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Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in photos

It's the last day of what has turned into a very interesting year for us, with nearly nothing going as we had envisioned at the end of 2008. We moved to Chicago in a raging snowstorm and things have just kept on howling ever since.

To recap a few of the more interesting events of the past year:

1. A foot of snow fell the day we moved into our new condo and that was our first introduction to the stalwartness of Chicagoans. Our movers didn't bat an eye about moving in 10k lbs of furniture over 10 hours up 2 flights of stairs in the snow.

2. We hosted friends and family in our new home for nine out of the twelve months we've lived here and we are hoping to do the same in 2010 so get on our calendar now as we would love to see you!

3. Our last pet, Charis, passed away just a few weeks before her 16th birthday. We miss her dearly.

4. We celebrated 20 years of marriage in June, the day after we found out we were pregnant for the 5th time. Although we did not celebrate that fact at the time (based on past experience) we have been surprised, amazed, and grateful since then that this pregnancy is seeming to defy the odds. I am 34 weeks pregnant today.

5. Len's new job has turned out to be quite gratifying. He developed and taught a speechwriting workshop to about 60 colleagues in both Seattle and DC this year.

6. In between my bouts with pregnancy nausea and exhaustion we managed to take in a few of Chicago's attractions including the Air and Boat show, Chinatown, Graceland Cemetary tour, Jazz Festival, Architectural River Cruise, the Art Institute, Shedd Aquarium, the zoo, a concert or two or three, and several theatre performances. In addition I took a few art classes and kept up with yoga and bellydancing.

7. We took several trips this year to Florida, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle and DC.

My mom was just here for the Christmas holiday. She helped us finish organizing and cleaning up the nursery. Pictures of that final product will be forthcoming in another post. Len is installing a new closet system as I work on this post.

It's been one hell of a year here and we are grateful that we have the means to pay for our home, our car and this new baby we hope to welcome in February. Thank you to all of you who log on to follow our story and for those hoping to adopt from Nepal or China, a special wish that 2010 will bring home those little ones.



The music on the video is Let Go by Frou Frou.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

An early Christmas present...

This has been an eventful week leading up to the holidays. When last we met, I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of our friends Spiff and Paul from DC and looking forward to the new Cirque show, Banana Shpeel. Alas, the STORM OF THE CENTURY (that didn't arrive in DC until late Friday/early Saturday) caused American Airlines to cancel their 3pm flight out of DC on Friday....before the first flake had even fallen! Of course, the flight that they moved them to on Saturday was canceled as well. So, no house guests this past weekend and, as a bonus, no Cirque show either. Spiff had the tickets and even though he sent them out Friday via Fed Ex, overnight with Saturday delivery before 10am, they didn't make it to us until Monday after 11am. So Spiff's birthday celebration was held in DC in the snow and we had to content ourselves with a happy birthday phone call.

Sunday we went to Daley Plaza for the Christkindlmarket which is a fabulous place to find unique gifts and get some good, warm food. It is mostly Germanic but I did get a nice warm knit hat from a Nepali vendor. The colors of the yarns were beautiful and made me wish we were actually in Nepal shopping and seeing the sights instead of still in Chicago. That dream seems like a lost cause at the moment...there is still no movement at all with Nepali adoptions, much to the dismay of everyone hoping for some good holiday news.

In spite of the thwarted visit from our friends and the lack of news out of Nepal (or China for that matter) I did get an early Christmas gift from my midwife this week. Because I'm doing so well keeping my blood sugar numbers stable, I only have to test 2 times a day now instead of 4. I will still need to do a test run of all 4 numbers twice a week but at least for the other 5 days I only have to stick myself twice a day. My weight remained the same but I am measuring on track for 32+ weeks. The baby is head down, facing my back which is great. She is also quite active now, usually kicking me a good 10 times in less than 5 minutes, poking her butt out and causing quite an unusual lump in my upper ribs or bulging her head out of my lower abdomen.

I am continuing with prenatal yoga class and have started going to the gym and walking on the treadmill which is mind-numbingly, dreadfully boring I don't know how people do that regularly! for 30 minutes. I was supposed to do an hour today but my back and I must confess, my interest and patience could only take 30 minutes. I need to find some classes to take there to break up the monotony...

Starting now at 32+ weeks, my midwife suggested I start drinking raspberry leaf tea to help strengthen my uterus and then at 36 weeks, add evening primrose oil capsules to my regimen to help my cervix "ripen" and get ready for labor. I happen to already have those items b/c oddly enough, they were prescribed as part of the holistic treatment for my infertility as well.

We are looking forward to my mom's arrival here tomorrow (barring any more snow events) and a white Christmas for Chicago! We've had snow most of today but Chicago seems more equipped to handle it than DC. I will wrap this up so I can finish working on our Christmas cards so they may actually make it to our friends/family before the new year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

8 MONTHS!



That's right ladies and gentlemen, I have made it to 8 months. Kicking and screaming but still...

And I got some good news from my midwife at today's checkup. My blood glucose levels are looking good (even the fasting number in the morning) so, for now, no referral to the high-risk specialist for me! In order to obtain the good fasting level I am setting the alarm to go off at 12:30am and going to the kitchen for a snack. This totally sucks as I am not a night-time eater but hey, if it keeps me out of the high-risk category, sacrifices must be made. It's just another piece of evidence I will use when she becomes a teenager and says that I'm making her life miserable as in, Honey you have no idea what misery is, let me tell you about when I was pregnant with you...

I gained back the 1/2 lb I lost last week so I'm holding again at 13 1/2 lbs gained thus far. Baby's heartbeat and measurement still sounded/looked good and my blood pressure is still stellar so no worries there either.

I joined a gym (ugh) that is attached to the hospital so at least now I can combine a workout day with my prenatal visits and get free parking in the hospital garage. They validate at the gym but not for doctor's appointments...go figure. They have some prenatal aqua classes that I may add to my repertoire if I can manage to psych myself into putting on a bathing suit...no pictures will be forthcoming from that adventure however.

I have started having Braxton-Hicks contractions in the evenings when I've been on my feet for too long. I wasn't sure what was going on so I described it to the midwife and she said that's what it was, told me what to look out for in case of pre-term labor, etc. Looks like I have another reason to not do housework!

We have guests coming in tomorrow for the weekend (Spiff and Paul) and then my mom comes in for the holidays for a week. Really looking forward to having some company--and getting some help from my mom in finalizing the nursery.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Baby Shower Part 3

These are photos that our friend Bill, a professional photographer, took for us. Len met him when he worked at NASA. We were so thrilled that he came out to the VA 'burbs in the snow to take photos for us.

Baby Shower Part 2

Laurie and Maggie put together the nicest shower and I cannot thank them enough for all of their hard work. Thanks Maggie and Wheez for the pictures!

Monday, December 14, 2009

BOO!

Len has always taken great delight in helping me get rid of hiccups. Normally, he looks for an opportune moment to jump out from behind a door while simultaneously yelling "BOO!" Then he cackles merrily while asking "Did it work?" As you can imagine, I find this less than endearing even if it does sometimes work.

As an aside, it also encourages me to work on my kegels.

Lately, the baby has been getting hiccups quite a bit. Now Len has a new victim. This morning we were both sitting having breakfast when the baby hiccups started. With the hiccups comes lots of pushing and shoving as she tries to get rid of them herself in-utero. This results in large, strange bumps and contortions on my stomach that are quite amazing to look at but are also just a bit uncomfortable.

So, Len, ever the helpful husband, reached over, put his hand on the giant lump on my stomach and yelled "BOO!" And it worked.

Like he needed more encouragement.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

31 weeks

I finally remembered that I could take a picture using the timer function on the camera so here is the latest bump picture taken today--31 weeks.

I had another prenatal appointment today and there was good and bad news. First the bad: they are not happy with my fasting glucose numbers and I have only 1 week to fix it or I will be referred to a high-risk specialist which also means insulin injections. I was 50/50 for the numbers last week so I plead the case that I was traveling and eating baby shower cake, etc. and got a reprieve.

The good news: the rest of my numbers are "acceptable" so she feels that with the following modifications I can get my fasting number under control. What are the modifications? Eating a late night snack of protein and carbs (which I did last night and had a stellar number) and walking DAILY FOR AT LEAST ONE HOUR. Have I mentioned that currently it is 6 degrees outside with a wind chill in the negative digits, not to mention the hazards of icy patches on the sidewalk? So looks like I will be joining a gym. I really am not much of a gym rat (despite all the dusty gym memberships that I purchased under well-intentioned New Year's resolutions).

The other good news from my appointment today was that my blood pressure was "beautiful" so Yay! no pre-eclampsia for now! I did lose 1/2 pound in the last 2 weeks (must be the lack of carbs) so my total weight gain for these 31 weeks is holding at 13 lbs. My belly is measuring between 31-32 cm so still ok there--and there was a foot in the way during measuring today which indicated that she was head down. Her heartrate sounded good and was located down low in my abdomen--another indication that she is in a good position.

It is a little daunting to think that I am only 9 weeks away from this finally being over. I am so ready for this pregnancy to end and yet, I am so not ready (no pediatrician lined up, no curtains in the room, NO DIAPERS!).

Seems hard to believe that after all these years we may actually find ourselves parents. It would still be a dream even now if we were waiting for those interminable adoptions to come through...Nepal's latest rumor is that they may begin doing something anything! after the first of the year. There has been nothing substantial happening there for PAP's since September. China just finished matching dossiers that were logged in in March 2006--a full year and one month behind our LID.

Based on the uncertain nature of our quest for children, I won't feel fully at ease until she is out of me and I can see her breathe. For now I have to settle for the occasional foot or butt poking its way through my stomach.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Baby shower Part 1

This weekend Len and I flew to DC for our baby shower. I cannot thank Laurie and Maggie enough for putting together a wonderful afternoon for us. I had started to become rather "homesick" for friends so it was so nice to be able to see many of you this weekend. The decorations were beautiful and THE CAKE was amazing--will be sure to post pictures of the cake--three layers of yummy goodness all topped with buttercream (and yet my blood sugar level was fine that evening but more on that later).

And I must give a special thank you to those of you who came out to the shower in what DC people might consider a massive snowstorm (my definition of a snowstorm has been greatly altered since moving to Chicago). Although Friday and Sunday were quite beautiful weather-wise, Saturday started out gray and snowy and continued snowing ALL DAY. I think there was easily 3" at Maggie's house by the time we left around 5pm. And gratefully, all but one person who had rsvp'd made it! So again, it was balm to my soul to be able to see everyone again--my sister-in-law Wheez even flew in from Atlanta to attend!

I am still working on putting together a photo montage of the event. Maggie took some photos with our camera and Wheez took a bunch more with hers. We also were gifted with professional photos from Bill (one of Len's former co-workers from NASA) who came out and set up his gear to take photos of us and our guests before the festivities began.

So since there is no bump photo update, I will update you on the bump's progress otherwise. I am starting to feel large tight lumps in various locations and when I rub them, they move to another location. I guess there is less and less room in there so her butt tends to poke out a bit for a bit of rubbing. I think she is head down because the stronger kicks and larger bump, ie her hiney, are usually located in my upper right side and the little hip tickles and smaller bump, her head?, are located in the lower left hip area.

As for the diabetes update, things are not as rosy. My afternoon numbers are usually great--no worries there. But my pre-breakfast and after breakfast numbers continue to be above the recommended range. The nurse suggested that I start eating something in the middle of the night so I had some crackers around 4am this morning but that only made the number higher. The 2-3 days when the number was acceptable was when I ate both carbs and protein around midnight because we were in DC and talking all night with Laurie. I am normally in bed by 9-10pm so it will be a challenge to get back up to eat. The only alternative though is an insulin shot (they won't let me take pills--I did check!) in the morning. But that means I am labeled high-risk and transferred to the OBs care so I guess I'll be eating at midnight this week to try to stabilize the numbers.

I hope to have some pics up by this weekend so be sure to check back for those!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sage advice

It's funny that as I get closer to actually being a mom, how much more alike in thinking I become to my own mother. I remember as a teenager thinking (and probably shouting on more than one occasion), "When I have kids, I will NEVER (fill in the blank with whatever she was denying me that I just HAD TO HAVE RIGHT THEN)."

Now that I find myself faced with raising my own daughter, I think ahead to what kind of person I hope to raise and how to do that without losing my own sanity or going broke. I was the "Queen of Why?" and also, "But My Best Friend Got To Do X or Has X So Why Can't I?"

For example, I'm sure all of us have heard at some point in our lives, Because I said so, that's why. Isn't that just the most infuriating thing you can possibly hear?? I thought so. And until recently, I vowed I would never utter those words. Then I read this blog post and it got me to thinking, Hmmm, maybe my mom was onto something.

Specifically, Amy (the blogger) quotes from another source this little gem:

...reasoning is not a way to get your child to obey. All those “why’s” are just ways to break us down. In fact, a survey found that kids will beg for something an average of nine times before the parents give in. So if we really believe in something, the trick is to steel up our iron wills and be prepared to stand firm.

Although there are many times when I wish we had done the whole pregnancy/child-rearing thing about 15 years ago, I don't think I would have made as good a mom as I will now. I was still too selfish, still too concerned with my own needs and wants, and I'm sure I would have been that woman we've all heard in the store explaining on at length to little Jimmy why the 10 bags of candy he's clutching in his hands are not good for Jimmy's wittle tummy. All before little Jimmy pitches a huge fit and ends up scoring at least a couple of fists of candy.

I know I will make many mistakes (hey, she will need something to tell her therapist in 20 years) but I hope that I can have half the wisdom that my mom did. I'm sure there will be things that I do differently because we are blending two learned-parenting styles (Len's family wasn't half as strict as ours) and some things may work one time that never seem to work again. I know how incredibly hard this job is going to be.

But, I have had a fabulous role model who I can always call for advice. And when said advice is given and I ask, But why, Mom? sometimes I know her answer will be Because I said so, that's why.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nepal news update

Still no good news out of Nepal. This came from our agency this morning:

I wish there was more of an update but it appears there is still problems within the ministry getting the process moving. Staff has been transferred and the ministry has not been meeting on a regular basis. There are no timelines for anything.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Free Range Kids

Len sent me a link a while back about "America's Worst Mom". You may have heard of her too. She was the woman who let her 9 year old son ride the NYC subway....alone...and then wrote an article in the NY Sun about it. She was unprepared for the firestorm to follow that article, much less the above-mentioned title she would receive.

So she has started a blog to address, as she puts it:

Children, like chickens, deserve a life outside the cage. The overprotected life is stunting and stifling, not to mention boring for all concerned.

She addresses what has become known as helicopter parenting; those hovering, over-anxious specimens that you see who are raising equally neurotic children. I've often thought about what kind of mother I will make (10 full months of being pregnant gives you a lot of time to ponder that topic). I truly hope I won't be the mom who has to put her baby (still in the car seat) on top of the dining table for fear that someone might drop a fork on them in the restaurant (yes, I have been at said table with those people).

I have added her blog to the blogroll on the right side of my blog if you are interested or you can click on the underlined link above. What do you think?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Breathing (and much less cussing)

Breathing again.

Not the short, shallow, hyperventilating breaths of last week.

It's really good to have friends and family don't you agree? That fact was not lost on me last week. The emails and blog comments and phone calls from you all have helped my blood pressure tremendously (staving off pre-eclampsia as a by-product). Even my doula called me today and maybe it's because she's very motherly and has helped to deliver hundreds of babies or maybe because she seemed quite non-plussed by the news, I am feeling not so panicky about my situation.

I meet with the diabetes counselor tomorrow morning and get the joy of learning how to stab myself in the finger 4 times/day. I'm hoping I can finagle Len into doing it at least during the times he's home from work. Oh dear, that sounds like I want him to take his blood reading in place of me...hmmm, not a bad plan since his blood sugar is normal. No, I just want him to pull the trigger on the lancet that will slice into my finger. It'll be just like old times from 2 years ago when he would stick a long needle into my stomach every night for fertility treatments.

We forgot to do a baby bump picture this weekend (or maybe it was the permanent frown on my face that deterred Len from suggesting it) so we will try to get one this week.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Trying oh so hard to be thankful....

FFFFFFUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, in case that wasn't a giveaway, I did indeed fail the 3 hour glucose test and I officially have gestational diabetes. Because my body seems determined to give me every negative pregnancy symptom and make me hate every minute of this journey.

I have to go in next Tuesday for diabetic counseling and get a fucking monitor (I might want to mention right here that I will probably be cussing a lot more than normal--sorry if that offends but I don't have the where-with-all right now to come up with something more eloquent to express my extreme unhappiness) wherein I have to prick my finger (yay, more needles for me!) before breakfast and then after EVERY FUCKING MEAL to see if I can control it with diet. Have I mentioned that I eat every 2 fucking hours to control the nausea??

Now let me just say right here that I have had an aversion to sweet things during most of this pregnancy and have only imbibed on very rare occasions like when we have company. At my last appointment I had gained 5 lbs in the past month (for a total weight gain this pregnancy of 13.5 lbs) and was measuring right on track at 28 cm. Seems like none of that really affects whether or not I have gest. diabetes.

Bottom line for me is that if I cannot manage to control it and get my numbers down, I will get transferred out of the midwife group and back to the ob's and be classified "high-risk".

And just to add another bit of bleak news to this already crappy post (Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!), I got a phone call last night informing me that the tour of the birth center I signed up for next month is cancelled and that there will be no tours of the birthing center AT ALL UNTIL MID-APRIL because of the fucking H1N1 scare. Oh, and no one is allowed to be there with me except Len (I have to get a special pass for my doula) at any time during or after birth (i.e. no visitors). So, I have never been to the birthing center, have no idea what the rooms are like, etc. and now I get to go in blind while I'm having contractions and hope I can relax enough to keep labor moving in a strange environment that I've never seen.

I'm trying not to read about all the other dire things that can happen in the last trimester (pre-eclampsia, early labor, etc) for fear that my body will get more ideas. Can I even just say how really pissed off I am right now? I don't care about the diabetic diet, I can do that, I just really don't want to have to poke needles in my fingers every time I eat for the next THREE FUCKING MONTHS. I really thought I was done with the needle thing when we stopped fertility treatments.

In a supreme effort to not shit on your Thanksgiving completely, I will now attempt to find some things to be thankful for..............................................................................................
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the baby is still kicking which means I haven't managed to kill her, Len is home from work early on Thanksgiving eve, our friend Karen and her sister Debbie are coming over to share the holiday with us (and bringing the turkey!), and I won't have the monitor yet so I guess that means I can have some stuffing.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and thankyouverymuch for letting me vent (and for putting up with my adolescent colorful expressions of my fear and anger). I do know there is a lot more in my life to be thankful for but at this moment I am blinded by the prospect of more needles for the next three months.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This is why I never gamble

Good News: I have weaned myself off of the anti-nausea meds! The final push off the cliff was a recent ad I saw on tv for the drug I was taking. Fortunately, I only took this particular drug for less than 3 months and haven't noticed any twitching or random movements so I shouldn't need to join in the lawsuit.

Bad News: I failed (miserably) the 1 hour glucose tolerance test. I had to go back in today for the 3 hour glucose challenge. Fun times. First I got to fast for 12 hours (having just gone off the aforementioned anti-nausea meds, this was poor planning on my part), then have my finger pricked to be sure I could handle the 100g of sugar water I had to drink. I passed that test, had the first of 4 blood draws and chugged my orange breakfast drink in less than the allotted 5 minutes.

Three hours later I was sleepy (although it had the opposite effect on the baby who was kicking and spinning around like I had just given her crack) and starving. I wolfed down a ham and cheese sandwich from the hospital cafeteria and headed home for a nap.

I hope to have the results by tonight or tomorrow and I'm really hoping that I pass this one. Usually only 4% of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes. Considering I had less than a 1% chance of conceiving and carrying a child, the odds don't look good for me.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I was made an honest woman in Target

It finally happened...my size 6 wedding ring no longer fits. Actually, it's been a few weeks now. It's not a huge deal except that when we go out, I keep feeling like something is missing and then I have a momentary panic attack when I notice my ring is gone until I realize that I left it at home.

The problem was solved at Target this weekend when Len agreed to present me with a new ring, thus taking care of my momentary panic attacks and legitimizing our child. And it cost him a lot less this second time around--only $20.99 at the jewelry case! Behold, the new size 7 cubic zirconia.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The last few miles...

Back in 1998, I temporarily lost my mind and signed up to run the Marine Corps. Marathon in DC. I had not been a runner prior to this and I have not done any running to speak of since then but I was new to DC and I thought it would serve several purposes: I would lose weight, meet some new friends and fulfill my New Year's resolution to raise money for a charity, in this case the Whitman Walker AIDS Clinic.

As I was crossing the 14th Street Bridge, which is around Mile 20-22, I had to jump over someone who had collapsed and was throwing up (the medics were on the way so please don't think I was THAT callous). But as I crossed that bridge I remember thinking, "OMG, I think I might make it to the finish line!"

For those unfamiliar with this particular race, the last 1/2 mile or so is straight up the hill to the Iwo Jima memorial, I think one of the few hills on the race. Nice planning huh? But in that last bit, my stamina returned and I sprinted up that hill like I had not already been on the course for half of the day. The feeling I had when I saw the Marines and my friends cheering me on was amazing, one I will never forget.

And that is exactly how I feel now: exhausted, achy, hungry, thirsty, but "OMG, I think I might make it to the finish line!" I hit 7 months this week--officially in the last trimester.




I think this experience will be very much like that marathon experience: I have never done anything like this before and I don't plan on doing it again (there will probably be a vasectomy post in the next several months if it makes it past the "Len censor"...) but I feel my mental energy is returning now that the end is in sight. Like the marathon, I have my team of cheerleaders in place (Len, a doula, my midwives, our family and friends) and we are preparing for that final sprint up the hill to the finish line.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gifts and another nursery sneak peek


This was a week of fun surprises from the mailman. Thank you to Nancy H., Rebecca, Rachel, Nancy M., Julie and Shannon for all of the wonderful baby clothes, toys, crib gear, bath stuff, etc. We never cease to be amazed at the generosity of our friends--and we miss you all greatly.

Today I had an electrician here to finally have some new light fixtures installed. The first was a ceiling fan for our bedroom. Then a fabulous fixture for over the dining room table and finally, a new chandelier for the nursery. I will post pictures of those after I clean up the rooms and make them picture-worthy...

In the meantime, here is another small peek at the work in progress in the nursery. I have not put the rug down yet and I still haven't found a curtain that I like...Mom? Feel like sewing? :-)


In other news, our downstairs neighbor just had a baby girl this morning so looks like our baby will have a playmate. I am officially in my third trimester (I KNOW...RIGHT?!) and we will be posting another bump picture this weekend. She is quite active now and although we have yet to capture it on film, my stomach entertains us with strange jumps and ripples after dinner now. My next prenatal appointment is on Monday and then I start going every 2 weeks. At this appointment I should get the results of my latest blood work and glucose challenge test that I took this week. Hopefully all will still continue to be "abnormally" normal.

As for the adoptions, China is still a long-ass wait and since we don't have to do any paperwork to keep in the queue we aren't too worried about it. Nepal has still shown no movement either with giving travel approval to those families matched back in September or in sending out the rumored referrals that have already been matched. It's an excruciating time for Nepali PAPs because no one seems to really know what is going on, including the agencies.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

27 weeks and some Seattle pics

Just because Len is getting the shaft with pictures on the blog since he's not pregnant, here's one I took of him yesterday near Montrose Beach here in Chicago.


Here is the baby bump at 27 weeks.


The view I normally have when I look down--puts things in perspective doesn't it?? My feet and legs are long gone...


Seattle's Pike Place Market area.


Puget Sound


More Pike Place Market




Our views from the Westin (since the last time we were there, a condo building has gone up and blocked most of the view).





Saturday, November 14, 2009

I wonder if she's contagious?

Want to guarantee an empty seat next to you on your next flight with Southwest?



It really didn't occur to me that people would think I was the one who was contagious...I was just trying to keep from getting H1N1 on the flight to/from Seattle. Since we were fairly near the front of the plane and there would be streams of people filing past, I put on the mask and then realized I'd found my seatmate repellent. I wish we had gotten pictures of people's faces when they would notice the mask...it would start out hopeful as they would see a seat near the front, then they would glance to see who they would have to sit next to. It was almost better than having a screaming baby as a deterrent.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No timeline for Nepal adoptions to resume....yet again

We received another update from our Nepal adoption agency today and it was not good:

It appears that Nepal is in another state of unrest. According to her contact in Nepal today, the government is fighting with the Maoists again and a new government is in the process of being formed. Government offices are closed and people are striking in all parts of the country. There is no timeline for adoptions to resume at this moment. I will let you know when situation improves.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Food, beds, boats and airplanes

Apparently my reference to Seattle via multiple piercings and dreadlocks escaped a few of you as I received questions on why it was not mentioned directly in my post. My apologies...I thought mentioning Seattle was enough.

Today the sun is shining and I'm trying to figure out if my sciatica will allow me to walk where I want to go or if I should just take a cab. Last night we went to the Dahlia Lounge for dinner. Fortunately it is only a block or so from the Westin since it was raining quite a bit again.

Tonight we are meeting up with Debbie and going to Barrio Restaurant on Capitol Hill. Tomorrow's plan before flying home is to go to Boeing Field and the Museum of Flight. Did you know that Boeing used to make bedroom furniture and boats? When aircraft sales soared after WWI, Bill Boeing decided it would "behoove us to keep our shop occupied with work of a character other than airplanes."

Off to get a shower and move on with my day. Happy Veteran's Day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rain, multiple piercings and dreadlocks

Yep, we're in Seattle for a few days which is why there is no recent baby bump photo. Len is teaching a two day seminar on speech writing to the communication's team here. We arrived yesterday and spent a portion of the afternoon at Pike Place Market sampling the wares. Len then needed to do some work and I needed a nap before dinner so we came back to the Westin and relaxed for a few hours. Sadly, we forgot our camera on that jaunt so no pics of the rain-soaked adventure.

We met up with a previous co-worker of Len's, Brian and his wife Audrey, who lived in DC, currently live here, but are moving back to DC in January. They suggested a fabulous place for dinner--The Flying Fish and we had a great time with them catching up and eating yummy Northwestern seafood.

Today was the first of Len's seminars for beginning speech writers so I spent part of the day shopping for an outfit for the baby shower and having lunch. Then the rain picked up so I ducked into an exhibition that I had wanted to see when it was in DC but missed--Bodies: The Exhibition. I ended up spending several hours in this as it was so fascinating. There was a small section that contained fetus's that had died or miscarried from 5 weeks up to 30 weeks. To see the tiny individual fingers and toes at 9-10 weeks old was amazing. I also got to see up close what happens to your internal organs when you are pregnant and your uterus takes over your entire torso (it's not pretty and explains a lot like acid reflux, constipation, no room for food, constant need to pee, etc).

The rain had let up by the time I got out so I stopped in to a small cafe for a snack and some hot tea. And now I think another nap is in order before Len finishes work and we head to dinner.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hiccups

This morning was the first time I felt something that wasn't quite a kick, a flipping around or a nudge. It was rhythmic and was taking place directly in the center of my stomach, about an inch up from my flattening bellybutton. It looked like a heartbeat. Len had not yet left for work so he actually got to feel what turned out to be baby hiccups. I had just finished drinking a glass of juice and I guess I gulped it down too fast for her...

She also has this thing where I feel like my hip bone is being tickled from the inside. Whenever I lay on my side, I get this strange sensation like tiny fingers are playing the piano right on my hipbone. I'm not sure if she's bracing herself from sliding too far to the left or right or if she's just found a new toy to wrap her fingers around but it sure does feel odd.

My prenatal appointment was this morning. I have gained another 1 1/2 lbs for this month bringing my total weight gain to 8 1/2 lbs for this whole pregnancy. Guess that's what happens when you A) had some weight to lose to begin with and B) throw up for several months. Happily, my stomach is measuring right on track, 26 cm, and her heart rate was normal and sounded strong.

There appears to be some good news on the Nepal front. For now, the Maoists are bowing to global pressure and have said they will not barricade the International Airport in Kathmandu as previously threatened. The economic harm it will do during the tourist high season seems to have over-ridden their political agenda. The US Embassy is still saying that the Children's Ministry is up and running and should be sending out the promised matches that were said to have been completed and sent out months ago but they did insert a CYA note indicating that with the current political crisis, no one knows for sure what is being done. We're all hoping the former is true--there are a lot of hearts on the line right now waiting both for travel approval on previous matches and to receive a match at all.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Payback for Halloween Fun


Back in my first trimester when I still believed all the assurances that my second trimester would be a time full of renewed energy and big appetites, I signed us up for a 2+ hour guided walking tour of Graceland Cemetary for Halloween Day.

Yeah.

Two hours and 20 minutes later on what turned out to be a blustery, cloudy, cold morning, my sciatica was screaming and I needed a snack and a nap. However, we did get some nice photos of some of the more impressive monuments to the dead and they are in the slideshow above.

The tour was promptly followed by something, anything warm and readily available for immediate consumption so we found a lovely cafe serving homemade soup and sandwiches nearby. The rest of the afternoon was spent errand-running, some of it for fun stuff, some of it not. By the evening I was craving spicy Indian food so we went to one of our favorite restaurants on Devon Street, Udupi Palace, and we feasted on spicy curried veggies and uthappam (which is a pancake made of rice and lentils and stuffed with all sorts of veggies and served with coconut chutney and sambar). Because it was a slow night (Halloween and all) we got the attention of the owner who brought us some extra little dishes from the kitchen to try out like a spicy potato mixture and a pickled lemon which Len really liked.

Guess who also liked the spicy meal and stayed up from 11pm-5am doing somersaults in my belly? And guess who was snoring away, blissfully asleep, from 11pm-8am? (hint: not me)

Sunday I felt like I had a hangover all day. My hips were throbbing, my stomach was recovering (I still have no regrets--that meal was FANTASTIC), and my head felt like the day after a really good Mardi Gras party (but without all the yummy hurricane drinks...).

We got a lovely surprise in the mail from my friend Stacy who I met in DC but who now lives in sunny CA. Our baby's library is expanding! Thanks so much Stacy for sending some of Annie and Ivan's favorite books.


This week's belly bump update picture looks really large to me. Week 26. My next prenatal appointment is tomorrow and I'll be interested to see how much weight I've gained. It sure feels and looks like a lot!


That picture was also another peek at the nursery which is coming along. Len worked a good bit on it yesterday but we still have yet to clean out the closet and find a suitable window treatment.

As for what's going on in Nepal, the Maoists are making good on their threat to hold protests but so far there are no reports of outright violence. We shall see if anything happens to change the Nov. 10th deadline when the Maoists say they will shut down the International Airport. One of the people on my yahoo group reported that their agency had been in contact with the Ministry in Nepal and had received assurances that all of the matching process for all dossiers logged in in 2009 would be completed by the end of this year. I think there must have been some problem in translation or, if not, a good bit of wishful thinking. There are over 60 agencies registered in Nepal and each agency was allotted 10 dossiers for the year. That means there are over 600 dossiers at the Ministry. Considering they have matched less than 50 so far and it's already November...you do the math.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I used to like jigsaw puzzles

I haven't posted much on the international adoption front lately because there really hasn't been much to report. We are 30 months into our wait to adopt from China and the latest report from our agency last week is that the wait is still holding at 43-44 months which means we still have over a year more to wait.

Nepal has been celebrating their festivals (which I wrote about quite a lot last year when we were told it could be any day now, right after festival season so you will forgive me for not rehashing it again). And now, right as everyone is getting their hopes up that new referrals will be sent, there is chaos in Kathmandu again.

My senses went on alert last week when I talked to our agency. It was the first time that she didn't sound optimistic about the program, about the ability of the country to make this new system of adoption work. I was surprised mainly because for 18 months now we've been hearing nothing but any day now, soon, certainly by next month, after the festivals, at the first of the year, etc. It was nothing she overtly said, to be sure, but I have learned over the years that when something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't and the underlying feeling I got was that for us, a Nepal adoption will probably not ever happen. Certainly, our pregnancy complicates matters but even if we weren't expecting this child, I didn't get the impression that we would be holding our Nepali child in our arms at any near point in the future.

And the latest news in the Nepali press does not bode well. One of the members of my Nepal adoption yahoo group did a very nice summary of the past year's worth of government turmoil and the current situation:

The current form of government in Nepal was established after the deposing of the King, etc in 2007. In the last elections (April 2008), the Maoists won the highest number of civilian votes, but did not have enough to form a majority party on their own, so they formed a coalition with a few smaller parties and one larger one. In April of this year, the Maoist Prime Minister made a daring move by firing the head of the Army, at which time the other major party in that coalition left in protest and joined the second largest party. Hence, a new "government" was established last May (a new ruling coalition).

Maoist Prime Minister Dahal was forced to
resign and a new PM was appointed by the new coalition--PM Nepal. All the former Maoist-appointed ministers had to surrender their positions and it took the new government over four months to appoint new ministers from among the VIPs of the new coalition of parties. From May until September of this year, when a new Minister was finally appointed, adoptions were stalled again. Since May, the Maoists have been protesting and will not allow the cabinet to work--except for a short period of time last summer. The Maoists are angry that they were the most popularly elected party and yet they are out of authority. They were the revolutionaries that caused the death of tens of thousands of civilians in the past dozen or so years, and they continue to have an army (although currently "monitored" by the United Nations) and thousands of angry "cadres" in the outlying villages who pour into Katmandu and rally in the streets, block entrances to government buildings, and cause trouble. These demonstrations have become progressively more violent, particularly in the villages.

This latest threat is for a 15 day protest beginning on 2 November.
During that time, the Maoists are threatening to shut down the government and the international airport. Already, they have paralyzed the cabinet to the point that it has not been able to pass a budget and many government workers have not been paid. The Maoists are full of rhetoric, but this time they are calling for a peoples revolt to return the government to "civilian
supremacy". They have made a group of demands, including overturning the President's reinstatement of the head of the army (a challenge to the authority of the current President), the resignation of the current Prime Minister and the transfer of the government back into their hands.

The United States is very concerned this time and has urged both
parties to come up with a negotiated compromise. In the past few months, compromises have been made and revolution has been averted, but each time the stakes seem to be higher. Several people I know who live in Nepal expect the current government to succumb to the Maoists. If this happens, the adoption law is still law, but the Maoists will have to start over with staffing the Ministry and it is up to the new staff how things would proceed.

You can also read about it online here, here and here.

I have met so many people through the Nepal program and to hear of yet more instability in the program is just heartbreaking. Several people currently have a match with a child but have not received travel approval to get their child and this latest unrest does not bode well that they will travel soon.

I was having lunch with a friend this week and she was asking about this child in my body and whether or not I could picture her. It's funny because when I think of our child, I still picture brown eyes, brown skin, Asian features. I suspect that Len and I will be in for a bit of an adjustment when she emerges pale, Caucasian and probably hairy. What will have been the purpose of us pursuing this adoption and going through the grueling task of paperwork and invasive home studies, not to mention the writing of large checks only to be left with....what? Heartbreak for the Nepali girl we will never have met?

For now, I see no rhyme or reason for these past 4-5 years of my life. I can see both good things (my friendships with the people in the adoption community, a better understanding of and appreciation for family, just how good we have it here in the US) and the bad things (constant worry that this pregnancy will not sustain itself, dashed dreams for the children we had hoped to have, the strain that infertility can wreak on a very strong marriage).

For now, it is a jigsaw puzzle with no edges and several missing pieces.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Snap, Crackle, Pop!

Before I get on to today’s post, didn't anyone notice that the white shirt I had on in my last bump picture is the same shirt I also have on for our blog profile picture taken sometime last year? I just thought I’d point that out since I am impressed that I can wear that shirt at 6 months preggers. Hmmm. Or maybe I shouldn’t be impressed that a shirt I wore before could still fit now….oh dear.

On to today’s topic du jour. Joints. Not the fun kind that make you happy and say silly things. No, I'm referring to the kind that tend to make noise as you get older and can make you ease out of bed gingerly rather than bound out of it, eager to greet the morn’.

Len has always been a champion when it came to joint popping. His neck, his back, his knuckles, his toes. If there is a joint in his body that needs realigning, he can pop at will with such supreme satisfaction that you would think he just got an extra month of vacation handed to him at work. My joints, on the other hand, are a fairly quiet lot, content to give me a courtesy, almost apologetic, toe pop when, say, taking off high heels .

That is, until now. My joints have suddenly decided to join the cacophonic symphony that normally only comes from Len’s side of the bed. I am amazed at the percussive qualities in my neck, back, hips, knees, elbows, fingers, ankles, wrists and toes. It really is an auditory cornucopia. And unlike when Len cranks on his neck to make it pop, this doesn’t take any effort on my part at all. On the contrary, all I have to do is shift infinitesimally and four or five different joints will pop in harmony.

My friend Nancy wrote on FB the other day:

I'm trying so very hard to be sympathetic, but for the most part, your pregnancy is just cracking me up.

I'm glad to know it’s not just my joints that are cracking.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Does this baby make my butt look big?

We are at the 6 month mark and here is the bump for this week. I think it has grown exponentially since last week but it might just be that my hips feel like they are trying to stretch to different continents that is giving me such a gloomy outlook.


This weekend was primarily spent indoors (rain, cold, decidedly inhospitable) running errands and working on the nursery. Just when we thought we had all the supplies necessary to start putting things up on the walls we realized we had no wall anchors, etc. so that facilitated a trip to H.D. for supplies. Of course I got hungry on the way so lunch was in order. Then I thought maybe a body pillow might help my hips so we stopped at the store for that (no luck--after 2 nights of tossing and turning, the body pillow is being returned).

Which all means that after all the errand-running and then resting from all the running, we didn't get as much done as we had hoped. However, here is a sneak peak at some of the progress in the nursery. I guess we'll remove the exercise ball from the crib before the baby comes...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"The most magical time of your life"

Week 24. Six months. Almost the end of the second trimester.No one is more surprised than me I can assure you. Unfortunately, the nausea continues but is mostly limited to early morning and evening. But wait, there are newer and more alarming changes (including the flattening of my once quite nice innie bellybutton).

The worst part about the end of the second trimester would have to be my inability to sleep. I have always been an expert sleeper, almost Olympian in my skill to ease into unconsciousness within moments of hitting a horizontal surface, and have been known to sleep in bursts longer than the average lifespan of a large feline. But in the last couple of months I have averaged about 20 minutes of solid sleep at a time, and this is due entirely to that horribly unnecessary force of nature known as gravity. By the time I fall asleep on my left side, the weight of my body has crushed my shoulder and thigh, forcing me to roll over to my right side. But where I was before able to roll over while still unconscious, I am now forced awake involuntarily and have to physically maneuver my body into another position, usually through means of loud grunting (because sound effects are necessary and give voice to the struggle between sleep and no sleep), pillow reconfiguring, and much sheet/blanket pulling. This left-to-right side maneuvering continues throughout the night so that by the time the alarm goes off in the morning I have changed positions no less than 4,000 times, leaving my poor husband bruised, blanketless and reminiscing about how much less energy it took to build out the basement than to push his wife over in the middle of the night.

On the off-chance that I do find a comfortable position to be in for those precious 20 minutes, guess who wakes up and decides to fluff the placenta like a pillow? Don’t get me wrong, I love to feel the kicks during the day WHEN I’M ALREADY AWAKE but she seems to have discovered that 2am, 3am and 4am are also great times to stretch her legs and roll over.

Another side effect that is rearing its ugly head is acid reflux. As my stomach gets exponentially closer to overtaking my chest and staging a coup on my neck, all of the yummy food I've had all day (and why does all the food I crave have to be spicy?) stops going down and rises back up to burn my esophagus. Yes, there is yet more medicine to be had for this calamity. My countertop is starting to look like a pharmacy.

My current regimen consists of:

prescription folic acid twice a day (I have the wonderful inability to process folic acid so I take 5 times the amount a normal gestating woman would take)

anti-nausea meds three times a day

One pre-natal vitamin (taken at a separate time of day from the individual folic acid pills)

One Omega 3 vitamin

One baby aspirin (for a blood clotting disorder which may or may not have contributed to the past 4 miscarriages)

And now I can add acid reflux meds to my list of pharmaceuticals to ingest daily.

You can now understand just how wonderfully magical it is to be a ripe pregnant woman, belly widening inches per day, grumpy and irritable from sleep deprivation, burping acidic spicy curry into her husband’s face.

Don't let anyone ever tell you this isn't an exquisitely beautiful experience.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend update

I finally gave in and ended up in a maternity store on Saturday. The consignment shop I was going to just didn't have anything in petite sizes so I was rolling up pants and sleeves and most things just were ill-fitting. And then there's the issue of undergarments which are best purchased new (ewww...used maternity panties...). Which, I'm sad to say, look ENORMOUS and I was absolutely sure they would never fit because I'm not THAT big but hey, look at that, they do.

So here is this week's baby bump picture:


Wow. Grew quite a bit in just a week huh? Ok, this one is Len's fault. I was trying on clothes and they have this fake stuffed bump so you can get an idea of how clothes will fit further along. I popped one under my clothes and called Len in to the dressing room. He promptly whipped out his crackberry and said we need this on the blog as your update picture. See, I'm not the only one with an evil streak.

So, here is the real picture for this week:


Sunday turned out to be gorgeous so we drove to Starved Rock State Park to do a small amount of hiking and to see the fall colors. The trees were still relatively green but we did have a fabulous day with lots of fresh air and gorgeous views. And I was so exhausted from the walks and the driving that I only woke up every 2 hours instead of every hour last night!


Many thanks to one of Len's co-workers, Anne, for this shirt. It saves a lot of time answering questions from total strangers. (you can click on the picture to make it bigger if you are having trouble reading it).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Keeping the postman busy

Wow. Just...wow. We were so surprised to be buzzed at the gate by the delivery guy this week. I mean, we JUST registered.

The first gift to arrive was this stroller from my dad and Gloria. It was a snap to put together and folds up nicely to store until we can use it.


Then a box arrived from our friend Tammi full of Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak (personal favorites of mine as a child).


Many profuse thankyou's to Dad, Gloria and Tammi.

Not to be out-done, Len arrived home yesterday with a surprise.


He went out on his lunch hour to this store in Bucktown and came home with an explanation for our current situation:


Thursday, October 15, 2009

US Embassy in Kathmandu Not Conducting Preinvestigations

According to PEAR's (Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform) website:

On September 29, 2009, the DOS issued an Adoption Notice for Nepal that contained the following statement:

"As part of required processing for orphan adoption cases, the Embassy conducts a thorough investigation of each case. Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that the investigation process may take several months, which could mean that prospective adoptive parents who travel to Nepal before the investigation is completed will need to spend a significant amount of time in country."

Some US adoption agencies and prospective adoptive parents interpreted this statement to mean that the Embassy would be conducting pre-investigations and completing the investigation prior to the family traveling to Nepal. PEAR contacted both the US Department of State, Office of Children's Issues and US Embassy in Nepal for clarification on the statement. According to both the Office of Children's Issues at the Department of State and the Adoption Unit at the US Embassy in Nepal, visa investigations commence after the final adoption decree and no pre-investigations are occurring at this time.

PEAR has been in continued discussions with the DOS to change the Adoption Notice to correctly reflect the process in order to avoid confusion and misinterpretation. At this point, the DOS and US Embassy are consulting on the proper wording for the Notice.

We will update with any further information as we receive it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Baby Registry (or, HELP ME I'M TRAPPED IN A BABY SUPERSTORE)

My friend Laurie came to visit from DC this weekend to help me register for baby stuff and thank god she did because it still took 3 hours (at one store) and she was blazing through! Laurie bought this gift for us and I think you will agree that it is the most practical item we could need:


Because what nursery doesn't need a pink ballerina piggy bank?

We managed to get everything done Saturday night so we could spend the rest of the weekend shopping for big girl stuff (ie stuff for Laurie and Lisa) and eating. Sunday afternoon was spent trolling the Andersonville shops and eating decadent cannoli.


Sunday evening we took Laurie out for her birthday to the Green Zebra which turned out to be some of the yummiest vegetarian fare I've ever had.

This week's belly bump picture is a straight on shot which doesn't quite do it justice but you get the idea.


So, for those of you who have been asking for registry information, here you go:

This first place we registered has the most items and is where we spent the three hours with Laurie. Just click on the link underlined above, go to registry, type in my first and last name and it should pop up.

The second place we registered is here. Same instructions as above.

And the third place is for those of you who are interested in helping us start her library. Be sure to go to baby registry (not wish list) and search by my first and last name. Or send a childhood favorite of yours and skip our list of books!

Laurie and my friend Maggie are throwing me a baby shower back in DC on December 5th. We'll fly into DC that weekend and are really looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends and catching up on a year's worth of news!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Did you feel that??

Maybe that's what I needed, a swift kick in the....lower abdomen. At first I thought they were muscle spasms because really, that's what they felt like. Then they became more persistent and felt like I had swallowed a goldfish who was becoming increasingly alarmed by the darkness and apparent lack of an exit back into the light. Now it feels more like a sea bass and the "flutterings" as all the baby books describe them are becoming much more insistent and dare I say it, a welcome and HAPPY distraction? It is feeling real and I find myself completely stopping any train of thought I was having to focus on the kicks and enjoy thinking that this may actually result in a child.

I had my monthly appointment with the midwife on Tuesday. My belly measured 21 cm and I had managed to gain 4 lbs since last month which she was happy about. That makes a total of 7 lbs for the pregnancy thus far. I still can't say that I am enjoying much about this pregnancy (sore hips and lower back from relaxin, no comfortable position to be found, burping like a teenage boy in a contest, etc ad nauseum) but the movement of the baby has progressed from just feeling creepy to being something I look forward to feeling.

I'll get back to you once the kicks progress to linebacker punches in the ribs.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Topsy Turvy Weekend

This weekend was a study in contrasts. I forgot to take my last anti-nausea pill on Friday night and apparently, that is NOT A GOOD IDEA. I never recovered Saturday. It didn't matter what I ate, if I was not prone on the sofa or in bed, nothing was going to stay down. The only silver lining is that Saturday's weather was pretty crappy and gray so laying on the sofa watching HGTV could have been worse.

I dutifully took all my meds on Saturday so Sunday turned out to be MUCH BETTER. We went out for Swedish pancakes at Ann Sather and then hopped in the car for a road trip into Wisconsin. Our first stop was to a pumpkin festival in Kenosha. That was the location of this week's bump picture. Here I am at 21 weeks--not quite as large as the pumpkins just yet!




Next we drove to Racine just to see what was there (nothing really) so we turned west and stopped at a "pick your own raspberries" farm.




We ended up with 2 boxes full before we (meaning me) got too cold to continue.


The last stop was Lake Geneva. This is a charming town built around the lake and all kinds of shops were open on a Sunday afternoon.


We walked around the lake for a bit and then did a little shopping before heading home.


What a great way to end the weekend.

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