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


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


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?


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