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June 2007
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August 2007

Highs and Lows

This pregnancy business is such a roller coaster. Understatement of the year, I know. It's such a huge responsibility to do right by this little person in my belly and you try not to second-guess your way through it but how can you not? After an appointment two weeks ago, I was feeling pretty great about things. The nurse told me I had "perfect pee" which I can't say anyone has ever told me before. Then, and this one I wish I had in writing to put on the fridge, my doctor told me, "You have excellent weight control." I can honestly tell you no one has ever told me that before! And the baby's heart sounds great and the measurements are "right on target." So I leave feeling pretty proud of myself and pleased as can be. Oh yeah, somewhere between all that praise there was some blood drawn for my gestational diabetes test. "If you haven't heard from me by Wednesday, assume no news is good news."

So when the doctor's office number showed up on my caller ID early Tuesday morning I was not too happy. I probably should've taken it as a bad sign that I loved the Oral Glucose Tolerance Beverage: Fruit punch. It was like the Kool-Aid I'd make for myself when no one was looking. The kind were the spoon could practically stand straight up in the glass. Healthy? Not so much. The nurse said I flunked my test and was scheduled for the retake on the 30th. When could I come by and pick up the instruction sheet?

Instruction sheet? Turns out I had to follow this crazy carb diet for three days and then come in fasting on the 30th for a 3-5 hour test. Sweet.

Meanwhile, the advice is follow the instructions and don't worry. Right. Don't worry. So I "googled" gestational diabetes which might not have been the best idea. So after nearly a week of "not worrying" I came in for the retake which consisted of choking down 16 ounces of what basically amounts to corn syrup in five minutes. It might be good on ice with vodka, but it's disgusting to chug first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Then, I got my blood drawn every hour for four hours. On the last draw he says, "sting a little?" I nod, can't talk while I'm sucking in my breath from pain. He nods knowingly, "Yeah, it starts to hurt after awhile using the same arm." Um? Is there a reason you couldn't split the joy between both arms? The first technician was funny too. Shorter than me with an accent I can't place, so let's say Kentucky. I asked her a couple questions about how this worked. Imagine one of the stoner characters from Dazed and Confused, or Janis Joplin in a lab coat, "Gestational Diabetes is craaaaaaaaaaazy man. You can be perfectly fine, you get pregnant and it all gets craaaaaaaaaaaazy." On second thought maybe she didn't have an accent at all. Maybe she was just really high.

Besides the drink and the needle sticks four times in the same spot and waiting in the hospital lobby for that long the worst part was this woman who thought it was okay to listen to the ring tones on her cell phone as if it was the radio. She nodded along to a few lines of Sweet Home Alabama and then a few lines of a couple other songs and then we were right back to Skynyrd again. My best glares did nothing to stop her. I swear she even turned up the volume. So I refocused my look on her partner. He just shrugged. I wanted to "tell" on her, but who would I tell?

But, after all that, good news: got the word this morning that I don't have gestational diabetes! I asked the nurse if there's anything I should do differently in light of the fact that I flunked the first test.

"Well I wouldn't say you flunked it, for one thing. And just keep swimming and watch your refined sugars."

"So no banana chocolate milkshakes?"

"Less of them."


The Fleece Family

We saw them once, and only briefly, but they will be part of our family's folklore forever. It was when we lived in McMinnville shortly before we were married. We were sitting on Third Street eating ice cream from Serendipity's. We were observing and commenting on people coming out of McMenamins. Okay, I was talking smack. I am the mean one. Suddenly, the motherload of all mockery exited the building and even Matt had to get in on it. A mother, father and five children dressed in matching fleece pullovers, each sporting a different color. It struck us as hilarious and for years we've made references like "look, it's the Fleece Family" or "look it's the tracksuit family."

A couple years ago, I hatched a little plan that when I got pregnant I would make the big announcement to Matt using this inside joke of ours. Because aren't inside jokes one of the best things about being in a relationship?

So the day I found out I was pregnant was February 1st. Even though I'd finally kicked my Red Bull habit (it was giving me a fat ass instead of wings) I gave in and had one that morning because I was sooo tired. Maybe I have mono? And a bladder infection. I need to make a doctor's appointment. After such a long time of being disappointed when my period came, it didn't occur to me that I was pregnant. I mean, now would not be a good time. I'd just quit my job and we have this puppy and are planning to move to Portland.

Dragging my butt through Winco to pick up something - anything!- for dinner - I decided to toss a pregnancy test into my shopping cart.  With another month's supply of Kotex. It occurred to me as the box was scanned that it'd been a while since my last period. Something is definitely wrong with me.

Dscf2738 I took the test that night and for the first time didn't hold my breath while I took it. The stick turned so fast I didn't have time to think. Two lines. Wait. That means yes. Right? Where's the package? Two lines. Two lines. Yes. Oh shit! I'm pregnant. I ran out of the bathroom and Lucy_caught_w_shoeyelled for Lucy. I had to tell someone! She spit out the shoe she'd stolen and we did a little dance. Lucy_dance

I called Matt several times, "Are you almost home? No everything's fine, I'm just trying to time dinner." He took forever getting home. And I completely messed up the spaghetti I was making by the way. I don't even remember what we ate that night, just that the noodles were absolutely inedible.

Dscf2730I had this ready for Matt when he came through the door and said: "Now we can be the wool sweater family." He stared at the sweaters, then at me. Blank expression.

"I'm pregnant!" He's still staring, eyes getting wider. Long pause.

"And it's yours!" Finally a reaction. Laughter. Tears. Then laughter through tears. And then we did the dance of joy.


When values collide

Diaper_bagIt's a little nuts how excited I am about my new diaper bag. That's right. Excited about my new diaper bag. It is an organizational tool people! From the day it came in the mail I've been wanting to start using it, you know, to get used to it. It reminds me of when I was younger and would get a new coat for Fall in the summer and love it so much I started wearing it in August. I decided I would tire of this being such an integral part of my existence soon enough but refused to pack it with the other baby stuff. I can see it from my computer and it makes me smile. What a dork, I know! I love it so much it lead to this conversation with Matt.

"Yeah, it's great babe," says Matt after I've demonstrated all of it's pockets, zippers and compartments for the third time.

"I know! AND there is a car seat, stroller travel system in the exact same line that I want to get. We need to do that soon, you know."

"Have you looked into the consumer reports on car seats?"

"Didn't you hear what I said? It is a matching travel and organizational system. And look how adorable it is! Who cares about safety ratings. I'm sure it's fine."

"Let's go ahead and check out those reports anyway so it can be a safe and coordinated system."

"Fine, if you want to be all practical about it."

I tried to check out the safety ratings that night but realized I've never done a consumer safety report check on anything, nor do I know how to navigate the site. I will add this to the list of reasons I'm not quite ready to be a parent. This list, by the way, is getting longer instead of shorter as I near D-Day. And shopping at BabiesRUs is useless to me because by the time I get to that section of the store I'm on the verge of a meltdown every time. So, still no car seat. Just visions of my coordinated system which I'm sure is very safe. Now I just have to prove it with facts and figures instead of matching fabric.


Do not freak out

During our surprisingly good baby class, we discovered we could attend a couple bonus classes included in the package: Breastfeeding 101 and Newborn Care class. Matt passed on the first one, but don't worry, I took notes. We went to the Newborn care class last night. There was a misunderstanding. I thought that class would include advice and suggestions for new parents caring for our newborn babies. Instead it was a follow the flip-chart kind of class with tiny pictures and captions. "This is what a newborn might look like." Heads up: not so cute. "This is what putting your baby on its back looks like." True story. Matt was starting to get the look. And it was only 20 minutes into the class.

So for 2 and a half hours, instead of learning about how to take care of our baby once we get home, we learned that the hospital staff is in fact qualified to take care of our infants and has a flip-chart to prove it. My favorite moment in the class was when the nurse talked about (prepare to gross out a little) how infants who are breastfed get hormones from the mother which can cause swelling of the nipple tissue which sometimes causes breast milk to leak from the baby's nipples - male or female. Do not freak out if this happens, the nurse says. Everyone perks up a little at this point, wide-eyed. The cool dread-locked, tattooed dad-to-be reaches for his pen: "I'm writing that one down! Do ... not ... freak ... out. But it is a little freaky, right?" Looking around at the rest of us nodding in agreement.

What I added to my to list during class: Get the damn car seat. Make sure registered for FIRM mattress (the nurse said some findings show that SIDS is caused by using an old mattress where the seal has come off and the fire-retardant material being damp causes some kind of mold that might be a factor in SIDS), pediatrician? circumcision? schedule for 7-10 days after baby's born because they don't do them at hospitals anymore, buy mangoes and contact solution.

The nurse teaching the class had little tidbits to share about each of the OB's she's worked with for 12 years. Our doctor is evidently a baby polisher. Whatever that means. 

The part of the class that might've been really helpful, the car seat lesson, was canceled. Perhaps a good thing for us because we don't have one yet. Which segues nicely into my next post.

 


80s Day

Overheard in the office:

It was 80s day at school, which fits nicely with my goal of bringing back the word "rad." I dressed in the appropriate neon colors, bright blue eyeshadow and pink face shimmer/lipstick ala Debbie Gibson, thank you very much. Two sixth grade girls were in lunch detention for applying fake nails during choir. One of them asks:

Student: Mrs. Hardy? What is the difference between bell bottoms and flare pants?

Me: About 30 years.

Horrifying thought of the day: How in the hell are leggings making a comeback???

Hope you’re having a RAD day!


Pregnancy Fun Fact

I came by this little pregnancy fun fact flipping through Parenting magazine this morning: "If you have heartburn, your newborn will have a full head of hair ... 82 percent of women with moderate to severe heartburn delivered hairy babies." Well, have you seen us? Of course the kids going to have some hair. That was one of the first things Matt said when we found out I was pregnant: "Two things we know for sure, the baby will come out with a lot of hair and a to do list."

Matt's mom even alluded to this years ago. The first time I met Matt's parents, his mom, a hair stylist, eyed me from across the table. Finally she said:

"You and Matt can't have kids."

"Pardon?"

"You and Matt can't have kids. Think of the hair on that poor kid. It'll be like a Brillo pad."

"Um. These pancakes are great." Because the possibility of us having kids implied that we were having sex and that is just not the kind of thing you talk about with your boyfriend's mom at breakfast. Or ever.


Not to be all Bridget Jones but ...

I've never been so damn glad to be overweight.

I've been trying really hard not to be all Bridget Jones about this but I have a personal milestone to celebrate. It might be rare to hear someone celebrate being overweight, but today, I am.

I'm not exactly sure, how it all started but it might have something to do with the fact that I've been slowly gaining weight since my freshman year in college. I used to pretend it had to do with the fact that around that time, with the help of a good friend, I'd finally stopped puking my carbs. But I didn't start eating healthier or moving my ass beyond the essentials of getting to class and back. And that was on the mornings I could be bothered to roll out of bed.

The first time I heard the word "obese" applied to myself, I was furious. It came from my dad who was being a doctor and a dad at the same time. The two don't always mix so good. We were talking about my fast-approaching wedding date and some details and things left to do. My dad mentioned that he hoped I was working hard to loose some weight because I'd become obese and he wanted me to feel as good as possible on my special day. When I responded with a few choice, angry words, he told me he was sorry, but that it's true and no one else was going to tell me but I needed to know so I could do something about it. What I did about it was stay pissed at him for a long, long time. (I did happen to loose weight for the wedding but since it was a date-specific goal, you won't be surprised to hear it was back in no time since I'd changed virtually nothing about my lifestyle. Well, I did keep my subscription to Shape magazine.)

A year after that conversation with him, I went to the doctor's office for something and studied the chart above the scale as they took my weight and height measurements.

"Is everything okay?" The nurse asked.

"Um, no. This chart here says that I'm obese?" I was sure there was an error, either in my calculations or a misprint on the chart printed by the Center for Disease Control. I fully expected her to say, "oh, no, there must be some mistake, you're fine." But instead she nodded in agreement and suggested I talk to the doctor about some ways to work toward a healthier lifestyle. Hmm.

Nope.

I stayed in denial like that for a couple more years before I got the point where I realized how much healthier I could be, how much more my body could do and how much more of life I could enjoy if I would stop pretending I didn't have a problem, and start dealing with it. So even though I'd stopped the tell-tale actions of a bulimic, the mind-fucking never stopped.

So last summer I started riding my bike and swimming with Steph and Amy and learning to actually like exercising. Little amounts of time at first and then longer and longer. (Okay, like might be a lie. But I did love the feeling of having had exercised.) Amy, with her background in nutrition and exercise, coached me to the point where we were even running. Which I still hate, hate, hate. And even as I re-read that, I do not believe that I actually ran. (In high school, during tennis practice I used to duck into the bushes and wait till everyone was done with their mile and then re-join them on the courts. I liked my approach of "proper ball placement. You run.")

The thing about battling bulimia and trying to adjust to a healthier version of yourself is that there is no immediate gratification. Most of the people in your life aren't going to give you a high-five for making it out of the grocery store without buying candy hearts (which I've done three times this week, thank you very much). And the pounds seem to just creep off. But one day you look back and realize, damn! I am moving in the right direction. Today I entered my stats and am officially out of the obese chart! That still leaves a lot of work to do to get out of the overweight camp but I know that I can do it. If you're interested, you can look up your Body Mass Index here. I suggest that only as information and not to make you feel like shit about yourself because that, of course, is so not helpful. I would suggest using it as more of a marker to gauge your goals from this point forward instead of beating yourself up for how you got here. Please cut and paste this into an email on the days I forget to remember that!

Note: I found this in my draft box. I was sure I'd posted it. This was written January of this year ... with pregnancy weight, things have changed again. I have chosen not to do the BMI calculator because it's not like I'm going to diet or anything right now. Besides, Banana Chocolate Milkshakes do have redeeming value, hell, there was even a recipe for them in Fit Pregnancy magazine. I'm working on an article about eating disorders and pregnancy and intend to post about that soon. Also, I wonder if it means something that I can't even spell exercise.You guys wouldn't believe how many different ways I wrote it before my pal Spell Checker was consulted.


Worth the Weight

It is hard not to take it personally how astounded people seem to be by my "huge" "Oh My GOD are you sure it's just one?" belly. Especially, you know, with the whole eating disorder thing. Sadly, I know quite a few people who have had to battle the demons of their respective eating disorders as they give in to the changes their body makes to accomodate a whole little person. I haven't felt guilty about a single chocolate banana milkshare (hello! potassium, calcium) but you'd be surprised how many helpful comments I've gotten to "watch it with those" like I'm eating them every day or something. (Honestly if it weren't for budget cuts, I probably would). But I do struggle - like when I swim, I'm loving the feeling of weightlessness - until I get out of the pool and Ooofff. Heavy again. I developed the waddle quite awhile ago, for balance people!

But whereas when I was chubby few dared to comment on my weight or food choices but with the obvious signs of pregnancy folks seem to feel free to advise away about my calories and the size of my belly. I've been having this conversation since May:

So you're due, what next month?

Nope, not till October.

Ohhh. Eyes widening with pointed look at my belly. '

The thing is, the doctor is fine with my weight. I'm good with it for the most part. I was a little bummed when, after thinking I'd been doing pretty good at not gaining all over the place, I looked in the mirror in my materinity suit and saw that no, the weight was not contained in my belly. There was, um, development in my thighs and ass. Feels rad. But, I'm growing a healthy baby and I don't want to cramp his style.


Baby Class Day 1

Funny thing - after this whole big fuss about dreading the baby class it turns out that not only did I survive it but I am so glad we did it! And the thing about not being in the market for new friends? We enjoyed the other couple in the class so much we had a leisurely lunch together on the marathon Saturday and exchanged phone numbers after graduation.

Yep, that's right, we now have proof, in writing even, that we are "prepared" for this new adventure. And you read correctly, it was just us and one other couple. They were super cool (she was even a librarian and you know how I adore them).

We didn't get off to the best start with me being late - damn Turkey Rama - and also because I simply had to stop and pre-reward myself for going with a chocolate banana milkshake. I was only five minutes late but I know that doesn't make a good impression as the former Mr. Hardy used to frequently remind me. So I left my pillows in the car because I was assuming it would be a much bigger class and I didn't want to be late lugging in pillows if I was the only one who brought them. Matt ended up having to work really late and didn't get there until an hour later much to his horror.

We had a lot in common with the other couple including the height difference between spouses and later we discovered things in common like which half is the tidier, more punctual half, etc. We went to some of the same universities and even spent a couple years in Bellingham at the same time. There was one obvious difference though. Whenever the teacher would look to us to see if we were familiar with a certain term or concept, they were both nodding in understanding while Matt and I looked back at her blankly. We clearly have more reading to do.

We ended the first night with a guided relaxation exercise. Which always sounds nice but is never that pleasant for me. Here's why:

Teacher: I want you to close your eyes and go to your safe place.

Me: Eyes closed. What the hell? Safe place? I don't have a safe place. Does everyone really have a safe place? Shit. I need to think of a safe place in case she calls on me.

Relaxing right?


Stupid Baby Class

Must read: Nine Months in August by Adriana Bourgoin. It is awesome. As soon as I get it back from Amy I'll tell you more about why but unless you need it spelled out, check it out for yourself asap. It was so damn good I had to write the author immediately upon finishing it because she had to know how awesome it was and how much I loved the characters and the entire process of reading it. At first glance, someone could be convinced it's only relevant for pregnant people or those who have been pregnant at some point. Not so. It's relevant for any human being who's been in a maddening relationship with a parent or friend. The kind where love and history keep you dialing her number but you hang up most of the time wondering "why GOD why!? do I do this to myself?" It's about the way life gets turned upside down and ends up okay anyhow.

I want you to read it so we can talk about it! If I was a book club person this would be on the list. At the top. It's one of those books where the characters and parts of the story stay with you. For instance, with this whole stupid baby class thing tomorrow, the one thing I am looking forward to doing is taking a page out of the main character's book and taking notes on the other couples in class. An opportunity to meet strangers is always a fun thing. For me. Like jury duty. I was the only one taking notes.

Juror #1873: Are we supposed to be taking notes?

Me: Shrug.

Juror #1873: What are you writing?

Me: About you. Wink. Just Kidding. (But not really.)

Back to the stupid baby class. Did I mention by the way that it's practically a retreat? You should've seen Matt's face when I told him our options for the class.

Me: So we can take the class every Wednesday for six weeks at 6:30 p.m. or we can do a weekend long blitz and be done with it. I vote for option B for Blitz.

Matt: You mean like a retreat? With strangers.

Me: Grinning ear to ear. Yup.

Matt: Fine, whatever.

Our friends who recently "graduated" from their stupid baby class mentioned that everyone else in their class already had car seats purchased. And, get this, they were already all installed. Over. Achievers.

Another friend mentioned that it was great to have her husband at the class because he retained information she'd forgotten. I definitely see this being the case for us. Matt is a much, much better student than I am. I'll be able to tell you all about everyone's feelings and personal dramas by the end of the weekend. Matt, he'll be paying attention and remembering important things like what I'm supposed to do on D-day.