Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tomorrow afternoon SNG, Peace, Fuzzy, the 2 dogs (Goofch and DOTi), hopefully 2 kayaks, lots of luggage and I will load into a rented minivan and drive ~24 hours over 3 days to a week's vacation in Marquette, MI. SNG's family owns a house on Lake Superior right on the water, overlooking Partridge Bay and Partridge Island. My parents are also driving up with their kayaks. The six of us will have a lovely time hiking, biking, kayaking, picking wild berries, watching the storms roll in across the Lake, seeing sunset at 11:30 pm, ...

Monday this week I went in for a late utrasound (27 weeks) and got some CUTE pictures of IHPE's little face:

Look at that nose! Either it's squished flat, or our girl will have a right-on schnoz! So cute.

Anyway, as you'll recall, between 20 and 24 weeks, I was super-hungry, especially for sweets, possibly due (in part) to taking a glucose tolerance test (which I passed). When they did my 24-week checkup, I had gained 8 pounds and when the doc whipped out the tape measure and measured my belly from the base to the top of the uterus, her eyes bugged out of her head like Large Marge. She insisted on another ultrasound to see whether the baby was a giant, or I had too much fluid, or something like that. I Was Scared. Scared straight!! No more sweets for me! I stopped eating all those brownies, cookies, muffins, candies, cakes, ... and over the next 3 weeks, did not gain an ounce. I am not dieting, I eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full, but I'm not eating junk food. In fact, 3 1/2 weeks later, I'm still the same weight I was when the doctor went all Marge on me.

That isn't to say that IHPE is the same size. I can tell that my waist has expanded even further, but my behind has shrunk back to its pre-20-week size.

So anyway, when I went in for the ultrasound, they found that she is 61st percentile for her age (2lb8oz) which isn't at all unusual, and the fluid is normal. She just had a really quick growth spurt. But my belly measures 32 weeks. I asked how this was possible. It's just the way I carry her, the doc said. Near as I can figure, it's like this:

You've got a basketball (that's the baby + fluid + uterus). You lay the basketball on a surface such as, say, a rubber membrane or a pile of pillows (that's the torso with internal organs). Measure how much basketball sticks up. This is kind of how the fundus measurement works. If the basketball is squishy, it can push itself flat. If the rubber membrane is soft, it can drop further in. Either way, you get a smaller measurement.

Now put that basketball on a very tight membrane, or a coffee table. It sticks up further. Same size basketball, but less space for it to settle in. This is me. As I've noted before, short girls don't have a lot of room for babies in there.

So, it looks like I gained 8 weeks' worth of weight in 4 weeks, and now I'm in a slow growth period. I'm expecting to resume weight gain (1/2-1 lb a week) soon. As long as I eat when I'm hungry and avoid junk food, and continue with my walking, I can only guess that everything will be just fine.

By the way, remember how I was bemoaning the jerks at airports who don't lift a finger to help The Pregnant Lady (and even the jerks who try to run us over in cars!)? Well, I think that phase is over. The last 2 trips I've been on, everyone has been really helpful. I guess I just wasn't big enough before. Now I probably scare people into thinking I'll topple over if they don't grab that suitcase off the security conveyor belt for me.

In other news, I learned this week that I'm rh-negative, and SNG is positive, which is a gentle way of saying that if we have a 2nd baby, my body might try to fight it off like a disease. Yikes. So, to prevent this from happening, they'll give me an injection of some cold, thick substance on Friday morning that will prevent the production of anti-baby antibodies. Then they'll do it again when baby is born. And again if I get pregnant again. At $133 a pop for the medicine alone, my insurance is trying to refuse to cover it. Grrrrrrrrr. Where's Nader when I need him?

I'll try to blog from Marquette. Happy 4th of July to everyone!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

First things first: A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!!!! to my cousin PartnerInCrime who recently learned that she and LeBon will be parents in February. She's due on Groundhog Day, which is toooooo cool. I'm pleased as punch to have a little bitty cousin almost the same age as IHPE on the way. Even though she's in Seattle, I'm sure these kids will grow up together anyway! We also have another bitty-witty girl cousin due VERY soon in Asheville. All this baby excitement! There's definitely something in the water.

Wednesday I left for New York and was reminded of the reality of summertime air travel. Our flight left late because of air traffic at La Guardia, then we weren't allowed to land when we got there because of air traffic. On Friday, we flew home late because of air traffic, because the incoming plane wasn't allowed to land due to air traffic. Then we sat on the departing runway for another 45 minutes due to air traffic. I always wonder how it is possible that the airport doesn't know we're coming, or leaving, literally months ahead of time. And if they do, in fact, know that we're coming, why not plan accordingly? Imagine a similar situation with family:

Mom: Hi honey, we're going to visit you in Raleigh next month!
Me: Oh, that's awesome, mom! We can't wait to see you!
Mom: We'll be in on July 28.
Me: Super. See you then.

a month later...
Mom: Hi, sweetie, we're all packed up and about to hit the road to come visit!
Me: Oh, you better wait a few days. We planned for 6 other guests to come stay at the house.
Mom: Oh, gollygeewillakers. Well, OK, we'll leave in a few days.

a few days later...
Mom: Hi, sweetie, we're about 2 hours from Raleigh, and wanted to make sure you'd be home to let us in!
Me: Oh, no, sorry mom. Those people I invited? Well, they've left but I've got 8 more people showing up in about 30 minutes. You'd better find a motel in Greensboro for a week or so.
Mom: Well, OK, but your dad has a bike club meeting in 10 days.
Me: Oh, no problem!!! There will DEFINITELY be room for you in 2 more days.

2 days later...
Mom: We're just outside Raleigh!
Me: Oh, sorry mom, we're really busy with MORE guests that we planned for, and I've already made THEM wait 9 days so you'll need to wait a little longer...

I don't know about your mom, but mine would just come to the house anyway and sleep on the living room floor if I tried to pull something like that. But the airports? Well, we can't be rude. We must wait until air taffic control invites us.

None of this would really be a big deal, as I'm used to airport delays and sitting on runways for hours at a time. It's all part of the road warrior territory. What bothers me is doing all of this while big and pregnant. There's almost no more uncomfortable place to be than seated in an airplane seat while big and pregnant. I'd rather do yoga Sun Salutations for 3 hours than spend 45 minutes sitting in an airplane seat while big and pregnant.

That reminds me- I have a few pregnant lady pictures, and I've posted them here. The contrast of having a giant belly and normal everything else is funny. The big belly makes my butt look tiny, which is kind of cool (sorry, no pics of my butt). On the other hand, I once saw a naked man a the beach who was built about like I am now- boobs, giant belly, little butt and legs. It was one of the scariest things I've seen in my whole life. He was also very hairy. And, did I mention?, naked.

OK, back to the NY trip. I had a good time in spite of the travel discomfort. Fuzzy asked me to try out a restaurant for him called The Modern, which was quite good. Best of all, I had company! One of my students, who was from Albany and also had nothing to do, went walking with me after class and to dinner on Thursday evening. It's always nicer to have someone to eat with on trips.

This week I'm home (yay!) and it's the last week in the office before we go on the Marquette trip. Driving for 3 days there and 2 days back is something I am dreading more than sitting on the runway at La Guardia. But, our traveling companions are terrific, and we're renting a minivan with a bench seat I can lie down on some of the time. Stopping every 45 minutes should be memorable. And once we get there, we'll have a fabulous time. No doubt you'll hear some bellyaching about it afterwards.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Honestly, I don't really like to visit you. If you want to see me, you'll have to invite me.

Or, an open letter to my dentist.

I realized in January that I had not been to the dentist in awhile. I usually make it in somewhere around summer and somewhere around winter, and I couldn't recall whether I had been in the previous 3 months. I didn't think so. However, at the time I had other concerns, what with a sudden drop in appetite, homicidal tendencies, an impending 3-week vacation to Europe, nausea, narcolepsy, and various and sundry other little distractions.

"Any day now I'll get a reminder card in the mail for my next cleaning appointment."

Fast-forward to April. I was reading a copy of Pregnancy Sucks, and in the current month I was advised to see my dentist. Apparently, bleeding gums and gum disease are a particularly common concern around 2nd trimester. I have had no such symptoms, perhaps owing to the fact that I love to floss at every opportunity. Some people have woobies. I have Glide floss.

"I wonder whether they've forgotten about me, and I don't actually have an appointment scheduled."

Many business trips, lots of work meetings, lots of doctor's appointments later, I look at the calendar and realize that it is no longer winter. It is most decidedly summer. Still no visit to the dentist. I've seen more of my hairdresser than of my dentist this year. Although my gums are still healthy and normal-looking, I'm reading more and more about how the sky will fall if I go to full term without having seen a dentist.

This morning I called. They looked me up, and sure enough, no appointment scheduled. The receptionist told me, "Oh, yes, it has been awhile since we've seen you. You should come in every 6 months." Yeah. Thanks for that.

I have never, since the first appointment when I started seeing this dentist, explicitly made an appointment. I have told him of my fear of dental work, and that, if left to my own devices, I might never show up. I thought we had an understanding that, if they wanted me back in 6 months, they would have to schedule the appointment whether I asked them to or not. This system has worked for the past 6 years. Why has it failed now, when it seems more important than ever that I Get Me to a Dentistry?

So I have an appointment for July 19. One month from today. I hope I still have teeth by then.

In other news, the gym I used to teach aerobics for (I'm still on the sub list, but no longer teaching a weekly class) is finally going belly-up. I have long suspected that the whole company was a front for money-laundering, made even more suspicious by the fact that the suspected-drug-dealing-wheeler-and-dealer we bought our lovely house from was one of their investors. Starting about 6 months ago, the emails started to fly about how instructors weren't being paid, or the checks were bouncing. Since then, four of the 10 locations have mysteriously closed and all the equipment "disappeared" in the night. Imagine members' dismay when, arriving at 6am to take their favorite class, the doors are chained shut with little or no explanation and certainly no refunds.

Today I got this email from the interrim fitness coordinator:

Hey Gang,

My name is xxxx and yes, there still are instructors teaching at xxxgym-name-herexxx. Well, not at Waverly, Durham, or Spring Forest or Greensboro.

But .... the other clubs do need some help. All of our checks to this point have eventually cashed but it sometimes takes a few trips to the bank. To (xxxthe bank that the gym usesxxx).... get cash and then go to our own banks. That problem still exists.

I am assuming that July 1 is do or die day from what we have been told. But again, you all know who we are dealing with so I can't be sure of that info either.

Even with all that going on I am still trying to have a group fitness program. So .... not for xxxgym-name-herexxx but for the members and your fellow instructors that are teaching there I am asking for your help.

Is anyone interested in helping out once in awhile. I understand if you will not pick back up a regular class but would you be willing to cover a class when one of us is on vacation. As you can imagine there is no sub list. If someone can't teach a class the class is cancelled. I am trying to keep the website up to date but .......

Anyone interested in helping out your fellow instructors and the members whom we all love respond to this e-mail.

Can you say, "death throes?" I knew that you could!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

You Are Austin

A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.
You're totally weird and very proud of it.
Artistic and freaky, you still seem to fit in... in your own strange way.

Famous Austin residents: Lance Armstrong, Sandra Bullock, Andy Roddick
No kidding, that's what came up! Too funny.
And, I'm completely addicted to internet quizzes.

Friday, June 16, 2006

You Are Miss Piggy

A total princess and diva, you're totally in charge - even if people don't know it.
You want to be loved, adored, and worshiped. And you won't settle for anything less.
You're going to be a total star, and you won't let any of the "little people" get in your way.
Just remember, piggy, never eat more than you can lift!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It's a little embarassing to admit that we've lived in our current house for either 2 or 3 years (can't remember whether we moved in April of '03 or '04) and the only people we had ever met were:

-the couple next door who have 5 cars
-the single guy next door, other side
-the couple across the street
-1/2 of the couple behind our house to the left and their twins girls
-my 2 other coworkers who live in our neighborhood and their families, who don't really count because I already knew them
-the nice lady from a block down with the boy scouts who sell popcorn
-every neighborhood dog

Of these, we really only talk to the car-crazy guys next door and the 1/2 couple behind and to our left. Of them, the only ones who have actually ever been over for dinner, or even a beer in the driveway, are the guys next door.

It's shameful. There are reasons, though.

For one thing, I travel a lot, so I don't have a lot of opportunity to see people. SNG is fairly reserved, too, so he's unlikely to strike up conversation with neighbors wandering past our house on a walk. Which they don't do anyway, since we live in a cul-de-sac. To make matters worse, although I am not generally a shy person, I've never been very comfortable with introducing myself to my neighbors anywhere I've lived. It's a bit painful trying to talk to a new neighbor without making an idiot of myself. I have a tendency to say things that I later realize may have come off as goofy.

We did try to meet people the first summer we lived here. There was a neighborhood 4th of July get-together in one of the cul de sacs and we went. We made small talk with the 2 people we knew, stared at our shoes, stared up in the trees at the birds, and went home. There have been no block parties since (that we know of).

So 2 weeks ago, much to my delight, I found a flyer in my mailbox saying that the ladies of the neighborhood would be meeting out in one of the cul-de-sacs to drink wine every Monday night throughout June, and maybe beyond. Last week was the first installment of Wine Time. I grabbed a fresh Pellegrino from the fridge, threw a folding chair over my shoulder and went.

It was kind of awkward, since everyone knew everyone else, and I was the newbie, but there's no reason I should be a newbie as our "new neighbor" status has long since expired. Really I should have met people sooner. So I went to Wine Time and fortunately, one person had brought a huge pile of craft-project-stuff she wanted help with, so I mindlessly cut out laminated bits of paper and listened to/laughed at other people's stories while keeping my hands busy.

Last night was the 2nd installment. There were some different people there, some of whom were people I've wanted to meet for a long time but never had the chance. Like the other 1/2 of our neighbors behind and to the left. Why was I too shy to introduce myself sooner? I liked her a lot and we also like her husband and their cute twin girls.

Anyway, it's been really fun to finally meet more people and feel less like an outsider in my own front yard. We've got a long way until we are on chatting terms with nearly everyone, and I won't remember people's names for at least another month (with my terrible memory for first names) but it's a start.

Are we the only people who seem to have this difficulty meeting neighbors?

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Apologies for another one of these prenatal posts, but it's kind of the dominating feature right now. If you're sick of them, check back in a few months.

SNG and I went to the doctor yesterday for the 24-week checkup, and while I am in perfect health and the IHPE seems to be in perfect health, IHPE also seems to have grown a lot more than they expected her to over the past 4 weeks. WHY?

Here's what Dr. MD-and-so-I-don't-have-to-listen-to-your-opinions thinks:
* perhaps she is going through a growth spurt
* perhaps there is a lot more fluid in there (hence the distinctive "I just stole a soccer ball and hid it under my shirt" look)
* perhaps I am carrying it "differently" (What does THAT mean? Under my arm? By its ankles? I mean, honestly, how many ways are there to carry a baby before it is born?)
* maybe I'm eating too much and all the fat has gone straight to my midsection (since my bo-hindie is roughly the same size it was 4 weeks ago)

Here's what I think:
* my anterior expansion coincides with 2 events: 1) a glucose tolerance test, which often causes as much problem as it detects in people and 2) a subsequent MONSTER increase in appetite, particularly for sweet things. My weight has bounded steadily upwards since. That sort of coincides with hypothesis #4 above, only DR. MASIDHTLTYO probably doesn't believe that a diagnostic test can actually cause a change in a patient.
* I still suspect that the doctors have my due date wrong by about a week to 10 days. If so, then I'm actually at 25-26 weeks, not 24. Why do I think this? Well, Dr. Just-out-of-school-and-can't-operate-the-old-timey-equipment-and-have-to-get-someone-else-to-help just didn't instill a feeling of great confidence when she took the fetal measurement at my 8-week appointment, and that's what they've based the due date on.

Time will tell.

Anyway, the upshot is that they ordered another ultrasound in "a week or, at most, 2 weeks from now." Yeah, great, but they don't even have any appointments available until THREE weeks from now. This is when I have to come back for my next regular visit anyway, but they can't do both appointments on the same day, or even at the same office. So 2 days in a row, I'll miss a few hours of work for doctor visits. On the plus-side, I get more SUPER-4-D PICTURES! Yay! And the Dr said that between 24 and 28 weeks is when it's best to see pictures because you get the best images possible. On the minus side, they're going to do another glucose tolerance test. Rats.

I'm psyched about the extra ultrasound. I also hope that the IHPE's growth trajectory decelerates by that time, because at this rate I'm seriously going to split open like a September watermelon in a rainy summer.

Today I'm flying to Rockville (suburb of DC) to teach the rest of the week. Fun.

Last weekend we didn't clean out the garage to put stuff into the shed. But we did buy some wood strip for our kayak refinishing project.

Our friend Kiltman was in town and stayed with us last weekend, which was really great because for some reason, he and I never manage to keep in touch over email, only in person. But whenever we do get back in touch, things just pick up wherever they left off.

Sunday I took a solo mountain bike ride and went a little faster than I had been going for the previous weeks. I will not tell you what my average speeds were because it's shameful, but I will say that for a 1 hour ride, I was able to average a speed of about 1.5 mph faster than the last 3 times I rode the same route. Vroom! Go Cat. Meanwhile, SNG went on a group ride with the bike shop for the first time in many months and hammered through 30 miles at a (much faster) very respectable clip.

Saturday we bought a truckload of mulch and mulched the backyard. Mulch is steamy and smelly. The weather was beautiful, so it was tolerable. If it had also been hot and sticky and mosquito-ey, I'd have claimed prenatal fatigue and stayed on the sofa watching Spongebob reruns.

I had my first Kibbi sandwich from the middle eastern cafe around the corner. OMG I will definitely be eating more of those. Maybe that explains the belly expansion?