Belly Update

{ Friday, January 30, 2009 }
I've said it before and I'll say it again--I can't believe how quickly this pregnancy is going! Where did the last 21 weeks go? Our bean is now officially a little over halfway cooked. Lately, I've been walking by the ultrasound pictures on the fridge and wondering, "Who's baby is that?" Its unbelievable to me that there's a real baby in my belly. Even now that I'm feeling her move around every day, I still have to remind myself that those kicks are coming from baby arms and legs.

I think that she may be going through a growth spurt the last couple weeks. At the very least, my stomach is going through one. Every morning I look at myself in the mirror and I look bigger than the day before. When my mother left the other day, she told me I looked bigger to her than I had when she arrived four days earlier and people at work have started noticing. Today, someone I don't see everyday looked down at my belly and then quickly looked away. I wanted to tell him, "Its OK, I'm pregnant." You know that uncomfortable "is she or isn't she, should I say something or not" feeling? I wish there was some way, short of wearing a sign on my stomach, that I could let people know so they didn't have to go through that.

I read somewhere that at this stage in the pregnancy, the baby's waking and sleeping patterns are very similar to what they'll be when she's a newborn, which concerned me a little bit. It feels like she's awake all the time but, being the scientist that I am, I decided to do a study. I, obviously, am not sure what she does at night, but I was up from 1:30 am - 3 am and she wasn't moving around then. I woke up again at 6 am and nothing until 8:30. After that, she was up from 8:30 until 9, from noon to 2, from 3:30 to 4 and from 5:30 to 9 pm.

OK, well that's hardly being up all day. What a relief. I'm actually excited to see if this really does end up being her waking pattern after she's born. I plan to track her movements again closer to delivery and after she's born and compare the three, big nerd that I am.

Finally, would you like to see the belly? I myself am shocked at how big I am, and we still have most of the growing yet to go.

Weddings, Meetings, and Names

{ Thursday, January 29, 2009 }
It turns out that our photographer has been spending the last couple days in bed getting over being sick, rather than working on our pictures. I can't say I blame him, but that just means that we'll all have to wait a bit longer for photographic evidence that the sweetie and I really went through with it.

In the meantime, I thought I'd let you know (in case you don't read the blog) that the sweetie has posted the story of how we met in three installments starting here. Now you too can be privy to the story, in all its scandalous details! I love the story of how we met because, although I didn't recognize it at the time, that moment was the single most life-altering event in my 30-odd years.

I used to think that the whole "there's only one person for each of us" theory was crap. I thought that people were just hard to get along with, period, and any relationship would take a ton of work. As long as there is some basic compatibility, I thought all relationships were pretty much the same. I was so very wrong. When I met the sweetie, I was so desperately unhappy and I could see no way out. The sweetie recognized, even when I couldn't, that I could be happy, that I didn't deserve to be miserable like I was. As silly and cliche as it sounds, I had no idea a relationship could be like this. I never imagined how it could feel to be able to depend on someone else and know that they can depend on me. To be in a relationship that's mutually supportive and understanding. I think every. single. day how fortunate I am that the sweetie came into my life (and was smart enough to recognize how good we'd be together).

Which brings me to the topic of names (well, it really doesn't, but I couldn't think of a good segue). For the majority of my life, I thought I would never get married. Back when I thought the only option was marrying a man, I could think of nothing worse that getting married, having a few kids, and spending the rest of my life taking care of all these people while trying to earn a living at the same time. I certainly would never change my name to a man's name and lose that symbolic identity along with the literal one. Once I started dating women, a lot of my opinions changed, but I still didn't think I would ever change my name.

When the sweetie and I started discussing the possibility of having children, the topic of names came up. It was important to the boy (and to me) that our family share a common last name. We agreed at that time that we would choose a third name that we would both take. Well, I've posted before about my newfound traditionalism upon becoming pregnant, so this next part may not be a surprise. The thing is, I still like the idea of choosing a third name. We tried, we really did. We looked at lists of common surnames, tried to think of words that meant something to us that we could use . . . we just couldn't come up with anything. It didn't make any sense to change to a name that didn't mean anything to either of us; to drop the history of our own names in favor of one that has none. So, I decided to take the sweetie's name. Since I'm volunteering the genetic material for our child, I figured the sweetie could provide the surname. Not to mention that all you have to do is take a look at us and apply the traditional gender stereotypes to come up with that one. Everyone already assumed I would take the boy's name.

Over the last couple days, I've started the process of the name change. I've been working on changing e-mail, voicemail, and my paycheck while I wait for the marriage license and court order that will allow me to change my driver's license and social security card (thanks so very much to DOMA, I will still need to get an order from the probate court to fully change my name). The whole thing is very strange. My new name sounds foreign to me and when I've needed to say my full name the last couple days, I've hesitated. Ha! I wonder how long this will last? I am esctatic about my choices; all this new traditionalism has been my idea. Still, all I need to do is quit my job and become a stay-at-home mom in order for my "nightmare" to be complete. Funny thing love, isn't it?

An exercise in patience

{ Tuesday, January 27, 2009 }
I had hoped to have the whole wedding day story posted by now, but I'm very patiently waiting for the photographer to finish up with the photos so I can properly illustrate my story. It shouldn't be long now . . .

2 Days (Yikes!)

{ Thursday, January 22, 2009 }
Tonight, my parents arrive into town for the wedding and then all the fun begins! The next time I post here, I'll be Mrs. Sweetie. Thanks so much for all the love and support on this blog, its been really incredible. See you on the flip side!

Anatomy Scan

{ Wednesday, January 21, 2009 }
I am so proud of our little bean! Everything measured right on target at the ultrasound, even down to those 10 tiny fingers. While at the last scan she was pretty much motionless, yesterday she was moving all over. They had a difficult time getting some of the measurements because she would squirm as soon as they had zoomed in on her. She (again) had both her hands in front of her face and wouldn't let the doctor get a good picture of her, but I'm sure she's beautiful!

Everything looks good now, but I have a slightly increased risk of pre-term labor, so I asked the doctor when viability starts. His response? "I'm not discussing viability with you, we're only going to talk about full-term babies!" When I pushed him, he said technically 24 weeks, but he'd feel more comfortable with 28. Just a couple more months before I can check another worry off the list.

Meanwhile, our little bean is "a little bit on the chubby side," according to the doctor. We have big babies in my family. I was hoping that might skip a generation, but apparently the bean is planning on living up to expectations. Let's see if I chicken out of an unmedicated birth when they start telling me she's going to be 10 lbs!

4 Days

{ Tuesday, January 20, 2009 }
Four days until our wedding!! I had honestly hoped to have everything done at this point so we could just worry about getting ourselves dressed and to the church, er . . . restaurant, on time. But you know what they say about the best laid plans. Actually, I don't really know. Is there a second part to that saying?

Anyway, the point is this. Thank the goddess for three day weekends. I met with the restaurant owner Friday afternoon and learned about an unexpected "black tablecloth fee" along with a last minute "room to take pictures in fee," neither of which were in the budget. Honestly, we aren't talking about a huge amount of money, but it was the principle of the thing(s). Since we're hesitant to take pictures outside in 15 degree weather, he sorta had me on the room fee, but I told him to keep his stinking black tablecloths. I left and went directly to Target, where I purchased black canvas curtains on clearance and spent yesterday morning hemming them into table runners. They aren't exactly long enough to cover the entire length of the tables, but there's enough fabric to provide some contrast between the white tablecloths and the white centerpieces, so its good enough for me!

Yesterday, we also finished putting together the candles and candle holders that serve as the non-floral portion of the centerpieces (nice budget saving tip, that), wrote out place cards, made table numbers, finalized the ceremony wording, and picked up the boy's tux. I have to say, I'm one lucky girl--the boy looks so handsome in the tux!

Still on the to-do list: reconfirm arrival times with the officiant, photographer, florist and baker. I have to meet one last time with the florist to go over some final details and pay her (very important-to her, at least). I have to pick up my dress and hope, hope, hope that my growing belly will still fit in it. What else? Finish up our "dinner music" iPod playlist. Double check that all the appropriate things are in the different piles of stuff to take along. Pick up the favors. Pick up my parents from the airport. Pack a bag for the wedding night.

Could that be it? I think it might. Not too bad, right?

Of course, right now I'm focused on something else. In a few short hours, we'll have our "big" ultrasound. Cross everything crossable that bean looks healthy (I tried counting toes in our foot closeup picture, but couldn't make them all out.)

Edited because I almost forgot two very important things: Our wedding bands arrived yesterday and turned out perfectly (aside from drawing attention to the fact that my engagement ring is filthy--add get engagement ring cleaned and polished to the list). The second thing is the sweetie's wedding present, which arrived today. Whew!

18 Weeks

{ Monday, January 12, 2009 }
I got my waddle the week of christmas. I can feel myself swaying side to side when I walk and, if I really focus, I can make myself stop but it just feels natural now, especially when I'm tired. Honestly, I was really surprised by this--I thought the waddle came in the 3rd trimester when the baby sits low and throws your balance off. Maybe that just makes the waddle worse, but from what I've been told, the waddle is due to my hip joints loosening. Other effects of the "loosening": backaches and leg pains. Both things I was expecting--just not this early.

Apparently, I didn't really know anything about being pregnant before I became that way. I thought it was all nausea in the beginning, strange cravings in the middle, and then some discomfort towards the end. I was shocked the day I learned that I wouldn't be able to sleep on my back past 16 weeks. I guess I could have figured out that I wouldn't be sleeping on my stomach if I really thought about it, but it would have never occured to me that back sleeping was off limits. This has really been one of the hardest things to get used to. I spend most nights rolling from side to side and wake up with sore hips and neck. Its not such a big deal, just unexpected.

Other things that have surprised me about pregnancy: shortness of breath, nosebleeds, the "girls' " growth spurt (I knew this would happen, I just thought that came later too). But most surprising is how differently I feel about the pregnancy after that last ultrasound. My pregnancy book said that at some point I would start to question whether there really was a baby in there. At the time I read it (maybe 6 weeks pregnant) I thought that seemed crazy. Of COURSE there's a baby in there! But as the months went by with not much sign of anything going on, I did start to wonder. Seeing an actual baby-shaped blob, rather than a ball-shaped one, sort of reminded me (duh!) that there's really a baby bean growing in my stomach, even though it still just looks like I ate too much pizza.

Finding out that we're expecting a girl also had a big effect on me. I don't have a preference (other than for a healthy babe, of course), so we seriously considered not finding out the sex. That way, I reasoned, we wouldn't start unintentionally applying gender stereotypes even before the baby was born. I hadn't considered what a big difference it would make to be able to say "she" (or "he," for that matter) instead of "it." Everything just feels more real. In the beginning, we would walk around saying to each other, "We're having a baby!" like we couldn't wrap our minds around the idea. Now, its the same with, "We're having a daughter!"

Its incredible to me to think that we're almost halfway through this pregnancy. It seems like just yesterday we were speechless, staring at a stick of plastic.

Introducing Sheldon Turtle

{ Thursday, January 08, 2009 }
I had planned (well, I'm still planning, actually) to knit a bunch of toys for our bean. We'll, of course, use them just for decorating the nursery at first and then she can play with them after she gets old enough.

I started with Sheldon from knitty, but I got partway through and decided it just had to belong to the boy's little niece, so I hurried up and finished it for christmas. Here he is, all ready to go.

I am so pleased with how he turned out. Its just the cutest little thing. You know the shell comes off? Its just too much cuteness, really. I can't wait to make another one for our jelly bean.


{ Wednesday, January 07, 2009 }
I *think* I've been feeling baby move around for a couple weeks, but I couldn't be totally sure that's what it was. Everyone says it feels like flutters or gas bubbles (although my sister said it feels like an alien in your stomach) and that is definitely not what I've been feeling. Its more like some pressure in my belly that lasts for a few seconds and sometimes moves to a different spot. I haven't been feeling it every day either, maybe every couple days, usually at night.

So last night I felt what I thought was baby and put my hand on the spot and, sure enough, I felt two distinct kicks! They were so tiny that I probably wouldn't have even noticed them if my hand hadn't been there. It was both the strangest and the coolest thing I have ever felt. I mean, normally it would be alarming to have your stomach poke back at you. I wonder if that means the bean liked or disliked the indian food we had for dinner last night?

Pink or Blue?

{ Tuesday, January 06, 2009 }
I had an ultrasound scheduled yesterday to make sure my cervix is holding up (it is). It was fairly last minute and the sweetie didn't even take off work to be there since we weren't sure we'd get a look at the little bean. Turns out, my midwife had asked for some measurements of the baby, so I did get to see it. It was a little shocking because the last time we had a peek, we just saw a little ball. What a difference a couple weeks makes--its a real baby in there! Everything looked good so far and we got some good pictures. The bean was chilling on its back with its knees bent up like it was getting ready to do some situps. So cute!

Before she started the ultrasound, the technician asked me if I wanted to know the gender. I said I wanted to wait for the sweetie, but during the scan she stopped and said, "Why don't I just write it down and put it in an envelope for you?"

Well, what could it hurt? I figured we could always decide not to open it. Yeah, right! We tore into it the second the sweetie got home from work.