Category Archives: Pregnancy

Growing Up

When I was 19, I used to think that I didn’t ever want kids. My “humorous” reason was that I was way too selfish and wouldn’t want to put someone else’s needs above my own. At 19, that was probably true.

When I was 24, I realized that I wanted to have kids, just not yet. I wanted to be married for at least a year before even thinking about it.

When I was 27, I was desperate to be a mom. I hated all my friends who were having babies.

When I was 28, our son was born, and we spent the first two nights in the hospital feeling totally shell-shocked and confused about what we had signed up for. The first few weeks were overwhelming, scary, and really made me question everything I had thought I wanted. Luckily that was all just the craziness of the first weeks of the first baby, and I’m happy to say that I don’t regret anything.

When I was 31, our daughter was born, and it was slightly less crazy but still overwhelming, and it’s been almost 6 months and we still aren’t sleeping super well and it seems that they never nap at the same time and there is always someone needing something.

But I think we’re done now…and it makes me sad to think that I won’t be pregnant again. The first time around, every stage was new and intriguing, and we saved everything religiously for the next one. This time, we’re starting to jettison things, baby clothes and toys and gear, just getting rid of things when she doesn’t need them or fit into them anymore. It’s hard to give away boxes of baby clothes in the mindset that there won’t be another one.

But still, I sometimes think about that selfish 19-year-old, and I think she had the right idea. Doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, being accountable to no one, spending time with Drew or with friends or even alone – it was so luxurious and I didn’t even know it. I remember in New York, when Drew and Jared would be working two shows on Saturday and Sunday, I could sleep until noon, and then spend the rest of the day lying around reading. I used to watch a lot of Law & Order: SVU while doing cross-stitch kits. It didn’t matter. I could do whatever I wanted. (I want to yell this at the 20-somethings I know who complain about being tired. You have no idea! Embrace it! Just take a nap and you’ll feel better! Go out to brunch or something!)

In the last three years, I have discovered that I have a well of patience that I didn’t know existed. I have also discovered a temper that I didn’t know I had. They both kind of depend on the amount of sleep and protein I’ve had in the last 24 hours. I am definitely a different person now. I think I’m more responsible. More willing to lower expectations. More grateful. I hope the changes have been for the better.

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Filed under Baby, Dreams, Drew, Family, Memoir, Nonfiction, Pregnancy, Self improvement, Sentiment

Making excuses, and making babies

I’ve been absent, but I have a good reason.

This little guy arrived early last Saturday morning, just after midnight. He’s become the center of our universes and we’re determined to spoil him (at least until he gets old enough that it becomes a problem). He’s a good sleeper, a good eater, a good cuddler. He has some of the cutest facial expressions and mannerisms I’ve ever seen.

There are things I miss about being pregnant, but actually not as much as I thought I would. It’s really nice to be able to do a lot of the things that I used to do – and to eat things I couldn’t eat for awhile. He’s barely 6 days old and I’ve already eaten like 4 turkey sandwiches. And the things I thought I’d miss were all kind of sentimental things about the bond I had with this unborn baby…but now we have this whole new aspect to our relationship, which brings all kinds of new challenges and victories. (I guess that should have been obvious.)

I’m trying really hard not to completely forget my “old” life, and to transition smoothly into my “new” life. I’ll try to keep updating you with how that’s going. And I’ll also try not to go all “stfu parents” on you. But you’ll have to allow me occasional slips. Like this one!

AWWWWWWWWWWWW

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Filed under Awesome, Beginnings, Children, Dreams, Drew, Family, Home improvements, Love, Memoir, Nonfiction, Parents, Pregnancy, Self improvement, Sentiment

Appreciating volunteers

I think I may have overdone it yesterday a little bit. I was part of this trio at work planning an appreciation party for all of our volunteers. Luckily it was a fun team of people because we spent a lot of time stuck together, and had to get creative several times.

Yesterday was the brunch, and I left home at 7:45am to pick up food and get to the venue. Then at 10:15 I went on another run to pick up the rest of the food, and all of the coffee. The rest of the time, when I wasn’t in the car, I was on my feet. I didn’t have to move or carry anything crazy, but even just standing around is kind of exhausting. The party was from 11:30-1:30, and after that it took us another hour to break everything down and pack everything back into our cars.

After I got home, Drew and I went to Ikea and bought two lamps and two shoe racks. Like we’re outfitting two identical houses. We also went by Old Navy where, walking past a clearance rack, I saw a pair of jeans sticking out with a tag on them that said $.97. These jeans just happened to also be my size (well, my pre-pregnancy size). I figured, this gives me something to shoot for, and they were less than a dollar. I mean, when does that ever happen?

(Last night after we got home, I tried on the jeans, against my better judgment…but they totally go on! I mean, aside from the whole buttoning-and-zipping thing. But that will come. I’m just happy that they almost fit!)

Anyway, after all the walking around yesterday, this morning when I stood up I was so sore from the waist down. As the day has gone on it’s gotten better, but I think I might have overdone it slightly yesterday. At least now that the party is behind us, I know that it’s pretty much just smooth sailing until you-know-what in a week and a half.

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The Circle of Life

Yesterday I got in the car and my left foot went automatically for the clutch, which isn’t there anymore.

That’s right. After eleven years, I’ve finally given up my little Saturn coupe in exchange for something bigger, sturdier, and safer. It comes none too soon, given that I’m due with my first baby in less than two weeks and, frankly, there was no way to fit a carseat in the tiny backseat of my Saturn.

I opted out of trying to sell the car. The Kelly Blue Book value was just embarrassing. It seemed like selling would be one hassle on top of another, and that wasn’t really something I was interested in taking on, especially when I stood to gain so little. Instead I looked into donation options, figuring that a tax write-off next year will be welcomed.

After choosing a worthy cause on which to bestow my 16-year-old donation, I filled out a brief online form and almost immediately got a phone call. Clearly, places that accept donations of cars are used to getting piles of car pieces that are mostly good for scrap metal. I was a little surprised at the questions: things like “How’s the body?” and “Is it in drivable condition?” Of course, I thought, I’ve been driving it every day. And the paint has some scratches but I somehow managed to stay body-damage free throughout those most reckless years known as “high school and college.” By the time we got off the phone, in my head, this baby was in mint-condition.

We decided on Saturday for the pickup. I was allowed to choose the time slot and I picked 10am to noon. This gave me enough time to take a little drive down Highway 1 in the morning, and reminisce about the good ol’ days. I figured I would be fine. I had come to terms with this. And I was trading up for something so much more important.

I got home from my excursion to Starbucks, and I was fine. When the pickup happened around 11:15, I met the guy outside to hand over the keys and sign off on the title. He looked up the street where he had parked the tow truck, and then asked me that now-familiar question, “Is it drivable?” Yes, I said, and he unlocked it, got in and started it up.

That’s when I felt that first hot sensation (not entirely unexpected) behind my eyes.

As he pulled away from the curb and up the street to the tow truck, I realized I didn’t want to watch any of this happen. Originally I’d thought I might take a picture of it on the tow truck (you know, for posterity?), but actually standing there, that idea just seemed sick.

I pretended the sun was too bright (absolutely not fooling Drew one bit), and shielded my eyes, and then turned around and walked into our apartment, dropping my donation receipt on the floor and going straight into the bathroom, where I proceeded to lose it in a way that both surprised and slightly embarrassed me.

It’s a car. It doesn’t have feelings. It’s not capable of thought. I know this rationally.

All I can offer in my defense is that I get attached to things. And after eleven years…well, this car was always there for me. Even when it was leaking oil and making the most intimidating growling sounds on cold mornings, it was a remarkably reliable little car. Especially since I didn’t always treat it as nicely as I could have.

I’m holding on to the idea that someone is going to do a little work to fix it up, and sell it at auction, hopefully to a young, fresh-faced kid who wants to drive a fun little 2-door with a iPod input and four relatively new tires. A kid who wants to get really good at playing real-life Tetris with all their possessions, who wants to teach their friends to drive stick, and who will learn some life lessons with this car in the background. Sixteen years is not all that old, after all, even for a car. It’s the circle of life, people.

And if you’re thinking I’m an emotional wreck…well, that’s probably true, also. Nine months pregnant, remember?

Originally published in the Lake County Record-Bee on 9/22/12

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Filed under Being a girl, cars, Endings, Home improvements, Love, Memoir, Nonfiction, Parents, Pregnancy, Sentiment, Writing

Childbirth preparation – ALL DAY

On Saturday, Drew and I got up at 6:30am and headed to Stockton for a childbirth preparation class. Reasons for going all the way to Stockton?
1. We could attend the class with Liz and Bill, which was a kind of fun thing to do for two couples who never do anything together as couples, and
2. This hospital offers all their classes free of charge, whereas it would have been something like $125 to take the class at our hospital.

We found some good seats and went through the massive amount of available paper resources while we waited for the class to start.

The class consisted of a slideshow presentation, interspersed with videos and some real-life practicing. The woman leading the class was amusing but also over the top, and laughed at all of her own jokes, but I liked her. About an hour into the class we had our first break, and afterwards we got to get down on the floor and practice things like relaxing breathing and massage and using a focal point. I liked this because I got to lie in a pile of pillows, pretending to focus on a “lovely sensation” blowing over me, while Drew rubbed my back. Not a bad way to spend a morning.

But a true thing is that two people on the floor in a pile of pillows takes up a lot more space than two people sitting in two chairs, so it got a little crowded. There was a guy sitting directly in front of me, and I became a lot more acquainted with his bare back (his shirt kept riding up, like, majorly) and his extremely dirty socks than I ever wanted to be. Liz said after her relaxing floor massage, she opened her eyes to see that the couple right behind her was kind of looming over her watching them. That’s pretty awful. And not relaxing. And not the delivery experience you want to have.

We did some other exercises, like swaying and vocalizing and stuff, which was all interesting, but also kind of intimate. When we started doing the swaying stuff, Susie (our teacher) put on some music, which happened to be “The Way You Look Tonight,” and one girl who looked like this pregnancy might be sort of accidental (and who was there with her mom) blurted out “This is the song I got pregnant to!” How are you not supposed to laugh at that? (She and her mom were also cracking up.) (After lunch her husband showed up and the four of us were all happy for them.)

But it was kind of strange to sit in a room full of couples, and practice things like massage and speaking quietly and encouragingly to each other. And know that everyone did something intimate to get into that room, and now we’re all practicing doing something else that’s very intimate (in a different way) with our partner, with whom we’re going to go through yet another experience that’s incredibly personal and (to me at least) somewhat private. It’s kind of like, I had to just block out that there were other people there who might be looking at me or listening to me, and focus on what I needed to learn to get through (what I’ve been told can be) a harrowing experience.

After lunch, we talked about epidurals and analgesics, and c-sections and all the fun medical stuff. Sitting on the floor started to get kind of uncomfortable. Then we did some more practice vocalizing to get through the pain, and she told us how to push without holding your breath. (Something I’ve never really thought about before, but it totally makes sense, and I will definitely keep that in mind.) She went over postpartum depression and how it’s really important to watch for it and treat it. We ended up getting out early, which was definitely nice since we had the entire drive back home.

Overall, I liked the class and I’m glad we went. It was definitely nice to get all the info laid out for us, and to see some videos of different people’s birth experiences. Also I do feel like I learned about some techniques of getting through this things sans epidural. There wasn’t any information in the class that was brand new (thanks to the internet and the last 8 months of one-track thinking), but it was still nice to hear it all in order. I am glad we didn’t pay full price for that same class here, though.

Last night I ordered a second car seat base from Target. The weird thing is, that’s kind of the last thing we “need.” Which means that, I guess we’re ready at this point. I mean, “ready.” Whatever that means…

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Baby brain is a very real thing

Last weekend, my two good friends Sam and Erin threw me a baby shower. It was rubber duckie themed and adorable! One of the activities was decorating bibs. Some people were very creative and talented, and some people made up for any lack of talent with their enthusiasm. (I kid.)

I went with a Game of Thrones theme for mine – I was going to do “The stallion that mounts the world,” but horses are difficult to draw, and then we got into a conversation about how I should draw “mounting,” so I went with “My sun and stars” instead.

Then there was also a store-bought bib – but I also really like this picture because you can see my pink and blue nails (which are now a wreck).

The big surprise at this shower was that the dessert was cupcakes from Torino Baking, who did our wedding cake (and consequently, our first and second anniversary cakes!). She is AWESOME and her banana cake is amazing. The cupcakes (some banana and some chocolate) fully lived up to their reputation!

This weekend, Liz had her baby shower in Stockton. Everything was Peter Pan-themed, and super cute. After the shower, we went back to Liz’s house and Erin took some maternity shots for her while I watched and provided the soundtrack/inner monologue.

I am obsessed with our second bedroom. Yes, it’s a lot of bookshelves and it’s still partly storage for stuff we weren’t sure what to do with, but Drew has made great strides in getting the closet cleaned out, and with all the new baby stuff we’ve acquired over the last few weeks, it’s starting to real feel more like a nursery than a library. I keep wandering in there and just standing around. I just like looking at all the baby stuff. Everything is so little and cute…and I’m hard pressed to walk by without sticking my head in and admiring the stroller, or feeling how soft things are, or going through the onesies and making sure they’re still hanging in order from newborn to 12 months.

I try to keep it under control with other people, but I have to admit, my mind is 24/7 thinking about the baby, and about what we need to do, and what we’ve done already, and what the future’s going to be like…it just doesn’t stop. If it’s like this now…what’s it going to be like 7 weeks from now?

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Baby shower!

This week (and next week) is crazytown at work. I have given myself over to it, and just accepted that it’s going to mean full days at work, followed by evenings at the theater, but I just had to get that out there. It’s a lot, and I’m looking forward to a little peace and quiet after everything’s over. (Yeah, right.)

Last weekend I went home-home, and had my first baby shower. It was bigger than I expected (I guess I didn’t pay attention to the guest list), and I had a great time! It was lots of women who have (pardon the cliche) watched me grow up, so that’s always fun. My aunt and uncle came up from Napa, and Drew’s mom and her BFF drove up, and I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

I mean, it’s either one or the other!

We’ve been splitting our time between this (sock) monkey theme and this jungle animals theme. Settling on one theme was never my strong point.

Christy made a diaper cake! Cute AND functional!

Me and Mom!

Me and long-time friends!

With Suzanne and Bonnie – love you guys!

Our travel system, compliments of my parents!

We are incredibly lucky and very blessed to be surrounded by such great, supportive, generous and loving people. The excitement and the joy has been very encouraging. I am grateful that I haven’t had to deal with people saying inconsiderate or negative things. Literally everyone has been positive and respectful.

When I got regular-home from being home-home, I had a carload full of stuff to unload (more boxes of books from my parents among them), and Drew’s mom had brought back a lot of presents that wouldn’t fit in my car. I reworked the nursery (see, I can call it that now, and not just keep calling it the library) and tried to get rid of boxes and bags, and group things into blankets, feeding, bathtime, etc.

We pushed the stroller/carseat in there, and after a moment Drew said, “Wow. I thought we had this room under control.” It’s a bit of a jumble right now, but I’m hoping we can alleviate that over the next month or so. It’s amazing how much stuff we have amassed – and I thought we were being conservative!

We haven’t taken the plastic off the crib mattress yet, or washed the sheets and made the crib up, but it’s still a good place to store certain things…

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Oh brave new world: Babies on the internet

I have a dilemma. And I know it will be one that people have differing opinions on. But I’m trying to figure out how I feel about it, precisely.

You (maybe) know how on your Facebook timeline, you can scroll all the way back to “born 1983,” and you have blank years between, say, 1983 and 2006, when you actually set up your account. But at some point in the not-so-distant future, there is going to be a wave of teenagers with every single year of their lives filled out, thanks to their overenthusiastic parents.

And I guess no one really knows what this is going to mean for the future. And maybe I’m giving Facebook (or whatever comes after Facebook) too much credit. But I think it’s a pretty safe guess that things aren’t going to start turning backward. Everything’s going online.

When Drew and I got married, we got into a small scuffle or two with friends over the fact that we preferred that people not post tons of pictures of the wedding, particularly if they’re, you know, sitting in the back and taking pictures on their phone. Ultimately, yes, some pictures got posted, and it didn’t really bother either of us. But the other day, I saw that a (far-flung) friend of mine had posted 300 pictures into an album called “Wedding,” and my first thought was, “Oh wow, I didn’t even know she was getting married!” and then when I looked at the pictures I realized it was just a wedding that she attended. (I don’t even think she was in it…just a guest. Which seems extreme to me.)

But at least those people are all over 18. Lately, I can’t stop worrying about the whole phenomenon of posting a million pictures of your baby on your Facebook page. Let me just admit, I don’t think I will be able to resist that, for a couple reasons.

1) How can you not show off something like that? How cute would an Instagramed baby be? Am I right?
2) I’m pretty sure that I’m still like halfway in the closet with this whole “being pregnant” thing, and if I post a couple pictures of me and Drew holding an infant, it’s going to make it a lot clearer.

(There’s also a whole other side issue of the “attention wanted” posts, versus the “for entertainment purposes” posts, versus the “for the family members” posts.)

It’s not just the possibility that one day this kid will want to be the president (ha, yeah right), and won’t want pictures of himself or herself naked in a bathtub. It’s also a safety thing. Drew pointed out there are people on Facebook, who we don’t really know in real life…but we know EVERYTHING about their (very young) children. Like, we could probably use the knowledge we have, to kidnap said children. And we would never do that, because we’re cool, but there are people out there who would totally do that.

I can’t claim to be particularly good at staying anonymous – I’m sure that I’ve accidentally let slip too many details here. Things that I didn’t mean to say, but “oops” happens.

And even if I can resist putting a bunch of pictures – there are still all these other people running around with cameras and phones and wanting to post stuff.

I can be kind of private about some things. And delivery is going to be one of those things. I’m good having our parents in and out during labor, and hanging out…but when it comes down to business, it’s really important to me that it’s me and Drew (and I guess some doctors or something). It fits with our whole “we’re a team” thing.

So I’m going to be pretty bummed if I come home two days later and find out that it’s already on Facebook, because someone jumped the gun – purely out of excitement, I’m sure. But how do you put that out there, without sounding like a total bitch? It’s just gotten too hard to put restrictions on things like that.

Friend anecdotes: one friend was very strict about things early on. She didn’t want her kid posted anywhere linked with his name, or with the names of her or her husband. I think she was thinking about safety. But eventually she’s posted more and more pictures and videos of him on her Facebook, which I’m sure has the highest security settings.

Another friend has been strict the whole time, and her kid is 3 years old. She’s also told family members to take things down because she doesn’t want them just floating out there. She also told us a story about a relative posting a video online with the caption, “[Name]’s first steps!!” And all the family members were commenting and loving it, and she had to say, “Hey, listen, she had her first steps a week ago and her father and I were there you can’t just take that away from us.”

I guess that’s my fear. My long-winded fear. I just don’t want this to get away from us. I want the two of us – Drew and me – to be the keepers of the milestones and the reveals. That’s all. I guess. Luckily, none of our parents are really into Facebook, so they won’t go crazy. Other friends and relatives…might be harder to rein in.

Silver lining, which I keep reminding myself: I am so grateful that this kid is arriving into a world of people excited and happy to meet him or her.

PS. He or she has been kicking the whole time I’ve been writing this – perhaps as if to say, “Moooo-oom, you’re embarrassing me” ?

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Dear Diary Update 7/12

Big Brother Season 14 started tonight – one of the best summer traditions.

Drew just demonstrated his excellent planking (the exercise type) posture, while Erin counted slowly to 30. Meanwhile, I threw Hershey’s miniatures at him from across the room in an attempt to distract him or make him laugh enough that he fell. But he didn’t!

I found out today that I officially passed my glucose test, which is a 2-hour series of blood draws they do when you’re pregnant to test for gestational diabetes. No GD here – very happy!

Not much else to say about this evening. TGI(A)F!

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It’s not rocket science; or, “Sandwiches Snadwiches”

Yesterday I found myself back at the Safeway in Mill Valley, which has given me great stories in the past.

I stopped in there to pick up a sandwich for lunch before the final 2 performances of God of Carnage at MTC. Sandwiches are great, and probably on my favorite things list, even though I’ve been eschewing turkey (and that’s just one of several things) because of potential harmful effects during pregnancy.

So I just wanted to stop by and get a cheddar, avocado, and veggie sandwich on sliced sourdough.

A good sign: there was no one in line when I walked in. So I went straight up to the counter, where a super polite young man said, “I’ll be right with you.” Then, he went on to say, “Good afternoon, what may I get you?”

Wow, such service. I started explaining what I wanted.

“So you want a veggie sandwich – would you like me to describe the veggie sandwich to you?”

“Um, that’s okay,” I said, “What I want is actually a “California Dreamin'” without the turkey and bacon.”

“The “California Dreamin'” now goes by the name “Turkey Bacon Avocado,” he said.

“Okay.”

He began to assemble the sandwich. Kind of sloppily. I don’t understand why sandwich-makers at Safeway don’t know how to make a sandwich. They always pile everything on the center of the bread. Don’t you know you have to spread the avocado to the edges? And you shouldn’t just stack all the tomatoes in the center? It’s not rocket science, people. Make the type of sandwich that you would want to eat.

And it’s not just Mill Valley Safeway. It was in Mountain View that I watched a guy squirt mustard on one slice of bread, and then pick up both slices, one in each hand, and stare at them, puzzled, until he slowly smashed them together and rubbed the mustard around.

Wow.

When Mill Valley guy was finishing up (having just placed a large pile of pickles in two square inches), he said, “Now, our policy dictates that I charge you an extra fifty cents.” For avocado, I assume? “But I’m debating in my head whether or not to charge you that. That policy is in place to deter people from ordering sandwiches like this. But I don’t think we’ll suffer any damages – any long-term damages, that is – because I don’t think many people will order sandwiches like this.”

“Um…okay.”

WTF? For the record, here is the part of the menu that makes me think that it’s acceptable – nay, encouraged – for you to actually order what you want to eat, rather than just choosing from the 8 pre-designed options.

The key word here is “choose”…

Finally he handed it over. And I walked 10 feet away, found the voice memo application on my phone, and dictated what he had just said, because I was worried I’d forget part of it.

Then I called Drew and told him about it.

When I got to the theater, I found he didn’t even cut it in half for me. Which is kind of the most annoying part. I mean, who wants to pick up an entire sandwich?

Apparently the bane of Safeway’s existence – a product of theirs that someone ordered and paid for.

First world problems, am I right?

When the actors started arriving, one of them (with whom I had just bonded over orchids the prior day – I’m starting to think we might be some kind of soulmates or something) started telling a story about how he’d just stopped to pick up a sandwich at Safeway. We then went on to bond over our annoyance at the crazy people working there, and how in New York, you can just order food and then get it and then get out in record time, but here it seems to take people forever to get anything done.

Yeah, we were those people.

Anyway, the sandwich was okay, the shows went great, I was home by 10:30 and in bed by 11:15, and I got to sleep in until 8:30 this morning. So overall…life is good.

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