Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Baby Shower

My mom will be Snapdragon's Naunie, so my Naunie needs a new name!
I'm not big on baby showers and didn't think I would have one, but my family decided to throw a joint pre-birthday party for Snapdragon and Giuliana last Sunday. When I was growing up, we always had get-togethers every month or two to celebrate all the family birthdays that fell in the same season, so it was not a big deal to call this one "baby shower." It was essentially the same as our regular family gatherings, with a few special touches. I brought cakes from Pastiche in Providence and there was a pile of pink presents as tall as a Christmas tree, but we mostly just sat around chatting and catching up.

We finally got to meet my cousin C's girlfriend, M. Since their little Giuliana will be just two months younger than Snapdragon, it makes good sense for us to try to get to know her and be nice. She is very . . . young. I suppose she must be at least 22, but she just seemed very young to me — brash and self-confident, telling stories that went nowhere. It was good to see that she was not shy around our big, loud family, but I'm not sure that genuine friendship is in our future. Still, she and C seem to be getting along well, which is a good sign. We will be glad to have a little cousin for Snapdragon, though we are still unsure about how permanent their relationship is. Of course, C will always be Giuliana's dad, but if they are not together, there is less of a chance that Snapdragon will see much of her cousin.

Of the 10 cousins on that side of the family, my sister is the youngest (14). One of my aunts has a brother with three little girls under 7 — we see them infrequently, but they were at the shower. They were very excited about the gigantic pile of presents and did not need to be coaxed into helping us open them. It was a whirlwind of pink paper and blond curls:

They were very sweet. I doubt anyone could see anything we opened, but what can you do?

It took most of last week to get all of the gifts sorted and washed and all of the thank-you notes written, but I managed. Luckily, sorting things into piles and pairing tiny socks does not take much brain power. I am TERRIBLE about thank-you notes — I always put them off until they become this huge, embarrassing, insurmountable task — so it felt good to have them all written and mailed less than a week after the event. Victory!


For the past few weeks, I have been struggling to overcome a bizarre mental paralysis that has made it difficult for me to do anything other than watch trashy TV and play computer games. Anything that involves mental exertion — even something as simple as updating this blog — has seemed like an huge, unmanageable task. Is this the much-talked-of "pregnancy brain"?

Anyway, a lot has happened, but it would be tedious to write a dozen posts, so I'll do bullet points:
  • On the night of 8/18, I started having extreme pain just above my right hip. That's right where my ovarian cyst is, so I was worried that the cyst was twisting or rupturing. I tried to sleep and wait until my scheduled appointment with my midwife the next morning, but by 3 a.m., I was in so much pain that I decided to go in to the hospital. I called my parents, who were on vacation in Maine, woke up my sister, and drove myself to the hospital. I thought I would vomit in the car because the pain was so intense, but I made it to L&D. Of course, as soon as I got there, I felt much better, but they kept me for monitoring. I had an ultrasound in the morning, which showed that my cyst was fine, but I have a kidney stone. I don't think that was what was causing my pain because my kidneys are up around my ears at this point and the pain was just above the hip, but that's everyone's best guess. The ultrasound tech estimated Snapdragon's weight at 6 lbs. 13 oz.
  • They also diagnosed me with polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid). The cut-off for this diagnosis is 25 somethingorothers and my fluid measured 25.8, so I had to see an OB to be checked. More on that later.
  • I felt terrible about interrupting my parents' vacation, even though they were planning on coming back on Thursday morning anyway. They raced down from Maine — there is no traffic at 3 in the morning. Though I hated to bother them, I know that they would have been pissed to find out later that I hadn't called them right away. Everything turned out fine, but they would have been upset if I hadn't told them.
  • After sleeping for less than an hour and a half on Wednesday night, I drove home to CT with my family. My mom rode in the car with me in case I needed to switch drivers. We ended up hitting a HUGE traffic jam — it took us almost 4 hours to make a trip that usually takes 2 hours or less. That was the real low point of the whole thing — I was on the verge of tears, tired, and missing Pete. It sucked.
  • On Friday, 8/20, I spent the day shopping for the babies with my mom and sister. Our family threw a joint baby shower for Snapdragon and Giuliana on Sunday, so we needed to buy presents for the babies from our family and from my Naunie. It was lots of fun, but we were out for 6 hours and my feet were throbbing by the end. We spent all evening wrapping, which was easier on my feet. We wrapped Schnappi's things in animal-themed paper to cut down on the explosion of pink and pastel.
  • Our baby shower was 8/22. I'll write a separate post about that.
  • In general, August has been much more pleasant, weather-wise, than July, but these past few days have been brutal. It's so hot and humid that it's hard to breathe. I've been getting by with cold showers, drinking gallons of water, and taking air-conditioned car trips to run unnecessary errands. I know that it is not an earth-shattering revelation to note that August is hot, but pregnant hot is a whole new kind of gross.
  • I'm pretty annoyed with my midwife. I had an appointment yesterday (8/30) during which she went over my ultrasounds and NSTs from my trip to the hospital. I am measuring "big" (39 cm instead of 37 cm) and she is concerned about the discrepancy in the measurements of Snapdragon's weight (6-6.5 lbs on 8/17 (63rd percentile), 6 lbs 13 oz on 8/19(82nd percentile)). I asked whether the discrepancy was really that big a deal — after all, don't those late ultrasounds have fairly wide margins of error? She looked at me blankly and just said that she was concerned because Snapdragon "grew so much" in just two days. WTF? She didn't grow — two different ultrasound techs made slightly different estimates, both of which estimated her weight as "biggish, but totally normal." Long story short, the midwife wants another growth ultrasound next week. Whatever. I think it is completely unnecessary, but at least I will get to see how she's doing. My next appointment with my midwife isn't until 9/9, so it will be nice to have some reassurance sooner than that.
  • No matter what the ultrasound says, Snapdragon is BIG. Very big. I can tell you that without taking any official measurements. She moves around ALL DAY LONG and it is very uncomfortable. Between the vigorous stretching and the pelvis-pounding hiccups, I am feeling pretty beat-up. My skin is so stretched that the skin around my ex-belly button is numb. Come on out, Snapdragon! There is so much more room for squirming on the outside!
  • Tomorrow is Sept. 1st, and Snapdragon will be full term! That means she is welcome to come at any time! I've got my fingers crossed for sooner rather than later. Obviously, she will come when she is good and ready, but I can't even entertain the idea that I could still be pregnant on October 1st. I am mentally prepared for 3 more weeks, tops.
  • I've got my money on Sept. 19th — Talk Like a Pirate Day. Various nerds among our friends think that Sept. 22 would be a cool birthday because it is Bilbo and Frodo Baggins' birthday.
  • My guess for birth weight is 8 lbs 12 oz, but I would be unsurprised if she turns out to be a 9-pounder.
  • I am not scared for labor. I am awkward, uncomfortable, hot, bored, and tired. There is very little left to do to get our house ready for Snapdragon, so I don't even have any little projects to keep me busy. I have tried to do dissertation work, but that's not going so well. I am impatient to get started on this whole parenting thing!
That's it for now.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My First Pedicure

FB is on a business trip and has been gone for almost two weeks. It is a long time to be apart, especially as we move into the end game of this pregnancy.

I have been trying to find little ways to pamper myself in his absence. My sister is visiting for a few days, so I took her to get pedicures. I've never had one before. It was quite nice, especially considering that I can barely cut my own toenails at this point. If it were up to me, I would have skipped the nail polish in favor of more massage time, but it was still lovely.

I also got my eyebrows waxed while B got her pedicure. I always forget how nice groomed eyebrows look — every time I get them done, I resolve to do them more often, but, invariably, I forget to go back. I have a Mediterranean unibrow, so the waxing really opens up my face, but I'm just too lazy to keep it up.

After the spa, we went shopping and bought B a dress for the first day of school. It's a lovely dress and she looks very sweet in it.

We've spent the afternoon watching TV and enjoying our clean, polished feet. Tomorrow, I have an appointment with my midwife, then a meeting for the course I'm teaching for in the spring, and then B and I will go home to CT. I'll be very glad to be with my family, rather than hanging out here, all alone.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Last Ultrasound (I Think)

I had my last ultrasound today. At least, it should be my last ultrasound — the perinatologist has decreed that my cyst does not need to be checked anymore. Once Snapdragon is born, I will go back to see whether the cyst persists. If it does, it will need to be removed surgically.

Snapdragon is looking good. Her head is still down and she weighs between 6 and 6.5 pounds. If she gains half a pound a week and is born on her due date, she should weigh between 8.5 and 9 pounds. That's pretty standard for babies in my family, but is certainly on the larger side. Who knows how big she might get if she goes late. I feel reassured, though — if she is born in the next couple of weeks, she should be a healthy size.

Since FB is gone, my parents and sister came up to take me to my appointment. The doctor only lets one person in the ultrasound room with the patient, so my sister came in with me. I felt bad that mom and dad came up and didn't get to see the ultrasound, but, in all honesty, it was a pretty boring ultrasound. Snapdragon is so big that you can only see squashed parts — an elbow here, a femur there. The ultrasound tech could barely get her whole face in the frame. Most of the time, we couldn't really tell what we were looking at.

My parents are headed up to Maine to celebrate their anniversary. They're leaving B with me for a few days while they are gone. We will probably do something girly, though I do not know what. It can't involve much walking — my back cannot handle it anymore.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So Many Baby Girls!

It's been a big week for baby girls around here.

Congrats to Shoeless Pete and Jess on the arrival of baby Helen on Sunday, August 8!

Congrats to my cousin A.J. and his wife on the arrival of baby Ariana Eveline on Tuesday, August 10!

Add these to Lesley and Shaun's little Maya (born 6/30), Emily and Jeff's Lizzie (born 7/3), and my cousin Carlo's little girl (due 11/8), and it looks like my friends and family are working on producing an entire troop of Brownies.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On My Own

On Sunday, FB flew out to San Francisco to attend a friend's wedding and start his new job. I was bummed that I couldn't go to the wedding (Congrats, T & I!), but he texted me photos and updates so I could follow along.

Yesterday, he started his new job. He will be working out of the San Francisco office for the next two weeks, meeting new people, catching up with old friends, and getting up to speed with his new project. It's an exciting time for him.

I'm not too worried about being here alone. I am expecting Snapdragon to linger past her due date, so I'm not really nervous about going into labor before he gets back. If I do, I have plenty of family and friends around to support me.

As much as I dislike being alone, I am enjoying some things about this solitude. I am in 100% indulgence mode — I eat and sleep when I please, watch whatever trash tv I want, and have no regard for the needs and schedules of others. I have one or two minor work obligations, but mostly, I am watching movies, working on another quilt for Snapdragon, and dabbling in dissertation work at a leisurely pace. It's not so bad.

One thing I have to remind myself to do is talk to Snapdragon. Since I don't have FB to talk to, I go most of the day without saying much. All the baby books say that she can hear pretty well, and I want her to be familiar with my voice, so I've been making an effort to talk and sing to her/myself throughout the day.

The best thing about this 2-week trip is that it is refocusing my attention. Instead of counting down days until September 22, I am counting down days until FB gets back. Two weeks is a much more manageable time period to deal with than 6-8 weeks. When he returns, I will be almost 36 weeks, and really entering the final phase of this pregnancy.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chugging Along

I haven't posted in a while, but everything is pretty much fine here. I've been sleeping a bit better — not really comfortably, but enough to feel rested in the morning. My lower back has been hurting more often and I have had some bad headaches, but my blood pressure is fine (110/72) and I'm staying well hydrated, so that's all that can be done.

I'm 33 weeks along, which is either terrifying or frustrating, depending on whether you express it as "You could deliver 4 weeks from today!" or as "You may have as many as 9 weeks left to go!" I have mentally prepared for 6-7 weeks, but anything less is unfathomable and anything more makes me want to crawl out of my increasingly swollen skin. My ticker says 48 days to go, and I am just trying to get through each one of them. Accomplishing anything work- or house-related is strictly over-achieving at this point.