Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Arms and Legs ARE Moving

The dumb old, stupid old tech at the doctor's office said Scout's arms couldn't be moving yet, that what I was seeing was probably the heart. I begged to differ, and so did Scout's dad and Scout's Aunt Megan, who happens to be a recent expert on finding baby body parts in an ultrasound. The heart was beating, so there was already movement there, but it was obvious that the arms were moving, too. The kid looked like it was dancing up a storm.

So today I found an online pregnancy calendar and what do you think it says for today?

Day 62
8 weeks 6 days
April 30

Baby's arms and legs are moving now. This would be visible on ultrasound.

So there. I know what I saw, and I saw my kid dancing. Or swimming. Or something that required arm movement.

It was the strangest sensation to see a baby in there. And very amazing to see the heart beating and those little arms going to town.

The Lil Bebby

Note: This post is also on my other blog, A Sort of Notebook.

Here's a picture of young Scout.



No, Scout is not a cyclops. He/She is facing the camera, and that dark spot is the forming gray matter.

Here are some labels, for those of you who, like I was before yesterday, can make neither heads nor tails of an ultrasound image.



Here's another picture, this one showing the yolk sac, which feeds Scout until the placenta is ready (or something like that):



(Yes, the first thing Hubster asked when he saw my uterus was, "Is that the baby's tent?")

Gestational age is 8 weeks, 5 days. Fetal heart rate was 172. He/She is 1.99 cm from head to rump. He/She was wiggling its little arms--either practicing running, pretending to hold tiny Leki poles, or dancing up a storm.

The Lil Bebby

Here's a picture of young Scout.



No, Scout is not a cyclops. He/She is facing the camera, and that dark spot is the forming gray matter.

Here are some labels, for those of you who, like I was before yesterday, can make neither heads nor tails of an ultrasound image.



Here's another picture, this one showing the yolk sac, which feeds Scout until the placenta is ready (or something like that):



(Yes, the first thing Hubster asked when he saw my uterus was, "Is that the baby's tent?")

Gestational age is 8 weeks, 5 days. Fetal heart rate was 172. He/She is 1.99 cm from head to rump. He/She was wiggling its little arms--either practicing running, pretending to hold tiny Leki poles, or dancing up a storm.

New Baby, New Widget, New Blog Tags

Wow. Everything changes when you get knocked up.

Hubster and I are pregnant. We're due December 4. So I got a new widget so you can see what the wee one looks like from week to week. If you click on the picture, you can read about what's going on in this 39-year-old, first-time-pregnant bod of mine.

At the moment, I seem to be pregnant with a reptile. I'm told that will change.

I'll post ultrasound pics soon. They look a lot more "baby-like."

We're calling the little one "Scout." Welcome to A Sort of Notebook, Scout.

(I have so much to write, as you might imagine. No time now--I have to get to work. I hope to find some good, quiet writing time this weekend.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Not an Octomom!



Good news, everyone!

Scout is a singlet. Or a single. Or a singleton. But not a simpleton. Whatever it means when there's only one baby and no twins, triplets, or more.

This means I won't be an octomom! Yay! No octomoms in our family!!

Scout is 1.99 mm from head to rump and has a heartbeat of 172 beats per minute. How sweet is that? The official due date is now December 4.

Which means I have to stay home from tax season. Oh, the pain.

Mu and Sheltowee were with me for the ultrasound. I was so happy to have both of them there--they're two of the most important people in my life, and they'll definitely be two of the most important people in Scout's life.

I have so much to write, but I'm at work and don't want to get all weepy, so I'll write more later. Just wanted to let the world know that the ultrasound went fine, and that Scout looks healthy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tomorrow

Tomorrow will be a trying day.

My ultrasound appointment is at 10:30. Then I have an appointment with the midwife afterward. Sheltowee, Li’l Mu, Li’l Stu, and Scout’s Cousin Ella will be meeting me there, to either share the joy of seeing the heartbeat, or share the sorrow of seeing nothing.

Then we’ll go to lunch. I want fish.

Then, back to work. Mu, Stu, and Ella will come to Franklin (hopefully), and I’ll get to show Miss Ella off to my co-workers. That will be fun.

But then … Mary’s parents are coming tomorrow afternoon to clean out Mary’s desk.

So, if I’m all happy and feeling excited after seeing the heartbeat, I’ll go from one end of the spectrum to the other, and probably cry all afternoon, since I still can’t think about Mary without crying, and since seeing her parents will be really difficult. The only other time I've seen them was when I met them, and that was at Mary's memorial service last month.

What happens if there isn’t a heartbeat and I’m miscarrying? I’ll be crying already. I don’t think I’ll even want to go back to work if that happens.

Do I tell people about Scout tomorrow afternoon, or wait until Thursday? Do I tell people at all? Part of me still doesn’t want to tell people. Part of me still isn’t ready to be socially pregnant.

Though it will be a relief for people to understand why I’m so sluggish, and why I’m resting my head on my desk when they walk by.

Either way, I’m looking forward to tomorrow, and I’m dreading it. I cannot believe all the mixed emotions coursing through me right now. It’s causing stress, and stress isn’t good for Scout.

I need to order some prenatal yoga and exercise tapes.

Lion's Head and a Link

This is one of the places Hubster took me to on our three-day hike in Dolly Sods last week. It's called "Lion's Head." I wonder why. :)



If you'd like to see more photos, head over to this link. It's a Facebook link, but you don't have to be a member of Facebook in order to view it.

Oh, and you can see our "post-hike" pictures here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mary Couey Comments

Comments to the posts on Mary Couey are continuing to come in. I'm humbled at how many of Mary's friends and family--most of whom I've never met--have found this blog and left comments here.

If you knew Mary and would like to leave a comment under any of these posts (or under this one), feel free. I know it has meant a lot to Mary's family, and to her friends here, to read about how precious Mary was to so many people.

As for me, I've been amazed at how often Mary has come to mind over the last few weeks. Last week in particular, when Dan and I were backpacking in the Monongahela National Forest, taking in the views, and admiring the wildflowers and lichens along the trail, I sometimes wondered if Mary was right there with me, enjoying the hike, sharing the wonder. It made for some sad moments, but I was also more thankful than ever to have the opportunity to remember, honor, and celebrate Mary's life by doing things she loved to do.

So ... go take a hike, people. :-) And please feel free to continue leaving comments, even on posts that are now several weeks old. I don't always have a chance to respond to comments, but I check them regularly, as do many others who knew and loved Mary.

Adoption Birthday

Thirty-nine years ago today, I became a Baxley and a Plaquemaniac.

Happy adoption birthday to me. Click here to read a lil ole "Where I'm From" poem I wrote five (five?!?) years ago to celebrate the occasion.

I am so grateful to my birthmother, Sherry, for her amazing act of selflessness--giving up her own child so it could have a better chance at life--and to Mrs. Gwen and Mr. Hugh for taking in a helpless (but admittedly adorable) little two-month-old stray, and for keeping and continuing to love said stray through good times and bad.

Life is good.

Week 9 Begins

According to BabyCenter.com, Little Scout is now nearly an inch long. Looks like we won’t be able to call it “Little” Scout much longer! Scout’s heart will also finish dividing into four chambers this week … and his little teeth are starting to form! The embryonic tail will go away this week, which means Scout won’t grow up to be a kitten after all.

BabyCenter.com tells me that my waist may be thickening a bit. Um, not quite. I thought it was, but everything fits about the same in my waist. My butt, on the other hand, is thickening quite rapidly, most likely due to bloating. So what else is new?

Seriously, I am ready to get big. I never thought I would say that, but I’m actually eager to start looking pregnant. Right now I’m a non-pregnant-looking person who feels pregnant. Also, I’ll feel like there’s something there; right now I can’t feel anything, and “Scout” seems like little more than a character I’ve invented for a story, but who hasn’t yet entered the story yet. I think having a big belly will make this more real.

BabyCenter.com also says I will feel like an emotional pinball. So far, I’ve been OK. I haven’t been any more emotionally pinbally than usual.

I may hop onto the emotional pinball machine on Wednesday, though, since that’s the day of our first ultrasound. Once we’ve seen the heartbeat and ensured that the baby is healthy and progressing as normal, we’ll be able to spill the beans to everyone.

I am so ready for Wednesday to get here. I’m sick of keeping this secret, particularly since it’s nearly impossible to think about anything else.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Some Thoughts As I Approach Week 9 of Pregnancy

Can you believe it? I can't. I'll enter Week 9 of pregnancy this week. We (Sheltowee, Scout, and I) go to the doctor on Wednesday morning to have our first ultrasound and (hopefully) hear little Scout's heartbeat for the first time.

Things are still feeling surreal, but I'm definitely feeling pregnant. My boobs are killing me. Sharp, burning, stabbing pains strike unexpectedly at all hours of the day and night. There is some serious milk-factory construction going on in there. They're painful to the touch. Running, my favorite form of exercise, is out of the question. Even walking hurts. I've signed up for swimming lessons at the fitness center, and I'm going to be spending a lot more time on the stationary bike. Anything to keep from jostling the girls.

The morning sickness didn't go away during vacation, but I didn't focus on it so much. I've found that the "cure" is solid food. It's a challenge because the last thing I want is solid food ... but I always feel better if I eat. And I nibbled quite a bit on our three-day hike through Dolly Sods--mostly the usual hiker fare (gorp, string cheese, beef jerky, dried fruit, etc.).

I did worry a bit about Scout on the trip. I got a little concerned after I took a fall and did a face-plant in a pile of rocks.



The bleeding wasn't too bad, but I'm sure my blood pressure shot up for a while.

Then there was the river crossing in water that must have been 52 degrees or so. Cold enough that the old legs went numb after a few seconds.



Since the water didn't reach my waist, I wasn't too worried ... but again, the blood pressure might have changed quickly, which I guess wouldn't be good for Scout.

Of course, if we're going to train Scout to be a hiker, we might as well start him early.

Hiking while two months pregnant was a challenge. I was concerned about the pack straps hurting my boobs, but that wasn't a problem. There were a few problems, though:

- fatigue
- having to stop and pee every 20 minutes
- having to make sure I stayed well-hydrated, even though this meant having to stop and pee every 20 minutes.
- being concerned about falling to my death during rock scrambles (This isn't something I generally worry about. But now that I'm carrying a baby, the attitude has changed a bit.)

Fortunately, Sheltowee had picked a trail that had plenty of fresh, flowing water. If he hadn't, I would have been in trouble.

My eating habits have gone to pot. So much for Little Miss Healthy-Eating Waterfall. My foods of choice lately are potato chips (mmm, salt!), ginger ale (mmm, stomach-soothing carbonation!), and M&Ms (mmm, chocolate!). Chicken kind of grosses me out, but I've been eating it anyway.

In fact, I've been eating a lot of protein, mostly in the form of nuts and meats. A big reason for this is that we were in rural West Virginia, and rural West Virginia isn't quite Asheville when it comes to offering good vegetarian fare in restaurants. Unfortunately, seafood is the only meat that doesn't seem to set off the gag reflex. So I had quite a bit of salmon, tilapia, and ... shrimp. (I generally don't order shrimp from inland restaurants, but I really wanted shrimp.)

We also hit a few fast-food joints while driving to and from places, so I had a few cheeseburgers as well. I start to feel yucky and sluggish if I have too much meat, so I'm going to be cutting back to just having it several times a week, rather than every day as I did on vacation.

My, but this has been a rambling post. I'm going to end it now. Maybe the next post will be a bit more to the point.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Back from Vacation

The Hubster and I are back from a very relaxing trip to West Virginia and Virginia. Photos to come soon. Meanwhile, here's a map showing where we went:



P.S. I've also added some post-hike reviews to my gear list post below.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Feeling Better

I’m feeling much better today, thank goodness. The morning sickness hasn’t been nearly as bad for the last couple of days. I’m actually able to eat. Miracles never cease!

Sheltowee and I are leaving for vacation tomorrow, and I’m proud to say that Scout’s very first backpacking trip will be at Sheltowee’s favorite place in the whole wide world, the Dolly Sods Wilderness, which is in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.

Hopefully the trip won’t be too hard for young Scout, or for me. I’m sure Sheltowee will make it easier for both of us by carrying the bulk of our gear. I’ll continue to carry Scout, though I have no doubt that Sheltowee would if he could.

Maybe this time next year, he’ll be carrying our five-month-old Scout in a Baby Bjorn carrier …

Gear List

Oh, the joy of gear lists! Call me obsessive, but I need to make a gear checklist whenever I pack for a trip. The few times I've thought, "Oh, I've done this a million times; I don't need a dumb ol', stupid ol' checklist," I've ended up forgetting important things.

So I do the checklist.

Here are a few items I'll be taking on our trip to West Virginia:

GREGORY G-PACK



I don't know if they still make this one. I bought mine in 2005 and have used it on day hikes, but never on overnighters. Why? Because I love my Gregory Reality so much. But I'm feeling wild, crazy, and adventurous, so I'm going with the G-pack this time.

UPDATE: The G-Pack worked great! I've been spoiled with my old pack, which has a way to get into the main part of the pack from the front. I couldn't do that with this one. But it was very comfortable, and I'll definitely be using it on future trips.


FEATHERED FRIENDS HUMMINGBIRD



This sleeping bag is rated at 20 degrees Fahrenheit. I've had it for about ten years and still love it as much as I ever did. I guess I'll eventually need to get a new one ... but I don't feel the need to anytime soon. Good thing, since it costs over $300. (It's worth every penny, though!)

UPDATE: This bag kept me warm and dry despite a cold, windy rainstorm in which our tent zipper broke.

MERRELL MOAB GTX MID-SIZED BOOTS



I have always loved Merrell boots. I had a blue-and-purple pair in college (back in the 20th century) that I wore all the time. I hiked about 800 miles of the AT in a pair. And now, after about 10 years, I'm back to wearing Merrells. (BTW, I'll be wearing two boots, not one, as possibly implied by the single boot in the picture above.)

UPDATE: My boots are now so muddied up that they're unrecognizable. They worked beautifully. I had no blisters or rubbing, and I never stopped to think that I was wearing new boots. The trail in places was very wet and muddy, and the Gore Tex lining kept my feet dry.

I did have one complaint, though: The shoestrings wouldn't stay tied, even when I double-knotted them.



THERMAREST Z-REST SLEEPING PAD



If misplaced, my Z-rest wouldn't be nearly as easy to find as the one pictured here. Mine is green, and I've cut it down to size, so that it's just long enough to support my shoulders and hipbones.

UPDATE: I love my Z-rest, but after this trip, I realize that I need a new one. My current one is several years old and isn't quite as cushy as it once was.


EVERNEW 1.3-L TITANIUM POT



My titanium pot is pretty banged up after 10 years of use, but it's just as good as ever. I love this thing.

UPDATE: No complaints. This pot worked as beautifully as ever.


HOMEMADE TIN-CAN ALCOHOL STOVE

My stove is similar to this one. It weighs about an ounce.

AQUAMIRA WATER TREATMENT




I really hate carrying a water filter. I'm sure there are better, more modern products out there, but I've been using this stuff for about five years and it works fine for me. No iodiney aftertaste, either.

UPDATE: Worked like a charm.

COMPEED



OK, so this stuff isn't called "Compeed" anymore, but it used to be. Now it's something like "Band-Aid Blister Treatment." I swear by this stuff.

I'm also going to take along some BodyGlide. If this stuff is able to prevent blisters, then maybe I won't need Compeed.

Then again, maybe these new Merrells won't cause me any blisters at all. Won't that be nice!

UPDATE: I didn't have to use the Compeed or the BodyGlide! The Merrells were perfect. No breaking-in required. Woo hoo!

Happy Hiking!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Depressed

I posted to this blog this morning, but it was so negative that I had to take it down.

Either I'm experiencing the mood swings of pregnancy, or my body is starting to behave the way it always does when I have no Prozac in my system.

I cried on and off all day. I spent more time in the bathroom than at my desk. I didn't talk to anyone all day because I was such a supersensitive mess. I just kept thinking about how I don't want Scout to have my screwy mental instability. If he or she does, then it doesn't matter how good of a mom I am.

And speaking of good mom ... as long as I'm happy and healthy, I think I'll do fine. But I worry about going crazy again. I don't want Scout to see me in my crazy moments. As long as I run and eat right and take my Prozac, I'm okay. But what if I get an injury and can't exercise? What if the hormone changes from pregnancy cause the Prozac not to be so effective anymore? The thought of visiting the anti-depressant buffet again just makes me sick. I have been there too many times.

I hate even writing about this because it gives the impression that I'm an emotionally unstable little weakling that needs to be taken care of. People tend to think that about people who have severe depression. Anyone else is just "sick." People with depression are weak and dependent and just need to learn to deal with things, just like everyone else does.

Both of my doctors have said that I have a very high chance of getting postpartum depression. I am scared I'll want to kill myself, either before or after Scout is born. I don't feel that way right now, but I can definitely feel the heaviness of depression descending on me. I don't want Scout to have to deal with a crazy, suicidal mom.

I have always thought it better that I never brought an innocent child into the world. All I would do is mess it up.

I really hope this is a passing thing, an example of a pregnancy-symptom mood swing. Because I do not want to be depressed again. I don't know if I will survive it.

I need some sleep. I'm hoping I'll sleep tonight. I haven't slept very well in over a week now.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bone-Tired in Week 7

I can’t shake the fatigue. I seriously want to go home, right now, even though it’s April 14, and go to sleep.

Sleeping has been a problem. For one thing, I’m a stomach sleeper. I know, I know, I need to get out of that habit. Not only will I soon have a big belly, but my hyper-sensitive boobs don’t appreciate being crushed. So I have trouble getting comfortable.

Then there is the peeing. I know I got up at least six times last night to pee. I’m trying really hard to limit my liquids late at night, but when I’m thirsty, I’m thirsty. And if I’m thirsty, that means Scout is thirsty … and what kind of mom would I be to deprive my own little wee one of water?

So I drink a few sips of water, and I pee all night.

The cats aren’t helping either. I love the cats. I love the fact that they share their queen-size bed and their comfy pillow with me every night. But it can be hard to get comfortable when you’re nervous that a cat’s butthole will be too close to your nostrils, and that you’ll breathe in whatever poop parasite it is that causes toxoplasmosis and birth defects.

Finally, there is the fatigue. I’m so tired I can’t sleep at night.

I don’t know how much (if anything) this has to do with the fact that I’m off the Prozac. I’ve already called my doctor today to ask if she can prescribe something for the Morning Quease. Maybe I should call her back and ask for something for insomnia, too.

Hee Hee

Buzz on over to Upsidedown Bee to see what Barbie really looks like on her 50th anniversary.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Baby Pregnancy Countdown Ticker

Please note, I've added a baby pregnancy countdown ticker to my sidebar. According to it, I'm going to have a baby reptile. Perhaps it will be a turtle like Sheltowee. I wonder when the shell will start to grow.

My Seventh Week Starts Today

According to BabyCenter.com, here's what's going on inside me this week with my blueberry-sized Scout:




How your baby's growing:

The big news this week: Hands and feet are emerging from developing arms and legs — although they look more like paddles at this point than the tiny, pudgy extremities you're daydreaming about holding and tickling. Technically, your baby is still considered an embryo and has something of a small tail, which is an extension of her tailbone. The tail will disappear within a few weeks, but that's the only thing getting smaller. Your baby has doubled in size since last week and now measures half an inch long, about the size of a blueberry.

If you could see inside your womb, you'd spot eyelid folds partially covering her peepers, which already have some color, as well as the tip of her nose and tiny veins beneath parchment-thin skin. Both hemispheres of your baby's brain are growing, and her liver is churning out red blood cells until her bone marrow forms and takes over this role. She also has an appendix and a pancreas, which will eventually produce the hormone insulin to aid in digestion. A loop in your baby's growing intestines is bulging into her umbilical cord, which now has distinct blood vessels to carry oxygen and nutrients to and from her tiny body.


Her liver is churning out red blood cells ... pretty amazing, huh? She also has an appendix, which gives her something in common with the help manuals I write at work. And the umbilical cord is forming.

This is scary.

Now, more from BabyCenter.com:

How your life's changing:

Your uterus has doubled in size in the past five weeks, and eating may feel like a chore — or worse — thanks to morning sickness, which by now may be in full swing. (If you're feeling fine, don't worry — you're lucky!)

You may need to pee more than usual, too, thanks to your increasing blood volume and the extra fluid being processed through your kidneys. (By now, you already have about 10 percent more blood than you did before you were pregnant. And by the end of your pregnancy, you'll have 40 to 45 percent more blood running through your veins to meet the demands of your full-term baby.) As your uterus grows, pressure on your bladder will send you to the bathroom as well.


Morning sickness in full swing, indeed!

This is starting to become a pattern.

I wake up in the morning, but I'm tired because I had to get up three times in the night to go pee. So it's hard to get out of bed. But I'm a trouper. I get out of bed and walk to the kitchen ... and immediately run to the bathroom.

Dry heave. Sweat. Sweat coming out of sweat glands everywhere--arms, legs, head--as I kneel to the porcelain god.

Yes, it's very similar to a hangover.

And the smell of toast, I've decided, is the most disgusting smell in the entire world. I can't stand it. When Sheltowee puts the bread in the toaster for his breakfast, I have to evacuate the kitchen.

In fact, I have no desire for anything "bready"--toast, oatmeal cereal, etc.

According to all the pregnancy books, morning sickness ends around Week 14 for about half the women who experience it. Of the unlucky other half, most have to wait a few more weeks. Some have it throughout their whole pregnancy.

I really hope I'm part of that lucky first 50%.

Oh ... the Prozac should now be completely out of my system. I'm having to pay close attention to how I feel emotionally. The pregnancy hormones are supposed to keep me from getting depressed (ha ha). But if I do start feeling depressed (as opposed to merely physically crappy), I need to call my doctor ASAP.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day Trip to Joyce Kilmer


I think that I shall never see
A trunk as happy as this tree:



Today was a most beautiful Easter day, and Hubster and I decided to drive out to Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest to see the famous old-growth trees. I also wanted to test a lightweight backpack I've had for several years but have never used for a long-distance hike, so I packed it like I was going backpacking and ended up with a pack weight of about 22 pounds.

I couldn't help but think of Mary as I hiked along and admired the rue anemone, trillium, wild phlox, and spring beauties along the trail. I know she would have enjoyed that hike. Getting out into the woods is one way I can honor her memory, since she enjoyed hiking so much. I regret that we never got to go on a hike together--particularly after talking about doing so for nearly a year--but at least I can take more advantage of the opportunities to hike now.

It wasn't a long hike, but it was long enough to see how the pack felt on my shoulders, hips, etc., going up and down hills.

Here's a photo of the Hubster next to a big tree:



Here's another cool pic of a big tree:



These photos are taking forever to load, so I'm going to post all of them on Facebook instead. If you don't belong to Facebook but would like to see the pictures anyway, let me know in the comments.

Plan C

Hubster and I have changed our vacation plans three times now. Originally, we were going to hike the 178-mile Alabama Pinhoti Trail in eleven days. No problem.

Then it turns out we absolutely must be back home by April 29.

Hmm. We're flexible, so we changed our plans to the Foothills Trail, which runs along part of the NC/SC line. We would be backing for seven days straight, probably with no stopping halfway through for resupply.

Well ... it's a long story, and I won't go into it right now, but we've had to reconsider those plans.

So we're going to the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia instead.

We have several big reasons for going here:

- It's Hubster's favorite place on earth, and he has been talking about showing me this place ever since we first fell in love.

- We had planned to go backpacking here for our honeymoon, but a sudden, unexpected death in the family (Hubster's mom) cut our honeymoon short and we never got to go.

- We'll be able to hike for several days, spend a couple of days being spoiled in a B&B and doing some day hikes (or cave-exploring), and then hike for several more days.

We'll be back in time for April 29. We'll actually be back in time for the weekend, so Hubster will be able to go to a pow-wow thing for his job that he would really like to go to. I might actually go with him.

So, for now, it looks like we'll be going to West Virginny for our first big vacation since going to Portland in 2004.

Another Boob Post (Mostly)

Week 7 starts tomorrow.

To Week 6: Good-bye, and good riddance.

I know. Week 7 will probably be worse. But a girl can dream.

Week 6 was a week of gag reflexes, fatigue, and growing, aching boobies. I felt awful, and this was reflected in my lack of productivity in work and in life.

I had to go bra shopping yesterday because my old bras seem to have become even more ill-fitting than usual. Apparently, though, my boobs haven't grown. They've just gotten a lot thicker. More turgor pressure, I guess you'd say. But I did learn that I've been wearing the wrong bra size all these years--something I'd always suspected. But boob-measuring ladies always told me the same size, a size that never felt right.

So a nice boob-measuring lady at Dillards, Jane, measured me, and said, "Honey, you're a 32DD." 32DD?!? I'd measured myself once and had come to that conclusion, but the Victoria's Secret boob-measuring ladies always gave me a funny look and said, "No way are you a DD." Victoria's Secret doesn't carry much in the size, anyway. Which is probably why they told me I was a 34C.

So Jane, who was about my height and build, said, "Actually I wear a 32DD, too." I looked at her and thought, "No way are you a DD." So I guess we 32DD's don't look so big after all. But we are. We're secretly big.

Anyway, I tried on the 32DD bra, and it worked! It fit me way better than the 34C's that the Victoria's Secret folks convinced me I needed. It's also stretchy and adjustable, which means I should be able to wear it for a little while longer befor the girls burgeon into something even bigger.

This afternoon, Sheltowee and I are going to go on a hike. I'm going to fill my backpack up with about 25 pounds of gear and see how it feels on me (i.e., see how the shoulder and sternum straps feel on the girls).

My poor Sheltowee. Good thing he's willing to make the sacrifice and go hiking with me today, just so I can see if my boobs are up to 7 days on the Foothills Trail.

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's Whiney Time on Water-Wee Scout!

Ohhhhh. Ohhhhh. Ohhhhhhhh. Pooooor meeeeeee. Whine, whine, whine.

Surprise! I feel like crap again today! It is very, very difficult to work when one feels like crap. We’re doing co-worker assessments this week and next week. My foggy brain stares at the names of the co-workers I'm supposed to be assessing and thinks, "Now, who is that person?"

Weird. And now it's time for ...

The Morning Quease Update (MQU)!

I really think it might be a relief to throw up. I know, the pregnancy books all say it doesn’t help, but still … it’s just miserable, walking around with this constant feeling that you’re going to gag up your breakfast.

So far, only two things have made me gag to the point that I actually hurried to the bathroom (but didn’t throw up): the smell of coffee, and the thought of licking an envelope. I have no desire at all for coffee. Not even decaf. I didn’t even go to the coffee shop yesterday afternoon. I think that might be a first.

Envelope-licking generally isn’t a very pleasant activity anyway. Sheltowee and I were signing our tax forms this morning, and I saw that gummy licky stuff on the envelope fold, and the very thought of licking it had me up and to the bathroom before you could say “lickety tax.” Blech.

Cravings? Nothing yet. I say that even though I’ve been craving orange juice, pineapple juice, pomegranate juice, and just about any other fruit juice out there. I even got a CapriSun at the coffee shop this morning. I don't even like CapriSun. But I don’t think the "fruity-juice" craving is a pregnancy craving because I generally crave fruity-juicy things anyway. I hope I don't start needing a CapriSun every day. That stuff is nasty. (But it tasted pretty good this morning.)

What else? Sheltowee and I both think it’s funny that I’ve barely touched the Kashi Cinnamon Harvest Cereal I bought last week. Generally a box of that stuff doesn’t survive three days in my presence.

Now, on to what seems to be my favorite pregnancy topic:

The Burgeoning Milk Factory!

My boobs are busting out (pun intended) of my 34C bra, so I guess I’ll need to go bra-shopping soon. I need new sports bras, too. And some new shirts. I generally like to wear slightly fitted, size-small t-shirts. Now that the girls are morphing from grapefruits to cantaloupes, those small t-shirts aren’t working so well. I wore an Ohio State t-shirt the other day, and the wording on the front looked like this:



OK, maybe it wasn’t that bad. But it was tight.

So I feel bloated and sick and big-bruised-boobied and exhausted out of my mind. I am so looking forward to the general wife-spoilage Sheltowee will grace me with tonight.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cat Litter

I just got a call from my OBGYN. The blood test results are in. I can't touch or breathe cat litter for the next eight months.

Sorry, Sheltowee. :(

Good Thing I Don't Smell Like I Feel ...

… because I feel like crap.

Other than a few episodes of sour spit-up, I haven’t thrown up, but the gag reflex is definitely in full force. I had a small breakfast this morning because the thought of eating anything just felt … yucky. Nothing tastes good. I need to go home for lunch, but the thought of eating the yummy chicken, pasta, and veggie leftovers from last night just makes my stomach turn.

I think I’ve gained several pounds of boobage. I wish I could leave the boobs at home while Sheltowee and I go hiking next week.

I’m exhausted. My mind is in a fog. I feel like crap.

Speaking of crap, I donned my big, yellow latex gloves this morning and cleaned out the litter boxes. This will be my third day in a row using the gloves. They work pretty well. After doing the litter, I keep the gloves on and wash my gloved hands in hot, soapy water.

I called the doctor yesterday to see if the results of my blood test had come in—they did a non-required (read: not covered by insurance) test to see if I had the immunity I need in order to be able to clean the litter boxes. The test will cost about $180. All that, just so Sheltowee won’t have to clean the litter boxes.

I sure hope Sheltowee appreciates me. (I’m being facetious when I say that. I know he appreciates me.) It just breaks my wifey heart to think of Sheltowee’s soft, gentle hands being soiled by airborne poop particles.

Speaking of Sheltowee, I’m ready for him to come home. He’s been at camp for work all week. I miss him when he’s gone, but I miss him even more when he’s gone and I feel like crap!

Well, this has been a crappy blog post. (Ha ha.) Maybe the next one will be better.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

An Even Better, More Narcissistic Time-Waster Than Facebook?

Oh, my. Don't ever let me loose with the online virtual makeover tool from Mary Kay. A woman from work (and Mary Kay salesperson) sent me the link to her Mary Kay page, and my lunch break today turned into one of sheer entertainment. Not only could I give myself different make-up styles, I could pick different hairstyles and colors!

Here I am, normal-looking:



I've always wondered what I might look like with black hair. You know--since I'm fair-skinned and all, maybe I would look like Snow White!



Um ... not quite. "Morticia" is more the name that comes to mind ...

Do you think it helps to have bangs?



Wow. I don't look so good with black hair and bangs. I think we can all agree that black hair doesn't work on me. Who woulda thunk? I guess God knew what he was doing when he made me a dishwater blonde.

(And let's just forget I ever mentioned Snow White.)

Let's try something else. Let's see how I'll look "when I am old and grey, and full of sleep."



Kind of sad, huh. So let's see how I look with long, luxurious blonde hair.



Oh, baby! Can you say Jennifer from Family Ties?

Let's go a little darker.

Here. In case you were wondering why I never get bangs (and why I rarely wear eyeliner):



Though this one doesn't look so bad:



I kind of wish I could wear my hair like this:



If only it didn't get so stringy. And if only I weren't so short that super-long hair made me look a little bit like Cousin Itt.

Yep. God definitely knew what he was doing. I think I'll stick with my old look.

Now ... what did I do with that jpeg of the Hubster ... ?

Patterns at Six Weeks

I seem to have established some first-trimester patterns.

When I wake up, I feel queasy. That’s pretty normal. I can eat cereal, but I have no desire whatsoever to do so. I think this is a pregnancy thing because I love cereal (specifically, Kashi’s Cinnamon Harvest) in the morning.

I want smoothies, so that’s what I eat first thing. This morning it consisted of Vitamin C-fortified orange juice, vanilla yogurt, a banana, and a handful of strawberries. Yesterday it was pomegranate juice, vanilla yogurt, a banana, and some almonds. Some days I add pineapple or kiwi. Some days I add broccoli.

So I have my smoothie, and then I take my prenatal vitamin and calcium pill with water. I feel sick the whole time. No throwing up—just sick-feeling.

I feel sick in the shower. I feel sick after I get out. I feel sick until about noon. Then I stop feeling sick. I guess that’s why they call it morning sickness. Brilliant. I hear that morning sickness can last all day, but so far, for me, it’s mostly been limited to the morning.

Whenever I stand up, I get woozy and lightheaded and see gray spots. Generally, this happens to me only if I’m not eating enough. I’m eating my 2,000 calories a day like a good little pregnant woman, and I’m still seeing spots when I stand up.

I’m hungry all day. I keep a ready supply of apples, bananas, pears, grapes, and yogurt—plus a few multi-grain saltines—at work. Before I run in the evening (about an hour before I run), I’ll have something carb-y, like a couple of pieces of whole-grain toast. After my run, I scarf down a giant mix of meat, veggies, and carbs. Last night it was stir-fried chicken. Tonight it will be chicken, steamed veggies, and pasta.

It blows me away that I haven’t craved chocolate, coffee, or wine in weeks. I’m spending $4 a day on decaf Americanos (Americani?), but I’m drinking maybe three sips of them. It’s not that they’re making me sick, or that I don’t like them. I simply don’t want them. Maybe I should quit buying them and start saving money for … oh, I don’t know. Scout’s education or something.

The fatigue hits around 2:00. Oh, I guess it would be accurate to say that the fatigue is always there, but it really hits around 2:00 in the afternoon. From 2 to 6, it’s a struggle to stay awake, much less be productive at work. This is the main reason I told my boss about Scout. If she catches me sleeping at work, I want her to know in advance that I have a good excuse.

It’s 9:22 a.m., and I feel like the fatigue has already hit. Or maybe it just hasn’t worn off from when I woke up this morning. Maybe I need to go home and take a nap. I would seriously consider that if I didn’t have a dentist appointment scheduled for this afternoon.

Have I mentioned lately that my boobs are killing me? No? Well, now you know.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Foggy Brain and Fatness

I had planned to write about fatness today, but I feel I must first address my newest “symptom” of Foggy Brain (Cerebrus foggitis).

So I’m supposed to be taking an old KnowledgeBase article at work and revising it to meet new IRS standards. I stare at one article. I stare at the new standards. Something doesn’t connect. It can’t be the fatigue. I just know it isn’t the fatigue. It’s something much more sinister. Is cerebrus foggitis a known symptom of first-trimester pregnancy? I don’t know. But I’ve been informed that I’m allowed to blame every little thing on pregnancy for the next seven and a half months, so there you go.

Now, about fatness. Pregnancy makes women fat. I know that. I’m OK with that. As a former fat person who lost weight the old-fashioned way (exercise and healthy eating) and has kept it off for almost twenty years, I’m not worried about being able to lose my pregnancy pounds after Scout is born. I know I’ll get fat because I need to get fat, and that’s fine. I’ll start running again when I can, and a year or so of running should have me looking like myself again.

But I really want to keep up with my running for as long as I can during this pregnancy. Sure, running makes me skinny, but that’s not why I want to keep up with it. I want to keep running because I feel so much better when I’m running regularly—better than if I’m walking regularly, or lifting weights, or attending aerobics classes, or doing Stairmaster or the elliptical machine. There is something about the endorphins that accompany regular running. I need them.

Last night I went to the gym to run. I felt exhausted from the NyQuil effect of pregnancy, but I knew I needed to run. I got on the treadmill and ran most of my five miles at around an 11:00 pace (about 5.5 mph). That’s significantly slower than I would usually run. But it’s what I can manage right now. I sped up to a 6-mph pace for a mile, but I got too tired, so I walked for a minute, then went back to about 5.6 mph.

“Listen to your body.” That’s what my doctor and the midwife both said. Their words of advice regarding the half-marathon were wildly divergent (“Don’t do it!” “You should be OK, if you feel up to it.”); the one thing they did agree on was that I should listen to my body. So that’s what I’m doing.

I’m also slowing down after each mile to walk for 30-45 seconds, even if I don’t feel like I need to. That helps with endurance.

After I finished the run, I felt better than I had all day. Running just helps.

I’m going to continue to run between 15-25 miles per week for as long as I feel up to it. I’ll also do some strength training and core work. I’m not trying to stay thin. I’m just trying to stay healthy.

I think Scout would appreciate that.

I'm also planning to make sure I get about 2,000 calories per day, plus 100 calories for each mile I plan to run that day. That will be a challenge, since I generally eat about 1,400 calories a day. But now that I'm eating for 1.001, that needs to change.

Amazing how 0.001 humans in one's belly can require so many calories.

Why Can't Real Life Be This Way?

This was actually a staged promotion for "In Search of Maria," which is the Dutch television version of a BBC television show.

It's lots of fun to watch and reminds me of when I was a kid and wished I lived in a Broadway musical, where the orchestra played whenever I felt like singing, and where random people could join in choreographed dancing and everyone would know all the words and all the moves.

(I guess that would get annoying after awhile, but still ...)

I know, I'm a musical geek. It's probably why I enjoyed this video so much. Check it out. I think you'll like it, too.

Hat tip: Mental Multivitamin

Monday, April 6, 2009

One Inch Tall

I think April is National Poetry Month. So here's one by one of my favorite poets, the late, great Shel Silverstein.

********************************

One Inch Tall
If you were only one inch tall, you'd ride a worm to school.
The teardrop of a crying ant would be your swimming pool.
A crumb of cake would be a feast
And last you seven days at least,
A flea would be a frightening beast
If you were one inch tall.

If you were only one inch tall, you'd walk beneath the door,
And it would take about a month to get down to the store.
A bit of fluff would be your bed,
You'd swing upon a spider's thread,
And wear a thimble on your head
If you were one inch tall.

You'd surf across the kitchen sink upon a stick of gum.
You couldn't hug your mama, you'd just have to hug her thumb.
You'd run from people's feet in fright,
To move a pen would take all night,
(This poem took fourteen years to write--
'Cause I'm just one inch tall).

********************************

P.S. If you're like me and could use a smile, visit the website.

Week 6 Begins

I told my boss about Scout today. I also told her that I don’t plan on letting the world know until Dan and I get back from vacation in late April.

According to BabyCenter.com, here’s what’s going on with Scout this week:

This week's major developments: The nose, mouth, and ears that you'll spend so much time kissing in eight months are beginning to take shape. If you could see into your uterus, you'd find an oversize head and dark spots where your baby's eyes and nostrils are starting to form. His emerging ears are marked by small depressions on the sides of the head, and his arms and legs by protruding buds. His heart is beating about 100 to 160 times a minute — almost twice as fast as yours — and blood is beginning to course through his body. His intestines are developing, and the bud of tissue that will give rise to his lungs has appeared. His pituitary gland is forming, as are the rest of his brain, muscles, and bones. Right now, your baby is a quarter of an inch long, about the size of a lentil bean.

Here’s what they say about what’s going on with me:

You may find yourself developing a bit of a split personality — feeling moody one day and joyful the next. Unsettling as this is (especially if you pride yourself on being in control), what you're going through is normal. Ricocheting emotions are caused partly by fluctuating hormones. But hormones aside, your life is about to change in a big way — and who wouldn't feel emotional about that?

Heh. Lucky for me, I don’t pride myself on being in control. My emotions have always been a bit of a wildly swinging pendulum. It should be extra-exciting since I’ve been off Prozac for about a week now, and it takes about two weeks for it to get out of my system completely.

I’m lucky I have such a good husband.

This morning I’m feeling very queasy. I haven’t thrown up yet, but I feel like I could. I just keep getting that gaggy feeling, like I’m about to throw up.

I also feel a little depressed. I guess that’s not surprising, considering all that’s happened in the past week, plus the fact that the Prozac is wearing off. But I think the shock of Scout is starting to wear off, to be replaced by a general feeling of “Oh, shit.”

So, that’s the start of Week 6. I’m so depressed I just want to go home and sleep. If I’m even more depressed after a few more days, I’ll call the doctor and see about getting back on the anti-depressants.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday Morning, Almost Six Weeks Pregnant

Ohh, these symptoms!

I took a two-hour nap yesterday. Two hours! I am not a nap-taker. Never have been. But it looks like I am now. My husband is thrilled. He believes that now, on some level, I finally understand him. (He, like the cats, is a chronic napper.)

Before I took my nap, I read some of the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. I was terrified to read that a folic acid deficiency, particularly in the first weeks of pregnancy, can cause spina bifida. I panicked. I didn't start taking prenatal vitamins until Week 4! Oh, horrors!

Then I read about some of the good sources of folic acid out there, aside from prenatal vitamins. And I was relieved. Other sources include broccoli, asparagus, leafy green vegetables, beans, and bananas--not to mention multivitamins, which I take every day (I've since replaced my One-A-Day-Plus-Iron with the prenatal vitamins). Whew! So I probably was getting plenty of folic acid before. Such a relief.

It was kind of amusing to read the section of the Mayo Clinic book on nutrition. It said something like, "You may need to change some of your eating habits now that you are pregnant." Then it basically said to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.

Which means I hardly need to change a thing.

I do need to eat more, though, particularly if I'm going to keep running every day. The recommended daily calorie intake is something like 1,800-2,300. That's a lot of food. I usually have about 1,500 calories a day, maybe a few more during high-mileage weeks.

This morning I had a banana-yogurt-pomegranate juice smoothie (as usual) and a piece of whole-grain toast with some Smart Balance spread. I am stuffed.

I also learned that Scout is about the size of the tip end of a ball-point pen. It's really amazing that something that small is wreaking such havoc on my body--that something that small would take so much energy that I have to take long naps and eat a gazillion more calories than usual.

Pregnancy is weird.

Last Few Hours

Note: It really helped me to write about the last few hours I spent with Mary Monday night. This started as a blog post, so I'm posting it here as intended. However, I do know that some of Mary's family have discovered this blog. This note is to them: If you're uncomfortable reading about your daughter on a "public" blog (though this blog only has about 12 regular readers, most of them my friends), just put a note in the comments, and I'll remove it, no questions asked.

What a week.

What a terrible week.

I worked in a nursing home for about a year and a half when I was in my 20s. I had to quit, and a big reason was this: people kept dying. Of course, you think. It was a nursing home, after all. People are supposed to die there.

But plenty of people work in nursing homes as careers, and they don’t quit because people keep dying. They just keep going. Sure, they grieve for those they became fond of, but … it’s part of the job.

I couldn’t take that part of the job. I loved the residents, every one of them. When they died, a part of me died. The families of the deceased had to comfort me.

Some of us just aren’t cut out for certain types of work, and I wasn’t cut out for long-term care. Praise God for those who are.

I was around death a lot during that time. Most of the residents who died were, of course, up in age. Some of them weren’t. One young man, age thirty or so, had an advanced stage of cancer. A 42-year-old man had something wrong with his lungs … I can’t remember what it was, but it took his life maybe six months after we first met--and grew to love--him.

Mary and I talked about death as we drove to Anderson, SC, that evening of March 30 to the wake for our friend Carla’s brother, Jamie, who had died of cancer. Not the most cheering subject, but … well, we were going to a wake. We had both had grandparents die. She also told me about a friend of hers from high school who had been killed in a car accident, drag-racing, I think. What a shock it had been. We talked about how that kind of death is so much harder to deal with than the death of someone who has lived a good, long life.

When we talked to Carla that night at the wake, Carla told us how she had been able to spend a lot of time with her brother those last couple of weeks of his life. Cancer had ravaged his body and left him paralyzed from the neck down, but they had been able to talk, and they’d been able to say everything that needed to be said. Carla agreed that it was truly a blessing that they’d had that time together. Sure, no one wants to be given a death sentence … but it sure helps you, and those around you, to realize what’s truly important, and to act on that realization.

On the way home, Mary and I talked about that. Tragic as Jamie’s death was, his family was able to spend precious time with him those last few weeks before he died. They were able, on some level, to prepare for his death. They could say their goodbyes. And Carla could have some degree of peace about her brother's death.

How different a situation that was from her high-school friend, she said. She hadn’t been in touch with him for some time when she heard about his death. She went to his funeral. His girlfriend was just standing there next to the casket, crying. Mary said he didn’t look anything like she’d remembered him. It was almost like he was a stranger.

Our driving conversation wasn’t all morbid that evening. We talked about her upcoming wedding (she was getting married on June 20, which had been my start date for my Appalachian Trail thru-hike in 2000; it was a wonderful day for starting new things, I told her). We talked about hiking, about gardening, about books. The usual things. We talked about her brother, Danny; about my niece, Ella. About how no one likes to go to wakes or funerals, but how it’s also important that we do go.

On the way through Georgia, she pointed out a trailhead where she and several co-workers had stopped awhile back. Several people from Drake had gone down to Anderson (yes, Anderson) for the funeral a co-worker's family member, and on the way back, they’d stopped and hiked up to a riverbank, where people could whitewater rafters passing by during the summer.

“I guess we won’t be stopping there on the way back!” I said, since it was going to be well after dark.

“No, probably not tonight!” We laughed, knowing that we would definitely have stopped and hiked under different circumstances.

After the wake was over, but before we left, Carla, Mary, and I joined in a big “group hug.” Then we invited her husband, Wayne, and her son, Thomas, into the hug, and we were all laughing. Later, we met the three of them at a local diner called The Clock. I try to remember what we talked about, but I don’t. I do remember laughing at Thomas’s strange selection of a meal (lasagna with a side of mac ’n cheese) and listening to him tell us about bowling.

We left the restaurant around 9:30 or 10, I guess. I don’t know. The long drive home became even longer when we missed a turn somewhere in South Carolina or Georgia.

“Do you recognize this?” Mary asked as we drove through a seedy-looking little town.

“You know, I was just thinking … no, this doesn’t look familiar.”

Turn on the light. Look at the map. We were headed for Cornelia, Georgia. We could keep going, then go north, or we could turn back and go the original route. It didn’t look like it would matter. Either way seemed equally long. We turned back … and mentally kicked ourselves for missing the turn, which seemed so obvious when we finally got back to it.

We alternated between talking and just sitting as she drove, not turning on music because we would start talking again and have to turn the music off so we could carry on a conversation. She talked a lot about her brother, about the “false alarm” they’d had back in January, when the hospital called and said there was a heart for him—great news for Danny, who had been on the transplant list for five years. But then … it wasn’t right. The hospital called back. False alarm.

“But it gave us hope,” said Mary that night. “After waiting so long and not getting ‘the call,’ it was almost like they’d forgotten about us.”

We were both tired as we rode along the dark roads of north Georgia, then western North Carolina. We cheered aloud when we finally saw the first sign for the Fun Factory, which is in Franklin. Almost to Franklin!

When we finally passed the Fun Factory, though, Mary spoke aloud what I was thinking: “Did it seem like it took a really long time to get here?”

Yup.

“When we get to my house,” I offered, “Do you want to come in for a cup of coffee or something?”

“No, if I drink coffee I won’t be able to sleep once I get home,” she said. “I’ll be fine. I drive home late all the time during development season.”

“More power to you,” I said. “Thanks for driving. I couldn’t have come if I’d had to go by myself. No way would I have been able to stay awake.”

“No problem!” she said, and she meant it.

Earlier that day, we’d made arrangements to go to the visitation for Carla’s brother. Plagued by headaches all weekend, I had gone to the doctor that afternoon. I’d e-mailed Mary:

I’m going to the doctor at 3 and don’t know if I’m going to come back to work afterward—I really want to go lie down. (Don’t we all!) But I’d really like to go tonight for Carla. So let me know what time would work best for you.
She e-mailed me back:

I am free whenever. I have no plans tonight. So really we can go when you feel up to it. How bout this…Lie down and I’ll stay here at work until you call me. Then I’ll drive to your house and pick you up and we will leave?
She sent me her cell phone number, which I quickly programmed into my cell phone that afternoon. I haven’t deleted it yet.

A few minutes before we got into Franklin, she put a CD in.

“Do you like Jewel?” she asked.

“Sure,” I said. “I haven’t heard anything by her in years, though.”

“She just came out with a new CD, not too long ago,” Mary said. She put the music in and we listened until we got to my house.

I asked again if she needed to come in, use the bathroom, fill up her water bottle, whatever. She said no, she’d be fine.

I said, “Bye, see you tomorrow. Drive safe.” Or something like that. The usual pre-programmed farewell chitchat you say—and even mean—without thinking.

I went inside, she drove off. She was gone. I guess the Jewel CD was probably still playing when her car was struck by a drunk driver a half-hour later. Who knows. All I know is that I still can't believe she's gone.

I’ve kicked myself enough for not chatting more before I went inside, for not watching the road better (as a good passenger-seat navigator is supposed to do) when we missed the turn on the way home. For not being more strongly encouraging that she come in for a few minutes. I know it’s not my fault, but it’s hard to block out all the “what if’s” that have been bombarding my mind for the past few days. What if we’d been just a little earlier? Just a little later? What if things had been … just a little different?

One thing I do regret: that I didn’t tell her how excited and happy I was about our friendship. She joined our group at work last spring, and I’d gotten to know her better during that time. We both loved reading and talked often about books. She’d borrowed my deluxe edition of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and had loved it.

We both loved hiking and the outdoors. She’d just bought her first real backpacking pack, an Osprey Xenon, just a couple weeks before. We both loved the good homemade bread you could buy at Riverblaze Bakery, the little bake shop on Carl Slagle Road that was open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

We planned to do more hiking after tax season. Specifically, we planned to do some backpacking. We even tossed around the idea of a hike while her fiancé, Tony, was on his AT hike from Roanoke to Harpers Ferry. That probably would have been this weekend.

Another memory from that night: When we got to the wake that evening in Anderson, Carla was so glad to see us. She linked her arms in ours and introduced us to her family. We watched several cycles of the slide show that had been prepared showing scenes from her brother’s life. It was time well-spent. Dinner with them afterward was also time well-spent. I don’t regret that we did either, and neither did Mary.

Mary got to spend the last few hours of her life bringing comfort to a friend who needed comfort. How many of us, were we to die suddenly today or tomorrow, could have the same said of us?

Death is a harsh way of making us realize what things in life are important, and what things are not so important. But before we even think about those things, there is the sense that a piece of your heart has been ripped from your body. An aching emptiness, together when a dull, numb, hazy wondering of “What the hell just happened?”

“And why?”

Helen at the coffee shop believes it was God’s will, that God knows our death date before we’re ever born. My sister’s friend, Beth, who just survived a long struggle with cancer, prefers to word it this way:

“I have learned that God’s will is not always what we want, but a better word is God’s purpose, and that it is not her death that necessarily brings purpose, but her life. Her life had God’s purpose and that is what is important to remember.”

I have prayed, but not as much as I probably should. I admit, it is hard to pray in the face of such seemingly random, meaningless, unnecessary death.

Mary’s life definitely had purpose. She brought joy to so many of us with her beautiful smile, her easy, giving spirit, and her genuine kindness. I will always think of her when I am out on the trails.

Rest in peace, Mary Couey.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Saturday Morning, Almost Six Weeks Pregnant

I told one more person about Scout yesterday: Scout's Uncle Ghent. So now I need two hands to count the people who know. Still, I'm not ready to tell the world yet. Scout is still my little secret, and I like it that way. I need it to be that way.

I don't know if today's symptoms are the result of pregnancy, or the result of crying myself silly last night. Probably both. And the reason I cried myself silly last night? Mary. Though the raging hormones probably didn't help any.

So this morning I feel absolutely exhausted. My eyes are swollen almost shut. My stomach is a little upset, but I haven't thrown up. I gave myself a sizable breakfast--an OJ/strawberry/banana smoothie and an English muffin. I can't say I feel a whole lot better.

I am just so sick of death. It seems like every day I hear about someone else dying. My co-worker Eddie went to Atlanta Wednesday night for a wake. We got a call Thursday morning that the husband of a friend of ours in Ohio died. It's too much. The contrast is making Scout seem more precious than she would have otherwise. At least there is new life somewhere in the face of all this death.

I'm in uncharted emotional territory these days. I feel awkward and uncomfortable and lost in a fog of emotions. I want to go find a cabin in the woods and remain there alone for a month, just writing and playing piano and working through things. I don't want to hurt Scout with all this grief.

Other symptoms:

Ye olde boobies still hurt just as much as ever. I'm also having slight cramps where my uterus is. I hope that's not a sign of something bad. Every time I go to the bathroom (which is rather often), I dread seeing blood. The cramps aren't bad--they're similar to the cramps that accompany a pap smear/pelvic exam.

I'm ready for my hair to get thick and beautiful. I read that was another pregnancy symptom, but it hasn't hit me yet.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Welcome, Carla!

Oh, my. This blog now has four whole readers: Li'l Mu, Mrs. Gwen, Sheltowee, and now Carla. Yes, I told Carla about little Scout this morning on the way to the coffee shop. She is happy for me, and I'm glad young Scout could bring a smile to her face!

Welcome to the blog, Carla!

(P.S. This blog should have five readers, but I took Mr. Hugh's name off the list of "permitted" readers. I simply don't want my father reading about sore boobage and middle-of-the-night pee emergencies.)

PRB

On my favorite running podcast, Phedippidations, podcaster Steve Runner has yet to address the topic of pregnant runner boobage (PRB). Think of it: Your boobs feel a little like bowling balls. They hurt. They feel bruised and tender—so tender that the stream of water from a showerhead can make one groan in pain when it hits one of “the girls.”

Yes, I’m already learning already to stand in certain calculated positions while in the shower.

I folded my arms across my chest the other day, then just as quickly unfolded them. Apparently, pregnant boobs like to be mashed even less than they enjoy taking showers.

The pain is enough to make one want to wear dual helmets, or at least dual “Do Not Touch” signs, on one’s chest.

Anyway, imagine these tender gallon jugs stuffed into a sports bra. Then imagine them “jogging” inside said sports bra for, oh, an hour or more.

Not pleasant.

I’ve ordered The Runner’s World Guide to Running and Pregnancy (by Chris Lundgren) in hopes that it addresses the issue of PRB. Other runners online are saying, “Sure, run as long as you can! Just listen to your body! I ran a full marathon when I was three months pregnant! Tee hee!”

The thought of a half-marathon with PRB is not a pleasant thought. No, not an inviting thought at all. So I’m hoping this magical book will point me to a miracle bra (no, not that kind—I never could wear those anyway) that allows me to run pain-free.

Don’t you just love magical books with miracle solutions? I can’t wait to get mine!

Mary's Obituary

Mary's obituary was in the Gwinnett Daily Post today. You can read it here.

The family writes, "In lieu of flowers, Mary would ask that you become an organ donor." Mary championed this cause, as her brother is on a waiting list for a heart transplant.

They also write that donations can be made in her memory to her brother's transplant fund, and that condolences may be sent or viewed at www.wagesfuneralhome.com.

I know that most of you who read this blog never knew Mary, and that you may or may not go to these links I've provided. I just want you, my blog readers and friends, to know about this special person who was so suddenly and violently taken from us. Again, please keep Mary's family and fiance in your prayers.

Morning Pee & Other Symptoms

There's nothing quite like waking up at 3 a.m., feeling like you're going to pee all over yourself if you don't get to the bathroom RIGHT NOW. I'm told that this is a pregnancy symptom; otherwise, I would never have shared it on this blog.

Speaking of pregnancy symptoms, I'm a little scared about morning sickness and becoming intolerant of certain smells. I hear that these are two very common symptoms that start somewhere around Week 6. My Week 6 starts Monday.

Actually, my stomach has felt a little fluttery for a few days already. Yes, fluttery. The best way I can describe it is "that butterflies-in-the-stomach" feeling. It feels like that all day. I was thinking it was because I just felt bad -- fatigue and headaches mixed with profound grief. Plus the whole disbelief/excitement thing about Scout. I would say my body is going through a lot.

But perhaps the fluttering is a pregnancy symptom after all. Perhaps it's a foreshadowing of the sickness to come.

Then again, some women don't get morning sickness and still have perfectly normal pregnancies.

The other symptom is that of being olfactorily intolerant. Suddenly, certain smells are going to make me gag. Maybe it'll be the smell of coffee (which would be a tragedy, since I would have to avoid my office altogether). Some say the smell of eggs cooking becomes disgusting. Well, according to me, the smell of eggs cooking is already gag-worthily disgusting. So maybe it will be come even more disgusting. Oh, joy.

Then again, maybe this will be one of those symptoms that graciously pass me over.

I hope this peeing thing was just a result of drinking a gallon of water before going to bed last night, even though I did no such thing. I am a through-the-night sleeper, have been ever since I hit my mid-30s. Maybe this is practice for what I'll experience come December.

My other symptoms, of course, are fatigue and sore boobage. The fatigue feels like a NyQuil-induced coma is coming upon me. The sore boobage feels like ... oh, I don't know. A little like "the girls" are all bruised up.

I just tell myself: These symptoms mean I'm pregnant. In other words, they mean I'm not having an "m/c." If the symptoms stop, well ... then that is something to worry about.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Heh.


I got this one from my friend Jan Leitschuh, who got it from her brother. It made me laugh on a day when I've done more crying than laughing. Thanks, Liteshoe, for the much-needed smile.

The Dreaded "m/c"

I need to stay away from the BabyCenter.com community groups. Believe it or not, I didn’t join them because I’m an overenthusiastic mother-to-be. I joined because I’m something of an internet junkie. And when internet junkies discover a new situation in their lives, they go straight to the internet and join online groups of people who are, or who have been, in the same boat.

(How do you think I found so many friends in the Appalachian Trail community? I met lots of them on the trail and at hiker gatherings … but I met, or know, most of them primarily through the internet.)

So I joined three Baby Center groups: one for mothers expecting babies in 2009; one for first-time mothers expecting babies in November 2009; and one for gray-haired old biddies women over 35 who are expecting babies in November 2009.

Most of the people in the first two groups seem to be young whippersnappers. But I’m seeing a recurring thread in all three groups: the dreaded m/c.

It took a while to figure out some of the shorthand used on these boards, but I figured out pretty quickly that m/c means miscarriage. It’s really sad; someone posts a topic with the subject line “Good-bye,” and next thing I know, I’m reading about another embryo that never made it past the first eight weeks.

When I read these things, I get a tight, sick feeling in my stomach. No, we didn’t plan little Scout, but we sure as heck don’t want an “m/c” to happen. It saddens me to read these notes, every single day, from real women who are having these experiences. It could just as easily happen to me and Sheltowee, particularly considering my age.

So I’m thinking about stepping away from these groups for a while. I won’t quit them; I’ll just stay away from them. If I get to the point where Scout’s survival is statistically a lot more likely, I’ll go back. And if Scout doesn’t make it to that point … I can go back and find people who are in the best position to sympathize.

My Friend, Mary



Mary Couey was one of your fellow readers of this blog. She was a co-worker and, more importantly, a friend. She was killed on her way home Monday night, hit by a drunk driver. Please keep Mary's family and her fiance, Tony (they were engaged to be married this summer), in your prayers. With all the grief and shock that we have been going through at work, I can't imagine what Mary's family and fiance are suffering right now.

Guess Who Can't Keep a Secret



OK, so it was killing poor Sheltowee not to be able to tell. So I told him he could tell his close friends, John G. Young, Patrick Eugene Duggan, and Jeremy McClure. He's since talked to John and Pat and he said Pat was speechless at first. Pat! Speechless!

I can't remember who, but he said one of the two told him, "I didn't think that was possible." What do I look like, a post-menopausal old biddy? Um ... don't answer that.

Today's symptoms are the usual: hurting boobs and extreme fatigue. I don't know how I'm going to stay awake throughout the day. I don't know how I'm going to manage a 5-mile run after work. I feel like I have a bottle of NyQuil in me. I'm that tired.

I still haven't told anyone. That's because I can keep a secret, unlike a certain dad-to-be out there. I'm just not ready to tell anyone. I like having a secret.

I must admit, though, it's hard to keep making excuses for this crazy fatigue, or for the fact that I'm quitting caffeine. I have an inkling that my friend Lori has an inkling about Scout. Not sure why ... she just gave me a look when I said I was cutting back on caffeine. And she is a mom, so she has that intuition.

I would really like to tell my friend, Carla. Not only she is a close friend, but she has been hit with so much tragedy in the last few days ... I think it might make her smile to learn of a little one on the way. At the same time, I don't want to seem like I think everything's "all about me."

I'll know when the time is right.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Secret of Scout

Scout is definitely on the way. My boobs hurt, and I'm exhausted.

Sheltowee is dying to tell everyone. I think it's making him crazy not to be able to share the news with John G. Young, Pat Duggan, and the rest of his buddies. I want to wait, though. If little Scout miscarries, I don't want to have to remember everyone we told, then call them up and tell them about the miscarriage, then have to deal with the awkwardness on both sides.

Better that we just wait. I told Sheltowee we can start telling people after the first sonogram, around May 1.

The first sonogram is actually going to be April 29 at 10:30 a.m.

Ha. I just got off the phone with Sheltowee. He about bit his tongue in half, but he managed to keep mum when talking to his friends Eddie, Dodger, and Justin.

Maybe I'll let him tell people earlier. It's hard to keep a secret. It's easier for me, I think--Scout is my little secret, and I'm kind of enjoying this time when very few people know. I guess that is the introvert in my personality.

We're going to keep it a secret for just a little longer. Hopefully, we'll be able to last the entire month. It will be a challenge, especially for poor Sheltowee. I was reading The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy last night and it said that men take a certain amount of pride in their potency, and in their woman's fertility. In a big way, they relish telling other men, "I impregnated my woman."

My potent, studly Sheltowee. Mmm, mmm, mmm. Let's see if he's as good at keeping secrets as he is at ... well, other things.

Some Bad News about a Good Friend

Dear Scout,

I was a little worried about you yesterday. When I got to work that morning, the head of my department come to my desk and asked me to come to the conference room. When I got to the conference room, my boss was sitting there. Her eyes were red from crying.

“Oh, no,” I thought. “They’re having massive layoffs. I’m going to be fired. Poor Scout will grow up in a poorhouse.”

But that wasn’t it. The news they gave me was infinitely worse. My friend Mary, whom I’d just seen the night before, was dead, killed in a car accident on her way home after dropping me off.

What a shock. I have cried more in the last two days than I have in a long time. I worry about you; I don’t want my stress to have a negative effect on you. But at the same time, I cannot help but grieve. Mary was a beautiful person. She was a good friend. I think we were well on our way to becoming very good friends. After tax season …

After tax season, we planned to do some hiking and backpacking trips. I was trying to talk her into hiking the Art Loeb with me and a few other friends over Memorial Day weekend. I was saying I wished she and her fiancĂ© could join your dad and me on the Pinhoti Trail this April. We talked about books—we both loved to read. She was planning to be married in June. We talked about her wedding.

We talked about a lot of things that night as we drove to South Carolina, and then back to Franklin. We had gone to South Carolina to visit a friend whose brother had just died of cancer. I’m sorry to talk of these things, Scout—you know nothing of death, and I pray that you’ll be kept from that knowledge for a good, long time.

It was so late. We had eaten dinner with our friend Carla and her family before driving home, then we’d gone 10 miles off the course and had to turn back, losing a good half-hour. It was nearly midnight when she dropped me off.

About a half-hour later, she would be killed by a drunk driver. She was hit head-on and, they say, died instantly. I hope she felt no pain.

I worried about you when I learned of this tragedy. Stress is not good for a baby Scout. You’ve only been in existence for about three weeks; I didn’t want to give you more than you could handle already. I hope everything is okay in there, that you’re just growing and strengthening and becoming you.

I’m glad you’re here. Mary asked me if your dad and I were going to have kids, and I told her “no, we haven't been planning for kids.” I couldn’t tell her about you just yet. The next morning, before I learned of the wreck, I told your father how Mary and I would laugh someday, after I’d made the announcement about you, at how I’d had to evade her question that evening in the car.

Mary’s life was not in vain. She was a beautiful, giving person. I would be honored if you would someday have her same giving spirit, her easy smile, her obvious love for life.

It was a sad day in my life, Scout. It was a sad day for a lot of us. But a couple of good things happened that day, too, and I’d like to tell you about them.

Your Aunt Megan and Cousin Ella came up from Brevard to spend time with me. I had my first appointment with the baby doctor. Aunt Megan and Cousin Ella took me, and they waited and played in the waiting room while I went in for my appointment.

“Congratulations!” said the midwife when she came in to the examining room. She was talking about you, Scout. She was congratulating me for the happy news that I would be bringing you into the world.

She said you’ll be born in late November or early December. We won’t know for certain until late April, when your dad an I go in to get a sonogram. I’ll be able to see you then! Right now, you’re about the size of a sesame seed. By then, you’ll be closer to a lima bean. From a sesame seed to a lima bean in just a few weeks—you are growing fast!

I’ll end this letter for now. I’m sure I’ll write you many more in the upcoming months. Again, I hope the stress of the last couple of days has not hurt you. I’m doing my best to protect you, as long as I can, from the harshness of the world.

Love,
Mommy