Monday, September 28, 2009

I Work with Cool People

Last week, my co-workers threw me an impromptu baby shower (well, it seemed impromptu to me because it was a surprise). They had pooled together some money to buy some really nice gifts. Plus, my friend Stephanie made a cake in the shape of an exclamation point (in celebration of National Punctuation Day) that said "Welcome Scout," and my friend Lori made a "cake" out of diapers and baby gifts. Here's a picture of the diaper cake:



And just so you can fully appreciate it, I've labeled some of the details (click on the picture to view a larger image):



This picture also stars two of my co-workers: Kelly (who is hiding behind the cake) and Stephanie (who made the exclamation point cake). Well, you can't really see Stephanie since she's hiding behind the bag, but you can see her arm.

I guess it also stars Dan, who actually took the picture. Thanks, Dan!

I really love my job, and a big part of it is because of the people I work with.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Six Years Ago This Weekend

It was a very special weekend ...



We're going to celebrate our anniversary, appropriately enough, by going to the wedding of a couple of hiker friends.

Happy sixth anniversary, Hubster! I hope you enjoy your present. Sorry it hasn't come in yet. It'll be done in about 70 more days.

Thirty Weeks



Wow. Scout and I have finally hit the big 3-0. Thirty weeks down, ten to go. Seventy days. Gulp.

Little Scout is over three pounds now, and about 15 and a half inches long, head to toe. Scout’s brain is starting to wrinkle and fold, thanks to the rapid growth of brain cells. His/her fingernails and toenails are finally “finished,” and the bone marrow is now completely in charge of producing red blood cells. You’re on your own there now, Scout!

As we could see in the 3-D ultrasound, Scout can open and close his/her eyes, and at this point should be able to respond to light.

Here’s an approximation of what Scout looks like this week:



Now, to the trail. If Scout and I were southbounders, we’d be somewhere just north of Atkins, Virginia, around Va. 617.



If Scout were hiking northbound with his/her dad, they would be in the vicinity of Stratton Pond in Vermont. Yes! They’ve made it to Vermont!



Ah, me. Poor southbounder that I am, I’ve been in Virginia for the last eight weeks. In that time, northbound Scout has gone from Pennsylvania to New Jersey to New York to Connecticut to Massachusetts to Vermont. Those northbounders always seem to have it easier.

I’m doing pretty well. The big belly is making life more uncomfortable, of course; I actually bought a pair of flip-flops this week, and I hate flip-flops. But it’s easier to slip on a pair of shoes than it is to try to tie my running shoes or Velcro-shut my Tevas.

Sleeping is an issue. The heavy belly is one thing, but the multiple nightly bathroom runs are another thing entirely. Oh, my. What a pain to wake up at 3 a.m. and feel like your bladder is going to burst if you don’t get to the bathroom right now, and I mean right now! And then to repeat the procedure again at 4:30, and again at 6:00 … it’s tiring. I honestly think I’ll get more rest once the baby is born. Two-hour feedings seems slightly more preferable to thirty- to ninety-minute bathroom runs throughout the night.

I'm continuing to exercise almost every day, and I'm eating well. I've seemed stalled at an 18-pound weight gain for the last couple of weeks, but that should change soon, as Scout should be gaining a half-pound a week for the next few weeks.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be in single digits in the weekly countdown. Today I have ten weeks to go; tomorrow, nine weeks and six days. Just makes me shake my head.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Precious Little (Alien) Child

We got 3-D ultrasounds today! Scout is apparently a very healthy little alien, weighing in at 3 pounds, 1 ounce, which is about normal for 29 weeks gestation. Also, Scout's measurements put him/her at 29 weeks, 3 days--which is actually what we are! So our little Scout seems to be growing at a healthy rate.

Heart rate was 138. Baby wasn't very active this morning. I think we interrupted his/her morning nap or something.

Here are some pictures from the ultrasound. (Warning: Babies tend to look like aliens in 3-D ultrasound pictures.)

First of all, because I love you, dear, readers, I've labeled the "Scout parts." I couldn't tell what I was looking at until the sonographer explained it to me. So hopefully this will help you:




Here is the little Scout wearing an Elvis wig and pretending to sing "Suspicious Minds." Just kidding. The "black hair" is actually shadows from the ultrasound machine. They actually couldn't see any hair on the baby. In this picture, Scout is holding his/her hand near his/her mouth and nose.




The sonographer said she thinks Scout has my nose and Hubster's lips. This is a relief. There isn't anything wrong with Hubster's nose, but my lips are another story. They're incredibly thin. If I wear dark red lipstick, I look like someone has slashed a tiny pocketknife across the bottom of my face. Hubster, on the other hand, has full, thick lips. You can see something like them on Scout:




Before they did the 3-D ultrasound, they did a regular ultrasound. Scout gave us a "thumbs up"--see?



How sweet is that? Scout also seemed to be clapping his/her hands for part of the time. Hand-clapping and a thumbs-up ... sounds like a happy baby to me. :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ella Pictures

This silly blog has been so Scout-centered lately that I thought it was about time I posted some Ella pics.

Here's Ella with her Aunt Nina (a.k.a. Waterfall):




Here she is with her Uncle Dan (a.k.a. Hubster):




Here's another Hubster pic. Funny, I kept accidentally referring to him as "Dad" (sorry, Stephen!). I love this one because it looks like Ella has a HUGE hand!




And here she is with her mom, dad, and sister (Andie the dog):



Note that, not only is Ella clapping, but she is standing!

It's really hard to believe she'll be one year old next month.

Week 29 Belly Pic

Here I am in the purple version of my blue belly-pic shirt. Twenty-nine weeks and counting!

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Love to Laugh

Jammie's recent comment compelled me to find this delightful scene on YouTube.



I think it's impossible to watch this without laughing. This'll be pretty fun to watch with Scout!

Thanks for the laugh, Jammie J.!

Pregnancy Dream

After the divine Miss Ella was born last October, I had several strange dreams about having “children.” They generally ran along these lines:

- I would give birth to a litter of humans with horses’ or pigs’ heads
- I would give birth to a handful of big snakes
- On one occasion, I gave birth to a broken jack-in-the-box

As you can see, I didn’t have a very positive attitude toward giving birth. I would wake up and think, “Thank God I’m not actually pregnant.”

So, God is laughing right now, and has been ever since one fateful mid-March evening.

I haven’t had a lot of strange pregnancy dreams since I actually became pregnant. But last night was an exception.

We were at the hospital, and I was going into labor. Hubster and my parents were there. (Sister Mu, where were you?) Next thing I knew, I was in bed, waking up, feeling very groggy, and noticing that I wasn’t pregnant anymore.

“Where’s the baby?” I asked.

“In the nursery,” my mom responded. “It’s a girl!”

“I want to see her.”

“You will. We can go over there just as soon as you can walk.”

“I can’t walk?” I started to ask why, then it hit me that I had no memory of giving birth.

“Wait …” I looked at them suspiciously. “Was I given some kind of drug to knock me out?”

“Yes,” my dad said. “We just couldn’t stand to see you in pain.”

“What did they give me?”

“You got a bunch of narcotics, plus they knocked you out with an anesthetic. Then they gave you an epidural, just in case,” Hubster explained. “Once the epidural wears off, you’ll be able to walk to the nursery and see the baby.”

I lay in bed, on fire with anger. I had missed the birth of my own child! And I couldn’t even walk, couldn’t even go see my baby! (I don’t know why I didn’t think to have them bring the baby to me, but strange things happen in dreamland.) And this was all because they had pumped me with drugs I hadn’t requested!

Next thing I knew, we were walking to the nursery. I was hooked up to several IVs and was having to drag all these machines along with me. I kept almost tripping on the cords.

“Was I really sick?” I asked my mom.

“No,” she said, and repeated, “We just didn’t want you to have to be in pain.”

Gee, thanks, mom.

So we got to the nursery and there were three cribs. Two were empty. A nurse led me to one crib that held a baby and said, “Here’s your baby girl! Congratulations!”

But it wasn’t my baby. It was Ella, and she was about six months old. Or at least it looked like a six-month-old Ella. I took her into my arms and held her close.

“I love this baby, but I don’t think this one’s mine,” I said.

“Oh, it’s yours,” they assured me. “It’s definitely yours.”

“But she’s six months old.”

“I promise, this is your child. We don’t make mistakes here.”

“How do you know this is mine? Where are the newborns?”

“All the newborns have already gone home with their parents. This is the only one left. That’s how we know it’s yours.”

Next, Hubster and I were driving home with our dark-haired, six-month-old “newborn.” I was so mad and upset I could barely speak. Not only did I miss the birth of my child, but it had probably gone home with someone else, and here I was with someone’s six-month-old Ella-lookalike!

“Hubster,” I asked, “Did you agree to letting them give me all those drugs? You knew I didn’t want to have drugs unless I specifically asked for them.”

Hubster looked very sad. “I know. I know you wanted to make your own decisions, but …”

“Well,” I said flatly. “Since you didn’t stand up for what I wanted, we’re just going to have to do this again. We’ll have another child, and we’ll do it the right way this time.”

When I told Hubster about the dream this morning and got to that last sentence, his eyes got really big and he said, “Duly noted! No drugs until you ask for them.”

It was a pretty disturbing dream. I’m actually looking forward to the process of labor and childbirth, to the moment I get to hold little Scout, to breastfeeding little Scout soon after he or she enters the world. I so look forward to bonding with Scout and Hubster those first few minutes after birth. In the dream, I’d missed all of that, and I was really upset.

Oh well, at least my “baby” was Ella (or a six-month-old Ella-lookalike), and not a litter of snakes! Ella is far cuter than any dumb old snake.

Me & Scout: 29 Weeks and Counting



Here we are at 29 weeks of pregnancy. And yes, Virginia, we are still in Virginia.



According to my advanced mathematical calculations (heh, heh), if this pregnancy were a southbound AT hike, Scout and I would be at Jenny Knob Shelter in southwest Virginia. If we were northbounders like Scout’s dad, we would be somewhere between Adams and North Adams, Mass.



Now we’re getting somewhere … almost to North Carolina, and almost to Vermont! Wow. If you noticed my belly pic for Week 28, you’ll see that Scout has really begun to grow.

Here’s what’s been happening with our little one this week:

Scout is about 2.5 pounds and is just over 15 inches long, head to toe. (Actually, those are the measurements for the average baby at 29 weeks. Scout may be a little smaller.) Scout’s sweet little head is getting bigger and bigger to accommodate all those wonderful brain cells. And Scout’s body is getting a workout—kicking, kicking, kicking. I love it.

As for me? Here’s what the parentsconnect.com site says about me for this week:

“Let's get right to the point: You're a bloated, water-retaining mess. Chances are good you can't get your sneakers on or your wedding ring off, so get comfy in your slippers. Your pants don't fit. Your shirts don't fit. And now, thanks to the swelling in your feet, your shoes don't fit. You can thank a wonderful thing called edema for that. Go edema!”

Well, it isn’t all that bad—I guess I’m lucky. Everything still seems to fit (so far), including the wedding ring, but I must admit that Hubster’s shorts and t-shirts are more comfortable for lounging around the house. I’ve been drinking lots of water and doing prenatal yoga and my Perfect Pregnancy Workout regularly, so I’m sure that hasn’t hurt.

In my daily pregnancy calendar last week, it said, “Mom may be experiencing increased urination again.” Again? AGAIN? Um, I don't think it ever decreased. And that’s no surprise. I mean, look at where the poor bladder is in the great scheme of things right now:



Someday, someday, I’ll again sleep the whole night through without having to get up 15 times to visit the bathroom! Of course, those days will come after Scout starts sleeping the whole night through …

So, life continues to be good and my pregnancy continues to be “uneventful.” If it suddenly became eventful and Scout were born today, he/she would have something like a 90% chance of survival. So we seem to be getting out of the woods on that one.

We’ll take my Week 29 belly pic this weekend and (hopefully) will post it here shortly afterward.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BabyCenter Poll

Is it wrong that I voted in this poll?



And that I think 97% of the the other 18,053 people who voted in it are sorely misguided?

Week 28 Belly Pic

We took this picture on Saturday, but Hubster had to go out of town for a few days and took the camera with him. Silly Hubster!



Scout is going through his/her golden age of in-the-womb kicking, and I'm enjoying every minute of it, every little thump. Scout has also begun to respond to his/her Daddy's voice, which is sweet.

Speaking of the Dad, here he is, showing us how truly fatherly he can be to Scout's big brother and sister:



We're almost to 29 weeks, so I'll have a Week-29 update for you on Friday!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Deep, Meaningful Kicking

I want to write something deep and meaningful. I really do. Heck, I would be happy with merely thinking something deep and meaningful. But all I can think about, and all I want to write about, is how sweet it feels when little Scout kicks.

Instead of writing or practicing piano yesterday afternoon (I'd planned to do both), I just sat contentedy in my new glider rocker in the baby's room, played Bach for Scout, and felt my belly move as Scout kicked to his/her body’s content.

I guess that’s deep and meaningful in its own way.

I also keep thinking about how cute it was that Scout was quiet and still for the entire church service yesterday, except for when a young soprano sang a beautiful solo. For the length of the song, Scout went berserk with kicking. Once the song ended, Scout settled down and I didn’t feel another kick until I was in the car heading home.

I think this might be a good sign that Scout’s hearing is A-OK. And that Scout either really loves or really hates beautiful soprano voices.

(P.S. Comments are back. Don't tell the comment-spammers.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Moving Right Along



Here we are, Scout and I, moving along down this little imaginary long-distance trail called pregnancy. As southbounders, we’ve reached Bailey Gap Shelter, which is a few miles north of Pearisburg, Virginia:



If we were northbounders like Scout’s dad, we’ve be at one of the Mt. Wilcox Lean-tos—north of Great Barrington, Mass., and south of Tyringham, Mass.:



Yes, we’re 28 weeks into this thing. Just 12 weeks to go on this unique little journey. I feel like I should be panicking, but I’m not. I’m cool as a cucumber, which is doubly weird because I’ve been off happy pills for six months. You’d think I would be clinically depressed and having panic attacks. Nope. And I’m actually looking forward to the process of labor and childbirth. I know. Weird.

Here are some of the Scout-y highlights for this week:

If Scout were an average-sized baby, he/she would be about two and a quarter pounds and about 14.5 inches from head to toe. However, Scout is small for his/her age, which is not surprising since I’ve always been small for my age. (We’ll just ignore my chubby adolescent years, won’t we. Yes, we will.)

Regardless of size, little Scout has eyelashes and can blink his/her eyes. Little Scout … blink if you can hear me, OK?

Just like mom, Scout is adding more body fat to the ol’ bod every day. According the experts, I have about 11 more pounds to gain. Gulp. That’ll put me at about 30 pounds total—right in the middle of the recommended 25- to 35-pound gain.

Strangely enough, I feel better right now than I’ve felt for the entire pregnancy. Sure, the belly is making it hard to balance and stand up from sitting (or sit up from lying down), and the morning sickness has come back (but not in full force), plus I can’t sleep at night due to a mixture of have-to-pee-itis and something like Restless Leg Syndrome, but other than that, I feel really good. I feel happy. That probably has a lot to do with it.

Actually, I don’t just feel happy. I feel I’m floating in happy dust. I’m not going to feel guilty about it either, as I’m wont to do. It is a joy to be able to embrace life like this. I’m just going to enjoy the rest of this pregnancy and look forward to little Scout’s arrival.

Oh, here’s a picture of what Scout might look like right now:



See that outy belly button? I’m not quite there yet, but I still have almost three months to go. I’m not sure where Scout thinks he/she will find room to grow in my belly, but Scout’s a smart kid and will figure something out. And my belly button will probably pop out in the process. If it does, you, dear readers, will be among the first to know. I might even include a picture.

At that point, I can truly accuse you of navel-gazing.

(Seriously. I won’t really include a picture.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Why I've Closed the Comments

A few people have asked me why I closed the comments on this blog. There two main reasons, the biggest being:

1. I was getting a lot of spam in the comments from old blog posts. This happens occasionally. I'm hoping that turning them off for a while will make the mean old spamster go away.

2. I was checking for comments too often and feeling sad when no one commented. When I'm feeling sad about something like that, I know it's time to take away the incentive that leads me there.

Finally, several of my favorite blogs, such as Mental Multivitamin and Holy Experience, don't have comments. If you want to communicate with the blogger, you have to e-mail them. And I've e-mailed both--not often, but occasionally when something they write really resonates with me. It's nice to be able to tell them, in a private letter, how much their post meant to me. I thought it would be neat for that to happen to me, maybe, someday, if I actually write something worth responding to.

That said, I probably don't have the discipline to remain "no comments" for long. Part of what I like about reading blogs is reading the comments. But I'm going to keep them off for a few more days at least, in hopes that the comment-spammers will go away.

Have I mentioned lately that I'm almost seven months pregnant? :)

The Li'l Bebby

Today was my monthly appointment with the midwife—my last monthly appointment. From now until Week 36, I’m to go every two weeks, and thereafter once a week.

Makes me realize how far along I really am.

So, the li'l bebby really is a li'l bebby. Apparently, Scout is measuring small for 28 weeks, but the midwife said she’s not surprised or worried, since I’m a small-framed person to start with. I’ve gained a whopping 19 pounds so far, which puts me on track for the recommended 25- to 35-pound gain.

A small baby ... I would love for Scout to be a little six-and-a-half- or seven-pounder. That, combined with my wide "child-bearing hips" should be a birthing mother's dream come true.

Scout may be small, but he/she sure is active lately. While the midwife was checking Scout’s heart rate, my belly kept bumping from the baby’s soft little kicks. The heart rate, by the way, was its usual 140. Average is “anywhere between 120 and 160,” so it looks like Scout is right on track.

They also gave me the glucose and hemoglobin (iron) tests again. Once again, I passed the glucose test (which means I don’t have gestational diabetes—yay!) and was low on iron. However, I was only barely low on iron, so they aren’t worried. What amazes me is that I’m still low on iron, even though I take prenatal vitamins and iron supplements daily, and am eating meat at least five days a week.

It was a good little visit. Scout looks to be very healthy so far, so I’m feeling thankful.

Twelve and a half more weeks until Scout's due date!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Week 27 Belly Pic

Friends, here we are at Week 27. I took this picture at our friend John G. Young's house this weekend:



It was a good, relaxing weekend--something I was very thankful for, since development season at work will be in full swing before I know it. I really needed to relax, and that's just what I got to do. Plus, I got to have shrimp for lunch Saturday, shrimp for a Saturday afternoon snack, and shrimp again for dinner on Sunday. Now that's what I call a good vacation!

So, many thanks to John and Kim for a great weekend. And thanks in particular to Kim for making the berry tart Sunday night. It was enough to bring tears of gratitude to a pregnant lady's eyes:



Onward to Week 28!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sheltowee at McAfee Knob

Here's a picture of Sheltowee, a.k.a. Hubster, a.k.a. Scout's dad, on McAfee Knob during his 1999 thru-hike.



Isn't he just the cutest thing?

Comments

Comments are temporarily closed on this blog. If you’d like to respond to any of my posts, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at INFPeace [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks for reading!

Update: 27 Weeks



Well, Scout, here we are. We’re starting the journey of our third trimester. According to the statistics, you should be about two pounds right now and about 14.5 inches long. I can tell that you’re sleeping and waking at regular intervals. Your most “awake times” are between 9 and 12 in the morning and then starting again around 9:00 at night. In the mornings, you like to stretch your weary bones. I can feel the stretching on either side of my belly.

It’s probably pretty dark in there, but you’re still able to open and close your eyes. And your ears … I do believe your ears are working just fine, since you respond to Mommy’s voice and not Daddy’s. (Well, Daddy probably wouldn’t say they were working fine, but that’s beside the point.)

If you were to be born right now, you would have a pretty good shot at surviving, even though your lungs aren’t quite there yet.

Did you know, you got the hiccups the other day? It was adorable.

Your big day is still three months away (God willing), but everyone is so excited about your impending arrival already. Aunt Megan has eight bags of baby clothes waiting for you—and even more bags, if you’re a girl! She also has scads of baby gear that you’ll use. What do you say to that, Scout? Exactly! “Thanks, Aunt Megan!”

Grandma Gwen (GG) and Paw Paw Hugh will be going back to Louisiana soon, but they’ll be back up well in time to see you when you’re born (make that a few minutes after you’re born).

Daddy is reading baby books and learning all he has to learn to be a good “birth coach.” He’s having fun feeling and watching you move inside my belly. And he can’t wait to take you on your first hiking trip!

Speaking of hiking, here’s where we are if we compare your journey to a southbound AT hike (click picture to enlarge):



Yep, we’re somewhere around Campbell Shelter, which isn’t too far from the famous McAfee Knob in southwestern Virginia. I'll try to find a picture of your dad in that beautiful place in real life.

Comparing your journey to a northbound AT hike, we’d be somewhere around Hatch Brook, Connecticut (click picture to enlarge):



Yes, Scout, you’ve made it to New England. Congratulations! As you can see, Hatch Brook is about halfway through the Connecticut section. For you AT enthusiasts, that’s about 12 miles south of Kent.

Here’s what you look like now (only you’re much cuter, and you're probably lying sideways, since you seem to like that position):


(27-week image from BabyCenter.com)

Several people have asked me why I didn’t post a Week 26 belly pic last week. The reason? Our camera batteries were dead, and I was well over 26 weeks by the time we got them. But I promise—I will post belly pics later this week! I’ll try to wear my special blue tank top and everything!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Something Sweet

Whenever I sing, Little Scout starts kicking.

It is tender baby joy at hearing Mommy's voice?

Or Scout's fetal effort at throwing rotten tomatoes?

Whatever it is, I love it.