Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Baby Instructions

Because my brain is tapped, I thought I would forgo my lengthy posts for once and post some really funny "Baby Instructions" forwarded to me by a friend. Some are rather off color and others just silly, but we all need a good laugh. (Sorry for the strange formatting. I cannot get the pictures to post 2 across. I am NOT grateful for blogger's insert picture function. I find it terribly annoying to use--especially the fact that every picture is inserted at the top of the post, no matter where your cursor is placed. Lots of copying and pasting. Any advice from other bloggers is much appreciated!)


-I am grateful for our Italian shipment today: stroller, car seat and car seat base!

-I am also thankful for dodging the 14+ tornadoes that ripped through Atlanta and neighboring counties.

Nixed Names: As my husband has not decided on a name to cut, I am going to have to leave this part blank. But to add to the picture-themed post, I am including 2 photos from an interior designer's blog that Schlotty sent to me. They are of a nursery that I would just love to have. The feel of the room is so simple and calm. Additionally, there is a picture of stuffed animals that warms my heart; they are the kind of toys I hope to get Linus sometime. I just have to find them, or learn how to sew. (I had a hard enough time making fly-less boxers in middle school so it might be better if I make them appear with some Internet searches and my wallet.)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Am I repeeting mieself? Am I repeeting mieself?

I know the title of this post is spelled wrong and repetitive...intentional, people! I was informed that pregnant women get "fuzzy brain," but apparently my fuzzy brain FORGOT about the diagnosis, and this week I was shocked at how incapable I am of crafting cogent thoughts and sentences. Perhaps my decline has been gradual, but it seems to have been revealed to me in full force this week. Additionally, I am experiencing intense bouts of pregnancy amnesia and forget lots of things, finding myself starting most sentences with: "have I said this before?" Or, "I may have already told you this..." Sometimes I don't even have the sense that I am repeating myself and will just blurt out a random thought, and usually get the response from some patient soul like Eric, "thanks honey, you already told me that."

This is almost as unpleasant as BACKNE! Give me the linea negra, cholasma, stretch marks, but please don't take away my ability to communicate! With so many of the physical changes of pregnancy, people excuse your flaws: "oh, she has pregnancy mask. It will go away!" Or, "what a cute line on her belly!" When you are a bumbling idiot, I fear people just think you are dumb...preggo or not. For those poor souls I will meet and have met after Linus and I became a team, they probably think / thought I don't read and haven't written anything worthwhile since my 7th grade report on why the Contender was a "nice book." Many times, I am finding myself struggling for words, or will look at something I have written, and just not feel confident in the spelling.

Adding to my poor communication skills is the fact that fatigue is starting to set in. I think I was so high with anxiety, nausea and vomiting (I know why druggies don't choose anxiety, nausea and vomiting as their mechanism for getting "high"), that I really didn't have the time to get fatigued. I believe I am making up for those bouts of unrelenting fatigue women discuss in the 1st trimester. I am getting relatively sound, uninterrupted sleep, but never seem to feel rested. Humph. I guess this is training for motherhood.

On a positive note, I am pretty much capable of eating whatever I want without trouble, but have been told to stay away from ALL caffeine because of my blood pressure. Let's just say the Thin Mints and Tagalongs that were delivered to my desk at work today were NOT welcome members to my pantry; they have been cast off to the depths of our freezer, awaiting their demise sometime this summer. I was even told those little, delicious bits of chocolate in mint chocolate chip ice cream are worth "staying away from." Do you think they allow sangria and Hershey bars in the post-delivery room?

Along with the appetite, more weight! I am just hoping to goes right to the baby. I had an appointment with the Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist in Decatur, and after their measurements, they think the baby is cruising at the 12th-15th percentile (depending on my June 24th or June 30th due date, respectively). That means that I just need "high risk" ultrasounds at the regular office, unless Linus stops growing, falls under the 10th percentile, or shows any other signs of distress. Urine is still clear of protein, and I am not dealing with any terrible headaches or pitting edema. So far, so good!

Finally, Eric and I have been really dedicated to our Shiva Rea prenatal yoga DVD. It's great! I don't have to talk or write to participate, and don't feel at all guilty for not being adept at the poses (save Child's Pose--could that BE the most comfortable one on the planet?). Perhaps I'll start "communicating" through yoga poses as I get better...a sort of pregnancy sign language so I don't have to rely on my ill placed words and jumbled conversations.

And now, some photos for Aunt T.

The next 3 are from when D and L came to visit us from OH

Okay, this last one from D and L's visit is not pregnancy related...but I just had to share because of the absurdity factor. D and Eric ordered, ate and ENJOYED the "Elvis Burger" from a great burger place in Little Five Points: The Vortex. What is the Elvis Burger you ask? Some huge, greasy patty of meat, slathered with a mountain of PEANUT BUTTER, topped with bacon and fried bananas. Even if I did have the ability to be good with words right now, there just are none for this monstrosity. (The big blob that looks like cheese is peanut butter.)

The next few are our attempt at belly shots. It was late. I was tired and not looking particularly pretty. My mom scolded me for not putting my face in shots, so here you go. I also think that flash made my shirt a little see through. Great.
Eric caught me laughing about, well...if I could remember, I would tell you, and probably tell you again tomorrow.

We are trying to get our first "family" shot, but Eric's arms aren't long enough.
I must end with the standard Eric and Ali shot. I look haggard!

Finally, Eric and I have been really dedicated to our Shiva Rea prenatal yoga DVD...have I said this before? I may have already told you this...


-I am thankful for Old Navy Maternity, and KB's jean donation.

Nixed Names:
Noah, Isaac, Braxton, Hicks, Evan, Owen, Abe, Josef, Dylan, Griffin, Jens, Jan, Nevin, Emil, Milo, Luke, Lucas, Simon

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Picture Day

Unfortunately, no pictures with this post, but at least it is about pictures!

Picture day! Back from another OB ulstrasound appointment and I have determined that the best time to get one is at 20 weeks. The baby has grown just enough (more on this later) in the past couple of weeks that he looks more like a human hot pretzel than a distinct baby boy. We did get to confirm his boy parts, again; he's not shy. We also got to take home some additional pictures of Linus to add to the pile. And now: why that pile will increase...

I had my blood pressure (BP) taken, as is protocol at every visit, and I don't even know what it read this time...honestly, I don't want to know. Out of nowhere, the med assistant comes to me with a Polaroid camera. Huh? (Perhaps I subcionsciously wanted my "picture" taken, too.) Well, I was instantly in "glamour shots" mode as she snapped my picture that apparently is the newest addition to the office's "black book" of high risk pregnancies. I guess they take your picture so that all the MDs at the practice can recognize you (and point and laugh, and talk about you at the lunch table). I joked with them that I was now in their "little black book," and that I might as well get a scarlet "HR" appliqued on all of my clothing. At least I wore a dress today and had the mind to straighten my hair. Luckily, my 24 hour urine test and blood work came back normal; read: I am not preeclampsic at this time. Although, this is subject to change, so we will watch and wait.

After waiting way too long in the examining room for the OB, Dr L finally saunters in...9 months pregnant! I have talked to her on the phone before, but never met her: Let's call her Dr Lovely. She was great and much better than Dr Evil, who I, unfortunately, will be seeing in 2 weeks. She reassured me that although they are treating me like a high risk "preeclampsic" patient, that she is not as concerned about me as some others. BUT (and there is one here), according to the ultrasound and my fundal height, Linus is measuring small. I knew something was coming when Tracy Ultrasound (that is her new name) did all the measurements twice, and I had to go see Dr Lovely after the ultrasound. Under the 10th percentile for gestational age is enough for a diagnosis of IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction). Linus is at the 8th percentile. Why? Here is the multiple choice options that Dr Lovely presented:

  • Gestational Hypertension / preeclampsia / eclampsia (CHECK!)

  • Uncertain last menstrual period (LMP) (CHECK! for a refresher, check the first few posts)

  • Genetics: constitutionally small babies taking after the parents (CHECK!)

And then the ones that I remember in my slowly deteriorating memory from nursing school:

  • Genetic abnormalities (let's hope not)

  • Smoking / cocaine use (good thing I gave up the Virginia Slims and crack...just kidding!)

  • Infection (no?)

  • Multiple Gestation (no...and if there is a baby or two hiding behind Linus, I might as well go straight into the looney bin)

  • Maternal malnutrition (hmmm...if a 4 month diet of Boost, bagels with cream cheese, trail mix and lemonade constitute malnutrition, this one might be checked. But now I am eating normally, and finding a way to bust out of all of my pre-pregnancy clothing this week.)

  • Low SES (okay, now as much as I complain that E and I are poor, I don't think we technically fall under the category of low SES. We are fortunate enough to have enough money to buy prenatal vitamins, healthcare, organic / healthy / fresh food, etc.)

  • Idiopathic--(I say, CHECK on this one!)

So now what? I go back next week for a regular appointment, in 2 weeks to see Dr Evil, and the nurse will call me back soon with an appointment at the hospital for a "special" ultrasound at the hospital next week that will better determine the placental blood flow. Worst case scenario? The big "BR:" bed rest. Until then, mild exercise (guess I'll keep trying that Yoga thing with Rainbow Brite or whatever her name is), and no panicking. It appears that I will see some MD every week until I deliver. Gotta love the attention.


-I feel so lucky that Eric was able to be at the appointment with me today. Given the volume of future appointments I may have, I know this will not be par for the course, but it was great to have him there.

NIXED NAMES: I'll be honest: we haven't made any more cuts to the name list, so I won't be able to update this part of the post, but I can tell you some other names that were never and never will be considered:

ESPN (esspen), Sir, K Fed, Liberace, Gaylord (love Meet The Parents), Lemonjelo, Jermajesty, Adolf, Ptolemy, and the best one: 4Real. (A demented New Zealand couple came up with it after seeing the baby on an u/s and thought, "wow! this is for real!" Genius. Good thing the NZ authorities blocked their ability to legally use the name as it included a digit. Problem is, they officially named him Superman. I am not kidding.)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Lackey Street Bus Stop Games

(I am going post crazy)


As I have commented before, I don't like putting links on the blog as they won't be functional on the print out for Linus's archives, but the 2 NPR links above are a great read for anyone with children, or anyone who intends on having children. More support for the "less is more," "simplistic" view on life - specifically, games and toys. As one of the NPR pieces highlights, there has been a shift in children's play from "activity" to "objects.

I remember waiting for bus #13 down at a neighbor's driveway on Lackey Street, and spending what seemed like hours playing all sorts of crazy games (for my brother and RI, wasn't one we created called "Zing?") Additionally, I remember playing "house" by myself with COLORED PENCILS. Yes. Red "married" green, but if I ran out of green, then I would pair a red with brown. They were paired based on height (how far they had been sharpened down), and I would sharpen other colors so far down, that they would be shorter and could serve as "children." Okay, so maybe this was also the start of my OCD tendencies, but you have to laugh. Eventually I moved on to my brother's GI Joe and Star Wars figures to play family, and the red headed, bearded "Survivor" GI Joe (his white shirt, bursting with muscles, read "Survivor") courted the Princess Leia who wore the red outfit--not the snow land princess Leia because her face paint was rubbing off. She was the ugly twin sister who tried to steal Survivor away from her prettier twin. I could only find a picture of the ugly Leia to give you a visual.

I could start a new blog page dedicated to the kind of imaginative play that went on in my household. Walk into my brother's room back in the 80s, and you would find his room / "studio" filled with leftover cardboard transformed into "crypts," "pyramids," and miniature replicas of castles. In the kitchen, plastic sandwich bags and pudding turned into "space pudding," and old, chewed up medicine droppers transformed into a tool for a "futuristic" way to drink lemonade. Unfortunately, my idea of futuristic drinking never caught on...maybe it was the bite marks. Popples used as pregnancy bellies with jelly bracelets as make-shift braces (okay, dangerous practice with the bracelets, and why did I think I should be pregnant AND have braces?!); hours in the basement by myself choreographing dances to Bette Midler's "Miss Otis Regrets;" summer nights playing Spud in the front lawn (don't forget those obligatory games of "wrestling" N made me play, too); translating old favorite books into plays in front of my mirror (or Ms Mallhoit's 2nd grade class); random days that N and I would dress up like clowns for no reason; the fake hockey team my brothers and I were part of (painted shirts included--but my membership came at the price of finding out there was no Santa); not only reading books with my family under the tree each afternoon, but also using our magazine file of cut up magazine pictures my mom collected and organized, cornmeal and glue to write our own books; silly days when you would come down for breakfast and have the table set up like a birthday party, or you would drink your OJ out of bud vases; eating dinner out of Tonka trucks; radio shows the 3 siblings taped on the 7 hour drive to PA. Oh, I could go on for pages! (The blog might also serve as great documentation as to why my siblings and I are slightly eccentric!) You thought Mr. Rogers had a huge land of "make-believe," my household was always a land of "make-believe." (Authors note: I realize that this all comes across as though I may feel that my childhood was perfect. It certainly wasn't. Especially when I would find my Paddington bear hanging from my closet door with an evil note strung around his neck, or discover that my Barbie's head was not only shaved, but also had a huge lightening strike penned in to the side (This particular Barbie would change roles from being a punk rocker, to having cancer. Sad but true.) In truth, I bet my childhood was a lot like many other kids' childhoods who grew up in the 1980s. I just realize that so much of what we did has now been replaced by toys and items that already have a set of rules, and don't require as much executive function. It has been clearly illustrated in my 15 years of sitting).

I find it overwhelming, and slightly discouraging to see all of the toys and "things" that manufacturers and advertisers try to shove down your throat when you have a baby. You NEED vibrating, flashing lights on all baby products. You NEED diaper wipe warmers. You NEED TVs in the back of your car to entertain your kids (God forbid you talk with/to them). You NEED to have your home hemorrhage with toys that have the rules programmed into a computer chip. I realize I am soap boxing, and apologize if it is offensive to anyone (blame it on the hormones). Surely, our home will have plenty of toys, and I imagine some will have lights and require batteries...but we would like to keep the volume of toys in general at a manageable level. What about wooden blocks? Bristle blocks? Simple pull toys? Well made, hand crafted non-toxic toys? I am aware that there needs to be some sort of balance so Linus doesn't go to school just to be ostracized for not knowing what a Wii is, or how to boot up a computer. (He may already have a hard enough time if he inherits the worst of our gene pool: bad, crooked teeth; poor eyesight; gangly frame; huge chin; and receeding hair line.) It won't be easy to find a happy medium, but Eric and I are willing to take the time to try!

Something else that has stuck with me over the years. In my mom's 20+ years of experience as a Preschool Director, she has noticed that children are being held less and less often. You can purchase a "contraption" to hold your baby from the time he/she wakes up, until the time he/she goes to sleep (carriers, bouncers, chairs, saucers, swings, "pods," etc). With an increase in supplemental items for holding babies, they are not developing the neck and back strength as early and as well as they have in the past. Of course, walking up 3 flights of concrete steps to our condo is not something I intend on doing with Linus just in my arms, but I (and Eric) hope to make a conscious effort to hold Linus, unassisted, as much as we can.

We are not perfect, and our goal is not to have a perfect life or child...but with so many decisions for the future, I hope we can equip ourselves with enough information to make mindful and healthy decisions.

I now step down. Phew! Perhaps I'll go organize some colored pencils or something...

Gratitudes: -I am thankful that my best friend RI has overcome one immense hurdle: the master's thesis! CONGRATS!

Nixed Names:
Isaac, Braxton, Hicks, Evan, Owen, Abe, Josef, Dylan, Griffin, Jens, Jan, Nevin, Emil, Milo, Luke, Lucas, Simon

Saturday, March 1, 2008

23 Week Belly

This one is for T. (See, not much change!)

Not much to report on the preggo front. Still hypertensive and waiting for the 24 hour "jug" test and blood work to come back and see if I can add preeclampsia to my list of ailments. I tell you...just when I start feeling good. My appointments, which are now weekly, are all classified as "OB - high risk." But it means we go for another u/s on Thursday!


-I am grateful for being able to see Eric PR today in a 10K. I was up at 6am on a Saturday, which I was not initially grateful for, but was SO thrilled to see him run strong and well. This won't make up for the fact that I won't be able to see him run the Boston Marathon (darn high risk), but I'll be there (with Linus) in spirit.

Nixed Names:
ISAAC (I am sad about this one), Braxton, Hicks, Evan, Owen, Abe, Josef, Dylan, Griffin, Jens, Jan, Nevin, Emil, Milo, Luke, Lucas, Simon