Monday, December 29, 2008

One Week Away From Parenthood!

Michael and I attended my prenatal appointment today with Dr. Chaudhari. I'm 39 weeks and one day into gestation. My blood pressure manages to stay just below the danger line that would cause my doctor to want to induce me immediately. And I have less protein in my urine than before, so the pre-eclampsia symptoms seem to be staying at bay or even slightly getting better. I do still have some impressive Flinstone feet due to swelling. There was a time this morning when I thought I would have to call out sick from work because I couldn't find any work shoes that still would fit my feet.

Though, I now seem to be getting a head cold again. Not sure if I picked up a new one from work, or took back the cold that I gave to Michael at Thanksgiving time.

There is still concern that I have a short, stocky kid in my belly with a big head and shoulders. So the latest game plan is for me to have an ultrasound on Wednesday and to get another estimate on how big Gabriel is. He was estimated to weigh 7 pounds and 2 ounces on December 9th, which would make him the size of a baby due 12/21/08. And now he's had 3 weeks to gain weight since then.

Michael and I will have another appointment on Friday morning with Dr. Chaudhari to make a birth plan with the ultrasound results. If the measurements from the ultrasound still confirm a huge kid with odd measurements, I may have a c-section on 1/5/09 which is my due date. I am so happy to hear a none holiday potential birth date! If the ultrasound measurements confirm an average to a slightly big boy, I will be induced on Sunday night 1/4/09 just to prevent Gabriel from growing too ginormous to pass through the birth canal on his own.

So either way, it is highly likely by next Monday night Michael and I will be parents!

There's always a chance I could go into labor on my own before then, but I don't feel like I am going to have him in the near future. I am continuing to show positive changes such as increased dilation to 1-2 cm now and lots of signs that I am softening.

So, parenthood in less than a week!! I'm still not sick of pregnancy yet, so last night I was a little saddened feeling Gabriel clump around in my stomach and knowing it will be ending soon. I would like more time to enjoy pregnancy, but I also don't want to deliver a toddler. I am excited that I will be meeting Gabriel in a week. And then there is an occasional good dose of fear too.

My last day of work will be this Friday, and then I will start a 12 week maternity leave.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas with the Vermont Family

My parents came to New Hampshire on Saturday to celebrate Christmas 2008 with us. Being 9 months pregnant made this holiday a little different. There has been a lot less driving this season. And a whole lot less hustle with my bustle.

I made a lasagna and then Grandma D., Grandpa D., Brandi and Angus showed up around noon. Luckily, they didn't hit any of the morning icing that was reported on the weather forecast.

Grandpa and Grandma brought a bunch of gifts for Gabriel, Michael and I. Gabriel got some toys including a top, a Glowworm, a stuffed sheep, a mobile for his crib, and a wooden dump truck. Michael and I were spoiled too, but I am most excited about all of my new pajamas, assuming I will be lounging around in those a bit more over the next few weeks. And Michael has already started wearing his new sweatshirts that he much needed.

Michael and I gave an "anti-gravity" car to Angus for Christmas. It is a remote control car that was suppose to drive on the walls and ceilings. I was a bit skeptical, but it really did work! We have textured ceilings, so it didn't work up there, but Angus was able to drive the car all over our walls. Brandi is becoming a high tech teenager, so she got an iTunes gift card and a USB port. That's the kind of Christmas shopping Michael likes!

Elleigh and Lucas were so excited to see all the company and the presents. Angus was so interesting to them, and yet, over stimulating as well. We haven't had anything that high energy in the house in a while. Probably since Angus' last visit.

After having some lasagna (and fudge, summer sausage, cheese, spinach and artichoke dip, crackers, cookies...), Michael set the Wii up for Angus and Brandi to try their hand at bowling and golf. Michael made sure Angus' controller was firmly secured to his hand before letting him stand in front of his flat screen.

Elleigh and Lucas were so exhausted from the visit. They had to nap all afternoon with Daddy to recuperate.

Thank you for the visit, Mom and Dad!

Christmas will be so different for us next year when Gabriel is here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Just Waiting Still...

I'm so glad Michael didn't waste his time trying to leave work on Monday to attend my prenatal appointment with me. I waited 40 minutes for my doctor and then saw him for less than 5 minutes.

My blood pressure remains just below the pre-eclampsia danger point, and I had less protein in my urine on Monday than I did the last two appointments. So there was no further discussion about having to possibly induce labor to stop some of the symptoms I had developed: swelling, some blurred vision during parts of the day, mild headaches, transient blood pressure spikes, etc. I actually felt better over the weekend, having sat around doing nothing during the snow in, but by no means were my symptoms gone.

Unless I go into labor or have and increase in problems before then, my next appointment on Monday the 29th.

My co-workers tell me that my stomach has dropped and some days Gabriel does feel lower, especially noted by the absence of heartburn occasionally. My co-workers seem genuinely surprised to see me every morning I show up for work, and then they make sure to seek me out to say good night at the end of each day "just in case" this is the night I actually start maternity leave.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's Snowing... AGAIN!

I am hearing snow forecasts for our area today that range from 8-20 inches of snow. Ending with wind that will cause blowing and possibly more power outages. Living up on a hill, we get more blowing of snow than everyone else anyway, so can't wait to see what this wind brings. I feel bad for the people in New Hampshire who still haven't gotten their power back yet. I'm sure that this blowing won't help their situations. Good thing we found a new coat for Lucas last night. He and Mike were out this morning in the snow trying to drum up a little enthusiasm for the white stuff. It was fun for a few minutes until Lucas' little feet got too cold. Elleigh prefers the comfort of the warm indoors.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Running Errands During the Break in the Snow

We took supplies for Lucas and Elleigh May to Pet Agree in Candia Friday night. Elleigh and Lucas will be attending "overnight camp" at Pet Agree when Michael and I finally head off to the hospital to deliver Gabriel. And now, in case we go to the hospital in a hurry, Elleigh and Lucas already have food, treats, instructions, and check in forms signed and waiting at Pet Agree. They just need a ride to camp when it's time.

After a quick dinner in the bar at the Ninety Nine restaurant in Hooksett, Michael and I went shopping at a pet store in the new Goodwill shopping plaza. Lucky for Lucas, we found a winter jacket for him. The poor middle child goes ignored. Last year at this time, Lucas was still a puppy, so he didn't have a winter coat that fits him so far this winter. We found him a handsome red and black coat that makes him look like a snow patrol dog.

We also hit Target in Hooksett and found the Graco Pack n Play we wanted for Gabriel, that hadn't been in stock in Concord. It has a bassinet attachment and a changing table too. May have found a shelf solution for Gabriel's room too! We needed something extra to hold stuff in the one corner where we have Gabriel's changing pad on top of the dresser, the Diaper Genie will be, we need a place to put diaper changing stuff and the wipe warmer needs to be plugged in.

And since more snow was looming in the forecast, we stopped at a small grocery store in Allenstown on the way home and got some supplies to get us through a possible snowed in Sunday. I also got some makings for cookies and fudge, as I haven't done any holiday baking or cooking yet.

Holiday Cheer Sent by Glenn

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gabriel's Coming Home Projects


I have now finished Gabriel's mittens, socks, and cabled hat in the Kona Superwash yarn to match his teal Debbie Bliss cardigan. I hand washed all of the pieces and am setting them out to dry and block tonight. I think in the end, all of the pieces are going to be of varying sizes. The socks may be too big for a newborn. His mittens may be too small quickly. And I sure hope the cabled hat is way too big for his head. The cardigan is big and boxy, but I can roll up the sleeves, so I think it will work. Now I just have to figure out what to put under all of these items for his Coming Home Outfit from the hospital. You can see a photo of the socks in my October 15th blog entry.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Full Term!

I am 37 weeks and 1 day into gestation today, which is a milestone. Gabriel is now considered full term! He can arrive any day now and his lungs should be fully mature and ready to adjust to life outside the womb, even though his due date is still three weeks away.

On average, a baby at this point should weigh 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel. At my ultrasound on December 9th, one estimate had Gabriel weighing 7 lbs and 2 ounces a week ago, so he is ahead of the average size baby. (Another estimate had him bigger than that.) Lucky me!

I am noticing more and more Braxton Hicks contractions these days, and I have lots of swelling in my feet and hands now. The hand swelling is relatively new over the last few weeks. I have heartburn almost 24 hours a day. My hips are aching, but I usually can get a full night of sleep in if I don't worry too much about work and wrapping up there before maternity leave. I'm also trying to find time to enjoy Gabriel's movement, as I think I am really going to miss that when he is born. I have finally had some net weight gain from when I first got pregnant, but I believe it to be mostly fluid based on the amount of swelling I've had since the start of December. For the most part, being pregnant hasn't been as bad as I expected it to be.

It's probably time to have a bag packed for myself and Gabriel.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Another Prenatal Appointment

I had another prenatal appointment with Dr. Chaudhari on Monday morning. I had gained 6 pounds just over the weekend, but it clearly was fluid retention. For the first time, I had trouble getting my engagement and wedding rings off. My feet had experienced some swelling before, but this was the first time my hands really swelled. But my blood pressure still remains okay, so chalk this up to normal end of pregnancy swelling. I'm in my 9th month of gestation now, so almost done!

I finally caught the bugs that were passing around the office. So I have nasal congestion, a cough, a sore throat from post nasal drip, and barely any voice left to speak. I came down with it the night before Thanksgiving and was miserable with it for the long holiday weekend.

Dr. Chaudhari was not sure that Gabriel was head down at my appointment. He was thinking he might be transverse, which makes sense to me as sometimes I have felt like he was going across my stomach and wasn't low in the pelvis. I've never had that sensation of getting kicked up under the ribs like other Mothers have told me about. I feel a lot of movement in there though, and I really enjoy it and am already thinking I will miss it when Gabriel's out. A transverse lie can be a problem, and require a c-section, if the baby is not head down by week 36. And I was 35 weeks and 1 day as of my appointment.

I am scheduled for another ultrasound on the 9th to once again check the size that Gabriel is, and now to confirm his position in the womb too. There is still concern that he is really big for his gestational age. And I don't have to probably write too much about the problems a big baby can cause during delivery. I am sure you can use your imagination on that.

Dr. Chaudhari has indicated that I will most likely have a December birth and that I won't be going past my due date based on what he has found so far, but the next ultrasound will be the final determination on what the birth plan will be. I have given up the idea of having a late baby born around mid-January. I have wanted to get Gabriel's birth as far away from the holidays, so of course, I'm learning already that there is little control in parenting.

I am on a weekly prenatal appointment schedule now that I am in the final month.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Baby Arrival Progress

The whole family has been working hard on getting things, especially Gabriel's room, all set and ready for his arrival. Michael had to sand and repair the walls in the old guest/storage bedroom. Then who knows how many coats of primer went on the ugly teal wall color in that room. It had been painted that color when Michael bought the house. And then several coats of the new paint went over the primer. And then the lower toxicity paint we paid extra money for to cover the trim in the room turned out to not be able to cover anything. I think after the 4th application of trim paint, Michael broke down and just went and got plain old paint and finally got the trim painted white. I wish now I had a before photo so the change in wall color could be fully appreciated. It felt so clean to see the room empty, freshly painted, and a relaxing light blue color.

Elleigh and Lucas helped Daddy to remove accidental paint droppings from the rug. And after a good bath with Grandma's rug cleaning machine, the rug bounced right back.

And not technically Gabriel's room, but we did make more room in the living room for Gabriel's gear. Grandma and Grandpa Abberton came to visit on Saturday and dropped off their rug cleaner and the crib we will be using, and then helped Michael haul away the elliptical that use to be stored in the living room. We actually used the Grands' pick-up to haul away a lot of stuff to the dump to make room for baby gear. Elleigh is enjoying the temporary bare spot on the floor in the living room until we fill the space with some sort of baby contraption.

And Elleigh and Lucas have done a good job guarding the babies and toys in the doll cradle that Great Grandfather Johnson made. And Elleigh and Lucas have turned out to be fantastic seat cushion warmers in Great Grandma Johnson's glider rocker.

We are using the crib that Cousin Maya was in not that long ago. Aunt Deb and Uncle Gary got a brand new mattress to go with the crib. And on Thanksgiving, Uncle Gary showed Michael how to man-handle the infant car seat into my CR-V.
I put the crib together on Sunday night and put the baby bedding on it from Grandma and Grandpa Doaner. The dresser we are going to use as a changing table still needs to be moved into Gabriel's room. And then all of the clothes and gifts we have received so far need to still be laundered and sorted into the right size piles and put away in the dresser and cupboard.

Almost ready for the big reveal on the baby's room.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And Even More Welcome for Baby Gabriel!

I went to Nancy's house on Saturday afternoon and walked in on another baby shower attended by New Hampshire family and friends! The amount of baby stuff in our house has just exploded over the last two days! Gabriel is definitely going to be spoiled rotten. One of Gabriel's ultrasound photos ended up being on the shower invitation. Allison is so graphically creative!

Gabriel now has a handmade flannel quilt from Grammy Abberton, which I noticed has sheep on it, my favorite. And Baby G has a handmade green and yellow traditional quilt from Meme Cynthia now too. And Shaelyn has decided to hand down her Cookie Monster and Elmo dolls to Gabriel so that he can have a chance to love them as much as she did. Ahhh! Not to mention Shaelyn is a great gift helper. And Karen's Mom, Nancy, crocheted a green and white blanket that is feather light. And Dale is very good at packing gifts up in the back of vehicles, and the front of vehicles for that matter.

We also have the stroller and infant car seat travel system now from Grandma and Grandpa Abberton. That is the item that most makes it real for me that a human being is going to pop out some day soon and then live with us for the next 18 years or so. This stroller has 3 cup holders and Aunt Nancy pointed out the large bin underneath perfect for shopping trips. It's a pretty slate grey-blue with a blue swirl pattern on it. But it's not an overwhelming boy blue. I'm going to get the base installed in my car and start driving around with the car seat in the back of the CR-V and let Elleigh and Lucas get use to riding one on each side, but not touching the car seat or the dangling toys. We will get a second base for Michael's Pilot. Does this stroller make me look motherly?
If you haven't noticed yet, I always include comment on the dessert. The shower cake came from Bread and Chocolate and was/is delicious. It is chocolate mostly with a bit of maybe mocha flavoring and both white and dark chocolate shavings all over the top. And I found out when I got the leftovers home that the part that "Welcome Baby Gabriel" was written on in chocolate was on a slab of almond marzipan. Mmmm! There is way too much leftover cake in the house right now.

Around the start of December, Michael and I will make a final trip to Babies R Us to pick up the last of the things we may need in the first few weeks we have Gabriel home. The shopping list won't be too long though considering how generous everyone has been in giving us stuff to care for our little boy when he comes into the world. And we still have some gift cards to spend on the remaining items too.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Welcome Baby!

I made it through another busy work week that included my whole office being packed up so a new work station/desk area could be installed, and then everything had to be put back in the new locations when the install was done. Even though I got a lot of help with that project, I was still tired by Friday. I was rethinking my commitment to go out to dinner Friday night with my co-worker, Kristen, and my old co-worker, Brandi, for dinner.

But I knew I would have fun, and being pregnant, if I yawned and fell asleep I have the perfect excuse. So off I went to The Red Blazer, but instead ended up having dinner with a whole bunch of my co-workers as they threw me a lovely baby shower! How that many women kept it a surprise is amazing!!

They ordered me a Mommy Friendly Cosmo for my arrival and the restaurant set us off in a quiet area by ourselves for the festivities. After dinner, I opened all of the new goodies and gadgets for Gabriel. Everyone found the cutest things! I am so happy to hear this may be a really cold winter because Baby G has quite a few plush, cozy winter outfits to wear that I can't wait to snuggle him in.

And for dessert, there was a yummy cake with strawberry, chocolate and yellow cake layers in it separated by Raspberry jam. On the outside, instead of regular frosting, I believe it was a creamy, possibly hazelnut flavored layer that then was covered with a chocolate/ganache layer. It looks just like the chocolate was poured over the cake and it was delicious.

The CR-V was filled up with the presents and this morning I will start sorting again and figuring out an order to Gabriel's room. Watch the side bar for the new photos to appear.

Luckily, cell phones take photos now so I have a few pictures from the shower that Brandi sent me.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Coming Soon... Gabriel!

Michael and I drove to Vermont with Lucas and Elleigh on Saturday where a group of family and friends came together to help me celebrate the pending arrival of Gabriel! It was so much fun, but I am exhausted and sore today! Opening gifts is hard work! And best of all, I got to see some folks that I just don't get to see as often as I would like now that I live in Hew Hampshire.

The event was held at the Brandon Senior Center and there was a whole spread of the homey kind of food you only get from a potluck. Mmmm. I can't stop thinking about Barb's homemade chicken wontons with the peanut sauce. And the cake had both chocolate and yellow cake layers, and a layer of the same filling that goes inside jelly donuts. Very nice!

I knew this baby was going to be spoiled, so I have been very good about not buying too much for Gabriel before he's had a baby shower. But clearly, there have been plenty of other people out buying for our kiddo! And some even handier people have been crafting for him!

Michael and I could barely get all of the gifts we received into the back of my CR-V. The dogs were not impressed with the traveling arrangements! Lucas especially didn't like the balloons that went home with us and that hovered over his side of the seat. We got home just before 9 pm last night, so we left the car loaded with our gifts.

Michael and I will unload the car today and then I will start sorting, washing, and making a game plan for putting everything away. Keep watch of the photo slide show on the right side bar for all of the gift additions we received.

And here's a photo of both Michael and I at 31 weeks and 5 days gestation.

Thank you so much to everyone who spoiled our family rotten at the baby shower!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Gabriel's Ultrasound

I have started the 8th month of pregnancy. I can't believe how fast the time is going!

Had another ultrasound today, so Michael and I got more glimpses of our boy. He's so much bigger now that we really only see one body part at a time on the screen as compared to when he was smaller and we could see his whole body in one shot.

The ultrasound shows all of Gabriel's parts in the right places. And he's still a boy! So we don't have to be concerned that his bedroom is now painted blue. The ultrasound technician showed us how she could see a good amount of hair floating in the amniotic fluid around his head. And she even showed us how he was practicing his breathing to get his lungs ready for room air upon his arrival.

Gabriel's growing uniformly, meaning his head and limbs and all of his parts are all growing at the same pace. However, he went from the 44th percentile in size from his last ultrasound estimation to the 89th percentile on today's ultrasound. Today's estimate is he already weighs 4 lbs and 13 oz. Based on that weight, he is about the size of a baby due 12/21/08. I thought I was sticking out more the last week or so.

So there will be another ultrasound in early December to get another estimate on Gabriel's size at that point.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I'm so lame this year for Halloween. I didn't wear a stitch of orange or black to work today. I bought a pumpkin last weekend, but it wasn't carved until dusk on Halloween night. And Lucas and Elleigh are wearing shirts, but they really aren't costumes. I do have my green T-shirt on that says "Spooky" on it.
We have candy though! And I guess on Halloween that candy is what it is all about anyway. I bought a bag last weekend of 1/2 Snickers regular and 1/2 Snickers Almonds, which Michael and I seem to enjoy. We still had plenty of the Snicker bar mix left despite our snacking. And then Halloween panic hit me on Wednesday night. On my way home, I stopped at the grocery store and ended up with a second bag of Halloween candy- Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. We never get more than a dozen Trick or Treaters, but that second bag of candy always seems to be purchased every year because this could be the year we get swarmed. I figured this year since Halloween was on a Friday night, the kids would stay up later and hit more houses. That's what I told myself as I grabbed another bag of candy to purchase. Michael and I also like peanut butter cups.
Anyway... the official town treating hours are 5-8 pm and our first Trick or Treater showed up at 5:45 pm. It wasn't quite dark yet. I am not sure what our first treater was, but I am guessing a black spider. She was too young to say "Trick or Treat" herself. And Lucas and Elleigh overwhelmed her. So her Mom picked her up and I threw a peanut butter cup in her little pumpkin bag.
I left the front inner door slightly ajar so Lucas and Elleigh can watch through the glass of the outer door for any commotion outside and new cars driving into the cul-de-sac.
6:33 pm and our second Trick or Treater showed up. It was a solo Vampire. Elleigh and Lucas barked at him. This is Lucas' first Halloween and I think the Trick or Treaters make him nervous. But he is enjoying looking out the front door.
6:48 pm- Daddy came home from work and used the front door for a change just to trick the dogs. He also brought home salads from Wendy's.
7:22 pm- Michael and I have hit the candy bowl harder than the Trick or Treaters so far.
7:29 pm- A scarecrow and a witch showed up. They were cute and were more interested in petting the dogs than the candy.
7:55 pm- 4 older kids arrived. I have no idea if they were actually dressed up or not. The boy in the back was definitely not dressed in a costume. The girls may have been going for a rock star thing. I guess better Trick or Treating without costumes than having them out causing mischief. They just doubled our total treater count to 8.
8:28 pm- I think we are done with Trick or Treaters this year. 8 kids. That's 2 more than last year. We surely would have been fine with one bag of candy. We now have a bunch of mini Snickers bars to eat. The peanut butter cups are gone.
I can't help wondering how different Halloween will be for us for the next decade or so. I wonder what little Gabriel will have for a costume next year. Maybe we will take the dogs and go Trick or Treating down the whole cul-de-sac ourselves. At the very least we will have to go to Grandma's house in Canterbury on Halloween night. Sorry Nana, but the drive to Vermont is a bit much on Halloween night.

Monday, October 27, 2008

69 Days to Go!

I started my 31st week of pregnancy today. There are 69 days to go to Gabriel's due date. And a whole lot of things still left on the to-do list before he arrives.

Gabriel's Development By This Week

Gabriel should be measuring at 18 inches and weighing in at more than three pounds by now. We can expect him to gain at least three to five pounds, possibly more, before he is born. His brain is working overtime these days, developing faster than ever. Connections between individual nerve cells are growing, and he can now perceive information from five senses, but not smell. Because he is still submerged in amniotic fluid he can't get a whiff of anything yet.

What's a day in the life of Gabriel like these days: making faces, hiccuping, swallowing, breathing, pedaling with little hands and feet along the uterine wall, listening to noises he can hear into the womb, and even sucking his thumb. His movements will regularly move my whole stomach now so it is visible from the outside. I've been trying to catch it on video so I can share the experience.

My Development This Week

I have lots of heart burn and shortness of breath these days since now my uterus can be felt as far up as four inches above my belly button, which means that it's pushing all the internal organs that used to be there somewhere else. It doesn't help the heartburn that I want spicy food all the time. Spicy is by far my preference for food during this pregnancy. I'm quite tired by the end of the day and ready for bed shortly after I get home from work. It seems that about the time the sun goes down, I am yawning and ready to hit the hay. I am currently the same weight that I was when I became pregnant. And currently a half a shoe size up. My feet began hurting again this last weekend, so I am concerned my feet may not be done growing and stretching out yet. YIKES! I understand that at this point in pregnancy another round of ligament softening occurs. Bending over has become down right painful. There's just too much stuff in my stomach now to comfortably be able to squish it all together to bend over. I'm leaving a lot of stuff on the floor so I don't have to pick it up. I continue to have Braxton Hicks contractions through out the day. Most nights I still sleep well, and I hope that continues until delivery. And I am still very much enjoying the movements that I feel from Gabriel throughout the day. He has not yet started to kick me in the ribs or cause me discomfort with his fluttering around.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Scored More Marshmallows

I got more homemade marshmallows from Fred this afternoon! He handed me a baggy of a dozen sugar powdered squares of mallow wonder. Mmmm! I stopped off at Dunkin' Donuts and got some rich hot chocolate for Michael and I on my drive home. At first I thought about not telling Michael I got more marshmallows and just hoarding them all for myself and Gabriel. But in the end I decided to share them. That's love for you! We had dessert before dinner so we could enjoy the marshmallows in the hot chocolate while it was all still piping hot and the marshmallows melted well. I am tempted to try making some myself, but for some reason I just suspect this is one of those foods that are just so much better if someone else makes them for you.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Childbirth Preparation Class

Michael and I spent the day at the Center for Health Promotion attending the one-day condensed Childbirth Preparation class with 8 or so other expectant couples. We decided the one day intensive class worked better for our schedules rather than trying to juggle doggy duty and attending classes after work for several weeks in a row.

In the class, we had a review of some of the things to expect when we get to The Family Place to have Gabriel. We went over and practiced comfort techniques, and talked about pain control options, c-sections, and post delivery expectations. As always, they can't include every thing we'd possibly want to know but we got some good information. We signed up for a tour of The Family Place for next Tuesday night.

The class finished by 4 pm, so we went to The Longhorn for an early dinner. I told Mike I would drive home so he could enjoy a cider margarita as a treat for sitting through yet another child preparation class. We each got Ribeye steaks, and I am hoping I got a good dose of iron. We were by far the youngest couple in the restaurant. Michael and I figure we might as well get use to eating with all of the "blue-hairs" in restaurants since having a small child soon will mean we might not see prime time dinning again for a few years.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blood Test Results

My doctor's office called today with the results of my most recent blood work. Last Friday, I did another one hour glucose tolerance test to see how I am handling sugar, and a hematocrit blood test to determine if I have anemia. I did fine with my glucose tolerance test, but I failed the test for anemia. Ironically, I was more concerned about failing the glucose tolerance test.

Anemia in pregnancy is common and it is most often caused by an iron deficiency in the diet. Some women are anemic before they even get pregnant. I did pass my preliminary test for anemia with my initial round of pregnancy blood testing in my first trimester. But pregnant women need more iron. Iron helps the body make new blood cells to carry the oxygen and nutrients to the baby during pregnancy. By the end of pregnancy, I will have twice as much blood in my body than when I began the pregnancy. So there is a whole lot of blood cell making going on right now.

I have read on the internet that between 24 - 32 weeks of pregnancy is not a good time to test for iron deficiency, even though most providers do test between 28-34 weeks. I am in my 29th week. The pregnant body, at this point in gestation, has just been through a large surge in blood volume and it does take awhile for all the levels to balance out. I will be asking to be tested again after 34 weeks to see if I still show up anemic.

Meanwhile, I have been instructed to get more iron intake. There is some in the prenatal vitamin I already take, but I bought more iron supplements today. I got a recommendation of a new dosage to take twice daily from my OB/GYN's office.

Michael said he will take me out to dinner this weekend for some red meat.

Being low in iron can cause fatigue, more than the normal fatigue in pregnancy. So maybe I haven't just been drained from the stress of work.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another Finished Project...

It only took about a week to knit up these socks for Gabriel. They are pretty stretchy, so hopefully they will fit him before it's too warm for him to want socks on his feet this summer. The yarn is Kona Superwash in the kelp colorway. The colorway matches nicely the teal of the recent cardigan I finished. I found this yarn in a sale bin at the Elegant Ewe back in June. So the skein didn't marinate in the stash all that long. I still have plenty of this yarn to try to make a matching hat also.

Monday, October 13, 2008

"Camping" in Ossipee

Michael, Elleigh, Lucas and I went "camping" on Sunday. Not real hard in-the-woods camping. We felt a little guilty about going for a whole day away from our house projects, but I think we are both very glad we did. We didn't have our annual family BBQ in August. And we didn't go to a 4th of July party this year. And we really couldn't think of anything we have done outside this summer or fall, not even using the pool since it didn't turn out to be a pool summer.

So, we drove up to Ossipee to a private family campground run by Paula's family to spend the day. The foliage was beautiful on the ride up which was a treat since neither Michael or I had a chance to see much foliage yet this year. We even had to drive by another swatch of tornado damage on the way there where a cluster of houses looked to still be in the repair process and all of their trees were blown down.

The whole family had fun for the day. I got to knit around a campfire with Paula, Tracy, Donna and Alison. I kept working on socks for Gabriel. Michael played Scrabble and another Banana word game with Sue, Paula, Alison and Anthony. Elleigh and Lucas got to go for a few walks in the crispy leaves and bark at the camp dog Daisy. Michael had wine. Gabriel and I did not.

And the food was wonderful! The camping day included a gourmet camp chef named Fred and his sous chef side kick, Anthony. I helped to de-silk some corn, but for the most part just waited on for food to be placed near me and the bump. There was tasty aged cheddar and Gruyere cheese. The corn was fire roasted. The pork tenderloin was stuffed and hand-tied at the campsite and then baked over the coals. And I had hot cocoa with homemade marshmallows.

Yes, HOMEMADE marshmallows. Fred made his very own marshmallows for the trip. And you may wonder why anyone would make their own marshmallows when you can buy a whole bag of Jet Puffs for a buck. If you ask that, you have never had a homemade marshmallow. Better taste, better texture, better melt spread when squished between two graham crackers, and better fire retardancy when being roasted over an open flame for S'Mores made with Ghiradelli chocolate. Mmmm!

It was such a fun day and evening. Thanks for inviting us, Paula! Even the trips to the out house proved enjoyable.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

28th week of pregnancy

I am in the 28th week of gestation. Gabriel's eyes are partially open and can perceive light. His eye lashes and eye brows continue to grow and subcutaneous fat is being deposited to put a fat layer on him. Our baby is almost 15 inches from head to toe and weighs over two pounds. He's sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing his eyes and perhaps even sucking his fingers. His brain is very active now. While his lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with a lot of medical help — if he were born now. About 9 out of 10 babies born now will survive with intensive care services and the help of medical technology according to babiesonline.com. I've experienced Braxton Hicks contractions in the past couple of weeks. Braxton Hicks are sporadic uterine contractions that actually start at about 6 weeks, although most will not feel them that early. Most women start feeling them during the second or third trimester.

I had another appointment with my OB/GYN on Wednesday morning. My blood pressure was fine. I got my paperwork for the next one hour glucose tolerance test and blood work to check for anemia, all normal testing that occurs at this time frame. I just need to find the hour to take off from work to do the one hour glucose test. I had no weight gain from my last appointment a month ago. I heard Gabriel's heartbeat on the doppler again. Another ultrasound in 4 weeks has been suggested to try to pinpoint exactly where Gabriel is in size at that point. So we get another chance to view our boy on November 7th.

On Tuesday night, Michael and I attended a breast-feeding preparation class. Mike was a trooper sitting through the whole thing. I still didn't learn everything I wanted to know, but there are good lactation specialists at The Family Place where we hope to deliver Gabriel. They will be able to give us some one on one attention then. Meanwhile, I will keep reading my books to learn more.

Michael has been working on sanding and prepping the walls of Gabriel's room for painting. We have narrowed down to three possible wall colors.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Gabriel's Cardigan

I finished Gabriel's cardigan tonight while watching the Talledaga race we recorded earlier today. I started this cardigan in August and have slowly been working on it. The pattern is Debbie Bliss' Jacket With Moss Stitch Bands and I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in a pretty dark teal. I figure a girl could wear this too if she had a feminine shirt underneath it. I got the little Mother of Pearl star buttons at The Elegant Ewe. There was a lot of sewing together of pieces. I need to do a final blocking, but otherwise I am quite happy with the finished project. Can't wait to start the next project for little G. I think it will be a hat to match this cardigan. Or maybe socks.

Pregnancy Perks for Puppies

There are few pregnancy perks for the puppies. In fact, they would probably tell you that pregnancy sucks. There's no jumping on Mommy's belly. And Mommy can't bend over to pick them up as much. And Mommy doesn't get on the floor anymore because she would never get back up off it. And then yesterday Mommy and Daddy scurried around the house doing pre-baby projects, so the dogs couldn't sleep their normal schedule, and then got grumpy from lack of sleep. And then Mommy hauled bags out of her bedroom saying she was making room for the baby's stuff. And Daddy locked himself in the other room with a machine that makes an annoying noise and vibration. (Sanding) And at one point a whole piece of furniture was rolled out of the house. It was pretty stressful for Elleigh and Lucas. They both acted very nervous, like they might be going out the door soon too.

But they do seem to just love Mommy's pregnancy pillow. This is the Boppy C shaped pregnancy pillow with the white and sage green slipcover. It is suppose to be snaked around a pregnant woman to support the belly, give padding between the knees, and in general support sleeping on the side. But it seems to attract Elleigh, even if I am using it. She weasels her way onto some portion of the pillow when she can and will use her feet to make room for herself by scratching/shoving me out of the way. And then as soon as I vacate the bed, the dogs claim the whole pillow to themselves.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bigfoot Sighting in New Hampshire!


I'm officially acknowledging that my feet have grown during pregnancy. I really didn't think this was going to happen to me. I left high school as a size 8.5. I already had a growth spurt a few years back and my feet slowly went through 9's when I was training for a half marathon, and the next thing I knew I was in 9.5's. All of my good dress shoes are 9.5 these days.

I went to Joe King's and bought a pair of brown Mary Jane style dress shoes, because the maternity pants I have acquired seem to be more brown and tan than I usually have in my wardrobe. So my all black dress shoes weren't working so well. So I wanted a nice pair of Keen brown dress shoes for work. I had to get 10's, but the sales girl did tell me that this new style shoe ran a little narrow. That made sense to me and I left the store thinking it was the brand and not me.

And suddenly last week, most of my shoes were cramping my toes. My sneakers especially cram up my toes, and noticing my Keen sandals aren't quite as floppy, and my black Mary Jane's are almost down right uncomfortable. It's definitely a length issue and not a width issue. UGH! And my feet have been less swollen in the last 7-10 days than they were a few times over the summer, so I can't blame it on that either.

And not that big feet aren't beautiful too, but I don't have the height to off set bigger feet. And not to mention, now that I am older, I can't just go to Payless on a Buy One Get One Free weekend sale and stock myself up for the season cheaply. These days I have to have the good shoes that my podiatrist recommends (that means expensive) so my heels don't ache. I'm going to try to get myself a few pairs of the bare minimum, a black and brown dress shoe, a casual shoe, something that fits for snow, and a sneaker and wait it out to see what happens.
If you wear a 9.5, start watching at the Concord Goodwill for a new supply of women's dress shoes.

Friday, October 3, 2008

CPR class

Michael drove home on his lunch break on Friday to take care of the pooches so we both could stay in Concord after work and attend our first baby class. We met at a casual restaurant (the Concord Hospital cafeteria) and had a quick bite to eat before going to the Center for Health Promotion for a CPR class. We signed up for infant CPR, but the class was not advertised right and we ended up with a bonus refresher on child and adult CPR too. Our American Heart Association cards will come in a few weeks.

It's been over 15 years since I taught or performed CPR, and some things have changed. Some things have stayed strikingly similar. There's no pulse checking anymore and now they teach people to look for Automated External Defibrillators (AED's) when someone has become unresponsive. I remember participating in a fundraiser just to get a defibrillator for an ambulance way back when and now an automated version is available in many public places.

So, that was our big Friday Date Night!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Finally!

After weeks of trying, Michael finally felt a few thumps from Gabriel on Monday night. The boy seems to prefer standing on my bladder all day, with his head up by my chest, and then he stomps on my bladder like he is stomping grapes for wine. So the thumping and tapping I feel all day is low in my pelvis, which is a hard spot for anyone else to feel from the outside. The last week or two, occasionally I have felt some movement higher in my stomach, over the top of my belly button height. They are always brief though. Last night, Gabriel most likely was doing a full somersault and got his feet up towards the top of my stomach. So Mike got to feel his boy give him love taps through my belly button. Ahhh! There should be plenty more time for kicks to be felt in the weeks to come. I can't believe how different those initial flutters felt at 19 weeks verses what I can feel now. And I understand that kicks can get very hard as Gabriel gets stronger. There's something to look forward to. Though, Gabriel has some room to move around right now. He will be growing rapidly from this point forward so he will eventually have very tight quarters and won't be able to somersault freely.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy 65th Anniversary!

This is the cutest couple I know! Maurice and Esther have been married 65 years as of September 25th, and 65 is not a typo. I was so happy to join a mass of people at the Mill Village Chapel yesterday in Rutland, Vermont as they honored the happy couple. This young at heart couple is actually the grandparents of my long time friend Kimi, thus why I have always called them Grandma and Grandpa Hawley myself. They cut their cake, smooched, and fed each other cake with as much enthusiasm and joy as they probably did on their actual wedding day. We should all be so lucky to be this happy in marriage.

Brandon Gap

This is the view from the trail head at Brandon Gap in the Green Mountain National Forest, a point on the Long Trail. It's one of my favorite spots on the drive to Vermont to see my parents. Once here, the view is gorgeous in good weather. And even better, I am within 5 minutes from my parents' house and I probably won't need to hit the gas pedal again until I am pulling into their driveway. It is also this span of the drive that I have seen the Moose before and Michael and I have hit some of the scariest inclement weather driving. I looked forward to driving over yesterday because I knew the foliage change would have started through the mountains. I was actually surprised that the foliage wasn't further ahead than it was. Unfortunately, it was gloomy most of the drive over. And it poured most of my drive home. There were plenty of oranges and yellows, but they would have been better with the sun on them. It brightened slightly as I hit the gap, so I pulled over for a photo. The flat area is Champlain Valley. You can see an area where the narrow part of Lake Champlain is, and then the mountains on the other side (with the cloud coverage) is the Adirondacks of New York.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

99 Days To Go... But Who's Counting?

I am 25 weeks and 6 days into gestation today, so only 99 days left to go until I hit my due date. Kimi Sprague snapped this photo of me and "Gabriel the bump" while I was in Vermont today. According to my audio pregnancy book, I start the third trimester on Monday. It just doesn't seem possible. I picked up the crib bedding set today from my parents' house and it is definitely time to get Gabriel's room in order.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Girl with Blog

Today is the one year anniversary of starting my blog! In the past year there have been 3285 visitors from all over the world. I enjoy seeing who visits and what blog entries grab the attention of different readers. In the previous year, Michael and I traveled to Hawaii, planned our wedding, lost a furry baby, gained a furry baby, got married, went to Mexico, and now we are expecting a son. All documented through the blog. I hope you have enjoyed reading the adventures as much as I have enjoyed writing about them. What started out as a project to help keep my family and friends in Vermont updated on the events of my life has actually turned out to be a fun hobby. I look forward to chronicling the next year as two newlyweds turn into a family.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monthly Appointment

I am in my 6th month of pregnancy now, the far side of the second trimester. I've completed 23 full weeks of pregnancy. The photo below is a representation of the typical size of a baby in the 23rd week of gestation, though our boy is much cuter than this example baby. I am feeling movement throughout the day now, and starting to notice some patterns to the sleep and movement cycles. I can feel the baby move, but the movements aren't strong enough yet for Michael to feel them. And I have read that the baby is now much more aware of what is going on outside of the womb. He can feel my movements and his hearing will pick up loud noises in the environment. It might be time to start playing him music. So another month done of pregnancy means another monthly appointment with my doctor's office. I visited today with my regular doctor's partner, in case she ends up attending the actual birth in my regular doctor's absence.

I learned today that the baby is fine according to the last ultrasound we had on August 29th. The baby is in the 44th percentile so he is running small, or at least 56% of all babies born would most likely weigh more than him. I am starting to think that maybe I better have more little newborn sizes of clothes on hand and not just assume I'll have a big baby that will fit right into 3 month clothing quickly.

The baby's heart rate was 150 and strong. I could actually feel him hitting or kicking the Doppler when the doctor pushed it into my stomach/his space to listen to his heart rate. I could hear a different thunking noise on the Doppler in conjunction with the movement I felt.

And my blood pressure remains fine at 120/70. I've started a prenatal pool exercise program on Monday and Wednesday nights after work so I can guarantee at least twice a week I get some exercise in. I've had some pelvic pain due to the hormones relaxing the pelvic ligaments, so it is nice to have an hour in a heated pool to get the weight off my lower back, pelvis and knees. And it is fun to talk to other expectant mothers my age and compare notes.

Michael and I are also all signed up for the prerequisite baby classes, so starting next month we will learn infant CPR, basic baby care, attend the child birth class, do a tour of The Family Place where we will have the baby, and even take a quick course on breast feeding.

We've also done a handful of child care center tours and have the baby on multiple waiting lists for child care for next April, when I assume my maternity leave will be over if everything goes as planned.

I am going to stop referring to our son as "the baby" in my blog entries because Michael and I have decided to call him Gabriel. We are using his name already and have had a chance to tell both sets of Grandparents. So baring any strange events that change our mind, like he turning out to be a she, we are going with Gabriel.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Quincy's Baptism


After a night full of hard rain from hurricane Hanna, Michael and I found clearing skies as we left our house before 6 am this morning. We went to the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Pittsford, Vermont for the 9 am mass because Quincy was being baptised during the service. I think technically Quincy was the youngest guest at our wedding since he was still in the womb during the festivities. Quincy was such a trooper through anointment and the water dousing; he never made a peep. And he looked so cute in his little white outfit. We last saw him in June, but already he has changed and seems to be the spitting image of his older brother Noah. After the service, we headed off to the Pittsford Recreational Park for a reception with the whole Bruttomesso & Eugair clan and a home style luncheon. I also got to see Amy and her boys as well. And it was a beautiful day. Those in the sun playing volleyball were comfortable in shorts. Those of us under the picnic table covering needed a light jacket. Just the right temperature in my opinion.

Michael and I visited with my parents on the way home. It's definitely harvest season since we came home with a winter squash, two bags of black berries, another big bag of white potatoes freshly dug from the garden, black berry jam, and a tomato. Oh, and Dad had made a batch of baked beans too so we have a container of those for an upcoming meal as well.

Let me know if anyone has a good recipe for black berries.
Michael and I also took a break from driving home by stopping at the Powerhouse Mall in West Lebanon and visiting the Rugged Bear children's boutique. We got a few more things for our little man.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Our Boy is One!

Lucas turned one year old on September 2nd, so it's time to put the puppy food away and switch to big boy dog food. It's hard to believe how fast the time went by.

He celebrated birthday weekend and got three rides in the car, including one trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house. For dinner on his actual birthday, he shared a special can of dog food with his sister. We gave him his birthday gifts last night. Michael found a little dog bone shaped elevated food bowl set for the kids to share and then I had ordered Lucas a whole box of new Schnoodleware fleeces to destroy. Elleigh was much better at getting the new fleece toys out of the box than Lucas was. Of course, we went around the house picking up and chucking his disintegrated fleece toys the whole weekend so that was a bit traumatic.

A little doggy biography on our boy.

Weight: He weighs 22.8 pounds the most recent time Michael put him on the scale.

Height: Taller than his sister by at least an inch on the back and two inches at the head.

Favorite Toys: Schnoodleware Fleece Toys ripped to shreds and strings, anything with taggies, anything that Elleigh has at the moment.

Favorite Food: Anything on Mommy & Daddy's plate, Merrick's Brauts & Tots canned food on special occassions.

Favorite Spot: Snuggling face to face with Daddy on the couch

Favorite Activities: Laying on Sissy's head, snuggling with Daddy on the couch, going to Grandma & Grandpa's house, going for a R-I-D-E, rolling in pooh, going to the dog park, sleeping in sun spots with Sissy.

Least Favorite Activities: Tubbies, rain during potty time, vacuuming

Favorite Trick: high five

When happy he wiggles his whole behind and his little tail stub.

When he thinks he is in trouble, he tries to smile or goes to the other parent to see if they are as mad as the first one.

Accomplishments: Graduated from Puppy Obedience class, learned how to get up on the couch

Goals for the upcoming year: Becoming a good big brother to a human baby, learning to share more, smiling just right so that Mommy can catch it on the camera to post for the world to see

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What We've Bought So Far

This post is mostly so my Mom can see some of the things I have gotten so far for the baby, but maybe you will enjoy it too.

This is baby's first outfit. Well, the first one purchased by his parents at least. I wanted to wait until we knew for sure what sex baby we were having so I could appropriately buy pink or blue. But when I got to Baby Bungalow in Concord, what really got my attention was this green Kushies play suit because of the cute sheep on it. And it is such as soft cotton. So baby boy's first outfit is gender neutral. It's a 6 month size but looks like it will be wearable for a while since the cuffs all are long and fold over. And the little feet even can be made into feetie pajamas when the baby is on the smaller side.

I also fell in love with this bag while shopping at the PowerHouse mall with Kimi in West Lebanon. So after thinking about it a while when I got home and wishing I had purchased the bag, and checking that Michael was okay carrying a light teal/aqua bag, I found the same Timbuk2 bag on eBay and plan to use it as a diaper bag.

The very first purchase made for the baby was this stuffed dog. Way too big to play with initially but we will let it sit on the floor in the baby's room. We thought everyone of the humans in the family should have their very own Boston Terrier. Another find from Baby Bungalow. Can you tell which ones are the real Bostons in the photo below? Hint, the impostor dog is the one with the least disgusted expression.
And then at the PowerHouse mall with Kimi again, I did find this little Boston Terrier that the baby will be able to snuggle and play with. This little dog is actually very interesting to Luke and Elleigh, so it lives in hiding for the time being. We have a lot of family adjustment ahead of us.
And I found this interesting handmade product that I found at Etsy.com. It's a very pretty wet bag. They sell it as a bag to put wet diapers and clothes in when you are out and about. I am currently using it as yarn storage for a little project bag and have once used it as a wet swimsuit bag.
And I certainly have bought yarn with baby in mind.

Zen Baby

This is the crib set that we have decided on for the baby. Well, Nana and I finalized the decision this morning, and Mike is indifferent. It is Zen Baby by Kimberly Grant, available through both Target and Babies R Us, as well as other on-line sources. The Kimberly Grant line gets a good review in the Baby Bargains book. And I saw some good reviews on-line by people who had already purchased the set. I like that this has boy colors, but it is not so predominently blue that I can't pull in the sage green and browns. At this point, we are still thinking about painting the walls in the baby's room sage green and getting a lot of green accessories. There are also a number of blues in there, so I can do slate blue, light blue, medium blue, teal, maybe even an aqua color. I don't think there will be any trouble finding baby things to coordinate. And I like the shapes on it. Nana is on a mission now and hopes to maybe find the set in Burlington or New York this weekend.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Another Glimpse At Our Baby

Michael joined me this morning for a second attempt at our 2nd trimester screening ultrasound. We don't have the results from the ultrasound yet, but the technician congratulated us a few times and just seemed too peppy to have seen any horrific problems on the ultrasound. I counted 2 feet and 2 hands myself, and saw a lot of fingers and toes. We also clearly saw little boy parts, so we are quite confident now that we are having a boy. IT'S A BOY! We have posted one of our ultrasound photos so you can try your own hand at gender determination. It is amazing how much change we could see just since the last ultrasound 2 weeks ago. The technician said our boy weighs 1 pound and 3 ounces now. Elleigh gets to maintain her reign as the princess, but Lucas is now our big boy.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Memory Walk

My high school friend Kristie will be participating again in the annual Alzheimer's Association's Memory Walk in Bangor, Maine Walk on Saturday, October 4th. This will be Kristie's 3rd consecutive year as chairperson for the Bangor walk. She participates in this event in memory of her grandmother. I just went to Kristie's fundraising page and made a donation to support her. I thought I would list her fundraising sight on my blog as well to help her network for her good cause. Just click on the highlighted words and it should take you to her page.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pregnancy Acknowledgement

A man at the hospital handed me paper work today and then immediately looked down at my stomach and announced, "You must be pregnant!" He's an acquaintance at best. I haven't seen him in months, and even then it was just in passing at the hospital. And his wife was in toe and she looked mortified at the acknowledgement until I confirmed that I was in fact pregnant. So I believe I must have enough sticking out now that I don't just look heavy anymore. Even Mike agreed that it was a pretty risky thing for a guy to say unless he knew for sure I was pregnant. So I am soon going to be able to start taking advantage of the bump with the general public and perfect strangers. I should be invited to the front of the line soon and have my waiting time for restaurant tables cut down. Isn't that the way it works? There has to be some perks to pregnancy, right?!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tio Juan's Margaritas

One of my long time favorite places to eat in Concord is Tio Juan's Margaritas in Bicentennial Square. I have enjoyed the Mexican food there for well over a decade. I use to frequent it much more often except that it was so popular that the wait for a table could be long. And as I have gotten older I have opted for other places with faster seating or gone searching for unique dinning experiences elsewhere. But nothing quite compares to Margaritas' Mexican. The prices are fair and I always go home with a tin container of leftovers.

The baby wanted spicy last night, so we went to Margaritas before grocery shopping. Michael started off with a yummy strawberry margarita. We of course got the complimentary big plate of warmed hand-cut tortilla chips and the restaurant's own salsa. Michael went with the steak Burrito Supreme: chunks of sirloin rolled with refritos in a flour tortilla and topped with cheese, home-made red chile sauce and sour cream. So big that half of it came home. I got my old stand by, the fajita grill! Mmmm! It comes to the table sizzling on a cast iron pan. I got the Chipotle Barbecue Steak Fajitas with hot smoky flavor just for the baby. The fajitas come with all of the fixings: grilled onions, grilled peppers, grilled zucchini, Spanish rice, black beans, shredded cheese, guacamole, pico de galo, diced tomatoes, and sour cream. I had to assemble the ingredients myself into warmed flour tortillas, and the fajitas were so juicy they dripped down my arms. I should not have worn a white T-shirt.

We had dessert too! Mike got a whole quarter of a strawberry margarita pie. Luckily, it was a light cool whip texture and not a cheese cake consistency, so he actually was able to finish it. I forget the name of my dessert, but it was all chocolate! It had an Oreo cookie crust and layers of chocolate on top of that, and the dessert was shaped like a Reese's peanut butter cup. It was very tasty and half of that came home with me to go along with a big pile of leftovers from the fajitas.

Our plan worked because we were so stuffed by the time we made it to the grocery store that we didn't linger long on anything. Unfortunately, having not been grocery shopping for just under two weeks, our bill was too low to actually have made an effective trip to the grocery store.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Quickening

According to Wikipedia, quickening refers to the initial motion of the fetus in the uterus as it is perceived or felt by the pregnant woman. The first natural sensation of quickening may feel like a light tapping, or the fluttering of a butterfly. These sensations eventually become stronger and more regular as the pregnancy progresses. Sometimes, the first movements are misattributed to gas or hunger pangs. A woman pregnant for the first time typically feels fetal movements at about 20-21 weeks.

I recognized what I thought might be baby movement for the first time on Sunday afternoon at 19 weeks and 6 days. It wasn't a flutter or light tapping, or bubbles, tickling or anything else gentle like I had read about. It was a full out kick on a full bladder. I definitely noticed it. But there was only one solid hit, so I couldn't convince myself it was movement from the baby since I expected there to be a series of movements.

I went to work early on Thursday morning and so treated myself to some ice coffee at Dunkin' Donuts on the ride in for my 7 am start. I asked for decaf iced coffee, but by the time I got most of the way through my coffee, it became clear I got regular coffee. I had given up caffeinated drinks for pregnancy, so it's been a while since I had a drink with caffeine in it. And even when I was drinking caffeinated beverages, one a day was about my limit.

So not only was I jittery, but apparently the baby was jittery too! I was trying to do a presentation and a hands on learning demonstration all the while I could feel the baby thumping away low in my abdomen. And after taking a nap just before lunch, I had an hour or more of movement after lunch time too. I felt a little more motion about the time I was winding down to go to bed last night also.

Other than a stray bump or thump here and there, I haven't felt much today.

I won't be getting anything from Dunkin' Donuts for the rest of the pregnancy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

3000

When I checked the blog counter early this morning before work, I had 2999 visitors. Some time today while I was at work, the site had its 3000th visitor. And even if you figure my Mom may check the blog every day, that's still 2635 other hits from people who thought I might have something interesting to say too. And next month will be the one year anniversary of the blog.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Meeting Half Way

Kimi and I split the drive exactly half way and met up for Saturday afternoon in West Lebanon. We had a lovely lunch at Lui Lui's at the PowerHouse Mall. Lui Lui's specializes in brick oven pizza and authentic Tuscan Italian cuisine. They bottle their own olive oil for dipping and it may very well be the best dipping oil I've ever had since it is full of flavor, including garlic. For lunch, I had their lasagna with layers of ricotta, romano and mozzarella cheese and covered with meat sauce. It was just the right size for lunch. And Kimi and I shared a piece of caramel cheese cake.

We walked around the PowerHouse Mall and leisurely checked out some of the shops. In Ellistar, a children's boutique, I ended up buying a little Boston Terrier bean bag type stuffed animal. It has really soft plush fur and is small enough for a little one to play with, plus it looked like our babies at home. The same store had a bunch of cute outfits, but there wasn't much neutral. You had to know you were having a boy or a girl, which our child has not cooperated with that yet. So I didn't buy any outfits. There was the cutest pair of little light turquoise blue Keen sandals that I would have purchased if I even remotely knew what size shoe our kiddo would wear next summer. I think that color could have gone boy or girl.

Kimi brought with her to West Lebanon the cross stitched picture she made for our wedding. It's all framed now and looks beautiful. It will reside in our bedroom for a little while until we get the living room refinished.

The Fisher Cats Game Was A Wet One

We had tickets to the Fisher Cats game on Friday night, but the sky looked ominous and scattered thunder storms were predicted. So, we decided not to take our chances at the game and instead went out to dinner with Denise and Shawn instead. It was a wise choice since the game didn't get canceled, but it did have over an hour rain delay right in the middle. It didn't sound like a pleasant time. And then the Fisher Cats got slaughtered.

I haven't been to the India Palace Restaurant on South Willow Street in Manchester in a long time. In fact, I think it was well before they had the small fire there and had to repair that. And of course, this baby loves anything spicy just so I will have heartburn, so India Palace hit the spot. I had the Non-Vegetarian Thali combination meal. It's a traditional Indian meal served in a silver platter with Lamb Curry, Chicken Tikka Masala, Tandoori Chicken, Dal, Rice, Raita, Naan bread, and Kheer for dessert. I brought home left overs and had a little for breakfast on Saturday morning and I finished it for dinner the same day. I love the smell of the spices of Indian food. The India Palace always has something a little spicy and tasty that seems unique to me since I rarely get it. I did order my meal with only medium spice this time and I didn't end up with any heartburn.

After dinner, Michael and I took a quick stop at Babies R Us in Manchester. That's when the hard rain kicked in. We heard one really loud thunder clap that sounded like an explosion and set alarms off on the Babies R Us building and cars in the parking lot. We didn't buy anything at Babies R Us, just did some more looking around. Saw lots of cute clothes, but we are still waiting until to see if we will find out if we are having a boy or girl for sure.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We're Getting Another Chance

Michael and I will get another chance to find out the gender of the baby. My obstetrician called on Wednesday evening and said he had a chance to review the ultrasound results from Monday himself. He was not happy with the clarity of the ultrasound and felt that the ultrasound technician didn't get a great view of some of the baby parts, especially of the heart and spine. I think those are pretty important baby parts. He didn't indicate there were any problems, just that he wanted clearer photos to make sure there still weren't any problems with good views. So, we have a second ultrasound scheduled for Friday morning, August 29th. Let's hope the baby cooperates better this time. This means there will probably be more ultrasound photos posted soon.

Monday, August 11, 2008

IT'S A...

...normally gestating baby. Michael and I went to an ultrasound today that took 45 minutes (on a full bladder, I might add) to look at all of the baby parts and measure them. Our little crumb is 11 ounces now. Michael got a good view of most of the scan from his vantage point in the dark room. The baby's arms are longer now, so Mike could see that it moved the hands over the face quite a bit. It wasn't until the end that the sonographer tilted the screen to show me some of views. We are very pleased that our baby is right on track with the original due date and the growth in all of the body parts is equal, which is a good sign that nothing chromosomal is wrong. It is so reassuring to know that everything seems healthy and well developed so far.
The sonographer thought she saw a little boy, and showed us the snapshot she took with evidence of a boy. But she wasn't able to get a second glimpse as confirmation, so she said she wouldn't paint the room blue yet. We were hoping to know for sure if it would be a boy or a girl, but I guess healthy really is the important thing. We will just have to wait longer to find out if our household is going to be 3 girls and 2 boys, or 3 boys and Miss Elleigh May and Mommy. I had hoped to go and buy something gender specific for the baby today after the ultrasound, but I didn't end up getting anything. It just wasn't as fun thinking I might end up having to return what I was buying.
I have completed 19 full weeks of pregnancy today and as of this coming Sunday, I will be half way through the pregnancy, assuming I deliver on my due date of January 5th.