Thursday, April 28, 2011

A conversation with James.

One of the nicer things about being this far along is that I can feel different bits of the baby when he's moving around and he can respond a bit to being touched. For example, take our discussion last night:

Jim: *sticks butt out against left side*
Leah: *pokes butt*
J: *punches bladder*
L: *poke*
J: *punch*
L: *poke*
J: *punch*
L: *almost wets bed before scampering rapidly shuffling awkwardly to bathroom*
J: *twirls mustache malevolently* (presumably)

It's not much, I know, but still, it's some real pre-birth interaction. I kind of feel sorry for Noah since he won't be able to have any real give-and-take communication with James until after he's born. On the other hand, given the back pain, bladder capacity, sciatic nerve dysfunction, inability to walk properly, pelvic looseness, foot-swelling, hand stiffness, and constant shortness of breath, maybe it's only fair that I get a small perk or two before he comes out. Yeah, actually, I totally take that back. I don't feel sorry for Noah at all.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In which our heroine sulks and flounces about.

My appointment yesterday was one of the less pleasant ones that I've had. There was a great deal of probing, both vaginal (old-hat) and anal (novel, if not exactly enjoyable), for various tests (group B strep, gonorrhea, chlamydia). I got to experience the joys of a new type of speculum which made ominous clicking noises as it opened, and for dessert I got a cervical check, which was unpleasant and uninformative enough that I'll probably have to politely decline the next one offered. (for what it's worth, I'm dilated to 1 cm and 20% effaced, but both of these numbers are apparently meaningless for determining anything at all). James is just fine - head down, good heart beat, growing properly.

I like my doctor, but I occasionally wonder why I have to go to so many of these damned appointments. There's basically nothing that they do that seems necessary. Over the past several visits, they've done the following:

  • Checked for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV. I understand that these are all terribly serious issues, but this is the third time in the last six months that I've been checked for them. What's the point in cutting down on the gangbangs and heroin binges if they're just going to poke me with needles and giant swabs again anyway?
  • Checked Jim's heartbeat and confirm that he's still alive and kicking. I could've told them that - the little monster douchebag tyke beats on my innards all day long.
  • Checked my weight. I've got a scale here, and it likes me better than theirs does (7 pounds in two weeks, you say? Dirty lies, I say.)
  • Gave me an ultrasound. Okay, they get a pass for that one.
  • Checked my cervix. The numbers are interesting and all, but as I understand it (and as the doctor told me after checking), it's all pretty meaningless. I could go into labor without being dilated at all, or I could walk around at 4 cm for six weeks. Seems kind of pointless (as well as extremely painful - I can only be grateful that my doctor is a tiny little woman and not some 6'8" lumberjack who discovered his love for obstetrics late in life).
  • Did a group B strep test. Okay, that one's kind of important too, but I'm of the understanding that it can be done with swabs at home where I don't need to be tortured with a giant clicking death-speculum.
  • Made me pee in a cup. They've never gotten any useful information out of it, but it does make me feel extremely skillful, so I'll count this one as a wash.

So, anyway, my point is that I hate going to the doctor for any reason other than adorable chubby-cheeked ultrasound prints. Have I mentioned that I'm now supposed to start going weekly? *sob*

Monday, April 25, 2011

35 and 35.

How far along? 35 weeks.
Total weight gain/loss: I'll find out at my appointment today.
Maternity clothes? Yep. Kind of want to be a nudist, though - it's too hot here to wear anything.
Stretch marks? Not yet. Just a matter of time...
Sleep: Plentiful.
Best moment this week: Don't know about best, but the weirdest was getting kicked on opposite sides of the stomach at the same time.
Movement: Yeah, see above. I think he's trying to communicate via semaphore. Should try to smuggle in a couple flags to help the poor guy out.
Food cravings: Cream cheese frosting? I don't think that's a craving, though - it's just awesome.
Gender: Him.
Labor Signs: Tons of BH contractions and I think I maybe lost a bit of my mucus plug (TMI? Sorry.).
Belly Button in or out? In still, but feels weird. I'm not sure if it'll manage to hold out until the end or if it'll wind up popping out.
What I miss: Walking rather than waddling.
What I am looking forward to: Appointment today! Actually, not that. I get tested for group B strep today, and I'm convinced it'll be positive. Of course, that's what I thought about gestational diabetes too, so let's hope my instincts are just as good as they were with that.
Weekly Wisdom: Having a baby due at the end of May in Georgia is a terrible idea unless you really enjoy sweating.
Milestones: No real ones, but today is the ever-popular 35/35 - 35 weeks down, 35 days to go.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Things I Learned at Breastfeeding Class

1. Colostrum is, in fact, supposed to be nuclear freaking yellow.

2. Breast milk tastes like sugar and is apparently good in coffee.

3. Galactagogue* would be the coolest name ever for a dog.

* a food that increases lactation, like oats. Or Guinness. Mostly Guinness.

Monday, April 18, 2011

34 and counting.

How far along? 34 weeks.
Total weight gain/loss: Dunno, didn't weigh.
Maternity clothes? Yeah. Shirts are all too short. Dresses are awesome.
Stretch marks? Still no.
Sleep: Eh. Need more. I always wake up stiff and sore and tired.
Best moment this week: Eating peas out of the garden. Not baby-related, but awesome.
Movement: Yeah. More rolls than kicks now. He likes to push his butt against my side and just hold it there in an uncomfortable fashion until I poke him and make him move.
Food cravings: None, really. Food mostly doesn't sound good.
Gender: Him.
Labor Signs: No, thank you. Increasing amounts of BH contractions, though.
Belly Button in or out? In, but freakishly teeny.
What I miss: The bones in my feet and hands.
What I am looking forward to: Having my torso to myself again in a couple months.
Weekly Wisdom: Swollen fingers are *totally* worth crying over.
Milestones: Not really, I think. Three weeks until full term, six weeks until due date, eight weeks until they will make me be induced. He'll be here in two months no matter what.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I love mail.

Stuffed to the brim, you see.

From left to right: Snappis are apparently the easiest way to fasten diapers anymore, so I got some of those. The green thing is a hanging diaper pail, which seemed like it'd be useful to stuff grody diapers in. The polka-dotted thingies are washable breast pads, which are by all accounts comfier and softer than the disposable kind, so we shall see. The mighty stack of beige is prefold diapers.

From top to bottom: The ones in plastic are Bummis diaper covers in a variety of colors and patterns. The four below that are Thirsties diaper covers. They go over the prefolds to keep them from leaking all over. The bottom two are Thirsties pocket diapers and are hopefully super-absorbent for overnight.

We decided to go for cloth for a variety of reasons. We both like that it'll be nicer against his skin than disposables, and we both generally prefer reusable things to disposable anything just on principle. Noah likes the fact that they're way cheaper (in the long run) than disposables, and I like them because they're freaking adorable (if a bit on the crunchy hippie side).

The cutest one. It has rocket ships. Babies love rocket ships.

We're planning on using disposables for the first couple of weeks just until we get the hang of having a baby around, and then we'll start using the extremely cute fluffy stuff.

Bonus: Bruce also loves mail.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


My ring doesn't fit any more! *sob* It's not a huge deal, really, since neither of us are big on rings (I think Noah doesn't even have one). It's been sitting in my jewelry tray for several months, but I just tried to slip it on and it barely goes past my knuckle. Ah well, I guess chubby fingers come with the territory. My shoes feel about half a size too tight, too. I may have to live in flip flops until June.

Monday, April 11, 2011

My veins are lazy slackers. Also, 33 weeks.

I had an appointment with my new doctor this morning. She was extremely nice, except for the fact that she's also pregnant and due about three days after me, which is terribly inconvenient, so I still don't know who will be around when I'm delivering. Still, she gave me lots of good information about labor and delivery practices here. Apparently their hospital doesn't believe in episiotomies, which is very nice to hear - she said she only does four or five a year in cases where the alternative is C-section. They're also very much in favor of giving the baby to the mother straight away and leaving the various procedures until afterwards, which is nice, and they're willing to let women go up to 42 weeks before talking about inductions.

She did, unfortunately, lose some of my goodwill by sending me right over to the lab to get some blood tests (syphilis and HIV this week, but stay tuned for gonorrhea and chlamydia at my next appointment!). My veins are, shall we say, lacking in personality. They don't tend to stand up and introduce themselves. In any case, I got stuck a lot of times. Fortunately, I'm getting really good at not crying, running away, or punching the lab tech. There's nothing like pregnancy to kill your fight-or-flight instincts.

Note also the extremely pretty burn scar. Noah is now in charge of getting all things out of the oven.

How far along? 33 weeks.
Total weight gain/loss: Up about 25 pounds according to the hospital scales. That's not bad at all for 33 weeks, I think.
Maternity clothes? Yes. Need more tank tops and sleeveless dresses. Sleeves in Georgia are an absolutely absurd proposition.
Stretch marks? Not yet.
Sleep: Not bad. Lots of peeing, weird dreams, the usual.
Best moment this week: That ultrasound was pretty fun.*
Movement: Yes, mostly at 10pm when I'm trying to sleep.
Food cravings: Cold things. Ice cream! Popsicles! Ice water! More ice cream!
Gender: Him.
Labor Signs: Nope, just the usual fake contractions.
Belly Button in or out? In but increasingly tiny. Noah thinks it's going to pop out soon.
What I miss: Standing up without grunting like a water buffalo.
What I am looking forward to: Cloth diapers getting here! Noah finally let me order them. And I'm maybe going to a La Leche League meeting tomorrow just so I can meet some ladies I can call if there are breastfeeding issues once he gets here.
Weekly Wisdom: None, my brain is full of cute baby things rather than wisdom.
Milestones: No real ones, I think, but there's only 49 days until my due date, and that's just weird.

* My definition of fun now includes having a complete stranger poke my bladder for twenty minutes after filling my bellybutton with weird-smelling goo.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Crib assembly.

We're slowly making progress on getting Jim's room somewhat presentable, and yesterday we finally got around to putting his crib together. By that, of course, I mean Noah put his crib together while I watched and occasionally made helpful comments such as, "That looks heavy." and "Haha, you're making a silly face." In my defense, I really did want to help but Noah wasn't hearing any of it - I think he's afraid I'm going to spontaneously burst into labor if I attempt to hold something over five pounds (or use an allen wrench, apparently).


We opted to go with the light wood so that it would match the glider we picked up at the used store for $25. I'm actually quite impressed - it turned out to be exactly the same color. I need to make some new covers for the cushions on the glider, but after that it should all look quite nice.

The only picture I have which includes the glider also prominently features Noah's butt. Not my fault.

It all went together shockingly easily, with the exception of the metal thingy that the mattress sits on. That part would likely have been easy as well if I'd been allowed to help, but Noah was all "RARRRR! Am MAN! Can assemble ALONE!" And he could, with a bit of cursing and finger-pinching.

You'll have to fill in the profanities from your own imaginations.

In the end, the entire thing only took about forty-five minutes to completely assemble, which is not bad at all.

"Look triumphant," I said.

The finished product is absolutely enormous. Is that how big cribs normally are? I could practically sleep in it. It seems a little oversized for a tiny baby. Noah informs me that Jim will probably get larger eventually, but still. It's crazy big.

Also, is it absolutely necessary to make cribs so prison-like? I'm not sure Jimmybear needs to be going behind bars quite yet.

Today, alas, we haven't been quite so productive. We spent the morning playing co-op games on the 360 and chasing each other around the house with squirt guns.

Yep, we are totally suitable to be taking home a baby.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Wee bit camera shy.

Went in for another ultrasound this morning. Aside from spending twenty minutes in the waiting room with the largest pack of rednecks I've ever seen in my life (nothing against rednecks - just a remarkable quantity of them), it was pretty uneventful. The tech wouldn't tell me anything other than that he now weighs 4lb 4oz, which is apparently very very slightly larger than average for this point, but I've got an appointment with my new doctor on Monday, so I'll do my best to pump some cool statistics and fancy medical terms out of her then.

Jim wasn't particularly amenable to having his picture taken, alas. He kept trying to hide behind his fist, not realizing that his fist, while very impressive, is not quite large enough to conceal his entire face. For your viewing pleasure, here are the two tolerable pictures we managed to get:

Can't make out much of his face in this one, but his fist is significantly more fist-like than it is in the other one.

Face is adorably chubby, but his arm looks like some kind of creepy flesh-eating eel, or a fountain of chocolate milk sprouting spontaneously from his eye. Or something like that.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Barefoot and pregnant.

32 weeks, 1 day - taken first thing this morning.

For the sake of comparison:

Shock and horrors, I do believe I've bigger in the last six weeks. Fortunately, the weight seems to be sticking mostly to the belly (and the chin[s] - I've got probably six of 'em now).

Monday, April 4, 2011


I have been reading some stuff lately that indicates that the natural gestational period is closer to 42 weeks, though. 40 weeks was adopted as normal thanks a friendly German called Naegele who declared 40 weeks to be ideal based on the Bible and a miscalculation of lunar months. The medical establishment never bothered fact-checking and have been going with 40 weeks as normal ever since, even though several studies show that normal is more like 41.5 weeks. Point is, maybe I'm 32/42? Sounds less scary, anyway.

How far along? 32 weeks.
Total weight gain/loss: Not sure, ate breakfast first thing this morning and so have no accurate weight.
Maternity clothes? Aye. Need more shirts - I'm outgrowing some of them.
Stretch marks? None that I can notice, I think.
Sleep: Good, except for some weird recurring dreams. At least a couple times a week I dream that Jim comes out and is already talking and I'm very annoyed that he isn't a baby.
Best moment this week: Nothing particularly stands out. Getting taxes done and over with doesn't count, does it?
Movement: All the time. He's moved upwards now towards my ribcage, which means less back pain and more (but still woefully diminished) bladder capacity but also more painful rib kicks and a complete inability to bend at the waist.
Food cravings: Strawberries. Any fruit, really, but especially strawberries.
Gender: Maennlich.
Labor Signs: Had really bad menstrual-style cramps twice in the last week - apparently these are contractions. They weren't at all regular and didn't last long, though, so I didn't bother calling the doctor. I'll ask about it when I go in next.
Belly Button in or out? In, still, but kind of sore like it's being stretched. Which it is. Obviously.
What I miss: Going several hours without peeing. I can't wait to have a normal bladder capacity again.
What I am looking forward to: Another ultrasound on Friday. I've been having a crazy amount of ultrasounds - damn fibroid.
Weekly Wisdom: There's really nothing worth getting stressed over. This includes the natural but irritating chubbifying of my feet, ankles, and fingers.
Milestones: Nothing big, but Noah can generally now tell where Jim is just by looking at me. He likes to lie on my right side and make me all asymmetrical.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Clean cups! Clean cups!

Hurray for uniform changeover time! This is the time of year when Noah (and all the other Navy folk in this area) have to switch from dress blues for special occasions to dress whites. Naturally, an event of this nature calls for an inspection.

Also naturally, the new uniform didn't get hauled out of the closet until 7pm the night before inspection.


It turned out that the uniform required a patch to be replaced, and since it was too late to get it to an alterations shop, Noah opted to have me put it on. Of course I refused, since me hand-sewing is basically just an invitation for tears and blood, at least one of which would be terribly difficult to get out of a white uniform on short notice. After watching his efforts, though, I relented and just did it for him. Yes, my sewing looks like a four-year-old did it, but his looked like the work of a half-blind dalmatian with palsy, so it's an improvement.

Fig. 1: My sewing, seen from the back.

Fig. 2: His sewing (artist's rendition).

There was a bit of drama over some weird blue stains on the sleeve, but they fortunately turned out to be only detergent. There was further drama over the fact that Noah had been shining his shoes before trying to get the blue stains out of the uniform and thus left shoe polish all over the place, but after much consternation and a wee bit of panic (apparently smudges on the dress whites are a fairly dire problem), Shout(tm) removed the problem almost entirely.

What follows is a picture essay of Noah's final efforts to render himself presentable. My apologies for the poor image quality, since all pictures were taken either around 10pm Thursday night or 5am Friday morning.

Noah is a lot better at ironing than I am, so he got to do that.

Turning things inside out is happy times.

Last-minute ironing the next morning is NOT happy times.

Finished product minus the hat, which cannot possibly be worn indoors under any circumstances. Note half-asleep half-smile, produced after much pleading to look slightly less like a super-spiffy serial killer.

Noah's response to my accusations that he was lacking in animation.