Monthly Archives: September 2012

38 Weeks

How far along: 38 weeks, completed 09/25/2012.

Weight gain: 1 pound! Up to 151 lbs, for a total pregnancy gain of 18 lbs.

In terms of little Alice, I had that ultrasound to check her growth on Tuesday, and she’s weighing 6 lbs 5oz and looking great! Though her head isn’t engaged yet, she’s “way down there” (according to the tech) and has hair. I saw the fuzz. And I got to see her little face, with her precious mouth opening and closing, which made me burst into tears. She looks so different than the last ultrasound (when she was slightly frightening-looking and skeletal). I’m happy to say that she’s much fatter and baby-like. Her fingers look pudgy, and her face is the most precious thing I’ve ever seen.

Clothes: Though I love the cooler weather, it’s made me realize I don’t really have that many warm maternity clothing options. I have one pair of jeans that fits comfortably at this point, and then it’s mostly tank tops and summer dresses. Ah well. Two or so more weeks of more boring outfit combinations won’t kill me . . . I guess.

Purchases: We have mostly packed the hospital bag, and bought some snacks like beef jerky, Fig Newtons, and trail mix which are in there and ready to go. Gotta keep that husband energized so that he can stick with me however long it takes! I’ve also warned him not to breathe on me with beef jerky breath–that stuff smells nasty.

Body: Nothing terribly new to say here–still feeling good.

Sleep: Great!! I feel like this always happens when the weather turns–I start sleeping even better. There’s something about feeling slightly chilly and then snuggling down under blankets that just makes entering dreamland all the sweeter.

Best moment(s) of the week: Over the weekend, my husband and I worked on a playlist and burned two CDs to bring with us to the hospital. I wanted something rhythmic and meditative, kind of like what my yoga teacher used to play, and I think we have it. Now, I’m practicing relaxation while listening to those tracks so that when the music starts playing my body will recognize the signs “it’s time to let go.” Practicing relaxation has been really enjoyable. I dim the lights, settle back on the bed, press ‘play’ and take myself somewhere else in my mind. I’ve started associating different songs with different mental landscapes–a windy beach. A walk along a rocky coast. A walk along a curving beach with a white town in the distance. There’s a scene I’ve been working on in my mind which involves climbing up a diving board and then jumping into the cool water. I’ve worked out all kinds of textural and sensory details–the feeling of the rough diving board under my feet. Curling my toes around the edge. The feeling of the sun on my shoulders. The smell of the warm breeze (orange groves!). The welcoming glare in my eyes, and that orange warmth on the eyelids when you close your eyes and turn your head towards the sun. I can take myself there easily in this painless state, and I hope that practice will help me go there even when there is pain. I had forgotten how powerful the mind can be, and I’m enjoying exercising my imagination and going to these beautiful, calming places that I can construct into whatever I want.

Movement: Same as usual–stretches and squirms. She still hasn’t dropped, and I’m eagerly awaiting that moment as the next milestone.

Food cravings/aversions: Green bananas–all the time. Sometimes with peanut butter. Around dinner time, I go wild for a banana and a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Wild, I tell you!!

I’ve also been trying to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Especially in preparation for the ultrasound (I didn’t want to risk having low amniotic fluid and having someone suggest induction), I drank so much water it was unbelievable. And good hydration is important for good laboring, so I shouldn’t stop now.

Symptoms: If I have a big lunch, I’m usually not in the mood for much dinner. Quarters seem to be getting a little more cramped, which cuts off the feeling of hunger.

Emotions: So! My youngest sister Heidi had her second baby boy, Liam Peter, one week ago! I’m purloining these pictures of the happy family from facebook, as I don’t think I’d be allowed to pop on a plane to Alaska at this point to photograph them myself . . .

(though with my patented belly disappearing act, maybe I could sneak through security after all?)

I can’t believe James is now an older brother. His expression here could say any number of things . . .

. . . but at least it’s not the outright grimace I had in reaction to my sister Erica’s appearance on the scene.

Heidi was able to have an awesome, drug-free water birth and loved the experience. She called me only an hour or two after delivering and, to my amazement, sounded exactly like herself. Isn’t she supposed to be, you know, all weird and out of it? I wondered. Is it possible to sound so normal and energetic right after giving birth?

Well, apparently that’s the magic of the drug-free shebang. Which I hope I can do . . . but we’ll see.

We skyped with them the next day and “met” the little guy. He has the cutest, scruntchiest little face! And the cutest, scruntchiest little limbs!

I think I want one.

Hopes and dreams: I really hope I’ll be able to get into the mental zone necessary to deal with birth pains. I heard that it helps to think of the contractions as your body tightening into an embrace around your baby. As something good, and not just a trial to get through as quickly as possible. I’m trying to think this way every time I get an uncomfortable or painful Braxton-Hicks contraction, even though I know these are nothing compared to what’s to come.

What I miss: Brie! I could really go for some nice, ripe cheese right now. And don’t even talk to me about baked brie, encased in puff pastry, with some jam . . . But I won’t dwell on it. I must forge ahead, be a good girl, and stick to goat cheese for the time being.

And this is totally not pregnancy related, but I’ve actually been missing our old neighborhood a bit. Okay, not the loiterers and drug deals and gunshots–but the nearness of the lake. Popping downstairs for a spontaneous walk on the beach was wonderful, and now even the 5-7 bus ride it would take to get there makes it feel oh-so-distant.

Husband update: In terms of his impending fatherhood, he seems as even keel as ever. Over the weekend we had a great conversation about what kind of things from our years growing up were important, and which of those lessons we particularly want to make sure Alice learns. It’s been delightful just . . . talking. Our new favorite place for these long and lovely heart-to-hearts is our bedroom, after it gets dark, with the light on the dimmer. We can just lie there in the peaceful, beautiful space and dream out loud for as long as we want. This is exactly what I hoped our bedroom would become before having children: a haven for us, for our marriage, and for our intimate conversations.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Alice’s room: the finished version

So I know I caused many of you (including myself) great pain last week with the butt-ugly pictures of Alice’s room in chaos. And it wasn’t just the chaos–it was the ugly washed-out lighting of the overhead light and poor exposure and color balance. If I never look at those pictures again, I will be a happy woman. So after finishing the room about a week and a half ago, I decided to wait until the following morning to photograph it, when the light was streaming in the window and beautifying everything it touched.

There’s nothing like morning light to make a space feel extra fresh.

Walking in from the hall, this is the first view of the room.

The little hanging butterflies and polka-dot sheet were given to me by my friend Emily, who got them in turn from her friend. Thanks, ladies!

And the quilt, my absolute favorite piece of bedding, was hand-made by my sister Erica.

Thank you thank you thank you!

The little Marcy doll was a purchase my husband made at Cedar Point a few weeks ago.

He hopes that she and Alice will become special friends.

Turning clockwise, the next stop is the changing table . . .

. . . which was the butcher’s block in the kitchen of our old apartment.

I’ll have to stop myself from saying “put that baby on the butcher’s block!”

It just sounds wrong.

Above the butcher’s block is one of my favorite wall-hangings. The other week I got a surprise package from my cousin June, and in it was a vintage Alice in Wonderland paper doll. I put it in a frame and love the results!

The other picture we hung is from a set of three. My friend Eve made me lovely burp cloths–so lovely that I decided to frame the fabric and hang them throughout the room!

Hope you don’t mind, Eve.

And how better to turn a butcher’s block into a changing table than with bins! A bin for diapers and a bin for wipes, both of which just slide right out . . .

. . . and a bin with all of her little accessories: bows, ribbons, shoes, socks, hats, sunglasses, etc.

Continuing our clockwise turn, the next thing we come across is the gigantic closet, which occupies the whole back wall.

Inside, all her little things are organized.

(though we have since installed the car seat in our car–not the ordeal we imagined it might be, believe it or not!)

On the left side, we have a hanging organizer with bedding and cloths.

The big green bag on top has extra diapers that simply wouldn’t fit in the bin.

I think plenty of diapers is a good thing . . . or so I hear.

In the middle of the closet is a tall cupboard that houses clothes:

With bins inside that I can pull out as if they were drawers!

The little skirts, for instance, are all here:

To the right is another hanging organizer, with swaddlers on top and then onesies each assigned a cubby by size and type (long sleeve/short sleeve). It may look a little messy, but I promise it’s all thought-out and structured.

And further to the right are her sweaters, outerwear and assorted dresses.

On the shelving above is her Pak N’ Play, ready to go for all our out of town trips.

One of my main concerns about Alice’s room was the mismatched factor. Besides the crib and crib mattress, which we bought new at our Ikea trip, everything else was recycled from other past rooms. Which isn’t a problem–reusing stuff is great–but I had visions of a horribly hodge-podge room being the final product. Which might make me cry.

I wasn’t reassured it would all work until, well, it worked.

Until everything was in its proper corner, at the proper angle.

Continuing on our clockwise adventure, the next stop is the side table/rocking chair area.

The side table used to house our microwave at our old apartment, and now houses this adorable turtle nightlight from Aunt Jacquie, and breastfeeding paraphenalia inside the cupboard (nursing pillows, breast pump and the like).

The top of the microwave table was so beat up that I decided to cover it with a polka-dotted burp cloth from a set my friend Vessie bought us.

On that final wall are built in shelves that we have definitely put to use!

How can such a small little girl already have so many books???

I’m delighted.

I decorated the bottom shelf with some girly things, mostly gifts that to me represent all the love this little girl is being born into, though she doesn’t even know it yet.

Another framed burp cloth from my friend Eve . . .

. . . these lovely purple cut-out pictures that my cousin Emily made . . .

. . . and a wire basket (from Mama Kitty and Big Jake) full of the pink paper flowers my friend Carrie made as decorations for the baby shower she threw.

I’m so glad to be having a girl. It’s occurred ot me: what the heck would I put on this shelf if I were having a boy?

An . . . airplane?

Who knows.

And our clockwise spin has brought us back to the crib!

I painted that little shelf (from the basement of Mama Kitty and Big Jake) white, and put up a watercolor of flowers my mom painted, and the final framed burp cloth.

I love it. I have such a sense of peace entering this room. We’re ready for you, little Alice!