Friday, July 31, 2009

An AT Southbound Hike Online

Speaking of AT southbound hikes, a couple from my little town started their 2009 southbound hike on July 29. The man is a fellow writer and a fellow frequenter of a local coffee shop near my office. I believe the woman is actually doing the journal. Anyway, I don't know them very well, but it should be fun to follow along. Check out their journal here. There isn't much to read yet, but I'm sure there will be as their hike progresses!

(They are not on a "pregnancy-pretending-to-be-on-a-southbound-AT-hike" like I am. They're on a real thru-hike. They did everything backwards, of course--had (and raised) kids, retired, and then went thru-hiking. Those silly southbounders!)

Week 22, and Pregnancy as a Thru-Hike



Today’s item on my day-by-day pregnancy calendar? “During the second trimester, moms feel less fatigue and more energy.”

HA!

I was sick this week. Round ligament stretching pain all day Tuesday and Wednesday, then very weak and shaky and nauseated all day yesterday. Today I feel better, but I’m maybe at 65% of where I should be for a second-trimester pregnant babe.

I’ve decided to make pregnancy more of an adventure and translate pregnancy weeks into Appalachian Trail miles. For example, going southbound, week 1 of pregnancy would last between Mt. Katahdin and Jo-Mary Road (in the 100-mile wilderness). Week 40 would start at Cold Springs Gap (NC) and end at Springer Mountain in Georgia.

I just finished Week 22 of pregnancy and am embarking upon Week 23. Following my AT logic, that puts me somewhere around Dick’s Dome Shelter, not too far south of the West Virginia/Virginia state line, and just a few miles north of Shenandoah National Park.

Part of me is thinking, “Wow! I’m already in Virginia!” Another part of me thinks, “So begins the long, 500-mile slog through Virginia.”

Just to give you an idea of where I am in my pregnancy, speaking in terms of southbound AT miles …


(map is from the AT Conservancy site)

Or, for a closer-up look (click on the map to make it bigger):




In pregnancy terms, I’m here (or, I should say, Scout is here):

Scout is 11 inches (head to toe) and just under a pound. The eyes have formed, and the pancreas is steadily developing. Scout’s developed his/her sense of touch and is kicking up a storm. He/She has also started growing taste buds. And, as always, Scout is growing, growing, growing.

Wow, I feel like I've begun a new kind of adventure already. I just hope Scout makes it all the way to Springer and doesn't decide to get off the trail (i.e., exit the womb) before he/she at least gets to Georgia. There's something neat about crossing that last state line.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Piano Bench Finds Balance in Life

I thought this was kind of pretty.



We had a small Lowe's credit. Not big enough to make much of a difference, but enough that I had to spend only a few dollars on a $24 rug that (sort of) matches the George rug.



Sadly, you can see what a cheap rug-buyer I am. We bought the original George rug a year ago, and look how faded it already is.



So, the combination isn't beautiful. But it's not awful. And the two rugs seem to be the same thickness, which means no more slanty piano bench surface.

This makes George, the piano bench, and me very happy. My no-longer-aching back is happy, too.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Now I Need a Bigger Area Rug

This is maddening. I finally get a good piano bench, after wanting one for 10+ years, and now I need to get a bigger area rug so it'll fit.



I've been needing a bigger area rug for a year, but it didn't seem worth it to buy one, since I wanted to get the piano bench first.



The magazines seem to work, but they keep sliding out every time I shift the bench ever so slightly.



I might buy some kitchen mats for now. Area rugs are expensive, even at Wal-Mart and K-Mart.

Meanwhile, I'll hang out with Bach and one of his many kids.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week 21 Belly Pic

I'll try to make this belly-pic posting a weekly thing until Scout is born. People have begun patting my belly, which means that, yes, I really am looking like a pregnant lady these days. Finally!



(Weirdly enough, I think I look smaller in this week's belly pic than in last week's. I guess it's the angle of the photo. To see last week's belly pic, click the "belly pics" label at the bottom of this post.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Scout and I are 21 Weeks Today



Today I am 21 weeks pregnant and have 19 weeks to go. Tomorrow I start my 22nd week.

It’s really weird to think that the journey of pregnancy is more than halfway over. I feel very blessed and thankful to have this unbidden opportunity to bring a little Scout into the world, and to devote the rest of my life to loving and raising him/her. I think this happened at the right time, too. While I’m still reeling a little from the whole idea of becoming a mommy, I feel strangely ready to change my life’s focus to this baby.

Here’s what’s going on with Scout this week, from BabyCenter.com:

Scout weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10.5 inches long (head to toe) — the length of a carrot. You may soon feel like Scout is practicing martial arts as his or her initial fluttering movements turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges. You may also discover a pattern to Scout’s activity as you get to know your baby better. In other developments, your Scout’s eyebrows (if he/she is going to have any) and lids are present now, and if you're having a girl, her vagina has begun to form as well.



And this is from parentsconnect.com:

By now, Scout looks like a mini-version of what Scout will look like when he or she is born. All the facial features are formed, and hair is growing on Scout’s head. Scout is even acting like a baby and will occasionally suck his or her thumb or yawn. Aww ...

Scout’s heartbeat is getting stronger and can be heard using a good old-fashioned stethoscope. By 21 weeks, fetal bone marrow starts making blood cells—previously done by the liver and spleen. This may not sound that exciting, but it's good news.

The amniotic fluid that has been cushioning your little bean now serves another purpose: Your baby uses it to "practice" chowing down. Yes, it sounds gross (as many aspects of pregnancy do), but it's an important step for your baby toward being able to chow down in the real world. Your baby has been swallowing amniotic fluid for a while now, but now the intestines are finally developed enough that Scout is absorbing small amounts of sugars from it. And let's face it, being able to effectively digest sugar is important at every stage of life.

My Scout … learning to digest sugar at such a young age. He or she clearly takes after Paw Paw Hugh. Pie, anyone?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Baby's Still There

I've been having scary dreams that Scout's heart has stopped beating, or that I have people over to visit Scout and they say things like, "Why would you think you had a baby? Why, you've never even been pregnant. Ha ha ha!"

So I called my doctor and said, "Please, please, please let me come in and hear the heartbeat. Just to make sure."

I think part of my worries has been that I still can't tell if I'm definitely feeling kicks, or if I'm just imagining things.

(I know, there's an issue there of trusting my own instincts and perceptions. I was taught not to trust them by a brainwasher-type back in 1991. Every now and then, that distrust comes cropping back up. We really should have sued the brainwasher when we could.)

So I went to the doctor today. They played the heartbeat. Scout was moving around like a little Scout should, and the heartbeat was 140. Whew. Perfectly normal.

What a relief. Scout's still in there, growing (and growing and growing), waiting to be born.

Baby Calendar, and Some Random Thoughts

Warning: This is yet another baby post.

My baby progress calendar for this week is so boring. Here is some of what I'm learning this week:

Monday, July 20: You may have had an ultrasound and know your baby's gender.
Wednesday, July 22: Dad may become more involved in pregnancy.
Thursday: July 23: Moms might be having more vivid dreams or nightmares.
Friday: July 24: If you are planning to breastfeed, a breastfeeding class is recommended.

Yawn. I don't care what's going on, or what might be going on, with me. I want to know what's going on with Scout. Of course, I know what's going on with Scout. This is what the calendar should have said:

Sunday, July 19: Scout is bigger than he/she was yesterday.
Monday, July 20: Scout is getting yet bigger.
Tuesday, July 21: Scout's size continues to increase.
Wednesday, July 22: Scout is in rapid growth mode.
Thursday: July 23: Whaddaya think? Yup. Still growing.
Friday: July 24: Scout is bigger than ever.
Saturday, July 25: Scout is a giant.

I'm worried about how big I'm going to be in four and a half months. I really am getting bigger every day. My maternity tops are getting tight. This is rather disturbing, to have one's maternity tops getting tight.

My belly itches and itches and itches from the stretching skin, though my Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter is helping. But then I get stuck on that old chant from baseball, "We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher!"

I am no pitcher. I, friends, am a belly itcher. Sad but true.

I shall leave you with that thought, for I now have to study my H&R Block materials for class today.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Van Now Has Character

I was driving home this morning to meet George's piano tuner. We have kind of a tricky driveway. It has two entrances. One is merely tricky; the other is very tricky. I always use the "merely tricky" entrance.

I don't know why, but I wasn't thinking today and used the very tricky entrance. And got tricked.

While navigating the tricky turn into my own driveway, my poor van made unfortunate acquaintance with the driveway's cement landscaping blocks.

The culprit:



The victim:



So, I guess my van has character now. Scout friends will forever know Scout's mom's car as "the van with all the scratches."

(Actually, considering the horrid noise it made when van met blocks, I was surprised that the scratches weren't any worse.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A-to-Z Thoughts on Pregnancy

Anemia: I learned at my last doctor's appointment that I'm anemic. Apparently, something like 40% of women become anemic during pregnancy. The doctor prescribed iron pills, since my diet, plus the prenatal vitamins, didn't seem to be doing the trick.

Baby Registry: I've been getting a lot of questions about this. We don't have one yet. We probably won't have one until Hubster is done with camp.

Cats: Hideaway is still snuggling up to Scout every night. It's uncomfortable for me to lie on my back, so I'm having to lie on my side. Hideaway gets right next to my belly and leans on it. I worry about poor Hideaway and Beau; they are going to have a serious adjustment to make once Scout is born and they are no longer the center of attention.

Diet: My diet has been so-so. It's hard to eat the 2,000 calories I'm supposed to be eating each day. I get full after a few bites of a sandwich. I'm trying to eat five or six small meals a day. Everything gives me heartburn, which makes me have less of an appetite. But heartburn is not a bad thing. (See "Tums.")

Ella: Scout's big cousin, Ella, is almost nine months old. Ella's mom and I are already planning to have "cousin pictures" taken once Scout is old enough.

Furniture: I've ordered my glider rocker and ottoman (Thanks, Mrs. Gwen!), but nothing else. Again, we'll have to wait until Hubster is finished with camp before we can go shopping for a crib and other furniture items.

Gestational Diabetes: Got tested for it at the same time they tested me for anemia. Fortunately, I don't seem to have it, though I was worried because I've been so thirsty. (See "Insomnia.")

Hubster: I am dying of loneliness without him, and I'm so glad camp is almost over. He's going to be such a good dad.

Insomnia: I cannot sleep to save my life. Not only is my growing belly uncomfortable, but it's sitting right smack on top of my bladder, and I'm having to get up 100 times a night to go. I try to drink less water, but when I do that, I get so thirsty I can't stand it.

J: If we have a boy, one of Scout's initials will be "J." (No, we're not going to name him Janina. I promise.)

Kicking: Baby is kicking. I can still barely feel it, and even then I have to be perfectly still and concentrate really hard.

Love: I'm feeling lots of love these days--love for family, love for friends, love for my cats. So that's good; it helps stave off the fact that I'm dying of loneliness. (See "Hubster.")

Machines: I'm referring to exercise machines here. Since walking is a challenge (see "Walking"), I'm finding myself at the gym more, which I hate, since the weather has been so nice. The elliptical machine gives me an especially good workout, and I'm working with the Nautilus machines some. It's a challenge because I don't want to push my body too hard, yet I do want to give it a good dose of exercise.

Names: We've picked out names. I guess they are subject to change, but we decided on these a while back and have stuck with them so far.

Oxytocin: As stated on this website, oxytocin is "a chemical messenger released in the brain chiefly in response to social contact, but its release is especially pronounced with skin-to-skin contact. In addition to providing health benefits, this hormone-like substance promotes bonding patterns and creates desire for further contact with the individuals inciting its release." It's instrumental in the initial bonding between mother and child, and also in breastfeeding. I'm looking forward to floating with Scout in an ocean of oxytocin once Scout is outside the womb.

Peeing: See "Insomnia."

Qualifying Child: Scout is going to be a "qualifying child," according to the IRS. I learned this in my H&R Block class. Thanks to young Scout, we might actually get a tax refund again this year. Who knew?

Resentment: I feel kind of bad because I know of women who desperately want children but can't have them, and I know there has to be some degree of resentment for a person (like me) who wasn't actually planning to have kids but managed to get pregnant anyway. I don't know what to do to fix that situation. I guess there's nothing I can do, except understand that they can't help the way they're feeling, and not feel negative toward them for it.

Singing: I am singing all the time. I really hope Scout doesn't mind my singing voice. It's not horrible, but it's not great, either. But it's Mommy's voice, so Scout will love it. I hope.

Tums: I love Tums! They are my favorite candy. Hubster always has to hide them so I don't eat them all. But now that I'm getting pregnancy-related heartburn, I can eat all the Tums I want! (Well, maybe not all I want, but I'm allowed to have up to six a day!)

Uterus: My uterus now contains a 12 (or so) ounce Scout.

Van: I still love my minivan.

Walking: I think I'm going to give up walking, or at least walking outside. Baby is parked on my bladder, so I can't walk for more than a mile or so without having to go. If it's not too hot this weekend, I'm going hiking. There are lots more "bathrooms" on the trails than there are on the Greenway in town.

Xylophone (because "X" is always for xylophone): Should I start by getting Scout a toy xylophone, or should I go straight to the kiddie piano?

Yuck: I thought I would enlighten and educate myself by watching a couple of childbirth shows on TLC last night. YUCK. Rather than make me feel more comfortable with the idea of childbirth, it convinced me that I want to be knocked out cold with drugs before I ever go into labor. (Not really ... well, sorta ...)

Zzzzzz: That's how I feel right now. Guess I'd better get ready for work anyway.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Spot of Light

Hideaway is a genius at finding the one light/warm spot in the living room.





Sunday, July 19, 2009

Belly Pic #1: 20 Weeks

Here I am with Scout at 20 weeks:



I feel like a huge pregnant woman. Everyone else says I have a "cute little belly." Maybe it'll seem like a "cute little belly" to me, too, once I'm in my ninth month and really am a huge pregnant woman.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Time for the Half-Gallon Challenge!!

When you reach the halfway point of an Appalachian Trail thru-hike (somewhere in Pennsylvania), you have the opportunity to take the "half-gallon challenge" to eat a half-gallon of ice cream.

(I didn't partake when I was on my thru-hike because the ice cream store was closed for the season, but I did enjoy living the challenge vicariously through other hikers. Here's a particularly entertaining account of one hiker's half-gallon challenge.)

But I'm not here to talk about half-gallons, or ice cream, or even hiking. I'm here to talk about halfway points.

Today (Friday), Hubster and I are at the halfway point of our pregnancy. (Does that sound silly, to call it "our" pregnancy?) I'm 20 weeks along, with 20 weeks to go. See?



Baby Scout is now about 10.5 ounces, about the weight of my Z-Rest foam sleeping pad. Baby is also about 6 and a half inches from crown to rump--just longer than a white blaze on the AT. If you include those kicking little legs in the measurements, Scout grows to about 10 inches.

Scout is swallowing a lot, practicing, I guess, for his or her own half-gallon challenge for, oh, eighteen or twenty years from now. Scout's also producing meconium (poop), so I guess I'd better put an orange shovel on the baby registry.

It's hard to believe I'm at the halfway point. It's been a challenge, just getting here.

I think I'll have some ice cream after all.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Waiting, Whining, Wonderful Wednesday

Waiting

Days until I’m at the halfway point of my pregnancy: 2
Days until Hubster is home for good: 24
Days until my third trimester begins: 56 (a little less than two months)
Days until Scout’s due date: 142 (about five months, minus a few days)

Whining

Oh, my! Where do I start?

I wonder, would it be possible for me to limit my whining to Wednesdays only?

1. Fatigue. I am so tired! I thought the fatigue was supposed to end with the first trimester, but it hasn’t. I don’t have that “just-drank-Nyquil” feeling that I had during the first trimester, but I am definitely lost in a fog of fatigue.

2. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry. I miss my Hubster so much I can barely stand it.

3. Subway—everything about it. I think I’m going to quit going there. Period. The last straw was the meatball sub I had today (for some reason, I was craving meatballs). It was full of gristle and/or bone. I nearly chipped a tooth. Finally threw it away after getting a couple more bits of gristle/bone. Yuck.

4. Non-friends. Specifically, I’m referring to Facebook “friends” who use their Facebook accounts as their method for political activism. I get so tired of being bombarded with their far-right and far-left announcements, all disguised as “status updates.” These are “friends” I will not feel guilty about de-friending.

5. Rude people. Specifically, people who tell me, “Well you sure don’t look pregnant!” I don’t know why this irritates me so much, but it does. The next person who tells me this is going to get kicked in the shin. So be warned.

OK, I guess I need some positive stuff to balance those whines out, don’t I.

Wonderfuls

1. Watermelon. I am so thankful to be pregnant during the summer, when no watermelon craving need ever go unfulfilled.

2. Lemonade

3. Hubster (I know, I sound like a broken record. But I just love this man so much.)

4. Franz Schubert

Those are my Wonderfuls for today. I’ll try to think of something a little more creative for Thursday.

Thoughtful Thursday?
Thankful Thursday?
Thunderous Thursday?
Thuggish Thursday?
Thirsty Thursday? (Ah, that one brings back some college memories!)

Any suggestions?

Is Anybody Out There?

According to Sitemeter.com, I'm getting plenty of visitors every day, yet only one person seems to leave comments.

Are any of my friends reading this? If so, please say hello in the comments. I can write to an empty room for years, but it's nice every now and then to know people are actually reading ...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Piano Preferences

Note: This was also posted on my piano blog.

I got a new piano bench this weekend. It's an adjustable bench, and I'm hoping to have it for a long, long time. It replaces the kitchen chair, which replaced my old piano bench, which I'd used for 30+ years. So I'm a faithful piano bench owner, I am.

I didn't get to practice this weekend, so I was looking forward to tonight's practice session using the new bench (which I've named Gilbert). Sure, I planned to practice my Shostakovich ... but I also planned to experiment with the new bench.

My old bench was too high. The kitchen chair, obviously, was too low --plus, it wasn't flat, like a piano bench should be. I would get a backache before I ever made it through my warm-up scales.

I started with the bench low and practice for a few minutes. Backache.

I moved it up a bit. Backache.

Moved it up a little more. Backache, but not quite so bad.

Finally I found a good height and practiced for a half-hour before the sleepies started to take over. Then I compared it to my "too high" piano bench. It's slightly lower. It's also a lot more cushiony, which helps, I'm sure.

Deborah always has me adjust her piano bench to as low as it goes. Sure, my elbows are at the right angle at that height, but it never feels right to be that low. I like to feel like I'm high above the piano--but not so high that it hurts my back. There's a narrow range in there, and I can find it with my new bench.

Another preference I have--one that Deborah has convinced me to abandon--is that I like to sit on the very, very edge of the bench. Not so much, obviously, that I'm in danger of falling off. But more so than "good technique" would probably recommend. To sit the way I like, the bench has to be a little farther away from the piano than you'd expect. But I like the feeling of space. With it comes a feeling of freedom. It's like I'm giving the piano, and the music, room to breathe.

So I think I might start playing the piano the way that "feels" right to me. Maybe it's bad technique, but can it be so bad if I'm simply more comfortable in a certain position? I definitely feel like I have more control in my "preferred position." Sitting closer to the piano, and being closer to it due to a shorter piano bench, makes me feel crowded and claustrophobic. I've tried it for five years now, and I still haven't gotten used to it.

One final preference: As wonderful as my hearing aid is, and as drastically as it's improved my quality of life, I prefer playing piano without it. Maybe this is because I learned to play without it; I didn't get a hearing aid until I was 29, and I couldn't afford a really nice one until I was 38. I hear the piano differently when I don't have the hearing aid in. It's like hearing the voice of a treasured friend. I don't have that feeling at all when I use the hearing aid.

Again, I feel like I have more control when I play my preferred way (i.e., without the hearing aid). The notes sound clearer and louder when I have the hearing aid in, but they also sound harsher. Without the hearing aid, they sound ... considerate. Not clanging in on my consciousness. They sound like friends. Voices I can truly work with. And it's like my hands and fingers know what to do, whereas they always feel shy and uncertain with the louder, harsher tones.

I was supposed to have a lesson Saturday morning, but Deborah had to cancel at the last minute, so I won't have a lesson until this coming Saturday morning. I'm going to try an experiment this week. I'm going to go back to playing without my hearing aid, using a higher bench, and sitting a little farther away from the piano than usual.

What can it hurt? It's not like I'm training to be a professional. And it's not like I'm the Queen of Bad Technique, though I sometimes feel like I am during a lesson.

I really think it's time I started trusting my own instincts a little more. I have no problem trusting my instincts as a writer. With piano, it's always been a different story.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Piano Preferences

I got a new piano bench this weekend. It's an adjustable bench, and I'm hoping to have it for a long, long time. It replaces the kitchen chair, which replaced my old piano bench, which I'd used for 30+ years. So I'm a faithful piano bench owner, I am.

I didn't get to practice this weekend, so I was looking forward to tonight's practice session using the new bench (which I've named Gilbert). Sure, I planned to practice my Shostakovich ... but I also planned to experiment with the new bench.

My old bench was too high. The kitchen chair, obviously, was too low --plus, it wasn't flat, like a piano bench should be. I would get a backache before I ever made it through my warm-up scales.

I started with the bench low and practice for a few minutes. Backache.

I moved it up a bit. Backache.

Moved it up a little more. Backache, but not quite so bad.

Finally I found a good height and practiced for a half-hour before the sleepies started to take over. Then I compared it to my "too high" piano bench. It's slightly lower. It's also a lot more cushiony, which helps, I'm sure.

Deborah always has me adjust her piano bench to as low as it goes. Sure my elbows are at the right angle at that height, but it never feels right to be that low. I like to feel like I'm high above the piano--but not so high that it hurts my back. There's a narrow range in there, and I can find it with my new bench.

Another preference I have--one that Deborah has convinced me to abandon--is that I like to sit on the very, very edge of the bench. To do that, the bench has to be a little farther away from the piano than you'd expect. But I like the feeling of space. With it comes a feeling of freedom. It's like I'm giving the piano, and the music, room to breathe.

So I think I might start playing the piano the way that "feels" right to me. Maybe it's bad technique, but can it be so bad if I'm simply more comfortable in a certain position? I definitely feel like I have more control in my "preferred position." Sitting closer to the piano, and being closer to it due to a shorter piano bench, makes me feel crowded and claustrophobic. I've tried it for five years now, and I still haven't gotten used to it.

One final preference: As wonderful as my hearing aid is, and as drastically as it's improved my quality of life, I prefer playing piano without it. Maybe this is because I learned to play without it; I didn't get a hearing aid until I was 29, and I couldn't afford a really nice one until I was 38. I hear the piano differently when I don't have the hearing aid in. It's like hearing the voice of a treasured friend. I don't have that feeling at all when I use the hearing aid.

Again, I feel like I have more control when I play my preferred way (i.e., without the hearing aid). The notes sound clearer and louder when I have the hearing aid in, but they also sound harsher. Without the hearing aid, they sound ... considerate. Not clanging in on my consciousness. They sound like friends. Voices I can truly work with. And it's like my hands and fingers know what to do, whereas they always feel shy and uncertain with the louder, harsher tones.

I was supposed to have a lesson Saturday morning, but Deborah had to cancel at the last minute, so I won't have a lesson until this coming Saturday morning. I'm going to try an experiment this week. I'm going to go back to playing without my hearing aid, using a higher bench, and sitting a little farther away from the piano than usual.

What can it hurt? It's not like I'm training to be a professional. And it's not like I'm the Queen of Bad Technique, though I sometimes feel like I am during a lesson.

I really think it's time I started trusting my own instincts a little more. I have no problem trusting my instincts as a writer. With piano, it's always been a different story.

Ella Learns Piano

I forgot to post these this weekend. Ella, my sister, and my mom came to visit Friday afternoon. Ella loves making noises and is constantly rap-tap-tapping things on various surface. So I figured she would like to meet George the Piano. I figured right.

Note how blurry her left hand is. That hand is moving.



I think I make this same happy face sometimes when I'm playing:



We had a wonderful afternoon. I'm hoping Miss Ella comes back to visit her Aunt Waterfall again soon!

Lecture on the Importance of Play

If you have a few minutes, this is an interesting lecture on the importance of play, and how it can make us smarter. It’s kind of funny, though, to see such a serious-looking lecturer talking about the importance of play.

Stuart Brown says play is more than fun

I don’t think Scout will have to worry about not getting enough play in his/her young life.

Baby Pics

Our little Scout is growing up before our eyes. Here are some pictures from Friday's ultrasound:

First up is the profile and the wee little ribcage:



I think Scout moved while this one was taken (Scout moved a LOT!), so the profile is just a tiny bit blurred.

Next is Scout's forearm and hand:



It looks like four fingers, with the thumb hidden behind the hand. At least I hope there's a thumb there. Octaves are really hard to play when one is thumbless.

Next is our little hiker-to-be's foot:



Does Scout have eight toes? The better to make the trail miles with, my dear!

Here's my favorite one--Scout mugging for the camera:



I don't know if it's just me, but something about seeing my child's face for the first time, even as just an ultrasound image, just gets me all mushy and melty inside.

This next one is an odd-looking one. It's the nose and lip. I've added a labeled version to make it easier to understand:



And now, for perhaps the sweetest one of all. Hubster and I call this one "The Thinker."



No jokes about how Scout has a belly just like his/her mom/dad, please. :)

Note that we don't have any pictures that suggest whether or not Scout is a boy or a girl. Only one person knows what we're having, and that's the sonographer, whom we swore to secrecy. She was happy to oblige.

BTW, this is my 2009th post on A Sort of Notebook.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Latest on Baby

Heh ... as if you, dear readers, needed a "Latest on Baby" post, just a few hours after I gave you one.

I went to the doc today for an ultrasound and my monthly checkup. I haven't had a chance to scan the ultrasound pictures, but I'll post them just as soon as I do. It may not be until Monday--sorry.

Scout wasn't moving much at first, and then he/she apparently woke up started wiggling and kicking and punching all over the place. Everything looks fine--Scout is the size he/she is supposed to be, and the heart rate was 147.

Speaking of wiggling and kicking and punching, I'm starting to feel tiny, fleeting little movements down in my belly. Nothing like kicks yet, but enough for me to know that, yep, there's definitely something in there.

NIneteen Weeks Today

I am 19 weeks pregnant today. Know what that means? It means I’ll be 20 weeks next week.

Know what that means?

That means I’ll be at the halfway point of my pregnancy. Starting next Friday, on each day that dawns, I’ll be progressing further into the second half of my pregnancy.

Let’s see what the little darlin’ is up to this week (adapted from BabyCenter.com):

How your baby's growing:

Scout’s sensory development is exploding! His or her brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Some research suggests that she may be able to hear your voice now, so don't be shy about reading aloud, talking to her, or singing a happy tune if the mood strikes you.

Scout weighs about 8 1/2 ounces and measures 6 inches, head to bottom — about the size of a large heirloom tomato. The arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of Scout’s little body now. Scout’s kidneys continue to make urine and the hair on the scalp is sprouting. A waxy protective coating called the vernix caseosa is forming on the skin to prevent it from pickling in the amniotic fluid.


I thought BabyCenter's picture for this week was amusing:



I thought the accompanying 3-D image, however, was rather disturbing:



As for me, I look pretty much the same. No huge belly yet, but definitely much bigger than I'm used to. Here's a picture of me with my cousin Rachael and my Aunt Joyce a few weeks ago:



Oh, you want to know how I'm doing and not how I look. Silly me! I’m doing pretty well. I don’t feel great because I’m not running 20 miles a week. But I feel pretty good. It’s getting harder to sleep at night; my belly is just big enough that I’m having trouble getting comfortable, despite the body pillow my sis gave me.

Another nighttime problem is heartburn—apparently a very common side effect of pregnancy. Oh my, but I’ve never had heartburn like this. I rarely get heartburn in real life. This is unfortunate, since Tums are just about my favorite candy of all time. Now, finally, I have an excuse to eat Tums!

I’ll be getting an ultrasound a little later today and will post pictures just as soon as I get them scanned!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Saudi Scouts Visit Camp Daniel Boone

Hubster's camp has been hosting a troop of Scouts from Saudi Arabia this week. Here's a story on it--accompanied by lots of pictures--from the Asheville Citizen-Times.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Today is the Day!



I have been waiting for this day for months now. When I first downloaded this particular pregnancy calendar, I highlighted the item that said, “Try talking to your baby. Baby can hear you.” So now, finally, Baby can hear me.

And what has Baby heard today?

Baby heard me talking sweetly to my cats. I fear the cats will be jealous in a few months when all my sweet talk is transferred to Scout.

Baby heard me expressing frustration that it took me 10 minutes to get out of the house this morning and that, once I left, I had to go back home to get my key card for work. So, congratulations, Baby. You’ve officially been exposed to negative talk a la Waterfall. I’ll try to do less of that from now on.

Baby heard me talking to his/her dad this morning. After listening to me for five months*, Scout should be a full-fledged fellow Hubster fan by the time he or she is born.

I do hope Scout can hear. My biological father has had hearing loss similar to mine since childhood, so my own deafness could very well have a genetic component. If Scout has hearing loss, I hope it’s at least somewhat correctable, like mine is, with hearing aids, and that he or she will someday be able to enjoy Bach.

Now Baby is probably listening to my cherry-bran muffin being digested in the stomach next door. It probably sounds like an earthquake.

I'm such an exciting mom. No, never a dull moment for my baby Scout!


*Scout is actually due in just under five months. Hard to believe that, in approximately 151 short days, our life will change forever.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Scout's Modeling Career

(As you can probably tell from the title, this is another pregnancy post.)

Well, our little Scout’s modeling career began today. A nearby pregnancy center is training nurses to do ultrasounds, and the trainees need to do something like 75 ultrasounds as part of their training. Needless to say, they have been looking for “ultrasound models” – and are offering the ultrasounds free!

Originally I didn’t sign up. For one thing, I’m getting plenty enough ultrasounds already. For another, I didn’t want to take the slot of someone who might really want an extra ultrasound but can’t afford it. Then I learned that a lot of people haven’t been signing up, and that they really needed more models.

So I decided to let Scout be an ultrasound model. I went for the appointment today. Hubster met me there. It wasn’t quite the experience we would have with an experienced ultrasound technician, since the trainer was walking the trainee through everything, explaining things about measuring, how hard to press on the belly, etc. The pictures we got weren’t so great, either, but I guess we couldn’t expect them to be professional-quality.

Here are the stats I got:

- Scout’s heart rate was 164 bpm. Still in girl range, if you believe the heart rate myth.

- The ultrasound measured the gestational age to be 18 weeks, 6 days. Whoa! That’s a whole week older than Scout is. They told us that it probably wasn’t accurate, since gestational age determinations in the second and third trimesters weeks are not as accurate as the earlier determinations. Apparently, once the second trimester kicks in, so do genetics, and the baby may no longer follow the “rules” for how big or small it’s supposed to be at a given gestational age.

So, Scout is big for his/her age. For now.

Another nurse came in after we finished up and looked at the ultrasound data. “Eighteen weeks, six days!” she said, then looked at me. “Wow, you look small for having a baby that size.”

I growled inwardly.

While the ultrasound pictures aren’t great, there is one really cute one that shows Scout’s elbow. Scout’s model pose was of the classic “Baby in Womb, Sucking Thumb.”

I think Scout was actually asleep during the ultrasound. He/she was moving a little bit and hiccupped a few times, but he/she definitely wasn’t in the somersaulting mood he/she was in for the last ultrasound.

Or maybe he/she just knew that he/she was being a model, and was practicing being still so the camera could get a good shot.

Anyway, Scout's modeling career has officially begun. We may go back for another "modeling" experience in a couple of months, if the pregnancy center is still looking for volunteers.

What to Write About First?

I know. That title is an example of improper English grammar. But it’s deliciously the style of the grammar I heard during my growing-up days in south Louisiana. And I’m still basking in the memories of shrimp po-boys from last week’s visit down south. So bear with me, fellow grammar police-people.

I have much to write about. I’m afraid this post it going to be even more scattered than usual.

Old Friends

I have several “old friends” stories today. In Louisiana last week, I got to have lunch with Jan and Janie. I’ve known Jan since kindergarten, and Janie and I became friends in seventh grade (or was it sixth grade?). Later that day, I visited with my friend Kris. Kris and my friendship began in fourth grade, with our mutual love for John Schneider, a.k.a. “Bo Duke.” We’ve stayed good friends ever since, and had a wonderful 3-hour conversation that afternoon.

Then yesterday I went to camp to visit the Hubster and just happened to run into my friend Rusty. I hadn’t seen Rusty since 1991, when we were in college together. He was one of three students from my college who studied at Oxford in 1991 as part of the Virginia Program at Oxford. I wrote a little bit about that, and included some pictures, here.

So Rusty was at the camp for Parents’ Night, as his son’s troop is attending camp this week. Amazing that, even though there were hundreds of people at the camp, and even though both Rusty and I were only at the camp for a few hours, we should run into each other and have a very happy and unexpected reunion of old friends. His wife, RachelAnne, was there, too. She was beautiful when we were in college and has amazingly grown more beautiful with age. It was so good to see them both again, and to meet their three children.

Pregnancy and My Looks

OK, I’m getting a little tired of being told I don’t “look” pregnant. I do look pregnant, if you compare my body today with the body I had five months ago.

And some not-very-bright person told me last week that they “can’t believe” I’m actually wearing maternity clothes, because “you sure don’t look like you need them yet.”

Well, let’s see. I was in size-4 jeans before. If I were to try to put those on, they might still fit in the legs, but the zipper definitely wouldn’t zip, and the button would probably be several inches from the buttonhole. My size-6 maternity jeans are perfectly comfortable, thank you.

And my boobs burgeoning milk factory has grown exponentially. OK, not literally exponentially. (Sorry, Hubster.) My shirts don't quite fit anymore. I suppose I could set aside all my S/P t-shirts and go buy a bunch of M/M or even L/G t-shirts, but the S/P maternity t-shirts are just perfect. There’s plenty of room up top for the growing girls, and there’s plenty of room in the bottom to grow into. An added benefit is that the shirts are long, so I never have to worry about my underwear peeking out of my waistband in back. (I hate when that happens, particularly when I see it happen to a person my age or older.)

So, yes, I look pregnant. For me. I’ve gone from having a concave stomach to having a poochy little belly. I can’t help it if half the women (and a good many of the men) in the U.S. already have poochy little bellies, and that I merely look like everyone else now. Maybe they’re the ones who look pregnant. And since I look like them now (the women, at least), I guess I look pregnant, too.

(Am I being snarky? I’m not trying to be. I promise.)

More on Pregnancy and My Looks

Though I could never have imagined it during those nauseated and exhausted first 14 weeks of pregnancy, I think I’ve actually begun to glow. Rarely do I look at myself in the mirror and think, “Self, you are beautiful.” But I do it every morning now. I’m not trying to be vain. I just think I’m glowing, and happy, and that it’s all right there in my face.

Here’s the scientific explanation, from the American Pregnancy web site:

When you are pregnant your body produces 50% more blood, resulting in more blood circulation through your body. This increase in blood circulation causes your face to be brighter. Your body is also producing a fair amount of hormones that cause your oil glands to work in over drive, leaving your face shiny. Both of these things can result in the "pregnancy glow" you have heard of.
A big part of my happiness is Scout’s daddy. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life.

(Am I being mushy and sentimental? I’m not trying to be. I promise.)

Classes

My, but I’m taking a lot of classes. Most of them are imaginary, but they’re classes nonetheless. The one non-imaginary class I’m taking is an H&R Block class on taxes, which I’m taking as part of my job. Definitely not a class I would ever sign up for on my own, but … it’s still fun to learn new things. I just need to try not to get too mad. It’s difficult; just thinking about how the government takes away my hard-earned income can have me spitting nails.

The other classes I’m taking give me no cause to be angry at the government. They are:

- A great books course offered by The Teaching Company
- A course on argumentation offered by The Teaching Company
- A course on the Old Testament, offered by the Reformed Theological Seminary

And then there’s piano. Does that count as a class? Whatever it is, it’s certainly not imaginary.

So I’m getting the H&R Block Class and the OT class for free. The others I’ve paid for.

Reading

I’m reading several books right now. As usual, I’m working my way through the entire Bible. I try to do this every year. I practically have Genesis memorized. Last year I made it all the way through the Old Testament. This year I’m following the “Bible in One Year” plan outlined in The Literary Study Bible. I’m currently about a month behind because I was too depressed to read anything in May.

I’m also re-reading Anne of Green Gables. I remember reading it when I was a child, and I remember liking the story but feeling ambivalent about the character of Anne, whom I found entirely too girly. At the same time, I definitely identified with her on many levels.

There’s one expression that she uses that I’d forgotten about (I probably didn’t totally understand what it meant when I was ten), and I now wish I’d remembered it all these years: “scope for the imagination.” The reason I fell in love with the old farmhouse was that it had so much scope for the imagination. Our current house, nice and modern and comfortable as it is, has absolutely no scope for the imagination, which is why I doubt I'll ever love it the way I loved the old farmhouse, or the way I loved living in my grandmother's house several years ago.

I couldn’t explain it to the Hubster then, and I probably couldn’t explain it now. But you, dear readers, understand what I mean … don’t you?

I’m also reading I’d Rather Be Practicing, a memoir by classical pianist Gary Graffman. I enjoy reading memoirs by pianists, for some reason. My favorite so far has been the two-volume memoir by Arthur Rubinstein.

And, of course, I'm reading about five books on pregnancy.

The End

And this brings me to the end of this long and rambling post. I have a long day ahead of me, one that includes much productivity at work (hopefully) and an ultrasound. Later, y’all!