Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bump Watch: 40 Weeks

Forty weeks!! And we're still here, still just waiting... But Eggi could really be here any day now -- we're so excited to be meeting him soon!

And wow, do I look ready to give birth... Here's me from last night, on our due date:

All that's left for us now is just waiting until Eggi decides to make his appearance... and counting all the beginning signs of labor!

This morning, we had a bit of excitement -- I had a little bleeding and cramping, so I called my doctor just to let her know, in an overabundance of caution. She wanted me to come in to be checked, which was a little surprising to me -- this is the first time this pregnancy that one of my overcautious phone calls resulted in an unscheduled trip to the OB! So we decided to make this a test run of sorts -- we finished packing our hospital bags, threw them in the trunk, and headed over to the doctor's. Turns out I'm now 2-3 cm dilated, and in my doctor's words, "teetering on the brink of labor." Exciting!

And I think I might be experiencing the beginnings of contractions now as well -- on top of the new pains and weird feelings I've had for the past several days, I'm also getting small waves of cramps that hurt enough to take my breath away. They're still very short and infrequent, so nothing official yet, but definitely some progress!

So we think we're about as ready as we'll ever be. Bags are packed, baby gear is all washed and set up, and we've loaded a contraction timing application on David's iPod Touch (yeah, there's an app for that)...

Even BabyCenter.com is a bit more subdued this week -- I guess there just isn't as much by way of fetal development in these last stages. So they threw in some newborn tidbits to spice things up:
It's hard to say for sure how big your baby will be, but the average newborn weighs about 7 1/2 pounds (a small pumpkin) and is about 20 inches long. The biggest part of your baby's body is his head, but his still-pliable skull will give it the flexibility necessary to squeeze through the birth canal. Many parents are surprised by how long and sharp their newborn's nails are from the get-go. Clipping them right away (ask a nurse for help) can prevent your baby from scratching his face.
We'll be sure to keep you all posted -- hopefully, we'll have good news to share sometime soon!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hello there, due date!

It's a bit after 7am on January 25 as I start to write this post -- we made it to our due date!! So I'm sorry, Anna and Rachel, but it looks like your guesses in our baby pool that Eggi would arrive early ended up not being correct... And I was so hoping you'd be right!

But in some ways, it's a good thing that I haven't gone into labor yet. We got to do a lot of things this past weekend that we would have been sad to miss...

On Saturday, we got to spend time with Jason and Damara! It's been ages since we hung out with the two of them... Jason, of course, was one of David's college roommates, and was best man at our wedding (and the one responsible for the public airing of our "Keddiebear" nickname). And his girlfriend Damara was also a part of that close-knit group of college friends. They used to both be in the New Brunswick area, which is a short drive away, so we'd hang out with them to watch "Lost" and just spend time together. But now, Damara's doing med school rotations down in Philly, and Jason's up in NYC pursuing his dream of being a starving artist, so it's harder for us all to get together. So when they offered to come out here for an afternoon, we jumped at the chance to see them! It was such a fun afternoon/evening of just shooting the breeze with old friends, making dinner together, and finishing off the evening with an impromptu ice cream sundae bar. :) Thanks for coming out to visit us, guys!

Then yesterday morning, we attended the baptism of the daughter of some dear friends of ours. Jukka and Laura are in our Tuesday night small group, and they had their second baby on December 18 -- and she's such a cute little thing! According to Finnish tradition, the parents won't reveal the name of the baby until her baptism -- so we'd been waiting over a month to know what her name was! We would have gone to her baptism anyways, but finding out the name was a nice additional incentive for us. :) Aliina Liliana's baptism was a sweet time of dedicating this little one to the Lord, and standing by her family as they committed to placing His Word in her hands and her heart.

After the baptism and a quick lunch, David and I headed over to the PEF office to finish working on the booklet for the PEF/Manna winter retreat this week. This is a project that always takes longer than we think it will... I stayed behind in the office to figure out formatting issues and printer settings while David went off to the first Perspectives class for the rest of the afternoon. (Perspectives is a 15-week course on missions, which is being co-sponsored by PEF and spearheaded by our friends Erik and Andréa; from what I've heard, the first class was excellent!) Printing out and stapling 125 copies of the retreat booklet ended up taking almost 6 hours all told... At least I had L. M. Montgomery to keep me company! (That's right -- at least once a year, I turn back to my childhood "comfort food" books and reread the "Anne of Green Gables" series...)

And now, David's off getting together the pre-retreat breakfast -- it's something like 9 dozen bagels, 3 dozen donuts, 6 gallons of juice, 50 bananas, 3 boxes of clementines, 32 oz. cream cheese, and 1 pound of butter. Gotta love buying in bulk for these events... I'll be heading out in a few minutes to pick him up and see off the students and staff. It's the first winter retreat David isn't going on since 2002 -- we're definitely disappointed to be missing out on it. (And I'll feel a little guilty if Eggi is late and doesn't come until after everyone gets back...)

But we're looking forward to this week of being home together! I'm still working, so as to save up my maternity leave for after the baby's birth, but I'm working from home from here on out -- so I've met my goal of not having my water break in the office! And it'll be nice to put the finishing touches on our nesting and really hunker down to prepare as much as we can for little Eggi, and the many changes he'll be ushering into our lives...

Hopefully he'll be here soon! We'll keep you all posted!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Like a three-pound hen..."

At this Friday's PEF meeting, we had a special guest speaker -- Dr. Greg Waybright, former president of Trinity International University and current senior pastor at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena. (He was also a college friend of Jamie's, and knew Chris and Danielle when they were at Trinity, so he has tons of connections to PEF and has come out to speak here a number of times before.)

Since we're in the middle of a series on Proverbs, Dr. Waybright gave us a message on what he called the most fundamental, most important verse in the book of Proverbs: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." His basic point was that if we can truly understand what it means to fear the Lord, this verse will be our compass and guide in all of the many moments of life requiring wisdom (that is, those moments where there isn't necessarily a clear-cut right or wrong answer). It was such a simple, but strong message -- a wonderful exhortation for all of us to fear God alone.

And Dr. Waybright also used one of the most memorable side anecdotes I'd heard in a while...

By way of background, PEF meets in a large open room, with most of the seats grouped in three sections of rows, all facing the front. There's a small fourth section made up of two couches, perpendicular to the rows of seats -- so it forms a sort of L, wrapping around the front of the room. David and I are almost always in the first couch, so though we're off to the side, we're visible to everybody sitting in the other three sections.

Near the beginning of his message, Dr. Waybright mentioned a book entitled "The Wit and Wisdom of Spiro Agnew." One of the gems of wisdom from this book went something like this: "It's like a three-pound hen trying to lay a four-pound egg. No matter how it comes out, it hurts."

There was some appreciative laughter, and then a second burst of louder laughter -- Katie B. and Victoria H. (and I'm sure many others) had glanced over at me at this reference to labor and delivery, and apparently, I had a look of shock and pain on my face... I mean, can you imagine? That poor hen! The students all had fun joking around with me after the meeting about laying eggs... Ah, the joys of being pregnant on a college campus. :)

So I guess you can call me a three-pound hen -- still waiting around for Eggi to make his appearance. But I'm glad that he at least won't be a third again my weight!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bump Watch: 39 Weeks

Thirty-nine weeks! Who knows, maybe this will be the last bump watch for Eggi... Or we could have one or two more of these to go. (At least we know that my OB's policy is to induce labor at 10 days overdue -- so I'm sorry, John, but despite what you wished on us in our baby pool, there's no way this baby's staying inside until February 25!)

So here's me at 39 weeks, 1 day --

People are starting to worry that I'm going to "pop" right in front of them... My office is right next door to the corner office of one of the firm's biggest litigators, and every time she sees me, she's surprised I'm still around. She's jokingly instituted a new policy for if my water breaks in the office, most of the steps of which consist of her hiding in her office while other people take care of the crisis... She's a fierce one in the courtroom, but apparently, my pregnant belly can reduce her to a quivering mass of fear! :)

For most of the pregnancy, we've been assuming that I'll go late. Statistically speaking, most first babies are born after their due date. Plus, there were two other pregnant women in our Tuesday night small group, both due before me, and both went several days late. So we'd been setting that as our default expectation, and up until a week or so ago, I was totally cool with that.

But now? The discomforts of late pregnancy are really starting to get to me, unfortunately. It hurts to walk, and every time I get up from a sitting position, it takes several long, painful seconds for the tendons and muscles in my abdomen to equilibrate to the shifting weight of the baby. And Eggi has started doing what feels like practice assaults on his planned escape route -- it's wonderful that he's head down and ready to go, but the head-butting really hurts!

I actually think all of this is another measure of God's grace to pregnant women. I've been so thankful that pregnancy is nine months long, because it's really taken me that long to start to get used to the idea of becoming a mother. And now, I'm thankful for the ways all of these discomforts are making me even more eager to just have the baby and move on to the next stage. :)

Still no contractions or other signs of labor, though. And at my 39-week appointment, I was still at just 1-2 cm. But apparently, my mother didn't have any contractions with any of us until after her water broke -- so maybe that's the pattern that I'll be following? (And she was 2-3 days early with all three of us, too...)

At any rate, here's the weekly blurb from BabyCenter.com --
Your baby's waiting to greet the world! He continues to build a layer of fat to help control his body temperature after birth, but it's likely he already measures about 20 inches and weighs a bit over 7 pounds, a mini watermelon. (Boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls.) The outer layers of his skin are sloughing off as new skin forms underneath.
We've made it to the watermelon stage! And Eggi is certainly well-developed enough to make it on his own out here in the real world! How exciting, and terrifying, and wonderful all at once!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Baby Preparedness

It's getting to be crunch time over here, and I think we're pretty on top of things -- insofar as anyone can actually prepare for a baby, we're checking those items off of our to-do lists!

Number one on my list for a while has been setting up the nursery. We've got all the furniture assembled and in place, bedding and baby clothes are washed and ready to go, and we've got a bunch of cute toys and sleep aids all set up. And it's all so pretty! :)

Alphabet flashcards over the daybed

The bed and closet, with Eggi's bouncy seat / rocker

The crib with the comforter hung on the wall (and check out the cute
parrot marionette hanging on the lamp -- a gift from Rachel and Shay!)

Dresser, bookcase and crib, plus cute wall hangings and useful Diaper Genie

And some detail shots:

Sleep Sheep -- a cuddly white noise machine to help babies sleep
(a gift from Shauna and Jon!)

Cute little teddy bear bookend, with the beginnings of Eggi's library
(books here are gifts from Lucy, Erin, and Emily)

The beginnings of Eggi's toy collection
(gifts from Dayle, Erin, Shauna & Jon, and Jean & Donald)

Fun times! I have to say, nursery setup has been my favorite part of the nesting impulse. :)

We've also started packing our hospital bags. I've done my research, and come up with what I think is a comprehensive list of all that we could conceivably need during our hospital stay... Because that's what I do when faced with the unknowable and uncontrollable. I make lists. :)

And we've installed the infant car seat! And gotten it inspected! And put a cute little mobile on it! As this is the one legal requirement before we can take our baby home from the hospital, I'm glad we got this particular item checked off our list. (No pictures of this yet, but I'm sure we'll have tons of cute shots of our little boy actually in the car seat soon!)

We only have a few necessary items left to get, which we'll take care of this weekend (yay for registry completion coupons!) -- it's kind of silly, but I'm really looking forward to this shopping spree. We've been blessed so richly by family and friends gifting us the items we need, and we can't say often enough how thankful we are for all of them! But this will be the first time we get to go on a major shopping trip for our little boy. How fun!

And then, when all of the checklist have been completed and everything is put in its place... all we'll need is our little son!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bump Watch: 38 Weeks

With less than two weeks left before the due date, we're officially in the "any day now" window!! Statistically speaking, the vast majority of women give birth within two weeks of the due date, on either side; here are a couple graphical representations of the stats, for those who are interested:

We're basically taking this all to mean that Eggi really could decide to come at any moment -- or we could find ourselves still waiting three weeks from now... But we're doing what we can to get ready in case he makes his grand appearance early!

For now, though, here's the weekly bump watch photo:

I'm definitely getting bigger -- and with it, unfortunately, more uncomfortable... While Eggi's movements are still causes of excitement, they're really starting to be painful now, too. And I've been having all manner of new pains this week -- sharp gas-like pains every time I change position, crampy pains if I'm on my feet for too long, and other fun things like that. I'm pretty sure, though, that none of these are contractions yet, though to be honest, I'm not entirely sure what to be on the lookout for... But they say that you'll know once you start going into labor. So I'm guessing that since I'm not sure about these aches and pains, then they're not the real thing yet... But we'll definitely keep you all posted!

For all that I've been suffering a bit more this week, it's also been a week of joyful anticipation -- even though we have no idea when Eggi will be born, it's still really exciting to see the growth and know that things are continuing to develop on track.

So here's the weekly development blurb from BabyCenter.com --
Your baby has really plumped up. He weighs about 6.8 pounds and he's over 19 1/2 inches long (like a leek). He has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test when you hold his hand for the first time! His organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb. Wondering what color your baby's eyes will be? If he's born with brown eyes, they'll likely stay brown. If he's born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time he's 9 months old.
We so can't wait to meet this little guy!


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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Epic Monopoly Night

Remember playing Monopoly as a kid? For me, it was always just about the fun of random chance -- if you landed on a property, and had enough money, you'd buy it. Boardwalk and Park Place were unmitigated goods, because you could get more rent from them. And once all the properties were bought up, the game quickly got boring, so we'd soon stop playing.

Apparently, for my husband and for others of our friends, Monopoly was a much bigger game than that.

Several weeks ago, we had a bunch of our board games out on a side table for some reason, and our friend Mike noticed that we had Monopoly. (I think we got this as a gift, several years ago?) Mike got all excited and said that he really wanted to have a Monopoly game night one of these days. That day turned out to be last Saturday -- we invited Mike and his wife Angela, and a few other friends, for pizza and games. Sounds like a night of innocent fun, right?

What I didn't realize in my Monopoly naivete was that played properly, Monopoly is a cutthroat game of negotiating, wheeling and dealing, and doing whatever it takes to build up your own monopolies. At one point, two of the guys were locked in a 10-minute long wrangling over a possible property trade, with one accusing the other of emotional manipulation, and the other adamantly arguing that the deal on the table simply wasn't a just transaction. Near the end, it came down to David and Mike, and the tension was so high that each would stand up during his turn, body humming with nervous energy, and try to calculate out all the potential risks involved with a given move...

It's a wonder we all made it out of the game alive, and still friends!

I had a brief moment of being really on top of my game, and getting a stellar trade out of Mike -- before I had a bad run with the dice and went spectacularly bankrupt. It totally reaffirmed my need to be risk-averse in real life... :)

In all seriousness, though, it ended up being a really fun night. We have so many good friends here in town -- it's really awesome being able to send out an impromptu email with several hours' notice and still round up a great group of people. And it's also good to know that our friendships are strong enough to withstand such competitiveness and intense gamesmanship with nary a scratch. :)

Nicole, Mike, David, me, Matt and Angela
(photo taken by Hilary before she had to leave)

My brief moment of glory -- that's my monopoly, with tons of houses,
and other people having to pay me rent!

David standing up during his turn

Mike, deep in concentration

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bump Watch: 37 Weeks

Sorry about the delay in posting this week's bump watch! It's felt like such a busy week (things at work have actually been picking up for me a little -- I think everyone's trying to get in just one last project for me before I go out on leave)... Even though I only took the one week off, it's still jarring having to get back into the rhythm of working every day!

We did, however, remember to take this week's photo on Monday -- so here's me at exactly 37 weeks!

Thirty-seven weeks is actually kind of a big deal -- Eggi is full-term as of this week! So if I were to go into labor now, my doctors wouldn't go to any extraordinary effort to stop my contractions... And if Eggi were to be born today, he wouldn't be classified as "premature." We definitely still want him to stay inside until closer to my due date (it's generally good for the baby to have the full 40 weeks in utero to develop enough protective fat and continue to grow stronger before birth), but it's one of the biggest pregnancy milestones we've passed so far!

It doesn't really look like Eggi will be coming just yet, though. At my checkup this week, I was still 1-2cm dilated and 50% effaced -- the same numbers as last week. And while I've been having a fair number of new aches and pains this week, most of them are just caused by baby movement -- I'm not exactly sure what to be looking for, having no frame of reference for real labor, but I'm pretty sure I haven't felt anything contraction-like yet.

Oh, and here's this week's blurb from BabyCenter.com --
Congratulations! Your baby is full-term! This means that if your baby arrives now, his lungs should be fully mature and ready to adjust to life outside the womb, even though your due date is still three weeks away. He weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel (like a stalk of Swiss chard). Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long.
So thankful to have reached the full-term milestone -- and so excited to meet our little boy, hopefully sometime soon!


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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Easing our way into the new year

The first few days of 2010 were such a relaxing and refreshing time for us! Both David and I had the entire week off between Christmas and New Year's, so we took advantage of the downtime and really got to enjoy just spending time together. No demands on our time, no work obligations -- just time together reading, cleaning, cooking, and whatever we wanted to do. It was so much fun!

We also finally got ourselves on a good cooking routine. Generally speaking, I love to cook. But my old M.O. was dominated by over-achieving perfectionism -- I needed to make sure I was cooking the best version of whatever recipe I was trying, all from scratch, using the best ingredients, etc. Making a beef stew? I'd get a good chuck roast and cut the beef myself. Roasted carrots with thyme? I'm plucking the thyme leaves by hand off the fresh stems. Spaghetti and meatballs? You better believe I'm mixing the ground beef (sometimes with a mix of ground veal and/or pork) into the best possible meatballs myself, then searing them, then adding them to a homemade tomato sauce.

So yeah. Cooking a meal usually meant at least an hour or two of prep time -- which meant that I only cooked for big company meals. The rest of the time, we ate takeout. The guys at Teriyaki Boy know us and have our usual orders done by the time we get to our turn to order...

But last week, we finally broke the cycle! Inspired in part by the blogs and Facebook statuses of my young mom friends, I decided it was high time to start building an arsenal of simple and fast recipes. Spaghetti and meatballs (which, incidentally, is one of David's favorite meals) using jarred tomato sauce, frozen meatballs, and pasta -- ready to eat in 25 minutes! We also discovered that using the packaged "stew beef" from the meat counter resulted in a beef stew that was just as good as the one made with the roast I painstakingly cut up myself. And frozen broccoli cuts (with the convenient microwavable steam-in-bag technology), plus the simple addition of a little grated cheddar cheese, makes for a great and healthy side dish for a frozen pizza dinner!

And I'm pleased to announce that we've continued in this cooking at home pattern! This may sound so silly, but it's a big deal for us. It's one more little step towards being proper grown-ups, in preparation for the transition to parenthood...

So we kicked off 2010 with a nice burst of domesticity. And reading for pleasure, and sleeping in -- but hopefully at least the domesticity will stick after the baby is born. :)