July 30, 2009

41 weeks

With all the irritation about the heat and my back and the fact that the kid won't just be born already, I completely forgot that it's Thursday. Thursday means that I get to subject you to yet another photo of the giant belly! Lucky you.

no news

Well, our "due date" is officially behind us, and Lincoln is still lodged stubbornly inside of me. I had an appointment with a chiropractor yesterday, as I've heard that an adjustment can be the magic bullet to get baby to engage and get the show on the road, but all it did was make me sore and grumpy. Granted, it could have been also been the record-setting heat that was making me grumpy, but whatever.

Gus rigged up an air conditioner from a cooler, a box fan, some copper pipe, some hope and a dream, and it works okay. It's only 80 upstairs so far today, down from a high of 91 last night. Although I'm dying to get the little guy out, I guess I'm glad I wasn't laboring in the intense heat of the day yesterday in a hot birthing tub. That might have been a little more misery than I was looking for.

We'll keep you updated when he decides to make his appearance. Any time now, buddy.

July 24, 2009

oh, the irony!

As you likely know, I've been unemployed since the middle of January when the business that I was managing was closed down. I've been job-hunting since then with varying degrees of intensity, and with mostly no success. Yesterday, while perusing Craigslist for my weekly due-diligence, I spotted a post that claimed to be a "great opportunity for a stay-at-home mom" and I decided to go ahead and shoot them my resume.

Typically, the response I get to my (honestly quite generic) email is one of two things:

1) The no-response response, in which my resume is filtered into the black hole of the recipient's inbox, never to be viewed or acted upon in any manner.
2) The "thank you for your interest but we have received 4o million replies to our ad, so please understand if we never contact you again" response.

I've gotten quite used to being ignored in this manner, so I was understandably surprised to see a message in my inbox today from the owner of the company with the "great opportunity for a stay-at-home mom" job requesting a meeting for an interview. Naturally, she inquired about my availability next week so we could set up a time to meet. Of course. Why not? It makes perfect sense that I should spend six months applying for jobs and be offered only 1.5 interviews in that time span only to be offered one literally days before I'm about to give birth.

I figured that I too, had a couple of options in this situation. I could:

1) Ignore her message- just pretend it was lost in the digital shuffle as so many of my resumes have been.
2) Reply and tell her "sure, I would love to come in for an interview" and make no mention of the fact that there was a slim chance that my water could break on her Jimmy Choos mid-interview.
3) Reply and tell her "yes, I would love to interview for the job, but there's a little detail that you should know first that may not have been quite clear from my resume..."

Obviously, I chose three, and it was the most awkward, bumbling email that I think I have ever written in my life. We'll see if I end up in the black hole this time around, or if she's a gentle enough person to let me down with a civil reply.

July 23, 2009

40 weeks

Okay, this is it! The (potentially) final week of pregnancy is upon us. I'm ready whenever you are, little man. Let's get this show on the road!

At my visit this week, the midwife confirmed that everything is squared up and all looks well positionally for delivery. He still hasn't made that final little descent into my pelvis yet, but I'm still walking and rocking things around at every opportunity in hopes that I can help that.

I'm also trying to prepare myself mentally for the fact that this could go well into August despite my wishes otherwise. I keep reminding myself that one of the reasons that we decided to switch to the midwifery model of care was because we wanted to allow nature to take its course. I know that I won't be pregnant forever, and I may have to just accept that it may be longer than is particularly comfortable for me.

See, Lincoln? I'm trying to be the bigger person here. I want what's best for YOU. Now do mommy a favor and pack your things. It's time to move out already!

July 22, 2009

timing is everything

Yesterday I finished up what will likely be our final home improvement project for quite some time. For some reason there was no exhaust fan ever installed in our bathroom upstairs, so of course we decided to take it upon ourselves in the 38th week of pregnancy to remedy that.

Although we were questioning our intelligence around the time that we were sawing the fifth hole in the drywall, it ended up being a relatively smooth sailing project as those things go, and it only took us nine days working on it just a little bit most evenings after work.

Luckily, Gus had some assistance courtesy of our friends at the Rogue, 'cause everyone knows that power tools and malt liquor are ideal mates.

I mostly just hung out and took pictures and occasionally offered brilliant nuggets of advice or a different drill bit or screwdriver. Although somehow it also ended up being my job to vaccuum up all the dust and deep clean the bathroom at the end, but I guess that must be fair, since all I'm doing otherwise is getting fat and protecting our unborn child 24/7.

I think we're both a little bit surprised that everything went as well as it did, as we're accustomed to our projects being a little bit more... trying? This time there was really no major hang-up, and at no point did Gus have even a minor cursing fit or feel compelled to throw anything!

And now we have a fan. With a timer and everything! No more foggy mirrors or mildew-ey ceiling! Lincoln will be lucky to have such talented (and foolishly ambitious) parents.

If he ever shows up.

July 20, 2009

missed opportunities

We had an eventful weekend, but I can't help but be a little bummed that I didn't go into labor at any of these prime locations:
  • The High Dive in Fremont, where we attended what will possibly be our last rock show for a while. We went to see the Republic, and they were great as always. I did feel a little awkward and uncomfortable being so immensely pregnant surrounded by all the club kids and scantily-clad sorority girls, but hopefully if nothing else I served as a warning to them. Remember kids- always wear protection!
  • On a boat in the middle of Lake Washington, where we spent the morning fishing and enjoying the beautiful weather. Gus caught the only fish, a tiny little perch. I attended to my line periodically, but mostly just hung out soaking up my vitamin D.

  • At White Center Jubilee Days, which we cruised through after our childbirth class on Sunday simply because it was around the corner from the ice cream parlor we went to. It was the most pathetic little attempt at a festival that we have ever encountered. A pregnant woman's water breaking or an emergency labor on the sidewalk would have seriously upped the entertainment factor by so much they probably would have had to hire us to come back next year. Sorry Rat City!
We're definitely in count-down mode now, and Gus is really hoping that things will get going a week early, making this Wednesday the big day. I'm doing what I can to fulfill his dream, but my influence is unfortunately rather limited. If it wasn't, this would all be done by now and I'd be relishing a nice nap on my belly!

July 18, 2009


Well, I've been taking my duties as baby liner-upper quite seriously since the last appointment, and I think maybe we're getting somewhere. There's been a big long walk around the neighborhood taking place daily (despite the heat), and I've even willed myself to sleep almost the entire night on my left side instead of my usual rotisserie style hourly rotation.

It also helped that I found a great website that helped me visualize what was where in my baby-house, as I'm kind of spatially challenged and just can't picture how he's tucked in there. Belly Mapping is a way to use the movements you feel to determine the direction that your baby is lying, and the site also offers techniques to encourage the flipping of a less-than-ideally placed little one.

Although I think it seems that Junior seems to prefer the Right Occiput Transverse (ROT) position to the more preferable Left Occiput Transverse (LOT), he's still flipping back and forth between them. And I think he's working his way down, at least a bit, because I can't see my belly button anymore. I tried to take a photo to verify this change in the shape of my middle, but it looks exactly like the picture I took on Thursday. Curious indeed, but I swear! My belly button has disappeared like a ship over the horizon.

Stay tuned for more exciting developments in this arena.

July 16, 2009

39 weeks

As you can see, not much change this week either. And still no dropping, despite my long daily walks to encourage opening of the pelvis.

That's most likely because at the appointment this week the midwives found that Junior's head was sitting a bit sideways, so I've been prescribed lots of pelvic rocking, belly-dance type hip swaying, and squatting to get him aligned in there more appropriately. Hopefully all that action, combined with Gus's fatherly advice to "get your head right, son" will pay off over the next week or so and we'll see some descent.

I also learned this week that my test for Group B Strep came back positive, as it apparently does in about 30% of women. That means that I'll have to receive an IV antibiotic at the onset of labor to ensure that the baby isn't born through an active colony of the bacteria, which would put him at risk for meningitis and other nasty troubles.

It's really not that big of an issue, just a ten minute drip of meds, but it could lead to more of a hassle if things don't progress in a timely fashion on labor day. The effectiveness of the drug is such that it needs to be re-administered after eight hours if birth hasn't happened yet, so there's a potential if things go particularly long and the midwives leave to get some rest, that they'll have to return every eight hours to give me a new dose. That makes things slightly less convenient, especially if we're talking about the middle of the night. We'll just have to wait and see how it impacts things, if it does.

baby book round-up

After months of preparation, I think we have finally hit a wall. Gus and I got into bed with our nightly doses of parenting advice under our arms the other night, and we found that our brains could just not hold any more. We've read and we've watched films and we've searched and studied and listened, and now we just have to get that baby in our arms and see what happens.

In case you're simply curious, or are wondering where to begin your own research in the vast expanse of information regarding pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting, I've listed the whole pile here. That's nearly two feet of information that I read so you may not have to. You're welcome.

From top:

This is our "textbook" for our Bradley class. It's a great introduction to the relaxation methods and exercises employed in the Bradley method. It's also a great source of awesome 1970's photos of mustachio-d men in short-shorts and full frontal birth-in-action.

This book, as the title implies, is a commonsense guide to understanding and nurturing your newborn. I enjoyed this book and find the suggestions and strategies to be in line with my concept of what baby care should look like.

What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff & Sharon Mazel.
The standard-issue pregnancy book. It's great to have for when you have a question about some specific topic, and also useful if you're curious what fruit your fetus most closely resembles in size at various stages of gestation.

A great companion to the attachment parenting book above by the Sears. Although this book doesn't really cover any new territory, it does suggest many web resources for further research and involvement.

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: the Complete Guide by Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, and Ann Kepler.
If you're just going to buy one book, it should definitely be this one. The women responsible for this book are experts in the field of childbirth and cover everything you need to know about your pregnancy and birth in an easy-to-read and understand way. This is my go-to reference for everything these days.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International.
Another must-read. Whether you're planning to breastfeed or not, you should read this book. And I don't mind saying that hopefully, if you're not planning to breastfeed when you start it, you will be by the time you're done. Yes, it's that important!

I only read a bit of this one before it fell victim to my state of information overload and I decided I couldn't possibly read one more baby-related word. It's an interesting anthropological look at the US and the way we parent versus the way that parenting happens virtually everywhere else in the world. Comes highly recommended, I'll have to go back to it at some point.

What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel, Arlene Eisenberg, and Sandee Hathaway, B.S.N.
Like it's predecessor above, this is the book for figuring out the first year of life, according to some. I'll likely use it as a reference for specific questions that come up more than I'll really read it in full.

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.
If you're considering natural childbirth, this book is essential. Ina May is the quintessential earth-mother hippie midwife. The first half of the book is a collection of birth stories, many by women who gave birth on the commune farm where Ina May lives and practices. The second half is a no-nonsense guide to what the female body is designed to do and how it all really works in childbirth if allowed to behave naturally. It's fascinating and liberating stuff. And it's all well balanced with documented facts and figures, not all just butterflies and rainbows. Read this.

Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth by Robert Bradley, M.D., Marjie Hathaway, Jay Hathaway, and James Hathaway.
Ironically, Dr. Bradley's own book is not the resource we're using in our Bradley class. Our instructor warned us that it's a little bit dated and maybe not the ideal introduction to modern Bradley. I've found that to be true, although it is good to see where the concepts come from. Even for a Bradley student, this is absolutely skippable, if you read the one on the top of the pile.

The Bradley Method Student Workbook by Marjie Hathaway, Jay Hathaway, and James Hathaway. (not available for purchase, this is a special gift exclusively for students enrolled in a Bradley class)
This is where we find our weekly homework and it's basic structure provides the framework for our class. Unfortunately, it's really poorly written and often directly cites Bradley's book as a resource.

I bought this for Gus, but he hasn't had a chance to read it yet. We're pretty much maxed out on baby-related information, so this one may just have to sit.

This was the first baby book we bought and Gus previously reviewed it here. I read it too and found that it was just the right light-hearted approach to get our minds wrapped around the idea that we were going to be parents. A good gift for parents-to-be.

Another one Gus reviewed before. Find that here if you want.

This is kind of an interesting baby name book that differs from the usual dictionary-style versions. The names are grouped together into various categories based on era, country of origin, or style. It can be kind of fun to see other similar names if you like a particular name but aren't completely convinced. It also offers suggestions for sibling names that "match".

Although not relevant just yet, this book is a great introduction to the Montessori method and how to create a home environment that is conducive to Montessori philosophy. I'll be breaking this one out again when the little monster is a bit older.

Also previously discussed. A nice attachment-friendly way to change Baby's habits so that everyone can get more sleep. So she says. We'll see.

I've just skimmed through this one so far. I imagine it may come in handy though, so I'm keeping it nearby.

Baby Signs: How to Talk with Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk by Linda Acredolo, Susan Goodwyn, and Doug Abrams.
Yes, we plan to teach Baby to sign. We'll get into that more later, once he's an appropriate age for such a venture.

Not pictured because they were misplaced at photo time or have moved on to a new home:

Please see above.

A perfectly reasonable book for the start of the pregnancy when you're trying to wrap your head around the idea of carrying human life in your body for forty weeks. It was a little too something (light?, unsubstantiated?) for me to really enjoy it that much, but I can understand its place in the pregnancy book world.

I wanted to like this book, but I just found myself annoyed most of the time. If you want someone to tell you the truth about the crazy stuff your body will be doing, sure, this will work. And it is funny sometimes, I'll give her that.

July 13, 2009

sometimes we do weird things

Like this weekend, for example. On Saturday I convinced my darling husband that we needed to make a belly mask to capture this precious time in our lives in a special way. I first discovered the idea of belly masking a few months ago when I was doing research on home birth and midwifery and we moved from our OB medical model of pregnancy care a little bit to the fringes where things like this live. Somehow, a search for a labor tub can lead to a site that features a belly mask gallery. That's just the way these things flow.

So anyway, I ordered a masking kit from a local henna artist named Krysteen who owns a company called Mendhi Madness. The kit contains instructions and all the supplies that you need to complete one mask. You could probably just buy the stuff you need at a craft supply store, but I figured it was just easier to have her send it all to me along with her expert advice than for us to try to muddle through it on our own. Turns out, that was a good thing, because despite Gus assuring me more than once that he knew what he was doing and had used plaster of paris like this before, it was kind of hard to get it to cooperate at times. I think some of the little hints paid off, personally.

The process was messy and strange, and now we have a big plaster casting of my belly that I don't know what to do with, but it was a fun adventure nonetheless!

I'll be sure to update once we figure out what, if anything, we're going to do with the cast. Some of the examples in the gallery are painted or otherwise decorated and are hanging like art in the homes of their owners. Rest assured that you won't be finding this thing hanging over our mantle the next time you visit, and Gus has forbidden me from hanging it in the nursery (something about giving the kid a complex- whatever!), but it may end up it in my little craft studio or something.

What does one do with a belly cast, exactly? Ideas are welcome!

wanted: one chubby tummy

I can't wait to see my latest finished project in use. I've been wanting to make up the Thrifty Knitter's Pebble Vest since I first saw how precious it looked on SouleMama's little man Harper.

This is my first time knitting a project like this- I've made hats and scarves and handbags, but no actual clothing with the shaping and the decreases and all that, and I was surprised at how easily and quickly it came together. Granted, it's a tiny little thing, but still. And I was a little worried about buttonholes, but they're also super easy and nothing to be afraid of. I love this little vest and I think it will look so cute with a fat little baby buttoned into it!

Once we determine just how big the little guy is, I'll have a better idea of how big he might be when knits will actually be appropriate for the weather, and maybe I'll make more. There's something so sweet about a little baby in a hand-knit sweater, isn't there?

July 9, 2009

38 weeks

Today is the beginning of the 38th week! Just 20 days until the "official" estimated due date of the little monkey.

Not looking much different than we did last week, but at the appointment we once again measured a little big. Not out of the ordinary though, so all is well. And we're now in safe home birth territory, so we've issued a nice sigh of relief and can relax until week 42 ends, when we're back to having to go to the hospital regardless of what happens.

The "practice" Braxton-Hicks contractions have been happening more frequently as my body starts to prepare for the epic adventure ahead. Although my belly is always tightly stretched, sometimes I can really feel the muscles working and can tell that it's not just the normal tension in there but a contraction is taking place. Weird stuff- I must say.

Presumably, Junior should be dropping any time now too- getting engaged in my pelvis in preparation for birth. They say engagement happens any time between two and four weeks before birth for a first-time mother, so I'm waiting! There may be a noticeable change to my profile when that happens, or maybe we won't really be able to tell. We'll just have to wait and see.


I think it's safe to say now that the topsy turvy experiment is officially a success! We've got three squash so far on the two tromboncino plants, and more flowers in bloom. Although we did lose one cucumber plant early on (it broke off- oops!), the remaining plant is also in bloom, so we should end up with at least a few cucumbers out of the deal too!

And obviously, the fuschias we planted up top are gorgeous. The hummingbirds aren't nearly as interested in them as I would like, but we do occasionally catch a glimpse of one feeding up there.

So definitely no regrets about taking the risk on the non-topsy-turvy vegetable garden. We created a unique and attractive feature on the deck, and we're going to get veggies too. Brilliant!

Check out what else is happening in our garden here.

July 7, 2009

a happy fourth

So after our quick little jaunt down to Oregon for the night, we drove home and spent the fourth hanging out with some old friends. Thanks to the magic that is Facebook, Gus has been chatting with some buddies that he (mis)spent his youth with. They kind of lost track of each other over the last few years, but life seems to have brought them back to the same place once again, and I think this will be a really good thing.

Granted, the things that once united them may not be exactly the same anymore, but they have a solid foundation of good memories to draw from and plenty of time to make some new ones.

It was a lot of fun for me to spend some time with these guys and hear stories about the adventures they used to have. While they were by no means bad boys, they did cause their mothers a little bit of heartache during their teenage years.

I think he looks much better with the baby, don't you?

It's funny to see how people can come full circle and move in and out of your world. As we're preparing for our new adventure in parenting, sometimes it can be hard to imagine what that life is going to look like and how we're going to do it. Since none of our friends have kids yet (hey- hurry up guys!) we haven't really had much opportunity to see parenthood in action in a context that is meaningful to us personally. I think that reuniting with an old friend that is fully entrenched in the life we're about to be living will prove to be very helpful in the time to come.

July 2, 2009

the final countdown!

Holy. The baby house seems to be making a last-ditch effort to grow as enormous as possible before it's too late. As Zena pointed out last week in the comments, there's been a sudden burst of growth and I imagine that the next few weeks are going to show similar rapid expansion. For that reason, and also because we're finally getting close enough that I could (in theory) go at any time, I've decided to make the belly documentation weekly for the duration.

This week also marks an exciting turning point in the pregnancy, as the successful conclusion of week 37 will mean that I'm officially full-term and it will be legal to birth at home attended by our midwife. Seven days to go! The heat is on.

Although I have no reason to believe that I would go into premature labor, I can't imagine how crappy it would be to have made it this far just to miss our goal by a few days! So for now, the fingers (and legs) are going to stay crossed and Baby better keep himself situated comfortably inside if he knows what's good for him!

Coincidentally, we're headed out of town this weekend to attend a wedding shower in Oregon, so there's one more inspiration to stay pregnant for a bit longer. Of course, Gus's boss decided that these conditions merit the perfect storm for our first birth, so he's placed his money on the bet that I'll go into labor while we're away. He also predicted it would happen in the middle of the craziness at the Solstice day parade, however, and we all know how that turned out. He's apparently just hoping that we'll have an interesting story to tell.

Not surprisingly, all that belly is making life a bit complicated for me lately. Sitting (in just about any position) pretty much sucks, as does sleeping. Fortunately, I'm still only sleeping in stretches of about two hours, which gives me ample opportunity to pee and readjust my position frequently, so I guess at least there's that.

The belly is also providing a portable heat source for me, which would be awesome if it was November or I was trying to survive in the Arctic tundra for a few days. Sadly, it's July and it's been hot as hell, so I'm just sad and sweaty.

July 1, 2009

knit shirt refashion

A little while ago, I was gifted a huge bag of clothes from a friend that was doing some spring cleaning and thought I might be able to use some fresh looks for my growing shape. She warned me that many of the items are sweaters and "career" type wear, that just aren't ideal for the heat right now (or my lack of career), but correctly assumed that I would still want the stash for the fabric if nothing else.

Today I was moving the bag and decided to dive back in for another look. I pulled out a brown lightweight knit sweater that looks a lot like something I would buy. I slipped it on and decided that it had potential, it just needed a little tweaking to be something that I could comfortably wear for the next few weeks at least.

Here's what it looked like before I took my scissors and sewing machine to it:

As you can see, the arms were a little bit long (!) and it was kind of loose, especially around the bust/armhole area.

I fixed those problems by chopping the arms off and reattaching a section of the original cuff. I also took it in about an inch on each side, starting about half way up my new sleeve all following the seam all the way down to the hem. That snugged it up through the bust a bit and took care of some of the extra width in the back.

It's nice and cozy, and now much better for the season. Hooray for hand-me-downs! Thanks Margo!

I'm blushing!

There's a profile of me and my crafy endeavors today on the Oliver + S blog!

Even though I knew it was coming at some point, I still feel a little bit like a frantic hostess with dust bunnies under the couch and flour on my apron, struggling to make the place presentable!

Thanks so much to Liesl & Todd for taking the time to feature my little corner of the world! I'm honored to be a part of the Oliver + S boutique sewer program. And I promise, more Tea Party dresses are on the way.

Whether they arrive before or after Baby does, however~ only time will tell!