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 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!