Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Shout out - Thanks!

This is a quick note of thanks to family and friends who've been keeping in touch and saying hi to check in on progress: Gemma C (Oz), Karen S (Oz), Julie C (NJ), Delyth (UK), Emma (NY), Dymphna (Oz), Latifa & Mike (SB), Sessi (Greece), Sheila R (Montauk), Melissa (Manhattan), Shannan (Manhattan), Mom, Dad, Ben, Moira...

I've done a poor job of returning calls, IMs and email messages in recent times, but am glad to get your messages and phone calls. I will be in touch soon. Hugs.

Weekly check-up & Sonogram (May 30th)

Weight: Same as last week
Vitals: 120/70
Fetal heartbeat: 143-147 bpm (good)
Test result: Strep B - Negative (good!)

Michael and I met Dr. Eileen DeMarco today. She's nice -- very business-like. Felt the baby, confirmed head is down, said 'medium-sized' -- in the 7 pound range. Did an internal inspection -- said I'm starting to efface, but not dilated significantly. She mentioned she's on call on Fridays (June 15th is a Friday) but not the weekend of the 16th-17th, so it is a lottery in terms of which doctor will be on call when it's time to deliver.

The only thing on my mind was lack of movement. The Bean has been active every day for the past several weeks at many points throughout the day and night so that I've had no second thoughts about tracking fetal movement. Yesterday, I spent a good chunk of the day outdoors doing errands, and felt movement only twice, and none at night when I went to bed. This morning was very quiet -- no movement.

Dr. DeMarco said it's likely everything is ok, but indicated we should get a sonogram to check measurements and amniotic fluid levels to be safe. It's fairly routine to have a sonogram around week 38.

We were asked to stay and get the sonogram today, so Michael and I went to lunch and came back. The same radiologist who did our 19-week sonogram performed today's scan. Because the baby is big now, it was not easy to understand what was on the screen, and we couldn't tell what we were seeing. The radiologist said the baby looks fine: heartbeat, proportions and fluid levels all good and weight is 7 pounds 2 ounces based on the measurements! There was a good shot of a foot, so she printed that out for us to take home. I'll post it here once Michael gets home and we can scan it. She said we'll be fine and encouraged me to give the Bean a poke once in awhile if he/she has been dormant for a long time.

One thing I noticed: the radiologist referred to the Bean as 'him'!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

37-Week Checkup (May 23, 2007)

Weight: 178 pounds
Vitals: 100/60
Fetal heartbeat: good

Dad left this morning after a two-week visit to assist us with making the move to the new condo. His help was a huge benefit to us, and we couldn't have gotten sorted so quickly without him. Thank you, Dad!

Michael and I went to the doctor appointment together. Melissa, the nurse, took weight, urine, blood pressure and listened for fetal heartbeat. Urine test was fine, and fetal heartbeat was good (we could see the baby moving while I was laying back on the table). Dr. Holden explained that he'd do a Strep B test and check my cervix for dilation and the position of the fetus. When he checked for dilation, it hurt a bit. He said the baby's head is way down, and I'm approximately one centimeter dilated. He also said the baby doesn't feel too big, and estimates it will be in the 7-pound range.

The baby could arrive anytime week 38 - 41, which is good news. It would be ideal if the Bean held off at least one more week so Michael and I can finish unpacking and get organized. We aren't ready for the baby yet... no place for baby to sleep, too many boxes in the bedroom and baby clothes not washed yet.

Dr. Holden said Strep B is present in all adults, but in about 20% of women, it is present in the vagina and poses a threat to the baby during birth -- the major risk is pneumonia in the newborn. If I test positive for Strep B, I'll receive antibiotics intravenously as soon as I check in to the hospital for delivery, and the baby will be held for 48 hours after birth for evaluation by a pediatrician to insure that the baby is not adversely affected. The worst case scenario (low probability but a possibility) is that baby develops a fever and gets sick, which typically requires a 2-week stay in the hospital. We'll get the Strep test results middle of next week.

-Called pediatricians in Brooklyn today and found several who are willing to take on a new patient. None were available to meet us before the due date, but said we could bring the Bean in within 3 days after birth and get started.

-Discovered the "R" subway line connects the stop nearest our condo (Prospect Ave) to 59th Street/5th Ave, which is the closest stop to Dr. Holden's office at the Eastside location. The ride takes about 65 minutes. It is nice to be able to stay on one train for the whole ride.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

35/36-week Check-up (Wednesday, May 16)

Weight: 177 (I think I'm retaining at least 2 pounds of water in my ankles)
Vitals: 100/60
Fetal heartbeat: good

Michael and I met Dr. Shinn today, one of the five doctors in the practice with Dr. Holden. He measured my abdomen and said we are on target size-wise for 35-36 weeks (I'll be at the 36-week mark on Friday). Once week 36 hits, he said the baby could come anytime, but normally comes within a week of the due date (before or after). He clarified when we should call if we go into labor and said everything looks fine so far.

Next week we will see Dr. Holden. Tonight we had our last Birth Preparation course. Practiced breathing, covered breast feeding in a lot more detail, discussed bathing the baby, etc. Michael and I talked in the cab ride home, and agreed that we feel like we are in reasonable shape to cope with the baby when he/she arrives (famous last words).

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Things People Say

"Twins, right?" - Subway worker at Prospect Ave Station

"Whoa. I'll catch!" Security guard at Bed Bath & Beyond

"Whuddaya, due in like 5 MINUTES? Looks like the kid is fully baked already..." - Guy with an accent like Tony Soprano's standing on street corner, waiting for light to change

"OOOOOOOOEEEEE! She is going to POP any second now." - Guys hanging around MSG

"My goodness. You look like you need help right away. You could have that baby any minute now. Let's take care of you right away!" - Pharmacist at Duane Reade

"You need to sit down, girl? If you need to sit down, you just let me know and I'll move these people. You look like you need to sit down now! Happy Mothers Day to YOU!" - Woman on the subway

"Are you due any minute now? 5 weeks?!? Oh... really? 5 more weeks? No kidding..." - Clerk at Lowe's

"Oh my god. You are ENORMOUS!" - Emma

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Playlist ideas for L&D

2nd movement - Bach Concerto #1 in A Minor for Violin BMV1041 - Andante
2nd movement - Bach Concerto #3 for Two Violins BMV1043 - Largo, ma non tanto
Songs from our wedding - the ones we were considering for our first dance (Augie March, etc.)
Pink Martini - Sympathique & Hang On Little Tomato (albums)
Bitter Sweet - The Mating Game (album)
Alison Krauss - song: "You're just a country boy"
Sade - songs: "The Sweetest Gift" and "By Your Side"
John Mayer - song: "Daughters"
3rd movement - Bach Concerto #1 in A Minor for Violin - Allegro Assai
William Tell Overture - Rossini (ha ha)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

35-week mark

Went to the second birth preparation class this week by myself; Michael had a business trip to California. We saw a video of a woman giving birth vaginally filmed from the doctor's standpoint. Some of the Dads looked green afterward, and I felt queasy and almost dizzy. Delivering the placenta is one of those things people don't really talk about when sharing stories about the birth of their kids and I didn't know the placenta came out separately until getting pregnant.

No constipation, heartburn, varicose veins or shortness of breath so far...knock on wood. My feet have swelled up in the last few days and seem to be staying that way day and night -- I've got cankles now (cankles = calves merge directly into feet, no discernible ankle bones). My hands swell over the course of the day, especially after long walks.

I realized I'm not supposed to be eating deli meat sandwiches for lunch (which I had been doing until about two weeks ago - listeria risk) and tuna fish is also off the list (too much mercury), so when I'm working from home, which is most days now, the menu is fruit plus hard boiled eggs, a peanut butter sandwich or yogurt & granola. Looking forward to eating ham and cheese sandwiches again later.

Dad is visiting to help us with the move, and it's fun to have him here. Mom is in California, and said she and the dog are doing fine. Shi Shi Ling has always been attached to Mom; I'm sort of a distant 2nd favorite, followed by Dad and Ben (in definite last place in her affections).

In the recent past, my father has been doing most of the feeding/walking for schedule reasons. When Dad left for New York earlier this week, Mom said Shi Shi looked deflated when he packed his suitcase, and after he left she disappeared and now is only showing up now to interact with Mom at mealtimes and to be walked. Mom thinks the dog is missing Dad.

[Shi Shi Ling photographed by my father a week ago in Goleta.]

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Video of Baby Movement

Michael took a video of the Bean moving, and it is here: This is at about 33 weeks.

Dad is arriving in New York to visit us and help with the move to Brooklyn. Mom (and Dad) will come back in June to be there for moral support at the Bean's birth and after the arrival, and Moira plans to visit in July or August.

Condo Closing & Surprise Baby Shower (May 3rd)

Today was a big day. Michael and I went to the closing of the condo this afternoon -- finally! -- at the Law Firm representing Wells Fargo (the lender for our mortgage). Also present were the Sellers and their attorney, an attorney for Wells Fargo, the Sellers' Real Estate agent, and a Notary Public. The closing lasted about 3.5 hours and involved signing dozens of documents and writing a lot of checks, but we are done and are now the legal owners of the Condo in Park Slope, Brooklyn! We're thrilled to own a place in a new neighborhood that is in good shape, won't require a lot of work, has more space than the one-bedroom we're renting now, and has a washer and dryer (!).

We got home after the closing around 5:30 pm and I was glad to take off my tight shoes and wind down. Michael reminded me that our friend, Sheila, was expecting us to visit a run-down studio that evening that she'd heard about from Alex (friend who is real estate agent). She asked us to take assess the unit and offer a second opinion before the unit gets listed publicly, since she was booked every evening last week and wouldn't be able to check it out herself directly before the unit was publicly listed.

I put on tennis shoes and we jumped in a taxi to check out the "studio fixer-upper". I asked Michael how we'd be able to get in to see this place, and he dodged the question, but I didn't think much of it.

When we got to the door of the unit Sheila asked us to visit, Michael rang the bell, and I was expecting an estate agent or building supervisor to open the door. Instead, Sheila opened it. The first thought that went through my head was "What is Sheila doing here?", and then I looked past her and saw a beautiful marble kitchen and living room, and thought "this is definitely not a studio, and definitely NOT a dump!", and then I realized Kerri, Meredith, Shari, Nigel, Alex and Shannan were standing behind Sheila smiling and saying "Surprise!". It finally sunk in that it was a surprise party/baby shower and I was truly surprised. Michael & Sheila came up with a credible set up!

The party was at Kerri's apartment, which is beautiful, and there was a great table of food lined up. The group played a wine-tasting game, and we opened shower gifts. Michael and I received gift certificates for Babies R Us (Kerri, Meredith, Jenna & Volpi), some cute clothes (Meredith, Kerri, Shari & Nigel), a funny book "3-Martini Playdates" and swaddling blanket (Shannan), and a very cool Keith Haring rocking horse (Sheila). It was a fun visit -- everyone has a lot going on. Shari and Nigel are getting married on June 2nd in Montauk; Jenna is training to do the Ironman in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, in June!; Meredith is plotting a career change; Kerri got back just a few months ago from a 4-month trip around the world, etc. so it was fun to catch up with everyone. Thanks to the generous gifts from our families, friends (and 2005 US tax refunds), we'll be well set up for the Bean when he/she arrives.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

33 week check-up (Wednesday, May 2)

Weight: 175 pounds (same as last visit -- thank heavens); Vitals: 120/80

Michael and I saw Dr. Holden today. The Bean's heartbeat sounded good, and Dr. Holden said that we are on target and progressing normally. He indicated we'll have one more sonogram -- on or near the due date, and will start seeing him weekly around 36 weeks. Next visit, I'll be tested for Group B Strep ( We will also meet two other doctors in the practice who share on-call responsibilities.

We went to our first Birth Preparation class tonight, taught by Fern Drillings, the woman who also instructed us in the Baby CPR class. There are about 15 couples in the class, all due this summer. One other woman and I are the two scheduled to deliver the soonest.
There is couple in the class expecting twins, and one couple that looks a lot younger than the rest of us -- in their early or mid-twenties -- and both women look great. No extra weight anywhere except their bellies.

I used to fantasize that it would be great to have twins so that we'd have two kids at the same time and could get all the vaginal deliveries/pain out of the way at once. Now that I've been through the drill with this single pregnancy, including digesting all the probabilities of potential problems for singletons, twins and multiples, I realized a singleton is plenty. There's a lot more to stress about with two in the oven at the same time... What if you only felt one move, and not the other, or the nurse could only find one baby's heartbeat and not the other's at an exam? etc.

There were some weird questions by some of the fathers in the class tonight:
+ Do I HAVE to hold my wife's hand during the delivery? (He was afraid his wife would break his hand by squeezing too hard during her labor. Fern's answer: You'll do whatever she tells you to do.)
+ Is there a sheet or barrier that shields her lower half during delivery? (He doesn't want to see the blood and stuff around the delivery... Fern's answer: No barrier, no sheet. It's all there and you'll be seeing it all, so if you can't handle the blood and stuff, ask for a chair and sit 'upstream' near your wife's shoulders, or leave the room.)

The winner of the weirdest question award goes to a father in Emma & Alan's birth class. Emma told me that when she and Alan went to Birth classes in San Francisco to prepare for Senan's arrival, one of the fathers in their class asked if he could breast feed the baby himself too, acknowledging he wouldn't be providing any milk, but wanting the bonding opportunity (!)...