Archive for April, 2008

i fucking rock

April 29, 2008

Yup, just got the job offer – who says you can’t go job hunting while pregnant and be completely up front and honest about it?  (Okay, so it probably helps that I am not yet waddling into interviews.)  Now to put on my negotiating hat (and see how to finagle 12 weeks maternity leave with benefits when I won’t qualify for FMLA – pesky 12 months prior employment requirement).

When it rains…

April 29, 2008

One amusing feature about being pregnant (and it is totally not surprising at all) is that you notice babies and pregnant ladies everywhere. That being said, the funny thing about my pregnancy so far is that everyone I know who is pregnant is due in October. As in there are now three couples who were in attendance at our wedding who are due in late October like us. In fact, it might even be four, but I think my second cousin is probably due earlier than that (also a wedding guest).

I guess it’s too soon to know a ton of people due later than me (given that I’ve just passed the “second trimester so go tell the world” threshold myself), and I probably wasn’t paying as much attention to pregnancy news or dues dates before I was pregnant, but I do find this hilarious. What is it about January that enhances fertility? Cabin fever? The extra holiday weight? Snuggling for warmth?

The last time this sort of grouping happened was February, when two of our couple friends and my cousin all gave birth within a week of each other.

go The Post!

April 29, 2008

The Washington Post has a lovely little article online today about what not to watch while pregnant – from movies like Knocked Up (loved it but was decidedly not pregnant at the time) and TV shows like A Baby Story (which freaked me out before I was pregnant), it’s a fun guide on what to avoid while gestating.  Take a gander for yourself – “What’s Safe or Scary On-Screen if Your Expecting.”  I’m just glad I don’t have cable so I can’t accidentally end up watching a TLC marathon of tough deliveries. 

Week 14

April 28, 2008

Baby: Your baby measures about 3.2 to 4.1 inches from crown to rump now and weighs almost an ounce. The ears are shifting from the neck to the sides of the head, and the neck is getting longer and chin more prominent. Facial features and unique fingerprints are all there. Your baby is beginning to respond to outside stimuli. If your abdomen is poked, the fetus will try to wriggle away.

Mom-to-be: You’re probably wearing maternity clothes now. Your skin and muscles are starting to stretch to accommodate your growing baby. You may notice some constipation because pregnancy hormones relax the bowel.

Next Monday I have (yet another) doctor’s appointment, so hopefully I’ll (finally) have another update on how the small one is doing, but for now you’ll simply have to pretend to care about my progress.  Well, I’m not yet wearing maternity clothes, but I do need my Bella Band for all my pants with the exception of some absurdly low rise capris that I can’t wear to work anyway.  That being said, I do think I have a small bump, and both my very dear friend and my little brother, both of whom were recently visiting, agreed that they can tell I’m pregnant but only because they know what I usually look like.  As for the constipation, well, if you’ve been reading this blog at all you’ll know I’ve pretty much covered that one to the extent that I think I may find it oppressive to have to go on a daily basis as it will have been so damn long. 

In other news, I think my nesting instinct may be on the verge of kicking in, as I had a serious hankering to go look at baby gear “just to see.”  I resisted, but I did not expect to want to look at glass bottles or slings so soon.  That being said, I did break down and start a pottery barn kids registry online, but only because I thought the organic blankets were cute and neutral (aka non-gendered).  And work was slow. 

Overall rating: 8 (why not – the bad symptoms of trimester No. 1 have largely passed and the hugeness of No. 3 seem an eternity away.  it’s like the spring break of pregnancy, but without the drinking.)

Waiting – for a new job

April 28, 2008

If I were a wise soul, I would stay put. I would be thrilled at my rather generous salary and my absurdly small work load and spend my spare time researching car seat safety ratings or picking out cute baby announcement stationary. But I am not a wise soul.

I am a restless, pseudo go-getter corporate kid who isn’t so organized or motivated as to get an MBA, but still gets her jollies from strategy meetings with enormous wipe boards and overly-complicated spreadsheets involving multiple pivot tables and enough data to crash a standard issue Dell laptop. As the Chief of Staff character in season one of The West Wing said to Josh Lynam (I’m paraphrasing here), “You don’t want to be The Guy – you want to be the guy The Guy turns to.” That pretty much sums up my career aspirations – work for some brilliant business mind and help him solve problems.

And I think I may have the opportunity to get that very job. In fact, I’ve already been through two rounds of interviews for it, and I think they went pretty well. But now I have to wait.

You might think that, as a pregnant lady, I’d be pretty much resigned to waiting. People ask me all the time if we know the baby’s sex and I reply “I think we should know in June.” My friends in town constantly ask me when I’m going to start showing “for real” instead of my current looks-like-everyone’s-belly-after-turkey-dinner bump, and I reply “hopefully soon.” Heck, I spent two months waiting to tell my own mother I was pregnant, but baby waiting is different. First, it has a pretty clear end date. And second, for every moment I feel excited to meet the small one, I have another moment of total dread about the prospect of actually giving birth to the small one (and in this case I hope “small” is in reference to head and shoulder size specifically). So for all intensive purposes, I’m no better at waiting now than I was back in January (and worse if it involves needing to use a rest room).

But back to the job. In addition to being a non-committal ladder climber, I am also a planner. Not a realistic planner (I’m the girl who, upon successfully completing three weeks as a JV coxswain in college, began to map out my Olympian future – I quit by the end of the semester), but a planner none the less. And not knowing what job you have makes it really hard to plan. Especially if said planning involves picking out potential daycare locations or creating family budgets or even something as mundane as figuring out if/when the hubby and I can take a long weekend away a la the new babymoon trend while we are still diaper-bag free.

And while I don’t always (read: often) stick to my plans, I feel better having one. And I take comfort in the process of making one, as simply knowing I was able to map it all out means the task is possible to actual do accomplish (hopefully). And feeling comfortable is kinda a big deal when you are in your mid to late twenties and expecting your first kid.

So now I check my cell phone for missed calls every time I return to my desk.

I am going to be a basket case when it comes to waiting to go into labor.

A macabre thought for week 13

April 21, 2008

So I have no scientific or even anecdotal evidence of what I am about to claim as fact, but I feel like the turning point in any unplanned pregnancy is when you have the discussion of what either partner anticipates they’d feel/do if there was a miscarriage, especially once the initial shock of actually being pregnant wears off. My husband and I had the talk a week or two ago.

I honestly don’t remember who brought it up, although I do think he did, as he was the first to respond. And his answer? That he’d want to try again as soon as possible.

Wow. I’m not going to lie – this made my hormone-flooded heart flutter. I suppose everyone whose expecting has a latent fear that their partner isn’t as excited or into it as they are (which later becomes as scared/panicked, but I digress). To know that my husband was not only totally okay with our having a baby, but was now so sold on the idea that he’d be disappointed if this pregnancy didn’t work out was the most comforting thing he possibly could have said. And yes, I am a big sap (although I’m not crying at commercials – yet). And no, I don’t think that’s why he said it. In fact, he even bought the small one a onesie, and an organic cotton one at that. Did I mention I have the best husband ever?

What did I say, you ask? That I agreed with him, albeit in a more practical, less romantic way (I might want to take two or three months to get healthy and organized – all the things that I first freaked out about when I found out I was pregnant, not to mention recover mentally from the loss).

So I guess, no matter what happens, we are now more than just accidental members of the breeder classes – we’re voluntary recruits who happened to show up the bus stop a bit earlier than planned.

Week 13

April 21, 2008

Baby: Your fully formed fetus, now in about its 11th week of development, measures 2.6 to 3.1 inches from crown to rump and weighs between half an ounce and seven-tenths of an ounce — about the size of a peach. The head is still disproportionately bigger than the body, but the rest of the body is starting to catch up. In fact, your baby is growing rapidly these days. The face is starting to look more human, with eyes moving closer together. Toes and fingers are clearly separate, and ankles and wrists have formed. External genitalia are becoming visible. Intestines are shifting into their proper place, too.

Mom-to-be: Your uterus has grown a lot. It’s filling your pelvis now and starting to grow upward into your abdomen. It probably feels like a soft, smooth ball. If you haven’t put on any weight yet because of morning sickness, you’ll begin to now as you start to feel better.

So far so good.  I was still able to sqeeze into my size 26 Paige jeans this weekend, although that was only accomplished because a) they are so absurdly low rise my entire mid section was able to muffin-top over them and b) I did about 40 lunges in them to stretch them out enough to cover my thighs and still leave room for circulation.  That being said, I wore a dress to work on Friday that (accidentally) highlighted the little bump I do have going and I really felt like I looked pregnant for the first time.  Kinda exciting.

As usual, I have no idea what the small one is up to, so I’m going with the no news is good news MO.   

Overall rating: 7 (I’m transitioning from “oh my god I’m pregnant” to “oh my god I’m having a baby” which is interesting to say the least, if not baffling.)

The Great Plastic Paranoia

April 16, 2008

Per a recent segment on the Today Show about the dangers of plastic water bottles and news that the Canadian Government is expected to declare as toxic bisphenol-a, or B.P.A., a commonly used chemical in everything from iPods to Nalgene bottles, what’s a pregnant gal to do?

Let’s start with the big one, plastic drink containers. I’m okay at home, as the bottled water we frequent is packaged in 1 L glass bottles (but it gets shipped from Italy so I’m not exactly winning any World’s Greatest Environmentalist award). Once I’m outside my house it’s a completely different story. I drink plastic bottled water at take out restaurants and in my car. At work, the very water I’m pouring into an empty plastic bottle comes in those big plastic jugs that I can never lift high enough to replace so I end up heading to a different floor to quench thirst rather than taking my turn as the responsible co-worker. I can switch to a stainless steel bottle but I still won’t be 100% in the clear.

Plus, there’s all the other stuff I drink (and drink a lot now that beer and wine are out of the question): cranberry juice, orange juice, vitamin water, etc. I can definitely switch to brands that come in glass containers, but when I’m out I’m not about to ask the bartender who is already kind enough to make me a spritzer the number of the plastic bottle used for the juice container.

The whole situation feels like living in a polluted city – you can limit your exposure, but there is no way to avoid BPA shy of making all my own food, packing it in glass containers and carrying my own water supply everywhere. And that’s just not going to happen.

So what am I going to do? Well, I’ll probably buy that stainless steel bottle I mentioned earlier (aside: why does every solution always necessitate a purchase?). And switch from the Whole Foods brand cranberry juice to the (even more) crazy expensive 100% pure cranberry juice that comes in glass bottles. And go with my original plan to buy glass baby bottles (they have cools ones with silicon grip covers so they don’t break if you drop them). And not freak out about this anymore than I have to.

After all, I have every intention of finishing the plastic bottle of Ocean Spray I purchased at the office cafeteria this morning, but only after I devour my chocolate chocolate chip cookie. Not all my needs are for my own good. Some are for my own mental well being.

Week 12

April 14, 2008

So remember last week how a said I would post the weekly updates on Fridays?  Well, per the Musical Due Dates post, I now turn a week more pregnant on Mondays so here’s where I stand:

Per WebMD, per usual:

Baby: The fetus now measures about 2.5 inches from crown to rump and weighs between three-tenths of an ounce and half an ounce. It is fully formed, from tooth buds to toenails, and your baby’s job now is to continue getting larger and stronger for the rest of your pregnancy. With the most critical development behind the fetus, the chance of miscarriage drops considerably after this week.

Mom-to-be: Nausea and energy start to improve. You may be experiencing occasional headaches, dizziness and fatigue from hormonal changes. If it’s your first baby, you still could be wearing loose-fitting clothes, but if you’ve had other pregnancies, you’ll probably start to show earlier and may be in maternity clothes. The typical weight gain by now is about three to five pounds. Fathers-to-be might also experience pregnancy symptoms, called couvade or “hatching,” during the third month and at delivery, including nausea, abdominal pain, appetite changes and weight gain.

Again, not much update on the small one, as last week’s doctor’s appointment amounted to little more than “your bloodwork looks good, let’s listen to the heartbeat.”  Being he had one, I’m going to go with the baby is fine.  Fun side note, DH and I now refer to it as a boy, based on nothing but gut instinct. 

As for me, I have been feeling better.  The little naseau I was feeling most mornings is gone, and I managed to stay up until 11 PM all weekend, so the debilitating exhaustion is easing up.  So far the weight gain is only 1 lb., which is a-okay with me since my doc didn’t want me to gain anything the first trimester.

The big question I keep getting from folks is when am I going to start showing.  If I were in a bikini and you knew me from Adam, you would have a 60-40 chance of guessing I was pregnant (or had really let myself go), but you probably wouldn’t say anything just in case.  I did have one friend tell me my boobs look huge, but the old bras still fit so I think the comment was more prompted by my wearing a tight sweater than any substantial enlargement (now had I been wearing a v-neck, the enhanced cleavage could be a tip off).  Most of my pants don’t button, but once I wiggle into a Bella Band, you’d be none the wiser unless my shirt drifted north.  Some days I think I’m showing, but honestly, it could just be that I don’t suck in anymore.

Overall rating of week 12: 8 (I’m a-okay, the baby is a-okay, and it’s starting to be fun to joke about the impending doom that is parenthood)

Stuff I didn’t learn from TV

April 11, 2008

As the good little pop culture consumer that I am, I had naively assumed that television and movies had taught me pretty much all I needed to know about being pregnant – you have morning sickness, you get moody to the point of being irrational, you have to pee a lot and then you end up pretty fat with huge boobs. Okay, so I’m distilling things down a bit, but aren’t these supposed to be the biggies? Below is a brief list of symptoms that caught me completely by surprised when experiencing them or reading about how I should expect them per one of the many pregnancy books I now leaf through on a regular basis.

NOTE: Pretty much all of these fall under the category of over-sharing, so read on with caution. But then again this is a pregnancy blog, so what were you expecting? Lame diary entries about how excited I am to meet my baby and bad poetry about how beautiful it is to create life? You must be reading the wrong blog, ‘cause I’m not that chick.

1. Constipation: Yes folks, I’m starting with the most unpleasant and least talked about symptom, and other than a brief line in the movie Juno (when she’s telling her dad and step mom she’s pregnant, she says “if it is any consolation I have heartburn that is radiating in my knee caps and I haven’t taken a dump since like Wednesday… morning”), this is one the Writers Guild hasn’t tap for it’s comic potential. I can tell you if I’m going to have a good day or not based on my successes or failures on the can each morning. And what’s worse – trying to force the issue can result in hemorrhoids, something I simply refuse to entertain. So just call me two bowel movements a week Sally and don’t be surprised if I look a little bloated – it’s not a baby bump so much as gas at this point.

And the medical explanation? During pregnancy, your metabolism and general digestion slows down so that your body can extract the maximum amount of nutrients from your food. This pretty much turns your guts into a fermentation tank. What adds to the problem is that iron-rich prenatal vitamins cause constipation in and of themselves, before your lower intestine begins working at glacial speed. What can you do about it? Eat lots of fiber, drink lots of water and exercise (read: so basically not much).

2. Exhaustion: Sure, everybody knows that you’re tired in your third trimester. How couldn’t you be with all that extra weight to lug around and the impending sense of doom that results from having everyone you know says things like “enjoy the quiet time now, because once the baby comes…” But first trimester? This one came as a complete shock to me and in particular my husband. I was all ready to barf my brains out and cry at hallmark commercials, but I did not expect nearly falling asleep at my desk at 2 PM each day or wanting desperately to just go to bed around 9 each night. My poor husband became convinced that it would only get worse and began moping around the house convinced he was going to have half a wife for the next nine months, despite my constantly reading him exerts from the books about how things get better come second trimester.

And the medical explanation? Let’s defer to HealthSource.com on this one; “The ensuing fatigue is often particularly strong during the first trimester, when you’re building the placenta that feeds and nourishes your baby until birth. Also, the additional hormones circulating during pregnancy — particularly progesterone — can make you feel sleepy and less energetic. Your metabolism is also affected. Many women have low blood pressure while pregnant because their blood is circulating through two systems — mom’s and the baby’s — and that can cause fatigue.” What can you do about it? Get a good night’s sleep, take naps when you can and exercise (so again, not much). And remember, preggos need to cut back on caffeine so you can’t turn to an afternoon cup of coffee to get you through the day.

3. Acne: That’s right, folks. Despite always hearing pregnant women referred to as glowing, we actually get quite zitty the first few months. And I’m not just talking a blemish or two, I’m talking full body breakouts the likes of which you haven’t seen since the middle school locker room. I have zits on my chest and back as if I had a mild case of chicken pocks and let’s just say I am not a fan. Granted, the whole ordeal is mostly cleared up at this point, but I was certainly hoping that my last few weeks in the land of the skinny was going to look a bit more glamorous, especially as I am now reading the ingredients label of all my makeup to be sure that my vanity isn’t costing the small one too many IQ points.

And the medical explanation? Hormones, of course. But the good news is that I should have excellent skin once I get past month four or so (just in time to counter-balance the weight gain). Because just like being a teenager, hormone fluctuations are terrible for the skin, but just like being on birth control, steady and high levels of estrogen could kick the ass of Proactive. What can you do about it? Not much. You certainly can’t use any of the over the counter acne products, as Retin A and salicylic acid are no no’s for preggos. Just use a gentle face wash and buy some mineral-based cover up.