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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Maternity Fairy Clothes: Chocolate Friday.

Black and gray are usually my go-to neutrals, but chocolate is great too. I'm glad I have a dress in that color now. This dress was also a great find because it has sleeves--rare for dresses. So if it's a warm day or I get hot at work, I don't have to wear a jacket or cardigan. The fact that it holds my pregnancy fairly gracefully even though it's not maternity is wonderful too.

I searched for brown earrings for a while before finding these at Black Lion.

This is the last of the new headbands!

Josh makes silly comments while he takes my photo. He likes to see what kind of semi-flirty, semi-exasperated faces I'll make.
Dress: Belk
Earrings: Black Lion
Headband: Target
Flats: Big Buddha

Monday, September 19, 2011

(Maybe a Little [But Probably Not]) Progress Report.

I find myself more hungry (on Friday, Josh went out to find me a sausage biscuit. Twice.), but I seem to be losing a little weight. Sleep has become elusive again. I keep thinking my back, hips, and whole pelvic floor can't hurt much more without really laying me out, but then, they do. The contractions are less frequent and more intense (some have solicited surprised sounds from me...especially when they get really pinchy or rippy just as I think they're winding down). Instead of just in my abdomen, I feel them in my back, pelvic floor, and butt. My heartburn has gotten worse (to the point of water burning when I swallow it), and I've had some rough headaches. Oliver has been keeping up with his exercise routine. Last week, two people at work pointed out that I've dropped.

I've had two big cleaning rounds this week, one on Wednesday and one on Sunday. On Wednesday, I cleaned the bathroom and kitchen thoroughly, including the tub, tub mat, and cracks under the cabinets. On Sunday, I focused on the kitchen and bleached the washer, dryer, and trashcan. Both nights, I worked on sanitizing and organizing bottles and on baby laundry. I cleaned up Oliver's room again on Sunday night; this because I had a third shower--a surprise one at work the day of my last ultrasound.

My coworkers must have thrown it together in a couple of days, realizing that the time was at hand. They planned it for a doctor's appointment day because Josh would be with me (he hadn't started coming every day yet). They'd transformed the little conference room (in which I had my first, frightening interview) with a tablecloth, flowers from around campus, food trays, and presents. Both faculty and staff came even though many had to come and go for meetings. We ate veggies and dip, chips, Pepperidge Farm cookies (!), and rainbow cake with light icing that tasted like Cool Whip. The presents were perfect: primarily bigger clothes, bigger diapers, and wipes. We also got some great books, an Amazon gift card for more books, lots of socks, a tiny neck pillow for the car seat and stroller (appropriately chocolate and sage green), a whole set of story and song CDs, a blanket that says, "Thank heaven for little boys" (great for a Gigi fan like I am), and more infant gas drops. Hooray! The science department got together to buy a whole case of size 2 diapers, and the package decor was two darling wrist rattles: a monkey and an elephant. I can't wait to see if Oliver likes those. Oliver has more warm clothes now, and he won't be naked after the first three, six, or even nine months! I really seem to have made friends at work lately. So many people have been eager to check on me, and the shower made me feel special.

Josh also built the bouncer on Sunday. It was more complicated than I'd expected. I ordered it primarily so that Josh could have a way to pee during the day. It's adorable: bunny headrest, carrot toy with a bee on it. My brother was born on New Year's Day, and I have a photo of him in a bouncer on Valentine's Day.

I've found that the people who wrote that birth class book know a bit. Josh tried pressing on my lower back with his palms during a contraction, and it did help. I thought the idea of a focal point during contractions was silly, but I've found that, when my eyes aren't closed, I use one automatically (a loose thread on a towel, a polka dot on a blanket). So I tucked one of the Oliver-on-a-seahorse cards into Josh's computer bag (he'll almost certainly grab it. I've advised him to leave the computer alone though). It would be motivating, and the colors are soothing.

On Thursday morning, we were up early and ready for our appointment. As Josh started up the car, I happened to look down at the appointment sheet that had ended up on the floor of the car. It clearly stated that our appointment was for the following Monday. Our appointments have always been on Thursday (I built my work schedule around that), and I don't remember the receptionist saying it would be otherwise. We sat, stunned, in the car for a while before going inside and going back to bed. People popped into my office all day to ask how the appointment was. Well, we apparently actually have one today. I wonder if my belly will measure differently and how the doctor (we're seeing a very laid back one this time) will react if it doesn't. I actually don't remember him using a tape measure before. Though it's ever so unpleasant, I'm hoping for a full exam to see if I'm progressing.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Maternity Fairy Clothes: More Teal.

I wore this for that crazy doctor's appointment day. At least I was comfortable! This is another of those beautiful, super soft tops my mom got me for my birthday. A maternity clothes birthday was the best idea ever.

I have this cardigan in three colors! I love the ribbon trim. You can see our tragic flat tire, the second in two weeks (now fixed), in the background.

This is one of my simpler necklaces.

Hello, baby!

Maternity Pants: Motherhood
Maternity Top: Pea in the Pod
Cardigan: Old Navy
Headband: Target
Necklace: Charlotte Russe
Flats: Target

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Oliver's Room.

People could write novels and make coffee table books about this room. It's that special. Over Labor Day weekend, I finally got it cleaned up, organized, and decorated.

This is the door to our prince's room. Like much of the art, Melissa made this. The "Welcome, Little Prince" sign was next to his book cake at my second shower.

This is his closet door (though it's actually full of Josh's clothes...closet space is not generous here, so Oliver's clothes are in the drawers of my wardrobe). I got this Peter Pan print when I pre-ordered the DVD at the Disney Store. I originally envisioned a Peter Pan nursery, but I like the eclectic result.

Thanks, Cracker Barrell, for understanding the bee thing.

My uncle Ross made this for me many years ago. Note the dancing lamb.

My great-grandfather made this cuckoo clock. We don't wind it, but it looks like a treasure Peter would have in his hideout. Maybe we'll find Tink perched atop it.



Here are Oliver's bookshelves. The first is just his while the second is a mess of our books.

 His Tigger, giraffe, seahorse, and bears will stand guard until Oliver is big enough to cuddle them. And there's Skippito! The seahorse was the first baby item Josh and I bought, quite early. We couldn't resist him.

Young adult books (for later), Calico Critters, Oliver's guardian fairy ("There ought to be a fairy for every girl and boy." --Barrie), Beauty and the Beast, and Oliver riding his seahorse.

Seahorses, wipes, Baby Bee, diapers, and a box of coupons and manuals for baby stuff.

More books and a photo of Josh and I (holding Tink) on our DisneyWorld honeymoon.

Still more books. We'll start at the bottom and work our way up.

Twilight Turtle, all-year Christmas tree, and more Disney photos of Mama and Daddy (with Cinderella!).

Roos, Pooh, bees, and Daddy as a little guy.

Baby's first year calendar...which appropriately begins with a bee.

My aunt Melissa made this.

This was Josh's little chair.

 Our chubby bee and a massive snowflake. Oliver has plenty to peer at.

Melissa made this lovely Oliver portrait. Eventually, the crib will contain more than My Brest Friend.

We love you, stench-reducer.

 Davis likes the guest bed. He really believes this is his room. 

I love peeking into this room.

Why have a glider when you can read stories while sprawled on a purple, ivy-covered bed?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Maternity Fairy Clothes: Jewel Tones.

These colors remind me of two of my Levenger inks: Amethyst and Gemstone Green. I'll never get over this emerald cardigan.

Why, yes, pinstriped maternity skirts do exist! And if you buy one a size up, it can be comfortable! I'll try to get a bit more wear out of this one. I'm sure it would look great with black tights during a winter pregnancy.

These are my new shiny purple flats! The stretchy back keeps them relatively comfortable even with the swelling.

You guessed it: another fabulous headband. These are really improving my quality of life.

This is that Almay for green eyes eyeshadow. Like! It really does bring out the green.

There's my little guy!

Maternity Skirt: Motherhood
Tank Top: Ann Taylor Loft
Cardigan: Ann Taylor Loft
Headband: Target
Eyeshadow: Almay
Flats: Target

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Poet Blessings.

I have a new annoying habit of waking up at least an hour before I need to. This means that I end up hungry and end up eating second breakfast to avoid starving at work. This may or may not be contributing to the stray and completely unnecessary stretch marks that are showing up all over me. 

Speaking of food, someone stole my lunch on Tuesday. I'm not talking about a PB&J. I'm talking about a frozen steamer meal of pasta, marinara, tomatoes, sausage, and meatballs. The dejection (and extreme suspicion of everyone in my building) was pretty all-consuming for part of the afternoon.

Yesterday was a good day though. I had the crazy good fortune of having my thesis adviser and one of my thesis readers come to my school to give readings in the spring. In fact, my thesis adviser came just when Oliver began to hear outside sounds. How cool is that? Anyway, yesterday, a professor with whom Josh and I took a class together came to read. I didn't really expect him to remember me since it was a class he team taught with a visiting poet (if only she would come too!). But he had that trying-to-place-you look when he shook my hand, and as soon as I told him how we'd met, he remembered me and Josh.

"Didn't you two get married?"
"Yes. We're having a baby. Two and a half weeks!"
"Or whenever," my coworker said.

Josh came to the main reading in the library, and our Mr. Poet said hello to him in the middle of his presentation. The reading was excellent, and Oliver seemed very responsive to the voice. Afterward, Mr. Poet came to talk to us, and the college president (who is an old friend) then talked to him about us. The P and VP came to meet Josh, saying they had seen him on campus. Josh explained that he's on standby for the big event. The P invited Josh along to the lunch at the P's house. Well! Now, everyone knows who Josh is, and I would get to have him with me.

The house was lovely. The P and his wife gave us an adorable sleeper set with bear feet and a pattern of little bears cuddling their blankets. It came with a cloth (machine washable!) bear to cuddle. The food included a chicken casserole with fancy green beans and almonds; bread crumb, onion, and zucchini casserole; yeasty rolls; and some kind of tomato gelatin. Josh the veggie-head did just fine. We sat on a cushioned glider on the screen-in, ceiling-fanned porch. We chatted with administrators and my coworkers and answered Mr. Poet's questions about what we've been doing. He kept telling everyone that he takes credit for our marriage. We also got to meet his wife, whom I liked right away. I felt unusually relaxed (despite a slight fear with every twinge that I may stain the president's white cushion with some labor-y fluid). Then, Josh went to get me a generous slice of cake. The cake was pumpkin with a thin layer of spiced icing and walnut halves. I can't describe the perfection of it.

We said goodbye, and Mr. Poet told us to let him know. He complimented our literary choice of name and was just charming all around (in his coat, tie, bushy beard, hiking sandals, and woolly socks). Josh and I started thinking about all those creative writing classes we took together and about the evenings at the visiting poet's octagonal cottage, drinking raspberry soda in plastic wine glasses and talking about writing. We were poor and outcast and alone up on a mountain, but it was a beautiful and privileged time in our lives.

I think some kind of fairy tale is here. Since I began, in earnest, my journey to motherhood, I have received visits from two of my MFA professors and one professor Josh and I shared when we were beginning our lives together. They've all read their poems, and in their way, blessed this baby and me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

(Lack of) Progress Report.

On Thursday, we had an eventful appointment. I was day three of some evil cold or allergies, and I was feeling intensely ill. I knew the crud was creeping its way down into my chest. The nurse practitioner took my word even though my lungs sounded clear. She gave me a prescription for a Z pack, another for an inhaler (I haven't used mine in over a year, but I don't want to risk not having a fresh one here at the end, especially since my mother's asthma was so bad at the end with my brother), and instructors to try Zyrtec. Then, she told us that my uterus was measuring five weeks too small. I'd been thinking that I didn't look as pregnant as I was. I didn't feel especially worried since Oliver was dancing around as she spoke. I did wonder, though, if slow growth, low fluid, or my own size would mean we were having a baby soon.

We had just sat down to wait when she returned to take us to the ultrasound room. The tech is so nice. While she was taking measurements, and I couldn't see the screen, I felt a kick (the strong ones are rare now; he mostly just has room to squirm and shift), and Josh saw a foot take up the screen. When I got to look, we saw Oliver's profile and watched him push his lips out rapidly in real time. It reminded me of my brother's dreaming of nursing as a baby. I wanted to tell Oliver that I have what he needs. A direct view of his face showed the weight he's gained. His cheeks are chubby! His weight showed as 6 pounds and 1 ounce. "Babies are born at that weight," I told Josh.

The NP reviewed the results and showed them to two of the doctors. Everyone said we're fine. Oliver is favors my right side, and his bunching up probably throws off the measurements. He's measuring only about nine days small. I hope that doesn't mean he'll come nine days late! Apparently, he wasn't small at the last ultrasound, so many he'll just have a petite start. I'm glad the NP was so thorough, and I'm glad I'd only gained a pound during the week.

I spent the next three days in a coma, practically. I'd been getting just a few miserable hours of sleep. Then, I was completely dazed at work, sleeping in the car (I told Josh I couldn't drive), sleeping ten hours at night, sleeping in the day and afternoon and evening. Oliver, however, didn't seem phased. My mom said it was probably the Zyrtec. I stopped taking it, figuring it had probably done its work by making me sleep. I was still knocked out on Saturday even though I'd only taken it on Thursday and Friday. By Sunday, I still had allergy symptoms (my cough had gotten worse as I thought it would), but I didn't feel ill.

Sunday was also the day a new phase started. I've been having Braxton Hicks contractions off and on for weeks. I'd had hour-long rounds of pretty regular ones and random ones throughout the day. But on Sunday evening, Josh was next to me with an online counter for three hours. I squeezed his hand with the starts and stops. I'd read about focal points and thought they were silly, but I found myself staring at the Puffs logo on my tissue box or the art nouveau Moet et Chandon poster in the hall. After three hours, the contractions spaced out enough that I could ignore them somewhat.

But at work the next day, my back and hips felt very different. I couldn't tell if I was sore or continuing to have less distinct contractions. At around four, when I had two hours to go, I started having contractions that made me hold onto my desk. The first major one lasted two minutes. After that, they shorted to 30-45 seconds but came under two minutes apart. When someone came into my office, I could barely talk. Faking it is going to get increasingly difficult. I called Josh to hear his voice, and he got rather nervous, being an hour away. I started to feel a little weepy, alone and unsure of what to do. After two hours, I was okay enough to drive home.

Josh drove me to work yesterday, saying, "We're not doing that again." Walking was difficult, but I got through the day okay. I had pretty major back pain my last hour, but I wasn't noticing individual contractions. The back pain is sort of familiar to me because I had endometriosis pain for a couple of years before I knew what it was.

As we were driving home, the rumbling of the car (which is minimal) started bugging me. I was mid-sentence when I stopped. Josh looked at me, and I said, "I feel like something is going to come out of me." The general pressure felt suddenly active. We almost pulled over, so I could walk in the grass. I didn't want to stop since that would mean a longer time before the rumbling ended. But I also knew that the farther we went toward home, the farther we went from the hospital. I felt the near-primal hunger that sometimes follows my contractions. Once we reached our town, we drove through McDonalds for a grilled chicken sandwich.
"The McChicken isn't grilled," we heard.
"Then give me a club sandwich with nothing on it." Grilled chicken. Bun. That's all I asked.
I was entirely focused on eating in the car and then inside. With that task complete, I got into whatever positions my body seemed to want. Hearing Josh in the kitchen was making me feel weird, so I told him to say aloud what he was doing until he came back. When he came in with his dinner, I instructed him to eat. My speech was clipped and probably unclear, but I preferred the calm, authoritative mood to the weepy, worried one. Josh is very tolerant of my do this/don't do that when I'm hurting or just in that intense place. I think he's just glad when I can express what will help me. When he was done eating, Josh massaged my back and hips, which was like wonder therapy. I lay on my side, and according to a sudden urge, watched YouTube videos of old Windows screensavers. I don't know. It was soothing.

Then, I was ready to take a shower. I stood up with some difficulty, and we both saw how different my belly looked. My protruding belly button is lower, for one, and the whole bump has shifted down. So whatever else has or hasn't happened, I'm pretty sure Oliver has dropped. Maybe that's what I felt in the car.

In the shower, I said, "All of this keeps happening, and then, I'm at work the next day." That will make taking anything totally seriously difficult. I tired of hearing You'll know. I spoke to a coworker yesterday. She had intense B-H contractions for the last couple of months in each of her pregnancies much so that she arrived at the hospital fully dilated and nineteen minutes from delivery with her first child. She said that she just figured it was more of the same, and with each of her four children, she never knew she was in labor. This was bizarrely comforting to me.

For the last week, I've done nothing outside of work besides sleep, be sick, or deal with this pre-labor weirdness. At work, I've focused on meeting with subs, preparing for my absence, and again, dealing with pre-labor or whatever it is. I can't process new information or even clean, launder, and sanitize as I want to. So why have I just typed all this? A sudden urge. I just go with those now. Let's hope I'll get the urge to push Josh to the car when I need to.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Maternity Fairy Clothes: In the Details.

I haven't worn this pretty maternity blouse enough. We had a cloudy, slightly chilly day, so I decided to go for a bright autumn outfit.
This may be my favorite jacket. I got it on crazy sale. It looks like it's wearing a ruffled underskirt. 

This is another of my pretty new headbands (clearance!). Life is good.

Maternity Pants: Motherhood
Maternity Blouse: Motherhood
Jacket: Ann Taylor Loft
Headband: Target
Flats: Target

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Maternity Fairy Clothes: Pewter.

I'm trying to get more use out of this excellent black maternity dress without looking like I'm wearing the same outfit every time.

The shimmery flower details keep this charcoal gray cardigan away from ordinary.

I just bought this headband at Target recently, and it's probably my current favorite. I love the dark silver shade and the two strands, and it keeps my hair in place.

I also got these tweedy gray flats at Target recently. They're comfortable and look classy but still unique.

Comfortable & confident.

Maternity Dress: Target
Cardigan: Old Navy
Flats: Target
Headband: Target
Earrings: Ann Taylor Loft

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Maternity Fairy Clothes: Rose Leaf Complexion.

Two colors again, please. Anne Shirley would appreciate the puffed sleeves.

This tiny hand mirror is precious. I bought one of these for my mom as well when I found it.

Yes, I like this sort of thing.

Maternity Pants: Motherhood
Maternity Tee: Motherhood
Cardigan: Target
Necklace: Target
Headband: The Icing
Flats: Target