Sunday, October 31, 2010

bonus time!

Two posts in one night! Could you ask for more? And this one has belly shots, which, let's be honest, is way more exciting than my thoughts on childcare options. I aim to please.

For those who aren't counting the weeks (days, hours) quite as meticulously as Brad and I are, we hit 20 weeks yesterday. Halfway there! Thrilling! Terrifying! So similar to Halloween! Speaking of Halloween, today is our one-year anniversary. A weekend of milestones and candy.

It's been four weeks since we took the first set of belly shots. To be honest, I feel WAY bigger than I look. Unfortunately, my clothes agree with me. I should show my clothes these pictures. The happiest time of my day is when I get home, strip out of my normal clothes and put on yoga pants and Brad's ridiculously large Vanderbilt sweatshirt. Comfort is awesome.

Ready for the pictures? Voila!

I think the change is most noticeable in this shot. Way bigger, right? But wait . . .

From the side, it just looks like the area below my belly button has rounded out. What gives, stomach? Perhaps you are camera-shy from the side. Anyhoo.

I'll put up another set at 24-weeks. I'm expecting big things between now and then. Hopefully big enough that I can cover the belly from here on out. I'm not against showing a little skin, and I love seeing the changes, but belly shots are a little weird. All the more so when nothing is left to the imagination. But I promise, if the belly button pops out, I'll take a picture of it. Because that pregnancy phenomenon fascinates me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

take good care of my baby

Remember the bit about how awesome I am at worrying? Well, two weeks ago I fixated on child care. I'm planning to stay home for 4-6 months and then head back to my job. I don't love the idea of handing baby boy Tater off to someone else, but I can't see myself as a stay-at-home mom. Granted, there's no telling what I will see myself as when I have a real live Tater in my hands and not in my belly. But I really love my job. And if there is an ideal working mom job out there, I have it. The hours are incredibly flexible and predictable. And I have the option of going part-time. Also, I feel like I just got my law degree. I want to use it. I'm pretty sure all of the banks holding my student loans also want me to use it. So for now, finding a fabulous day care center is the plan.

A year in advance seems ridiculously early to start thinking about this stuff, but somewhere along the way I picked up that young parents living in big cities are supposed to freak out about pre-school education really far ahead of time. Wait lists, testing, kissing up to administrators. No clue where I learned this, as none of my friends have personally shared similar experiences with me. I probably saw it on TV and tucked it into my subconscious filed under "true things" and "things I will definitely worry about one day."

One of the problems with having to think about childcare this far in advance is I have no idea what matters. Right now all I want is a healthy baby with a reasonably sized skull. I don't know the difference between various educational theories and programs. I have a sense that feeding and sleeping schedules are hugely important, but don't ask me to explain why. So I turned to the online parent networks to get a sense of what other parents think about the potential centers. No idea who these folks are, but I'm blindly relying on their opinions. Thanks, strangers.

We narrowed the list down to two options and scheduled tours. One is in the neighborhood and my friend Kristin's son attends their preschool part-time. I like her son a lot. He is polite and well-adjusted and generally adorable. She and her husband get all the credit for this, but she has not complained about the childcare center reversing their efforts. Promising. The other is a bit further away, but en route to work.

I toured the Children's Learning Center on Tuesday sans Brad (he was traveling for work). It is gloriously nearby -- walking distance in warm weather. Two rooms for tiny babies, one room for babies who are 8mo - 14mo, and another room for tykes who are 14mo-2yrs. They provide organic baby food for the babies who have reached the solids stage. And once they are eating really solid food, they have an organic caterer. I looked at the menu. I need an organic caterer of my own. They also do a parents-night-out once a month and lots of events for the parents to get to know each other. I anticipate eagerly seeking out solidarity with other working moms. Smiles.

Oh, and they get bonus points for flattery. As I was leaving, the director let me know that we're in a great position to secure a spot. Apparently I'm a bit ahead of the game -- most people looking for fall 2011 spots won't show up until the spring when the list is considerably longer. Happily gave myself a pat on the back. I am always running late. Early feels good.

The second center we checked out is called the Little Green Treehouse. It is insanely eco-friendly. Cloth diapers, organic caterer with four menus (vegan and gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and carnivore). All of the toys are non-toxic and most are fair trade. The mattresses are organic, the bouncers are made with bamboo. I was in heaven. There are five baby rooms, with babies ranging from tiny to 14mo.

Both centers personalize the crib areas with big colorful name tags and family photos. It was simultaneously heart-warming and depressing. I will definitely have to take scrapbooking 101 to ensure that Tater's decoration is up-to-par. The monthly fees are almost identical, but I would have to start driving to work if we selected LGT (adding the expense of monthly downtown parking). It wouldn't make a huge difference, as we are resigned to dedicating the vast majority of my salary to childcare.

The one shocker was having a pay a big chunk of change to be put on the LGT waitlist. $200. Insanity. No, it doesn't go towards tuition. It's just a $200 waitlist fee. I suppose it helps to ensure only serious parents sign up. But they could achieve that with a considerably smaller price tag. I think it's really just a brilliant way to pad their bank account. I've been trying to dream up a similar rouse even since. The CLC list, on the other hand, was free. Free! I'm beginning to think that that's a word which will rarely be associated with parenthood. CLC will catch on soon enough. Perhaps I'll clue them in as soon as I am taken off their waitlist.

The other big difference is the pick-up time. CLC is open until 630, LGT until 6. I didn't ask at CLC, but LGT charges $5 per minute if you pick your child up after 6:05 p.m. As I am never early for anything (see above), and rarely on time, Brad commented that we would need to budget an extra $400 a year, minimum, to pay the late fees. Oy.

Both places charge $1000 to secure a spot once they are ready to take you off the waitlist. But at CLC it is refundable (if you decide to go with another option or to stay at home). Not so at LGT. Unsurprising (I believe CLC was started by an educator while LGT was started by an money-savvy entrepreneur). Also, LGT only takes full-time babies, while CLC lets you go part-time if you so desire.

So we are leaning towards CLC, but we would be happy clams with either option. And I'm just relieved that we can stop worrying about this for the time being. We are in a good position on both lists, so I'm confident that something will work out. And CLC handles registrations in December, so we may be sitting pretty in less than two months. Ahhh. One worry down, an infinite number to go.

Monday, October 25, 2010

frogs and snails and puppy dog tails

We had the Level II ultrasound today at Prentice. First observation: Prentice is like the Ritz Carlton's of hospitals. I cannot wait to spend a few days there. I'm a little surprised that the women being rolled out with armloads of flowers and balloons were not wiping away tears at the thought of returning to their significantly less-swanky homes.

I was ridiculously excited and eager all day, so I left work with loads of time to spare. Walked to the hospital, stopping to eat along the way. At my dear friend Beth's suggestion, I had a diet coke with lunch, my first caffeine in months. Beth explained that the caffeine would get the baby moving, and make the sex reveal a surer thing. I really, really wanted to know the sex. So I downed the soda. Anything to avoid a prude and proper fetus.

I made it to the hospital a few minutes early. The ultrasound tech called me back before Brad arrived, and we needed to get things started, so she promised not to reveal the sex before he showed up. When she first scanned the belly to get her bearings, she said, "Okay. I promise not to reveal anything." Which made me think that she may have seen something, and if that was the case, odds were on Tater being a fella. I got to see the brain and Tater's mouth opening and closing before Brad showed up. Then he arrived, and we looked at the heart, and the spine, and arms bones, and leg bones, and mid-section circumference, and holy cow are we ever going to see the area everyone's been waiting for? The tech did mention that she had a hard time getting a couple of the measurements because Tater was moving around so much. Um, oops? Little too much Diet Coke? Where's the line between zonked out fetus who reveals nothing and disco-dancing fetus who dares you to keep up? Tater also had the hiccups during the ultrasound, which was very cute. Surely that had nothing to do with my drugging efforts? Surely.

Here's a cute shot of Tater's profile. Brad thinks Tater looks the most like Aunt Caty. He says it is definitely a Price nose. I can see that.

Even if the moving and the shaking and the hiccuping was my fault, it was WORTH IT. Because all of the sudden, there's a freeze frame. And the tech says, "Do you want to take a guess?" Brad catches on first, and I do a double-take.

It's official! Tater is all boy. And not shy about making it known. Exhibit A:

Yes folks, there's a tiny penis in my belly. And by the looks of it, perhaps I should not be referring to it as tiny.

Our first thought was how Randy was going to be thrilled beyond belief. He was. (We quickly sent an email message to family, and Randy immediately responded with this as a close approximation of his reaction.) Our second thought was that we had not done any lasting harm by referring to Tater as a boy all of these months. High five. Brad's third thought was that he is going to have to learn the rules for the major sports. I reminded him that Randy and DadRo would take care of that. Plus, I know most of them. (Except for hockey, which I enjoy watching, but it's like seeing a beautiful foreign film without subtitles. I really really want to get it. But I don't.) So then Brad focused on acquiring matching father and son drum sets. Egad.

Later, Brad noted that he was excited to finally have some male companionship at home. The house is indeed estrogen-friendly, because I am a girl and the dog is a girl and the cat is a girl. Fair enough. Maggie (dog) and Brewster (cat) will definitely be thrilled, as they have strong preferences for men. Added bonus: Maggie loves anything that is inclined to throw a ball.

Oh! And the good news. No soft markers of Down Syndrome. The doctor who came in to review the findings explained that this doesn't necessarily mean that Tater doesn't have Down Syndrome, but it's a good sign. We'll take it.

The other big reveal at the appointment was that Tater is a giant. After the tech took all the measurements and went away to do her magic, she returned and asked us how sure we were about our due date. "Um, pretty sure?" If Tater is, in fact, 19 weeks and 2 days along, he is at the head of the class. All the measurements they took were in the 90th percentile, size-wise. Which means Tater would be average for a 20 1/2 week old baby. It's probably the Reese's.

If the date is right (which is probably the case, as we had an early ultrasound), it means we may have a big boy on our hands. The doctor asked if we were large babies. My dad told me that I was "huge," over 9 pounds. Randy was a giant, over 10 pounds. And though Brad was 7+ pounds, DadRo was a 9-pound baby. According to the doctor, big babies are genetic. Ouch. Perhaps my time at Prentice will be less euphoric that I'd hoped. Did I mention the free wifi and Bose sound systems? Ahhhh.

Friday, October 22, 2010

silver lining

Hi folks.

First, thanks for all of the positive feedback and encouragement after my last post. Turns out I was feeling slightly less calm and collected on Thursday morning. Nothing like riding to work on the el with a lady who is clearly trying not to cry but failing miserably. All your messages and prayers helped to bring me back to center.

I talked to Doc G yesterday afternoon. Shared our feelings on the Amnio, and he was wonderfully supportive and understanding. Then I told him that I had done some internet research on the ultrasound diagnositcs, and that I had a few questions because sometimes the internet lies. Turns out that the internet was mostly correct. This is good, because I am a fan of trust. But it's also bad, because Brad likes to keep me off the internet when I am a worried, fretting disaster zone. Oh well, I'm snuggling into my internet security blanket for the time being.

Our scheduled twenty-week ultrasound (which was supposed to happen on Nov 4), is a Level I ultrasound. But in order to do the Down Syndrome soft markers check, we need a Level II ultrasound instead. What's the difference? I haven't a clue. But it seems like the Level II takes a bit longer, and perhaps the machine is a bit more futuristic? I really hope it doesn't mean that it's a 3D ultrasound. I know, I know. People love those 3D ultrasounds. I am not a member of that club. The 3D images freak me out. They look like lumpy alien babies. I do not want to think that Tater actually looks like a tater.

The only thing the internet got wrong was suggesting that the results of the Level II ultrasound will factor into our risk assessment and either drop it or up it depending on the detection of soft markers. Nope. The risk will remain 1/155 regardless of the findings. But if they don't find soft markers, we can feel a little better about Tater only having 46 chromosomes. If they find soft markers, we will learn towards thinking Tater is filled with love and an extra chromosome. We won't know the results of the soft marker checks until a few days after the ultrasound.

Because the Level II ultrasound is special, they don't do them at the ultrasound suite across the hall from Doc G's office. They do them at Prentice, the fancy pants women's hospital at Northwestern (where we will be delivering). Doc G initially said that he would write me a referral and then I could call to schedule the appointment. Then he said, "you're 17 weeks, right?" Me: "Nope, 19 on Saturday." Doc G: "Oh. That's a different story. We will schedule this for you. Because if you call and try to schedule a Level II for sometime during the next few weeks, it will be a disaster."

I told him that next week was wide open, but Brad would be horribly unavailable the first two weeks of November. I knew they would do their best, but thought there was a solid possibility that we wouldn't be able to go in until later in November. Thereby delaying the sex reveal. Bollucks.

This morning Nurse L called to tell me that she had successfully scheduled my Level II ultrasound. When you ask? MONDAY. That's right. THIS Monday. Nurse L is a miracle worker. When I try to schedule run-of-the-mill ultrasounds, they need weeks and weeks of advance notice. When Nurse L schedules an ultrasound, she can move mountains. So we'll be seeing Tater on Monday afternoon, and we'll be learning the sex a week and a half earlier than expected. Silver lining!!!

Nurse L did not actually confirm that we will be learning the sex, but I have high hopes because there is no backup plan. The Level II is being done instead of a Level I, so we won't be going back on the 4th for another Tater viewing. And besides, if this magic ultrasound machine cannot detect the sex when I am 19 weeks and 2 days along, it is unworthy of its reputation. Just to be sure, maybe I should do a little internet research.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

bad news bears

So . . . I've had better days. It didn't start off too bad. I woke up at 5:30, tossed until 6:30, and then woke up Brad so he could get in on the fun. He tried to snooze me. I WISH I had a snooze button. I would have pushed it at 5:30.

Work was interesting. Found out yesterday that I will have my first oral argument in November. I've done a decent amount of trial work, but appellate arguments are different. So today I tried to focus on my new case all the while mulling over the ins and outs of the argument. And about how I will be investing in a maternity suit, something I had hoped to avoid. Good times.

Then, around 4:45, I got a phone call. It was Doc G, calling with my blood work results. Trisomy and Spina Bifida numbers are awesome. 1/10,000 and 1/6,000. Down's number is less awesome. Based on my age, my base risk was 1/180. After the first workup (at 12 weeks) my risk dropped to 1/370. 1/220 is the cutoff for invasive procedures, so that was good. But now, after this last round of blood work, we're back at 1/155.

I hadn't even been thinking about the results or worrying about what we would learn. I was feeling pretty confident and comfortable after the last appointment and just assumed that the number would get better. Not worse.

After I got over the shock, I called Brad to bring him into the loop. Then I did what I do best. Fretted, worried, and twisted my mind into a tumbled mess of thoughts/ideas/reactions. I am awesome at that. Gold metal standard. Here's a well-organized synopsis which is not representative of the mental process it took to arrive at this point:

We can get an amniocentesis and find out for sure, but it carries a 1/500 - 1/800 risk of loss. It also takes 3 weeks to get the results. Brad and I aren't comfortable with the risk. Sure, it's small. But we'd be putting the most precious thing in our lives on the table. And it's not something we're okay with wagering. I have a hard time upgrading to the dollar slots in Vegas. Let's be serious.

But the worry bug lives on. I don't want to spend the next five months stressing and fretting and wondering. I have to find a way to focus on the positive. So I switched the numbers around. 1/370 means a 99.729% chance of having a baby with only 46 chromosomes. 1/155 means a 99.355% chance. Fabulous odds! Just focus on that!

Oh, if only it were that easy. Today I really wanted to have the ability to bump bellies with Brad and just transfer Tater for a little while. Let Tater experience his calm, zen body while I get mine in order. Because he is so rational about all of this. He doesn't worry. He says it is because Tater is Tater. Either s/he has Down Syndrome or s/he doesn't. Why worry about something that is already set in stone? So wise. So not how my brain works.

We've decided to meet in the middle. Apparently we can get an ultrasound which will look for soft markers of Down Syndrome. It is non-invasive, so no risk to Tater. And it identifies 60% of fetuses with Down Syndrome. The wise internet also tells me that it can lower our risk, should the markers not appear. Calling Doc G tomorrow morning to learn more about that option.

I'm feeling very calm about the whole thing now. A trip to the gym and dinner with Katie helped a lot. (Tally for today: Gym - 1, Reese's - 3.) It also helped to read a few discussion boards about the testing and results. A number of women posted that they have sworn off the genetics testing after dealing with this situation. I think I agree. The worry is just needless. Tater is coming into a loving, wacky family no matter what. And it's not like we are "normal." (Understatement extraordinaire.)

It's been a rollercoaster. I sound okay now. I did not sound okay when I called my sister from work while sobbing, such that she couldn't understand what I was saying. It's not that I was upset about the possibility of having a baby with Down Syndrome (it's unknown territory, so scary, but not a bad thing). Here's what made me cry cry cry: what I wanted more than anything, the second I hung up with Doc G, was to call my mom. Berta had such a gift for listening and then dispensing sound, rational advice with the perfect amount of sensitivity, understanding, and humor. I wanted to tell her everything, listen to her reason it out, and hear her tell me that she wished she could wrap me in cotton and protect me from the world. I called Caty instead. She has so much of Berta in her. I know I have Berta in me too. I got her worry gene which makes it possible to dispense sane advice but impossible to give it to oneself. The gift that keeps on giving.

Just realized it's almost midnight. Why am I not asleep? I really need that snooze button.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

home of the grouchy burger

So...some of you might remember my post about being a huge irritable mess while pregnant. My father-in-law was paying attention (and/or keeping an eye out for large signage featuring family member's names).

DadRo was driving around Birmingham last week, when he noticed a re-purposed Dairy Queen. The new proprietors had set up a hamburger shop named "Robin's." Tag line: "Home of the Grouchy Burger." He returned the next day (at Brad's request) to find out if they sell T-Shirts in pregnant lady size. Alas, no. No t-shirts to be had. Jim did try the grouchy burger, which is a burger served between two grilled cheese sandwiches.

"Home of the Grouchy Burger" is apparently my new tag line as well. When I start to fall back into my less-than-pleasant ways, Brad just shakes his head and mumbles the phrase. Which makes me laugh, which makes me a little grumpier.

I bet I would not be grumpy if Brad made me a vegetarian grouchy burger. With avocado and tomato and a black bean patty. Yum.

Have I mentioned that I am hungry all the time these days?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the beat goes on

We heard the heartbeat today! It was very reassuring, but I think I built it up too much. It was our first appointment in five weeks, and while all things waist- and scale-related suggested that things were progressing normally, it was quite nice to hear that Tater is still doing his/her thing. At the same time, I was expecting an emotional moment. Tears in the eyes, shortness of breath. Not so much. Thus far in the pregnancy, the only times I've gotten really emotional are the moment we found out, and the few moments I've thought about the fact that Tater will never get to know my mom. Gets me every time. But I'll save that sadness for another day.

When I arrived back at the office this morning, Nicole asked if it sounded like a washing machine. Initially I said no, as I was thinking of my washing machine, which does not make soothing noises. But then I realized that it sounded a bit like listening to a heartbeat inside of a high-efficiency washing machine. A fast, earth-hugging heartbeat. Nicole is so smart.

The rest of the appointment was pretty straight-forward. They took my blood for the second round of genetics testing (results should be back early next week). Gave me a flu shot (along with the complimentary, sneaks-up-on-you sore shoulder). Got a few answers:

(1) Should probably steer clear of salicylic acid. Here's how that conversation went. Me: can I use face wash with it? Doc G: why are you using it? Me: um, because my face not cooperating? (Thinking, is there another reason one would use face wash with salicylic acid? I'm a huge fan of litmus testing my face?)

(2) Don't have to worry about weird red bumps that appear on my thumbs and itch. Good to know.

(3) My weight gain isn't cause for concern. The first trimester I was right on target, but since then the scale has been a little more aggressive. Think it was a grand total of 11 lbs as of this morning, at 17 1/2 weeks? This is by no means obscene, but the line graph is starting to look a little steep. It's hard to fight the urge to start restricting my caloric intake. Actually, it's not that hard. Because I'm always hungry, and because I brought a giant bag of mini Reese's cups to the office to "share." (In Seattle, the shared chocolate dish in my office was the real deal. In Chicago, it is just me and perhaps the occasional office clerk. It does not help that the two people who visit my office most often do not partake -- one is vegan and one has no sweet tooth.)

So, I've decided to make a concerted effort to get to the gym three times a week. Brad joined over the weekend, and he's successfully gotten my butt off the couch twice in the past three days. I am not awesome at keeping such promises, so I'm going to keep score.

Today's total: gym - 1, Reese's cups - 4. (Mmm. Reese's cups. Perhaps I need a bag at home to "share" with the trick-or-treaters who no-show every year.)

So. Heartbeat awesome but not tear-provoking. Arm sore. Weight, so far so good. And I'm all the more excited for the next sonogram and the sex reveal. Three weeks and two days.

Friday, October 8, 2010

well, I didn't see that coming.

I hit a milestone of sorts today. What, you ask? Patience. I'll get to it.

Over the weekend I took the plunge and purchased a few maternity clothing items. I am now the proud (?) owner of two pairs of leggings, a pair of jeans, a pair of cords, and a skirt. Low elastic waistbands galore. But I haven't worn any of the new clothing yet. I'm afraid of chemicals in unwashed clothing. (Plus, I'm not a fan of the Gap/Old Navy scent that sticks to everything in the store.) So I had to wash everything. And the skirt and pants needed to go to the dry cleaners for some much-needed hemming. (Short legs.) So I'm still making due with my normal clothes + Bella Band.

Yesterday I needed to class things up a bit. My office has no dress code, but when we're going to court, we try to play the part. I was observing a colleague's oral argument, and needed to look lawyerly. Realized none of my dress pants would fit, but thought I could pull off a certain pair of black suit pants or the matching skirt that always fit a little loose. Put on the skirt, shuddered at the stuffed sausage image that popped into my head, took it off. Tried the pants, same. Back in the skirt. Back in the pants. Ended up going with the pants + the Bella Band, which was the lesser of the two evils. Added a form fitting business-lady top. When I glanced in the mirror for a final once-over, all I could think was, "Woah. I look pregnant." But it worked, i.e., it wasn't horribly obscene. Plus, the woman doing the oral argument is really pregnant, so I counted on looking svelte in comparison.

Fast forward to today. It's 80 degrees in Chicago, and I didn't need to dress like a grownup. So I put on a comfy jersey skirt and a loose-fitting t-shirt. Looked in the mirror and thought, "This is more like it. Looking good. Definitely not looking pregnant." Go to work. Pass by the front desk. And one of the fabulous support staffers looks at me and says, "Robin, are you pregnant?" (Crickets . . . Blank stare . . . Crickets . . . Swallow . . . Crickets . . . quick glance at my ensemble to see if it had miraculously changed while I wasn't paying attention . . . nope . . . Crickets.) "Um, yeah. I am."

I was NOT expecting to get that question for another month! I mean, I think I look pregnant, because I am intimately familiar with the before and after. But I've been assuming that when acquaintances and strangers look at me they just think I'm in desperate need of the Abs of Steel series on VHS. So when she asked, I was blindsided by a question I should have seen coming. And I'm not sure I was ready for it.

While we're on the subject of my ever-expanding midsection, I really wish I had a decent picture of my bellybutton pre-pregnancy. Because I think its circumference is growing. I made Brad examine it last night, but he was no help. I thought the same thing about my boobs when I first got pregnant. But Brad said that picture would have been inappropriate. Don't care. I'd love to be able to really study the changes. Apparently my feet are also going to grow (this is why Brad says I cannot invest in an expensive pair of boots right now; I'm not so sure). But I don't think I'm going to want a close-up of my feet. But then again . . .

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

it was good to be a grownup

This morning I received an evite for my good friend Liz's bachelorette party. Whirlyball followed by delicious dinner followed by merriment. Hooray! Celebrating Liz! Also, I finally get to play whirlyball -- an event I've heard others gush over, but I've managed to miss out on time and time again! Win-win!

I click on the link, to remind myself what a game of whirlyball entails, when I see the link "Who Can't Play." Click. Skim. Elation shattered.

Pregnant women cannot play whirlyball.

[Neither can short people (less than 4'6"), children (<12), drunk people (I've heard this is just false), and folks with major neck or back problems.]

One more addition to the list of things I cannot do. Such as ski downhill, sit in a hot tub, lay on my back for longer than 15 minutes, eat delicious authentic brie, etc. Honestly, getting pregnant is like taking one ginormous step back. Back when you had to follow seemingly unnecessary rules because your parents said so. Maybe this is just the beginning of that cycle. Expectant mothers grow tired of being told what they can't do, so they impose rules on their children later in life to get a little piece of control back. I mean, why weren't we allowed to sing at the dinner table? Why?

The best part of being an adult is making your own rules. Brad reminds me of this every time I suggest that he not eat cake for breakfast. "I'm a adult. I can eat cake whenever I want." I feel like I've lost that perk. I've got tater to show for it, which is fabulous. But shouldn't there be more things only pregnant women are allowed to do, to make up a bit of the difference? Pregnancy perks, if you will. So far, I've discovered few item to put on that list. One, to be exact: Walk around in public with your pants undone. However, I'm considering another: Get out of [insert undesirable task]. I'll explain.

I had a dentist appointment today. I hate the dentist. This likely stems from a childhood of endless dental problems, despite being a dedicated little brusher. Morning and night I would stand at the sink, alligator-handle toothbrush at the ready, and give my pearly whites a thorough cleaning. Every once in a while I would chew those disgusting tablets that show what plaque you missed, longing to find that I'd pulled off a flawless brushing job. I was desperate to perfect my oral hygiene regime. Meanwhile, my little brother would go days without picking up his toothbrush. Yet every time we went to our awesome childhood dentist, guess who would go home with the "no cavities" sticker and an extra toy from the treasure trove cabinet? I'm not even sure I got a sticker, but if I did, it said something like, "Fewer cavities than last time." Oh the sorrow. And it didn't end at childhood. I brush and floss daily, but my first trip to the dentist in Seattle revealed an urgent need to put in nine, NINE, new fillings. Five replacements and four new cavities. We split it into two appointments, one of which was three hours long. It was agony.

So, when I moved back to Chicago, I wasn't eager to find a new dentist. But it seemed wise when I started my job and had dental insurance again. Six months ago, I went for my initial appointment. Lots of x-rays + a thorough cleaning. I left in tears. Turns out they have recently invented a new dental torture instrument -- the vibrating pick. My mouth is not a fan.

At that first appointment, my new dentist told me that I should meet with an oral surgeon to see about having my lower wisdom teeth extracted. I shuddered. This likely will not come as a surprise: my first wisdom teeth extraction did not go well. It also ended in tears. I was 21, and the dentist put me in a headlock to get a solid hold on each tooth. Then he wrenched them out, only to let them FALL ONTO MY TONGUE and remain there for a few seconds before retrieving them. Oh it was horrible. So the thought of going through anything wisdom-teeth-related did not sit well with me. Thus, I took the referral card, tacked it to my to-do cork board, and promptly began ignoring it.

Today went considerably better. The hygienist remembered how much I hated the electronic torture pick and did the cleaning by hand. (She even asked at the end if it went better, recalling that I expressed extreme displeasure at the end of our last appointment. I don't remember sharing my thoughts with her, but Brad assures me that I likely did.) When the doctor looked me over, he asked if I had scheduled the appointment with his wisdom tooth pall. "Well, because I'm pregnant, I thought it would be best to put that off." Low and behold, he AGREED.

So. No whirlyball, but pregnancy won me a stay from wisdom teeth extraction hell. Hallelujah.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

we want a picture, not a belly itcher!

Earlier this year I was at a Sox game, and I asked Brad how "we want a pitcher, not a belly itcher" ever made sense as a chant. It's bothered me for years.

Robin: "What the heck tate is a belly itcher?"
Brad: "It's a rhyme. You're overthinking it."
Robin: "But how is a belly itcher ever an option at a baseball game? It's illogical."
Brad: "Shhh. Watch the game."

Before you start thinking Brad always has the right idea, we were sitting in the Jim Beam box for this particular game. Fancy pants. When we walked in, the partner who invited us told Brad he could order anything he wanted from the bar. Brad sauntered up and ordered a Jack and Coke. "Anything but that."

Anyhoo. I've since figured out that a belly itcher is a pregnant woman. The belly grows and it itches. And a pitcher would probably be preferable to a pregnant lady in a baseball game situation. Puzzle solved!

On to the pictures, as promised! Here are the first official belly shots. Also, the first official shots of the new hair. Two-for-one.

So, it doesn't look like much. But I switched my closets today -- spring/summer into the guest bedroom and fall/winter into our bedroom. Made the mistake of trying on my fall/winter bottoms, and found a grand total of two items that would zip and clasp (and I would not describe either as flattering, just slightly less obscene). I had hoped to avoid the maternity sections for a few more weeks, but if I want to wear jeans or cords anytime soon, it's necessary. Mag Mile Gap, here I come.

To lessen the blow, we pulled out the Halloween decorations. Our house is covered in pumpkins, as it should be. What pants problem?