Sunday, August 31, 2008

Birthday Surprise

Michael got the best birthday surprise last night...the arrival of Blauhai. My dad decided to drive over from Mississippi a week earlier than originally planned to surprise Michael on his birthday.

Since the car's arrival around 6 p.m. last night, Michael has spent every waking moment tinkering, driving, tinkering some more. I think he's in heaven. He was outside working on the car until 2 a.m. and then woke up this morning and went out again at 8 a.m. He didn't even stop to make coffee, his typical morning must-have.

I can't get him to post anything on my blog or write anything in the baby book, but he did take the time last night to start a new website for his project car:

I think that pretty much sums it up.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

No pain, no gain

Last night I really thought we may be headed to the hospital. After experiencing strong contractions throughout the entire night, they are still not happening close enough to justify a hospital run. 

I tried to get some sleep but that proved difficult when you wake up in pain at least once an hour. I was never really able to go into a deep sleep so today my eyes are heavy and feel like they may just pop out of my head. 

Michael was a good sport and tried to stay in the bed to comfort me, but gave up a little after 1 a.m. and went to the other room. I don't blame him, I would have done the same if I could. Today is his birthday and I don't want to spend it stuck in the house with contractions. Maybe a long walk will help make the pain pass or speed up the pre-labor process. 

Now that the day is here, Michael has changed his tune about sharing his birthday with the baby. At first he really didn't want to, but he got excited last night thinking the baby was on his way and would likely come today. I'm doing what I can to make that happen since he doesn't have any b-day gifts to open from me. 

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Occupational Hazard

As many of you know I work in the communications field and frequently deal with members of the press. Usually this means facilitating interviews between our executive staff and reporters, or helping to prep our spokesperson on the relevant talking points -- all while staying behind the scenes as much as possible.

Well, yesterday I realized that pregnancy and my profession are not the best of friends. I received a call from a local TV reporter needing an on-camera interview. Unfortunately our Executive Director was on an airplane and unavailable to do the interview so I had to do it. Again, this isn't typically a big deal except that I'm already packing on the pounds before adding 10 that the camera contributes.

As the camera guy was setting up the shot I asked if he could find an angle that didn't make me look pregnant. While I was mostly joking, the laughing response he provided was just the ego boost any nine month pregnant woman would love.

I didn't get home in time to watch the 5 p.m. newscast which is just as well. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Calm Before the Storm

Hello All,

Roxy here. Just wanted to check in before my world gets turned upside down. In my last few days of glory, I've been enjoying some quality ball fetching time with dad, swimming with my mama, and enjoying the quietness of our house.

For some reason my parents are currently sleeping in separate beds. I think it has something to do with all the pillows my mom requires. There's barely any room left in the bed for me, much less my dad. It doesn't bother me because I spend time in each bed throughout the night. Mom tosses and turns quite a bit, but if she gets too restless I just go snuggle up with my dad.

Sometimes in the evenings my mom gets pains in her stomach and starts breathing funny. Dad helps her relax and I try to help too by snuggling up to comfort her. I think she appreciates it.

I know this blog will soon be filled with pictures of my new little brother, so I thought I'd post a few recent shots of me to be sure you don't forget what I look like. While we had the camera out, dad also took a few new pictures of mom too. She's the big lady below with what I think may be a basketball under her dress. Mom says to disregard her hair, as they had just returned from a long walk. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Latest Check Up News

Well, I'm a little bummed I don't have more to report from this morning's check up. After experiencing contractions yesterday from about 2:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., I really thought I'd be more dilated today. Unfortunately this is not the case and after all that discomfort I'm still only around 1 cm. Arg.

On a positive note, she could feel that the baby is once again facing down and back in the right position so that's a relief. He's also started to drop which is a good sign, but is increasing my pelvic pain and need to constantly urinate.

I did ask the doctor how big she thinks the baby will be and right now she estimates he's around 7 lbs. 6-8 oz. She also provided a disclaimer that over the next week or two the baby can really pack on the weight, so I need to be eating nutritiously.

Since Michael and I were both over 8 lbs., I fully expected to have at least an 8 lb. baby but right now the doctor doesn't think he'll cross the 8 lb. mark.

That's the latest for now. I'm trying to keep a positive attitude these last few weeks, but it grows more difficult by the day. Two co-workers who are due after me will likely be having their babies before my induction date so that's not helping my mental state. That fact compounded with the "You're still here?" remarks I constantly receive in the office halls are further deteriorating my psychological condition.

So, say a little prayer that my attitude takes a turn for the better. If not for me, then for Mike since I know he's ready for this phase to pass as well.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Michael's Bundle of Joy

Today was a big day in our household. My dad and uncle traveled from Atlanta to South Carolina to pick up Michael's new four-wheel baby. We may not have a name for our human son yet, but this is one baby that came already named. The car is lovingly called Blauhai (German for "Blue Shark"). Mike tells me this E24 model is referred to as a "shark" by automotive enthusiasts, hence the origin of the name.

While it's not parked in our garage just yet, Michael is one step closer to realizing his dream of having a BMW "project" car. I think he may be more excited for the car to arrive than our son (except for the fact that the plan is for the car to be driven over when my dad travels to come see the baby, so perhaps all hope is not lost).

Many of you have asked if this one final hurrah before becoming a daddy. Maybe so, but in the grand scheme of things he could be asking for a lot more so I'll wait to pick my battles.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Nursery

This past weekend Michael's parents helped us sort through the last of the nursery stuff, hang pictures, set up the crib bedding, etc. so I'm finally ready to post pictures of the room. Hope you enjoy!

View as you walk in the bedroom door (crib and built-in shelves on the left, changing table and closet on the right)

The fish screenprint above and the hand drawings below are pieces Michael did in college.
The built-in shelves. A co-worker gave us the adorable saying above it which reads "Boy, n: A noise with dirt on it"

The dresser and changing table

This picture hangs above the dresser and was in the grandkids' nursery at my Grandmother's house when I was a baby. It reads "I believe in Miracles"

Check out the cool mobile we found at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. It's called "Falling Leaves" and I'm sure will make our son an artistic genius.

Miss Roxy just chillin' in the rocking chair showing off her summer haircut.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

OBGYN Check Up

Today is Tuesday which means it's time for another OBGYN visit. We are now going weekly since we're in the home stretch. 

The baby's heartbeat had fallen to around 130 which was down from the 140 range. They weren't concerned with the drop as long as it stays above 120. We also learned I am dilated 1 cm and starting to efface (thinning out of the cervix) which are all signs pointing toward delivery. The bad news is  that delivery could be hours, days or still weeks away. 

The doctor could feel that the baby's head is in a slightly cockeyed position compared to last time, so I'm hoping he doesn't try to turn the wrong way. I've been able to feel the baby moving a lot lately and am keeping my fingers crossed she just caught him in a strange position. 

As we were leaving the doctor said, "See you in a week, if not before," which makes me wonder if she'd place any bets on how soon the baby will come. I'm sure she has a hunch from professional experience, but for now we're still playing the waiting game. 

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fire Drill

This morning we woke up to what we thought might be D-Day (as in Delivery Day). Well, it turned out to be a false alarm but not before we had a practice run packing, driving and checking in to the hospital. 

When we were learning about the stages of labor in childbirth class, I kept telling myself it all seemed so clear and I wouldn't be one of "those" women who went to the hospital only to be told it wasn't time. Well, that's exactly what happened this morning.

While disappointing, the exercise did give us insight into how Michael and I would react when "the time" finally arrives. Throughout my braxton hicks over the last week and more severe contractions last night he has been very calm, attentive and accommodating. I was a bit surprised by how frantic he was this morning when we thought my water may have broken and we needed to get ready and finish packing our hospital bag. 

Michael kept checking and rechecking our hospital bag list and was like a whirlwind around the house getting Roxy some food and water, gathering phone chargers and doing anything and everything he could think of in record time. Meanwhile, I got dressed and calmly sent a few emails alerting work, then sat back and watched Michael's blood pressure rise. 

After getting an inside look at the triage unit of the birth center, our fire drill was complete and we returned home with no baby. I don't regret going to get things checked out, but I also hope we don't  continue going through these false alarms for another three weeks. It's an emotional and physical roller coaster I hope we don't have to ride. 

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mental Nesting

My brain has been working overtime lately creating mental lists of things to do prior to the baby's arrival. This applies to both my home and work environments and I think it's starting to wear down those closest to me (i.e. Mike and the two people I supervise). I realize I'm way over-preparing, but I  just can't seem to stop myself. 

For example, last week I had a "transition" meeting at work to go over the maternity leave plan I created. Well, it only covered the basics and was more than 5 pages long. Did I mention it was an Excel spreadsheet? I knew this would be overwhelming so I tried to distract my colleagues over a great lunch, but I'm not sure it was enough of a diversion because they still think I'm crazy. 

Mike is going through the same ordeal. His honey-do list seems never-ending and while logically I know the baby will not care about the things I'm asking of him, I continue to focus on the most random of tasks and cannot rest until they are completed (like fixing our shredder or touching up wall paint). 

Unfortunately, at this time the nesting instinct has not translated into a physical compulsion to clean house. Just ask Mike's parents who were in town this weekend. Who knows the state they will find our house in by the time the baby comes. Hopefully I can at least get the sheets washed for when they come up again. 

Right now my mind is so focused on other things I'm hoping when we come home from the hospital, all of our visitors will be distracted by the baby and will overlook the neglected chores and piles of laundry. Maybe the cleaning compulsion will kick in before then and I'll get a burst of energy. I just hope my husband and colleagues will still be speaking to me. 

Friday, August 15, 2008

We're Officially Crazy

At this late stage of pregnancy, most advice warns against making any hasty decisions that you may later regret. For example, getting a drastically different haircut or making large financial decisions.

True to form, Michael and I have decided not to heed this advice and jumped head first into what I would consider a big decision...selling his car.

For the last few years Michael has been scheming ways to get his hands on an 80s model BMW to have as a "project car." Even though we commute together 90% of the time in my car and his Accord sits in our garage most days, we still need a second car at times and I don't want one up on blocks constantly getting worked on. After much back and forth, we agreed if he sold his Accord and found a decent BMW that is reliable but still offers small "projects" for him to do we would both be happy.

So earlier this week he decided to list his car on Craigslist and then planned to take some pictures this weekend to create an AutoTrader listing. I really didn't take all of this very seriously because he's tried to sell his car in the past to no avail.

Well, wouldn't you know he sold the car last night before he even listed it on AutoTrader and I have to say I wasn't emotionally prepared for it. His car was the first big purchase we made as a married couple and as official "adults" so it was a bit of a sentimental loss.

Now the tricky part comes in purchasing his project car. He's located the perfect one online, but the catch is it's in South Carolina and I'm in no state for him to be traveling across the country to buy the vehicle. So the next step is to cook up a plan for my dad (a car aficionado and frequent co-conspirator with my husband) to go check out the car and possibly drive it back for us.

While it thrills me to no end to see how excited all of this makes Michael, I have to say we are officially crazy for taking all of this on three weeks (or less) before our baby's arrival. Of course, Michael is making phone calls to the bank and checking flight schedules for my dad with unmatched fervor. He's even daydreaming of tinkering out in the garage with his son right beside him.

So say a little prayer that all of this works out in the end. Right now I'm beginning to think we should be sent to the nut house for self-inflicting such craziness into our lives.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect

They say braxton hicks contractions are "practice" for labor and lately I've been getting practice daily. The contractions come on mainly in the evening and feel kind of like a charlie horse cramp wrapping around the lower part of my baby bump which gets super hard like a basketball. 

They aren't extremely painful, just really tight and uncomfortable. I'm sure the baby feels them too because he decides to start kicking my displaced organs and that really makes life fun. 

I can see why women often mistake braxton hicks contractions for the beginning of actual labor. They are a unique sensation which seem like a logical signal that something more must be on the way. Each evening when they begin, I wonder if it's the "real deal" so I try to pay attention to their frequency and length but they are never consistent enough to activate the phone tree and go to the hospital. 

I am pleased to report that our hospital bag is about 90% packed and the car seat is installed for when the "real" contractions kick in one of these days. So rest easy...I'm not in complete denial anymore.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

30 Days And Counting

Wow, it's hard to believe we're in the final few weeks of this journey. The birth trackers on this blog are set to count down to Sept. 10 (my original due date and now induction date).  I realize the baby could come at any moment, but for some reason I have yet to fully prepare for our trip to the hospital. 

The last time I was a patient in the hospital I was being born. I'd never even stepped foot in the ER as a patient until the first trimester scare we had early on in this pregnancy. 

I've been very good at focusing my time and energy on getting everything ready that doesn't relate to our hospital stay. This means organizing my maternity leave and medical benefits, pediatrician and day care, the nursery, etc.

So today I plan to bite the bullet and get a few things in order like packing our hospital bag and putting the car seat in the car. I don't know why I've been putting this off. I'm not afraid of being in the hospital or even the pain of childbirth, but I am anxious about enduring a ridiculously long labor. This is probably because lately women feel compelled to share their 30+ hour labor stories with me despite reading my body language signaling them to shut up. 

I could be content putting off the hospital bag packing a few more weeks (hey, there's lots of Olympics to watch instead), but I don't want to be scrambling to find my toothbrush holder while also breathing through contractions.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Waddle, waddle

Try as I might, I can no longer walk in a straight line. I'm a full-time waddler. 

Sometimes I really focus on trying to walk "normally" but to no avail. To top it off, every single person I pass in the hallway at work smirks or comments as they see me waddling toward them. I decided to keep a comment tally today just for fun and recorded 11 coworker comments regarding my new swagger. I guess it's better than hearing "Wide load, coming through!"

In other wide load news, getting dressed each morning has become a challenge again. In the first trimester I remember being stuck between outgrowing my normal clothes but being too small for maternity clothes. A family friend gave me a tub of maternity clothes which really helped the dressing dilemma, but it included a few tops that at the time I thought were ENORMOUS! 

When I first went through the clothes bin I set aside a few blouses I really never thought I'd be big enough to fit into. That all changed this morning as I tried on several of my usual work blouses and they were all too short. Remembering the oversized tops, I rummaged through the few pieces still packed in the clothing bin and wouldn't you know one of the ENORMOUS tops fit perfectly. 

I was torn between being happy that something still fit and feeling sad that the solution was found in what used to fit me like a tent. Say a little prayer that my pants hold out for a few more weeks. If I outgrow the stretchy maternity panel it might just send me over the edge. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mark Your Calendars

We've reached a compromise on the induction debate. Michael came with me to my OBGYN check up today so we could ask the doctor 20 questions about being induced. In the end, we scheduled an induction after my due date where they would only give me Pitocin instead of other higher risk options. We decided to move forward knowing we or the doctor can always back out if things aren't progressing as needed when the time comes. 

So mark your calendars for Wed., Sept. 10. There's nothing saying our son will actually wait to be born then, but if he's anything like his daddy he'd be content staying in the warm womb until he's about 10 years old. 

In other news, we got to hear the baby's heartbeat (130) and they also did a quick ultrasound to check the baby's position. We were able to confirm that he is head down and facing toward my spine which is exactly where we want him to be. 

Monday, August 4, 2008

Finding a Pediatrician: Check

We can mark one more decision off our to do list. This afternoon we met with a great pediatrician who patiently and thoroughly answered all of our questions. He spent almost 30 minutes with us and his pager went off three times, but he took it in stride and never made us feel rushed. 

I think that was one of the last big decisions we had to make before the baby's arrival. Now when it's time to go to the hospital for delivery, all we have to do is tell them our pediatrician's name and they set everything up for him to come do our son's first check up while we're still in the hospital. 

To remind me of how D-day could come at any moment, our executive director came down to my office this morning and said that every Monday from now on he is going to stop by and see if I'm there, "because it's so close he can't assume I'm in the office." Wow, that was a wake up call. 

While I was discussing this with Michael on the way home he confessed that he's hoping to get "the call" while at work and rush me to the hospital with the excitement of a Hollywood movie. This fatherly dream directly conflicts with my fear of my water breaking in a very public place...such as my office. Stay tuned to see how the delivery drama plays out. 

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Latest Likes/Dislikes

I really don't have anything new to report today, so I'll just reflect on the latest things to make me happy/unhappy. Let's get the bad out of the way first:

Top 5 Things I Currently Hate

5. Our bed mattress
4. Feeling full all the time
3. My double chin
2. Not being able to find a comfortable position (sitting or lying down)
1. 105 degree days

Top 5 Things That Make Me Happy

5. Knowing the Olympics will soon be a great distraction from pregnancy 
4. Air conditioning
3. How weightless I feel in the swimming pool
2. Feeling the baby respond to our voices
1. Wearing cute flip flops to work (even though we're technically not supposed to...nobody dares say a word)