Monthly Archives: March 2009

This isn’t what I meant when I agreed to a “baby shower”

So, the final baby shower was Saturday afternoon.  This one was family/ close friends /out-of-town people.  However, before we got to the fun of the baby shower, we had some water-related drama at our house. 

PLUMBING FAIL (scroll down if you only want baby shower details)

We live in a co-op, which means we are not responsible for our own plumbing.  The buildings were all built in the 1930’s and our unit has much of the original plumbing remaining.  Whenever an owner, such as ourselves, wants to do internal improvements that involve the plumbing, the co-op maintenance people have to be involved.  We dutifully contacted them to let them know we were having our bathtub surround replaced.  They sent a plumber over the day before that work was scheduled to be done and replaced a bunch of pipes/faucets/plumbing stuff in the wall.  They also left a gaping 2 foot hole in the cinderblock /plaster wall, meaning we couldn’t use the shower/tub. That was Thursday.  On Friday, the wall guy (not from the co-op) came out and patched the hole, then installed the new tub surround.  It was stunningly beautiful and clean.

When we showered for the first time late Saturday morning (24 hrs for the caulk to dry) we were horrified to turn off the water and discover 2 inches of water covering the bathroom floor and seeping through the floor to drip into our kitchen below.  This was T-1 hour to the arrival of my sister from out of town and T-2 hours until we had to leave for the baby shower.  After using every towel in the house to mop up the water, we called the emergency maintenance number.  They arrived within 15 minutes.  They determined that it was only the shower portion of the plumbing that was leaking.  We’d be ok to use the tub until the problem was fixed on Monday.  And they wanted to cut a hole in the kitchen ceiling  and bring in a dehumidifier to stave off any mold issues within the wall.  I also called the on-call person from the bath wall company.  There was a great pow-wow between the 2 groups and the plan was made to leave things alone for the moment, do the kitchen ceiling thing on Sunday, and repair the plumbing issue on Monday.  That meant no shower for another 2 days.  Joy.

My sister arrived and was informed of the issue and agreed to skip a shower for her stay with us.  We went to the baby shower and a good time was had by all.  (Details to follow).  On Sunday, the co-op guys never showed up to cut the ceiling hole.  This morning after sponge baths in the tub and washing of hair in the kitchen sink, the co-op plumber shows up and examines the problem.  And can’t fix it without taking down the pretty new walls.  So the NEW plan is for the wall guy and the co-op plumber to come by together tomorrow to fix it.  Which means another day with no shower.  And of course, they are all pointing fingers about whose fault it is.  The only good thing is that they are all in agreement that it isn’t OUR fault.  I did pitch a pregnant lady fit about not having a shower and the co-op assured me I’ll have some way to shower when we get home today, but at this point I’ll believe it when I see it.  Oh, and they won’t be cutting a hole in the kitchen ceiling.  They will instead remove medicine cabinet installed in the wall cavity in the bathroom (same wall as the shower plumbing) and dehumidify things from there.  Needless to say, this has all been horribly annoying and stressful.

BABY SHOWER

Ok, now the fun stuff.  The baby shower!!  Our friends and relatives were all wonderful and beyond generous.  We now have more adorable baby clothes than we know what to do with.  Among our favorite gifts were a beautiful handmade quilt from Strawberry’s mom and a whole stash of hand knit sweaters and hats from my grandmother.  My mother made tasty Nutella  frosted cupcakes with strawberries on top and hosted an amusing version of “The Price is Right” filled with baby items that we got to take home.  And yes, I was subjected to the ribbon around the belly game again!  My aunt came the closest, with perhaps only 1/2 an inch too short a ribbon.  Many people had travelled from out of town just for the afternoon so the party wrapped up fairly early as people headed back home.  It was great to see everyone, some of whom we only see once or twice a year.  And it’s crazy to think that the next time we see almost all of them, we will have a baby with us!

quilt handmade by Strawberrys mom

quilt handmade by Strawberry's mom

 

How big IS that belly?

How big IS that belly?

Get into position

We had a really good Bradley class last night. It was the kind of “hands-on” class we’d been waiting for. After watching a video on postpartum health and care and then reviewing an article in our workbooks about techniques to better handle labor, the instructor went around the room and placed 6 cards out, each displaying a different laboring position. She then had each of the 3 couples try out every position as she narrated the beginning, peak, and end of a contraction.

The positions included: squatting, sitting on a birth ball, side-lying, stand-swaying, sitting on a chair or toilet, and leaning on hands & knees against a birth ball or sofa. The cool thing was that each of us couples represented a different size dynamic, with myself being smaller than my partner, the Korean couple being of similar stature, and the last couple having a male partner much bigger than the female. The instructor went around the room giving each couple attention and pointers, and offering alternatives if needed, based on their size ratio. We found the squatting position, with me sitting on a chair and Nutella squatting between my legs, using my knees as support, to be a great pose. We also liked stand-swaying and Nutella straddling a chair as I leaned behind her with my elbows massaging her shoulders. Those positions seem to hold the most longevity and comfort for the both of us.

We were originally supposed to have 2 more classes, but the instructor thinks we’ll be able to fit the rest of the material into 1. That seemed fine by everyone…it’ll have been a full 9 weeks worth. Then we are to keep in touch via e-mail and send out birth announcements. Everyone’s looking to us first, since we have the closest due date. I hope everything goes as planned!

Finally, we were able to use last night as another teaching opportunity, when we shared how we had gotten pregnant with the others. That information followed when the instructor asked how many kids we were having (one). They were fascinated. The more people we can educate, the better. I’m really pleased with how it seems the lesbian couple in the class either started off as not a big deal to some, or ended up as not a big deal to the rest. One step at a time.

Drop your pants, make the Cupcake dance

I’ve got Braxton-Hicks for real and Cupcake does NOT like them. As Strawberry & I sat watching tv last night, we stared as my whole belly got hard and Cupcake would dramatically move to one side or the other in response. It’s nice to know my body is doing what it’s supposed to, right on schedule. It’s not painful, but not too pleasant and highly distracting. I appreciate that it means we’re getting closer to the end.

Midwife appointment today was lovely. We had the young, perky midwife again and she graciously agreed to fill out the health profiles for the second-parent adoption for both Strawberry and myself. I was sure she’d fill mine out, but we weren’t so sure about Strawberry’s. I think we were lucky to have seen her today, because she seems very gay-friendly and had no problem helping us out in any way she could.

We asked her about taking evening primose supplements and she seemed pleased that we has asked because it was on her list of things to bring up today, at the 36 week appt. Basically, I am to take 1,000mg either orally or up the hoo-ha from now until birth. It helps soften the cervix and prepare the body for labor. We picked up a bottle of pills on the way home and I was a bit daunted by how large they are, but they’re very slippery and easy to swallow so no worries.  I’ll probably stick with taking them orally until at least my due date.

Last thing on the agenda for today’s appointment was my Group B Strep test which involved a front-and-back swab culture. Fun times! This was my first “pants down” appt since my 10 week appt with the OB. Luckily, the midwives have expressed to us that they are not fond of doing cervical checks unless requested or during labor.

Up next: birth class, prenatal yoga, and our final shower and pregnancy photo shoot with a professional photographer friend this weekend.

Take these flowers, please!

35 Weeks

Our due date is exactly one month from today. We’re both truly feeling excited about meeting and holding our son soon. We have a few more errands to take care of before he gets here, a couple more Bradley classes to attend, a baby shower next weekend and our weekly midwife appointments…but I have a feeling that the time is going to fly by rather quickly. Nutella is ready to have her body back, too. She may have felt her first Braxton Hicks contractions this morning- slight cramping while laying in bed that disappeared when she got up. I’m excited to think that her uterus is preparing.

We went to a fancy gala in the city last night for PFLAG. Back in the first trimester, Nutella snagged a couple fancy maternity dresses from Freecycle. I asked why she needed those and she told me “You never know.” Lo and behold, we got serendipitous tickets to last night’s event just a couple days ago, and are also invited to a wedding 11 days before our due date. Thankfully, one of the two dresses was perfect for the gala and should be fine for the wedding, too. We were both thrilled to meet Alan Cumming at last night’s event and got a picture with him after he kissed our cheeks. I should’ve had him send some musical theatre vibes to our unborn child, although with Nutella’s theatrical background, I think that’s probably been taken care of already.

As Nutella’s been getting bigger and bigger, she’s been wanting more attention from strangers regarding the pregnancy. People have been on their best behavior around her though- no random people have touched her belly or anything. However, last night, while I was waiting outside for valet to get our car and Nutella was still in the hotel, the woman next to me leaned over and asked “When’s she due?” I was a bit surprised, not having seen this woman the entire night, but had a conversation with her in which she got the details of our pregnancy and then told me all about her two early deliveries, etc. Then, when the woman’s car was pulled up, she ran inside the hotel to hand Nutella the tulip centerpiece she had taken after the event ended, explaining that she wanted Nutella to have it since she was expecting. People are funny.

Mandatory department meeting

Those are never words that someone wants to hear in this economy.  But that’s what the meeting invite said this morning.  Scheduled during lunch, to boot!  I made sure to heat my lunch early and bring it to my desk so I wouldn’t be hungry.  And then, my phone rang.  It was my coworker saying “I hear you’re eating lunch at your desk.  You should stop, because you should come to the meeting hungry.”  And THAT’S when I started to get suspicious.  Sure enough, I make my way up to the conference room at 12 and my coworkers have set up lunch and a baby shower!

I admit, I was totally surprised until that phone call.  I had been expecting them to take me out to lunch at the most.  But I was delighted and touched by their generosity and sneakiness.  Cupcake has quite a new stash of cute little clothes, many of them along the frog theme.  A coworker out in UT sent in a hand crocheted blanket,  and my boss (also in UT) sent 2 adorable little outfits.  We played a silly word scramble game and I had to wear a shiny silver sash that read “Mommy to be”.

So now I’m sitting here at my desk, basking in the afterglow of  indian food and a small cup of coke and feeling very appreciated and cared for.

Gee, diapers!

We’re extra happy today because our dresser was delivered (it took about 6-7 weeks). Now Cupcake will have a nice changing area and we can organize the nur.sery. I did a big “baby” laundry yesterday and put all the onesies and things in the new dresser today. The “nur.sery formerly known as a mess” is now turning into a regular nur.sery with less piles o’ stuff laying around. Until our next shower anyway. We are seriously short on storage space and the little guy isn’t even here yet.

As for diapers, we have a good start on things. We have some packages of 7th Generation disposables for the first couple weeks…until the umbilical cord falls off. Then we’re switching to gDiapers. We have several “gpants” and disposable liners in our possession and hope to increase our supply by the time of Cupcake’s birth.

Leaving for our 1-day-short-of-35-weeks midwife appointment in just a bit. We hope to share some nur.sery pictures soon, now that we have all of the necessary furniture.

SSSHHHHHHHH!!!

Yesterday we attended a 3-hour infant care class at the hospital attached to the birth center we’re delivering at. We think the instructor had maybe chugged a few Red Bulls before teaching. There wasn’t a lot that we actually learned, having read a lot earlier, but we did get some hands-on experience swaddling, changing a diaper, and bathing a newborn-sized baby doll (and ours was anatomically a boy, lucky for us).

We watched part of Dr. Karp’s Happiest Baby video, which we both really enjoyed and found helpful. We can definitely see ourselves applying his “5 S’s” method in the future (swaddling, side-holding, shushing, swinging and sucking) The funniest thing about the video was when he had a tiny swaddled baby laying on its side and if it hadn’t calmed down by then, he would loudly go SSSHHHH! in its ear. Magically, the babies immediately calmed down, but not without getting a funny/startled expression on their faces. This sound is made to emulate the uterine environment and really seems to help. Of course, for the rest of the class, whenever the instructor asked us what we would do when the baby cries during diapering, dressing, bathing, etc…the whole class unanimously went SSSHHHHHH!!!! (which was wrong of course, you’re just supposed to talk sweetly to the baby, but we all got a kick out of it)

We were the only non-straight couple there (no surprise) and while the course material was very inclusive, the instruction itself was very “mom and dad” focused. We made sure to mention this in the course evaluation.

After a quick lunch in the hospital cafeteria, we joined a tour of the labor & delivery floors. For a hospital, they’re very nice with all private rooms full of natural light, modern decor, cable tv, etc. However, we also learned about the hospital-specific policies which don’t mesh well with what we want and their C-section rate (about 40 percent). While we feel we would certainly be in good hands if we had to deliver there, we are even more confident in our choice of the birth center and hope that we’ll never have to see labor & delivery again.

During our time in the hospital, we did see two tiny newborns and immediately turned into puddles. We were also at least happy to learn that the hospital has no nursery and practices 100% rooming-in for healthy babies.

The Never-Ending Baby Checklist

This has been a busy week in the baby planning department. We accomplished three important things:

Thing #1: Interviewing a pediatrician (also known as, can you help us freak out less when anything goes wrong with the baby?) We went to a “Meet the Doctor” session at a practice about 5 minutes from our house- very convenient. We were the only ones at this session so we got 1 on 1 time with the doctor. We both felt very comfortable with her, and she seemed easy to talk to and knowledgable. She is flexible on immunizations, but believes children should have most of them, which is our viewpoint as well. The office hours aren’t great (typically 9-5), but either she or the other doctor are always on call and have a messaging system that pings them every 30 minutes should you not hear back immediately. We asked a bunch of questions on our Baby Center printout and she took the time to answer them all.

Thing #2: Buying Newborn “Necessities” (also known as, want to see a lot of money go POOF?) We compiled a list of things you should have by the time you bring the baby home and then bought them. These things include but are not limited to: diapers, baby lotion, baby wash/shampoo, gripe water, mylicon drops, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, lanolin, breast pump supplies, a bottle brush, tylenol drops and so on. Um, nesting much?

Thing #3: Birth Class #6- Labor & Delivery (also known as, these images are now burned into your mind forever) Last night in class, we watched a video of babies coming out of vag.inas. I say it like that because most of the time, the camera cut off the rest of the woman and was 100% focused on…well, the baby coming out of her vag.ina. The video did this because all of the women gave birth in a squatting position with absolutely no outside help whatsoever. They simply pushed when they felt they needed to, then out popped the head and a few seconds later, the baby turned by itself and out popped the shoulders and the rest of the body. These women made it look easy…we are skeptical. But it was really neat to see it happen like that. And then we all squirmed when each woman birthed the placenta.

There’s still a lot to do, but I feel like we’re really getting somewhere now!

B is for booty (and not the kind you put on feet!)

Our “friend and neighbor” baby shower was held yesterday and what a beautiful day it was! The hostesses carefully read the weekend weather report and in anticipation of the gorgeous 70 degree temps they cleaned off their back deck and patio furniture and held the party outside. It could not have been more lovely! All around the house and deck were small items bearing labels that stated “B is for (item name)”. There were blocks, books, bottles, babies, balls, baked goods, balloons, you get the idea. There was even a label for me to wear.

B is for belly

B is for belly

Silly games were played, delicious food was enjoyed (mmm, dark chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, thanks neighbors!) and generous gifts were received. Cupcake got a bunch of items off of the registry and several beautiful handmade gifts including 2 adorable frog hats (one crochet, one knit), a frog themed play quilt, and some frog and cupcake themed flannel burp cloths. All in all, a lovely way to spend a warm early Spring afternoon. Here’s a quick look at our “booty”.

Booty

Booty

Next up: interviewing a possible pediatrician practice on Wednesday afternoon.

33w 3d

We are currently the proud parents of….a beach ball.

The weather is gorgeous outside, so we ventured out into the city today. The belly is big. The belly makes Nutella, and hence me who is attached to Nutella’s hand, very slow. The belly makes Nutella’s legs and feet swollen. The belly makes Nutella hot. In short, we had lunch outside and then walked around, but the pace and energy were very different from what they used to be. When we got back to the car, Nutella was extremely relieved and fell fast asleep on the drive home.

We both anticipate Cupcake being on the other side of the belly soon. Until we get to that point, things will continue to be heavy, slow and hot, and patience is the name of the game.