Just Us Girls

Just Us Girls

...one SMC's adventures in single motherhood.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas!!

(As my last "singular" Christmas, it really was wonderful...Christmas Eve spent with my fabulous Colorado extended family, very special. And so much to look forward to in 2010!)

I have but one Christmas wish, and that is to bring this little girl safely into the world nine weeks from now. (I hate the fact that I'm all too aware of how much could still go wrong.) But I also have a strong feeling that all will go well--hope I'm right!

A very merry Christmas to you and yours, and best wishes for a New Year filled with dreams come true!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

They were right.

Ugh. Having a cold IS harder when you're pregnant. I haven't been sick at ALL since last April-ish, not even a sniffle, so I guess my number was up.

And just in time for Christmas.

I hope this goes away quickly, because it SUCKS. Miserable doesn't even begin to describe it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

With a vengeance

Yikes. I feel like I'm right back in my first trimester...did NOT expect that. The exhaustion is incredible, which I was aware could happen, but it feels just like someone threw a switch as soon as my second trimester ended last weekend. And oh, the hunger! These days I'm just as starving as I was way back in July and August! Baby Girl must be going through another growth spurt (or three). I've read that I'll be gaining a minimum of a pound per week from here on out. Craziness, I tell you! But so exciting, too!

Now if I can only figure out what on earth happened to the crib that was supposed to be delivered last week...actually, they gave me a week's window for delivery, and tomorrow is the tail end of that window. I tracked the crib, and it arrived in Denver on the tenth. Denver is only an hour away, people! *sigh*

I also need to get off my duff and get myself registered for a childbirth class--there are three I'm considering, so I just need to pick one. :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wha?

Huh. I just stumbled upon a pregnant mom-to-be's blog which shall remain unnamed...she is six weeks along, and she mentioned that her OB has told her that there is no need for her to take prenatal vitamins, that just a One-a-Day and a healthy diet will suffice. Far be it from me to take away someone's power of choice, but I've read in several sources that the minimum recommended daily requirement of folic acid is 800 to 1000 mcg in order to prevent neural tube defects, especially in those early weeks of pregnancy. I honestly don't know how much folic acid those One-a-Days provide--I suppose it's better than nothing. I also can't help wondering, why wouldn't you take prenatal vitamins if you were pregnant? It's not like they're controversial, or even that they cause truly uncomfortable side effects. I've had no side effects with mine, and I took them for months even before I became pregnant. Heck, mine even include a separate DHA supplement for brain, eye, and spinal column development.

Not tellin' her what to do or anything, but if my OB were to dismiss something as basic (IMO) and non-controversial as prenatal vitamins, I'd be looking for another OB. The more I think about it, the more I find myself concluding that it's downright irresponsible and potentially damaging.

I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No words.

What an amazing and surreal experience! I did waffle a bit about whether or not seeing her face on a 3D ultrasound would diminish the surprise of meeting her at her birth, but I'm so glad I went ahead with it! Up till now no one had bothered to mention that I happen to have an anterior placenta, and it did make it a bit challenging to get a full-face view...most of the photos and video are of her profile. But I happen to think it's an adorable profile, and I really do love the pictures!
So, without further ado, I give you:



Yup, I think she's beautiful, and I cannot wait to meet her!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

T3 approacheth

Sounds like Terminator 3, right? Yeah, I love that movie, but no. I can't help feeling a tiny bit down that my third trimester starts on Saturday. Happy that I'm that much closer to my girl's birth, but bittersweet that two thirds of my pregnancy are just about over with, never to be seen again. And chances are, this will be my only pregnancy. So everything feels like such a landmark.

Bad, bad day today...if you're a hot water pipe in my house. Yep, completely frozen. As in NO hot water to speak of, unless I've heated it in a big pot on my stove. Which I just did in order to do the dishes...the hot water is cooling as we speak, aiming for closer to a non-scalding temperature. It was like camping out this morning, complete with a sponge bath (!!!), because that's all I could do, and washing my hair in the sink with water that again, I had to heat on the stove. Far from civilized conditions, I tell you. But hey, you do what you gotta do. Which is what I gotta do till I can get those pipes thawed out. We've had some serious below-zero temps in Colorado over the past week, including a snow day yesterday (awesome) and a two-hour delay on both Monday and today (Wednesday). I'm thinking tomorrow will be a regular school schedule, however. So, in the meantime, I have two space heaters going in the kitchen, which is where said frozen pipes reside next to an outside wall, as well as my trusty blowdryer at the ready. I'm really gonna enjoy my next hot shower!! Funny what you take for granted when it isn't there anymore. My house is actually a cottage that was built in 1914, and yes, the pipes probably need to be better insulated (gotta call my landlords, which I've been putting off), but in the pipes' defense, the weather here has been positively *bitter*. As in 14 below overnight, including the windchill factor. Definitely far colder than the usual...very much unexpected. We're expecting a "thaw" of a balmy 28 on Friday, but here's hoping I can get things thawed out by then. Wish me luck.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Okay, two more...

Namely, things and people I can't get enough of:


I LOVE this show. And a bonus: several of my coworkers are addicted as well, so we have very, um, spirited discussions about characters, storylines, and so forth. Extremely entertaining! (both the show AND the conversations...)

And another:



Intervention on A&E. Yes, most of the episodes are hard to watch, but here is my guilty confession: the reason I watch is to reassure myself that yes, when it comes right down to it, I'm doin' okay. Oh, and I *sob* at each and every ending, no matter if it's a happy one or one that just didn't work out. In all honesty, I cry more at the happy endings, especially the ones that involve a happy reunion with the person's family members, which I guess would be, um...all of them. I also watch Hoarders which is on right after Intervention--it typically spurs me to clean at least part of my house while I watch. Again: yeah, I'm doin' okay.

In other news, I attended a two-and-a-half hour class on car seat safety tonight--I feel so naive! I mean, seriously, I can't get over how much I didn't even know I didn't know! It was a *fabulous* (and free!) class put on by my hospital network, and I am SO glad I went despite the horrible weather. I now feel much better equipped to find the best carseat that will not only fit my car but also my (potentially tall) child...I was remarking to my mom recently that I can't get over how MANY choices there are in carseats (as well as all things baby)! Yes, they do all have to pass the same safety guidelines, but clearly, after taking this class, I now know that there are also VAST differences between them. I did not appreciate learning about all the possible ways an infant could be injured or killed in an accident, but it sure underscored the importance of installing a well-made carseat correctly in order to protect one's child as fully as possible. Now I get to go *shopping*... :)

Still looking forward to my 3D ultrasound this Thursday! Yes, I WILL be posting pictures!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Oh, Baby!

Ahh...what a great day today was! First I drove the one-and-a-half hours north to Denver to visit this great midwifery birth center, apparently the only freestanding midwifery center in Colorado. (I find that a little hard to believe, but whatev.) It was still an awesome place, and I had a great time at the tour and orientation that my cousin, her husband, and her darling 10-month-old little girl attended with me. My cousin J started off at the birth center last January, when G was born, but because her daughter still hadn't descended sufficiently after x number of hours of pushing, she and her husband crossed the street to the hospital (how convenient), and ended up having a c-section because G was sunny side up. No fault of the birth center, and they don't deal with anything even remotely resembling a birth emergency, so it was off to the hospital they went, where G made her grand entrance.

I was so impressed by this birth center...I wish I could seriously consider having my birth there. But this birth center couldn't be more out of network if they tried, and in all honesty there is no way I could afford it sans insurance coverage. Nor would I want to, when giving birth in my network's hospital is so much less expensive. As great as the birth center is, I just couldn't justify it. The other sticking point is the fact that they only do natural births, no meds allowed, and I kind of have been thinking about an epidural. So there's that, too. But I got so much out of today's orientation anyway! It has three beautiful birthing rooms, and all the tools and accoutrements an expectant mom could possibly want, including birthing tubs, special chairs, even a hammock-like sling for hanging from. Apparently gravity is a laboring mother's best friend, if you get my drift. These rooms were so peaceful and homey, too. I was really glad to find out what's possible, even if I won't be able to take advantage of it. I can, however, choose to take the classes, including childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care. A bit more expensive than the ones down here in my city, but worth considering nonetheless.

After the tour and orientation I headed back down south to my city, but stopped off at this awesome outlet mall on the way back. I hadn't been there in years, and I was excited to check out some of the baby stores there! Wow, did I hit the jackpot! I went to Carter's and The Children's Place, and found some truly amazing deals. Sweet little tops and bottoms for $3 apiece, outfits for less than $6, you name it. I didn't go overboard, but I did find some beautiful clothes for the six to nine months after she's born. But I must admit, it's very strange to be buying clothes for someone whom I haven't even met yet!!!

Once I got back, I stopped by Michael's and Hobby Lobby to look for a few decor items I had in mind for her room (and the rest of the house, of course), which I was happy to find. So tomorrow's plan is to finish painting her room and to hang a few of the things I found. I am also going to put a small Christmas tree in there, with some lovely baby girl-oriented ornaments and such. I love the tradition of giving her one new ornament each year to commemorate some aspect of that particular year.

Oh, and I have decided on one strict rule that has emerged from one of my biggest pet peeves (well, I guess it's several rules rolled into one, really):
  • NOTHING with the words "princess" or "diva" is allowed to enter her room or be permitted to grace her little body!!! I absolutely detest this "entitled" garbage!!! It's one thing if she ends up liking and asking for the whole princess thing, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there. I loathe these attitude shirts with these obnoxious sayings on them!!!
  • NO words on the butt of her pants, sweatpants, etc. I'm sorry, but clothing should not intentionally be trying to draw anyone's attention to someone's butt with words, sayings, etc. Just my opinion.
  • Last one, I promise: nothing that smacks of "attitude", such as "whatever" or the like. No texting lingo. No Happy Bunny stuff, either. Gee, can you tell I teach middle school kids??! Yeah, I know. Such a wet blanket I am.
So now I'm back home, relaxing and putting away my purchases. The crib is supposed to be delivered anytime after Wednesday, so I need to have all the painting etc. done by then. I'm excited to put it all together!

PS--Twenty seven weeks today! Woo hoo!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Things (and people) I can't get enough of...



Heidi Klum and Seal. Cutest couple ever. Their kids are absolutely *beautiful*. I just find their story to be, well, magical. I love this video, and I never knew Heidi could sing! I know it's "just" a video, but I love the way they look at each other here, and I can't help but believe that it's the real thing. (I could do without the vapid models at the beginning and end, but like they say, sometimes you have to take the bad along with the good.) Oh, and let's face it, shall we...Seal is damn sexy. That voice...



I will never ever ever get tired of even the reruns of my absolute favorite show of all time, Bones. (Gee, Heather, tell us what you REALLY think!) Seriously, I. Can't. Get. Enough. I love the dynamics between the two actors, I love the ensemble cast of characters, I love the storylines, I love the humor, I love the sexual tension between Brennan and Booth. I love all of it. I need to start buying the DVD's. But only after all the baby stuff has been purchased. :) I have even started reading the novels by Kathy Reichs, one of the producers of the show, who is also an actual forensic anthropologist. The science behind what she actually does I find absolutely fascinating. The Dr. Brennan in the books is NOT the same as in the show, but I've gotten over that minor technicality and I still enjoy the heck out of the books as well as the show.




Patty Griffin. Amaaazing singer/songwriter. I've seen her live twice, and I can't wait to go again, whenever that might be. Lovelovelove her. You can find some of my favorites of hers on my playlist on the sidebar.

To be continued...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Time traveling

My visit with my parents (and my aunt and uncle) in upstate New York was just...incredibly special. From the touching prayer my father said at our Thanksgiving dinner table--after he finished, Mom and I looked up at each other with tears in our eyes--to the evening hours spent playing cards, bantering and laughing with one another, it was fabulous. I can't believe my visit is over...I'm now back in Colorado, and in all honesty I can't shake this sadness that I couldn't spend more time with them. I think of my aunt and uncle here in Colorado who are lucky enough to get to see their kids and grandkids all the time, and I really wish it were possible for ALL families as well as mine.

  • Double digits!! Only 98 more days to go!!
  • Baby Girl kicked like crazy while I was in New York, which was SO reassuring. I will never get tired of feeling those kicks!
  • I still don't know what my Christmas plans are. I don't think I'll be traveling, especially considering how challenging the second leg of my trip was today. I was seated in a window seat and we were delayed at takeoff for a full 40 minutes because of an overflowing sink in one of the lavatories...it was unbelievably hot and stuffy and claustrophobic in the plane, and I felt like I was going to pass out. The fellow in front of me had his seat reclined for the entire three hours of the flight, so I basically had my knees up my nose (I'm six feet tall) and for whatever reason, I couldn't recline MY seat either. I don't usually find myself feeling claustrophobic, but I definitely did today. Anyway, we talked this week about still possibly going up to Red Wing MN, where my brother and sister-in-law live, or having my parents fly out here. There is a ton of family out here who would love to see them.
  • The only word that comes to mind about much of my visit is "profound". I slept in the same twin bed I had slept in since I was about four, which of course took me mentally right back to my childhood. There is an antique vanity in my bedroom that was my mother's when she was a girl, and it's been in my room ever since I can remember. I looked at my reflection the same way I did as I was growing up, but this time I was a forty-year-old grown woman with her own daughter on the way. It was almost as though as I looked at my forty-year-old self, I could still see the girl I was at all those different stages of life, like layers of an onion, or those little Russian nesting dolls I once played with. It was both profound and surreal, in ways I can't even put into words right now. (This is where the title of this post comes in. I have more to say about it all, but I need to process things a bit more first.)
  • Mom gave me the little white dress and slip that she wore when she was baptized as a baby (and she thinks maybe her sister did, too)...the embroidery is so incredibly delicate. It's gorgeous. I'm thinking of having her baptized at the Easter Vigil service the night before Easter, which is historically the traditional time for us Lutherans to be baptized. I can't wait to talk to my pastor about it.
  • SO much fun to go through the tiny baby girl things my mother has saved from my childhood for my little daughter! Thankfully, since I was the only girl, there is very little wear and tear. A few are a little too dated for my taste, but so many are just adorable, and perfect for her. We packed them all up and Mom is going to ship them to me.
All in all, a fantastic visit. I'm so glad I went. But I can't believe how fast those five days flew by! I am SO not ready to go back to school on Monday...but I know it has to be done. Gotta keep telling myself, only three more weeks till Christmas, only three more weeks... :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm leaving on a jet plane...

but I DO know when I'll be back again: Saturday! Yep, I'm off to upstate New York for Thanksgiving, and I am SO looking forward to it! Things with my family are a TON better, so I think it'll be a very enjoyable visit. Plus my aunt and uncle are driving up from Virginia, and I don't get to see them very often, so I'm looking forward to that too.

I know I'll be blogging while I'm gone and possibly posting pictures. But until then...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Don't know 'bout you, but I have TONS to be thankful for this year!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Can't hardly believe it...

I cried today. (Yeah, I know, NO surprise there!!)

But interestingly enough, it wasn't over the unfathomably unprofessional way I was treated by the principal and the secretaries this morning. (No, sorry, it wasn't just the hormones. In the five years I've been working at my school, I have NEVER been treated that way, and never as publicly. I would have reacted exactly the same had I not been pregnant. Yes, really.)

Nope, I am just incredibly ecstatic for two of my friends, who are now pregnant. Both L. and S. have been trying for OVER THREE YEARS respectively, and I don't think I could be any happier for them!! I knew I was going to bawl (well, I didn't exactly bawl, but close) when S. was finally able to say she and her husband K. are pregnant...even sitting here right now, I can't even believe it's finally happened for them! I know it's been so hard for both L. and S., watching several of us at my school achieve pregnancy when that was the elusive thing they yearned for the most. I've been there. I know how it feels. Since last spring I'm pregnant girl #4, with L. and S. numbers five and six. And L. followed in my footsteps, right down to using the same fertility clinic and sperm bank. (Yeah, I know I mentioned her in the last two posts, but I'm so excited for her!) But both of them pregnant? At the same time?? I must be dreaming!! If I am, it's one of the best dreams I've ever had. :)

So now I need to pray as hard as I can that their pregnancies will stick. Fingers and toes: crossed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gratitude

Okay, I admit it: I'm a thief. I stole this idea from the coolest smart girl I know, Melissa, and I'm going to run with it because I feel like my last few posts have been such downers!

So here goes: these are just a few things I'm grateful for, in no particular order...

  • My friend L might just be pregnant!!!!! See my previous post for some of the particulars. I get permagrin every time I think about it! Another SMC-to-be who will be pregnant at the same time I am, we can trade off information, advice, and babysitting favors, you get the idea. SO excited.
  • So far, a strong and healthy baby girl. 'Nuff said. That's the biggest one of all.
  • I get to fly to upstate NY next Tuesday for Thanksgiving with my parents and my aunt and uncle! I haven't been back for six or seven years, so this is kind of long-awaited. Plus I think there's something special about returning to the house I grew up in now that I'm pregnant with my first child...like coming full circle. Mom has been busy washing teeny tiny baby girl clothes for me, and it'll be quite the special experience to go through them together.
  • I have such an amazing, incredible extended family here in CO, and I feel SO blessed that they will be such an integral part of my daughter's life. I see them so regularly that they're basically my on-location immediate family. There are very few people that I admire and respect more than this Colorado family...they are so incredibly special to me!
  • My new Calphalon Contemporary pans--love love LOVE them! My collection is growing, and it's fun to add to it, piece by piece.
  • First snows in Colorado...SO beautiful. And peaceful.
  • Little kicks every day!! They're getting stronger. Wow, I so can't wait to meet this little girl. <3
  • I think I have her name finalized in my mind. Not sharing (yet), but I absolutely love her first and middle names. Her first name is Irish, but not overly so...the donor is Irish and German, so it works. Plus he's a redhead, and I'm so hoping she'll get some of that, even though I'm pretty sure it's recessive. Her middle name is a variation on my wonderful grandmother's first name, and I love the rhythm of her first, middle, and last names together.
  • I've been amazed to receive quite a few gifts lately from my students, today being no exception. :) Today I was thrilled to receive a HANDMADE burp cloth from a girl in one of my classes! She stitched that hem so carefully, and it turned out great! I also received homemade grape jam made by the mom of one of the boys in another of my classes! Eleven-year-olds...they often drive me crazy, but you just gotta love 'em!!
  • Hot mulled cider. Turkey sandwiches with cheddar and big slices of tomato. Ice-cold chocolate milk. Just a few of my favorites these days. :)
  • ANY episodes of Bones. Re-runs, I don't care. I love every. single. one. Now I need to invest in the DVD box sets...
Okay, so these are just a few of the things I'm thankful for...I know I'll be adding to this list. :)

The circle of life

Wow, the last few days really have felt like a good news/bad news split! No idea why. Which has led me to think harder about the cyclical nature of life...the good with the bad, the happy with the sad, inevitable death followed by new life.

I've been in a bit of a funk today...last night I found out that one of my former students was killed in a one-car rollover crash on Saturday night. I remember him well--one of the brightest kids in his class, and he seemed to have such a promising future. I'm sad that it ended at age 24. He made the decision not to wear his seatbelt that night, and was ejected upon impact. My heart goes out to his parents...I can't imagine what they're going through right now. I'm going to see if I can find out their address so I can send at least a card, letting them know that I remember him and that they're in my thoughts and prayers.

At the very same time...I'm ecstatic! It's looking promising that my friend L might actually be pregnant!!!!!!!!! Once she saw that my diui actually worked (against all odds), she decided to follow the same path that I did, using the same fertility clinic and same sperm bank. Different donor, of course. She got a positive digital HPT last night, about five days before her expected period this Friday. I'm a bit surprised that she could have gotten a BFP so soon before her period, but as far as I've read, false positives are extremely rare, and she did use one of the early-detection varieties of HPT. She was on Clomid, but no other meds that would cause a false HcG reading. So...I am cautiously thrilled for her--I SO hope it turns out the way we're both praying it will!!!! She's 42, and if it did actually work, I can't get over the fact that it may have worked on the very first try. She's going to test again later in the week, and I cannot wait to find out!!!! So glad there seems to be good news to balance out the sad. Tomorrow's another day, as my mom likes to say.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Is it really just hormones?

Nope, I don't think so. I almost titled this mini-post, "Welcome to the rollercoaster" because sometimes that's how things happen, hormones or not.

I'm thrilled for K over at Tails, I Go...she's had so much s**t thrown her way lately, and she completely deserves things to turn around for her, which they seem to be starting to. Congrats on the new place, and I continue to be awed by your strength!

At the same time, my heart is completely broken for another blogger I just "met"...I'm thinking she wants to lay low right now, so I won't identify her. They found no heartbeat at her nine week ultrasound (after she heard it at weeks six and seven), and I honestly don't know how anyone gets through one miscarriage, let alone several. It's so unfair. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ahhh...

...the kicks are back!!

All is right again in my world.

(Fifteen more weeks!! Can you tell I'm excited?!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I wish for...

Today I read two posts that brought me to tears, the first of which inspired the title of this post. Mel from Stirrup Queens invited her readers to share some of their deepest wishes, and their wishes were so heartfelt, so earnest, and I immediately wished there were a way to grant each and every one. These wishes ran the gamut from infertility and loss to unemployment and health-related issues. The post really made me stop and think about what truly matters in this life. Take a look...

The second post that made me cry came from a blog I stumbled across via the comments I mentioned above: Tuesday's Hope. I've read several stories of women who have lost babies either at the very end of their pregnancies, or shortly after birth, and they break my heart every time. This blog was no exception, and the saddest part by far is that it seems that this couple's daughter's death might have been avoided, if not for the actions of the hospital in question. Yeah, I know that being pregnant, I have no business reading stories like these, but I sometimes think it can be a positive thing to go into things with your eyes wide open, and to not take anything for granted. Needless to say, it made me sad for the rest of the day, and now I feel rather bothered by the fact that I haven't felt baby girl kick as often or as strongly as I think she usually does. I'm sure it's nothing, but there's definitely a part of me that's freaking out right about now. It's almost like, this pregnancy has been TOO easy and something's destined to go wrong. Crazy talk, I know, but I'm feeling nervous tonight nonetheless.

My wish is a no-brainer: I wish for my baby girl to get through the next fifteen weeks as strong and healthy as she possibly can. (That's all that's left: fifteen weeks! Unreal!)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

When boring = stupendous

I must be THE most boring OB patient in the world. Why? Because there is nuthin' goin' on. In the best possible way, thank goodness. Now I can breathe a lil' easier.

  • I passed my AFP blood test, which I assumed because I hadn't heard anything. I'm glad I asked at my appointment, just to be sure. It does annoy me, though, that at times the communication seems to be lacking.
  • I'm at the 58th percentile in growth, which at first didn't sound nearly high enough. But then when Dr. B. explained that the higher the percentile, the bigger the baby, I am SO glad that I'm just about average. No ten-pounders for me. Please.
  • Dr. B. made a point of saying that overall I seem to be doing really well. (Why did he sound surprised when he said that?!) I asked about flying to NY for Thanksgiving and to MN for Christmas (it's fine, as long as I wear full-length maternity support hose to help prevent blood clots, drink lots of water, and take a stroll down the aisle every half hour), about gestational diabetes (they do the one-hour glucose test at week 28), and about my swollen cankles (my blood pressure has always been good, so they are considering it normal, considering how much I have to be on my feet at work).
  • Baby Girl is still a girl, thank goodness! I was so amazed to see those three little white lines on the ultrasound...Dr. Google wasn't kidding when he said that that's what the ultrasound techs look for! It was clear as day to me.
  • My cervix is exceedingly competent, thankyouverymuch. Mom had an incompetent cervix with all three of us, causing her to receive a cerclage and to be induced all three times. It's unlikely, but possible, for that condition to be inherited, so the main purpose of yesterday's ultrasound was to measure my cervix just to make sure. And I passed--woo hoo! All systems go.
  • Yesterday baby measured at 22 weeks three days, while based on my LMP I was at 22 weeks six days. But according to C, my fabulous ultrasound tech, you can't get much closer than that. According to her, I'm measuring right on schedule. SO happy!
  • I admit it, I'm nervous about the one-hour glucose test coming up in five weeks. We have no history of diabetes in our family, but I'm still concerned. Time will tell, I guess.
  • No comments about my weight by either the nurse who weighed me or Dr. B. It's hard not to worry about that, though, considering that I'm not that proud of my eating habits these days. Not horrible, but not as good as I should be. I need to exercise more, too. *heavy sigh*
  • Best news of all? Believe it or not, the OB's office is going to cover the bill in full that I received from the lab that did my AFP test. They charged me in full because my insurance refused to pay anything towards the test, saying that the lab is out of network. Turns out, my insurance is a fairly limited plan (oh joy), and my insurance company did send a memo to the office telling them that I wouldn't be covered, but the office folks didn't notice it or record it prior to doing the test. So Dr. B. felt that the office was responsible for failing to notify me beforehand. I could have had the test done through the hospital (which would have been considered in-network), but it would have been a more limited test, not the full scope that I was lucky enough to receive. (This is the second instance during this pregnancy in which one of my doctors decided that his clinic or office would cover an expense for me...the first one was my RE, who had his clinic purchase another sperm sample after his clueless receptionists managed to allow my original sperm sample to thaw. Doh!)
But overall, it's about as good an appointment as I could hope for. Nothing worrisome, no red flags, nothing but good news. Time to celebrate!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A tiny little post...

...because it's late and I can't sleep.

I'm thinking about Renee's funeral tomorrow. Excited that I'll get to see my friends Melynee and Tina whom I don't see all that often, but so sad about the circumstances.

Still embarrassed over the fact that I got the date of today's expected ultrasound and OB appointment wrong--it's Friday instead. Whoops.

Anxious about needing to contest my health insurance company's refusal to cover my NT bloodwork, who claims that the lab is "out of network". Even though it's the ONLY LAB around that even performs this service. Even though my OB's office has been sending NT bloodwork from patients under the same insurance to this lab for years without incident...until now. *sigh* Thanks for nuthin', guys.

Feeling this slightly scratchy throat and hoping that I'm not getting sick after getting my H1N1 shot today.

REALLY not knowing what I'm going to wear tomorrow. Especially since it has to be darkish (for the funeral right after school). The quest continues.

Loving every second of the kicking that gets stronger and more frequent every day. Never thought I'd be so happy to get kicked on a daily basis!

Praying that my friend Lisa will have a successful DIUI tomorrow.

Not wanting to deal with certain obnoxious students tomorrow. You know who you are. (but also secretly glad that one of them moved away yesterday...how awful is that?!)

Just get me to the weekend!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Damn. Damn. Damn.

I lost a dear friend this weekend.

Renee was truly one of the sweetest, most caring people I've ever known...she was like a second mom to me, even though she was only a handful of years older than I am. We worked together at my school for the past five years, and I can't fathom that she's gone. Happy Hour at Harry's on Friday afternoons has been a tradition over all of the years I've known her, and both she and Tina leave a huge void that none of us will be able to fill. Renee has fully supported me and my efforts to achieve pregnancy ever since the very beginning--she and her mom even crocheted a beautiful newborn set (sweater, blanket, booties, cap) out of pale aqua baby yarn for me even before I got pregnant. If it fits her, this set will be part of my baby girl's going-home outfit when we leave the hospital in March. (I'm already looking forward to sending her mom a picture of my little one in all her finery this spring.)

Renee was Tina's best friend, and she took it very hard when we lost Tina last February to pancreatic cancer. Renee has always been a more-than-moderate drinker, and she definitely started drinking even more after Tina passed away. Unfortunately her liver really paid the price. She had been out for quite a while this fall, in the hospital fighting cirrhosis of the liver which apparently also led to the recent failing of her kidneys as well. I and everyone else knew she wasn't doing well, but I had no idea it had gotten this critical. In fact, our friend Bobbe had just received a card from her last Tuesday, thanking her for gift cards she had sent her.

I hate the fact that I never got to say goodbye, or to thank her properly for all of her encouragement and support over these last five years. She was NOT supposed to leave us so soon--she was supposed to get to meet and hold and cuddle my baby girl. I can still feel her hugs, when she would hug me and kiss me on the cheek and say, "I love you, baby!" Renee, I'll always love you and miss you, and I am really hoping (I'm quite sure you will) that you and Tina will have a grand ol' time in heaven together... please keep watch over my little girl. She would have loved to know you.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Clarity (closer to it, anyway)

  • I think I've pinpointed the distinction between expectations and hopes. I had hopes that my parents would acknowledge the fact that it was a milestone birthday for me, and I was/am sad that my hopes didn't pan out. But it is what it is, as they say. I'll get over it.
  • I have concluded that because this is the first grandchild, my parents don't really know what my hopes are. Will I actually articulate them? Probably not...instead I will accept whatever they want to do and just know that it's okay. I should be glad that my girl will have doting grandparents at all, and I do know for a fact that they will definitely want to see her, spend time with her, and cultivate a relationship with her.
  • I have also concluded that if I need some space right now, it's okay. I'll get back into contact when I'm ready. (I know a lot of my sensitivity right now has to do with hormones, and this too shall pass.)
  • I need to remember the saying that "friends are the family you choose", and this couldn't be more true. I am extremely thankful for my very supportive circle of friends and my amazing supportive family here in Colorado...they're so precious to me and I am so lucky to have them!
  • I am still trying to come to terms with the lack of a relationship with my youngest brother and his wife, who live out near Minneapolis. Simply put, they do not really communicate with any of us. "We're busy," they say. And when we do see them, it's only because we have made all the arrangements and the effort to see them. They don't call, they don't e-mail, they don't acknowledge birthdays, they don't even return calls until much later. Clearly they have chosen a different "family" than ours. And I guess I just have to accept it. I have to accept the fact that my daughter will not have much of a relationship with this aunt and uncle, and not because I don't want her to. It's hard, but like I said, it's something that I have to accept. They always offer to host Christmas out there, primarily because they have a dog and five cats, and they don't like leaving them to travel or having someone come in to take care of them. So I am left with the decision of whether to go out there for Christmas, where my parents and middle brother will be, or spend Christmas here, with my Colorado family. Flying out to Minnesota isn't cheap, so I have to decide whether I want to spend that kind of money. Two or three years ago, during one Christmas get-together, my youngest brother and I had a pretty big fight and didn't talk for a while...he made it very clear that he is not very fond of my parents or the way they raised him, and I had a hard time with that. I'm not sure whether things are one hundred percent resolved between us, even now.
  • In a sense I am definitely not looking forward to the holidays this year. I'm very aware that these holidays represent an end of a chapter for me, and to me that's pretty huge. I really have to think about how I want to spend them and with whom. I can't explain it, but whenever I think about the holidays this year, I just get sad. I think it's because I know I should be happy about spending them with my immediate family, and I'm just not. And at the very same time, I'm sad about not feeling like I have the relationship I used to have with them. I'm sad about NOT wanting to spend the holidays with them.
  • I'm very thankful for having a place to air these innermost feelings. I've always thought that writing can be cathartic, and this blog is no exception. :)
  • I'm *extremely* thankful for all of the thoughtful and supportive comments and encouragement on my last post...it helps so much to know I'm not the only one who has to deal with stuff like this. I felt so much better (yes, a few tears were shed) after reading all of your sincere comments...BIG thanks to Samantha, Genkicat, loveyoualready, Jo and Jennifer!! Your responses meant more to me than you know. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Parents + expectations = ???

I'm sad tonight. And I've felt this same sadness for quite a few weeks now, if not longer.

Wish I could figure out why.

Maybe this post will help me sort out my feelings somewhat. I really wish I didn't feel this sadness. This little one will be my parents' first grandchild, and for whatever reason I seem to have these expectations that things will be a certain way. I think I have them because of what I've seen friends' parents do and say as they prepare for a new grandchild, which I also think is quite unfair because I'm fully aware that everyone's parents are different. I have no right to expect or even hope for certain behaviors, but somehow I still feel let down.

I think part of it, which isn't baby-related, is the fact that my feelings seem to be hurt by their commemoration of my birthday. (as evidenced by the tears as I type this) It's so ridiculous. I shouldn't feel let down about this...after all, I did receive a very nice card. But how many times does a girl turn forty, and couldn't they have sprung for some kind, any kind of small, trivial gift? I feel so materialistic feeling this way...normally I have no problem with getting cards from them--they do it every year, and they're always great cards. But like I said, this wasn't just a regular birthday, and the truth is that I do feel hurt. As much as I don't want to be. I should be glad that they remembered my birthday at all. But here I am, on the other side of the country, and I had such a great birthday with my friends and extended family members who live out here. I was so touched by my aunt and uncle who thought of me when they were on a business trip in Omaha...they stumbled upon this awesome jewelry shop and found a beautiful necklace that is just so perfectly me--I'm still so flattered that they thought of me when they were away. My cousin, who is incredibly talented at making jewelry, also made me a gorgeous necklace that I absolutely love. And my parents... I really want to feel differently, but I guess I can't deny that my feelings are at least a little bit bruised.

I am also frustrated that I don't feel that they've been supportive of this venture--pregnancy via A.R.T.--since the very beginning. My aunt and uncle have been behind me one hundred percent since the start, and I love them for it. Absolute support and encouragement--I'm so grateful, and I'm lucky to have them in my life. So why can't my parents support me in the same way? It's not as though it was a snap decision--I debated and did research for a full three years before I started "trying" over the past two years. But apparently that wasn't enough. I do understand having reservations, especially if you're worried about someone, but I would have hoped that they would have had more faith in me. So now I have friends saying to me, "Well, of course your parents will be buying A, B, and/or C for you before the baby comes." And I'm like, "Well...no." I'm truly on my own, and it kind of hurts that they aren't offering to help out in any way. It's as if they're saying, "Well, you got yourself into this, so now you get to prove that you can handle it." I don't know. It hurts. Again, I wish I felt differently, but that's what I'm left with. Is it possible to talk yourself out of feeling a particular way? Again, I don't know. If I could, I definitely would. I think maybe these unwanted expectations (hopes? wishes?) of mine come, to some extent, from our culture, our society. Which I think is completely unfair, and I wish they would just go away.

So I haven't really wanted to talk to them since I'm still working through the way I've been feeling lately. I talked to them on the phone on my birthday, but not since, and they're not happy about it. I've gotten a couple of terse voicemail messages and e-mails, and right now, it feels like just one more obligation to call them back. So I haven't. I gave in and sent my father an e-mail update this afternoon--just the facts about what's been happening in my world lately--and Mom wrote back tonight. But up until now we've typically been communicating via phone conversations, so this is a change for them. It's usually my brothers who don't communicate as often as my parents would like, not me, the loyal only daughter. Right now I don't want to call. Right now I don't want to use the plane ticket I've already purchased to visit over Thanksgiving. Whether that will change, I have no idea. I hope so, but I just don't know. I don't like the not-knowing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What have I gotten myself into?!

Yes, I admit it. This phrase seems to still be stuck on repeat in my head.
In the interest of full disclosure (for, um, posterity, right?), I am going to start a list of the fears--irrational or not--that keep creeping up on me:

  • I watch my cousin interact with her 9-month-old and wonder whether I'll even know what to do with an infant. What if bonding with my baby girl does NOT come naturally to me?
  • What if I can't find a way to console her when she's crying?
  • What if I can't figure out which kind of cry is which?
  • What if breastfeeding doesn't work out?
  • What if she'll need therapy later on because of my poor parenting skills?
  • What if I continue to make the same (ahem...mainly financial) mistakes that I've made in the past?
  • What if she hates me because she doesn't have a daddy like the other kids?
  • What if I get post-partum depression?
  • What if I just can't handle caring for an infant by myself?
  • What if something awful happens and she dies even before she is born?
  • What if something awful happens and she dies shortly after she is born?
  • What if she ends up dying from SIDS? How will I cope?
  • What if I end up not being able to afford good daycare?
  • What if she has colic or acid reflux or allergies or asthma?
  • What if I just can't figure out what to DO?!
  • What if I end up deciding this was all a big mistake?!
Weirdly enough, it feels good to just get all these fears out of my head and onto the screen, namely somewhere besides floating around in my head. I know that this post comes across as one big freakout, but I can assure you that that's not the case. But the truth is that these are things I wonder about, buried somewhere in the recesses of my subconscious. I'm sure a lot of first-time mothers wonder about these very same things. And ninety-nine percent of the time, I feel pretty sure that I'll find a way to figure out what to do about whatever may come up. At least I hope so.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Decisions, decisions




Too many choices. Waaaay too many choices. I'm in absolute love with Pottery Barn Kids, and I have seriously gone back and forth several times as to which crib set I wanted to buy. I actually got all the way to ordering a set online, then changed my mind and tonight, I drove a half hour up north to return it at the only Pottery Barn Kids store in my city. I was hoping that the set I finally decided on would be in the store so I could check it out (the feel of fabric is everything to me), but sadly, no. I did still end up ordering the set pictured above, which is the first one I thought I had decided on. The lesson to be learned, kids, is to trust your first instincts.

What I did find was everything else for kids under the sun! I really wish I could work there over my summers off, but that would've been P.B. (pre-baby). Weird that now I can classify my life events as P.B. or A.B. (after-baby). Anyway, the dilemma I've been grappling with (admittedly, not a dilemma whatsoever in the grander scheme of things!) in terms of baby room decor is the fact that I LOVE bright colors, but I also believe in establishing a calm, restful environment for an infant. But I'm not all that much of a fan of pastels. It's a fine line, people. So I went with the crib set above, mainly because of the darker shade of pink in there AND the fact that I can use a lot of light green to balance out all the PINK. I do love the more modern design of the quilt, and like I said, it favors my love of all things light green. You might not be able to tell from the picture, but the quilt is made up of ribbons of a variety of colors and designs. The fitted sheet has all shades of pink dots, and I love the simplicity of the crib skirt, which isn't in the picture above. I wasn't going to get a crib skirt at first, but changed my mind when I saw it. (That, and the set was on sale and included the crib skirt as well.) So as of November 10th (it's on backorder) I'll have a crib set...I'm thinking I want to try to pick up a crib--probably a white one--before then so I can set it all up!

The other thing that makes me laugh is the fact that I won't even be using it with Baby Girl for quite a while! The plan is that my cousin will (hopefully) be lending me her Arm's Reach co-sleeper bedside crib, and of course you can't actually USE the bumpers or quilt with an infant, anyway. Bumpers later, but still. I guess it's all in the name of decor, right?! How funny that I've been poring over nursery designs to find "the one", just as I might shop for a wedding dress (!!). Hey, I guess you take what you can get, anyway.

P.S.--I didn't quite know how to answer the ladies at the store when they suggested, "Hey, and you should bring your husband in next time!" as I furtively glanced down at my ringless hand... I suppose I should get used to that assumption. But it still feels weird to me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sporadic randomness

...or is it random sporadicness? Random sporadicity?! Heh.

  • I now have a *FUN* new symptom: heartburn. It's pretty mild...just enough to be hugely annoying. But seeing as I've never really experienced it much before, it's not a welcome addition. I've been enjoying a relatively symptom-free pregnancy, so this is definitely a change. Gotta head out at some point and buy some Tums. (I have found, however, that drinking milk helps somewhat.)
  • Twenty weeks! Halfway there! Woo hoo! *does happy dance* SO nice to be able to say that I'm now into the second half of my pregnancy...
  • My ankles are scaring me. No, really. By the end of the day I can't even believe how swollen they are. Gotta remember to sit with my feet up when I get home from work...but there always seems to be so much that I should be doing instead.
  • I've decided that the sweetest part of pregnancy--by far--is feeling that little girl move around inside me. At this point, I don't mind being kicked whatsoever, but I'm fully aware that as her kicks and punches get stronger, I might not welcome them quite so much. But right now, it reminds me exactly how blessed I am, that feeling her move is a truly special, one-of-a-kind experience. I think of my friend Bobbe, who adopted three kids many years ago, and the fact that she has no idea what it feels like (and really wanted to), which kind of breaks my heart.
  • SO happy that we are now starting our second quarter of the school year. This quarter will last until Christmas. One-fourth of the way done with this year! Which also brings me that much closer to the arrival of my little one...
  • I'm off to upstate NY for Thanksgiving, and I am SO looking forward to it. Not so much the traveling itself, complete with a layover in Detroit, but it'll be so great to get away for nearly a week.
  • I'm hoping to get my H1N1 vaccination on November 11th, which apparently is the first opportunity in the county for the high-risk populations to get their shot. They're saying that some doctors' offices are also getting them, but I don't have high hopes of getting one that way. I'm still going to call my PCP's office tomorrow, but I doubt I'll get good news. The county already canceled the shot clinic that was scheduled for October 24 - 26 because they didn't receive nearly as many vaccinations as they expected. So the question remains: should I take a half-day off of work on the 11th to ensure my place in line, and give up a half-day of future PAID maternity leave? Most of my maternity leave is only at 60 percent instead of at full pay, and it only kicks in after I have used up all of the personal leave (at 100 percent) that I've accumulated, which sadly isn't that much. (Probably because I fully believe in taking "mental health days" on occasion! I don't regret it, either--teaching middle school ain't easy!) I keep coming back to the fact that so many of my students (and my teammate Bobbe) have already had the swine flu (and will undoubtedly come down with it in the near future). So many of them don't even stay home when they're contagious (but of course they don't even know they have it when they're most contagious). Hopefully the November 11th clinic won't be canceled as well.
  • Okay, that's all I got. Hopefully life is treating the rest of you well these days.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

In remembrance


My heart is breaking tonight for all of the women and couples who have suffered through miscarriages and lost precious babies...I am all too aware of exactly how fortunate I've been (so far). Loss remains one of my greatest fears, and I'm not sure whether I would have the strength to get through something like that. Hopefully I'll never have to find out. Tonight I'll be praying for them to find peace and the courage to move forward, wherever their paths may take them. (And I love the idea of angel babies watching over their families from heaven.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Deleted post

Okay, enlightenment finally came...I do get it now. And it's all going to be okay.

It didn't feel good to re-read that post, so it's been 86'd, banished to the side of the cyberhighway somewhere.

Time to move on.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Birthday wish...granted!


Me = absolutely over the moon.


PS: Chris, my u/s tech, took about a kajillion different measurements, and there are NO soft markers for anything. She looks about as close to perfect as I could ever hope for.

My daughter.

Incredible.

I am so blessed.

(Excuse me while I go cry now.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Almost there!

Two more days till the Big U! The Big Ultrasound, that is. It's funny, deciding whether or not to find out the gender has really driven home the fact that I am lucky enough to get to make ALL the decisions when it comes to this little one. And at the same time, it's such a huge, often overwhelming responsibility. I know I'll be feelin' REALLY overwhelmed as I get closer and closer to meeting him or her. The phrase "Be careful what you wish for, 'cause you might actually get it" has been coming to mind ever since I saw those two little pink lines! But then, at the moment I finally stop myself from near-hyperventilating, I realize that in the end, the two of us will be just fine. And I can't wait to be a mom.

So yes, I will definitely be finding out the gender on Thursday. (It'll be just my luck that the ultrasound will be inconclusive that day, and I'll have to wait even longer!) I looked at it this way: I found myself feeling that if I kept it a surprise, I wouldn't be able to design the baby's room just the way I wanted to (until after the baby was born, anyway), and I really wanted to feel like I was as ready as I could be before he/she arrives. And even though I know I'll probably receive gifts of clothes, mostly, at the two baby showers (one being planned by my friend Tina, and the usual one that'll be held at my school for my pregnant colleague, Sarah, and me), I didn't want to feel like I had to shop for gender-specific clothes all over again after the baby was born. I still think that if I were doing this whole thing with a partner, I may well have decided to wait. But I also figure that since there are going to be so many unknowns involved with being a single mother already, this is one thing I can completely prepare myself for way ahead of time. People say that there aren't really any true surprises left in life anymore, besides waiting till the birth to discover the gender, but I'm just going to enjoy this special surprise on my milestone birthday instead!! Best birthday gift I can imagine, besides actually achieving pregnancy in the first place.

So here's my plan. My appointment is at 1:15 pm on Thursday, so I'll be taking a half day off of work starting at noon (after a really important parent conference that I can't miss). I am having a lil' after-work birthday get-together with my friends at 4:30, so I'll be heading to a party store after my appointment to (hopefully) find a bunch of either pink or blue glow sticks to pass out to my friends at the get-together. I'll be asking them to close their eyes, I'll pass out the glow sticks, and at the same time, have everyone "break" them to see whether I'm having a little boy or a little girl! I think it'll be a fun way to break the news, assuming all goes as planned. I don't know whether you can get single-color glow sticks or just a variety pack, so we'll see. I'm also going to see if I can order a cake tomorrow. Quite a few of my students have been consistently asking when I'll get to find out the gender, so I told them that this Friday, I'll either be wearing pink or blue to "celebrate". They can just look at what I'm wearing, and they'll know. :)
Can't wait!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pregnancy ain't easy

Not that I ever thought it would be.

First, there's this perpetual in-limbo state I find myself in. Waiting...waiting...and waiting some more. Waiting until my twenty-week ultrasound. Waiting to find out the gender. Waiting until I'm *really* showing. Waiting to buy the baby gear I want to purchase NOW. Waiting until I can afford the bigger-ticket items! Waiting to set up a baby room until I know the gender. Waiting for the holidays to get here. You get the idea. I remarked to someone today how I seem to be wishing my life away, at least for the next five or so months. I'm finding it difficult to enjoy the now, rather than constantly trying to look down the road. And I don't quite know how to stop.

Physically, it's hard to feel not at 100 percent for an extended period of time. I frequently catch myself wishing I felt more like my "old" self. But would I wish to not ever be pregnant? Not in a million years. I'm really sick and tired of always feeling exhausted all the time, even though I KNOW it's only gonna get worse. As a middle school teacher of 120-plus students, I'm finding it really challenging to keep up with everything, especially the ever-present grading of papers. (Perfect example: today my students generated four pages-worth of work during a 45 minute class period, making a grand total of yet another 480 pages for me to grade. It creates quite the stack. And there will always be more the next day.) Not that I'm *ever* in the mood to do it. It's one of those comes-with-the-territory evils, and one that's not ever going to go away for the next fifteen-or-so years. It's just harder to accept it when one is pregnant. And whatever happened to the so-called increased energy I'm supposed to feel during my second trimester, huh?! Haven't seen it yet. All I feel is more tired, a lot more hungry all the time, and even my boobs feel more sore, which is *definitely* not supposed to be happening right now. I'm chalking it up to a growth spurt or three on the part of this tiny little human sharing space in my body. *sigh*

I am also finding it somewhat hard to be pregnant by myself. I did anticipate that this would be challenging, and I was right. It's still a ton of fun to dream and imagine what it's going to be like, especially this newfound mission of shopping online for all things baby. But there are also a lot of times when it's downright lonely. The people around me don't want to hear about all the pregnancy-related thoughts spinning around in my head, and for the most part I don't talk about it except to answer random questions now and then. (The most annoying one by far is constantly being asked, "So how are you FEELING?" Um, fine, thanks.) When it comes down to it, women have been going through this for eons, and there is DEFINITELY more to life than being pregnant. Even though right now it's foremost in my brain.

I hope this post doesn't come across as being too complain-y, because I don't mean it to be. I still wouldn't trade this opportunity for anything in the world. But this blog was intended to be a safe place for me to process some of these thoughts flying through my head, and these are all thoughts that I've found myself burying (and not really talking about) until now. It feels great to put them into words and nail them down to this computer screen. It'll be interesting to reread them after the baby is born. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Seeking advice...

Just a question to any and all veteran moms out there--

I am pondering the myriad of stroller options, and I can't quite figure out the desirability of a "travel system" (car seat plus stroller). When would I need to keep the baby in his/her car seat, then snap it into its accompanying stroller? I mean, I can't wait to go on walks using a stroller, but I'm leaning more towards a jogging stroller-type thing rather than a travel system. I can definitely see the advantage of not waking up a sleeping infant in a car seat in order to put him/her into a stroller, but as far as I can see, the only time I'd do that is if I were going shopping at a mall etc., something I so rarely do. And even then, wouldn't I just use a regular stroller?! More often than not, I envision a travel system-type stroller just getting in the way and taking up space, when it's just easier to carry a car seat for short distances.

Any thoughts?? I'd love to hear from other experienced moms out in the blogosphere...
Thanks in advance!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My favorite time of year



Ahh, fall...I'm so glad you're back! I LOVE fall for so many reasons. Among them:

  • that delicious smell of woodsmoke in the air, especially at night
  • a slight nip in the air, which, right now, feels downright refreshing
  • fleece--enough said!
  • pumpkins and fall decorations for sale in the stores
  • yummy-smelling candles around the house
  • cozy socks
  • seeing the leaves in the neighborhoods just begin to change
  • the chance (not quite yet, though) to drive up into the mountains and check out the aspens turning all shades of gold
  • my birthday--October's always been my favorite month
  • coming home and changing into cozy clothes, curling up on the sofa to watch TV or whatnot
  • snuggling under warm blankets
  • the first snow of the season!
  • all my favorite sweaters and corduroys, even though I can't wear them till next fall
  • sunny fall days are the BEST!
I'm sure there are more...just can't think of 'em at the moment. This is enough to pique my excitement for now! Right now, the best part is that the arrival of fall is yet another step closer to March sixth! Fall, then winter, then early spring when my little one will arrive! Woohoo!

(photo courtesy of www.hickerphoto.com)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sigh of relief...times three

As I expected! I talked to my landlords today and got the green light for renewing my lease next month. They were definitely taken aback by my news...not at all what they expected I might say. And they seem to be very happy for me--because they both have (grown) kids, they started talking about cribs and changing tables and diapers and daycare and such, which was very cute. I am SO relieved. Not sure whether they'll let me sign a year's lease after this one, but I'll play that one by ear. I was really hoping to NOT have to move while pregnant. *sigh of relief*

In other news, I got a scary call from my OB's office today, and I found myself in that surreal place of wondering, is this when my pregnancy--and my LIFE--changes forever? I am altogether too aware that things can change on a dime when you least expect it, and my life is absolutely no exception. The call referred to my recent AFP bloodwork (for spina bifida and anencephaly) and asked me to call back immediately...my heart absolutely dropped. I called back and the nurse who had called sounded very sheepish--she thought I'd be angry that I'm going to have to re-do the bloodwork because I did it too early through no fault of my own. Turns out it has to be done between sixteen and eighteen weeks, which they didn't tell me, so the earliest I can do it is September twentieth. She has no CLUE that as long as it's not bad news about the wellbeing of my CHILD, I could care less! Sure, it's a tiny inconvenience, but in the grand scheme of things? That ain't nothin', lady. Really.

I got my thimerosal-free flu shot today--no mercury-based preservatives for me, thankyouverymuch. I'm not sure how much of any kind of risk it would be, but hey, if I can do it without mercury, why the heck not? It was easy and relatively painless, and I'm relieved because SO MANY of my students are sick right now. Getting the flu is not an appealing prospect. I haven't gotten a flu shot in several years at least, and I have no recollection as to whether or not I felt sick after getting the last one, whenever that was. Here's hoping I don't feel under the weather over the next few days. I'm so glad it's done and off my to-do list. :)

Counting down to October 8th...happy birthday AND happy gender day!!!

(I recently read about a cute idea for finding out the gender...have the ultrasound tech write the gender down on a piece of paper (and not tell me right away) and seal it in an envelope. Take the envelope to the local cake store, give them specific directions to open it (without telling me) and to make a cake with either a) strawberries or pink icing inside if it's a girl, OR b) blueberry filling or blue icing inside if it's a boy. Either cake would be frosted the same, so the only way to get the answer would be to cut into the cake and see. I love the idea, but a big part of me wants the option of talking with the ultrasound tech at the time to find out how "sure" she is about the gender. If it's questionable at the time, I kinda want to know that, you know? We'll see, I guess. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nervous

Ugh. I have to talk with my landlords sometime this week to fill them in on the "big news"...my lease is up for renewal next month, and it's very specific in terms of only ONE person living here. (It's a small cottage that was built in 1914, and it's really best for a single person, or maybe a single person with a small child.) I don't think they'll tell me I have to move, and I certainly have zero desire to move while I'm pregnant. I've been a good tenant over the past two years, and I recently finished (well, almost) painting the entire porch ceiling, walls, railing and floor, which ended up being free labor for them (they paid for materials). Before they gave me the lease to sign two years ago, they were *about* to rent to a couple with a dog, but they were pretty thrilled to rent to just me (sans pet as well) instead. I suspect they'll be fine with me signing a new lease until next October, since the baby won't arrive until early March or late February, but perhaps not another lease after that. I don't know. But at this point I can't even fathom having to leave this cottage...it's been so perfect for me and I've absolutely loved it.

So where will I put the baby, you ask? Well, there is a small room off of the bedroom that's gonna be perfect. Before I moved in, it was designed to be a *large* walk-in closet, but the interesting thing is that it also has two small-but-very-sunny windows and even an exterior (deadbolted) door! It's light and bright and perfect for a baby's room. There are even grapevines (!) right outside one of the windows, and I love how the sunlight filters in through them. I'd so love to know what the room was intended for way back in 1914--I honestly have no idea. The bathroom is on the other side of the cottage, so I doubt it was for that. Anyway. Wish me luck this week...I so hope my landlords will let me stay. (Is it legal for them to say no? They're lawyers after all...)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Heartbeat City

Love it!!! A "strong" and "very clear" (my fabulous OB's words) heartbeat of 152 bpm. I love that it's getting easier and easier for him to find it each visit. I decided today that I'm going to start a new tradition for the rest of my pregnancy: to celebrate each awesome OB visit, I am going to stop off somewhere and buy something--as inexpensive as I feel like--after the appointment, just to throw a little party in my head and make it all feel a bit more real. So today's purchase (gender-neutral, of course) was a set of white long-sleeved newborn onesies and a set of white short-sleeved organic newborn onesies from Target. SO much fun to browse, but so much of it is oriented to either a boy or a girl, and I still have four more weeks to wait. Which brings me to...

You'll never guess when I get to have my anatomy scan and find out the gender!! Yep, on October 8th, my 40th birthday!!! I couldn't believe it. One of the best birthday presents I could possibly dream up, even if it does have to be my fortieth. The scheduling gal offered to postpone the appointment until October 12th, but I decided, no way. I can't wait to find out! So only one more month to go. Wonder if it'll drag or go by quickly...

Finally!

I don't know what's been up with this month, but it feels like I've been waiting forever for tomorrow's OB appointment. Yeah, yeah, I know that forever is an extremely relative term. But when it feels that way, how can you really compare? Yesterday I read a devastating post from a woman on the WTE due-in-March message board...I know I shouldn't have, that whole STAY POSITIVE! deal. But it's haunted me ever since, probably because she was as far along as I am now: fourteen and a half weeks.

CAUTION: you might want to skip over this next part...
In a nutshell, she woke up at 3 am and used the bathroom, and according to her account, her fourteen week old baby pretty much just fell out (not sure how that's possible, really), and she bled so much she passed out until they revived her at the hospital and set her up for a D and C. Not that I think I'm "safe" or anything...I know enough to realize that I'm not. Still very hopeful, but NOTHING is guaranteed. I also fully realize that the above account could very easily have been made up for attention, but I typically try to give others the benefit of the doubt. Anyway.

I can't WAIT to hear the heartbeat again tomorrow! Just for a little reassurance. No more ultrasounds until 20 weeks, as far as I know. I also can't wait to start feeling movement, which may happen in as little as two weeks from now. That will be VERY reassuring. I'm caught in that strange place between wanting to live in the now and enjoy every day, every week, every moment, and wanting to fast-forward through the next six months and just GET THERE. And being on the cusp of--gasp!--forty, fast-forwarding through my life is the LAST thing I should be wanting to do. But I seriously cannot wait. I can't wait to start showing (more), I can't wait to find out the gender, I can't wait to start feeling those little kicks. Which will eventually become BIGGER kicks. Because this may well be my only pregnancy, I should be focusing on enjoying every moment of it instead of hurrying it along, but I can't seem to help myself. I just can't. Wait. To. Get. There.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Outed!

SOO funny--and surreal--yesterday. Right before my students were about to begin brainstorming and drafting a baseline paragraph assessment, kind of a big deal at our school, two girls came up to me, Alyssa and Tori:

Alyssa: "Ms. Mills, can I ask you a question?"
Me: (completely unsuspecting) "Sure..."
Alyssa: "C'mere," she says, motioning for me to lean down so she can whisper in my ear.
Me: (leaning down)
Alyssa: (in the smallest voice possible for an eleven-year-old) "Are you having a BABY?"
Me: (speechless)
Me: (a beat later) "So you can tell, huh?"

I think Tori came up with Alyssa out of pure curiosity, since they sit next to one another in class. Yeah, I was wearing a dress with an empire waist, and yeah, I admit it--there was a little bump. I so didn't expect it yesterday, and as luck would have it, this class was about an hour before lunch, so the news traveled pretty fast during lunch.

Here are a few more gems from yesterday:

"Ms. Mills, are you really PREGNANT??"

Student: "What are you having?"
Me: "A puppy..."
Student: "No, REALLY!"

"Ms. Mills, they keep saying that you're pregnant. Is it TRUE?"

To my third period class, the class after the one in which I was busted:

Me: "I have a confession to make."
Class: ???
Me: "It's all Alyssa's fault...she busted me during the last class..."
Class: (puzzled looks)
Me: "It turns out that there AREN'T 24 kids in this class. There are actually 25, but you can't see the twenty-fifth one. He or she is very small." (They look around the room.)
Random student: "A gnome?"
Me: "Um, basically..."

Their reaction after I spelled out the news?
Student: "I KNEW it!"
Student: "I almost asked you! A couple times!"
Student: "I was going to ask, but then I saw that commercial where the guy in the elevator says congratulations on your baby to that woman and she hits him, and then I knew I shouldn't..."

"Are you having a girl or a boy?"

"Can we see pictures?"

"Will you tell us if it's a girl or boy after you find out?"

I was relieved that I didn't have to field any questions about my marital status, except for one:
Kaysia: (in a slightly scolding tone) "Ms. Mills..."
Me: ???
Kaysia: "But you're not married, are you?"
Me: "Well, that's personal stuff, so I'm not going to talk about that right now."
(But she still seems to accept it--she's not judgmental, even though it sounds like it here.)

And today:
Molek: "Hey, be quiet, everybody! You have to be NICE to pregnant ladies! They can't take the stress!"

SO funny. You gotta love eleven year olds! But I daresay I dealt with it pretty well. I don't really care to know what the parents are thinking or saying at home. When it comes right down to it, it's not their biznass.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

This better be a good one

Next OB appointment?

Next Wednesday.

9-9-09.

Heh.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tears of joy

How is it that I can be so overjoyed for someone I've never even met? Perhaps it's because I know her joy...I experienced it back on June 29th, when I saw those two beautiful little lines for the first time and felt the world shift beneath my feet. Logically I know that one person doesn't "deserve" pregnancy more than any other, but when someone has been through hell and back and finally achieves it--against all odds--it just does something to me. In all honesty I don't know much about "super crappy sperm" or FET's. But when I read Murgdan's post I just sobbed. Yes, I admit it. Sobbed. (Thanks, pregnancy hormones, for that!) We all were so hopeful for her, for this cycle, and I had imagined how I might feel if it actually panned out...I can hardly believe it. If anyone "deserves" it, it's Murgdan, and I couldn't be happier for her. Yes!

Happy, happy day. Life is good.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Incognito

Trying, at least! Even though my colleagues know that I'm pregnant, my goal was to keep it from my students for as long as possible. That's proving to be harder than I expected, since I now have a *small* bump! Normally I'd be excited, but I really don't want the parents of my students to assume I'll be distracted or less committed to their kids if I tell them now, right when the school year has just started. Where school is concerned, dresses are easy and comfortable, but not as concealing as I'd like. So....maybe it has to be all about two-piece ensembles for a while. Hopefully they'll think I'm just fat. Never thought I'd wish for that.

I also never thought I'd be so happy to cross paths with an "unlucky" number! Thirteen weeks on Saturday!!

Awkward! I think a friend of mine at work is ticked off at me because she resents the fact that I'm pregnant. I honestly don't know what to say or do, considering I've walked that path before. And it ain't easy. She'll be pursuing diui as well, but can't quite yet until a financial situation resolves itself, hopefully soon. In the meantime...what can I do?? No clue.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Things are lookin' up

  • I'm relieved...I only spotted for two days, and then it stopped. Next appointment = September 9th. Twelve weeks on Saturday!! Woohoo!
  • So far school is going pretty well, except for some *large* class sizes (as in 35, and 35 sixth graders in one classroom is really not even close to an ideal situation). But it's do-able, so all I can do is put on my seatbelt and hold on. So far--and yes, I realize that early impressions aren't always reliable--the kids are super-sweet and fun to be around. I'm surprised by how happy I am feeling to be back in the classroom...I really expected to feel more grouchy and short-tempered. So far that's not the case, which really makes me happy. Here's hoping it'll last.
  • However, I'm having a hard time with fatigue. I swear, by 3:40 every day, it feels like I can hardly see straight because I'm so tired. As in bone-tired, where all I can manage to do is get myself home and fall into bed, exhausted. I also hate how completely groggy I feel when I wake up, sometimes early the next morning, sometimes only a few hours later. I'm hoping that it's just beginning-of-the-year fatigue that's only a little bit compounded by pregnancy, and that things'll get easier over the next couple of weeks. Hope springs eternal... One thing's for sure, I HAVE to get this sleep schedule thing under control.
  • Project Runway on Lifetime + Top Chef Las Vegas on Bravo = absolute bliss. I LOVE this time of year!!
  • I've got every finger and toe crossed for Murgdan tomorrow. I really, really want her to have a successful FET. Please send her some love.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Round two...getting old.

Mini-vent: I spotted for a little less than a week several weeks ago, the spotting stopped, and I figured that all was well. Brown, no red, no cramping, and they say that's not usually something to worry about. I saw my doc, had an ultrasound and cultures done, and they didn't find any problems or infection.

So this evening I started spotting brown AGAIN and I'm gettin' a little tired of this. I'm not cramping, but I'm definitely experiencing a little "soreness" today that I'm quite sure is related. The soreness has come and gone all evening. And this after a successful (so far) NT scan today that showed NO soft markers for Downs...just waiting on the bloodwork, which will take about a week. Just the most awesome ultrasound today...I saw tiny fingers, hands, feet, legs, all moving around, and the sweetest little profile I've ever seen! Tiny little nose and chin...priceless. Seven AMAZING little pictures. Now I'm feeling completely deflated because the spotting has started again. I'm going to wait a day and see what happens, whether it slows down like last time, or what. And tomorrow's the first day of school, so I *definitely* don't need anything extra to worry about. *sigh* This just better not be something significant.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thanks to my friend Katy...

...for the name change suggestion!! Personally, I think it's kinda perfect. It certainly reflects my desire to be optimistic about the outcome of this pregnancy. I'm not going to change the name of this blog in a permanent sense, at least for now. At some point I will need to change it, but I have no idea what I want the actual new name to be. But for now, it's all in good fun! :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I guess it's one of those inevitable things...

I can't sleep. And I can't seem to stop crying, either. My father's accident on Sunday night has got me thinking--and feeling quite vulnerable--about the fact that they live in upstate New York and I live all the way out here in Colorado. My father will turn 70 in March--seventy!--and I'm starting to realize that I have to come to terms with the fact that neither he nor my mom are going to be around forever, and that time seems to be getting closer and closer. They're two of the most active and healthy seventy-year-olds I know, and they neither look nor act like what I think of as a seventy-year-old. My father is an active cyclist who still rides considerable distances on a regular basis, and my mom swims and does water aerobics several times a week. Until this past April, when Dad had emergency surgery to repair a lower GI bleed, we've never had anything even resembling a close call, and now there have been more than I feel comfortable with. The hardest part is that I am not there in case something else should happen. I live thousands of miles away, and now I'm starting to think that at some point I'm going to need to move back to Syracuse to take care of them, or at least keep a closer eye on them. I guess, being the oldest, it feels like it's my responsibility, and I'm the only daughter, too. But then I think of my grandmother, who is still living independently here in my town at the age of 86. She only recently gave up driving because of her vision, and overall her health is quite good. So most of the time, I think that my parents have a lot of good years--good independent years--ahead of them. But then I picture my Dad falling headlong down a full flight of stairs, and I can't stand it. I would have been absolutely terrified if I had been there. I can't stand the idea of them not being in my world anymore. And I am scared. I'm scared of feeling that alone in the world. Logically I know I'm not, but they're my parents. A lot of the time I still feel like a kid just trying to figure it all out, trying to figure out how to stand on my own two feet. Of course, I've been doing that for a long time now, but the feeling never quite goes away, I guess. How will I ever deal with them not being in my life anymore? And if something terrible does happen, will I blame myself for not being there? I wish I had some answers. I also wish I could find some guarantee that they'll always be there for me, as impossible as that is.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Or...Yes, sometimes everything CAN be sorted into those three categories. Actually, I'm too exhausted to think any further than this...I basically pulled an all-nighter last night to finish a project that was due today that I managed to basically put off all summer. Serves me right. But at least it's DONE, and now I can celebrate!

Good:
  • Awesome OB appointment today! My very first Doppler reading, and it didn't take him long to pick up a hb of 160 bpm. Perhaps this spells the end of the whole trans-vag song and dance...no complaints here. Spotting has stopped (sorry, tmi). Feeling great, and still no morning sickness. I'm one lucky girl. My next regular appt. is scheduled for four weeks from now. I have my NT scan this Monday.
  • No surprises when I finally got the information about my insurance coverage for all the ob stuff. It was just what I expected, and at least for now, I feel like it's all manageable. And I was actually surprised by said lack of surprise...I don't trust health insurance companies as far as I can throw them. Yeah I know, that made no sense. See exhaustion note above. But I figured they would try to screw me far more than they actually have...so far. We never know what the future holds.
  • I told my principal today about my pregnancy (because I was deathly afraid she'd hear it from someone else first, which she did, but didn't seem to care). She seemed very supportive and...gasp...even happy for me! Will miracles never cease...
  • Good first day back at school! I was overwhelmed by my closest friends' reactions to my news, and in all honesty, I kinda felt like something of a superstar all day. I got a lot done, and I'm so much further ahead in my "school readiness" than many, which makes me incredibly happy. I hate stressing that I won't get everything done...not this year!
Bad:
  • My father fell down the stairs on Sunday night. Head first. In the pitch darkness because the power had just gone out, and he couldn't see where he was stepping. I'm talking, full flight of stairs, and he fell all the way down to the bottom. He took his time getting up, under the watchful care of my retired-RN mom, and because it was after midnight, they went to bed since he was feeling okay. Bruised, but okay, and he hadn't hit his head. But at 4 am, he awoke and was having a hard time breathing...Mom could barely get a blood pressure reading. So she called the paramedics who took them to the ER, and they did an x-ray, only to discover that he had actually broken a rib. He's fine now, despite bruising and a broken rib, and I asked, "Why on earth didn't you call me and let me know what happened?" They both replied that they were embarrassed over the whole thing and hadn't planned on telling *anyone*. Well, thanks. Thanks a lot. Now I'm finding myself that much more worried about them.
  • My friend Julie had a terrible, no-good, awful day today and really, there's just not much I can say that will truly make things better. I tried, mind you, but she just wasn't having any of it. I understand...sometimes only time will help.
Ugly:
  • I *feel* ugly just writing about this. But I'm just going to say it once, then hopefully never bring it up again. One of my colleagues is also pregnant, four weeks ahead of me, which is NOT the ugly part. What's so frustrating is that she is a size zero. ZERO!! Seriously. And she's pregnant. I know she's going to stay just that skinny and grow this nauseatingly cute little baby bump while I blimp out like, well, the Good Year Blimp. *sigh* Yes, I confess it--I also kinda felt like she stole my thunder today. But now it's time to put on my big-girl panties and get over it already--I have bigger things to focus on.

Editor's note: I've been working on a new post with my nominations for the One Lovely Blog award. It's getting there, but it's also taking longer to get it all together. So your patience is very much appreciated.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Welcome to Scaryville, population: ME.

Ugh. I had an unexpected doctor's appointment yesterday due to some seriously unexpected spotting. My first thought? "Here we go, the beginning of the end." Honestly, I was a little surprised that they insisted on having me come in the day before my scheduled appointment, because when it comes to spotting (as opposed to bleeding), what's one more day? But now, when I think about it, I'm actually kind of touched that Sandy, my nurse practitioner whom I've been seeing for years for the regular girly-bits stuff, didn't want me to panic any longer than necessary. So I went in, waited a while in the ultrasound room since there was someone else ahead of me, and couldn't really stop the tears as I waited for what felt like hours. I was pretty convinced that the moment that I had been dreading for the past nine weeks was imminent. She did the ultrasound, and I couldn't bring myself to even look in the direction of the screen, but then she said, "Here we go, and everything looks great." She even pointed out the little arms and legs all moving around (!!!), and I was so relieved, all I could do was cry. Strong heartbeat of 160 bpm, and the best part? Instead of measuring at 9w2d like I expected, the little bean is measuring at 9w6d...music to my ears. Yeah, I know ultrasounds can be off either way by a week or so, but I don't care...if that little one is looking strong and healthy, I'll take it! Sandy told me later that she really didn't want to have to tell me any bad news...she's been cheering me on in this endeavor since the very beginning--five years ago--when I first started asking questions about what donor insemination might entail. She didn't find any obvious reason for the spotting, and since it's now very slight (and brown, indicating old blood), it's not something to worry about. I'm just so relieved (did I mention that?!) that everything is looking good, and I'm starting to dare to imagine that I might actually end up with a baby in my arms in early March. What a thought.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hurry up and wait

Nine weeks...

...has such a nice ring to it!

My next OB appt. is this Wednesday, and it feels like such a long wait until then. My latest fixation is the idea of a missed miscarriage, no heartbeat but the body hasn't quite caught on yet. So my first question will be when can I hear the heartbeat again--ultrasound, Doppler, I don't care. I know, I know, irrational, but there you have it. Oh, the joys of being on the cusp of 40 and pregnant for the first time...knowing full well all that can go wrong...

*sigh*