Thursday, May 31, 2007

False Alarm

I'm still here.

Despite all the calls from concerned family members ("Have you had it yet?"), we haven't had it yet. I had back pain on Monday, but nothing happened. A few Braxton Hicks contractions, but no "real ones". The water has not broken. And Zizou, apparently, still has plenty of room to roam--I can watch my belly heave and burble like the ground near the San Andreas Fault.

Yesterday, while enjoying lunch out with my awesome cousin and her super cool husband (who's in the traveling show of Mamma Mia!, now playing in Madison), I started having some weird contraction-type things.

Except these were not at all what I expected.

I felt like a little tiny Klingon was in my pelvis zapping me with a taser. Or a cattle prod. Definitely something electrical.

They continued randomly while I "taught" for two hours at a local middle school (and sat through the first half of Shrek 2 and High School Musical, again), and then disappeared.

They reappeared around 10 PM. About every 10 minutes. And they hurt. I started sweating.

And worrying.

Why now? I am so tired!!! I just want to sleep. Please, not now. Just wait until morning, OK? Please???

To be on the safe side, after half an hour of hemming and hawing, I decided to cancel my teaching job for today. (Honestly, it wasn't too hard a decision--it was a tough assignment, and I wouldn't have looked forward to it even if I wasn't pregnant.)

They kept up, slowing to about every half hour, until approximately 2 AM. Then I fell asleep. Of course, I still woke up every hour or so to pee (what else is new?), but the contractions (if that's what they were) didn't come back. I started to feel guilty. That's a lot of diaper money I just flushed.

Then about 4 AM I had a thought. A wonderful, fabulous thought.

When I woke at 6:30, I called the sub office. I asked for this day to be taken from my "PI" account (personal illness). That means I get paid for today. We get one day for every 20 worked. I had forgotten. Yay for unions!!! I went back to bed, and slept until 9.

And this morning? Feels like normal. I'll let you know. There's no wifi at the hospital, despite the otherwise-state-of-the-art birthing suites, but I've trained Dr. B to moblog photos to my flickr page from his phone, so if there's anything to report, you'll see it there first. Even if it is just a picture of me looking sweaty, frustrated and angry.

Let's hope that happens soon!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sea Monkeys and Decoder Rings

We're still waiting.

My due date is fast approaching, and Dr. B still doesn't know about the job. And that's just the way it is.

We feel like kids who've ordered something from the back of a cereal box, or Highlights magazine, or an Archie comic.

6 to 8 weeks, it said.

It could be four. They could send it early. I mean, how hard can it be? Things come early sometimes, don't they?

And we wait. And there's nothing.

OK, Six. Here we are. Six. It's gotta be any day now. We're ready. We've prepared. We've got it going on. It should be here, right away!

And we wait. And there's nothing.

So we wait, for eight. Or ten. Because it could be ten. Or even (gulp) twelve. (Both Dr. B and I were first babies, and we were both late. Very late. I was 25 days late. He was a month late. And you wonder why we can never show up on time for a party?)

Last week, Dr. B got frustrated and emailed the big U to find out the status. Turns out he is "one of the top two or three" and they are asking for funding for more than one. But the guy that does funding is in Ghana. So it will be a while yet. It helps to know, though.

On Wednesday, I got a call from my MIL.

So, how you feeling?


Anything yet?

No. A few contractions, but nothing big. Doc says I'm 70% effaced, and still only 1 cm. dilated. Could be tomorrow, but it could be in three weeks. No way of knowing.

Huh. I was hoping.

We'd tell you, you know.

I know. It's just...

Just what?

Well, my friend's daughter is due three days after you, and she had hers yesterday.


Yeah, but she had a ceserean. She was quite heavy, so maybe she had diabetes or preeclampsia or something. I don't know.

Well, ceserean's can be scheduled, you know.

Yeah, I know. I was just hoping. I thought maybe you were there already. At the hospital. You know, since she had hers, and you're due before her...

J, we will call you.

I know. I just am so excited. I thought for sure. I mean, it's just days now, until your due date. Fourteen days! Just days! I thought maybe...

No, J. We'll call you. You'll know.

So, she's ready. Her school district is already out (lucky them, Madison goes until 6/15) and she's ready to join us to help when the baby's born. I've accepted jobs for through next Friday, figuring I'd rather earn diaper money than sit at home and stare at my ginormous gut and wonder when she's going to make an appearance. I can always cancel them if I'm too tired or in labor.

Yesterday, I woke up in a very strange state. For one, it was twenty to ten. TWENTY TO TEN!!! I haven't slept that late since we lived in France. Huh, must have been a hormone shift or something. (Today I stayed in bed until 9. Still pretty good for me.) Then, I noticed my bump had definitely shifted downward. There was no longer the high rise under my boobs, and I was 1 inch bigger around the middle (now 43 inches.) I spent the morning having a wonderful, selfish weekend (eating cookies that taste like the Girl Scout Peanut Butter patties and cold pizza in my jammies, drinking caffeinated coffee, emailing, reading blogs, reading a really fluffy novel and watching the Tudors.)

I then spent the rest of the day doing productive crap, like laundry, cleaning, reorganizing, writing thank you notes, and putting new stuff away. The nesting happened more in the last month--this was just frustrated energy more than anything. I didn't feel compelled, just disgusted with my messy house and tasks left to complete.

After supper, Dr. B and I decided to go to a movie. It had been a long time since we've been to the theater, so we were anxious to go. He ate popcorn (all before the previews were over, as is his compulsion) which I skipped, thinking that avoiding the salt would help me avoid my nightly foot swelling, and I used the bathroom three times before Johnny Depp came on-screen. Hoping.

Yeah, right. Pirates of the Caribbean 3 turned out to be a bit confusing for me. Mainly because I had to get up to pee approximately 27 times. You miss a lot when that happens. I guess it was too loud for little Zizou, because she was dancing like she just don't care, making her Mommy nearly wet her pants every 8.3 minutes. My pelvis ached with every step I took to and from the bathroom (27 times), I couldn't get comfortable for the life of me, and my feel swelled up so bad the skin felt like it was going to split.

I've gained 20 pounds with this pregnancy, and I'm pretty sure at least 8 of it is in my feet (mostly the right one). I look like a blonde half-Hobbit (I guess just the right side is Hobbit). The shoe envy is killing me--I see so many super cute shoes I want, but all my poofy pieds will fit into (and that's only with some shoving and mooshing around of the foot skin) is my Mephistos or my Birkenstocks, on the last notch. Plus, I don't know if my feet will have grown, as is often the case. I want a haircut, too, but I'm afraid it will all fall out after the baby's born. So I thought, maybe a handbag? Then I look at the price and think, "that will buy a lot of diapers." Even my clothes, the cute maternity things I was so excited to wear, are looking pilly and old. Amazing after only a few months--they charge an arm and a leg, and then the dumb things look like crap after one pregnancy. It's a racket, I tell you!

So here I am. Fat, puffy, ugly, with zits, a bushy blonde head, wearing pilly clothes and ugly shoes, and without the new handbag I'd really love to get.

Waiting for our Sea Monkeys and Decoder Ring.


Pass the cookies.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Last week, I was pretty worried. I worried about labor--whether it would go OK, that I wouldn't be able to handle it, that I wasn't ready.

Last week, I worried about Dr. B's job prospect. That he wouldn't get a call. That he would get a call, and it would be a "no". That they would never call and he'd be worried for months.

Last week, I cried. I yelled. I was depressed. I was overjoyed.

Last week, I had zits like you wouldn't believe. I think it was a hormone surge.

Today, I am feeling pretty good. I still have heartburn, an aching back, occasional contractions, and difficulty sleeping, but I'm pretty used to that by now. I've let go of my labor worries. It will happen as it does, and we'll deal with it.

I've let go of the job worries. We know he's in the top 2. We know they want both candidates. We know they might not get funding for both, and if they don't, he might be the one who doesn't get it. But we'll deal with it, which ever it is. Something will turn out, it always does.

Things will work out for us. We know this. We've been through the worst, losing my mom, and we've survived. We've put ourselves out there, moving to France, and we've thrived. We've made it through very tough stuff, and we've only gotten stronger and our love for each other has only grown deeper.

And soon, we'll have a new little life to add to our family. We're excited to welcome her, to get to know her, to find out who she is and what she's like.

The only nightmares I've had lately is finding out that this her is a him, and I have only girl clothes in the drawers. (I had a dream last night that the baby was a boy. A boy with a penis so big it went down to his ankles. Dr. B didn't believe I was telling the truth, so when he picked up his son, little Zizou peed all over his face.)

But even if that does happen, we'll be fine. We'll survive. We'll thrive. (After all, pee washes off.)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Freeform Cheesecake

Once upon a time, I told you about an awesome new recipe.

Then, like the next day, they took the recipe off the website. Fearing retribution from the scary Food Network Lawyers, I didn't dare post it myself.

But I guess the show re-aired, and they reposted.

So go, quick, download it. Make it. It's worth it. Great for summer, not too sweet, and tastes absolutely divine. I'm thinking about making a bucket of it to keep in the fridge. Seriously.

Freeform Cheesecake Served Over Fresh Fruit (Michael Chiarello)

And thanks bunches to my friend Christine for making it for dessert at the incredible baby shower you threw for us today. It was WONDERFUL! You spoil us. I feel so loved!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Joe's killer is going to jail. 57 years, with 30 years of extended supervision after he's released.

I guess he'll have a long time to think about what he did, and the Nobel Peace Prize he didn't win. (see link)

Bad things happen to good people, and our justice system does the best it can to make the perpetrators pay for it. Unfortunately, there's no real way to make up for something as horrible as this.

It's just so sad.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Digs for Him

Some of you science geeks may already read Dr. B's blog, Nanomech in Photovoltaics, but you may not be aware of his new blog, on the Nature Network. He was contacted by the journal Nature (yeah, the one you hear quoted periodically on NPR) to be one of their first science bloggers.

He's promised to make me a button for it at some point, but for now, please click the link above if you're interested in the latest news in modern solar cell technology, or his thoughts on scientific philosophy or even just the latest thing that got him thinking.

For Dr. B, reading books on Bayesian Data Analysis or Quark theory or Quantum Physics is "down time, fun stuff!"

Well, that and Stargate.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

My very first Mother's Day is today, though the blessed event hasn't occurred yet. I guess it counts, since it's pretty clear there's a real, live human being in there, ready (pretty much) to join us, though it's still very surreal to me.

I've been remembered, with cards, gifts, fresh pain au chocolat for breakfast, and flowers. Dr. B gave me a very special gift, to remind me that just because I'm a soon-to-be Mommy, I'm still a Hot Wife to him, though I may feel not so sexy due to hormone fluctuations, hot flashes, mega-zit explosions, leaky bits, funny smells, constipation, parts of my body I can no longer see, tight clothing, funky cowlicks, puffy feet, interesting color changes, cankles, parts of me that now sit permanently on other parts of me, and of course, the ubiquitous enormous bump in the front. I won't mention my thankfulness for certain other pregnancy symptoms I haven't had to deal with, because it's not over until it's over. (Or until the Fat Lady sings, and I have a feeling I'll need some recovery time before I'm in any mood to do that.)

But today, I admit, I've got the blues. Maybe it's due to hormones. Or the weather (it's rather gloomy here.) But I think it's more due to missing my mom, who we lost in 1998, before we could celebrate Mother's Day that year. My anger over the reasons for her death is long gone. I understand now. I've accepted it. I know that I couldn't have saved her. I tried, so many times. But it wasn't up to me. I know this. But it still hurts, that she's gone. That she left us so early. Knowing what she is missing.

I've been missing her more and more as this pregnancy has gone on, wishing she was here to share our excitement, joy, and impart the practical and frank wisdom she was known for. I've had a few dreams of her, and I know she is watching, but it still aches that she's not here. It's amazing how fresh it can feel, even after nearly a decade. I've carefully washed and pressed the little dresses she saved for me, the blanket she bought for our baby over 9 years ago, when we were only newlyweds, and the baptism dress and blanket she stored away from my own baptism in 1973. I've hung the antique lithographs of children she collected in Zizou's nursery, and placed the "Mother's Prayer" plaque that hung above my own crib nearby. I'm grateful to have all these things, reminders of her, and of how much she already loved her grandchild, years before she came into the world. But I'd rather have her.

I worry. That I am not prepared. That I'm not going to 'do it right' when it comes to labor. That something will go wrong. That I won't be able to handle it. That I'll make some major mistake. That I won't be a good mom. That I won't be as good as she was.

I know that all these fears are irrational, and that I've been preparing the best way possible for as long as I can remember. (Ten years of teaching is nothing to shake a stick at.) I know I'll do fine, and will have great support from family and friends, that my instincts are good, that she'll love me no matter what.

But still. That little voice won't stop saying, "what if?"

I wish there was a direct phone line to Heaven.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I miss you.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


At this point, I'm too big to wear any of my non-maternity stuff (obviously), it's too hot to wear any of the long sleeved things from this winter, and I am very limited in my clothing options. Like I said yesterday, I'm doing laundry all the time, and wishing I had more to choose from. Because I'm baking a baby, I'm usually too hot, but since I'm also teaching little kids, I can't be flashing the world my goods. Maternity clothes, though much improved in the last few years, are designed by people who must generally assume that you want to show the world your boobs now, before they sag down to your knees. (I may be grateful later, but at the moment, I tend to feel a little uncovered.)

I've always loved clothes. Since I was a little girl, my favorite play toys were a barrel of my Mom's old clothes and my imagination. My sister and I would put on plays, settle the prairie, throw lavish weddings (with the aid of my Mom's beautiful flower gardens), teach school (a favorite of mine), run restaurants, and pilot our own cruise ships. I have always planned carefully what to wear the night before each day, shopped for the perfect outfit at a bargain price, and I remember what I was wearing at nearly every important event in my life. (I still remember exactly what I was wearing and eating when I met my husband for the first time. I was worried about onion breath, but I loved my shirt. He didn't.)

Dr. B says this is part of my OCD coming out. (He's worried about Zizou--with his and my history of obsessive-compulsiveness, she's doomed.) I love to shop, and love even more to get a good deal.

In the last few days, I've been wishing for something new to wear that will be cool enough, conservative enough, and cheap. I didn't want to buy anything, because I could be meeting my little girl at any time now, and it seems stupid to buy new at this point. So yesterday, I went to Target and scanned the clearance racks in the "regular" section, thinking if I found a little light cardigan sweater to throw over my maternity tanks, I'd be satisfied, and could still wear it after the baby is born. I was also hoping to maybe find something "loose and comfortable", as they suggest in the birthing classes, that would still look decent to come home from the hospital in. After all, there may be photo ops involved. However, it's hard to know what my shape will be like when this gigantic lump is deflated.

But I got incredibly lucky.

I found this dress and this jacket. Neither are maternity, but both fit right now. The dress is a super soft jersey, with a loose, empire waist that hangs nicely on me now, and should also when the baby's born. The jacket matches perfectly, and will also look cute with jeans (when I can fit into them again) and a tank. They are in that shade of smoky blue that flatters my eyes very nicely, and paired with a wooden beaded necklace and some metallic wedges from Old Navy, I'll actually feel pretty stylish, despite the gargantuan hump on the front of my body.

Now here's the really lucky part. The dress was $4.99. The jacket was $8.49.

It doesn't get much better than that.

(PS: AND Dr. B comes home from his conference today!!! Yay!!!!!!)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I'm Back!

The computer is working, albeit with a loss of everything I had on it (thank goodness for Flickr). All my music, knitting patterns, pictures, recipes, and miscellaneous other crap I stored on it is gone. Since I've had this computer for 3 or 4 years and never had a problem (and this problem was much less expensive to fix than a new computer would have cost), it really doesn't bother me that much. Macs are kind of like Hondas: they work until they don't. (And it's not often that they don't.) Thankfully, I didn't have tons of really important data on the computer, and my blog is still up. Somewhere, in some box, I have backups of that as well.

So now, I have a brand spankin' new hard drive (about 5 times as big as the last one), and the same keys with all the letters worn off.

Ahh, it's good to be home.

Although I worried some people a bit, the baby's not here yet. At my appointment yesterday (36 weeks), the doc said I'm dilated 1 cm. and 50-60% effaced (she touched the baby's head!!!), but I could stay there for another 4 weeks. I said, "Does that mean the baby could come soon?" and her answer was, "I make no predictions." It could be tomorrow, it could be mid-June. Right now, Zizou is very active, and her new favorite activity is to grind her head into my lower belly and pelvis hard, causing me to groan and nearly making me pee my pants. (She especially likes to do this when I'm walking around at Target.) You can see my belly move on its own if you watch, which is rather freaky. I can't yet see feet, as Aimee did, but I sure do feel them. (And usually push them back in--it's never too early to start discipline!)

There's no hiding the pregnancy now, and catching sight of myself in the mirror is always a shock. I'm bumping into things with my belly, and misjudging how much space I need to get through. I still feel like myself, and sometimes forget I have this humongous bump on the front of my body. This doesn't work well when reaching for a bowl in the cupboard above the stove. (Yes, I have burnt my belly. Smooth move, I know.)

The nursery is mostly done, and I'm pleased with how it's turning out, though our crib hasn't yet arrived. I also found some stuff today that I'm going to Martha into a cool wall-hanging thing for the wall. (Yes, the word Martha is now a verb. Please make a note.) I'll share pics when I can. (We are still filmies here--no new digital yet.) We're not 100% ready, but I don't think we could ever be. Finding the energy to do everything I want to do is very difficult. I am still working, though it's getting harder, and the kids are getting wilder as the temperature climbs. I'll keep going until I can't anymore, because soon enough I'll be at home full-time.

But until then, I better get downstairs and put some more clothes in the dryer. I need something to wear tomorrow, and I've only got so many things that are big enough and cool enough for the projected temperatures (and mine--I'm always hot.)

Good night!!!

Monday, May 07, 2007


So, don't expect to hear from me for a few days.

My computer went Kablooey last night, and will be out of my hands for a few days, at least. I'll try to check my email at schools when I can, but my access will be very limited. Any comments will be published when I can, so please be patient and don't repost them eight times. I will get to them, when I can.

So, if you need to get ahold of me, you may have to write me a letter (on paper! Yes, you can do that still!!!), call on the phone, or get out the old tin cans and string.

I hear the Pony Express has a really good reputation. Guaranteed service in 3 months or less.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

You're Kidding Me!

At the doctor's office...
Nurse: "OK, down two pounds since last week."

Me: "But I had a Frosty for lunch!"

Nurse: "That must be some diet!"

Note: Zizou really likes Frosties. Chocolate ones. It fills in all those empty places the Oriental Chicken Salad can't.
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