Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's all about furniture

I might just be in the early stages of nesting. I am not sure that I completely understand what nesting is, but if it is this overwhelming urge to get your house and life in order, then I'm nesting. This week, I've been making phone calls and appointments, making decisions, and generally trying to clean up both my surroundings and a whole lot of loose ends. Some days, I feel the need to quit my job so I can work on getting my life in order!

As you may know, we are in the process of renovating DH's house, and are hoping to move there in the next few weeks. At present, we have been crammed into my townhouse, and the mess and *stuff* has taken over. I had previously given up any effort at order or cleanliness, because we have been on the verge of moving for 3 months now.

This week, however, I hit my limit. I have been all over DH to clean up all the crap that has taken over our lives at my house, and I've been all over him to come with me and make decisions about furniture for his house. I think it dawned on me that it can easily take 8-12 weeks to get furniture once we order it, and with that time frame in mind, we're running out of time before the baby arrives. On Thursday night, we went up to the baby store to look at furniture. We have it narrowed down to 2 possible bedroom sets, but we just can't decide which of the two. This is definitely progress, however - we do know that we will purchase one of the two sets! The first set I think is far more interesting in terms of wood texture and design, but the second set is a little less expensive and simpler (which a boy might prefer). I'll post the pictures here for any comments/feedback - but note that the pictures do not necessarily reflect the pieces we are considering:

We also finalized which car seat we intend to purchase, we think we may have decided on a stroller as well, and we narrowed down our bedding options and glider options. Here are the 2 different beddings we are considering:

You would think with these big decisions out of the way, I would relax a bit, right? Of course not! I then felt the need to point out the baby's room is only ONE room in the house, and we still need to deal with replacing the dining room table DH broke (long story short, he thought ironing on the glass table was a good idea - until he left the iron face down on the table and walked away without turning it off - naturally, the glass top splintered, and we do not currently have a functional dining room table), and we need new couches for the living room and the basement rec room. So, DH humored me, and today was furniture shopping day. We checked out 2 different stores (and we will be hitting another one tomorrow) and I think we have it narrowed down to 2 different couches. We need to figure out exactly which pieces will fit in the living room, and the best shape for the basement rec room, but we think we are all set in our selections. We also found a new glass table top that we can purchase to replace the broken one.

Not bad for a weekend, right? I am hoping to order the couches this week, and then I'll focus on accessories (we'll need a new coffee table, a plant stand, perhaps a filing cabinet and some storage shelves, and I'd like to get a storage bench with a cushion to serve as a window seat in a few of the house's alcove areas). So . . . I'd say we are making progress! If we can just get them to install the toilets and finish the cabinets and lighting, we could actually start the process of moving!

Friday, August 29, 2008

First Hypnosis Session

Today was my first hypnosis session . . . and I'm not quite sure what I think. Some of it was a little crunchy for me, and I'm not convinced that I really buy in to the whole concept yet, but I am committed to giving this my best try to see where it takes me. The good news is that she did not expect me to fall into some kind of a trance. She spent most of the time trying to have me focus on the events that triggered my phobia, and try to relive and discuss those feelings several times. I definitely expressed my emotions about the trigger events, but I can't say I feel like I made any progress. I guess I am not welling up with tears when I merely think about needing an IV, so we'll see. She believes that much of the root of phobias is unreleased anxiety that we spend years trying to suppress, and by letting us feel, experience and process our original emotions about the trigger event, we can release some of the fear and allow our rational mind to cope with the situation. She uses a lot of self-affirmations (and it is a good thing my eyes were closed because there were times I am sure I would have rolled my eyes). I'm going to go back for another session next week - supposedly we will focus this next session on the future - why I dread/fear/feel anxious about future needle interactions.

Let's talk politics!

I'm a political junkie - always have been, always will be. I am one of those people who will stay up all night as they count the election returns, and will not go to sleep until after I've seen who has control of the Senate and House, who won the presidency, which party has the majority of governorships, and who won all the hotly contested elections. Then, I'll usually stay awake an additional few hours to watch the political commentary on the results on each of the major news channels . . . MSNBC, CNN, and sometimes even Fox.

In general, I believe it is a bad idea to talk politics in casual settings. I have been quite careful to keep politics off of this blog, and not start a massive debate about politics. I believe everyone has a right to their perspectives and opinions, and I respect intelligence from every person, even when I fundamentally disagree with their perspective.

In the wake of the momentous announcements of the last 24 hours, however, I feel moved to speak out and express my opinions. I should start by saying that I'm not only a political junkie, I'm a fairly die-hard liberal - an unabashed card-carrying member of the Democratic party. I am an independent thinker, and do not always believe in the Democratic party line on every issue, but I believe firmly in looking at core party principles, and would rather trust tough decision making to leaders who respect and honor the same principles to which I subscribe. As a result, even when I do not love the candidates, I often will look to the broader ideals and how I feel they would decide on issues that are critical to me (disability issues, women's rights, education, family, gay rights, personal freedom, etc.). I have been extremely disappointed by many of the frankly un-American and anti-Constitutional unilateral actions taken by the Administration (and our Supreme Court) over the past eight years, and I am certain these actions reflect the vast differences in core values between our two parties. While many Republicans align more politically with Democratic principles, and vice versa, I do believe party politics are critical in any US election.

The reason I am ranting about core values is I believe this election is about core values. I am not an Obama fan. I try and try, but I just cannot get on the Obama bandwagon. While I am thrilled to see the day that America nominated a black man for President, Obama is not a candidate who impresses me with his wealth of knowledge and experience. I think he is intelligent, I think he is a brilliant speaker most of the time, and I think he believes in the key Democratic values that are important to me. I am also saddened that this was not the election when America, one of the last industrialized countries who has yet to have a woman in the highest office, would finally shatter the glass ceiling and choose a competent, experienced woman with the qualifications to do the job.

As you can tell, I was a Hillary supporter. I did not start out behind Hillary - I frankly thought she would be un-electable. I thought that after years of press vilification, Hillary would never be able to restore her image. Initially, I thought perhaps Edwards would be my candidate. He spoke to the issues, and I liked what he had to say (ironic, since I had such a strong dislike for him 4 years before). But each time I watched and listened to Hillary, I became inspired. I was awed by her intelligence, her ability to persevere in the face of the attacks, her knowledge and understanding of both the problems and the system, and her technique for transforming into a credible and likable candidate in the wake of everything she had endured. Somewhere along the way, I became a believer. In my book, charisma (and even intelligence) alone is not enough. President Carter was largely ineffective because he lacked the political savvy to work the system. My experience with our system has taught me that the ONLY way to effect change in Washington is to use the system and make it work, not disregard it and believe you can supersede the system. The system is Washington is entrenched - it can be worked, it can be manipulated, it can be reformed and improved - but it cannot be bypassed. Anyone who does not understand the system well enough to manage it with its failures cannot comprehend how to fix the parts that broken. Hillary learned this the hard way as First Lady, when she tried to reform our health care system. She did not work the system with the expertise she now possesses, and the system defeated her. I am worried that we do not have time for Obama to learn that same lesson "on the job."

After last night's historic event, and John McCain's congratulatory ad to Obama, I knew he had a trick up his sleeve. I believe that John McCain has brilliant political strategists working for him, and if Obama is smart, he should try and steal them! What a way to steal thunder from an historic event - announcing a female Vice Presidential candidate who is pretty, intelligent, young, known as a maverick reformer, and just plain likable. Don't misunderstand me - I do not agree with Sarah Palin's political views, and for a die-hard politico like me, simply placing a woman on the ticket will not be enough to win my vote. But McCain's strategists, on some level, effectively made this a race between the first black President, and the first woman Vice President. For many women, McCain and Palin reflect a fairly moderate, independent-minded political perspective. They are progressive, they are strong on education and disabilities, and they are respectful of individual rights. BUT, they do hold traditional Republican party views on abortion, the death penalty, and the war. For many people (and women) in the US, this is not a problem. There are feminists throughout this country taking a 2nd look at McCain/Palin, and I think he will win a significant number of those votes. McCain, the man no one thought could possibly win, is running a brilliant campaign - proving once again that political savvy trumps charisma any day.

As for me - I have already said that I'm not an Obama-girl. But, I will be voting for the Obama-Biden ticket on election day. Why?? Core principles. I am scared that George Orwell's 1984 has finally come true after the past 8 years. Our individual rights are being eroded, our country and our economy is suffering, and I'm not sure I believe that America is truly a "super-power" anymore. I am scared by the current Supreme Court, and I believe that a Democrat in the White House, and Democratic control of Congress, will give us the opportunity to reverse some of these terrible things that have happened during the past 8 years. Perhaps we can have new judges appointed who can act as a proper check on governmental abuse. Perhaps we can restore the strength of the dollar, and put an end to deficits and improve our environment. Whoever takes control, there is a huge mess that needs to be cleaned up. Some of the issues will be handled the same, regardless of who takes power. I think McCain will not start new wars unilaterally the way Bush did, and I think his plans to stay in Iraq forever will be curbed by Congress. I think Obama will have to take longer to exit Iraq than he would like, and I think he may have to take military action at some point even if he would prefer not to do so. I think both will address the environmental issues we are facing - we have to do that - but I believe it is a core value of the Democratic party, and it will be addressed with greater immediacy and more aggressively with Obama in office.

So . . . I am an advocate for Democratic principles and rights, and as a result, I will punch my ballot for the party nominee . . . even though I do not believe he is the best choice for this election or the job right now. I am actually scared Obama will lose another "un-loseable" election, and I do fear that many will live with the regret of the "right man, wrong time." I also think Obama made a tactical error by not putting Hillary on the ticket, despite their personal differences. Obviously, I would have voted for a Clinton/Obama ticket with no remorse, and would have believed that in 8 years we would see a President Obama. I would have voted for a Obama/Clinton ticket with greater confidence and belief that Obama could reach the Clinton faithfuls and could have waited for another 8 years to watch Hillary's trajectory into the Presidency. To me, Biden was a strange choice - he is a great guy, with solid principles, and he is quite appealing. At least he knows how to work the system, and he will appeal to the "common folk" out there. But his gaffes will likely hurt more than they will help, and a Hillary-free ticket created an environment for McCain to pick up an advantage by naming a woman as a Vice Presidential candidate. I'm just not sure that Biden on the Obama ticket adds as much as Palin on the McCain ticket. I suppose only time will tell.

I'll be obsessively watching the election over the coming months, and I just hope my read on the pulse of the nation is wrong. While I am throwing my support to Obama and hope to see the Democrats in charge of the White House again, my instinct is that political savvy will win out, and McCain may just triumph over these insurmountable odds. And all I'll think will be "I knew it - I can't believe this happened AGAIN." I will end by saying, this is one of the few times in my life I'd LOVE to be wrong.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yoga Time

When I started out with this pregnancy, I swore I was going to work hard to stay fit and in shape. Health was a factor, but frankly I was terrified I'd gain 300 lbs during the pregnancy, and never be able to fit through a normal door again after the baby arrives. I had grand plans of swimming everyday, and taking long walks, and about 500 other physical activities I was going to do. And then the morning sickness set in . . . and the UTIs. . . . and the sinus infections and bronchitis . . . . and well, let's just say I've been fairly sluggish this pregnancy, despite my good intentions! It is amazing how easy it is to justify staying out of the pool when your head is congested and full.

It seems the morning sickness is finally easing up (I wouldn't say it is gone, but I have more good days than bad days now), and I'm in between UTIs and sinus infections, so I'm feeling pretty good this week. Except for all of my sore muscles (probably from failure to exercise). So, this week, I decided it was time to get back to physical activity. I am usually quite flexible, so I thought a class that would build strength and flexibility in a low-intensity way would reduce my current discomfort and would be an ideal first step back. On Monday night, I drove over at 7:00 pm to go to my first prenatal class . . . only to find they canceled the class! After much searching, I learned that there are tons of yoga centers offering prenatal yoga . . . but none currently have scheduled classes! Naturally, I saw this as a challenge, and it became my mission to find a yoga class to attend. After relentlessly calling and searching, I found another location that has a certified prenatal instructor who teaches a regular yoga class. I spoke to her, and she said that she is willing to let me participate in her regular class and help me modify the exercises to make them appropriate for pregnancy . . . so almost a prenatal yoga class. The good news is, I could continue in this class after I have the baby, too!

I was asked to come in for an initial private session so the instructor could evaluate me, confirm that I am capable of participating in the class, and show me some key modifications I will need to use. Today, I went in for my first private session. I have to say, I haven't felt this relaxed and loose in months! I really enjoyed the physical activity, and I'm hoping to keep it up 1-2 times per week. My next class is on Tuesday, and I will be trying out the group class! I also have grand intentions of getting back to swimming, but one step at a time, right?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Big step today

At my last appointment, the midwife "yelled" at us for not enrolling in a birthing class yet. For as ready as I am to be a mommy and to meet this little guy, I guess I am completely avoiding thinking about the birth part of this process. I mean - we haven't even picked out furniture, or decided on a name, or chosen the bedding, or started a registry!! I keep thinking there is so much time for everything later.

For me, I guess the biggest part of thinking about the birthing process is my anxiety over needles. Okay - I'll be honest - it isn't just a general anxiety about needles. Yes, I'll admit it - I have a doctor-certified phobia of needles. And no, going through IVF, I didn't "get over" my needle phobia. My RE had given me a referral to a psychiatrist months ago to deal with this . . . and I've been sitting on the referral.

At our last midwife appointment, we discussed birthing classes. I am planning to try a natural child birth (prompted in large part by my overwhelming phobia of needles - I'd rather feel every contraction and rip than have a needle stuck in my back ANY day). I'm guessing that if I have to have a c-section, they will likely have to knock me unconscious, because I can't imagine how they will get a needle in my back to keep me lucid during a c-section. After our discussion, the midwife recommended that we try a hypnobirthing class. Yes, I agree - it does sound a tad bit "new-age" and crazy to me. I think that is why I've been delaying the process of signing up. The midwife thought it would give me techniques for coping and self-relaxation that would give me more control over my emotions and my response to any needles that will be used during child birth. The concept is appealing to me . . . but part of me thinks I'm too practical and logical for something as "silly" as hypnosis.

DH and I had a long discussion the other night and decided that this is the right choice for us, and we are now committed and trying to get excited about hypnobirthing. Now, if I could just stop chuckling every time I say "hypnobirthing" that would be a vast improvement! I contacted 2 locations, and we have to decide which place we will be taking our class. I plan to sign us up this week.

After tackling the birthing class issue, I realized that part of my aversion to picking a class has a lot to do with my needle phobia. I have been informed (although I am currently choosing not to believe) that I will have to be on IV antibiotics during labor because I am a Strep B carrier. This Strep B issue has thrown a kink in my needle-free birth plan, and has me incredibly anxious. Let's just say I cannot imagine how any anesthesiologist is going to get a needle in me to give me antibiotics I don't particularly want without getting a black eye and possibly losing a few teeth.

Once this obvious connection dawned on me, I decided to take charge of my phobia and call the doctor. Naturally, the doctor was not in, and I left a message. About one hour later, the office manager returned my call. It only took about 3 minutes on the phone with her before I was filled with anxiety and practically in tears. I asked about phobia treatments, and after hearing the long spiel about the cost for treatment, they don't participate with insurance, we have to pay out of pocket, blah blah blah . . . she informs me they plan to treat my needle phobia by bringing me into the office and repeatedly stabbing me with needles until I get over it. Okay, perhaps I am over-simplifying the process a bit, but that was the gist of it. I informed the office manager that I did not think that approach would work for me, and I politely thanked her for her time and hung up the phone. I firmly believe if needle desensitization were going to work for me, going through IUI with injectibles and an IVF would have "cured" me of my phobia, but no such luck.

At this point, my anxiety hit a new peak as the realization dawned on me that I will be going into labor and needing an IV with this phobia looming over me, and no coping mechanisms to help improve the experience for me. About one hour later, the doctor called back to try and convince me that the needle stabbing process would, in fact, benefit me. I just know that nothing she said offered me any comfort. Her philosophy was basically that exposure to the needles would make me see I'm being ridiculous, and I would magically get over when I realize the needles won't kill me. I would not say this doctor conveyed a warm fuzzy feeling. In fact, her thick German accent created visions of a masculine-looking German frau dressed in Nazi garb strapping me to a table and repeatedly (and sadistically) stabbing me with needles and hooking me up to IVs as her wicked and maniacal laughter reverberates around the darkened room. Not that I have a vivid imagination.

While I sat here hyperventilating, I went back and looked at one of the hypnobirthing web sites . . . and realized that one of the locations is a full hypnosis center! I put in a call and left a message about hypnosis and phobias. About one hour ago, the doctor called me back to discuss treatment of phobias. I explained my situation . . . and she seemed sympathetic. She did not laugh, nor did she tell me she would stab me with needles until I got over it. She asked if I knew the root of the problem, and I shared my story with her (short version - bad allergic reaction to an immunization as a child, followed up 6 years later with a bad IV that damaged a nerve in my hand). She talked a lot about emotional energy, and how negative emotions can sometimes override the body's internal logic and control functions. She made me feel that it was possible to take control of my emotions, and release them in a way that would let my logical brain dominate over my fear. I am still not sure if I believe in hypnosis, but on Friday I am going in for my first session to give it a try! I think even if it gives me the confidence to face this, or a few coping techniques, it will be well worth the money and effort.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Call me crazy . . . .

I have come to the conclusion that this baby already has a definite personality - and I am certain he is one stubborn and determined little guy! I first realized this while I was visiting my SIL and the girls during the day. As I sat there going over different birthday cake design options, I kept leaning forward over my computer. Apparently, this little guy did not like me sitting that way (I must have been cramping his style!) so he would kick the heck out of me. When I leaned back, he would calm back down again.

Then, on Friday night we went to services. The woman leading everything . . . well, let's just say if my mom was around, she would have echoed my thoughts that we should call someone to shoot the poor dying animal and put it out of its misery. Well, every time she opened her mouth to sing on her own, the little guy would start kicking and squirming - it felt like he was trying to break out to strangle her. I kept imagining him with his hands over his ears and throwing a little temper tantrum about the awful noise. When the woman stopped singing, he was nice and calm, and when those with beautiful voices were singing, I could feel him dancing and swaying along.

I finally made it home, and I'm fairly certain he helped me cheer on Michael Phelps to victory in yet another historic race (the 100 m butterfly that he won by .01 seconds). My mother watched the Watergate hearings all summer when I was born, and I have always been drawn to politics/litigation/lobbying my whole life, so it could be my current obsessions with Wimbledon, the Olympics, and the upcoming US Open will mean this guy will spend his life striving to achieve some great sports feat. Poor thing. . . I have a feeling he will be at a genetic disadvantage, however, if this is his life's dream.

When I went up to bed, I decided to take out a book and read. As I sat there reading a particular scene in my book that described a touching moment between mother and son, I could have sworn this little guy knew what I was reading. At the right moment, he sort of reached out and touched me, and then kind of swirled around in a way that made me feel like he had just reached out and given me a huge hug! Yes, I know how crazy a thought that is . . . but I stand by it, and I'll blame the pregnancy hormones! I got all teary-eyed and weepy. DH thought I was crying over a cheesey book, and just laughed at me. Of course, I thought that was less embarrassing than what I was thinking, so I kept my mouth shut.

I am pleased to say that I am starting to feel better . . . the cold is gone, and the antibiotics seem to be working on my latest UTI (and perhaps might have nipped my impending sinus infection in the bud). I am loving all the movement I have been feeling from the little one lately - remind me of that later if I start complaining about that!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

He felt it!

Last night, DH and I were sitting together on the couch watching the Olympics, and I suddenly started to feel the little one jumping all over the place. He was turning, and kicking, and punching, and it felt like he was having a grand old time entertaining himself! I took DH's hand, and placed it on my lower belly . . . and he said "I feel it!!" We sat like that for a long while. The little guy moved around a few more times, but he was definitely kicking up a storm, and DH finally got to feel him do it!

Of course, I've got a cold (thanks, mom!) and I had a horrible night last night. I hope I manage to get a nap in today and get rid of this cold. On a lighter note, they are supposedly painting the house today, so hopefully we will be making some progress on the renovations (finally)!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The big u/s!!!

Yesterday was our "big" ultrasound! We have been so excited, but we were convinced this baby would not be cooperative and would refuse to show us the goods. Well, it turns out, this baby decided to cooperate!

First, the ultrasound was great. Our technician was so wonderful. The baby was jumping and moving all over the place! I can't believe how much movement I'm NOT feeling yet. All of the measurements were right on . . . right size, heart looking good, kidneys/stomach all perfect, lovely looking spine - just perfect! They estimated the baby might be about 1 day ahead of schedule, but essentially, no reason to change my expected due date!

So, here are some beautiful shots of the baby . . .

Profile pics:

Apparently, the baby already has a sense of humor - here is a scary skull face shot that just creeps me out:

And now . . . drumroll please . . . . the "money" shot:


We're thrilled! We have no idea what we are going to do for a name (and we don't plan on sharing before he is born) but we are so excited!! I'm sure one day our son will hate us because we have already posted his first penis picture on the internet!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Fun weekend

This weekend was really relaxing . . . we went to an outdoor concert on Friday night, and had a picnic dinner. I have learned that pregnancy requires better back support when hanging out on the ground for several hours! We had a baby naming on Sunday, and it was great to see so many family friends. We are getting excited for the next week . . . I leave for a business trip to Salt Lake City, then when I come back, we have our big u/s! DH is hoping for a boy . . . I kind of think it is a boy, too. I want one of each, but always thought of having the girl first. I think we are having such a hard time thinking of boys names that it will definitely be a boy!

The good news is both the AFP and my glucose test came back normal, which means so far, both mommy and baby are doing well! I can't believe we are rapidly approaching the 1/2 way point.

On the home front, we are finally making some progress on our home renovation project. The bathroom tiles are all done, I've picked out all the paint for the house, the granite has been decided - we just need to deal with hardware now. I can't wait to finally move in and start getting ready for the baby.