Friday, July 30, 2010

A Shameless Plug

My girl Rebekah shot my wedding (at the last minute, I might add, thanks to my husband's complete lack of planning) on New Years almost 3 years ago. You know how there are girl's girls and then there are girls who act like girl's girls but are really just kinda self-involved snots? (Guys, you know what I'm talking about here, right?) Rebekah is an ego-less crazy-talented girl's girl who has become an inspiring friend. She's a momma and a wife and a preggo and a professional photographer all at the same time right now. I know. It made me tired just typing it.
Anywho, she's a blogger, too, and interviewed ME this week for her blog. I'll admit, I totally considered getting an agent or some form of representation for a minute, but once my head shrunk back down to size I just answered the questions honestly. Thanks for making me feel so special, Rebekah!

Check out her weekly LLPs (Life's Little Pleasures) as well as her unmatched photography. Oh, and read the interview.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Belly Notes

Monday, July 26, 2010

Good One

Heard this one this weekend:

 “Oh wow! When are you due, like, now? I mean, am I going to need to drive you to the hospital before I leave??” 

Yep, yes you are. And I’m going to make you hold a leg. 

Friday, July 23, 2010


One thing I loved about maternity clothes in the beginning was that there weren’t too many of them in my closet. This meant that for every time I had to choose an outfit, I could pick from 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shorts, and about 10 shirts. Easy peasy! Getting dressed had never been so stress-free. But now, my perspective is changing. It’s not that I’m dissatisfied with the amount of clothes I can currently wear. No, it’s not that at all.
I have found myself staring at women the past few days. No, I'm not considering a lifestyle change at this point (though, it's not altogether out of the question considering it was a man who did this to me). I look at women and reminisce about how fun it used to be to wear tops. I don’t wear tops now. I wear sheets of fabric. Nothing is fitted. Darts are no longer a possibility. I don’t even wear t-shirts well, as most of them are now too short (unless they’re maternity and have that ever-glamorous rouching down the sides). I miss going to Forever 21 or Target and just picking up a cute top. Even without trying it on I knew if a top would fit my body-type. And I’d flounce home and pop my brand new, usually sale item top into my closet and feel like I’d changed my whole wardrobe. I won’t even bore you with the sadness I have about my jeans. I actually had a dream about wearing my favorite pair again, which may never happen.
Now, I haven’t experienced the big feet thing. My feet have stayed pretty much the same size, which I hope means the shoe rack I just bought (because Abe cannot be born into a family where we store shoes on the floor) won’t need to be restocked. If my feet do happen to grow, I’ll accept this. Because it means it’s perfectly acceptable to buy all new shoes. Right?
No one can truly prepare you for how much your body is going to change when you get pregnant. My mother told me that I should be buying bigger underwear and I didn’t believe her until all my Victoria’s Secret undies started screaming for their very lives when I put them on. And for all the sundresses my friends assured me I could still wear while I was pregnant? Pah-lease. Some of those dresses would now be shorter than anything Britney Spears would dream of wearing. My belly uses up all the fabric in the front  that was once meant for modesty. And I don't suppose clothes are going to fit much better when my belly starts to go down but my boobs begin to resemble cantaloupes. What they should really tell preggos is pregnancy lasts 2 years. And then, you get your body back and wear cute tops and start thinking about having another one...this has all been such a trick.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Everyday Eggs

After meeting with a dietician a few weeks ago, I quickly learned that endocrinologists know NOTHING about eating. As it turns out, gestational diabetes should be treated with a very specific diet including certain carbohydrates at certain times of day. The placenta, that big sponge in my uterus responsible for feeding Abe everything I eat, apparently has something against insulin. It sends all kinds of hormones picketing throughout my body with signs reading, stop answering the door ANY time insulin knocks! They even shout it. "We are here to shout it out, close your doors - keep insulin out!" I guess cells are really gullible because they all believe the picketers and lock up tight. However, as the day wears on, the cells eventually have to open their doors a little bit. I mean, come on, it's the dead of summer. They need some air circulating in there. Not to mention they probably start to feel a bit of cabin fever. So sometime after about 2pm (time of day is different for all women, for me it's 2), my body suddenly starts processing sugar correctly again. This completely explains why my blood sugar shot up the moment I had a piece of toast with peanut butter in the morning, but remained a beautiful 115 every night after a huge, carb-loaded meal and chocolately dessert.
So for the past 2 weeks, I have had almost no sugar/carbohydrates before 12pm. This leaves my morning options very limited, unless I start eating sausage and bacon everyday (which I can't knowingly do). A typical breakfast consists of an egg, a piece of canadian bacon, 1/2 a cup of cottage cheese, and 3 cherries. No pancakes, no jelly toast, no cereal. It kind of makes getting out of bed in the morning akin to eating big, prickly bugs.   I desperately miss oatmeal. I long for a sliced banana. Yogurt and granola, we will meet again one day. But, it's all worth it if it keeps Abe healthy and growing at a reasonable rate. If anyone has good protein-rich breakfast suggestions, pass them along. Even the eggs are getting bored.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

She Does Exist!

Doula Shmoula is even more fantastical than the stories would suggest!

The moment my husband and I met her, we both began to sigh a large sigh of relief. Finally. Someone who gets it.

Doula suggested that we wait until Abraham is ready to come into the world (novel idea), and that when I go into labor, we'll soon know if he is too big or in the wrong position to come out naturally. And if he is, then guess what? We'll have a c-section! IMAGINE THAT! We'll wait to see if I NEED a c-section before we SCHEDULE one!!

This all seems like a very obvious conclusion, but as I told Doula, when a doctor in a white lab coat tells you there's no other way, one tends to believe. It's not until a gal your own age, wearing the sweat pants she wore the night before while delivering a baby, tells you that you have options that you snap out of, what my husband calls, The Doctor Kowtow.

Am I scared to approach my doctor with MY plan? Yes. I am. I'm a rule-follower. I like to impress people by how well I can follow rules. I ALWAYS use my blinker and never hold the Windex closer than 10 inches from the bathroom mirror. But in this particular case, I know that this plan is the right plan for me. And as Doula said, this doctor works for me. (My voice cracked even as I TYPED that sentence.) It's my husband and I's choice how Abe starts his process of entering the world. We won't have control of everything. We get that. But now, we'll have a starting off point and a magical woman who will rub my back and encourage David and repeat over and over again, "This is completely normal."

By the way, we'll be having a bake sale this weekend to raise the money we need to hire Doula Shmoula. And because I can't eat sugar, it will consist mostly of fresh vegetables and lunch meats. I guess "bake sale" is sort of false advertising, but "vegetables and meat sale" seemed harder to market.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Doula Shmoula

After my doctor properly frightened me out of all my birthing options, I spent a good deal of an afternoon lamenting. Lamenting is not NEARLY as fun when you can't eat chocolate or potato chips. So I cut it short and started doing some research. My studies were continually interrupted by women in my life calling or emailing to tell me that the road to vaginal birth was not necessarily completely blocked off for me. You see, there may actually be a woman who knows the way straight to Vaginal Birth Lane, a woman who has been living on that very street for quite a while.
This mythical creature's name is Doula. Doula Shmoula. She spends her days advocating for women who want to live on Vaginal Birth Lane and who find C-Section Avenue to be a little disconcerting and out of the way, even though it's easier to find. Doula has maps, lists, and a GPS system that she doesn't force women to learn to use, but rather uses herself to guide them while explaining information about the different tools she uses. She also explains to Vaginal Birth Lane police and other nasty nay-sayer neighbors that it's not actually their choice where I choose to try and live. And these tools all help her do that.
Now, I've never actually met Doula Shmoula, but I did email her once several months ago. Since I did not receive an answer from her, I assumed that mythical creatures did not use the internet. I was destined to navigate the confusing streets of BirthTown myself.
What's interesting is that the night I was lamenting, I asked the universe to send me the answer as to how Abe will best enter the world and that whatever that method may be, I would surrender to it. Low and behold, Doula Shmoula emailed me the next morning. Apparently, even mythical creatures have a spam box and sometimes, emails get stuck in there. So today, I am officially going to meet Ms. Shmoula herself. Maybe she'll have some special routes mapped out for me, and then again maybe she won't. I definitely can't afford to hire Doula Shmoula, though I've often found that things I can't afford but really need have a way of paying for themselves. So, I'm excited that at least Vaginal Birth Lane is back on the table of birthing destinations. Once I see her with my own eyes, I'll let you know if Doula Shmoula really exists.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's Abraham and I

We went to the doctor to get an update on Abe's development. The big fear with Gestational Diabetes is that babies will be too big, deliver early, and not have sufficient lung development to function. So, we're keeping a close eye on things.
First I had an NST. This is a fetal non-stress test. They hook me up to a printer using several different little "remote controls" on belts around my belly that monitor Abe's heartbeat and movements with squiggly lines. At first, Abraham got extremely annoyed. He began to kick like a mule and twist and turn, almost in an effort to avoid the heart monitor. It took two nurses to find his heartbeat. We can safely conclude he's stubborn like his mama. Also, he is not a morning person, again like his mama.
My husband noted that his heart rate was really high and I snapped, "Well, of course it is! He was sleeping and they pushed him all around in there!" I put my hand on my stomach between the remote controls and said, "It's ok, bud. You can relax." Within 10 seconds, his heart rate went back down to normal! I'm obviously some kind of Eastern healer. We sat with the remotes for 30 minutes until eventually a nurse came in and said everything looked great according to the scribbles on a long piece of paper that printed out. I think they made this entire process up, but whatever.
Next we went in for an ultrasound with the doctor. Of course, it was great to see Abe there on the screen with his big cheeks and long legs. He's such a good looking fetus. However, the doctor measured him about 12 times to conclude that he is in the 76th percentile for weight and height. Translation? He's a giant. And in case you didn't know, I am very much not a giant. And right then and there, my childbirth education classes, my lamaze breathing, the bag of massaging instruments I've been collecting from friends, my focus objects, my birth plan, all of it blew away like a stack of extremely important papers on a windy, wet day. No point in even running around to try and collect them. My doctor was extremely kind and encouraged me that the choice would always be mine and he would never force me to choose c-section, but he also explained the risks involved with Abraham trying to come into the world naturally. Not only can my body split in half from the inside (well, basically), but Abe can become stuck, distressed, and God knows what else.
On the way home, alone in my car, I began searching the radio stations for songs that might make me feel better. A song I've been hearing over and over again came on, and I began to wonder why this particular tune kept following me. When my dad died, songs started following me and I would always get a wonderful or foreshadowing message that reflected the way I felt or how things would turn out. And this song, called The Outsiders, has been following me for weeks and made NO sense. I was almost annoyed that it was this song I was listening to because I didn't hear the message (but I also didn't turn it off). My husband and I don't feel like outsiders. We don't do taxidermy on squirrels from our yard. We're not hoarders or drug addicts or recluses. Hell, we're never even late on our bills. Why does this song keep calling us outsiders?! WE'RE NOT OUTSIDERS!
And finally, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn't my husband and I this song was singing about. It was Abraham and I. We're the outsiders. We're the ones looking at all the happy moms and babies with normal pregnancies and deliveries and feeling so different. And you know what? Like the song says, "I'm not leaving without a fight." So today, I might feel like an outsider, but I know Abe is with me and we are gonna fight like hell to get through the coming weeks together, happy and healthy.
We got this.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010



Monday, July 12, 2010

Under Pressure

Last week I was walking out of lunch with David when the pressure down below suddenly got really strong. I discretely grabbed my "self" to ensure Abe didn't fall out and waddled quickly to the car. I sat down with a sigh of relief, though nervous that the pressure got so strong so quickly.
Later that same day, I was walking through the grocery store and had to find the nearest chair to sit down. The pressure was back and it felt like either I was delivering Abe or I was delivering my entire bladder in the deli. I took deep, cleansing breaths and relaxed my body as much as I could. When most of the pressure passed, I checked out and drove home.
I called my doctor who told me to go ahead and come in to get checked out. Simultaneously, another mom was going into labor and my midwife couldn't see me right away. I had to sit, half naked, on the big stirrup bed, waiting for her for half an hour. And while my worst nightmares were kept at bay in the hours leading to my doctor visit, sitting on that stirrup bed of death did something to my brain that left me helpless against the What If Monster. By the time my midwife arrived, I had already placed myself on mandatory, full-time bed rest to include only water, chicken, and olive oil. I could not laugh, cry, or talk on the phone and my c-section date was already set. And Abe would be in the NICU for 6 weeks, though I hadn't quite finished determining what for yet when she walked in.
With absolutely no modesty, my midwife "checked" me and said, "Your cervix is so high I almost can't reach it and it's completely closed, so you have nothing to worry about. You're probably feeling the weight of your body starting to give gravity the upper-hand. Maybe a bladder contraction or two, depending on where he's lying. But you're both fine. You just need to stay off your feet during the day as much as possible. It's the end of the pregnancy, it's going to be uncomfortable."
What? No bed rest? No c-section? Abe's fine?! Not that I'm disappointed but come on, this seemed a lot worse than just a little GRAVITY. So, I'm working on staying off my feet and stretching out far enough that there's not room on the couch for the What If Monster to join me. Occasionally he slips onto on open cushion when I get up for a sugar-free snack, but 90% of the time I kick him off before I start crying and calling family to find out what date in August is best for the planned c-section.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Getting Ready for an Abe

Abe’s room is coming together nicely. My husband chose a lovely color of blue from a huge stack of paint samples I stole from Lowe’s. I know these are free, but when you take more than 10, it suddenly feels like stealing. I taped and he painted until I couldn’t stand the smell anymore. Then I emptied out an entire upstairs closet in another room for no reason other than WE DON’T NEED ANYTHING UNLESS I’VE USED IT IN THE PAST 5 MINUTES. Not sure if David ever used anything in that closet, but the urge was too strong to bother asking. And when he was finished painting? Streaky. It looked like the paint wasn’t mixed right. So he went back to Lowe’s, they gave him a free gallon of paint, and he painted the ENTIRE room again. Small speed bump on the road to Abe’s dwelling being perfect.

We put together his crib and glider (that’s a rocking chair, for you men who read this), and set up much of the baby stuff we’ve received so far. We still aren’t sure what we’re doing with the walls, except for this awesome hippo picture David’s parents gave us from their own wall (“Well, he has to have the hippo!”). And we still have to hit up Ikea for a dresser and some cute mirrors I can hang close to the floor so Abe can look at how handsome he is.

Last week, David got the “must buy a baby-friendly car” bug. This isn’t an actual bug because if it was, I may have squashed it without telling him and flushed it down the toilet. However, he did an amazing job of negotiating price and style and even agreed to trade in HIS car so that I could keep my Mini Cooper (which is baby-friendly, if you ask me). We bought a 2011 Honda Pilot, which is incredibly cool. It’s rugged (so I don’t feel like I’m in a mom minivan), extremely spacious, and way easier to get the car seat in and out of. (David practiced putting a “baby” in the back seat the other day.)

So at this point, if this kid moved in tomorrow, we could handle it. And as my aunt says, “Grandma brought your aunt home and put her in a drawer. You’ll be fine.”

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pitty Party

The other day I began climbing the steps to get out of the pool and immediately looked down to see if I had forgotten about a weight belt I’d put on earlier or perhaps to see a friend hanging onto my legs shouting, “Don’t get out of the pool! It’s so fun!” Nope. I had become so comfortable not feeling the extra 25 pounds in the water that when I tried to get out, my body was in shock. Nope, I thought. No weight belt. That’s just me.

The latest? I’m pret-ty tired of being pregnant. Around the 5 month mark, pregnancy really gets fun. You can feel the baby and people know you’re pregnant and not just fat (they’d been guessing until that point, and sometimes incorrectly). Around the 7 month mark, though, you start to get tired. Not so tired that you can’t function, but tired enough that a nap sure would help. You start to notice that the big t-shirts you were wearing, you know the ones that used to hang off of you, are now too tight to even sleep in. And going from one side to the other at night makes one ponder renting a crane.  As I stare down month eight in its beady little eyes, I can already tell I’m on the losing end of this flinching contest.
My belly is now too big to do most anything that involves being close to counters, people, or grocery shelves. I’m sure Abraham already has some kind of cranial trauma from the amount of times I’ve bumped into things. I can no longer lean forward close to the bathroom mirror to ensure my mascara is not clumping without smooshing into the sink (this is only applicable to the days I actually make it to “self-improvement”). Washing my face is sort of a comedy of errors, as it’s nearly impossible to get close enough to the sink to prohibit the water from splashing everywhere. I cannot reach the top shelf without knocking everything off the middle shelf at the grocery store. And hugging people is just sort of out of the question. I have to do the lean in, pat on the back, try not to lose my balance and fall forward into the person I’m hugging thing.
I do not have swollen feet or ankles and I’m not gaining a lot of weight. This means that Abraham is gaining weight while I lose muscle mass. This is exactly what I need right now: fewer leg muscles to hold up a growing baby perched in my uterus. The gestational diabetes makes it nearly impossible to eat anything fun or satisfying without risk of the nurse’s voice in my head repeating, “Just remember to think about what the food you eat will do to your baby before you eat it.” Yeah, she knows a new mother’s weak spot, huh? So that leaves not sucking my stomach in. Right now, that’s the best part of pregnancy. I don’t have to suck my stomach in. And you know what? That leaves my scale of justice pretty lop-sided.

Aaaand, pitty party…FIN.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Save the Baby

I attended an infant CPR class with my husband. We both felt it was important to know just what to do in an emergency situation. We didn’t realize that the class was also a veritable bullet pointed list of everything else you should be scared about. We thought we were just learning what to do if the kid choked on a grape.
The teacher introduced herself and proceeded to explain how many children die each year from accidental drownings in bathtubs, parents backing over them while pulling out of the garage, and suffocating from eating peanutbutter straight from the jar. We learned just how unsafe 90% of cribs are and how if you put ANYTHING in the crib except for the baby, they jump to 99% unsafe. This would kill your baby...

We learned that if you have stairs (which we do) you need 2 James Bond-proof gates, one at the bottom and one at the top. You need 2 sets of banisters on both sides, a bottom one for when they’re under 3 feet and a top one for when they’re over. If you have rungs on your banister like these... have to cover them in plywood so the kid can’t get stuck in them (a la, the Growing Pains episode when Carol Seaver was babysitting and the kid’s head got stuck and they used butter and shortening to try and slide him out). Basically, we have an entire portion of the house we have to rebuild.
If there are any flowers, plants, or trees in your yard (and grass, don’t forget grass), it needs to be fenced off so that baby can’t eat anything potentially poisonous. If you have a baby pool in the summer, you can put one inch of water in it without threatening your baby’s life. Never buy a house with an actual pool. If you have one, fence it off and cover it with nets and concrete.
Every piece of furniture you own must be secured to the walls or floors in order to keep from tipping over and crushing the baby. TVs are especially well-known for this, and must be nailed, glued, or tied down to an entertainment unit that, itself, is nailed to a wall. (My husband and I high-fived on this one; our TV is mounted to the wall. Point 1, Cohens.)
Kids should not climb trees, ladders, or tall chairs…or short chairs. They should not eat hot dogs that aren’t pureed and must never go to sleep wrapped in a blanket. Mobiles are a choking and strangling hazard. Rugs should be secured to floors so children can’t trip; actually, just, no rugs altogether, ok?
Babies shouldn’t play with keys, writing instruments, or phones as they might stab themselves in the eyes, cut their hands, someone they don’t know. No toy should be smaller than a bread box, or something like that. And pets. Get rid of all of your pets. They’re all dangerous and could hurt or kill your baby. See? Bella just killed a baby.

Now, I may have been highly concerned or even frightened upon leaving this scare-fest of a class if the teacher hadn’t ended on one statistic. She solemnly but sternly asked if the class knew the NUMBER ONE reason children die before the age of 18 in this country. We all began to search our brains for the top news stories of children dying. Car accidents? Drugs? Abuse? As she announced the answer, she nodded her head as if to commend herself for sharing this all-too-important and shocking piece of information with us.
I slowly turned my head to look at my husband, who was slowly turning his head to look at me, so that neither of us could be perceived as overreacting. We made eye contact, immediately began to crack a smile that could have quickly gotten out of control and ended up with laughter, and instead we diverted our eyes to stare directly at the teacher with a slight smirks on our faces.
“70% of the children we lose under 18 years old we lose due to injuries. Keep that in mind, people.”
Isn’t this like saying 90% of all divorces are caused by…marital problems?
Or that a majority of all people with a runny nose are suffering from…sinus trouble?
I carried our bag of “scare you” pamphlets into the house when the class was over and promptly trashed every single one of them, but not without announcing, “Oh! Look at this one. Injuries. Injuries written all over this.”