How to hold down a full-time career, get a graduate degree, participate in a social/charity group, and grow a fetus in your uterus all at the same time. The working woman's guide to pregnancy.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Shower Power

Now that the thrill of Christmas gift-giving and gift-receiving has passed, why, I guess it's time to think about planning a baby shower! Hooray for shopping!

My mother has been a champion in helping me plan a great little get-together for friends and family. We're looking at a February 10 lunch in Safety Harbor. Though the date has been the source of some turmoil, I think we've finally gotten it settled. So, for all of you Floridians (or Floridians at heart)--save the date!

To me, the components of a successful baby shower are: yummy food and desserts (check!) and friends and family who are in good spirits (hopefully, check!). Everything else is gravy. Good weather is a bonus, but as someone who planned an outdoor wedding ceremony in Florida in February--only to have it drowned by a thunderstorm--can testify, it's not that important.

Shortly after the shower, BD and I are heading south for our final "February vacation" (an annual tradition) before the kidlet arrives. We will be chilling in a Polynesian themed family-owned "resort" in Sanibel Island for a few days, so I'm really excited about that. I know it's not a full week in Hawaii, Mexico, Turk & Caicos, or Belize (our past February destinations), but it should be great anyhow. Because I won't be at work. And I won't be in the "up north" weather. So I'm excited!

Special Shout-Out

So I'm learning that I have some very loyal readers who don't post comments. This is just a special shout-out to you... you know who you are! I feel the love!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Gear

We've just begun the process of figuring out what kind of stuff we actually need for the kidlet. Thanks to everyone for your great suggestions! There's a ton of stuff out there, and it's been helpful to know all you really need is a good car seat.

We've gotten a start on registries at:

www.greatbeginningsonline.com

and

www.babiesrus.com


Feel free to take a look and see if you have suggestions for additions or revisions. If we picked a stupid changing pad or something-- let us know!

One thing I've been finding it hard to register for are the essentials of cloth diapering. But I really, really want Bummi Super Whisper Wrap in the Andy Pandy print. Check it out... it's awesome. I'll probably do an entire blog at some point about cloth diapering. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What do I need?

Hey mamas-- So what do I actually need to put on my registry? I would like to register at this store (http://www.greatbeginningsonline.com/store/) with an eye on the basics (cribs, strollers, car seats, etc.) Please send me your suggestions for the couldn't-live-without products.

Of course, hand-me-downs are still my favorite things ever... so keep them coming!

Thanks!

Back from a Break

Hello all! Sorry that I haven't posted for a few days. I've been in Florida, celebrating the holiday with friends and family. Here are a few musings from my days away...

1. Even the best children in the world are exhausting, especially when there are three under the age of five. BD and I definitely made some mental notes re: family planning this past week.

2. Work doesn't know how to leave me alone, even when I'm on vacation. A client made me get on a conference call one of the days and coworkers were not shy about e-mailing and calling me with questions. This does not bode well for maternity leave.

3. I look like a "sequoia" (according to my mom). And she's totally right. I'm not growing one bump on the front of my body, I growing outwards all around my waist (this translate to a special roundness in the back and sides, as well as the front).

4. It's okay when family touches my belly. Many of them did (including my brother) and this did not bother me nearly as much as when coworkers do it (or when my boss smacks me on the bum).

5. Pregnant women have insanely strong immunity systems. This is my only explanation for why I haven't gotten a cold yet this fall or winter and why I manage to miss the stomach virus that plagued my family over the past week (even my rock-solid husker of a BD fell victim to the bug).

6. Turns out I do have some pregnancy-related hormones. How else could I explain when I started tearing up on Friday, and couldn't stop until I got all cried out?

7. Not drinking still sucks.

8. Getting a carte blanche to eat all the cookies I want still rules.

9. Getting baby-related hand-me-downs is the best thing ever. Thanks to my sister-in-law and brother, we are now hooked up with: a boppy and boppy cover, a hippie sling, a "snuggle," many cloth diapers and baby outfits, socks, car-seat head huggers, a crib toy, and nursing pads galore. Cletus the Feturs really made out this Christmas. In addition to the hand-me-downs, we also got a little fleece blankey, children's books, a onesy that says "I'm already smarter than the president" (ha!!), a Bucky Badger sippy cup, and little kid leiderhosen (this from BD). We are now also appropriately funded to get a video camera to record all of the little kidlet's most embarassing moments!

and

10. 2007 is getting closer. This has always been when I was going to start really thinking and planning for baby (versus 2006, which was the year of pregnancy). And you know what? I'm okay with this. I think I'm ready to start thinking about house reorganization, lamaze classes, packing the hospital bag, picking names, etc. But we'll see... I still have five more days.

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Name Change

So I've gotten some good feedback on this blog. One big complaint from a friend is that she dislikes how I refer to my hubby as "my hubby." Therefore, we decided that from here on out he will be referred to as "baby daddy" or "bd" for short.

Cool with everyone?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Disturbing Horoscope

I have a super-awesome daily desk calendar from "The Onion." Usually, I get a nice chuckle from it. But I don't really know what to make of this entry, a fake horoscope for Libra:

"In a nutshell: Everybody knows. They hate you for it. They're absolutely right to feel that way. It will be born dead."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Score!

Two things...and they're both about the awesome stuff I just got.

1. My first major hand-me-down! One of the sisters from my women's group gave me a gorgeous breastfeeding rocking chair (kind of like a glider) with deluxe padding, arm-rests, and a side pocket (for magazines I guess). Since I am a sucker for free things (and, in particular, free things that would otherwise cost lots of money), this makes me really happy.

and

2. My Secret Santa from my office just gave me the perfect gift for the working, pregnant lady who happens to have a small couch in her office: a nap accessory kit! It comes complete with a neck pillow, a fleece blanket, and comfy slippers.

Hooray!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dangers of the Duckpins

Have you ever been duckpin bowling? It's essentially bowling but with tiny pins and mini-balls (more like Skee Balls). I thought this would be the perfect Saturday night activity for a pregnant woman. Slightly active, but not dangerous. The lanes we found we relatively close to our house and--bonus!--they were in a smoke-free dangerous.

And yet, amazingly, I managed to pull a groin muscle on the very first roll.

So that's it. Nothing but Law and Order reruns on the couch for the next four months.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Good Advice

This from my co-worker who gave birth in September:

"One more tip for you…drink as much water as you can get down. (I could go through 4 or 5 20 oz bottles just at work.) You will be in the ladies room 10 times a day as your bladder runs out of room, but it’s worth it. It will help you feel better when your blood pressure is low, it will give you a bit more energy, and it will keep you from swelling. These concerns may have been more top of mind for me during the summer, but I still think the water makes a big difference."

Job, School, Baby: What's the Right Mix?

It's probably time to start seriously thinking about what we are going to do once baby arrives. As it stands now, I work 40+ hours a week, take two night classes for graduate school, and actively participate in a women's organization. A baby cannot be added into this mix without some shifts.

I haven't decided completely on my plans, nor would it be fair for me to blog about it here before I talk to my employer, but clearly these are clearly among the biggest decisions expecting parents have to make.

The only research I've done on this so far is watching how other women I know have done it. I have been really impressed on the range of decisions people have made to accomodate their needs, situations, and lifestyles. And I really don't want this blog to devolve into a place where women blame each other for the choices they make.

Because the truth is, these are hard choices to make. And nobody is out there trying to make it easier for anyone else. Maternity leave and paternity leave policies at work aren't fair. Health insurance companies are evil overlords. Child care options are less than appealing. Families are spread across time zones. Classes don't take themselves. Breastfeeding in public is a the subject of a major debate on decency.

I feel incredibly lucky that my hubby and I have a good head start on saving money, so we won't have our choices completely limited by financial concerns. And I know that those around me will try to help make it work. And that's a good thing...because, you know, it takes a village.

Any thoughts or suggestions out there?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gender Poll

We're not going to find out the gender, but that doesn't stop us from engaging in wild speculation.

So what do you think? Post a comment that says "girl" or "boy," and your reason. I'm not asking for preference...just your best wager.

The polls are open now!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Every Waking Thought...

For the last three weeks, I've restrained myself. I have gone to great lengths not to blog about my current obsession. But I can stand it no longer.

The one thing that has been the center of my universe for the past month has a name: Hillary. And, no, I'm not talking about a nice name option for my unborn child. I'm talking about Hillary Clinton, the subject of the media plan I'm writing for my graduate course on political campaign communications.

I have become obsessed. I talk about the project with everyone I see. I even dream about Hillary. It's just sad. Sometimes when people ask "how's the baby," for a moment, I think their asking about my paper.

Fortunately, I will deliver this paper on Wednesday. Then I will be able to think about more exciting projects going on in my life!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I Suck At Yoga

Today was my third time going to pre-natal yoga, and the sad truth is that I'm terrible at it. I'm the least pregnant woman in the class and also the least flexible and least strong.

I really like the concept of going to pre-natal yoga, and I will continue to go to the class in hopes of becoming more strong and flexible. And I remind myself that if I think this is hard, well, you know... I ain't seen nothing yet.

So that's why I see mastering the downward dog as my first major parenting duty. It's all about sacrifice, right?

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Fun With Life Insurance

Getting life insurance is actually a pretty big ordeal. They send a nurse out to your house to pick up a zillion forms, take your height and weight, draw blood, and collect a urine sample. You haven't really lived until you walk out of your own bathroom with a plastic cup and announce, "Okay, here's my pee."

The worst part of the exam is that they ask you to fast prior to the blood draw (cholesterol test). How do you ask a pregnant woman to fast? I know I wasn't that interested in eating in my first tremester, but that has really turned around in my second trimester. Last night, my hubby reminded me of the fasting requirement, and said that I wasn't supposed to eat anything for 8 to 12 hours. I freaked out completely. I couldn't think of any time in my life when I went eight hours without eating, unless I'm asleep. Fortunately, he did a bit more research and learned it was only four hours.

That was a lot more doable, but still not pleasant. I decided that working on my final paper for school would burn too many calories, making the fast impossible, even for four hours. So, instead, I chose to play video games and watch TV for four hours. Some would call this procrastination; I call it well-reasoned and practical.

Hilariously, we started pigging out once the nurse left. We ate like freed hostages. I ate a PBJ sandwhich, a christmas cookie, honey mustard pretzels, and a cupcake. My hubby had two beers, a hot dog, some chocolate cake, and corn chips. If the nurse came back to our house at the point, needing to redraw blood for some reason, we would've been screwed. But full and happy.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Fun With Sonograms

Hubby and I went back today for a sonogram, since they weren't able to get good heart pictures last week. Everything looked A-OK to the sonographer (is that the word?), and it looked pretty awesome to us. Creepy and kind of weird, but still awesome. I even think I heard the word "perfect" said a few times. So, we're off to a good start...

Music to a Fetus' Ears

Someday, my child is going to be able to say that Lollapalooza 2006 was his or her first concert experience and the line-up was awesome (Stars, Eels, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West, Violent Femmes, Lady Sovereign, Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, and so on).

Of course, the zygote was just getting nice and implanted at the time...but it still counts, right?

But it did get me a little nervous when I started reading pregnancy books and Web sites, and I saw the warnings to try to avoid loud sounds, for example at a rock-and-roll concert. More no-no's that I was unaware of. And to think that I had been super proud of myself for not drinking that weekend, staying hydrated, and taking little cat naps on the grass when I needed them. Little did I know I was freaking out my new little zygote with great music!

I love going to concerts, but I've really had to cut back. Not just because of the loud sounds, but mostly because of the indoor smoky venues. So sad!

But what is the science that's behind the recommendation to avoid loud music? I looked and looked, but I couldn't find good information...just the general recommendation to avoid it. The Center for Prenatal and Perinatal Music has the following:

"How loud should the music be? Generally as loud as you would normally hear music in your home which is between 50 and 60 decibels. A decibel is how the intensity or loudness of sound is measured. Shouting is equivalent to the sound of a motorcycle at 100 decibels, and rock concerts have been measured to around 115 decibels. Loud music has been found to negatively affect the developing baby in several different ways, lower weight at birth, defects, and others. "

Furthermore, my hubby says that after the first trimester, little fetus might actually cover its ears to block out loud sounds. That image alone is enough to get me laughing... but not enough to stop me from singing random songs at the top of my lungs.

So, I apologize in advance to my new little baby if it has low birth-weight or something. It just goes to show, sometimes you have to suffer in order to rock!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Am I Really Pregnant?

So I've started going through other blogs similar to mine to find links that my readers might find interesting. I even found the blog of a couple who are due the exact same day we are: http://makingaperson.blogspot.com/.

And here's what I've learned...we are so behind the curve! Clearly my reluctance to announce and obsess about my pregnancy is not shared by my blogosphere friends. Even the pictures of the pregnant women who are also due in April freak me out. They actually look pregnant! Maybe I look pregnant to some, but I think I mostly look somewhat chunky (this has been confirmed by my mother). And, no, I won't post pictures of myself so that you can be the judge.

So it begs the question: Am I really pregnant? Was that really a fetus I saw in the sonogram last week?

And if I am actually pregnant, am I missing the hormones that are supposed to make me want to clear out a room and start collecting car seats?

Getting Ready for Baby

No, we haven't figured out a theme for the nursery or picked out names. We haven't set up a registry or started knitting booties.

We've been getting ready for baby in all the non-cute ways. My hubby, thankfully, is taking the lead on this.

We have:

*figured out health insurance (I'm switching over to his)
*bought life insurance
*started thinking about drawing up our wills
*explored 529s (college funds...we might divert some of our 2007 401k investments this way)
*scheduled graduate school courses for the Spring semester with professors who will work around my due date
*started planning child care options

Odd that people don't ask me about these kinds of issues when they want to talk about getting ready for baby!

Monday, December 4, 2006

Our 'Coming Out' Parties

This past weekend, my hubby and I told as many of our friends as we could about Cletus the Fetus. Since the twenty-week sonogram looked good--and since my waistline does not--we figured it was time.

We still have a few calls to make and a couple of local folks to see, but for the most part, we are totally outed as parents-to-be. Seems the time was right, since more and more people tell me they started think I was looking a little chunky.

I feel an odd sense of relief.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Working While Pregnant

A great article with tips on working while pregnant (particulary about the timing of the announcement):

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/1/T011900.asp

Friday, December 1, 2006

Scheduling Around the Unknown

How do you plan around something major that could happen any time during a four-week-plus span? It's like if you were planning a wedding that could happen on the 15th...but it might also be on the 1st or 27th, just wait and see.

For the pregnant woman who also juggles graduate school and multiple work projects, this whole planning thing is a real challenge. Take school, for example. The new semester starts in January and ends the last week of April. I'm due April 16, so if this holds, I'd only miss the final class or two of the semester. But it's best to be prepared if things change. So I've spent about a month talking to professors and an academic advisor, trying to figure out plans and contingency plans. Just when I think it's been sorted out, one of the courses I picked is now already full.

Work is a whole other issue, one that I haven't even begun to really think through yet.