a repetitive feeling. Almost a rhythm. They're lasting longer, though they still don't truly hurt. Very uncomfortable, yes. Obviously my body is preparing for birth. If I make it to my next appointment Monday morning I'm betting I'll have dilated considerably more. However, my new theory is gravity. Because I've been feeling this way late in the day I have to wonder if it's just because I've been upright all day. I've been joking that I don't need to be on bedrest because I just work at a computer. But I honestly felt a lot better last night once I stretched out on the couch.

And this morning I feel fine.

Other similarities that I'm going to keep my eye on include serious hunger in the evening, craving for protein (especially red meat), and insomnia for an hour from about 3:30am to 4:30am.

I wonder how long this pattern can keep up?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I’ve never understood the concept of nesting as an early indicator of labor readiness. I mean, isn’t the very point of being knocked up that you need to make your home welcome for the new arrival? That you’re going to have to clean and organize and just generally prepare for another human to share your space?

I have been doing some strange cleaning projects of late, however. But they’re once-every-year-or-longer things that have been bothering me for a while. I’ve been slowly wiping down all the tile on the bathroom walls. It’s never been done more than on an as-needed basis and it was driving me nuts. I took down the living room curtains and washed them last night. They were accumulating cat hair thanks to the stupid billis parting them to look out the windows. Since I was going to wash the bassinet cover anyway it seemed like a good time to do those as well.

Mr. b might be the one that’s done something more traditionally considered “nesting”. He embarked on a reorg of the basement! He claims it was merely a “good enough” cleaning but it’s amazing what a difference it has made. It always feels like there’s so much more livable space when you clear out the clutter and the dried up old stealth cat pukes that we never discovered.

I have, however, been feeling crafty. I finally completed Kirk’s requested Boppy pillow case using the remains of the Incredibles fleece he picked out around Halloween. I want to get back to the embroidery project I started a couple of months ago. And add some more to the rag rug in the kitchen. I also need to get started on the tomato hat I wanted to crochet for the girl. (Full disclosure: I bought the yarn when I was pregnant with Kirk and never made it then either so don’t hold your breath…)

Friday, February 20, 2009

The End is Nigh?

Yesterday morning was my latest ob check-up. I’m at 34 and a half weeks and am already 2cm dilated. Now, New Doc made sure to mention that it’s really quite common for a non-first timer to be that dilated already but he’s also finally fully onboard the this-baby’s-comin’-early train. That’s the whole reason he did the internal exam in the first place. After talking through all the usual stuff (weight gain 1 pound, belly measures 35cm, baby heartbeat normal, blah blah blah) he decided that we’d better go ahead and do the Strep B test. I never had it last time so it was all new to me. Hell, I’ve never had my cervix checked when I wasn’t in labor so that was a new one, too!

New Doc explained how they measure the centimeters by the size of their finger tips. That actually made sense to me. When I used to work in the field we all knew the length of our stride so we could easily count off the correct number of paces for 10 meters. You just need that initial baseline and then go with it. But what freaked me out a little was when he said that he could actually feel the head through my cervix. Whoa. So does that mean she’s dropped? Not sure the actual definition of “dropping”. My hips are sore pretty much all the time so obviously my pelvis is spreading. I can feel a strange sort of pressure on my labia that must be from everything above starting to come downward. I didn’t pay much attention to these kinds of details last time because, well, I wasn’t expecting to have a baby a month ahead of schedule!

Upon New Doc’s request, I actually rescheduled my next appointment for earlier in the week. Since Sunday is my day for the week count to reset, having the 36 week one on Thursday would put me at 36 weeks and 4 days. Well, I had Kirk at 36 weeks and 5 days. So. Now it’s set for Monday instead. We’ll see if I actually make it or not. Ideally it would be good to make it over that 37 week line but I’m finding that less and less likely.

The Braxton Hicks have started to come more frequently. They used to be at night only and now show up whenever the hell they feel like it. There’s no pattern still but the intensity has certainly increased. It’s often a much sharper feeling, verging just on the edge of pain, instead of the general sort of squeezing tightness they’ve been causing previously. And sometimes they definitely last longer than just for a brief moment. On top of that, my first trimester constipation issues have returned with a vengeance. Only now that I know I’m already dilated, I’m sort of paranoid that pushing out a turd will be bad for the baby! Plus the poo cramps mix in with the BH and make my entire abdominal region just a festive mélange of uncomfortable annoyances. Oh and the back aches. Let’s not forget those. General pregnancy posture issues? Precursor to back labor? Who knows. But I totally have old man back and I grunt and sigh when standing. It’s kind of ridiculous.

Mr. b’s workmates have started a baby pool. I’ve been trying to make sure all my work items are squared away. What I really need to do is buy some frickin’ Dreft and wash the few non-spit-up stained, non-gender specific items I pulled out of Kirk’s old bin and the adorable prezzies sent by last year’s Best Original Screenplay Academy Award Winner so they’re ready to go. Everything else we’ll figure out as it’s needed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


We picked Kirk up from daycare last night and told him we were going to go straight to the glasses store. He sincerely, and with a great deal of concern, asked, "Do I have to put poop in the potty to get my glasses?" He was overjoyed to learn that no, he does not have to put poop in the potty to get his glasses. Heh.

They had a great selection of cool kid frames at the one-hour place at the mall. Referencing a photo of David Tennant's Tenth Doctor, Kirk's only requirement was that they were black.

The biggest challenge is going to be getting Kirk to look through the glasses. He wears them down on his nose and looks over the top. We've been reminding him non-stop to push them up. I've been trying to explain that he needs to look through them in order to help his eyes see things close by. I honestly don't think he's seeing that much of a revelatory difference in his vision so far. It's not like he's in school and needing help focusing on his homework or reading assignments! Mr. b pointed out that he does look at books that we read to him and watch DVDs on the little portable player and paint pictures and that's all close to his face but it's not the same as focusing on schoolwork. I did notice tonight that he was rubbing his weaker eye so I just have to cross my fingers and hope that it's already being forced to work harder.

All this glasses talk has caused me to think through our immediate family members and catalogue who wears and glasses and when they got them. My brother was in elementary school, possibly fifth grade or so. I don't remember when my sister got hers but I think it was about the same time. They both have relatively weak prescriptions though. My mom's out of town so I haven't asked her but my vague memory is that she also was closer to junior high when she got her first specs. My dad didn't need anything until recently and that's just your standard age-related reading glasses. Mr. b's brother, like him, doesn't need corrective lenses. His aunt, however, started wearing them sometime in K-2 and has needed them ever since. She even apologized for her part in passing along bad genes! The smoking gun, so to speak, would seem to be her brother, my father-in-law. Mr. b's dad had a lazy eye when he was little and needed serious coke bottles. That's exactly what would happen to Kirk's slight cross eye if it went untreated! My FIL apparently stopped wearing them in high school at some point - he certainly didn't wear them in Nam - but started again in his late 30s and is now almost completely blind in one eye. I do wonder if it's the same eye that was lazy as a kid and if that lengthy hiatus from glasses had anything to do with it.

I think the hardest part for both Mr. b and I is the realization that Kirk is never going to look the same. When he first tried on his frames at the store we sort of had a collective heartbreaking moment, knowing that this is our son now. He's a glasses kid. It's momentous and a milestone and amazing. His sister will literally never know him looking any other way. He will always have had glasses in her memory. Sure, he won't wear them constantly and someday he'll likely demand contacts or laser surgery or whatever but by then we'll instead be used to him with glasses on his face. It's just going to take some adjustment time. It's a cognitive leap or something.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


So. Kirk needs glasses.

This morning I took Kirk in to the eye doctor. Doc had suggested that we go have him checked out, oh, about a year ago and it finally happened. He was such a good boy. He was really kind of freaked out about it but brought with his little felt kitty puppet he made at daycare a while back because it was loosing its eye and needed to see the eye doctor, too. The nurse ran him through a bunch of tests. Instead of a regular chart he got to identify pictures of things like a hand, a bird, a tractor, and a cake. He was having fun and she was absolutely awesome with him. Then came the “magic raindrops”. He did not like those. I didn’t realize they were going to dilate his pupils so the entire appointment took about three times longer than I was mentally prepared for.

After playing in the lobby for a half hour we went back in. Kirk was complaining about how his eyes were “weird” and I assured him they would go back to normal. I’ve only had my eyes dilated once but yeah, it was weird all right. It’s sort of funny to see a kid with giant acid-trip pupils! The nurse checked out his eyes with a series of lenses and then eventually the doctor himself came in. Kirk was fabulous. He was so calm and well behaved while the doctor used all his lights and lenses and various other doodads and “doctor tools”. I was unbelievably proud of my son.

And then I got the verdict: he’s farsighted. He’s got a common little kid thing called strabismus that usually develops around age 2 or 3 and doesn’t necessarily have to be genetic. In fact, one of the factors is low birth weight. Well, he certainly had that. The doctor didn’t think that the plagiocephaly, or flattened skull, had anything to do with its development. The problem is, if the glasses don’t help to strengthen his weaker right eye, then he’ll have to have an eye patch. Great. But at least now we know. It explains why the one eye sometimes seemed to be turned inward, but not always.

Tonight we’re going to get Kirk’s glasses prescription filled. This is all brand new territory for both Mr. b and I. Neither of us have ever had anything other than perfect vision. But we’ll become experts fast enough since it sounds more likely that Kirk will need lenses for life, rather than eventually grow out of it. It could happen but it would be years from now. So we’re going to make sure he knows how special he is. Good thing he’s already a big Doctor Who fan – he’s going to get his very own brainy specs! I’m sure we’ll see kids in cartoons wearing glasses everywhere once he’s got them but at the moment only Clark Kent is coming to mind. Mr. b asked Kirk’s godfather to come by wearing his own glasses and taunt us for not being cool enough to get to wear them. I also suggested we let Kirk pick out someplace for us to go to dinner tonight to celebrate picking out his new frames. I’m assuming that’ll mean either the Taco Rice Restaurant or the Spaghetti Restaurant. (Which is a win for Preggo Mommy as well!) And then we’ll have a new thing to fight about when we have to make sure that he actually does wear the suckers every day, all day. Because in two months we have to go back and have a muscle check. Hopefully we won’t also need to pick out pirate role models to convince him that patches are the coolest.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Last week my grandma had a heart attack. When we first learned about it, things sounded dire. Like, time to make your travel arrangements and get bereavement leave set up at work. Partly that was because of the unknown. It wasn’t sure at that point if it had been a stroke instead. All we knew is that she had been found collapsed in the bathroom and had a severely bruised face because of her fall.

This Saturday my sister and I made the 3 and a half hour drive to go visit her. Grandma was out of the ICU by then. She’s in a transitional facility for another week or two while they evaluate her “life skills” and determine what level of care she’ll need. Despite the fact that she was in a great mood and totally has her sense of humor intact, her short term memory loss is undeniable. She will likely not be able to return to the senior apartment where she has lived independently since selling her house a few years ago.

All of this influx of emotions really made me think about how to explain mortality to Kirk. I can remember attending Grandma’s sister’s funeral when I was a little kid. This woman pretty much raised Grandma, who was the youngest of 11 and who lost her mother at the age of 3. I knew this great aunt was important to her and to my mom but I didn’t really have any memories of my own about her. So the funeral was just a fun event in a small town, at a little country church, with lots of random kids running around in the graveyard, not really paying attention to the grieving adults telling stories. Similarly, when Mr. b lost his one remaining grandmother a few years back, our niece, who was about 3 at the time, was having a blast, singing and dancing and being the center of attention.

It’s hard to answer questions like “Why did she get hurt on the inside?” without being a smart ass. But honestly, for a 90 year old woman, what other answer is there besides, “Sometimes that happens when you get old”? I don’t want to scare the boy but it’s the truth. Apparently Kirk told his daddy the other day that while he wants to grow up and get bigger, he doesn’t want to get old. He wants to be a daddy but he doesn’t want to be a grandpa. And maybe it’s just too far off in the future to imagine but maybe it’s because of recent events and topics of conversation.

Regardless, I’m glad that it looks like Kirk will not be attending his first funeral in the upcoming months. Sure, it’s unlikely that Grandma has another decade. But it’s also unlikely that this is the last time I’ll have gotten to see her. She’ll be able to meet her newest great-grandchild even if she won’t be around long enough for the little girl to have even a vague memory of her. Maybe she’ll even be able to receive a flood of visitors during next summer’s family reunion. And I’ll have a little more time to come up with an explanation for Kirk about why we die.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Preoccupied Planning

Nothing much to report after my ob appointment on Thursday morning. I gained another 2 pounds, which brings my cumulative total so far up to 10. The ultimate total will of course depend upon how early this girl arrives. I remain about 2 cm bigger than my gestational weeks. Because Kirk was so early and I told New Doc I’m expecting something similar to happen this time around, he decided to move my Strep B test up. Now I’ll be having it at my next appointment, instead of waiting for the one at 36 weeks which is a bit more typical. We also briefly discussed pain management options. I still don’t like the idea of an epidural and since I was fine with just Nubain added to my IV last time I figure we’ll simply wait and see how it goes. Birth plans are a load of hooey anyways; it’s not like the kid cares what you’re planning!

Basically all my time is now being spent freaking out about daycare and preschool. I have no idea what I’m going to do with either kid. All the places I’ve talked to so far that have both programs are way too expensive. Hell, even just preschool for Kirk is turning out to be close to twice what I’m currently paying for daycare for him. I wish we didn’t have to do dual drop-off but that’s looking increasingly unlikely. Kirk is really just plain ready for preschool but since his best friend is K’s son it’s not like he’d be upset to stay there or anything. Frankly it looks like we’re getting to the point where it *almost* makes better sense for one of us to stay home. Almost. Because even with the savings in child care we’d still need that extra couple hundred. Right now Mr. b is actually able to earn overtime, which is unheard of in the current state of the economy, so we can’t ignore that opportunity. And all our benefits are through me so I can’t be the one home either. Still researching options but my sense of optimism is dwindling fast.

  • Make eye appointment for Kirk

  • Make interview appointment for preschool for Kirk

  • Research daycare options if same location won’t also take infants

  • Talk to HR about maternity leave bureaucracy

  • Fill out and mail pre-admission form for hospital

  • Make 32, 34, and 36 week ob appointments

  • Make Kindergarten pre-screening appointment for Kirk

  • Register for baby stuff

  • Write letter to Grandma

  • Figure out SSN/Name issue with IRS

  • Research life insurance options

  • Defer student loans
  • Tuesday, February 03, 2009

    By Popular Demand

    We set up our baby registry at Target this weekend. It was kind of nice to take inventory of what we have, what we can get back, and what we really shouldn’t reuse. So I think this covers all the remaining need-to-haves and nice-to-haves. Mr. b has been great about bringing stuff in from the garage so we can get used to having it in the house again. We’ve got the changing table set up and it makes a nice set of shelves for Kirk’s toys that end up in the living room over night. The diaper Genie has been declared a Dalek and Kirk’s been playing with it more than he really ought to play with something that used to house his own crap. But that’s OK.

    The only other stuff we’d love for kind and generous souls to get for the girl would be the awesome, funny, and expensive onesies and hipster baby clothes you find at places like Little Dudes Only, Pacifier, and myriad places elsewhere online. We’ll be focused on the affordable and boring 6-pack of plain white Gerbers so anyone that wants to bring some funk into her wardrobe will be much appreciated! HA!

    Monday, February 02, 2009

    So Emotional, Baby

    Kirk has been highly emotional of late. He’s going through some definite fine-tuning development or something. It’s both fascinating to watch and extremely frustrating. He’s having a lot of difficulty with his father leaving. Mr. b is in school and has class 3 nights a week plus band obligations so obviously leaving is a common occurrence. Kirk really freaks out and literally refuses to let him go. However, if his daddy is already gone then it’s no big deal to not have him there. So if Mr. b is already at work by the time we get up in the morning then it’s just funny, “My daddy took the bus when it was still nigh-nighs? That’s so weird! My daddy is a weirdo.”

    He’s becoming desperately possessive of his current precious toys. This morning we wouldn’t let him bring his sonic screwdriver (Star Wars and Indy 4 light-up cereal spoons) to daycare. He’s already lost 3 of the 4 we had and we just wanted to keep this last one safe. But he freaked out and threw a major fit, hitting his dad repeatedly and screaming the whole way. Of course then he was remorseful and didn’t want us to leave for work once we got there.

    Kirk is also becoming chickenshit. He psyches himself out of situations that he’s never had a problem with before. The last time we were at the fancy indoor playground he got himself stuck at the top like a cat in a tree. He had to have some kind pre-teen help him down. We went to Burger King last week and Kirk refused to climb in the playland area at all, even with his dad going in there with him. Yet when we put our collective foot down this weekend and wouldn’t let him get away with not even trying what we were having for lunch, he ended up eating tons of what he was sticking his nose up at. So it’s physical fears more than other kinds? I’m not sure. He’s beginning to see things in the dark, which I know is a common developmental milestone for this age. Same with occasional nightmares and bad dreams.

    And yet while all this is going on Kirk’s become incredibly sweet regarding his imminent baby sister. He’s extremely possessive of her, constantly asking, “That’s my baby, right Mama?” He will pet my stomach, kiss it, talk to it, “tickle” it. He worries that a random freckle is an owie on his sister. He plans out all the things he’s going to teach her. He was really upset when he learned that he’d have to stay with Auntie when I go to the hospital and only calmed down when I reassured him he’d then get to come, too, to meet her after she’s born. “Having a baby out of your tummy is a lot of hard work Mama.” I don’t know where he got that from but he’s not wrong!