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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Belly Shots

Here's the progression of my belly so far:


I'm definitely noticing my thickening midsection when I have do things like wash the dishes--my belly sorta gets in the way between me and the counter. And I know it is only to going to get bigger! Before getting pregnant I had no idea things like twisting to crack my back or stretching to reach something on a high shelf would be such an issue. I'd pay a lot of money to be able to twist and crack my back right about now...

Even with all the bodily changes, I still cannot believe I'm actually pregnant. Pregnant--as in there's a human being growing inside my body like a parasite and I now have an extra organ that I've never had before (the placenta). It is just weird. And exciting.

I've been waiting for this experience for years that it seems too good to be true. Everyday I tell this to Dave and he just looks at me like, "Duh. How can you not have accepted that you're pregnant? Look at you!"

Monday, March 30, 2009

Level 2 Sonogram

We had our first level 2 sonogram this afternoon. Level 2 sonograms are super cool! We got to see all the baby's organs (and I mean all the organs) and we also had a fetal echocardiogram to check the heart for defects. Dave's brother was born with a subaortic stenosis and had to have open heart surgery at 11 years old to correct it. He's fine now, thank goodness. But our babe's heart looks a-okay. The doctor even checked the lower and upper heart beats to make sure that both parts are beating together (i.e., no arrhythmia) since I suffered from an SVT. Everything looks (and sounds) great!

Here's a video of the heart beat...man-oh-man I love that whoosh-whoosh sound!
video

The doctor confirmed that there is indeed a teeny weeny penis growing inside me (attached to our baby, of course)! So our baby's name is Edward Lawrence, named for my brother and Dave's oldest brother. And yes, I realize that our baby will be "Eddie Bower," but at least it isn't spelled the same as the outdoor adventure company.

The only bad news for today is that I can't have chocolate ("especially dark") for the duration of the pregnancy because it contains caffeine. I am to avoid any and all caffeine, lest it excite my heart into another scary SVT episode. The ban on chocolate isn't as bad as it sounds because I don't really have much of a sweet tooth anyway. But still, no chocolate for a pregnant woman? That's a lot to ask. And I don't even have gestational diabetes to blame. Dave's birthday is coming up and he requested that I make him a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. So I guess I'll be making a second, vanilla cake that I can actually eat or just do without cake all together. All in all, however, this "bad" news isn't so bad. Our baby is healthy and that's much more important than chocolate!

I will post about our spring break road trip and an update on our gravel path project later this week.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Trippin'

This week my mom and I are on a road trip together, venturing up to Tacoma, WA to see my cousin Mike and his family. So I won't be posting anything much this week since I don't have my laptop (Potatoes knocked over a sugary-milky cup of coffee onto it a few weeks ago and it completely died. My technogeek husband can't even revive it and that's really saying something.).

Anyway, I'll post pictures and whatnot when I return. So stay tuned for pictures of my cutie little cousin Conrad and his fun parents...oh, and of me and mom of course. =)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Modest Baby Bower

Our much-anticipated appointment this morning was actually with a midwife, not a doctor. And midwives apparently don't "do" sonograms...

The midwife could sense that I was disappointed that we wouldn't be getting our promised gender check sonogram (I really was holding back tears) so she hunted down a doctor to perform one for us. She said that there's often confusion between the appointment desk ladies and the doctors/midwives around the 20 week appointment. She's hoping to talk to whoever made our appointment last time so it won't happen again.

So the good news is that we did get a sonogram today after all. The bad news is that our baby was being quite modest and not spreading its cute little legs to give us a peak at its plumbing.

It appears to be outdoor plumbing (boy)...but we can't be totally sure. Baby girls can have swollen labia (even for weeks after birth) making it hard to tell sometimes. We're having a level 2 sonogram on March 30 and that one should be able to confirm the presence of a penis.

Isn't it weird to think that there is likely a teeny weeny penis inside me right now? Most people just exclaim "it's a boy!" That's true, but also so boring. Maybe I'll make myself a t-shirt that exclaims "there's a penis inside me!" Maybe not...that sounds too sexual...

Anyway, here are the sonograms pictures from today. Like I said, the baby was being too modest and wiggly to get a picture of the illusive penis (otherwise I would definitely post it here...even though I know my child will be super embarrassed someday...but I have at least 15 years until then). So stay tuned for more sonogram pictures in about 10 days.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What do you think?

I'm just curious...what do you think we're going to have? A boy or a girl?

Many people claim (as I do) to be able to "tell" what the sex of someone's baby is before its birth. For the last 5 of my friends who've had babies I've been right on the money each time. I can't explain it but I could just sense what they were having, even if they didn't know themselves.

But for some reason I can't tell at all what I'm carrying in my own belly! This is highly frustrating for me. Dave is sure it is a boy but we'll both be super happy with either sex (we sincerely just want a healthy baby).

So...what do you think I'm having?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Let the Fun Begin: Baby Shower Planning!

Woohoo! Allison has offered to throw me a baby shower. I feel so loved! (And blessed that my brother is dating such a cool girl as Allison!)

When I told Dave about the party and that usually only females attend baby and bridal showers he was totally bummed. He wanted to come to the shower, too. So Allison suggested that we make it a co-ed shower since I have so many guy friends. And this way Dave's friends can come, too, since the shower really should be for us and not just me since we're both becoming parents.

We're finding out the sex of the baby on March 20 (assuming the baby cooperates and spreads it cute little legs for us during the appointment). So after that we'll come up with a theme for the party. Allison asked me what kind of food I want for the party and I said, "I will probably want cool foods since it'll be in the summer, like cucumber salad, fruit salad...and fried chicken of course." =)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why No Sleep Stations?

You know what UC Davis needs? A place for sleepy pregnant women to take a nap during the day. My building does have a little alcove with some pillows in it, but it is usually occupied by someone eating lunch or chatting on the phone. I could sleep on the quad since the grass isn't wet but last time I napped out there I was hit by a stray frisbee. It would be so nice if there was a room full of cubicles with beds in them for snoozing. And no creepy undergraduate boys allowed--only pregnant women.

There have been days lately where I've just gone home in the middle of the day to sleep. Doing that makes me feel like such a slacker.

In fact, two weeks ago I was rushing to get to the 2:35pm bus with only a few minutes to spare. In the hallway I ran into my professor who was talking with a prospective student. He stopped me to chat, and asked me to show this gal around our lab since she's interested in using some of the instrumentation we have. I was so tired that I didn't even care when I blurted out "I'm sorry, but I can't. I was going to go home to take a nap. I'm just sooooo tired. But I'll be here all day tomorrow if that would be okay." This girl looked at me like I was crazy (and a total slacker). How was she supposed to know that I'm not a slacker but just an exhausted pregnant lady whose fetus is sucking all the lifeforce out of her?

When I finally got away from them and to the bus station I had missed the friggin' bus. I nearly cried, honestly. So I had to trudge back into lab until the next bus came an hour later (it was too cold and wet to wait outside).

When I got back into lab my labmate, Rebecca, said that she'd just given that same girl a tour of our lab. But she confessed that she'd just had like 4 cups of coffee and was all hyped-up on caffeiene and was talking a mile a minute to this girl. Rebecca said she was very aware that this prospective student wasn't really understanding what the instrumentation was all about because Rebecca wasn't being clear due to her hyperactive state. Haha! I can't imagine what this poor prospective student was thinking about our lab. She was probably thinking "okay, this is NOT a lab I want to work in. The students are either slackers or are completely crazy."

Luckily I was able to help someone with an instrument upstairs during my extra hour so at least I was a little more productive.

But today I'm fighting the urge to go home and sleep with every ounce of energy I still have. Must. Sleep. Soon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Support Groups

I'm quickly realizing that UC Davis must be among the best universities for a pregnant gal like me to go to school (excluding, probably, places like BYU). Everyone I talk to has lists of on-campus resources for me.

Already I've joined a Breastfeeding Moms on Campus group that meets monthly for women who are considering, preparing for, or already breastfeeding--and this includes all staff, faculty, students, and partners of those people. (I'm going to put off going to these meetings for a while because there's another meeting at the same time.) Our campus has 26 "lactation stations" throughout campus, equipped with comfortable chairs, changing tables, locking doors, and hospital-grade pumps. Pump accessories kits for users are sold at all the bookstores and include a little insulated bag with icepacks in case your office or lab doesn't have a fridge to store the pumped milk in. There is a full-time lactation consultant on the main campus who is available for any questions and assistance with breastfeeding issues.
At lunch today I went to my first weekly Pregnant Graduate Students Support Group through the Womens Resource & Research Center. I met 4 other grad students who are expecting. We just chatted about our research, how to afford childcare (yikes) and health insurance (double yikes), and how our professors are coping with our new condition. At next week's meeting there will be a doula speaking to us about birth method options.

Although I'm not allowed to ride my bike for the duration of the pregnancy, I'm lucky that the bus line I take stops at the hospital/birthing center/doctors office complex that I go to so I don't even have to drive when I have regular appointments.
I joke with Dave that when I got into labor I'll either take the bus or call my professor for a ride since Dave will likely be up in Gualala working and will just have to make the 3+ hour drive down to Davis to meet me at the hospital once I go into labor. Haha. Ok...so I half-joke about this because these are my options--it isn't realistic for Dave to take time off from work for the 4 week time frame during which I could go into labor. And since my dad still works and my mom has chemo appointments every week I don't really think either of them can just hang around the house with me either. It might sound like I'm complaining, but I'm completely comfortable with my bus/professor options. Having my professor drive me to the hospital to give birth might sound creepy to some people, but that's only because you don't know my professor--he's wonderful and very supportive. Lucky me! =)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Strollin' in Style

We bought the coolest stroller this weekend off of Craigslist. It is green!!! As you all know lime green is my absolute favorite color. Growing up my mom used to always say this color preference was a "faze" that I'd "grow out of." Maybe...but probably not. The color is perfect (in my opinion) for a girl or a boy. It was a pretty good deal--we saved about 50% of what the same system would have cost new--considering it came with a car seat and a car seat base. I know it is recommended that you always buy a new car seat since safety regulations change all the time, but this is only about a year old so I think we're fine. The guy we bought it from said his wife has already purchase and dismissed 4 strollers because she can't find one that she likes. Good for me, bad for her. Perhaps she should be the one buying strollers off of Craigslist and not new!

It is a Peg Perego Pliko P3 Pramette:

On Saturday night I made the boys (Edward, his two grad school friends who are visiting, and Dave) walk to the grocery store with me. I insisted that we take the stroller so we could use it to carry home all our stuff. The silly boys kept rolling their eyes at me, but it was so good that we brought it along. I bought tons of milk, OJ, and fruit (read: heavy stuff) to last us the week. With Edward and his two guy friends we are plowing through food quickly!

The stoller handles really well with a lot of weight in it...and it looks so cool. I can't get over how much I like the color. I know my dad will come right out and say how much he hates the color. Luckily Dave and I like it, it was a good deal, and it is safe for our little one.

After years of nannying, working in a nursery and at-home childcare, and constant baby sitting I've become familiar enough with strollers to know what I'd personally want in one. For our first stoller I was primarily concerned with manueverability, the breaking mechanism, basket storage, car seat compatibility, appearance, and ease of folding up/loading into the car.

Now I'll be purusing Craigslist for a used jogging or all terrain stroller. It is incredible just how many used strollers there are for sale. Most of them (at least in this area) are jogging strollers, probably because people think they're going to run off the baby weight and then never do. I hate running but those strollers are great for long walks along the greenbelt.

We considered using our REI dividend and 20% off coupon to buy a BOB all terrain stroller but after testing them out at the store we decided we didn't like them enough to buy a new one. They handle beautifully but I didn't like the way they folded up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Working Dogs"

Dave and I cannot say enough good things about our local vet, the South Davis Vet Center. Everyone there treats our dogs like their own pets and they are genuinely happy to see "the pies" whenever they come. In fact, on the off occasion when I bring only one dog in for a shot or something, they always ask "aw, why didn't you bring darling Sweet Potato (or Rhubarb) Pie also?"

The veterinarians are the most wonderful people you'd ever hope to meet. Instead of insisting that the dogs be up on the exam table (where they are freaked out and scared), the vets happily plop themselves down on the floor with me and the pooches for the whole visit. These are seriously my kind of people.

Last time Dave took the pooches to the vet for check-ups, the vet commented on how great the dogs look. He said "wow, now these must be working dogs." Since we have border collies, "working" of course means dogs employed to herd livestock all day. Ha! Dave asked why he thought they were working dogs and the vet said it was because they are so fit and thin--not overweight with poorly defined muscles like most family dogs. Beaming with pride like a proud papa, Dave came home and shared this hilarious encounter with me. I, of course, beamed at our pooches and then laughed my butt off.

Our dogs are NOT working dogs...unless you consider hoarding toys, snuggling on the couch, and chasing tennis balls "work." Unlike most families, I suppose, we keep to a strict feeding schedule, make sure they get plenty of exercise at the park every day, and limit their treats. (Our pooches actually only get treats when they get baths...and that's to say, not often.) Some people hand feed their dogs treats constantly, but we don't. Partly because we don't graze on snacks ourselves and partly because we're in the habit of rewarding the dogs with attention and snuggles instead of food.

So the running joke in our house now is "humph...working dogs indeed!"

Here's Ruby hard at work, hoarding her toys so brother can't play with them. She has two raw hide chewwies, a bone, a dinosaur, a rubbers newspaper, and an otter. Can we say spoiled?And here's a series of pictures of Potatoes from Saturday. Every morning after he eats breakfast and goes potty, he makes a bee-line straight back to bed, where's he'll remain for a couple of hours. And yes, he's in our bed using our pillows as a nest. I'd like to point out that he rearranged all those pillow himself to get them the way he wanted for optimal snoozing conditions. (There's a reason they say border collies are the smartest dogs in the world!)

Potatoes at 12:20pm:
Potatoes at 1:40pm:
Potatoes at 2:30pm:
Can we say spoiled? Nah!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tuckered Out

Man-o-man, am I tired today! It is only lunch time and I'm already dreaming of going home for some sleep.

Ever since my heart episode, I've been banned from riding my bike. So the only exercise I really get is from walking. Today I had to be at school at 8:30am to set up the breakfast for my graduate group's prospective student recruitment day. I figured walking to campus would not only be good for me (I did nothing but sit in the car for ~6 hours yesterday) but also would save me a dollar. I know that's not much, but spending a dollar every day for the bus when I didn't used to pay for transportation does add up. Graduate student fees don't cover the bus here in Davis so I have to pay to go to campus. No one has to pay to leave campus since they neither check ID cards, passes, nor have anyone at the seat to collect your money.

So...I walked to campus in the rain. It took me less than an hour (barely) to get to the far side of campus. According to Google Maps this journey is about 3 miles.

I got warm while walking and kept stopping to take off layers. By the time I hit downtown, I had removed by ball cap and rain coat and had put my hair in a pony tail. I also poured out my travel mug of hot tea because just holding it in my hand was making me hot. Passersby stared at me because I was the only person out who was not all bundled up in rain gear. I guess feeling overheated while pregnant is something I should get used to.

My hip joints can tell that I walked to campus today...they are a bit achy. Sigh...but there's a bunch of stuff I want to get done in lab today and there's a seminar I'm supposed to go to this evening for my internship. And THEN there's a pizza dinner downtown for my graduate group that I'd like to go to. But we'll just have to see how much energy I have later today.

Oh, and today marks my 17th week of pregnancy. Happy 17!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Relaxing Yet Productive

What a wonderful, relaxing-yet-productive weekend!

My mom came to Davis on Thursday evening and took me out to Thai food. She spent Friday morning hanging around the house with Dave while I was at school getting the remainder of my compost samples sieved. Then she took me to the doctor for my hour-long glucose tolerance and AFP tests (I had no idea being pregnant required so many blood tests and doctors visits!).

After a scrumptious lunch of Czech goulash and dumplings downtown, the three of us headed to Sacramento to check out used baby stuff at Once Upon a Child. We were all impressed with how cheap clothing is--we even picked out two of the teeniest newborn onsies I've ever seen. Since newborns grow so fast, it doesn't make sense to spend money on newborn sized clothing. But we couldn't resist the darling tininess of these things. For only a dollar a piece, we figured we could indulge our baby craziness this one time. (I still can't believe my normally-pear-sized uterus is going to expand to a size capable of accomodating something that will fit into those onsies. These onsies are small but they aren't that small. Holy crap, that's a lot of stretching.)

Then we ended up at the Room Source to buy a new coffee table. Up to this point, Dave's parents were lending us a gorgeous antique (and really expensive) redwood burl table that belonged to Dave's late Papa. This table was so nice that the only "house rules" for guests were to not damage the table in any way and to haul it outside in the event of a fire. Seriously. So now with our little parasite on the way, we decided we needed to get a coffee table that could withstand a few dings and chew marks.

All Room Source stores are closing so I was able to talk the price down to 50% off. Not too bad. Plus it is a cool lift-top table with storage underneath.
Saturday, after my mom left for Livermore, Dave and I just worked around the house finishing up a million little projects that have been left undone for way too long. Our list included:

-giving Dave a haircut
-painting the door trim in the hallway and master bedrooms (10 doors!!!!)
-attach the china hutch to the wall for earthquake safety
-connect speakers to wires (last weekend we pulled speaker wire up through the wall behind the entertainment center, into the attic, and through the living room ceiling)
-bake olive bread for family lunch on Sunday
-make banana muffins from old bananas
-weed vegetable garden
-thin beets

We got everything done on our list. I love it when that happens.

Check out all the beet greens we harvested. Last year I didn't thin them at all so my beet root harvest was pitiful. Hopefully this year we'll get more...but if we don't that's okay because we actually like the greens more than the roots. Chopped beet greens + crushed tomatoes + browned polish sausage + pasta = amazing. This dish is becoming a winter garden harvest tradition at our house.
Today we braved the torrential rains and drove separate cars up to Dave's uncle's cabin near Yorkville (read: out in the boonies). His parents joined us a little late because the south part of their hotel in downtown Gualala caught on fire this morning. Luckily (I suppose), the hotel is broken up into 5 buildings and only one of them was affected. Anyway, hanging out with Uncle Bill, Aunt Suki, Cousin Don and his little girl, Eloise, was really fun and relaxing.
Their cabin is gorgeous and is surrounded by forest and vineyards. They grow grapes for pinot noir wine made by Williams Selyem winery...pinot is hands down my favorite wine. It was tortuous watching everyone enjoy my favorite wine when I coudn't have more than a sip. That sip was soooooooooo good.
Mark my words, my first real meal after giving birth will be a thick rare steak served on a platter of sizzling hot butter with a glass of pinot. I can't wait.