Monday, March 28, 2011

30 Weeks

That's right, 30!

Which can only mean that Husband has been hard at work assembling and installing things and now has Band-Aids on his hands from the manual labor. (Something about a power drill?)

I don't actually look this tired most of the time. I think my mascara was just smeared. I usually look much perkier.

So here's the baby! I've spent the last few weeks with one or both of her feet propped neatly against my belly button. The upside-down snoozer. Naturally, I now have an outie. And if this photo weren't cut off, it would be more apparent that my normal shirts are on the verge of joining the rest of my Doesn't Fit clothes in storage. I feel like she's grown like crazy since 28 weeks!

Baby Gear: Engage!
One great thing that happened this week was receiving our infant car seat and stroller as a gift from family in Texas. How great is this? If we had nothing else ready, this would be the thing to have. We still have to do the whole "get it properly installed in your car" thing, but at least we figured out all the parts that snap to each other.

What's even better: if it turns out our sonographer was 100% wrong and we end up with a boy, the color still works!  Note: baby gear can apparently swallow whole rooms in your house. Here it is filling no less than half of our dining room. 

Here's our Family of 3 portrait from the other week. 

What is She Up To?
So I have to say, at 30 weeks, I'm still feeling great. Even light on my feet. I had another checkup today, and the baby is still head-down and measuring on track for gestation. I've really felt her growth pick up since 28 weeks. But that's what you read about the 3rd trimester: all the parts are there; now they just need to chub out.

With this growth has come of lot of fetal movement, but fewer kicks and more swoops and swishes. And it all seems to be more constant throughout the day now versus just late at night or early in the morning. Some days are quieter than others, and then on some days I've gotten some pretty healthy jabs or series of kicks where it's like, "What is going on in there? Are you trying to dig your cell phone out of the bottom of your purse?"

On that note, Micah did ask me a few weeks ago what I thought was a good age to give a kid his or her own cell phone. I honestly don't know. By the time this baby is ambulatory and conversational, the societal standard could be like three years old.

I've also noticed that with the growth of the baby, my stomach seems to be shrinking and I get the food-baby feeling pretty quickly if I eat a big meal or even part of one. We grabbed dinner at Noodles the other night before Expedition Number Seven to Ikea, and I was pretty much thrown down by the Indonesian Peanut Saute and had to take half of it home.

I'm still running with Pharmie, which has been great. We ran in bitter wind, thunder, and *distant* lightning (but no ice) last week, the night before the Slap in the Face Ice Snow of March 2011. I'm pretty sure we were the only two pregnant women in the metropolitan area doing so. And of course if were weren't, SHOW YOURSELF. For the record, it was definitely not to prove anything and wasn't in in any way dangerous, just a frolic in craptastic March weather that most would certainly turn down. If there's anyone who can handle a cold, blustery wind, it's a pregnant woman in the third trimester!

I just (finally) switched to my road bike so I'm in a slightly more upright position while I bike. However, the saddle on this bike is totally different and I think I'll need a few rides to get used to it. My time trial bike has a split saddle that I've really gotten to like, and my road bike saddle is more standard-shaped. For some reason it makes me feel the need to take more trips to the WC, but maybe it's just a phase. At any rate, I certainly can't bike in aero position anymore, what with how it's like playing reverse Whack-A-Mole with my belly.

The To-Do List and Me
As I've relayed to a few already, I can take down a to-do list with one hand. So I actually feel ahead of what BabyCenter and The Bump are telling me are my preparation milestones. "Start to think about the details of your maternity leave?" Um, yeah, like three months ago. While we don't have everything done,  I'm not particularly overwhelmed by what's left because I know it will all happen. So I get a little antsy and start cleaning out the spice cabinet. Things like that.

At this stage, the challenge is not knowing whether you have six, ten, or twelve weeks left. Or any other number of weeks. It's like signing up for a triathlon and not knowing when it is or whether it's a sprint or an Ironman, or what the conditions will be.

At this point, it's too early to tell anything. I'm certainly not showing any signs of going early or having to be on bed rest. So I guess I'll just keep nesting the heck out of everything for now!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

They Leave Me No Choice

So I'm getting bigger. Rather, the baby is getting bigger. And I need a new swimsuit. 

However, my trusty Dolfin suits from don't go up another size. (I know, how ludicrous is that.) So what do I do? Search the site for maternity swimwear.


For real? First, any swimsuit modeled with a cowboy hat is destined for doom. Never mind the fact that I may as well have searched for maternity swim dresses. Ugh! 

Forget about the third trimester slowing you down; swimming in one of these "things" alone would provide enough drag to power a small community if properly hooked up.

I'll admit, there are a few on there that don't look like casual wear worn by Houston socialites. But why would I want to pay $65 plus shipping for the World's Most Ho-Hum Black One Piece? Not cheap! Talk about markup on something just because it's maternity.

So they really leave me no choice. I turn to the Dolfin Uglies 2-piece. Not maternity, but certainly makes a moot point out of the abdominal section. And it's only $25. 

Not everyone's cup of tea. But there is a certain joy in a swimsuit situation not involving contortion or undeniable discomfort. I've worn my new suit to the pool a few times now and so far no one's given me a weird look. I promised myself I wasn't going to start slinking into the pool wrapped in a towel once I started looking unmistakably pregnant, and instead have committed just to act as I normally would, as a wise friend suggested is always the best policy.

At this point all I really care about is being comfortable...and I definitely wouldn't be in a psychedelic muu muu. Certainly not for $117.95!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One Year Ago

I was going through old photos last night and realized I haven't been very prolific in my photography lately. Here is what I was taking pictures of a year ago in Guadalajara with Aunt Ann. I hate to admit it, but what's left of the snew and residual grayness isn't feeling as inspiring as Colonial Mexico at the moment. But bright days are ahead!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

28 Weeks

The third trimester has started!

And I'm thisclose to having an outie.

I'm amazed by how normal I feel. Yes, I do get tired more easily and very closely guard my sleep time, but all things considered, I don't think I have third trimester written all over me. Yet. Could my abnormally long waist with plenty of room to hide a baby and stave off diaphragm compression have something to do with it? As Johnny Drama on Entourage so eloquently coined it, I'm "top tall.")

Graffiti Baby
Sometimes I almost feel like I'm dressing HER now.

28 Week Checkup
I had another appointment with my midwife yesterday and I passed my gestational diabetes screening! The orange stuff you drink is not that bad and anyone who tells you otherwise is being dramatic. Okay, it's a little bit gross. But I just kept telling myself "This is Fanta! This is Fanta! You love orange pop!" The nurse told me I had five minutes to drink all 16oz., but I was able to get it down in about 25 seconds.

The baby's growth is on track and her heart rate is nicely in the upper 150s like it's been at previous visits. She's vertex at the moment, and I've told her she's perfectly welcome to stay that way. At this point I can pretty much guess how she's positioned, but it was nice to have the midwife confirm it.

Between now and 36 weeks, my appointment frequency switches from every 4 weeks to every 2. After 36 weeks, it's at least once a week.

I'm still super happy with my decision to switch to a midwife! Micah and I did our hospital tour a couple weekends ago, and this paired with the midwife practice really seems like a good fit for us.

I'm not sure if I mentioned that we're considering a waterbirth. Before you picture beads, chanting, and an inflatable tub, know that it's come a long way from that and is not as wacky as it sounds. St. Joe's is one of the very few local hospitals that offers it.

Appetite / Food
This is a surprise to me, but I honestly thought I would be hungrier than I am. I certainly have my days, and more consistently, mornings. But I'm not running around with a wild look in my eye, stealing candy off people's desks.

Several weeks ago, at the onset of increased hunger in the mornings (8-11am), I started bringing two pieces of fruit and a thing of yogurt to work every day. My reasoning being that if I was hungry enough to eat all of it, I couldn't question its nutritional value and could happily plow through it. (And be contented in the fact that I didn't eat something gross out of a vending machine.) So far, this usually gets me through the morning.

However, there are also mornings where lunch only comes after all this AND a bag of M&Ms AND half of the leftover Mexican food I brought for lunch. (See how this involves buying another lunch no matter what?) And let's be honest: the morning menu is increasingly being punctuated by Dove Promises...and I even forget to read the Promises half the time.

But usually once I make it to lunch, my hunger tapers off afterwards. Of course I still eat dinner and snacks for the rest of the day, but the eating urge isn't overwhelming. As Micah says, "Just go with it." So I just eat what I feel like and try to eat at least a few green or orange things (broccoli, spinach, oranges, bell peppers) every day. And I also try to avoid tons of processed foods. Because nothing spells heartburn faster!

Body Image / Weight
Truth be told, I don't know how much I weigh. I have a general idea, but we don't have a scale in the house and I don't really care to share weight stats with people because it's a total comparison minefield. Weight is personal and based on so many variables that are different in each of us. I know that I am gaining the weight MY body needs to support a growing baby (not Cousin Susie's), and if that happens to mean I don't have a voracious appetite, then that's just the way it is.

I feel like if I start getting really into the numbers, I'll just start eating unnaturally in a knee-jerk fashion not tied to actual hunger, when really I think it serves me best to listen to my body and what it wants. And sometimes that does mean two Peppermint Patties in a row. Just not all the time.

Colombian Wedding Crazy Hour in my Abdomen
There comes a point in the night at most South American weddings where Crazy Hour ensues. Roughly 2-3am. (Not a North American wedding, folks.) The vigorous dancing already in place in a raucous crowd suddenly gets elevated into something a little more insane and everyone wears hats and the conga lines go full bore.

Which is not unlike the recent uptake in activity that I'm feeling in the kangaroo pouch.

I wouldn't call her crazy or nonstop, but I do think she's recently picked up some new moves. Namely bike pedaling and discovering the power levers that are her knees. 

This week is the first of a new rolling sensation--not just isolated kicks anymore, but the feeling of a foot or other body part moving under the skin from one point to another. And there's also the ridiculously entertaining foot against the belly button. 

I had no idea how bonding it would be! And it's so reassuring to feel so much movement. It's still not all day, all the time, but certainly more than before. So far I haven't gotten too much in the way of "knock the wind out of me" kicks. I do find myself talking to her a lot, which I thought would feel strange, until I realized I already talk to Gus all the time and that is completely one-way conversation.

Swimming For Two
In addition to running and biking, I'm still swimming 2x per week at Master's. For many weeks now I've been wearing fins for the main sets so I can keep up with the lane's pace and stay on track with the posted workout. Without the fins, I just don't have the speed. Which of course is totally fine.

The pool is very pregnant-friendly, and the coach has coached lots of pregnant women...many of whom have kept swimming up to 40 weeks and eventually bring their sleeping newborns to practice, setting the car seat up on a table and swimming while the baby sleeps (and gets watched by the coaches). Much to everyone's delight at having a baby at practice.

I usually swim with a set group of people who come every week (among them an OB who can answer any pressing questions!) and everyone is very cool about my doing what I need to...dropping a lap here and there, or even leading the lane, depending on the day.

But how's this for a head-shaker: last week I swim with two people, one new to the pool, one new to the lane. The new girl doesn't even realize I'm 7 months pregnant and asks me about my racing plan for the summer. The other guy asks me if "we're having contractions or something" when I stop to rest for a few extra seconds at the end of a set. "Um, no...WE'RE not having anything."  ~mild scowl~

Who asks that?

Maternity Clothes
Ah, maternity clothes. If there's anything that could lead a pregnant women to cry into her hands, it would be this.

Because at first it seems that whoever designs this stuff thinks you throw out your sense of taste with the First Response wrapper and are okay with a Polyester Party between now and baby. And that when you're shopping for a decent black work skirt, you "really actually want" cutoff denim shorts with a maternity December. And not even Heidi Klum's pricey designer line can save the day.


On second look, there ARE options. And a big one is called Gap Maternity. (Sneakily located inside Gap Kids.) Not necessarily cheap at first glance, but they are great with markdowns and coupons. And the fabrics are soft. Yes, sometimes you have a try things on in a kid's dressing room, but I'm okay with that as long as no little Cadens or Jadens come crawling under the door.

I suppose it depends on one's style going into the pregnancy, but I've found that I can actually get by with a lot of non-maternity shirts if they're long.

Long waist
Protruding bump
Need for extreme shirt length and the constant thought that "I will scream if this shirt rides up one more time and exposes my back to the cold.")

I've had a lot of luck at H&M with shirts, which is great because they're inexpensive but also fun. I just buy them several sizes up. Another surprising find is the Len Druskin outlet at Southdale. Everything is always 50% off, they have a huge inventory, and they carry a ton of long, drapey shirt styles. Very Californian.

I only have a few pairs of maternity pants that I keep in constant rotation, all of them black or denim. The simplicity of this is actually kind of nice. It is TOTALLY worth buying a good pair of maternity jeans that you love, even if they cost the same as normal jeans. My cost per wear on $80 jeans is probably already down to mere cents.

The big surprise is how much I hate wearing dresses right now. I'm generally a big dress person, and a few are still okay, but I'm finding I really don't like the overly pregnant look of the maternity dress (with requisite tie in the back). Most of them just make you look inaccurately huge and not fab.

Hope for good maternity clothing does exist. The biggest thing is just to find things you truly like that make you feel good and OWN IT.

(But I'm telling you, the maternity clothing market is RIFE with possibility. Rife.)

Biking and Running
Indoor biking on the trainer is still comfortable and I'm doing it 2-3x per week. I'm still on my tri bike, which if in aero position now results in knees bopping up against the belly, so I've been riding it upright mostly and plan to switch to my road bike any day now.

Running is still going really well! Again, it's the prolonged winter weather more than anything else that's preventing my running from being more frequent. This winter just won't end! I never knew what to expect with running in the third trimester because of all the possible discomforts with relaxing joints et. al, but so far I haven't really experienced this. I guess I'll just keep it up until it's no longer comfortable!

But the best thing is that I have a new running partner! Pharmie is a local runner/triathlete who is due one week after me, and I honestly can't explain how we didn't know each other before now because we seem to travel in the same circles: she went to UST, lives in the same area, races the same kind of events Micah and I do, and is married to one of Muffy's former MCAD art teachers.

Her husband has his own triathlon blog and linked to her posts on training while pregnant a few times. And so I decided we had to know each other. Running with someone makes the time go so much faster, and it's really refreshing to find someone with a similar athletic approach to pregnancy.

Micah, as ever, is super supportive and encouraging of my athletic endeavors and everything else. He's very unlikely to gain any weight with me in he does not function as an old wive's tale barometer for determining gender. (Is the dad supposed to gain weight if it's a girl, or a boy?)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Say No to a Company Sleigh Ride?

I think not!

A week until spring, but whatever. Definitely the most Scandinavian I felt all week. Particularly at the point of realizing that the trip out was with the wind at our backs. Ouch.

Hard to tell whose Nelson hair is in the middle there

World's largest marshmallows

Back at the ranch, The Flirt and I have been hanging out all weekend while Daddio bikes it up in Arizona. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Big One

Almost exactly three years ago, I was walking around Nikko in Japan with Micah and Mary S., and distinctly remember thinking how geologically interesting the country was. Mountains, interesting rock formations everywhere you looked (outside Tokyo), and thermal baths and hot springs in every town from the northern to southern tip, not just in some obscure South Dakota backwater like in the States. 

The kind of place you could spent weeks outdoors exploring because there was so much going on, seismically speaking.

That day I also remember the three of us discussing how the country knew it was overdue for another big one. It totally blew my mind that at any moment, a type of natural disaster that knows no season could strike and leave everyone pretty much trapped on what is a relatively small island in the world. It's fair to say this stayed in the back of my mind for the rest of the trip and I really hoped it wouldn't happen while we were there. 

Of course, it didn't. But now I think we can reasonably conclude that this was indeed The Big One we were talking about in Nikko that day. 

And for the record, yes, that is me with short hair.

I know a lot of people are blogging about this at the moment, but this earthquake is definitely the closest I've come to feeling I could have been part of it, on a different day. The closest major city to the epicenter was Sendai in Northeast Honshu. My college girlfriend Mary taught English there for two years and we trekked up to visit her there in 2008. 


Sendai has had it rough! It was nearly obliterated in WWII--hit much harder than many other areas. And whenever you hear that some previously-considered-inedible part of a cow is the delicacy of a region, you can bet it's because at some point in history they had nothing else to eat. 

So even though the city didn't have as much of the retained Samurai-era architecture of other more impressive towns--like Nikko (which, come of think of it, has been largely rebuilt as well)--you wanted to cheer for Sendai for simply being alive and kicking.

Ueno Park, Tokyo

The Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season is just starting in the southernmost parts of Japan and will work its way north in the next couple months. The weather bureau of Japan even issues a blossom forecast every year so people don't miss any of it. It's truly beautiful. And I've personally only seen the very early weeks.

It's really sad that this earthquake--aside from its obvious destruction of people and places--is taking a lot of cherry blossoms with it. Not that the Midwest has anything to complain about (because we don't), but that's kind of like taking away one of our summers completely and immediately starting Winter #2 with a new 30 feet of snow.

That would still be better than an 8.9 earthquake. Short of writing a sappy, maudlin post about how I'm so connected to Japan, my heart does go out to them. Living on the Ring of Fire can't be easy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

France Would Be Nice Right Now

Or is it just the lack of snowbanks that's pulling at my heartstrings?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Excuse My Exasperation, But...

You have got to be kidding me. 

Accompanying the best literature out there on exercise during pregnancy are the photos below.

I would understand if the newest editions of these books were pre-2000, but they are not. How does a book from 2003 feature a cover shot of a Kathy Ireland lookalike in shoulder pads? This is the cover of Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, arguably the most progressive writing you can currently find on the subject. Great book, sad pictures. 

Ways this picture is outmoded:
  • Most women with long hair don't let it flow down their back while working out. If I do that, I come home with a rat's nest. 
  • Again, shoulder pads. 
  • Pink, of course. Just in case the exercise makes you forget how feminine I am. 
  • Hand weights? There is this one woman I see on River Road sometimes who power walks with ankle weights, but overall I think science concluded a while back that you're probably better off anatomically just running and supporting the weight of your own body. 
  • The Spandex is accurate, but floral?
  • And I think I spy Reebok. No joke, the only place Reebok is big these days is Asia. I read it somewhere.
Where are the images of strong women--who happen to be pregnant--that women of today can relate to? Finding photos of fit, pregnant women taken in the last 20 twenty years is certainly not impossible. I'm not signing up or anything, but let's at least ditch the scrunchies. 

Also: does Fit and Pregnant really think I don't know how to stretch my calf muscles? I know these books are written with Everywoman in mind, but after finally finding books on pregnancy and exercise, it's frustrating to find pages wasted on showing you how to do things we learned in 1st grade gym class. 

Speaking of which, I distinctly remember having a pair of those Reeboks in 1994. 

But my personal favorite: 

Oh! Is that how you do it?

Yes, with the rapidly-approaching 3rd trimester upon me, things are getting a little harder to haul. And when I start to look like the very pregnant woman in this picture, I will diligently use the ladder.

But would anyone think of doing anything else? If I'm trying to exit a pool at 38 weeks pregnant I'm pretty sure I'm not going to run the risk of beaching myself on the deck by not using the ladder.

I'm not trying to sound like a know-it-all, especially because pregnancy truly is transformative and does force one to slow down. (Can you say Nap Time?)

And I'm grateful to be pregnant in a time when it's not taboo to say as much out loud. All I'm saying is that pregnancy doesn't make you stupid. According to Micah, it only makes a certain someone sassier. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Little Light Reading

No, not fear-driven. I'm just an information hound.


But let it be known that I probably only bought half and borrowed the rest. There's some good reading in here!

I am concurrently re-reading a novel by Alexandra Fuller about growing up white in Zimbabwe and Malawi that has nothing to do with babies. So, not total brain takeover. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

We'll Have One of Those, Please

Whoever thought up the Mini Blizzard is a genius. We very much enjoyed it.