1st Pregnancy

All About the Baby by Leslie

So here we are in May, the month the baby is due. I am full term now, meaning that if the baby were born he would not be premature. We had a midwife appointment today and he's growing well and is around 6 pounds. If I gain the average half pound a week for the last month and deliver on my due date he will be at least 8 pounds! He's in the ideal position, head down and facing my back (anterior) along my left side. Things really couldn't be going much better. Despite the occasional discomfort, breathlessness and impeded movement I really enjoy being pregnant, but I can't wait to meet him, look him in the eye and give him a thousand kisses.

We are now mostly ready for his arrival. In the last week and half we have gotten so much done. It was great to have my Mom here to help me (and bond with the baby). The NJ shower was a wonderful party (thanks to Maddy, Gloria and Siobhan) and we received lots of great gifts that we needed. Everyone was so generous and not only showered us with gifts but also compliments and lots of belly rubs.

My Mom and I were very busy after the shower sorting through everything and washing all the clothes, towels, bibs, burpies, sheets and blankets. We spent an entire afternoon doing laundry and marveling at all the little socks and outfits. We went to Babies R Us and got everything left on the registry and went to IKEA and figured out the lighting & window shades for the baby's room. It was so fun to do these things with my Mom and I was grateful to have the one-on-one time and to share this experience in person with her.

After my Mom left I set up the changing table, finished washing the clothes and putting them away and redid the FLOR tiles for the area rug. I found the House Pet texture too scratchy for the baby's room so we moved them to the front hall and I returned the Solid Ground texture which collected lint. I ordered more of the softer and more forgiving Toy Poodle texture in different colors. Chris and I installed the lights: 3 frosted glass cubes set into 3 sections of the shelf and 2 hanging paper lanterns. They are all on dimmers so that in the middle of the night we can

keep the light low. We hung the window shades, the Zid Zid Kids wall hanging and the mobiles that we found at Ting's Gift Shop in Chinatown. Once the rocking chair arrives, the room is finished!

Chris went to the police station and double checked that he installed the car seat correctly (he did) and we are now pre-registered at the hospital and are seeing the midwives once a week. It's just amazing to think that he could be here in only 2 weeks! But of course it's far more likely that he will be here in about 5 weeks, so I am focusing on the longer amount of time so I don't get impatient.

Seven Months Portrait by Leslie

It's way too late for me to be still awake, but I wanted to post this before I went to bed. Here's my belly after seven and a half months! I had to take out my belly button ring, it was getting too tight, so now I have a funny little hole. I've had the ring for over 10 years, so I think my belly button now looks a bit naked. I guess the size of my belly makes up for it. It's amazing how much it's grown!

We had another good check-up last week. My blood work for gestational diabetes came back normal and the baby is growing very well and is within the averages. 

On Friday we saw V for Vendetta in New York and we really enjoyed it. Chris had just read the entire trade paperback of the original comic and so he was really familiar with the story. He said they changed some key stuff but that the spirit of the original series was still present. The most amazing thing though was that the volume was so loud that during the climax fight scene the baby started freaking out! He was kicking frantically and I could sense that he was a bit panicked at all the noise. I covered my belly with my jacket and tried to muffle the sound and calm him by shushing. The poor little guy! When the movie finally finished my stomach was rock hard and I needed to get out of the crowd and find a quiet place to sit down and relax by taking deep breaths. It was so weird and I felt bad! I got tears in my eyes thinking about how he must have felt in there. I guess from now on everything we do will involve that little guy!

On Saturday Chris moved furniture into the office to clear out the baby's room while I rested. I helped a little, but I'm trying to be careful not to strain anything and of course Chris won't let me lift anything heavy. Our doula Lynn came over for our first prenatal meeting in the late afternoon. She was here for 3.5 hours and we covered lots of good stuff like ideal positions to help the baby get into the right spot, concerns about the birth, our history, ways I like to relax, when to call her when we are in labor, what to expect. It's all very exciting and I look forward to discovering my labor story.

On Sunday we had brunch in the city with friends at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. It was the first time that I noticed so many people staring at me. I guess I'm pretty obviously pregnant. It's funny how people stare though, some are nice with little smiles and you can see them admiring the belly, but others just feel rude and almost intrusive. Then we went to Destination Maternity where I got a couple new outfits. They just opened the flag ship store in NY. It has 3 different maternity clothing lines, a spa and lots of other cool things.

We had our last Bradley childbirth class tonight and I'll miss going every week. We are going for 2 more sessions with Pauline in May though to learn about Hypnobirthing, but that will be on our own and not with the other couples. It's been a great course and I'm so glad that we did it. I'll post more about the course and the things that we learned soon.

The Good, the Bad and the Belly by Leslie

I entered the third and last trimester on March 3rd. This brings much relief that if the baby were to be born now, he has a good chance of surviving, and every day that goes by he is more prepared for life outside my womb.

I have been experiencing a lot more movement. The baby is still small enough to be rolling around and changing positions frequently. He often startles me or jabs me in the bladder when I have to pee. Sometimes it feels like he kicks me just so I will change positions to give him more room. Most of the time though it is wonderful to feel him moving around. Today he was gently pressing out with his foot or hand and I pushed back and told him that I felt him in there, then he kicked hard as if he heard me! If I can feel his back, a long solid shape across my belly, I will rub it like I'm giving him a massage and usually I feel the shape melt away as he moves into another position. I like to think that he likes feeling me touching him.

My belly is certainly bigger. Strangers don't hesitate to ask me when my due date is anymore and the guy at the bagel shop even put his ear up to my belly, that was weird. On the one hand I enjoy the attention and feeling like I am a divine creature, but on the other hand people tend to use it as a reason to tell you about difficult labors and how your whole life is going to change, implying for the worst. Advice to those who already have children: resist the urge to tell new parents how much things will suck and try to focus on the things that you love about pregnancy, labor/delivery and being a parent. I've met so few people who just say, "it's amazing and you will love it."

Getting comfortable is now something I have to work at. No longer can I jump into bed, scoot under the sheets and twist myself into a comfy position. Now I have to ease myself into bed, carefully lay down, slowly roll to my side, arrange my four pillows, lift myself up to put my arm behind me, pull one pillow closer and wedge it under my chest so the muscle between my ribs doesn't hurt and finally take some deep breaths to relax from all the exertion, and that's when the baby decides to start kicking. This whole routine must be repeated after every bathroom visit, which has increased to about twice a night.

During the day it's a little better, since I am moving around more I am able to make more adjustments, but there are other challenges like getting dressed, bending over to put on socks and shoes and getting in and out of the car. Sitting on the couch is OK if I have a pillow behind my back and I stay pretty upright. Once I find a good position though I am loath to move, so I have been asking Chris to fetch me things more often and the dogs have to cover themselves with blankets. Usually Robin cries at me to do it for her, but lately I have been unwilling to get up, so she has had to use a neat move where she noses the blanket and pulls it over her when she lays down. Our recliner is a great place for me to sit, it allows me to stretch out my belly so the baby isn't squished, my feet are elevated but not so much that they fall asleep and with a pillow behind my back I can stay there quite comfortably for a while with my laptop on my lap.

Other complaints I have include having to avoid tomatoes and oranges to prevent heartburn, not being able to eat very much at one sitting, feeling hungry and full at the same time, aches and pains in places I have never noticed before (like under my ribs and my pelvic area), not being able to think about anything other than labor and the baby, lack of energy and motivation to do anything besides watching TV, updating my blog and making lists of things to do, asking Chris to do more things for me and feeling overwhelmed at all the stuff we still have to do.

All the complaints are nothing though compared to the fact that I have had a wonderful pregnancy so far and I feel thrilled to be at this moment in my life. It's something that I have been thinking about for years and in a lot of ways it is going by too quickly! I am trying to enjoy every moment and be fully present in every day. I love being able to slow things down a bit and practice relaxing and feeling peaceful. I love taking good care of myself and seeing my body change. I'm proud of the fact that I haven't gained a lot of extra weight and that everyone tells me I am carrying well.

I'm lucky that I have such a wonderful husband and I love all the new people I have met because of this experience. I am really looking forward to everything that is to come, this part is just the beginning.

Recent Photos of the Growing Belly by Leslie

It seems as if in the last few days I have gotten significantly bigger. The pictures below were taken today and unlike the last set, which I posted almost 3 weeks after I took them, I thought I would be timely and post these right away. The left photo above was taken Feb 10th and the right photo just yesterday. We went for our routine check-up today and there is nothing to report, everything is normal. I've gained 4 more pounds, for a total so far of 18 I think. I had a blood test to check for gestational diabetes and I'll find out those results next week. I am almost done the second trimester, I have one more week before I start the final third trimester!

Tonight Chris put together our first piece of furniture for the baby, a cradle that will go next to our bed. I got a wave of excitement looking at it and imagining our little baby inside sleeping. We also recently got a birth ball thanks to a couple in our childbirth class who own a gym. It's been great for me to sit on and ease back pain, or lay back and stretch out. Batman barked at it for almost a half an hour when we first brought it home. He's a funny dog.

Next week we are having the new office painted a bright shade of orange/yellow on 2 walls and gray/green on the other 2 to balance it out. All the trim will be white. I'm looking forward to setting up the room and going through all the junk that has collected. Once the baby's room is cleared out I can start to visualize what I want to do in there. I've been thinking about it a lot and I think I have it figured out, but I want to do some test painting to be sure.

Five and A Half Months by Leslie


Continuing the series of photos I have been taking, here are new ones from January 26th at a little more than 5.5 months. The baby is kicking like a mad-man now, and today I even felt him do a somersault. I felt a hard shape (which I think was his back) move down the right side of my belly and over to the middle near my belly button, then disappear. It was so weird and wonderful. I think I've got a very active baby in there and I can only imagine what it's going to feel like when he's stronger and bigger and his feet are permanently wedged under my ribs.

The Challenge of Getting Dressed by Leslie

Depending on what I am wearing and how much I have eaten, I look more or less pregnant. The photo on the left was taken in the morning on January 17th and the right photo in the evening on January 18th.

Finding clothes to wear has been challenging. I can't comfortably wear any of my pre-pregnancy clothes anymore except for a few sweaters and draw string sweat pants. Even my favorite roomy low slung jeans that fit up until a few weeks ago are too tight when I sit down now.

It's all maternity clothes from here on out. I have a bunch of great basics from Pea in the Pod, including jeans and sweaters. I got a few pretty tops at a New York store called Belly Dance that were a bit expensive but worth it and I discovered that Old Navy has lots of great, cheap maternity clothes that are stylish and comfortable. There's some great stuff that I have seen online, but I prefer to try these clothes on to see how they look, so I'm stuck with stores around here that carry maternity clothes.

Other issues that I have are that I get really hot now so I need layers that I can take off and cotton feels much better than anything synthetic. I don't really like the pants that go over my belly, and I especially don't like shirts that just hang off the bump and make me look like I am wearing a tent.

The other thing that has been hard to find is decent bra. I finally found one I like by Bravado Design that is cotton and super comfortable. Even though I don't need it yet, it has snaps on the shoulder for easy breast-feeding. It's not exactly sexy, but it's not really ugly either.

Shoes have also been tricky. I have been hunting for slip on shoes that I don't have to bend down to tie or zip up. I finally found a nice slip on boot by Aerosoles (50% off!) that has a stacked heel and a non-skid sole. They also had a flat shoe and a wedge heel that should be comfortable and easy to get on.

I think I am set now, besides adding a few things here and there when I get bored of what I have. If you have any advice for maternity fashion, let me know!

Focusing the Picture, Naming the Son and Never More Comfortable by Leslie

Our appointment was rescheduled 2 times, but we finally got in on Thursday, January 12th for our fetal anatomy ultrasound. The technician showed us all the organs and measured the head and torso and all the long bones. She said everything looked normal and healthy. We decided to find out the gender and were thrilled to hear it was a boy! Chris's heart was pounding right before she revealed it, he was imagining the 2 different realities, one with a boy and one with a girl. I got tears in my eyes when she said, "It's a boy!" It's like a blurry picture coming into focus. Every detail we find out about the baby, every good check-up, every kick (one which was strong enough to wake me up the other night) and every pound I gain (10 lbs so far, all in the last 6 weeks) adds something to that picture. The scans above are a little smaller than actual size. That's one long foot! The face image is slightly creepy, a little like Marilyn Manson with that one eye staring out at me, but it's the closest we've come to seeing what this kid might look like. The profile is much cuter with the open mouth saying hi.

Now we are thinking of names. It's a big responsibility to name another person and it's more than just finding something we can agree on. It's also about what a name represents and what our aspirations for our son are. (Our son?! Whoa.) We'd like to find a name that is creative and artistic, cool and a bit rock, curious and smart, and we don't want anything that is too common or popular. It's got to be unique but not too wierd. Then there's the challenge of finding a middle name that sounds good with whatever we pick and I'd like to include my last name as a second middle name. We are using a great book called The Baby Name Wizard which has an online application that dynamically generates a graph to show the popularity of a name over the last century. The book includes great stuff like the popularity graphs, categories like "Brisk and Breezy" and "Guys and Dolls" and also lists sibling names and variants if a particular name is close but not exactly what you are looking for. We aren't going to reveal what our favorites are and I think we would like to look into the eyes of our baby first before we name him. Feel free to offer us some suggestions in the comments area though, we'd love to hear what you think.

In other news, our new leather couch arrived and we have never been more comfortable. We also got a dark brown upholstered bench that goes in front of the couch. It's the perfect place to put up our feet and with a tray in the middle it's also a coffee table. Both are in the living room by the fireplace. We bought 3 large dark brown TV stands from IKEA and put them side by side to make a 12 foot long media shelf that can now hold most of our DVDs, records, LDs, video games, the record player, the TV and all the things that plug into it. It's really quite amazing to have all our media organized like this and there is nothing better than watching a movie with a fire blazing away. We are still waiting for curtains and two 6 foot shelves that will go over the media shelf to balance out the wall, but our first step in the grand rearrange has been mostly completed.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for new pictures of my rapidly growing belly. There's no missing it now.

Half-way There by Leslie

I am in my 21st week. It's pretty obvious that I'm pregnant now, and over Christmas, while at my Mom and Dad's, I started to feel the baby moving and kicking. Right now it feels like a bubble popping when the baby kicks or a rippling when the baby rolls around. Since I started feeling them I have been putting Chris's hand on my belly but it wasn't until a few nights ago that he felt his first strong kick and totally knew it was the baby. He pulled his hand away, screamed, laughed and bit me on the arm (lovingly, of course). It kind of freaked him out, feeling those movements makes it real in a really surreal way.

Sometimes my stomach feels soft and other times it feels hard. The hardness is either minor contractions of the uterus or the position the baby is in. We are sure we've felt the shape and hardness of a head or a back. It's pretty cool. The fetal anatomy ultrasound we were supposed to have before Christmas was rescheduled for this Tuesday. In this test they will do a detailed visual tour of the baby and all it's parts, so we should be finding out the gender, seeing how big the baby has gotten and what kind of position it is in. It will be neat to see a live image of the movements that I can now feel.

We are wondering what kind of parents we will be, what the baby will look like, whether it'll be a football player or a math-wiz. We were in Ridgewood eating at a diner last night (a Saturday) and there were all these teenagers hanging around. We saw a group of at least 30 teens on their way to the movie theater and two of them started fighting. Chris jokingly called it "wilding" but they were just normal kids hanging out with their friends. It reminded me of my teen years, but Chris couldn't relate because he spent his writing and recording music in his bedroom. We wondered how our kids will grow up and what kind of interests they will have. I think there are two very important things to raising good kids: maintaining our loving relationship and positive discipline.


Four and a Half Months by Leslie

Well, here I am at 4.5 months and I'm definitely starting to show, though some people have told me that I could just have a beer belly. I am in the middle of the 18th week and the baby is about 5.5 inches long. I haven't really felt any movements yet, though this being the first time, I'm not sure what to wait for. When I lay still and tune in I can feel pulsings, which I think is the baby, but I'm not sure. I'm waiting for that definitive moment when I know for certain that the sensation I felt was the baby.

We have an ultrasound today and there is a chance we could find out the gender. Chris wants to wait and be surprised, but I feel like I might get to know the baby a little better if I knew whether is was a boy or girl. I guess it will depend on how the baby is positioned, if we don't find out that's ok, but maybe it will be obvious.

On Being Pregnant, or the answer to: How Are You Feeling? by Leslie

Since my last post the baby has doubled in size to about 4 inches. I am starting week 16 today. I still can't really feel any movements but there have been a few moments when I thought I felt something fluttering in there. I am getting pains here and there in my sides, which are the ligaments stretching to accommodate my growing belly. Maternity clothes are certainly more comfortable, but I can't really fill them out yet. When I try to wear my old clothes though, they feel too tight. I have a tiny little bulge, but you probably wouldn't notice unless you knew to look. Here's some photos from two weeks ago, my belly is currently a bit bigger than this, but not by much.

We had another doctor's appointment last night, everything was good. We recorded the heartbeat, it was 140 beats per minute, and my uterus has grown up to my belly button. I lost a pound, which is fine for now, and I'm glad that I'm not gaining too much weight yet. I've been eating well to get all of the vitamins and nutrients that I need like protein, iron with vitamin C, calcium and folic acid. On the menu are lots of hard boiled eggs, peanut butter/nuts, fruits/veggies, whole wheat bread/pasta and milk/cheese/yogurt. I started doing prenatal yoga at home as well. Nutrition and exercise are the two most important things I can do during pregnancy to have a healthy baby and a natural childbirth.  I did break down yesterday though and ate a greasy piece of pizza. I was so hungry and it looked so good.

We are planning on a natural childbirth without any pain medications. There are some great books out there and I'm spending my time educating myself about pregnancy and labor. Obviously there is no right or wrong way to have a baby and many things can happen during the process that we won't have control over. The main thing I am learning though is that I feel the most comfortable when I am aware of all the possibilities and when I put myself into a situation and environment that supports the decisions we have made about our ideal birth experience.

We hear so much about the horrible birth experiences but there are lots of wonderful birth stories too if you speak to the right people and read the right books. I believe I can have a natural birth with the support of midwives, by taking Bradley Method childbirth classes, by studying Hypnobirthing techniques and by hiring a doula. I'd like access to a birth tub or a shower, a birth ball and I want to be able to move around freely. I want to be fully present and aware, I want to feel in control and empowered, I want to trust my body and the millions of women who birth babies without medical intervention all over the world. This is a natural process that I feel privileged to take part in.

I've been crying a lot lately. It's hormonal. I first noticed it during the NYC marathon a few weeks ago. I was watching the lead runners close to the end of the race and I started to cry thinking about how hard they worked and how amazing it was that they could run for that long. I get choked up during TV shows when other people cry and when I think about returning to work after the baby is born. I also came completely unhinged last weekend thinking about all the things that we need to do in the house to get ready for the baby.

We want to remove the wall between the kitchen and dining room to open up that space. We need to move a lot of furniture around, the office furniture to the TV room, the TV stuff to the living room, the piano to who knows where. We need a new couch because the dogs completely destroyed the one we have. We need to paint the office and paint the baby's room and also decorate all the rooms. The baby's room needs to be stocked with furniture, gear, toys and baby clothes and some work needs to be done in the closets. There is so much to do! I have a list a mile long. Apparently I'm already nesting.