Archive for August, 2008

My better half is struggling

August 29, 2008

So while my biggest concerns fall along the lines of deciding whether or not I am insane for wanting to purchase an $80 wool “puddle pad” to go with the uber organic crib mattress I just conned my little brother in to buying me, my dear husband is a complete ball of nerves.

His two restaurants have just hit their busy season after the financial drought that is the summer, but he is woefully understaffed and more than one applicant has come in literally stinking of gin.  He agreed to cater a wedding this weekend for next to no money, so despite having worked ridicules hours this week and being completely exhausted, he gets no weekend either (and besides accounting, few things stress him more than big, off-premise caterings).  His father is having a tough time going through chemo this round and was admitted to the hospital last night so they can see if he has an infection or something causing the fevers.  And he’s married to me.  And I do things like drag him to baby class, which he hates.

Poor guy.

At this rate, if his existence continues to grow more stressful as I grow more pregnant, he must have some sort of amputation in his near future.

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Let the Nesting Begin

August 28, 2008

They’re here!  The deliver guys from Pottery Barn Kids are here and it’s within the time window I was told (between 10-1 and they arrived at 12:30, not bad at all)!  And the best part… the “changing table system” came in six pieces that they are assembling for me and not flat boxes a la Ikea whereby all safety rating assurances might as well be thrown out the window if my husband is in charge of putting everything together.  I am a happy lady right now.

***

Yeah, it’s pretty much perfect.  I have a barely resistable urge to run out to the local earth mother hippie store and buy a crap ton of baby what not to fill the entire thing.  And now I want the crib to show up, like, tomorrow, and not two or three weeks from now.  I almost started moving furniture around (this coming from the gal who won’t even carry a laundry basket upstairs anymore).  I know it’s shallow, but there’s something exciting about getting stuff – I think I felt the same way when my wedding dress showed up (well, that and relieved as I bought it from eBay and it could have been a really expensive disaster). 

One more week and the great deluge of stuff begins.  And then once I have the stuff, I can put it away (for the OCD folks out there like me, this is almost better than getting the stuff… mmm, organizing…)

Fly girl

August 27, 2008

It’s a cool, rainy day here in Virginia, so while getting dressed this morning I opted to pull on socks and wear real shoes (aka not sandals) for the first time in quite a while (probably since June).  Which made me think – there’s something else I haven’t done for a while when it comes to clothing…

I haven’t buttoned a pair of pants or zipped up a fly in at least three months.  I think it was late May when the last of my non-maternity pants failed to close and ever since I’ve been pulling on bottoms as if they were sweat pants.  How odd.

I used to be so crunchy

August 27, 2008

… I not only sourced local, grass-fed raw milk, but I made my own yogart out of it.  Today, I’m drinking one of those individually packaged Stonyfield Smoothies, which while organic is full of sugar and about as processed as something purchased at Wholefoods can be.

We used to hand-juice our own orange juice.  Today, my breakfast drink of choice was a juice pouch from Honest Tea that was meant for a seven year old’s lunch box.  What can I say, it had a full day’s serving of vitamin C and less sugar than the orange-flavored Peligrino I’ve been consuming. 

Instead of pouring myself a bowl of the local, Mennonite-made granola I get weekly as part of my local buying club (think CSA), I opted for a cereal bar from Cascadian Farms.

So while we’ve switched to glass containers instead of tupperware, my new found dependency on pre-packaged (in plastic, no less), processed food as the easiest means to get enough calories to avoid passing out on my walk to work is definitely keeping me in the negative in terms of my environmental impact these days.  Not to mention the endless struggle to eat healthy when all I want is a milkshake. 

(On the upside, I did manage to bake both bread and quiche this weekend, so I’m not a complete failure.)

A touch of crazy

August 27, 2008

I have been fortunate enough to never experience any clinical mental illness.  Besides a bought of mourning over a break-up in college, I don’t believe I’ve ever felt so down that I couldn’t get out of bed.  I’ve never had an anxiety attack and, generally speaking, I’ve always been someone people describe as rock solid to the point of being bitchy (even though my husband would describe my logic as bat-shit crazy most days).  That being said, I once had the misfortune to undergo a medical procedure that involved getting an adrenalin shot.  The sheer panic that ripped through my body as my heart rate pounded and my eyes searched the room only last about 10 minutes, but it was a terrifying experience that left me endlessly grateful that I do not have an anxiety disorder and a complete empathy for anyone whose body subjects them to that awful feeling with any regularity.

All that is the long winded way of introducing my first inklings of what can only be described as pregnancy-related insanity.  Without detailing the sheer chaos that were my dreams last night, let’s briefly review some of the general themes:

1. Being rejected by a loved one
2. The child being born with Down Syndrome (but no one else seems to notice)
3. My not being able to care for the child (he kept repeatedly rolling off the bed and I only barely caught him each time)
4. Friends looking on at my feeble attempts at parenting with disgust (not even pity)
5. My somehow disappearing from my child’s life for something over a month (completely unexplained, of course) and the baby not recognizing me
6. Being stranded abroad somewhere amazing (like Tahiti) while character who played my ex of some sort (he didn’t look like anyone I know) meets native gal and falls in love
7. Moving – to an apartment that looked like a dorm room

Needless to say, I did not sleep well last night.  And no, I have no idea how any of these story lines possibly fit together – if I did, I would have an amazing career as a soap writer ahead of me.  What I do know is that I repeatedly woke with that awful adrenaline feeling – not the good, sports kind that is couple with endorphins, oh no this was the heart pounding anxiety that leads to frantic and irrational behavior.  The only saving grace is that I was so damn tired and it’s so damn difficult to get out of bed these days that instead of doing something totally manic, like cleaning, I just kept going back to sleep, only to be revisited by yet another completely mad dream. 

I am not a fan. 

Fuck wanting my body back, I want my brain back.

When in a panic, make a plan

August 26, 2008

So my previously written about co-worker’s pre-term labor scare has me all out of sorts today.  I can’t focus, I’m distracted like I haven’t been since I first found out I was pregnant, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am sick with worry I can’t recall the last time I so internalized someone else’s tragedy (I suppose people with a soul call it empathy).  And what does a type-A gal like me do when on the verge of panic?  Make a plan. 

What, did you think I was going to say “get emotional and have a good cry” – you must be thinking of a normal pregnant lady.

So here it is – the list of shit I need to get done in the next two months, in no particular order:

1. Get the room set up: I started this past weekend by cleaning the random boxes out of the was-guestroom-now-nursery.  Thursday the “changing table system” (aka changing table flanked with shelves for storage as the closet is full of my clothing) arrives care of Pottery Barn Kids, so I have two nights to vacuum like a mad woman.  The arrival of some storage space times out perfectly as my two (yes, I know that’s excessive) showers are coming up and I will actually be able to put things away once we receive them.  The crib should get here before the end of September.  Let’s just hope neither involves assembly, as the husband thinks he’s more handy than he is (and growing up with a dad in construction has my standards for home repairs absurdly high). 

2. Clean Everything: This comes after the showers, but all the baby clothing/bedding is to be washed before the small one arrives, so I anticipate spending late September folding crazy-tiny tee shirts.  My original ideas for “clean everything” involved getting the rugs shampooed and the upholstery cleaned on the couch (my dog has a thing for licking velvet – not such an endearing habit), but now that we’re getting closer to go-time, that starting to sound a) expensive and b) like it’s just not going to happen since I can’t even manage to take said dog to the vet in a timely manner. 

3. Get Organized: While most women dread labor, I’m kinda looking at it like D-Day – if I manage to survive, its intensity will pale in comparison to the drain the following three months of battle are sure to require.  Yup – my fear is all things post partum(horrible physical side effects from labor coupled with no time to sleep for recovery and a sense of bewilderment at taking care of a new baby, not to mention the chance that I might actually go clinically crazy thanks to the hormones or lack there of).  As such, I need a plan of attack (to outstretch the bounds of this metaphor).  For example, I’ve been told going up and down stairs is a bitch after natural child birth so I’m going to set up a “baby station” downstairs, with the pack’n’play serving as a bassinet, a changing table pad topping the dining room table, and a basket of diaper what-not (diapers, covers, wipes, butt paste, change of clothing) at the ready.  This leads directly to number 4…

4. Go Shopping: Once I clean and mentally catalog everything we’ve been given, it’s time to hit the stores for any missing supplies to be sure everything (the nursery, the downstairs station, the diaper bag) is prepacked with everything I’ll need for the first month at minimum.  This includes items I was unwilling to register for, like nursing bras.  Do not be surprised if I use spreadsheets, I am that pathological.

5. Get Hospital-Ready:  In addition to packing the requisite bag, we also need to install the car seat and get it inspected by the local Fire Department to be sure we didn’t totally fuck up.  But before we get the car seat installed, we need to get my husband’s car detailed – it’s hard to cater out of your own vehicle and not have it looking like an absolute disaster, and that was before we took it to the beach and added about 10 pounds of sand to the mix.  Ick. 

6. Start the Cloth Diaper service:  I need to send them the paperwork and deposit by October 1 so that I can have diapers at the ready two weeks before the due date, just in case. 

7. Figure out Maternity Leave details: So I know I’m taking 3 months, but I need to work out the logistics of paying COBRA as I don’t qualify for FMLA, when/how to add the small one to the insurance policy, and if I’m eligible for short term disability (I don’t think I am due to the FMLA thing, but it doesn’t hurt to ask). 

8. Meet the Pediatrician: Sure, I know who I plan to use, but he doesn’t know about his new patient so it’s time to call our family doc and make sure he does in fact have an opening.

9. Panic about Childcare after I go back to work: Yes, the husband is planning to stay home, but I guarantee that sometime between now and October 27th I will freak out about how we have absolutely no back up plan if the restaurants can’t live without him.  This will inevitably lead to my drafting another plan.

Cloth Diapers, the attempt

August 26, 2008

Here’s what’s so hysterical about our “diapering” plans – neither my husband nor I have ever actually changed a diaper.  Not once.  Never.

And yet.  We plan to attempt to live idealistically (re: naturally as possible, within reason) and do the cloth diaper thing.  Now, you have to remember that while I’m the kinda girl that only has biodegradable chemicals/natural solvents for cleaning agents in my house, I pay a cleaning lady to actually use them most of the time, so this is no hippie, back to the land, “live intentionally” move on our part. 

No no – we plan to use a diaper service, because quite frankly the idea of putting a poopy diaper in my washing machine – the same washing machine I use to clean my designer jeans and unmentionables and table linens – just strikes me as gross in that completely suburban way that I’ll never fully overcome (you can take the girl out of Jersey…).  The diaper service, like my eco-friendly dry cleaner, simply picks up my dirty items once a week and replaces them with clean ones (granted, I rent the cloth diapers from them vs. actually own them, but the concept is the same).  No need to run to the store to pick up more diapers like conventionals, but no need to spend time de-crapping the small one’s undergarments like cloth diapering without a service.  I love it when people make it easier for me to do the environmentally right thing!

So the most recent adventure has been trying to pick the perfect diaper cover.  You see, unlike my grandparent’s day (I’d say my mother, but we were garbed in huggies and fed gerber baby food), you no longer just pin the cotton diaper to the kid, hope you don’t stab them in the process, and know all too well that if the child springs a leak while you are holding him, you will need to change your shirt as well as the diaper.  Nope, the cloth diaper has evolved.  Instead of pins we have these great devices called snappies that hold the cloth diaper in place without any sharp implements that might render it impossible to survive a 3 AM feeding/changing session without giving your kid his first body piercing. 

In addition to the new fasteners, the diaper cover is now de rigour.  Ranging in materials, these little pants are like a cloth diaper insurance policy – if your child is a veritable fountain, or has a tendency towards more explosive means of relieving oneself, the cover catches what the cotton diaper fails to hold in – saving you from changing the outfit (and sheets) every time your child goes 1 or 2.  The nylon ones can simply be hosed off in the sink, but it does feel like you just wrapped a garbage bag around your baby’s bottom.  The cotton ones are softer, but tend to be less helpful in the wetness prevention realm (which is really the point, isn’t it?).  So we’ve decided to go with wool – natural, breathable and soft, and also pretty damn impressive in the wetness/seepage protectionarena.  The only downside is the the gold standard of wool diaper covers, Aristocrats (yes, I see the irony in the name), are about double the price of the nylon or cotton varieties.  That, and I’ll be washing them by hand in the sink. 

Is it weird that the small one will have more expensive underthings than his mom?

By the way, here’s a great blog from some experienced cloth diaper parents.  Their posts helped set my mind at ease about attempting this lunacy.

Damn the pregnancy gods

August 26, 2008

A dear co-worker of mine’s wife just went into early labor, and she’s only 28 weeks pregnant.  I’ve never met her, but I’m overwhelmed with an urgent need to “do something” to help them.  Does anyone who’s gone through something like this have any tangible suggestions of how to be helpful in such a stressful and scary situation?

Week 31

August 25, 2008

Baby: Your baby measures about 18 inches long from head to toe and weighs about 3.5 pounds. Rather than hearing vibrations, baby’s nerve endings in his ears are connected now so that he can hear distinct sounds, like familiar voices and music.

Mom-to-be: Your uterus now fills a large part of your abdomen, and you’ve probably gained between 21 and 27 pounds. You’re probably feeling increasing excitement and anxiousness about the birth — it won’t be long now.

and?

Well, to start with, I love how they say ” your uterus now fills a large part of your abdomen,” as if it didn’t two weeks ago.  Heck, my abdomen’s been full for about two months now, hence the giant protrusion that is my belly.  I would venture to call it a second abdomen at this point, as I am at least twice as wide around as I was before.  I’m even starting to bump into things – I misjudge how close I am to the sink, or I try to sneak behind my husband in the hallway and find I can’t fit past him.  I can still tie my shoes, by shaving my legs has become more hazardous as my capacity for the forward bend is at the level of a 13 year old boy who just hit his growth spurt and is being mercilessly subjected to the Presidential Fitness v-sit reach.  I’m not yet tipping forward, but that can’t be too far off.

And the doctor’s opinion?

I’m up another 3 lbs, which is right on track (yes, I am patting myself on the back right now, thank you very much).  My uterus is the right size to just a tad under normal, which at my stature is a good thing (the doc says we are shooting for a 6 pound-er, and I am totally on board).  The gall bladder problem is indeed my gall bladder, and there’s nothing to do about it, but the good news is that my case is mild compared to others the doc has seen.  The dizziness is hypoglycemia, like we thought, so now I’m to keep a snack on my bedside table for 4 AM noshing… not exactly an a-okay for cupcakes but probably as close as I’m going to get, so it’s time to stock up on more chocolate milk.

Overall, a good check up.  The next one’s in three weeks, then two weeks, and then weekly until the small one decides to make an appearance.  That means we are getting close!  (finally)

rock ‘n roll baby

August 25, 2008

Responsible, well-minded parents play classical music to their in utero children.  We’ve taken the small one to see Willie Nelson and John Fogarty. 

If I’m destined to raise a wild child, I may as well get used to it,  or so the thinking goes…