Monday, January 31, 2011

23 weeks, existential ponderings, etc.

How far along? 23 weeks.
Total weight gain/loss: I'm not sure, actually. I'm beginning to doubt the trustworthiness of my scale. Yesterday it had me as up 14 pounds (which would be down 2 from last week), and today I'm apparently up 19 pounds (which is up 3 from last week). I'm not really prepared to believe that I gained 5 pounds in one day.
Maternity clothes? Yeah, no change there.
Stretch marks? No!
Sleep: Good. My dreams (which have always been odd) are getting unnaturally vivid, though.
Best moment this week: Getting to the doctor finally.
Movement: Yep. It's annoyingly inconsistent, though. Some days he's doing gymnastics on my bladder from dawn until well after dusk (Noah: "Good job, Jim." Me: "Don't listen to your father."), and some days I only feel him a couple times. Apparently this gets more regular in the third trimester.
Food cravings: Oranges. Apples. Pears. Bananas.
Gender: Boy!
Labor Signs: More fake contractions (which, incidentally, are incredibly strange-feeling), but nothing real.
Belly Button in or out? In, but getting shallower. Fingers crossed that it stays in.
What I miss: Nothing, really. Good week.
What I am looking forward to: Viability! 24 weeks is the mark where doctors will actually pull out all the stops to try to save the baby if labor starts early.
Weekly Wisdom: Banana bread, while delicious, does not actually count as produce.
Milestones: Buying diapers for the first time.

We've finally started buying a few things here and there. As of about a week ago, this was the entirety of our baby stash:

I was tempted to play dress-up with Bruce, but I decided I didn't actually want to be clawed bloody.

Now, thanks to some adorable gifts and a few thrift store runs, we've got about twice that much clothing, and we picked up some diapers and toiletries and stuff at Walmart, just to get started on having things. We also finally ordered a few larger things on amazon - a fun bouncer and a pack-n-play/bassinet (so he can sleep by our bed the first couple weeks).

I think part of our purchasing procrastination is that it still doesn't seem quite real. Intellectually, I know there's a baby. On a more visceral level, though, I don't think we've quite digested that in 17 weeks (give or take) we're going to have an actual real live baby. Here. In our house. Hopefully having more baby stuff around will help make it seem a little more real, but I suspect that I won't really believe it until I've actually got a ravenous newborn squalling at two in the morning.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Today it is 66 degrees out.

Take THAT, Minnesota/Pennsylvania/Michigan/other cold places that I have lived.

The yard, with Noah being all manly and productive in the corner.

All my poor little herb sprouts died due to inadequate light, so I got Noah to rig up a lighting shelf system for me with some spare lumber he had in the shed.

These ones better pull through, dammit.

My outdoor plants seem to be doing well, though, despite the freak storm we had a couple weeks ago. They just sprouted a few days ago. I was outside trying to decide when to reseed the garden when I noticed that there were *gasp* weeds in it. On closer inspection, the weeds appeared to be growing in neat little rows, upon which discovery I decided that they were, in fact, edibles and should be permitted to live.

I don't even like radishes, actually, but don't they look happy?

There are a few signs of wild plants living out there, too.

A lowly dandelion.

Something purple. Heck if I know what it's called.

We kind of dispatched our productive urges early in the day, alas, so now we're lounging on the couch watching Penn and Teller and slowly getting some lasagna around. Good Saturday, I have to say.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Yesterday... (all my troubles, etc)

My appointment turned out to not be as horrifying as expected - no blood was taken, no personal areas were exposed, and no orifices were breeched. All in all, I call that a success.

They did all the standard stuff. We started off with a urine test (I'm shocked they were able to do the tests with how little I gave them - this peeing every hour thing doesn't leave much available to go in the cup), then they talked me into a flu shot, which was administered at the very end. My arm feels like it got stepped on by a hippopotamus.

Fig. 1: Hippopotamus. D'awwwww.

After that I met the nurse I'd be dealing with. She's apparently a specialist in obstetrics and handles most of the low-risk cases up until they get close to delivery. I really liked her - very straightforward, easy to talk to, good at answering questions. We had a chat about my medical history and the stuff my previous doctors did to me, and then I got to hop up on the table (without taking my clothes off!) for a brief exam. My uterus is about two weeks bigger than it's technically supposed to be, which she thinks is because of that huge kickass fibroid hanging around in there. My heart and lungs are awesome, as are Buckethead's. He was kind of a jerk about it, though - kept moving away every time she started to get a good read on his heartbeat. Still, no extra or missed beats, no funny noises, etc. All good.

So, the end result was that everything looked fine, except for a small amount of protein and sugar in the urine (too small to be concerned about, she said, but we're going to check again at the next appointment). I'm going back in two weeks for an ultrasound to make sure the fibroid is behaving itself, a glucose test, and some other random blood work. Promises were made of cute 3-D pictures of James, so hopefully they'll come through and I'll have creepy u/s photos to post.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm a horrible person.

Or at least I feel like one after subjecting my poor kitty to the vet.

The guilt started pretty early, actually. I went to fetch him for the trip and he was SO HAPPY that I wanted to pick him up and cuddle him - until he saw that he had to go in his crate.

Cats are great at sulking.

He handled the car ride well, with a minimum of sobbing and howling from the back of the car. I kept the noise at bay by singing "O Come All Ye Faithful" repeatedly - what can I say, I get weird earworms. The vet was easy to find, despite the concerns of the receptionist I spoke with earlier, who seemed deeply concerned that I would be lost and gave me detailed directions in a nearly-incomprehensible southern accent.

I was impressed with myself from the beginning, due to my voice recognition skills. I had pegged the heavily-accented receptionist on the phone as 50-something, bleached-blonde, heavily permed. The perm wasn't as heavy as expected, but otherwise I was dead on. The place itself was pretty run down and smelled primarily of medicine and cat urine, but the people were super nice. They thronged Bruce immediately to admire his eyes and praise his bravery for only causing a small ruckus.

Once in the exam room, the vet himself turned out to be great, as was the assistant. They fussed over Bruce a great deal and got everything done very quickly with a minimum of drama. Bruce was a coward, of course, but he didn't disgrace himself. He handled the rectal thermometer with his dignity intact, and only hissed once when they looked at his teeth. During the actual vaccinations he covered himself with glory by not crying once.

Now he's all tuckered out.

Now I just have to look forward to my own appointment tomorrow. I doubt I'll have to get any shots, but I'm betting the rectal thermometer is nothing compared to what these monsters do to pregnant women.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekly stats, 22nd edition.

How far along? 22 weeks.
Total weight gain/loss: Up 16 pounds, one up from last week. I can live with that.
Maternity clothes? Yep, everything but some super-stretchy tank tops now.
Stretch marks? No!
Sleep: Better than last week. I've been getting up to pee every THREE hours instead of every two, which is an improvement. Still require a nap after Noah leaves for work at the crack of dawn, though.
Best moment this week: Noah feeling James move.
Movement: Yeah. A little less than last week, but still pretty regular.
Food cravings: Mexican! No healthy cravings this week. :(
Gender: Boy!
Labor Signs: Lots of B-H contractions, but no real labor signs.
Belly Button in or out? In, but slightly weird.
What I miss: Being able to stand for more than fifteen minutes without back pain.
What I am looking forward to: My first appointment with my new doctor - Thursday!
Weekly Wisdom: Things work out. Don't stress.
Milestones: Getting recognized as pregnant without saying anything (the Tricare lady).

Sunday, January 23, 2011


An older picture here, if you're interested.

The earliest baby ever to survive was born at 21w6d. So, I suppose this is kind of a cool day - James technically kind of would almost have a very slight shot if something happened.

Note to Jimmybear: This is not an invitation. Stay put.

In other news, Noah got to feel him kick a couple nights ago! He was just finishing up reading some of Patriot Games to Jim, and I commented that apparently babies are very excited by Tom Clancy, so he put his hand on my belly. For once James decided not to go into stealth mode instantly, so Noah got a good strong kick out of him finally. Hurray!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Non-baby-related stuffs.

In the interests of not seeming like I have an entirely one-track mind, here are some other things that have been going on lately.

When we moved in, our bedroom walls were cursed with a half-assed mural (pictured) and a few remaining scraps of hideous southwestern trim (not pictured, alas - wish you could see it).

Seriously, if you could see the bits of border in the corners, you would be appalled, I swear.

We repainted it this past weekend to a nice solid cream color - not too much different, but at least the walls are all the same color now, yes? Big improvement. It was quite an adventure, since neither of us have ever really painted anything before (besides being handed a paintbrush by our parents and then slacking until they get tired of it and order us out of the room). We figured it out, though, and it turned out reasonably well. My back has ordered me not to try any more painting shenanigans for a while, though.

Also I made the bed. Hurray for tidiness and domesticity!

My other project has been growing stuff. Noah dug me a nice garden a few weeks ago, and I planted some winter veggies, which I'm pretty sure are now dead due to the freak inch of snow we got a fortnight ago. Oh well. I'll replant soon and hope this batch doesn't get snowed on the same night they're planted.

I'm not a total plant-growing failure, though. I tried my hands at growing some herbs in a nice sunny room, and they're coming up very nicely. So I'm counting this as a tentative success. Hopefully they'll grow enough to eat.

Chives, parsley, rosemary, basil, oregano, and thyme.

In other news, we were super productive today. I am now enrolled in DEERS and in Tricare. I have a shiny new military ID of my very own (the picture makes me look like a fat zombie), which has Noah's social security number on it but not mine. Using his information for essentially everything I have to do will take a little getting used to.

Since I now have insurance and was feeling ambitious, I made a few phone calls to finish off the morning, so next week, both Bruce and I will be seeing doctors. I wager I'll enjoy my appointment more than he enjoys his.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Good things that happened today.

  • Got my birth certificate in the mail. We almost missed it, actually - we pulled into the driveway just as the UPS guy was about to leave, and he stopped and gave it to me.
  • Learned that Tricare standard will let me use whatever hospital I want, so I can probably go to the good one with nice rooms and lactation consultants and what-have-you.
  • Was recognized by the insurance lady as being pregnant (as opposed to in-love-with-cheesecake) without saying a word.
  • Tuna melts for supper. With pickles. Hurray! (cravings are weird, ladies and gents)

"Damn good day, y'all" is what I'm trying to get across here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

21 down, 19 to go.

How far along? 21 weeks.
Total weight gain/loss: Up 15 pounds. That's four pounds since last week, eek. Still easily within the recommended gain, but I'm hoping at least a couple of those four pounds are just water or something...
Maternity clothes? Yep, comfiest stuff ever.
Stretch marks? None yet.
Sleep: Getting tricky. I can't sleep comfortably on my back anymore, and I haven't been able to sleep on my stomach for ages, so all that's left is side-sleeping which I wake up from all the time.
Best moment this week: Getting our bedroom painted. Not baby-related, but still awesome.
Movement: Yep, feeling regular movement. It's still mostly weird swishing movements (like holding a goldfish in your hand, except it's in your gut instead), but there are occasional kicks that I can feel from outside. He moved my netbook the other day. Unfortunately, every time I make Noah come feel, James goes into super secret ninja mode, so Noah hasn't been able to feel him yet.
Food cravings: Brussels sprouts and cucumbers.
Gender: Boy!
Labor Signs: No real ones, but I had my first Braxton-Hicks contraction a couple days ago. Really, really weird.
Belly Button in or out? In, but getting slightly shallower. Oh crap. Stay in, damn you!
What I miss: Sleeping on my back.
What I am looking forward to: 24 weeks - viability!
Weekly Wisdom: Maybe I should strap Noah's hand to my stomach all hours of the day so that he's bound to feel it. The child is damned uncooperative.
Milestones: First B-H contraction, lots of movement, more than halfway there.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Taken yesterday at 20w3d.

I put all of my non-maternity clothes in storage today, since, as you can see, I've kind of outgrown them. I'm still looking more love-affair-with-bacon than in-the-family-way, but the belly is getting there. I think. I put all of my non-maternity clothes in storage today, since, as you can see, I've kind of outgrown them. My wardrobe is now about eight dresses, five tops, and two pairs of jeans (which are too long for me, because apparently short people can't get pregnant and thus should not be offered properly-fitting pants). Of course, I didn't exactly have a huge amount of clothes to begin with. I culled my closet pretty heavily when I left Minneapolis, so all the remaining non-preggo clothes I had fit into one small garbage bag. I'm totally a minimalist.

As a brief aside, James has learned how to kick me right in the bladder. His father is so proud.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A few of the more arcane symptoms.

1. Increased near-sightedness. I'm near-sighted already, but for the past couple months I've been completely unable to read billboards, road signs, etc., more than maybe 20 feet away. Apparently fluid build-up can sometimes shift and thicken the lens and cornea. Apparently this is usually temporary but not always. It had better go away once James is out or else Noah has threatened to make me (oh, the horror) get glasses.

2. Stuffy nose and/or* nosebleeds. I have both. Hurray!

3. Cramps when getting up too fast, coughing, laughing, walking quickly, or just when Jim decides to be a jerk. Typical scenario: I stand up from the couch too fast, get a bad cramp, fall down on the ground, laugh because it's absurd to get cramps from standing up, get more cramps from the laughing, laugh harder due to the increased absurdity, repeat process until I can't breathe (at which point Noah comes and makes fun of me before helping me up).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to Enroll in Tricare

Alternative titles:

  • Georgians are all paperwork nazis.
  • Oh DEERS.
  • *insert gnashing and whining along with bad puns*

So, I've been stuck in the terrible wastelands of in-between-insurance-providers. My school insurance, while technically still active until January 31, is essentially worthless outside of Minnesota, and Tricare (shiny new military insurance) is apparently quite a hassle to get enrolled in.

Rough Guide to Getting on Tricare
1. Get enrolled in DEERS (a very charming acronym for a horrifically long name which seems to just mean 'military family members'). This involves first making an appointment by either calling their phone number, which has thus far always resulted in a busy signal, or going to Darling Hall (appropriate name for enrolling new spouses, no? big scary building, though - I'd take a picture to show you if it were legal) and waiting in line for several years to speak with somebody.

2. Go to Darling Hall (Noah braved the lengthy in-person wait to make an appointment) with every document you can summon and attempt to convince them that you're a real person who is actually married to someone in the military.

3. Be rejected because your official birth certificate (the certified one that you've had essentially since birth) is old-school and doesn't have a parent's name on it. This means that you are clearly not who you say you are (or who all of my dozen pieces of other identification say you are) and should not be offered any government services.

4. Spend several hours on the internets trying to figure out how to get a new-style birth certificate.

5. Apply for new-style birth certificate.

6. Become aware that since your name has recently changed, you are clearly not who you say you are and must provide additional documentation.

7. Make your way through Georgia's version of a blizzard (laughably little snow, but ice on all the roads) to the FedEx office to fax them more forms.

8. Discover that they didn't like how you faxed them and return the next day to do it again.

9. Form-faxing success achieved! Wait five days for it to arrive in the mail. Sacrifice goat to increase odds of birth certificate arriving in time to get signed up for Tricare starting February 1. If it arrives after the 19th, insurance probably won't get started until March 1, since clearly it is impossible to enroll someone in the middle of a month.

And that's as far as we've gotten. We're waiting for the form to come so we can sign up for DEERS so I can get enrolled in Tricare. And if that doesn't work out... Well, I don't know. I've been feeling Buckethead (er, James - yeah, him) move a lot, so I'm not really concerned that there's any danger, but it's kind of scary being in the land of the uninsured.

I think I'm just going to assume it'll all work out until I discover it won't and then go from there.

Monday, January 10, 2011

20 = halfway!

How far along? 20 weeks.
Total weight gain/loss: Up 11 pounds. Supposedly I should be up 10-15 at this point, so that seems good to me.
Maternity clothes? Yep. Need more, but I hate buying them.
Stretch marks? Nope.
Sleep: Great, except for pee breaks every two hours (almost precisely every two hours, actually - it's oddly regular).
Best moment this week: Movement!
Movement: A few nights ago I got tired of not feeling anything and just started poking around until James got tired of it and poked back. That kept me happy for a little while, and then yesterday and today he's been moving a lot more. It's terribly reassuring.
Food cravings: No real cravings, exactly, but I do have some delicious pumpkin cheesecake in the fridge that I'm probably going to go sample after posting this.
Gender: Boy!
Labor Signs: Nope.
Belly Button in or out? In.
What I miss: Sleeping on my stomach. Sob.
What I am looking forward to: Noah feeling him kick.
Weekly Wisdom: No profundities from me, sorry.
Milestones: Halfway there!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gratuitous pictures of Noah playing with Bruce.

Bruce is still terrified of Noah when he's standing up, but as long as he stays safely on the ground, they have an excellent relationship. Bruce thoughtfully overlooks the fact that Noah occasionally looks like a demented puppeteer.

They're both excessively entertained by string.

Noah makes a great obstacle course.

Bruce even conquered his trepidation long enough for actual physical contact.

Bruce eventually captured the string, much to everyone's satisfaction.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Vernix... kind of gross and apparently Jimmybear is developing some starting this week.

Monday, January 3, 2011

19 weeks today! Holy crap.

How far along? 19 weeks. See headline.
Total weight gain/loss: No clue. We're going to get a scale today, because I can't stand not knowing how much I weigh.
Maternity clothes? Yes. Sob. I'm currently forced into wearing maternity jeans 2/3 of the time, because I have very few dresses. My non-maternity tops are all too short and look weird, so I have about three shirts I can wear. Sigh.
Stretch marks? Nope.
Sleep: Pretty good. My dreams are insane, though - movie-quality intensity.
Best moment this week: Seeing JAMES! Finding out it's a JAMES!
Movement: I think I maybe felt something a couple of times. Hard to say, though. I've never had a pregnant before, so I don't know what it should feel like. Opinions apparently vary on what it feels like - I've heard gas, butterflies, popcorn, stabbing... I've felt a weird fluttering two or three times in the past week or so, so... maybe?
Food cravings: Lemon. Zucchini. Zucchini with lemon sauce.
Gender: Boy!
Labor Signs: Nope.
Belly Button in or out? In.
What I miss: Not getting a cramp whenever I stand up too fast.
What I am looking forward to: Feeling movement that I'm sure is movement.
Weekly Wisdom: Try to start calling the kid by his name now so he won't be known as Buckethead all the way through high school. (harder than it sounds)
Milestones: Gender scan! Huzzah!

Other notes more or less of interest:
-- I've read 300 pages of What to Expect when You're Expecting in the past 24 hours. Awesome book - thanks Rose! It's rather reassuring to see all your weird symptoms written down as normal.
-- Noah and I also got lucky and found copies of What to Expect in the First Year and the other one for the toddler years at Goodwill for 50 cents each, along with some adorable onesies for next to nothing - weeeee thrift stores!
-- Noah is digging me a nice garden. He's excited for when James is big enough to help dig stuff in six or eight years. Hard labor builds character, y'know.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

In which Buckethead is reluctantly recorded for posterity.

We were originally not going to get any private ultrasounds done, but since the insurance is taking slightly longer than expected, we thought we'd go make sure Buckethead's still doing okay in there and see if we could find out which pronouns to use. The place we went to was surprisingly nice. It was a family-run thing, with the receptionist being a 13-year-old kid, but it seemed pretty professional and the ultrasound tech knew what she was doing. Fortunately for everyone, Buckethead proved to be quite the exhibitionist and flashed us right away.

I suppose 'money shot' is an inappropriate term here.

I did my best to get him all hyped up to jump around on the ultrasound by drinking lemonade and eating a shitload of cookies beforehand, but to no avail. I got a pretty good sugar high, but Buckethead apparently wasn't feeling it. He spend most of the session in precisely this position:

Terrible picture, but you can see that Buckethead is way more flexible than I am, with his legs all up over his head.

We did manage to get a few good 2-D face shots. Apparently I'm becoming one of those bizarrely normal women who find creepy ultrasounds of their spawn to be almost cute.

But c'mon, he has a nose! And a spine! Spines are totally adorable, yes?

They also gave us a couple of 3-D shots, which are creepy by any standards. It was really strange - from some angles, you could see his little shoulder blades and ribs. Poor baby needs some mac 'n' cheese.

No place to hide from the ultrasound, dude. Sorry.

And finally, a face shot, which we managed to get despite him attempting to cover his head and hide. Is it too early to start debating who he looks like?

Yes, it is too early. Any debates of the kind will be punished severely.

That's about all there is to report for now. I'll post a 19-week (19! holy crap) update tomorrow to let you know all the other mundane goings-on.