Monday, June 28, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

27 weeks

Had another ultrasound this morning - my cyst looks the same as it did last time and Snapdragon looks good. They measured her arms and legs and estimated that she currently weighs 2 pounds 13 ounces. That means that if she were born today, she would have very good chances.

Snapdragon continued her usual ultrasound behavior - hands in front of the face and kicking really hard at the wand. It is weird to feel her kick and see it on the screen at the same time. The technician was able to give us a picture of her face - not a profile like the other ones, but a straight-on shot taken while she faced outward. I'll try to scan it later today.

All in all, things are looking good. I feel uncomfortable in the heat, but not much can be done about that. It is very reassuring to have these opportunities to check in on the Snapdragon and make sure she's ok in there.

Monday, June 21, 2010


It has been in the mid-80s here for the past few days with no let-up in sight.

I have been having a really hard time — sweating, headaches, and general discomfort that make it difficult to get through the day. I made the mistake of going for a walk yesterday afternoon and never really recovered. We don't have air conditioning, so the most relief I can get is lying still in the basement with a cool bottle of water pressed against my skin.

Today, I took my work to the public library, which has air conditioning. It's slightly better, but even walking a few blocks to get lunch was rough. Luckily, I have indoor activities planned for the next few days before FB and I leave for Maine. We'll be right on the water, so I hope it will be cooler!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Circumcision: Yea or Nay?

Snapdragon is a girl, so we will not have to make a decision re: circumcision this time around. Still, the topic comes up from time to time on forums and parenting sites, so I've thought a bit about my position.

In general, I think that questions of body modification should be left to the person inhabiting the body. Body modification runs a broad spectrum — from hair cuts/coloring to ear piercing to tattoos to sex reassignment surgery — and I think that it is difficult to decide what choices should be in the hands of the parents and which in the hands of the child before age 18. My general rule hinges on reversibility. A hair cut is reversible, so a parent can cut a 2-year-old's hair without doing irreparable harm. Ear piercings can close, but leave minor scars, so it should be the child's choice, but I would probably entrust that decision to a 6-yr-old. Body modifications that involve a higher risk of serious infection or are harder to reverse should probably wait until the child is a teen and can offer informed consent.

Since I believe in the importance of bodily autonomy, I would not circumcise an infant.

Here are some of the pro-circumcision arguments I have encountered:

A circumcised penis is easier to clean. Just teach your son to retract his foreskin and wash thoroughly. You'll have to help him out when he's an infant, but this seems a minor concern to me. I wouldn't cut off an ear because it is hard to clean.

He should look like his dad. I wonder how often fathers and sons engage in penis-comparing sessions. Maybe when dad shows junior how to use a urinal? Surely, a young child would notice other differences (size, hairiness) before commenting on the status of their foreskins. Is this really a major concern for people?

He'll be teased in the locker room. Maybe this was true once, but not anymore. About 50% of American boys are circumcised and about 50% are not. It hardly seems likely that not being circumcised will be a tease-worthy offense in the locker rooms of 2025.

It looks better/Girls prefer cut to uncut. I think that cosmetic concerns of this variety should be left up to the person whose junk is being chopped. Just because mommy and daddy think it looks better doesn't mean junior will. If he wants to get snipped when he turns 18, I would not object at all.

Circumcision protects against STDs. Recent studies of HIV transmission in Africa indicate that circumcised men are less likely to contract HIV after having sex with an infected partner than uncircumcised men. Yet, the protection is nowhere near as complete as using a condom. Teach your son to use a condom. It protects against STDs and pregnancy!

Circumcision is a religious/cultural tradition in our family. Well, there's really no arguing with that. Religious rituals are inherently impervious to rational scrutiny, so there's no use in debating them. Needless to say, as an atheist, I have no reason to circumcise my son for religious reasons.

I just haven't heard any arguments that I find compelling enough to make me consider lopping off a piece of my baby's body. Can anyone present me with a more convincing pro-circumcision argument?

Monday, June 14, 2010

100 Days to Go!

According to my official due date, I am 25 weeks and 5 days pregnant today, which means that I have exactly 100 days left until my due date!

I predict that Snapdragon will be a little late, but it feels good to reach this milestone. It wasn't so long ago that my ticker was at 250, which felt like forever. As of tomorrow, I'll be in double digits!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Major Purchases

Today, FB and I spent the afternoon braving the wilds of a major local mall to make some major purchases for the Snapdragon. FB got some good driving practice and we were both in good moods, which helped us keep our spirits up.

First, we went to Pottery Barn Kids to look at changing tables. I've been shopping online for a combination changing table/dresser because we have so little space in our tiny house. We considered ordering one from Amazon or Overstock, but most of the reviews for changer/dresser combos complained about the sturdiness of the pieces and the difficulty of assembly, so we finally decided to get a Pottery Barn piece that would be delivered to our house already assembled. We ended up with the Berkeley changing table in a medium color — it was the shortest table available, which made it great for me.

As I have said before, I find malls exhausting. We had to take a little break after the Pottery Barn trip because the whole experience — giant mall, negotiating the price of the furniture, setting up delivery — was so overwhelming, even with the help of very capable salespeople. We got some cold drinks and regrouped.

Next, it was off to Babies R Us for the first time. I have been researching strollers and carseats online, but I felt like I needed to see those things in person before purchasing them. I wanted to make sure that I could fold the stroller and that the car seat would fit in our Prius. We ended up with a Chicco Keyfit Travel System, which was rated very highly by Consumer Reports. I was able to fold and unfold the stroller easily and was pleasantly surprised by how light and small it it. We don't really plan on using the stroller much during Snapdragon's early months, but it was a good deal if we bought the two pieces together, especially since we had a 15% off coupon for a single item.

I am relieved to have these purchases completed. Since we already have the co-sleeper, we are pretty much set on major purchases. From here on in, we only need to prepare small things like clothes and toiletries. Perhaps a breast pump, but I'll probably hold off on that for a while.

It's great to have a carseat and a stroller in the house. Snapdragon is on her way!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Family Leave in Sweden

There's a great article in the NYT about parental leave in Sweden. When a baby is born, the parents get 14 months of leave, 2 of which are reserved for the father (they can split the rest any way they like, but lose the 2 months if dad doesn't take them). Result: higher birthrates, more involved fathers, more equal pay for men and women. I'd pay higher taxes for that.

My Midwife is Not a Doctor

My midwife is a lovely, warm person, skillful in the ways of pregnancy, birth, and infant care. But she is not a doctor and is starting to get on my nerves.

I have a blood disorder called alpha thalassemia that makes my red blood cells smaller than normal and lowers my blood count to the point where I show up as anemic on all blood tests. This is a genetic disorder and has nothing to do with iron intake.

I have told my midwife this many times and even had my genetic counselor write her a letter saying that all the iron supplements in the world will never fix my blood count. I could eat a railroad tie for breakfast every morning and all that would happen is that I would get nauseous and constipated.

Yet, at every appointment, my midwife bugs me about taking more iron. I just got another message on my answering machine telling me I should be taking 3 iron supplements in addition to my prenatal vitamin. She knows that I have had detailed genetic counseling and a full review of my iron levels (which are perfectly normal), but she just won't let it go. She thinks I am being stubborn and ignoring her advice, but she refuses to assimilate any new information regarding my specific condition. Grrr.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Etsy Boobie Beanie

I may have to get me one of these. The seller says she can make them in other skin/nipple colors.

Symptom Update: 25 Weeks

As my second trimester enters its final weeks, I have been blessed with some new symptoms and the return of some old symptoms. At this point in my pregnancy, I am enjoying:
  • strong kicks/punches in groups of 10-20 about 5 or 6 times per day (more at bedtime and in the early morning when I am lying down)
  • belly visibly moving during aforementioned kick sessions
  • leaky boobs (especially at night)
  • 1-2 bathroom trips during the night
  • alternate bouts of ravenous hunger and total lack of appetite, lasting 1-2 days at a time
  • inability to walk more than 2 miles comfortably (round trip to work is 3 miles — I attempted it today and only got halfway home before I regretted pushing my luck)
  • infrequent heartburn — not too bad, only once a week or so
  • random numbness in my left hand due to pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome interacting with my old surgery scars
  • general lack of graceful movement
Still, no vomiting and only occasional swelling of the legs and feet. I'm fairly physically comfortable as long as the temperature stays below 80 — if it is over 80, I have to get out of the house to somewhere that has air conditioning. In all, I'm doing pretty well.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weekend Getaway

Last weekend, FB and I spent three whole days packing boxes, moving furniture, and getting the house ready for Snapdragon. This weekend, at FB's suggestion, we decided to get away and have some uninterrupted, no-work, alone time.

We drove up to Newburyport on Friday and spent a lovely weekend playing board games, walking by the water, and eating ice cream. I especially enjoyed the whirlpool bathtub in our hotel, which did wonders for my sore hips.

It was wonderful to have such a relaxing extended date. I love you, FB!

Friday, June 4, 2010

My New Favorite Snack

I have never liked dried apricots before, but now I cannot get enough of them. I have to make sure to remind myself that they are dried and will expand in my ever-more-compressed stomach, lest I eat more than a dozen at a time.

Ovarian Cyst Update

We had another ultrasound this morning. Snapdragon looks great — heart rate of 152, wiggling around vigorously, etc. Her skeleton is much more defined than it was a month ago — every bone lit up bright white and her spine and limbs looked much more robust. No wonder her kicks/punches have gotten so strong!

My ovarian cyst is about the same size, but now it has a little node in it. Up until this point, it has been perfectly smooth, but now there is a little bump about .5cm x .5cm on one side of it. The doctors didn't really know what it was, so I'll have to go back in two weeks. If it is the same size, they won't do anything other than check on it regularly, but if it is growing, I will have to have an MRI to try to figure out what is going on.

I have felt pretty calm about this cyst all along because it is most likely benign and not a threat to Snapdragon. It's more annoying than scary. Still, I am glad that Snapdragon is over 24 weeks now. If they find that the cyst is malignant or if it starts causing problems in any other way, there is a chance that she could survive if she had to be born early. Her odds get better every day, which is a great comfort to me.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Happy Viability Day, Snapdragon!

Snapdragon is 24 weeks along today, meaning that she would have a 50-50 shot at surviving if she were born today. We would prefer not to see her for another 15-16 weeks, but from here on in, her prognosis gets better every day.