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    Wanna hear a baby heartbeat?

    March 30th, 2008

    Eh, I thought you might.

    Here’s some sounds of what our baby’s up to. We recorded this using our newest toy: the Doppler.

    If I’m counting correctly we’ve got a good 152bmp thumper in there.

    A sample of … what?

    March 25th, 2008

    We had an appt. w/ our OB today. Nothing scary – this is my regularly scheduled visit.

    S and I came to the office and I stood at the front desk to check in. This elderly lady took my name and crossed me off the list. We had our standard insurance card conversation, after which she said “When you’re ready you can give us your sample!” and then walked away. I assumed that she was going to get the “stuff” for whatever “sample” I needed to provide, and explain further, but she came back empty handed and proceeded to talk to the other receptionist.

    I cleared my throat and said “Excuse me, did you say “sample”? What kind of sample?”.
    In my mind I’m thinking “Blood sample? Urine sample?… Handwriting sample?….”
    She then looked up with this confused look “You’ve been here before?”
    “Yes, I have.” I’ve been in this office for 2 prior visits, last being my little emergency stop two weeks ago. In my defense, a sample was not requested in my previous two visits.
    She then looked at me and said sloooweeer and LOUDER! “So when you’re ready, just provide a sample” (as if repeating herself verbatim was going to resolve the situation).
    “Yes, but of what?”

    This was going no-where fast. We were clearly running around in circles.
    S is behind me also perplexed, but at the same time giggling.

    Luckily at this point the nurse practitioner walked up and asked me to go back.
    I apologized for being dense, and explained I had no issue providing a sample, as long they told me what they really wanted from me. Without blinking an eye “Pee!” she said. “Can you do it now?”

    I’m pregnant! At this stage I can just about produce this on demand.

    How hard was it to just say so? It’s a doctor’s office. There must be at least 20 ways to ask for pee, at least one of which could clearly be illustrated through interpretive dance.

    Aaah… that’s my funny for the day.

    Oh… and the appointment went fine. Baby’s good!

    1/10,000 = all is well… probably

    March 24th, 2008

    Mondays are my busiest days of the week. It’s nothing but meetings back-to-back. Today I had the pleasure of starting my day with my first conference call at 8:00am only to transition to more meetings lasting through 5pm. Luckily I stole away 15 minutes to go grab lunch. As I was ordering my “to-go” sandwich I saw that I had missed a call on my mobile. I also immediately saw an SMS pop-up. It was S telling me that the clinic that did our integrated screening called, and I should call them back. This could have meant one of two things:

    1. Integrated screening results are in, or
    2. They needed to reschedule my follow-up ultrasound.

    It was the first! I was a little surprised because, honestly, I wasn’t expecting their call until the end of this week.

    I walked out of the cafeteria on the way back to my desk trying to balance my sandwich bag, bottle of water, banana and yogurt (yep pregnant chicks eat a lot, although the last two were my afternoon snacks) while dialing the clinic. I had 5 minutes to make this call. It was probably good that I was rushing to yet another meeting, because at least I had no time to worry if the news would be good or bad. The woman I needed to speak with picked up the phone… then I kind of froze: it had hit me what I was about to hear. I needed to sit down.

    The integrated screening we had done tested for Trisomy 21 and Trisomy 18. Both are chromosomal abnormalities which cause Down Syndrome, mental retardation or other various medical problems. Few babies with Trisomy 18 survive more than a few months following birth.

    But the news was good! For both of the above my risk factor for having either abnormality is 1/10,000. That’s 99.99% chance that our baby will be just perfect. Additionally we have a 1/2,100 risk factor for our child having an open spinal chord defect. This, I was told, is also the lowest risk bracket. All in all this doesn’t mean that we are in the clear: after all it’s not a diagnostic test, but these are odds I can happily live with.

    The rest of my day, I have to tell you, has gone just fine! Granted, I’ve been dealing with the shake-out of a rough last week, but all of a sudden now everything else that I’m dealing with feels so much less important. This is probably the best news I’ll get in a long while.

    Now I’m ready to feel the baby move! Bring it on 🙂

    Me vs. The Snoogle! Battle on.

    March 19th, 2008

    In pregnancy there comes a stage where sleeping on your back (or lying on your back) is strongly discouraged. As the baby grows, it’s weight begins to apply pressure on a large vein (called the ‘vena cava’ if you want to be technical) running on the side of the spinal cord, which carries blood from the heart to the lower portions of the body. It’s kind of like a garden hose: you step on it and water coming out of the end reduces to a trickle, or stops altogether. Lack of blood-flow, while entertaining to watch as your limbs go purple, isn’t particularly good either for me… or the baby.

    The solution? Sleeping on your side. Obviously stomach sleeping is out, unless you enjoy a nice teeter-totter, which then leaves sleeping on one side or another.

    However, this is easier said than done: I can’t naturally force myself to assume a side position and not move overnight. For this people recommend that you sleep with a bunch of pillows around you and in between your legs. So the fortress of pillows begins.

    I went out and acquired myself a Snoogle: it’s a pregnancy pillow that looks like a snake.


    You wrap it around you and rely on the back snuggle bit to prevent you from rolling around. But it’s BIG! Good thing we have a king sized bed. Now between S, myself, Neko (our Maine Coon who takes up just as much space as his parents) and pregnancy pillows a king sized bed feels mighty small.

    I have now had two nights sleeping with this thing. Apparently I can wrap it anyway I want, but I still wake up in the middle of the night flat on my back. The pillow, instead of preventing me from rolling over, is just cradling me in between. Clearly, I am smarter than said pillow!

    The end result?
    Me: 1; Pillow: 0

    Ding, dong, the pricks are gone!

    March 17th, 2008

    The container of sharps? It’s gone, baby!

    And it only took:

    • 1 visit to Walgreen’s pharmacy: denied
    • 1 visit to Long’s pharmacy: denied
    • 1 visit to my OBGYN: denied
    • 1 visit to the local hospital: denied! (go figure that one: a hospital would not dispose of used patient needles)
    • 2 calls to the county’s sheriff department: denied (even though I was referred to them)
    • 1 visit to a specified firehouse: success

    To get rid of these suckers.

    At this rate, given how complicated this was to do, I am in no way surprised people would give up, quit and just put them in the trash.

    Regardless: needles are outta here!

    Ding, dong, the pricks are gone!

    It costs ‘how much?’!?!?!

    March 16th, 2008

    When S and I began planning our wedding we spent a few week-ends driving around checking out venues and meeting with vendors. We spent several week-ends doing wedding planning ‘chores’. We found our venue after 2 week-ends of searching and our vendors fell in place shortly afterwards.

    When we started looking for a new home, we spent several week-ends doing open homes and meeting with our real estate agent. Luckily we found a home fairly quickly and within 2 months of looking we were closed on a house.

    Baby shopping on the other hand is not following suit with a quick few trips to the store. We have now spent 4 unique week-end visits to a number of different stores and are little further ahead than where we started from. The first three visits were mostly for shock relief … for me! Once you realize what equipment babies are recommended to have, its like being released on a hill of hay asked to find a few needles. Ok, I’m exaggerating a little, but I did have a few minor freak-outs: hence the “store won’t bite” trips. There are SO many choices, and when you add the cost of each item, I swear I was hearing a cashier ring in my head. I don’t think Babies “R” Us sells anything under $300: car-seat… $300, stroller… $300, crib… $300, pacifier… $300. Ok, ok, I’m exaggerating again… but it sure feels like it!

    So today we finally made a list of all the items WE feel we need. I may look at this list (and post) in a year from now and just laugh myself as to how little we use some of these items, but hey… it’s a starting point. From here we divide and conquer.

    Today was all about cribs. We went to 3 stores (4 if you count the BRU trip yesterday) and looked at all the cribs we could stand. Tall ones, short ones, full sized, mini, drop-sides, non-drop-sides, with curves, without curves, $100 models, and $1400 models (I kid you not). From this we’ve compiled a short list. It’s especially short because S and I don’t really like the same look. So with this list in hand we are now fully prepared to throw it all away when something reasonable (in look, price and safety) comes up for sale on Craigslist!

    I think the next “big item” after that to decide on will be a stroller. I’m actually trying hard to figure out when we will actually be using a stroller. If we were jogging people, or had a pedestrian lifestyle our needs of a stroller would be very specific. I just need to understand what features will be important to us, not knowing how we’ll use it yet. I’m kinda thinking that as long as we have a good infant carrier/car seat, and a carrier sling we should be OK for the first month or so. Then we can figure out what we do with the baby and what kind of stroller we’ll need. Is this an unreasonable thought?

    Ok, all you parents can now stop snickering and shaking your head. You were naive and inexperienced once too.

    I leave you with this belly update.


    Paranoia and pregnancy make strange bedfellows

    March 14th, 2008

    S is a model patient! He does as he’s told, when he’s told.

    I on the other hand… not so much. I am very diligent about preventative check-ups, but for anything else I’m a “feel-your-way through wellbeing” kinda person. I avoid taking meds (unless I’m told to) and go in to see a doctor only when there are things I know I can’t take care of on my own.
    But now things are different. If I feel something is not right, I can’t just say “I’ll just watch it and see what happens”.

    Case in point: these past 24 hours.

    Within an hour of being awake I received the sharpest cramp I’ve had in a long time. It was the kind of cramp that made you sit down and take a deep breath; the kind of cramp that made it painful to walk.
    Now over the last year I’ve felt menstrual cramps, ovary stimulation cramps, implantation cramps (which fyi feel like menstrual cramps), uterus growth cramps, and some good round ligament cramps for good measure. I also well recall hernia cramps from a few years ago too.
    All in all, my cramps repertoire is pretty well rounded! So when this cramp came it was new, it was different, and it was scary. Especially when it didn’t go away! It would get milder then worse, then mild again, and then return with a nice dose of nausea. When there’s been no nausea for the first trimester, or this kind of discomfort, having these feelings is not comforting. Normally, non-pregnant me would say “Eeeh, watch it, but leave it alone.” Pregnant me on the other hand says “I’m sure all is fine, but better go and talk to someone.”

    So I did!

    I talked to my clinic yesterday, I went in today. A few phone conversations, a Doppler test, an ultrasound, and a cervix exam later we know that the munchkin is doing fine. It waved at us during the ultrasound, which is even cooler.

    The doc thinks it’s gastro-intestinal. The baby is hanging out pretty much right by my large intestine. For all I know it could be doing some head-butts in there just to make sure I know who’s boss. Who knows, maybe I’m raising a head-banger?

    I felt apologetic for being paranoid, but my doc was great! She was understanding and not dismissive in any way… which brings me to my next point: I LOVE my new clinic!!! Between the prompt attention to my call yesterday where I actually talked to my OB, her calling last night to check up on me, and the attention I got from the clinic today without having an appointment I am simply thrilled. I feel like moving to this practice was a great decision.

    With all this though, I came home last night and S and I rented a Doppler. I’d have felt better being able to hear the heart-beat and know that all is well. It arrives next week. So who wants to hear baby heart-beat?

    “Firsts”… and not so “Lasts”

    March 12th, 2008

    My last Saturday was supposed to be a day of firsts and a day lasts.

    The day of Lasts… or so I thought.
    I had patiently waited for my first trimester to be behind us before I can walk our needles and syringes into a pharmacy and bid them Adieu. So here S and I load ourselves into our car, with my red container of evilness in hand as we drive to our local Walgreen’s. I walk in with a spring in my step, eager to rid myself of the last poking reminder of what last year was all about. I wait my turn patiently to the front of the line, I place said container on the counter and say “I would like to dispose of my diabetic needles, please!” Ok, I kinda lied: the syringes are diabetic dosages (size and all)… they just didn’t get used for diabetic purposes. Only what do I hear? “Oh, we don’t take these here. I need to call my manager.” And so I wait. S is in the car with the engine running, for what was supposed to be a short “in and out” trip. Now’s he’s SMS’ing me to find out what’s taking so long. Finally the manager calls back 10 minutes later, saying that only the sheriff’s department of our county can accept used medical sharps. Blah! I got back in my car all gloomy: the container is here to stay awhile longer.
    I called the sheriff’s department only to find out that they don’t take them either, I have to go to the court-house… during business hours to dispose of them. Well, I can’t go during business hours: I, like them, also work, and during business hours, attend to my business, which is a good 30 miles away.

    So we’ve decided to wait until our next OB appointment and take them to our clinic. They have receptacles there and I’m hoping they’ll take mine too. All it means is that the red container of evil pokies is now getting driven around town with me for the next two weeks. Alas!

    The day of Firsts
    Last week I finally caved and realized it’s time to shop for preggie wear. S had been urging me to for awhile, and I caved. We went to Old Navy. I didn’t see anything for myself I wanted, but on the way out we did see this:

    Baby’s first onesie

    It reads “Earn Your Wings Flight School”. If you know anything about S and me, you know this is right up our alley. We’ve been spending mad free time in our local indoor skydiving wind-tunnel. The very first flight you can purchase there actually is called “Earn Your Wings”. Our kid will be a free-flying pro by the time it’s 5, and the thought of seeing it waddle around the establishment, wearing this onesie, as it watched mommy or daddy fly was too cool to pass up.

    This was MY first baby purchase! Some friends had already started shopping for us, which has been great, but this was the very first thing that we brought home.
    I couldn’t be happier 🙂

    PDL, FML, SDSI… can I buy a vowel?

    March 4th, 2008

    I had a long needed conversation with my company’s HR and benefits reps about maternity leave. They kind of tag-teamed me, but it was for the best because I got some desperately needed answers.

    Let me tell you: reading forms online about what’s covered under PDL (Pregnancy Disability Leave) and FML (Family Medical Leave) and what isn’t covered is confusing. For each question we get answered another one pops up, and it doesn’t help that different places suggest contradictory (or seemingly contradictory) information.

    The good news is that my coverage is actually much better than I thought. Although when you start with very low standards, expecting no pay (while on leave), ANY pay seems like a deal!

    I get 7 weeks, or in specific HR terms “49 days” of 100% pay. Score! After that there are some more decreases until it goes to nothing, but hey, again, this does make a difference on bills… especially come Christmas time.

    My preparation for this meeting was faced with some enthusiasm, and some panic. S and I have been talking about this between us for some time now. We think of good questions… which I immediately forget. Last night, our dinner conversation focused around reading the latest bit of information we received with a fine tooth comb, and explicitly writing down the questions I needed to ask. I feel like such a kid! When I was young, my mom used to put my house key on a ribbon that I would wear around my neck. That way I wouldn’t loose it. I swear my pregnant mind isn’t as bad as I make it out to be, but there are times I wish I had a ribbon I can put around it for awhile.

    I’m shocked I get anything done at work!
    I’m shocked I remember what my job is at work!
    I’m shocked I can remember how to get to work!

    … anyway… maternity leave pay… Yey!

    Eating while working out: there’s a good one!

    March 3rd, 2008

    I went and worked out with my new personal trainer today for the first time. It was the first time I’ve had a good, solid work-out in four months. It was awesome!!! My old trainer is great, but he’s not prenatal certified, so I had to change 🙁 I’m a little sad, but my new trainer is really sweet. She’s a mom of two so, working from experience, preparing for labor, and recovering from labor is what she’s having me focus on.

    So… aside of muscle groups waking up for the first time in months, I had a scary moment where in the middle of our session all I really wanted was a banana. I mean working out was good, but I was hungry, and my hunger really wanted a banana to pair up with my triceps exercises.

    Therefore here goes my question: aside from laughing on the inside (or outside as the case may be)… if you saw someone chowing down on some food while in the gym… what would you do?