Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye, 2007!

Don't you hate it when people say "See you next year!" when they're saying goodbye at this time of year, and then laugh like it's really funny and no one's ever heard that "joke" before? So far no one has said it to me, which is good, but I've overheard it at least three times. Not funny, people...not funny year after year after year.

This is a bit odd…it’s my first New Year’s Eve in Minnesota in four years. We’ve been in Texas the last two years and Scotland the year before. This will also be my first sober New Year’s Even in five years…not that I’ve gone of the deep end on previous holidays, but tonight I will be drinking my one post-breastfeeding with food alcoholic beverage that I’m allowed, and that’ll be it for me. AND it’ll also be the first New Year’s in at least 8 years where I doubt that I’ll actually be awake at midnight. So there you are – I’m officially an adult.

Since we’re not in Texas this year, Texas has come to visit us. No, it’s not warm and sunny here (in fact, the wind chill tonight is supposed to be -15 degrees!), but Grampa Steve and Gramma Angel arrived on Saturday! Chason originally talked about taking them sledding, but instead they went to Lake Harriet (a mile from our house) and walked across the frozen lake, then went to Minnehaha Falls to check out the frozen waterfalls. Romelie and I stayed home for this excursion – we could bundle her up so her body was nice and warm, but it’s just not good for her to breathe in that cold air for too long, especially since her nose is stuffy half the time already – and enjoyed the nice warm central heating.

Oh, and James and Erin came by on Sunday to visit and to meet Romelie, and I totally forgot to take a picture! I’ve started documenting her visitors by taking photos, and I dropped the ball. Boo. But we had a nice visit (just like with Ellen and Scott, she slept the entire time they were here!!), and I’ll be sure to get them next time.

My six-week checkup visit with Dr. Mitchell is Wednesday morning – I’ll let everyone know how it goes. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Back to life, back to reality

Anyone else remember that song? I can't remember who sang it, but I have it running through my head over and over. Not the entire song...just that phrase. It's swell.

So hey! It's been a decade since I've blogged...sorry about that. But here goes with the long updates.

Last week, Romelie had to go in for a late notice doctor's appointment. She had a couple of poopy diapers with just a dot of blood - honestly, I wasn't too worried at the first one, but by the third one (not consecutive, mind...just a random diaper about once every other day or so) Icalled in and they told me to come in. No worries - she's fine. And she was up to 24 inches and 11 lbs. 12 oz. Bigger than your average 3 month old. We are getting darned close to outgrowing our 0-3 month clothes...

Last Friday, we had our first road trip. Woo-hoo! Paul, Romelie and I went to visit my mom up in Menagha. What would have been a 3-1/2 hour drive took 5 hours to get up (traffic) and then 5-1/2 hours to get back on Sunday (LOTS of snow). The way up was tough - she fussed for the first couple of hours and we had to stop at a tiny rest-stop where I had to feed her in a handicapped stall while sitting on the floor...awesome. But then she slept the rest of the way. The way back, though...she slept all the way until the last 15 minutes. I was SO grateful because I did NOT want to stop in a snowstorm and delay our return any more than I had to. Plus I needed to get back for the Vikings game...which we lost. Romelie's good luck winning streak has come to an end. Sigh.

We had lots of fun with Gramma Carol and Grampa John. We got to have our first visit to a bar (bar/restaurant, to be fair...), pet our first dogs and our first bunny, and got to sleep in our pack-and-play for the first time. Not a bad invention, I must say!
On to Christmas. Romelie got two awesome Christmas outfits - a onesie from Ellen and Scott (above) who were briefly back in town from their Up With People tour, and an Elmo outfit from her cousin Torin in Houston (along with Aunt Bronwyn and Uncle Shane - expecting a baby next month!!). I'm sorry to say that Romelie's onesie, which reads "all mommy wants for christmas is a silent night," was pooped on - both literally and figuratively. But she still looked cute in it. And she got lots of compliments on her Elmo outfit on Christmas day.

Romelie got some other cool fun presents (yay, toys and books and a bouncy chair!), and Chason and I got, among other things, a Roomba to help deal with the flea problem and ongoing cat hair situation. Haven't had time to try it yet, but I'm excited...we then went to my dad's house and thanks to my dad, finally have a kitchen table (yes, we are now officially grown ups). We went to my Uncle Mike's for lunch and then to my Uncle Larry's where Romelie met his family for the first time. More snowstorms made the driving interesting, but in all, Romelie was very well behaved and I think had a fantastical first Christmas.

And finally - my maternity leave is officially over. I went back to work on Friday, December 21. Paul watched her that day while I was at work - my dad has been watching her for the past three days - Grandpa Steve and Grandma Angel (coming into town tomorrow, we can't wait to see them!!) will be watching her on Monday - my mom will be watching her next Wednesday thru Friday - and then she starts daycare on Monday, January 7. I could tell you about what that will be like, but this blog is already super long, so I'll save it for a later date.

Will post more after Steve and Angel's visit. Happy New Year to everyone!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dancer family visits Santa Claus!

Aww...

Well, she slept through the visit with Santa...so no crying, which is good, but her head was flopped forward onto her chest, making her look like some sort of goofy elf. But that's okay...Santa was very nice :)

Of course, then she woke up and started crying about 10 minutes later when we were trying to get some holiday shopping done, and we had to take her to the family bathroom to change her and she peed all over the changing table (and while I had a changing pad down on the table and cleaned up the mess thoroughly, I couldn't help but wonder how many other babies had peed on that same table and prayed that the cleaning crew sanitizes that thing...). Good times.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So if baby only weighed 8-1/2 pounds...

I'm feeling a bit frustrated with my extra weight today. I know that you don't lose "baby weight" overnight (except for the actual baby's weight, I suppose...), but to be perfectly frank about my weight, I'm at 214 pounds right now. Which is 25 pounds less than I weighed at the end of my pregnancy, but still 33 pounds more than I weighed at the beginning. And I was technically overweight then.

I think I've lost all of the water weight I'm going to arguably lose, and I've been told that it'll be hard to get rid of that last 5-10 pounds until I'm done breastfeeding, which won't be until she's at least 6 months if all goes well, and perhaps longer if things go really well. But really, this 33 pounds is wreaking some havoc on my system. My hips and knees are sore all the time, stairs have become an enemy, and when I'm carrying Romelie, everything is doubled in intensity it seems.

It extra-sucks because one of my guilty pleasures is watching "The Biggest Loser." And seriously, all of the women left on the show weigh less than I do. Granted, next week is the finale so they've been losing weight for the last 3-1/2 months, but it's somewhat sad to watch this "overweight" woman step on the scale and see numbers that are less than what I weigh. One of the women (who is much shorter than me, to be fair, but still...) STARTED the show weighing 212 pounds. Less than me. Don't worry - this isn't a self-esteem issue with me, it's a comfort issue - but still...

I have my six-week checkup coming up right after New Year's, so hopefully everything will go well and I'll be allowed to go back to working out. I haven't done it since March, so it'll definitely take some adjustment, but I felt a lot better last year when I was working out on a regular basis. In the meantime, when Romelie is being fussy and is only happy when she's being walked around the entire house, and my knees and hips are killing me, I'll just remind myself that every step helps me lose a bit more weight.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Boogers and Bottles

For those who are tracking this - Vikings are now 4-0 since Romelie was born. Three more wins and they clinch a spot in the playoffs. Go, little Romelie Viking Dancer!

It's been a pretty long and somewhat uneventful week - I must say, as cute as Romelie is, she doesn't DO very much yet...so it's tough to think of news to write. I don't think "She still eats, sleeps, and poops a lot" is particularly newsworthy information.

We did have our first outings in this last week. Last Monday, Tuesday, and yesterday we went to Target for various shopping purchases. She's pretty good at sleeping through them, so the trips have thus far been pretty chill for both of us. She also got to go to The Bakken on Tuesday and meet a lot of my co-workers, and there we got to have our first experience changing and feeding baby in public. Granted, "in public" means in the private bathroom with a lock on the door, not sitting at my desk or anything, but still - it was a new experience for both of us, and it went as well as can be expected.

We've also had our first stuffy nose - a few times. Gotta say, don't love the nasal aspirator. It's still too big for her tiny nostrils, so the only way I can actually suck the snot out of her nose is to take her in the bathroom and turn on hot water so it gets steamy. Then her nose starts to run a bit, so I can use the aspirator, but it takes a good 6-7 tries on each nostril - she does not enjoy this process one bit, and we've had to do it four times now. We bought a humidifier at one of the Target visits (yes, I say "we" as if Romelie pulled out her wallet and coughed up the $25 herself), and I'm hoping that helps the situation somewhat.

What else...we introduced the bottle on Saturday. Not so great. Romelie has a tough time with a pacifier as it is, and the bottle seemed to blow her mind a bit. It took an hour for her to eat 4 ounces of breastmilk...there was lots of frustrated crying involved, but she did it. Then I fed her a bottle yesterday (one a day, her pediatrician says, so she gets used to it by the time she has to be in daycare), and we got it down to about 40 minutes. So progress.

Other than that...more visits from Gramma Carol, Grampa Dan, and Uncle Paul...visited Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Schwantz on Friday...we got to see Aunt Crystal and her mom yesterday...and I can finally recognize one of her cries when I hear it. I recognize the cry that means "I have a wet diaper and I'm not happy about it." Which is cool. The other cries are "Pick me up, I'm bored/lonely," "Don't take off my clothes, I hate being naked," and "Stop poking and tickling me, it's jarring my system." We're working on the rest.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Are you freakin' kidding me?

First things first: Romelie had her first well baby checkup with Dr. Dukinfield, her pediatrician, on Wednesday morning. She is still 23 inches long, but she now weighs 9 lbs 8 oz. For those of you doing math, that means she's gained a pound since she was born. She's in the 95% for weight and 99+% for length for her age. Way to go, little piggy!

Unfortunately, at this same visit, I pointed out to Dr. Dukinfield that I had numerous little bug bites on me, and I had spotted one or two on Romelie. He asked if we had pets (we have two cats), and then suggested that it might be fleas.

Yup...it's fleas.

Oh my disgusting.

The worst part is, Jeffy (big cat) has been itchy for almost two months, and I've had the bites for about the same amount of time. I feel like a total bad pet owner for not putting two and two together - I assumed he had dry skin because when I scratched his back, he had some dandruff. And I kept meaning to ask Dr. Mitchell about my bites at my WEEKLY appointments and forgot, and I kept meaning to call the vet to ask about the cat but kept putting it off - and now we have a baby in a house with a flea infestation. Guilt guilt guilt.

Thankfully, I called my mom on Thursday morning and she came down that evening (Chason went back to work on Wednesday and I just knew I couldn't do it by myself). Both cats were treated with Frontline, and then my mom spent all day yesterday vacuuming the main floor from top to bottom (finding lots of dead fleas, ew ew ew, but at least they're dying). I helped when I could (laundry, etc.) but Romelie has been having a pretty demanding last couple of days - she doesn't sleep for more than 20 minutes, gets upset pretty quickly, and nothing will calm her down except feeding her which, since we're not introducing the bottle for another week, is automatically my job.

Today we get to tackle the basement, and then hopefully we will be pretty well set - we'll Frontline the cats again in 30 days and then 30 days after that, and we'll just try to vacuum on a somewhat regular basis to pick up the dead ones. I've asked for a Roomba for Christmas.

So my home disgusts me a bit right now, but thanks to Gramma Carol andFrontline, the situation is being dealt with.

Oh, and Grampa John got to see baby Romelie for the first time this week. He agrees with everyone in the universe that she is super cute. And she is. Can't wait to see Grampa Steve and Gramma Angel in less than a month!!!







Sunday, November 25, 2007

Womb Sounds Bear and other joys

Ahh, Womb Sounds Bear, I will never mock you again.

For those who do not know what I'm talking about, Womb Sounds Bear was a gift from my mom. She came to my five-month ultrasound appointment with me and met me with a gift - this fuzzy bear with a knob on his back, and when you turn him on, he makes noises that are supposed to sound like what the baby heard inside the womb - hence, it's calming to a newborn baby because it is familiar to them.

Well, I mocked my mom quite a bit for this odd gift. I also left it at work for the remainder of my pregnancy (mostly because I was just too lazy to bring it home) and would occasionally turn it on in an attempt to freak out my co-workers.

I most humbly and sincerely do apologize to my mom and to the makers of Womb Sounds Bear. We started using it two nights ago, and I'm not kidding - it works like magic. I mean, it won't soothe her to sleep if she's wide awake, but sometimes she'll be sound asleep, and we'll lay her down in the bassinet as gently as possible, and within five minutes she's awake and crying, but with Womb Sounds Bear, once she's asleep - she stays that way. For at least a couple of hours. Now Womb Sounds Bear shuts off on its own after about 30 minutes, but it does the trick. So thank you, mom, and thank you Womb Sounds Bear. You are amazing.

In other news, Romelie lost her umbilical cord this morning. Gross. We had absolutely zero intention of saving this yucky piece of flesh, but I felt like I had to do something to commemorate the event, so I took a picture. Which I will now share with all of you. So you can revel in the ick.

And finally, we dressed Romelie in her Sunday hat today in honor of the Vikings. Mom also tortured the poor kid by dressing her in her Sunday sweater as well (which might fit her next season but is definitely too big this year - it's from when my brother Paul and I were kids...), but we took that off after the photo op. Since Romelie was born, the Vikings are 2-0. Chason says if the Vikings win the rest of the games for the season, she'll have been their good luck charm, and we'll have to change her middle name to Vikings. I told him it could be a nickname. That he uses. In his head.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy one week old birthday!

As Romelie gets older and I get more adjusted to the mom thing, I will certainly try to update this blog more often...but for now, I will do my best to let you know what has been happening in the Dancer household for the last five days.

First let's talk about breastfeeding. I remember after our friends Joe and Jess had their baby, Sophia, I still had to stifle a little grin everytime either of them said the word breast. Yes, I am that immature. Now, I talk about boobs more than I ever thought possible...I pretty much don't care who sees them (provided, of course, it's in some relation to feeding and not just, you know, someone peeking in on me in the shower or anything), and so here comes some candid boobie talk for you all. Sometime on Monday, mom's milk came in, which was interesting. Now I get to wear pads to keep from leaking all over the place. Very odd. I was struggling with the feeding in the first couple of days - I thought I was doing it right because Romelie wasn't having any problems with it - but each subsequent feeding got more and more painful, so apparently I was doing something wrong. Sunday night I read the important parts of my stepsister-in-law's breastfeeding book Angel brought to me, and I was able to self correct a bit so it was less painful. So Tuesday morning, we went to see a lactation nurse at the hospital. She was great. Walked me through a feeding, showed me exactly what to do, gave some helpful hints, and gave me something to help my nipples (which were a bit traumatized from the first two days) some gel packs to help them heal. Now, on Friday, I'm not exactly pain-free, but I'm definitely at an acceptable and possibly even "normal" amount of pain (initial latch sometimes hurts for about 10-15 seconds, but then we're good to go). So yay.

Wednesday...not a good day. I got up for Romelie's 3:00 am feeding, put her down around 4:00, went back to bed...and couldn't sleep. I was freezing, which isn't unusual - sometimes our room is a bit cold - but even after piling on layers and turning up the heat, I was still shaking and couldn't sleep. Finally woke Chason up around 6:30. He brought me some Tylenol and water, but after taking my temperature we found out it was 100.6 degrees. We called into the clinic but it was before hours, so we had to wait for the on-call doctor to call back...meanwhile I'm starting to panic because I don't know if I can feed Romelie and technically she's "overdue" on her feedings (we're not on that strict of a schedule, but I'm trying not to go more than 4 hours tops, and we were going on 4-1/2 at this point). Then she woke up, so I was even more panicked because I didn't know what to do for her. So at about 7:40, on-call doctor says it's fine to feed her (pretty much always, no matter what's wrong with mom with a few unlikely exceptions), and we can get into the clinic to see Dr. Mitchell (my pregnancy and birthing doctor) that morning. By this time, my temp is down and my aching / chills are subsiding, so we went around 10:30. Turns out I did NOT have any sort of obvious bacterial infection, which is good, but that means it's viral which can't really be treated which is not as good. So I just needed to take Tylenol to keep the fever down. Which sounded good, except the Tylenol was only lasting for about 4 hours and I could only take it every 6 hours. So around noon my temp spiked up to 101.7, and at 6:00 pm it was back up to 101.4...which left me exhausted, unable to sleep, and a bit desperate. Hence, emotional breakdown number two for new mom (number one was Sunday night - painful nips + no sleep = sobbing fit). Called into clinic for the third time that day and were told to alternate Tylenol and Advil every three hours. Started doing that - fever went down and hasn't returned. Whew. Long story long, huh?

Also Wednesday we had a home visit from Nurse Mary, who was awesome, and found out that baby is - get this - 8 lb 14 oz. Okay, so...she was born 8lb 8oz, her discharge weight was 8lb 4oz, which would mean she's gained 10 OUNCES in THREE DAYS. The nurse acknowledged that the scales can vary a bit from one to the next, so it may not be 100% accurate, but there's no doubt that she's regained weight and then some. Which is amazing. Good eater.

Yesterday was baby's first Thanksgiving! We went to my dad's, and she got to meet the great uncles and second cousins and second cousins once removed...geneology is fun. So it was a good time, but it messed with her schedule I think, because she did not want to go to sleep at ALL yesterday. Normally she naps most of the day away and is up for a couple hours early afternoon and a couple of hours in the late evening - yesterday her last nap ended around 2:00 pm and she didn't sleep more than 15 consecutive minutes after that until 12:30 or 1:00 am. Luckily Gramma Diane stayed up with her so Chason and I could get some sleep and then I took over with the middle-of-the-night feedings. And she did manage to still sleep through the night (except, of course, during boob time).

Last update to the longest blog yet (this is why I need to find time to write more often!). This morning we went to an orthopedic specialist (so many doctor's visits! It's the only time I leave the house...) to have her hips checked out. Apparently they make a little clicking noise when you manipulate them a certain way, so the doctors wanted it checked out to make sure she didn't have hip displasia. She got the A-OK. Dr. Hebert manipulated both legs for a while and only felt one little click in the left side (the one that the doctors in the hospital noticed first - only one doctor even said he felt a click in the right hip), and it wasn't out of joint or anything more serious than that. He expects it'll work itself out on its own relatively soon. So no worries there. And when our appointment was done, we came out into the hall and there were three nurses waiting there to see Romelie - apparently they'd heard from our first nurse how cute she was, and they all wanted to see her for themselves. No kidding - Chason and I left feeling pretty proud of our little cutie pie.

So now we're just enjoying the rest of our day at home. Romelie had a visit from Joe (Sophia's dad) and from Kevin and Nicole (though she slept through their visit, so we'll have to try that one again!), and Dr. Mitchell will be stopping by in an hour or so to see her and check on her himself. Park Nicollet and Methodist are awesome, by the way.

Oh! And I just heard her stir so I'm headed down to feed her. Will post pictures later. Bye!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Introducing Romelie Ann Dancer

She's here :)

She's here.

This will be a short blog because, well, she's downstairs and I'm upstairs and that's just too much distance between us right now. But I'll update you all with stats and some details.

Romelie Ann was born on Friday, November 16 at 9:45 pm. She weighed 8 lbs 8 oz and was 23 inches long. She scored a 9 on the Apgar scale and seems very healthy. Her only thing is that her hips click a bit when you move them around, so we're bringing to to see the orthopedist on Friday to check it out. Otherwise, baby is very healthy and so far not too fussy. Very gassy, though. We got ourselves a bit of a stinker. Takes after her parents :)

As for the parents, we checked into the hospital at 9:30 Friday morning and they started inducing at 10:30. Everything progressed really quickly from there. I was at 1 cm when I came in, and by 2:30 I was at 3 cm and my contractions were every two minutes and extremely intense. They gave me some sort of drug, and that (plus a bath and some vomiting) got me through to about 4:30 and 4 cm...and then I just couldn't take it anymore. Very intense contractions, no break from them. I had the epidural in by 5:15 or so, and was much much better for the next few hours...water broke around 7:00 or so...and by about 8:45 they said it was time to push. That was tough, lasted about an hour, and suddenly - there she was.

We had a few worries - baby's heart started dipping pretty low on contractions once the epidural was in, and dipped VERY low during the pushing stage - but the doctors and nurses were great and were very impressed (and surprised) by how quickly everything progressed. And they told me that they'd never seen a first-time mom push so hard before, which is why they think her heart rate was dropping so much, because it was so intense. I did have some tearing, but we avoided the episiotomy and the c-section which were both goals, so even though I'm pretty sore and swollen - it could be worse. And then Grandma Carol and Grandpa Dan and Uncle Paul and honorary Auntie Crystal got to come in around 11:00 pm and see baby.

We checked out yesterday around 12:30 or 1:00 pm and are much happier now that we're at home. Baby is doing great, the parents finally managed to get some sleep thanks to help from grandmommies (I needed it - I'd slept maybe 8 hours total since Thursday), and now we're just relaxing at home.

And with that (more details than perhaps some folks were looking for, but hey...), I must get back to my darling girl. I haven't taken the time yet to get pictures online, but we did have her picture taken at the hospital, so you can check them out here at http://www.our365.com/webnursery/webnursery/Baby/BabyPageDirect.aspx?CID=0017921270 to see what she looks like. I'll try to get some of our own pictures up soon.

Much love and appreciation to all, and let the baby blogging begin!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

No room at the inn

Sad Danni. I did everything within my power to prepare for tonight. I washed all dirty laundry, changed sheets on the beds, and cleaned the kitchen thoroughly. I ate pasta last night (gotta carb up, you know!), and lots of bland, easy-to-digest foods today like soup and toast and clear juice. And I slept from about 1:00 - 3:30 this afternoon to get my body as ready as possible.

I called at 4:00 to find out when I might be coming in, and they said they would call back at 5:00, but if I was going to come in, it would probably be around 7:30. Well, a very nice nurse called me back at 5:30...and said they're busting at the seams and they just don't have the beds or the staff to accommodate me tonight.

Sad Danni.

So I will call tomorrow at 5:30 am to find out if/when they would have me come in tomorrow.

And in the meantime, I guess I've gotten pretty good at waiting...so I guess I'll just keep doing what I'm good at.

BTW, I had Chason take this picture of me right after my nap...it was going to be my "last day being pregnant" picture, but apparently we'll be taking another one tomorrow...

Sorry I'm a bit down this post...I'm just disappointed.

Monday, November 12, 2007

So this is what they mean by karma

It figures. I've always been pretty terrible about procrastinating, and apparently all those papers I turned in late in school are finally getting their karmic revenge on me by giving me a late baby.

I figured out the real problem - I read all the books on pregnancy, childbirth, and baby's first year...I attended the classes...I looked through the websites...I set up the nursery...I did everything to prepare myself for the arrival of this kid. But oops! Somehow I forgot to pass the information on to her, so she doesn't know how to get out. She's made many valiant efforts to get out throught the side of my belly - usually foot-first - but to no avail. Apparently, baby is super comfortable where she is, and she apparently has no intention of going anywhere.

So we start a new countdown - three more days until induction. This countdown isn't as much fun as the due date countdown, unfortunately. It feels more like a "running out of time" countdown - baby has only 3 days and about 7 hours to get here on her own before the doctors step in and force her to come. So each passing day is a bit more, well, desperate. But the important thing to focus on is that in 4 days or so, baby will be here. And it'll be great.

Much love to everyone reading, and I'll try my best to keep you posted soon.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wait...did I forget to do something yesterday?

Oh yeah...I was supposed to have a baby!

Whoops.

So here's the update for everyone: I had doctor's appointment this morning and found out that I'm about 1 cm dialated, my uterus is tipped further forward than it was, and I'm slightly more effaced - which means my cervix is more thinned out than it was. But I'm definitely not in labor or anything. In fact, I'm at work - which is kind of a bummer since I'm supposed to be on maternity leave at this very moment!

The important news that you'll want to know is that they scheduled me for an induction. I'll have my final doctor's appointment on Tuesday, Nov. 13 in the morning, and he'll check to see if I'm any further along...try stripping the membranes again...and if it doesn't happen naturally, I'll be induced on Thursday evening, Nov. 15.

Now, this is still not certain. Besides the fact that I may still go into labor before then naturally (and I certainly hope I do!), the induction could always be postponed. I'm supposed to call the hospital around 4:00 on that day and they'll tell me what time I should come in (probably around 6:00 or 7:00 pm), but if there are a ton of women already at the hospital giving birth, then my induction would be postponed because natural childbirth wins over "elective procedures." But it sounds like it would MOST likely only be postponed to, say, Friday morning and not 4 days later or anything.

So IN THEORY...I will be in labor one way or another within the next week or so. And then there'll be a baby. I suppose I can wait 7 more days...I just hope I won't have to!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Nursery: Ready. Baby: Undecided.

I finally have pictures of the nursery to share! So for those who haven't seen it yet - here you go!

Here’s a picture of the bassinet where baby will be sleeping for at least the first 6 weeks or so. It’s on wheels, so this isn’t its permanent spot – most likely, baby will be sleeping in a room with mom and dad to make those nighttime feedings a bit easier. After that, she'll hopefully start sleeping in her crib so mom and dad have a little privacy. We'll see how things go, I guess.

I had taken a picture of the crib (left of the bassinet), but unfortunately it didn’t turn out for some reason, so you’ll have to wait until a later date to see it.



Here’s the changing area / dresser. Isn’t this awesome? Doesn’t it look comfortable and warm and inviting? If you were a baby, wouldn’t you look forward to having your clothes or diapers changed here? And therefore, wouldn’t that excitement prevent you from crying or being fussy during this time? Well, let’s hope the baby shares your beliefs.



This is my favorite part of the nursery – the reading / feeding nook. Note the comfy glider where mom can sit with her baby and her boppy (boppy not pictured - in the wash with new boppy cover from Aunt Karen!) and relax during feedings – if the breastfeeding gods are kind to her. And of course, please take note of the plethora of fabulous children’s books – because we want baby to grow up to be a big nerd. Just like her mom.



And finally – the hospi-tal bag and car seat. Sitting by the door. Waiting. Mocking me. The funny thing is, I didn’t pack the bag until about a week ago, and I was afraid I was pushing it too late. Before then, I was getting more and more nervous that I was going to be caught without it. But now that I’m ready – she’s going to be late. I’m convinced.

She’s still got two days to prove me wrong, though.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Ready to say goodbye to this belly?

These oh-so-attractive pictures are from The Bakken's halloween event, The Big Boo, held last Friday night. I am supposedly dressed up as some sort of rag doll. Others suggested I looked more like a rodeo clown, Ma Kettle, or a white trash prostitute. Thanks, co-workers.




This lovely bit of imagery on the right is me teaching the Monster Mash to some not very well behaved children in front of their even-less-well-behaved parents. I was very excited to get out of there that evening.



Supposedly five days to go...but my doctor's appointment this morning showed I haven't progressed much since my last appointment 8 days ago. I know I have enough patience left for the next five days, but I make no guarantees after that...


**Added 11/6/07: Just as a frame of reference - here's a picture of me working a different event at The Bakken Museum on 3/17/07. I'm already a month pregnant in this picture - but here, I'm 50 pounds lighter. And not dressed like a doofus. I seriously can't wait to wear normal blue jeans again. Or any pants with a button and zipper.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Waiting Game

And I thought I was obsessed with my pregnancy before. I mean, I talk about being pregnant more than I talk about pretty much anything else…I read about it…I think about it…I thought I was pretty much maxed out on how much of my time could be spent focused on being pregnant.

Boy, was I wrong.

In the last 4 days, I have thought of NOTHING but this baby. When is she coming? Is she going to come early? What if she’s late? What if she comes while I’m at a school? What if I go into labor in the next five minutes? Was that a kick or a contraction? It didn’t hurt, so it probably wasn’t a labor contraction. But maybe it was. Was it? Should I start timing it just in case it’s leading somewhere? There it goes again. Was that a contraction or was that gas? Should I go to the bathroom? Maybe if I stand up my water will break. Maybe it’s already broken and I just didn’t notice. I should go check. But wait – was that another contraction? Or was that a hiccup? AUGH!!!!

Seriously. That is what goes on in my head 24/7. I wake up a thousand times in the night. I can’t concentrate during the day. I feel like I have nothing to distract myself from these thoughts, and the worst is this: what if she’s late? I mean, this whole countdown thing is the ONLY thing allowing me to retain the 10% sanity I have left – believing that there are theoretically 8 days to go. But what if it’s not 8 days? What if it’s 18?? I might seriously lose my mind.

So for those who read this blog, do me a favor: pray to God, send good vibes, cross your fingers, or do a magic spell so that baby is born no later than November 7th. Because if she comes late, I think my brain might start to leak.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wishful Thinking

In our childbirthing class, we had to do this activity. They gave each couple 15 or so index cards. Each index card had one thing written on the front and a different thing written on the back. For example: Go into labor at 10 am / Go into labor at 1 am; episotomy / no episiotomy; natural labor / epidural; etc.

After picking our preferences, we then had to take out four of the index cards – no longer could we choose one or the other; these were things we were willing to leave up to chance. After that, we had to limit it down to only five cards – the five things that, if we could have our say, would definitely go the way we’re hoping.

If I had to choose my top five hopes for the upcoming weeks, my guess is they would be similar to the hopes of lots of expecting women: healthy baby, healthy mommy, vaginal birth (no c-section), success at breastfeeding, and positive transitions into parenthood. But with only 16 days to go, my imagination has really started to take off – particularly when it comes to WISHFUL thinking. If I had five unrealistic wishes for the next few weeks, here are the ones that might top the list.

1. Baby will be born on Saturday, Oct. 27. Yes, I would be that specific if I could. That would get me through my volleyball end-of-season party (Tues), my breastfeeding class (Wed), Crystal’s birthday (Thurs) and the Big Boo at work (Fri). I would be at home when I went into labor, so good stuff there. We could watch the Vikings game during recovery on Sunday. And I would be able to give work two days notice that I would be missing one more week of work than we had anticipated – perfectly reasonable. So even though I technically have been told I have 16 days to go…boy, am I dreaming about this Saturday.
2. Since I'm already being unrealistic – not only do I not have to have an episiotomy (something my OB and I have talked about extensively – we’re going to avoid it if at all possible and opt for – gulp – tearing instead), I don’t even have a single tear. I simply stretch, let the baby out, and then recover naturally with zero damage to my female parts. That would be so freaking awesome.
3. No drugs needed until sometime towards the very end! I’m still hoping to be able to move around during labor as much as possible despite the need for an IV – gravity works, so anything to speed the labor along sounds good to me. Which means I want to be able to put off an epidural for as long as possible. I’m hoping to be able to cope with the pain until I get to that 7-8 cm mark and then get the epidural OR whatever form of pain control medication the doctor thinks will be most effective given my pain level at the time. I don’t care about “no drugs” – if they work, I’ll take ‘em! But I don’t want to feel like I need them right away.
4. Baby is super well-behaved. I mean, sure, she cries and stuff – of course she does. But no colic, not too much spazzing, just pretty content to be fed and changed and swaddled and bathed. And she likes the cats. And they don’t try to scratch her. Or jump in the crib with her. And no allergies. That all counts as one wish, right?
5. I have such a smooth recovery and adjust to motherhood so well that I’m actually able to make it into work for a few hours here and there. Of course I have no desire to push myself unnecessarily – if I’m exhausted, I will not even give this a second's thought. But if I can bring baby into work and show her around to people and maybe have an hour or two a week to check email and stay up-to-date during my leave – that just saves me a few hours of unpaid time off. Which would be nice.

So there you go. Top five hopes – not guaranteed, but I’m really, really, really wanting them to happen. Top five wishes – I guess I can wait 16 more days for baby if I have to. Every day I get a little closer to finding out the reality, so I'll let you know what happens!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Guess I can't pass every test...

So far I have passed all of my screening tests. I don’t have high blood pressure. I don’t have gestational diabetes. Baby tested really well in her first trimester screening so she’s got a great chance of being born without major health problems or defects. I guess I had to fail a test eventually, and this isn’t a terrible one to deal with or anything, but I was kind of hoping to make it through with flying colors.

Apparently I’ve tested positive for Group B Streptococcus. Which is really not a big deal. Basically, it’s a bacteria that occurs naturally in the body (I didn’t “contract” it or anything). About 25% of women have it and don’t even know it because it doesn’t have any negative side effects that doctors know about – until labor starts. Once your water breaks and during delivery, you chance passing it to your baby, which can lead to some big problems.

To put it in perspective, the chances of passing it to the baby are pretty low – only about 1 in every 100-200 babies contract the disease, and that’s without treatment. Because I tested positive for GBS, I’ll have to get an IV put in when I get to the hospital and they’ll give me an antibiotic to treat the bacteria then. With medication, the chances of passing it to the baby are about 1 in 4,000. So this is not a major cause of concern.

But still…it would have been nice to have passed this test, too.

On a happier note - the first pictures on this page ever!
While I don't look...well..."great" in these photos, it does seem important to document this 45-pound baby in my belly. So there ya go!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Five more weeks until baby!

With only 35 days left until Baby, here are some of my recent musings:

  • I’m ready for maternity leave. I know it’s not going to be as simple as, “Yay, I get 6 weeks off from work!” because, well…baby is going to be a lot of work. But I’m so exhausted right now with my two jobs – it’s all I can do not to crawl under my desk sometimes and take a nap. So while I know maternity leave won’t bring relaxation and extra sleep, at least I won’t have to focus on anything other than taking care of my family and myself for a while.
  • My dreams are getting stranger and stranger. I’ve had every kind of anxiety dream – scary dreams, guilt dreams, abandonment dreams, death and dismemberment dreams – all very vivid and clear when I wake from them. My brain was kind enough to give me one dream where I went through labor and delivery, and everything was really easy, virtually painless and effortless, and baby was just fine. Though that may have just been a trick to give me false hopes and expectations…that sneaky brain.
  • Though many books talk about how annoying it can be when random folks come up and touch your belly without permission, I haven’t really been annoyed by that at all. To be fair, I haven’t had a complete stranger do that to me yet – that might change my thoughts on the whole “personal space” issue. But people who I wouldn’t expect to want to touch my belly have done it, so it’s been a bit surprising though not obnoxious. I just think it’s funny how some folks touch my tummy. Like when people sort of tickle my belly. Or just touch it with one finger. Or put their mouths to it and start talking to the baby (that one was my brother, by the way). Very strange.
  • While I enjoy reading and learning as much as I can about pregnancy, I do have to wonder how helpful all this knowledge is. Chason and I attended part one of our child birthing class on Saturday, and I learned that when the baby drops, it means that you’re close to labor. I’m now convinced that I’m carrying the baby lower than I was a week ago – but I can’t tell if it’s because she truly has “dropped” or if I just think she has because of this new knowledge. Plus they made us watch two videos of babies being born, and all I can say is, yuk. Watching that did not teach me what to do – it just reminded me that this is going to be weird, scary, and a little gross. And magical, of course…isn’t that what I’m supposed to add? Magical…

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Milestones

Sometimes I have a really tough time waiting for things. Like when you’re in school and summer vacation is just around the corner, the last few weeks seem to drag on forever. Or when you are getting ready to move and you want to pack everything right away so that you’re ready when the time comes, but you can only pack so much because you still need certain things to be accessible on a daily basis, so preparing for moving day seems like an endless amount of work.

None of those things compare to waiting for Baby to be born. Partly because it’s such a long time to wait (nine months, and it feels like it’s already been two years), and partly because you don’t know exactly when the end will come. I have my “due date” and all, but of course it’s only an estimate so I can’t exactly count down the days (I do anyways – theoretically 43 days to go!!).

In order to make the countdown not seem so eternal, I have developed my own system of milestones. I find something in the immediate future to look forward to, and then I try to focus all of my anticipation on that event. For a long time, I had Key West to look forward to. Once that vacation came and went, it was all about the opening of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” in theaters. Then it was James and Erin’s wedding. Then the arrival of the Harry Potter book. And so on.

I just passed one of my fun milestones – Chason’s dad and stepmom came to visit this past weekend, something I had been looking forward to for the last few weeks. It was great to see them and spend time catching up, and they were so helpful, especially with shopping for baby items – now I know what some of that stuff is actually used for (like baby pads). It was a great weekend overall. (On a side note, my volleyball team took first place in their tournament on Saturday – way to go, Red Knights!)

So with approximately 6 weeks and 1 day left to go until Baby, I will simply await my next milestone: this Thursday, the season premiere of “The Office” on NBC. Then Saturday’s childbirthing class. Then next Saturday’s baby shower. Then the end of the volleyball season on Oct. 16. Then…

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Top 10 Things I Never Knew About Pregnancy

I saw my friend James this last Saturday evening at our amazing friend Lauren’s Brave New Workshop show (very well done, by the way!). As I recounted my latest pregnancy woes, he commented that he’s learned all sorts of weird facts about pregnancy from me that he didn’t know before. While I would like to pretend this is due to my expert pre-pregnancy knowledge of all things woman, I must confess that I knew none of these strange facts either until they became a direct concern of mine. So, in honor of that, here are the top 10 things I never knew about pregnancy and childbirth until it was too late to avoid them:

Quick note: about half of these are about bodily functions, so if you want to think of me as being more lady-like, you may just want to skip this blog.

1. All the books contradict one another. And then the doctor contradicts the books.

2. It’s the only time in your life that people think that it’s okay to comment on your weight. Granted, I make a lot of comments about it myself, but it’s still strange to hear people say things like, “You’re only 5 months pregnant? My god, you’re huge! Are you sure? You’re going to be bigger than a house by the time this is through! Wow!” Thanks…thanks a lot…

3. Everyone talks about how pregnant women are plagued with constipation for nine months. I never read anywhere about having the opposite problem, but trust me…it’s possible.

4. Two words – carpal tunnel. As if I didn't look stupid enough, now I get to wear braces on both of my wrists for the next 7 weeks. Rock on.

5. Babies don’t just kick your belly – they kick in all directions. Spine, bladder, stomach – no discrimination, just lots of kicking.

6. Time actually goes more slowly when you’re pregnant. I firmly believe this; I cannot believe I’ve only known about this pregnancy for 6 months – it feels like I’ve been pregnant forever.

7. Baby pees inside mom’s body. Yup. Baby takes food in through the umbilical cord and then pees in your uterus. Aww, fer cute.

8. Nothing has worse assembly instructions than baby furniture. I have assembled furniture from IKEA where they only have pictures and the writing is all in Swedish with no problem, but that stupid swing chair almost got thrown out the window before I was done putting it together. Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t they make sure that the baby stuff goes together correctly? I mean, it’s not like you need to be concerned about safety or anything…

9. When your water breaks, it doesn’t necessarily happen like in the movies – big gush, embarrassing mess. Sometimes it’s just a slow trickle. Like you’re forever peeing your pants. Either way, it’ll be awesome if it starts while I’m out teaching a class.

10. Mom has about a 50% chance of doing what during labor? Pooping on the table. Yup. Apparently with all that pushing going on, your body has no control over what does and does not get pushed out, and that includes poo. As if the whole labor thing wasn’t ridiculous enough.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The nursery is full - hope there's room for the baby!

I spent part of this last weekend getting the nursery set up for baby. Somehow I failed to notice just how much stuff baby already has, and she’s not even here yet! To date, I (personally) have purchased the following:

** A crib – bought it used from a garage sale. It’s really nice and it came with a mattress, three sets of fitted sheets, a dust ruffle, a comforter, some toys, a boppy, and a few other miscellaneous baby items. Cost - $100.

** A changing table / dresser. Purchased off craigslist. Has a drawer, a little closet area, and two shelves for baskets, plus a big changing area. Cost - $30.

** A glider and ottoman. Purchased off craigslist. Super nice and comfortable. Cost - $140 (it’s worth it)

** A little bouncy seat. Garage sale. Our friends Joe and Jess have the exact same one and their baby loves it. Cost - $7.

** About 5-6 outfits from a garage sale. They were cute, I couldn’t resist. Cost – about $15.

In summary, I’ve purchased some essential pieces of furniture and a few little clothing items, and I've saved lots of money by buying everything gently used. I’ve also bought some child-size clothing hangers, some soft light bulbs, and a couple of children’s books (though I could argue that those are also for me). Total spent on baby so far: about $300. Not bad, I say.

Now here’s the thing – after setting up the nursery, I suddenly realized – thanks to a bunch of hand-me-downs from friends and family, some awesome gifts from friends (Ellen and Scott, loved the onesie!), and a few excited grandparents-to-be, we have ridiculous amounts of stuff for this baby. Here’s an example – we have six (6!) fleece blankets for the baby. The best part is, baby can’t even sleep with a blanket until she’s older! Hilarious.

There is no more room for furniture (which is fine – I don’t think we need anything else) and we are quickly running out of closet and dresser space for other items – and we haven’t even bought any diapers, bottles, wipes, or any of those day-to-day essentials yet! Plus I have a ton of baby clothes at my dad’s house from when my brother and I were young that I haven’t even picked up yet…

This is going to be one spoiled little baby, I can already tell.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pregtarded

They say that pregnancy makes you act pretty goofy. Pregnant women are clumsy, forgetful, and just generally pretty disoriented a lot of the time. Well, what happens when you embody all of those qualities before you even become pregnant? That’s the definition of pregtarded.

I am completely pregtarded. I can’t do anything without looking or feeling like a fool these days. I will drop something, bend over to pick it up, drop it again, pick it up, drop it a third time, and finally just leave it there because it’s not worth the effort of moving my 40 extra pounds back over to try again. Did I say 40 pounds? Yes, that’s how much I’ve gained. And I’m steadily gaining about 2-3 pounds a week. And I still have 10 weeks to go. To use math, 40 lbs. so far + (2.5 lbs/week x 10 weeks to go) = 40 + 25 = 65. So we can estimate that I will have gained 65 pounds by the time this is over. I’m telling you, I’d better be giving birth to a 30 pound baby here…

I’m also beyond forgetful right now – I’m incoherent. I can’t follow my own train of thought, let alone those of others. It’s not unusual these days for me to ask someone a question about something they just told me not 45 seconds earlier. Work has become somewhat embarrassing.

But the greatest example of pregtardedness to date – not just for me, but for all pregnant women everywhere – is that I have officially lost my wedding ring. Nope, not joking. I can’t imagine where it could be. All I know is that I definitely had it on Tuesday night (I had a parent meeting for my volleyball team, so I made sure I was wearing my ring so the Catholic parents knew that I was married and not having a baby out of wedlock or anything), and I know I did NOT wear it to work on Friday (Big Show Day at The Bakken – parents everywhere – again, very conscious of the fact that I looked like an unwed mother-to-be), and I can’t remember when or why I took it off in between. I’ve searched the house, my desk, and my car from top to bottom and sent the word out to folks at The Bakken and BSM, but so far it’s nowhere to be found. I wish I could make a better joke out of this, but it’s been a pretty traumatic past couple of days of searching with no reward, so I’ll just ask my nonexistent readers to send out some good prayers for me.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Baby's First Trampoline

Trampolines were always sort of a mixed bag of fun for me growing up. On the one hand, they looked fun - no denying that. You could bounce up high, do tricks like flips, and generally have a good time. On the other hand, once you were actually on the trampoline, suddenly the tricks seemed too scary to try out yourself - after all, you could land on your head or flip off if you misjudged the flip - and the monotony of going up and down lost its thrill pretty quickly. Plus once, when I was little, I was bouncing on a trampoline and really had to pee, but there were other people bouncing on the trampoline, too, and I couldn't get off of it, and I ended up wetting my pants a little. Yup.

Well, apparently I have now become something of a human trampoline for my little baby-to-be, and again, I have to say...mixed bag. On the one hand, every little bounce and kick and flip lets me know that she's in there and that she's doing well. That's very reassuring and reminds me that soon she'll be a real person that I can actually look at and play with and care for. On the other hand, she has a tendency to bounce on things that I wish she would avoid. Like my stomach. Or my bladder. Some of that naseau from the first trimester is doing an encore performance, and I have to pee all the time - or at least my bladder thinks I do. Nothing like wasting a toilet flush - not to mention the trip to the bathroom itself - for 1/2 an ounce of urine only to feel like I'm about to burst not 5 minutes later. And it doesn't matter that my brain knows that I don't really have to go - the bladder has lost all reason and will not be denied. And this girls is not afraid to do flips on her mommy trampoline. It was super cute the first time I felt her kick, and even cuter the first time I saw it (I would stare at my belly for 30 minutes just to see it bounce one time), but the cuteness gets called into question when my belly visibly distorts and wobbles during a meeting, making it look as though cirque du soleil were rehearsing a new act in my uterus. Plus, something that people forget to tell you is that the baby doesn't just kick your belly - she kicks in any direction she feels like kicking. It was quite a shock the first time she aimed a low kick right into my intestines - she's not even born and already she's kicking my ass.

So maybe someday I'll be more excited about trampolines. For now, they're not my favorite things in the world, but hey - at least one of us is having fun.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Suga Wata

Who's a slacker? I am! Okay, truth be told, I haven't actually told a single person about this blog yet. In fact, no one in the world knows about it but me. So the need to write updates wasn't very powerful. You understand, don't you, non-existant readers?

But I felt like writing today because I'm having a severe inability to sit still, and this is the only thing I could think of doing to focus my attention. I have no one to blame for this but myself - you see, I may have eaten half a bag of Twerps for breakfast this morning. In case you are not familiar with this delightful candy, it's sort of like small pieces of twizzlers with oozy sweet filling in strawberry and orange flavors. That might not be the best description, but trust me - they're tasty. And I brought some to work with me to snack on if I got hungry. And then I ate them all by 8:45 am. Healthy. So now I'm kind of freaking out because I'm feeling hyper and claustraphobic inside my cube and all I want to do is lie down under my desk right now. I did go so far as to lie down in the bathroom for five minutes (I know, that's gross, but there's a lock on the door and it gives me privacy, so judge all you want - that was a great five minutes), but I think I might be frowned upon for napping under my desk.

Why, oh why, did I feel the need to eat so much sugar in the morning? The stupid thing is, I just got tested for gestational diabetes yesterday at my doctor's appointment. It's a routine check-up, so it's not that they're any more worried about me than they are about any other pregnant lady, but I do eat a lot of sweets (ice cream especially), so I'm a bit concerned. Maybe I'm just trying to eat as much sugar as I can before the test results come in, just in case they tell me no more until baby is born.

By the way, in case you're wondering how they test for gestational diabetes - they make you chug a large glass of orange-flavored sugar water, then test your blood an hour later. I'm serious. Modern medicine at it's best, ladies and gentlemen. It tasted like a thawed Icee.

In other news, I started volleyball yesterday. All I can say is, this is going to be a tough season for me - my light 40-hour work weeks are exhausting, and now I'm tacking on an extra 10-20 hours of coaching every week. I've already considered throwing in the towel - after all, better I do it now than a month into the season - but it just seems like I'm giving up too easily. I know I can do this; I'm just going to have to get a bit tougher. I can do that.

Alright, invisible audience, I'm going to walk around for a while and see if I can burn off some of this candy. I'll keep you up on my progress (heck, maybe I'll even let a few people know about this blog! Eventually...).

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Beginning

Taking a cue from my college chum Erika (not to mention some good old fashioned prodding from my friend Crystal), I've decided that's it's finally time for me to jump on board the blogwagon and see where it takes me. I know different folks use their blogs for different purposes - some as an opportunity to get their feelings out in writing, some to share news, some to entertain, some to reflect, etc. For myself, I'd like to keep people up-to-date as to primarily what's happening in my family. For those who don't know (is there anyone who doesn't know?), Chason and I are expecting a baby, and while many of our friends hear about the day to day developments, those friends and family members who are further away don't get all of the same updates.

So here's the news so far: I'm 21 weeks and 3 days pregnant, due November 7. We know she's a girl, and so far all signs point to good development and health. I'm through with morning sickness (vomiting lasted from weeks 9-16) and have moved on to feeling mostly pretty good, though I get tired easily. Chason is doing well (no barfing), and we're pretty much in a perpetual stage of anticipation at the moment.

I will do my best to post at least once a week, and I'll definitely post when we have any news to share. I'll try to get some pictures going on this site, too.

Let the blogging begin!