Monday, February 23, 2009


Jason adopted his Mexican wrestler alter ego in order to assemble the crib.

My nesting instinct is starting to kick in, which has led me to troll Craigslist for cribs (among other baby-related things), as I feel like we can't set up the baby room without a crib. It just seems essential. Granted, nothing but stuffed animals will sleep in it for many many months, but still...Craigslist is awash in well-priced cribs that all look essentially the same, so when I found this one I got very excited. It's blue! An excellent blue, my favorite shade of blue. Cornflower blue is what I'd call it. Plus it's solid wood, and not from China, and not painted with lead paint, and not from Wal-Mart. And it retails for like $700, which is an insane amount to spend on a crib. The nice couple that sold it to us included very cute bedding, a crib bumper, and a Winnie-the-Pooh mobile: $100 total. I love Craigslist.

Jason set it up in the living room, and though it didn't take long, he did have to partially disassemble it to get it into the baby room, as it didn't fit through the door. Which was really quite charming.

So now it's all set up and is filled with stuffed animals and my baby blankets. So real. So very very real.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pictures Not Related to Having the Flu

OMG how totally cute is Henry? This is his preferred sleeping position: on his back, legs sprawled and sticking up, furry belly exposed, paws curled. Love it. Note, if you can, the excessive fur between his toes. It's Hobbit-ish.

Our pre-flu Best Day Ever/V-day brunch: bacon for Jason, OJ, blueberry Belgian waffles, sauteed bananas and sliced strawberries. Coffee and scrambled eggs not pictured.

BABY'S FIRST ONESIE!!! Amazing. Courtesy of Louisa. You can't really tell from this pic, but it's an excellent mint green color. Thanks, Lu!

When You're Pregnant and You Have the Flu, Do Not Google "flu and pregnancy"

Seriously, don't. I know better than that, but somehow, at 5:30am after I'd been up all night barfing, etc, I decided to increase my discomfort by enabling internet-based paranoia. Once the results popped up, I realized what a dumb idea it was, and though I didn't even go beyond the first page of hits, it was enough to freak me out for a bit, and I was momentarily convinced that the baby was sure to get this stomach virus. I woke Jason up and he was very comforting and then I fell back asleep and woke up and called Amrit, who assured me that as long as I'm fever-free (I am), the baby is fine. It's just me who feels like crap. She also told me that the baby has a three-day food supply, so if I can't eat for a few days, she'll be ok. Which was good to know, as I didn't really eat yesterday. Today I had yogurt and toast. And lots of tea. Luckily it's stormy out, and a three-day weekend, so it's a good cozy time to be sick. Jason is not yet sick (fingers crossed), though he did join me in my lethargy yesterday (when he wasn't fetching me tea and Saltines), and we watched "Best in Show" (for the millionth time) and "Pineapple Express" (I love James Franco) and lots of TV and we napped and read US Weekly (thanks Aubs). And I'm making headway in the third Twilight book. God, Bella is such a freaking moron.

It sucks to be sick, especially since I've been feeling so totally awesome and strong and healthy. But I'm feeling better now, and am no longer barfing, which is excellent. And the baby is kicking up a storm, which is wondrous, though it does make my already-queasy and weird-feeling stomach feel even weirder. But I love it, and I'm glad one of us has energy.

Here's to the much-needed rain and to Valentine's Day and Scrabble and reality TV and my cats and to getting better and reading a lot and this couch, which is really unbelievably comfortable.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Quickening

At Abbot's Lagoon, up in the magical land of Pt. Reyes. This new sweater makes me look like a fat panda. But it's very soft and cozy.
In Inverness, at the home of our friend Louisa's stepfather. An incredible, incredible house.

"According to the Oxford English Dictionary, to "quicken" means "to reach the stage of pregnancy at which the child shows signs of life."

-From good ol' Wikipedia

The language of pregnancy keeps getting better and better. I have now experienced what is referred to as "quickening"; in other words, the baby's moving and I can feel it! The word 'quick' used to mean 'alive', and the term goes way back to fairly ancient times: the moment that the woman felt her baby move was the moment the baby was considered alive. Human life began at the first sign of movement, at least in the legal (and linguistic) sense; in many societies abortion became illegal once quickening occured. I am definitely not putting forth any sort of argument about human life and the fetus, but I can definitely say that it's damn cool to feel this tiny little thing poking around inside me.

It's often described as feeling like "popcorn popping" or "the fluttering of a butterfly". As an avid fan of popcorn, I'll go with the first one, as it's pretty accurate. It's like a little pop near the surface of my belly, like a tiny thing knocking on the inside of my stomach. It can be hard to discern from gas (of which I have plenty, thanks), but I'm getting better at distinguishing the sensations. I feel it most when I'm lying down, and though they're not very regular or strong yet, last night Jason was definitely able to feel it during a particularly long kicking session.

So, yay! She moves. She's quick. We quicken. It all sounds so fabulously witchy and medieval...

In other news I'm reading those stupid Twilight books. The first one was addicting and entertaining; the second one sucks and feels like it was written in a week (as it probably was). It's fun zipping through them, though, in a teenager kind of way.

And for the record, if anyone's counting or keeping track, I am 21 weeks along. I think. Something like that.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It's (Almost Certainly) A Girl

Yup, the psychic stoner Hawaiian mystics that Jason and I met when we stayed in a treehouse on the Big Island were right all along, as were the bartender at the LAX Hilton, and the many others who said "Hmmm...I think it's a girl." I was right, too, it seems, as I have sensed, in some strange and inexplicable way, that this tiny creature (current length from head to toe: banana) is indeed a wee lady. Now, let it be known that this is not for sure, as it's often hard to tell with girls; when it's a boy, it's generally pretty obvious, but girls are (ahem) more nuanced and challenging to detect. Basically the ultrasound technician looks for the absence of penis and scrotum, and then for signs of labia. In our ultrasound we saw no penis or scrotum, and two lines that are most likely labia. So it is certainly possible that we could get a sweet surprise when this baby comes out and we have a little penis and scrotum, but we're all pretty sure that we'll be getting vagina. To put it all delicately. Our ultrasound also revealed a total and complete baby with arms and legs and hands and feet and heart and liver and kidney and stomach and bones and she moves all over and is very active and awesome!

It's so interesting how divided people are on the do-you-want-to-find-out-the-sex-or-not question. For us it was a no-brainer; hell yeah we wanna know! Why not? Some have asked whether we "want to be surprised", and my response has been a) This is already so freaking surprising and mysterious and crazy. I am certainly not lacking for 'surprises' these days. And b) It's still a surprise. It's just you are surprised earlier than you would be otherwise. And now we can call her by her name and give her a pronoun instead of 'it' and we can buy clothes and when I write her letters with girl-specific advice and information...In general, it feels more real now that I can name her and imagine her and say her. And as I said the other night, "gender's a total myth until you're done with grad school and you get pregnant. Then it's super real." And I'm super into it.

And yes, we do have a name for her. We've had the name for years, in fact. You can ask me, and I might tell you.

And here we are getting ultrasounded!

Dancing With Myself (and Baby and Jason)

When I found out I was pregnant, one of my first thoughts (I had like 10 million 'first thoughts', mind you) concerned exercise: what can I keep doing? What's safe? What's gonna ruin the baby? Cursory internet perusal reveals that opinions on exercise during pregnancy are---like most opinions on what you should and should not do while knocked up---are pretty damn all over the map. I have been kickboxing regularly for about a year and a half, and when I got preg I was in the best shape I've been in for years. I wanted to keep exercising, but the intense punching, kicking, cardio, and ab work that we do at my kickboxing studio seemed a little scary, especially during the first trimester (I do not do sparring or any kind of combat---I was about to advance to that, but then I got this whole new condition). I took about two months off, and consulted with my doctor, who offered what seems to be the general advice on the topic: if you were doing before, keep doing it, but listen to your body and don't do anything that hurts. Ok then! I resumed kickboxing and have modified my workouts to a slower pace, with no intense ab work or extended jumping (the official jury's out on both ab work and jumping, but I'm going with intuition on this one, as it just feels weird to jump a lot and do major ab stuff). And I feel freaking awesome; strong, energized, healthy, and in great shape, despite my expanding ass and belly. (And I now know why a good, supportive sports bra is necessary; that was kind of lost on me before).

So I'm kickboxing and loving that, and also walking a lot, and once it gets more Spring-y, I'll start swimming (not like it's not totally Spring-y here already, but's an outdoor pool and we're still in Feb.) and will probably do more yoga as I get bigger. Exercising during pregnancy is definitely not for everyone; I can't imagine keeping it up if I was barfy and sick, or exhausted (another reason I avoided it for the first trimester. SO TIRED!), and I imagine that some women are just not into it. But I definitely am.

And so I've added a new element to my workout routine: the Morning Dance Party Freakout, which basically consists of me dancing around my living room to really loud music and occasionally incorporating some stretching and yoga and free weights and geeky vaguely Jazzercise-y movements. A lot of hip shaking and arm flailing. It's super free-ing and dorky and I would be slightly embarrassed if someone encountered me (and someone will, as I do it with my front door open, but when they do I'll just be like "What? I'm pregnant!") but it's very fun and a good way to wake my body up and, I like to imagine, entertain the baby. The key is to be as un-self-conscious as possible, and to have no regard for how totally absurd you look. Today I made Jason do it with me, and we maniacally flailed around to Rihanna, Hall and Oates, MIA, Punjabi MC, The Gossip, Bowie, and Siouxsie. We were out of breath and cracking up. We video-chatted our friend Mark and danced for him and made videos on our Flip. There's one of me dancing that will most likely never see the light of day, but this one gives a good sense of the scene (we decided we should have a workout video series on Youtube. The Pregnant Chick Dance Party Morning Freakout Show!)

Home Visit and Heartbeat

Last month Jason and I made the decision to plan for a home birth, and we found our amazing midwife pretty quickly. Amrit Khalsa is well-known in the Bay Area midwifery scene (a bigger scene than you may think. Actually, you're probably not surprised that the Bay has a big midwife scene) and she worked with three acquaintances who gave birth last year; they all had very different birth experiences, and not all were smooth sailing by any means, and they all heartily recommended Amrit. Knowing that she was more than capable in these three dramatically different birthing scenarios is really great to know. But more importantly than the recs and all the accolades on the Berkeley Parents Network is the fact that Jason and I adored Amrit immediately upon meeting her. We sealed the deal during our first meeting, and were so excited for our first visit with her.

I have always been interested in midwifery, but until now haven't known exactly how the whole deal works. I'm learning a ton, and one of the most compelling aspects is that the midwife does all of the prenatal visits, and generally does them in your home (some midwives have offices, but most do home visits). Visits last around 2 hours, and are incredibly holistic and comprehensive; basics like blood pressure, baby heartbeat, and uterus size are checked, and the rest of the appointment is about the midwife getting to know you and your partner. Amazing. It's the kind of medical care that I have always longed for---I'm so sick of the 10-minute doctor visit (which is, by the way, what my OB prenatal visits are. 10 minutes of heartbeat, feel the uterus, blood pressure, weight, ask how you're doing, bye). I will soon tell my OB that I am planning a home birth, and we will then cease our doctor-patient relationship, for now, because in California it's illegal for an OB to work with you if you're working concurrently with a midwife and planning a home birth. Why? Malpractice of course! One downside to this is that, if a home birth mama ends up needing or desiring a hospital transfer, she most likely ends up with a doctor she doesn't know, who may or may not be down with the accompanying midwife, and who may or may not be a crappy doctor. As I've made clear and will continue to make clear, I'm not anti-hospital, but I do believe there are less-than awesome doctors out there, just as I believe there are compassionate, sensitive, woman-friendly doctors---and to not know which you'll end up with is not ideal. One major awesome point about Amrit is that she does have a relationship with an OB who is on call for all her births; thus, if I end up transferring to the hospital near my house, I would know the attending doctor.

Anyway. The first visit was wonderful---I made us tea and breakfast, the pets hung around and watched, and I even got to pee on a stick to test my pH levels. In my own bathroom! It's incredible how different a medical experience is in your own home vs. a doctor's office. I like my doctor's office very much, but the entire power doctor-patient power dynamic shifts in an amazing way when you're in your own home, on the couch, drinking tea and talking. Not sitting on that stiff crinkly paper, not under florescent lights, not feeling awkward or weird or worried about keeping your busy doctor too long with all your annoying, irrational questions...

I had emailed Amrit about my not-feeling-the-baby concerns, and she left me a great message in response, saying exactly what I figured she'd say (which is exactly what I wanted to hear). When she arrived she was like "Let's listen to this baby right away so you know it's ok!"

And so here we are, on the couch, listening to our baby's loud kick-ass heartbeat. The last time we heard it was around 12 weeks, and it was way more whoooosh whoooosh whooooosh. Now's it's like ka-thunk ka-thunk ka-thunk HEARTBEAT! You also get a nice taste of Amrit's vibe, which is the perfect balance of warm earth mama and super knowledgeable baby expert...