Sunday, August 30, 2009

25 Weeks and the ER

Here I am at 25 weeks.  That bely is starting to feel quite big, but I suppose that's how it's supposed to go.  We had another spotting incident this weekend and ended up in the ER.  We were out of town for a wedding, so we had to go to a hospital we've never been to before.  Fortunately, they took great care of me.  Monitored baby, who was doing just fine.  I wasn't having any contractions, which was good too.  They did a speculum exam and determined that the bleeding was coming from a cyst below my cervix, which is great news because it's probably something that was there pre-pregnancy, it's just getting aggravated by the extra blood flow that comes with being pregnant.

I'm supposed to see my own MW this week to see whether we need to do anything about it.  In the meantime, I'm relieved to know that this and the other minor spotting incidents were all related to something pretty harmless.  I was worried it was placenta previa or something else more threatening.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Gripes and Stripes

Okay, I have a small gripe about my mother that I can only talk/post about here. You all remember my spotting incident at the end of July? Well, I had two or three more since then, but they've all been so inconsequential -- not red blood, just slightly brown tinged CM. I called the midwife's office and they said not to worry about it unless it's red, flowing heavily, or accompanied by any cramping. I'm very close with my mom, so I told her about the spotting and the MW's feeling that it's nothing to worry about. First, she suggested that I needed to "see a real doctor." Okay, yeah, I get it, she doesn't feel like a MW could possibly handle this situation. I just ignored her comment.

Now, she's paranoid that "something's wrong." Every time I talk to her, she says, "How's my grandson? Have you felt him move today?" I know she's coming from a place of complete love and concern, but her constant questioning has made me a bit paranoid. I'll admit, the spotting freaks me out, but I've done a good job of convincing myself to trust my MW and have confidence in my body. Every time I talk to my mom, though, it makes me feel freaked out all over again. I have another MW visit scheduled a week from today and then I switch to visits every 2-weeks. I think that'll help ease my mind.

And now for the stripes. We've started taping off the nursery walls since we are painting two tones of vertical green stripes. The taping off is taking forever because we are being very precise and using a laser level to make sure each stripe is level. We did one test stripe this week to make sure we like the paint color. Now we have 19 more to paint.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ups & Downs

After a couple weeks of hopeful waiting, our crib arrived today.  My mom got us the Davinci Emily from Target.  We were torn between natural and oak and chose to go with oak, but it is way too dark.  I was so excited to spend the evening assembling it, but instead we have to return the crib and order it in a different finish.  Ugh.

On the positive side, we used our energy to start painting dark green vertical stripes on the nursery walls.  I can't wait to see what it'll look like.  Here's a pic of my hubby starting on the stripes.

I'm also growing by the minute.  Here's the newest belly pic.  I'm not sure how much of that bump is baby and how much is belly fat, but here it is...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You Get What You Pay For

Since I'll be taking 12 weeks of maternity leave, we'll need to find child care for our little one beginning when he's 12 weeks old. Despite the fact that our first visit was with an excellent center and that we are first on their waiting list, the fact that they only accept new children every September means that we'll at least need someone from March to September.

We called and/or interviewed 17 other options -- that's right 17. There was a solid week in there when we had an interview every single night. This experience made me feel so fortunate that Brett and I have the money to pay for top-notch child care. One of the best in-home providers we visited charged $240/week and didn't work Fridays. Brett did some math and figured that she'd be making about 100k per year if she actually worked Fridays. What does $240 buy you? A child care provider with 23 years of experience who is licensed and accredited by the National Association of Family Child Care. Her home was gleaming and kid-friendly as far as the eyes could see. She had pictures of her kids all over the place and holds an annual picnic for all her current and former clients to come back and see "Aunt Rose," which is what she likes the kids to call her. Oh and she makes you a hardbound book every year with pictures of your child's growth and development. (To make the deal even sweeter, she lives exactly two blocks from our house.) The only downside is that she has a long waiting list and she selects off the waiting list based on "which parents she feels she'll work well with." So, yeah, we clearly were the ones being interviewed, not her.

Contrast this with Rita who we visited the next day. At a mere $140/week, she was cheap, probably too cheap. What does $140/week get you? An in-home provider with a puppy, a parrot, and dog dishes on the same floor where children are cared for. She's registered, meaning that the state has no authority to pop in and check things out. She has two very small rooms she keeps the kids in, uses double negatives, and insists that the best way to get kids to read is to force them to watch the same movie repeatedly until they get sick of it. She kept the TV on throughout our interview and warned me not to sit on her beach towel covered sofa because "there's a huge hole in it." I was appalled. I am not even sure I would leave my dog with her for a full day, let alone my child. It made me feel so lucky to be able to afford quality care, but also pained me to imagine the millions of working mothers out there who are working such low-paying jobs that all they can afford is poor quality child care.

To sum it up, here's what I learned...
  • If you are considering an in-home provider, opt for licensed child care. This means that they have signed up to allow the state to drop in unannounced at least once a year and check the safety of their home.
  • Better yet, some of them participate in the state's food program, which means that they can provide free/reduced price meals to low-income children. Since ours won't qualify, we didn't see this as a big selling point, but we learned that participating providers are subjected to three more unannounced visits by the state each year. The more your provider is willing to invite state authorities into their home/center, the better they are.
  • You get what you pay for. I was shocked at the extent to which quality correlates with price. Sure, I'd love to spend $400 less per month on Rita, rather than Rose, but not at the expense of my child's safety and well-being. $400 per month is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that my child is in good hands. If that's the price it takes to help me continue working, it's well worth it.
  • Start early, and I mean early. If you foresee needing child care after your baby's birth, start calling at a point that's almost comically early. I called a year ago for one of the centers that is known for having a long waiting list. I started making the rest of my calls when I was about 16 weeks along.
  • Invest the time to find the best care. I called or interviewed a whopping 17 providers. Ultimately, there are only three or four that we are considering. Most of these, we are on waiting lists and it's still a bit of a crapshoot to see whether we'll get off. At first, 17 seemed like overkill, but given that we were only comfortable with a few of them, I'm glad we looked into so many options.
  • Trust your gut. If you walk into a center or home and feel like something's "off," trust your instinct and don't put your child there. There's likely a good reason for your reaction and you'd never feel comfortable leaving him/her there anyway.
I hope this may help some of you when the time comes to find providers of your own. I know it was something we didn't know anything about just two months ago, but we've really learned a lot.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Why Do I Do These Things?

Aside from some pretty terrible lower back pain in the first trimester, I haven't had too many aches and pains this pregnancy, until the last few days. If I'm not lying down, my upper back is aching and twisting itself into knots.

I think I could blame pregnancy, but it's more likely that I just overdid it. Brett was gone from Monday afternoon to last night. Since I've spent the bulk of my pregnancy being pretty lazy, Brett's been doing the majority of the house stuff and has been cooking all his own meals. He's a meat lover and the mere sight of raw meats has made me gag. I decided to spend the week being a wife extraordinaire, which meant that I...
  • Cleaned every window in the house
  • Polished all furniture, bookcases, etc.
  • Laundered everything I could get my hands on, including a very filthy bathroom mat
  • Took everything out of the fridge and cleaned the interior
  • Cleaned the oven
  • Scrubbed the inside of the microwave
  • Cleaned every bathroom in the house
  • Washed the kitchen countertops and sink
  • Vacuumed the floors
  • Mopped the hardwoods and tile
  • Mowed the yard
  • Watered the plants
  • Picked out curtain fabric for the nursery
  • Baked a peach cobbler
  • Marinated peppers and onions
The result is that my house is gleaming and I have fridge full of food to share, which is perfect because my mom's coming to visit. It also means that Brett was able to come home and not have a to-do list in front of him. I'm sure my back will feel better in a day or two.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm Pregnant

Yes, you knew that and I knew that, but over the last couple of weeks, the entire world has gained the ability to know as well. I have officially popped. This belly is big, round, and beautiful and apparently obvious enough to make complete strangers comfortable asking me my due date. I'm thrilled to be officially showing, even if it means that every conversation, whether personal or professional, now revolves around the little boy in my belly.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What A Week!

We are back from our babymoon and had an absolutely amazing time.  We did about one hike per day, including a mile-long hike into a completely dark cave.  We spent lots of time viewing the red rocks of Sedona, shopping, eating, and swimming.  I really enjoyed spending some quality time with Brett.  

The worst part of the trip was Saturday night when I had some vaginal bleeding of the bright red variety, which is a major problem in pregnancy.  I called the midwife's office and they suggested going to the nearest ER, which we did.  We were both so anxious, but since I've had a healthy pregnancy so far and it wasn't a stream of blood, I wasn't too nervous.  Since I was exactly 20 weeks at that time, I was sent to labor and delivery.  They monitored baby's heartrate and me for contractions.  Since the baby's heart was fine and there were no contractions, we were cleared to leave after a couple of hours.  We had taken a two-hour long hike that morning that extended past noon when it gets super hot in Arizona.  The nurse suspected that may have been the problem.  We took it a little easier the rest of the trip.

In the midst of this scare, I told Brett that if they did an ultrasound, I wanted to find out what the baby was.  There was no rational reason for it, except for that I simply wanted to know.  They didn't do an ultrasound, but I still realized that I really wanted to know.  Despite months of planning not to find out, we did a 3D ultrasound in Phoenix and found out that we are having a
He was so adorable in the ultrasound and looked a bit like his mama.  He was all snuggled up against the placenta, so it was hard to get a good shot of him.  The funny thing about finding out the gender is that you can't help but be a little disappointed either way.  For the past 4 months, we've been tossing around hypotheticals, i.e. "I hope he has your broad shoulders" or "I bet she'll have red hair like you."  By the time 20 weeks rolls around, you already have images in your head of what your boy or girl would look like, be like, what you'd teach it, etc.  Then when you find out what you are actually having, you have to put half of your imaginings and hopes on hold.  I'm still glad to know because it makes it feel a little more real and makes me feel even more connected to my little boy.