Friday, February 29, 2008

Better than last time

In my last pregnancy with Q, this was the exact day that my water broke. I was 33 weeks and 5 days when it started leaking. I didn't actually go to the doctor for another 24 hours, thinking I was overreacting. Then, a few hours later just after midnight on May 5, 2006, Q burst into this world.
He wasn't breathing well and was pretty scrawny and cone-headed as you can see in one of his first pictures at left. But now, he looks great and is catching right up to his full-term counterparts.

It is hard to imagine that I could give birth now. It will be a relief to pass this day and know each day that goes by means the new little dude will be healthier and stronger. I have no desire to have him in the hospital for more than a few days. I want this birth to be as nature intended!

A photographer from my moms' group posted a message saying she was looking for an expectant mom willing to let her photograph their birth. She provided an example that I thought was really neat and touching and not at all graphic. I told her I would be interested in doing it. T is still a little skeptical, but I think it will be a wonderful thing to have some day.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Should I be barefoot and pregnant?

My special project aired tonight. I tried to disguise my very large pregnant belly with a black maternity suit, but once you are the size of a beach ball, there is not much you can do. My suit was actually a bit snug, and it was obvious for all to see that I was expecting. Of course, I am entirely proud of that fact and not the least bit ashamed or convinced I should be retiring to the shadows in my "delicate condition."

Usually I am mostly hidden behind a desk, but in this special I was standing and walking around. The special went well, and I was happy with how it turned out. We discussed a lot of good issues, and I put a lot of hard work into it.

While it was airing tonight, a co-worker of mine took a call from a drunk man who took exception to my appearing pregnant in public. He repeatedly said I shouldn't be "on my feet" and that I was "a baby machine" and "should be put out to pasture." His words stunned and chilled me. I am not often exposed to that kind of ridiculous sexism, so when I am it makes my blood boil.

My husband and I wanted to have a family. I clearly am the only one of us who can do it, so why should I have to stay huddled in my home during this time? I shouldn't let the opinions of one crazy, drunk man bother me, but it is hard not to be steamed. I have no doubt I am more intelligent and talented than him, so why does he feel somehow superior because I can carry a child?

Though I am glad we don't live in the 1950's, sometimes I worry we haven't come as far as we think.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Animal cracker craving

My cravings during this pregnancy have not been anything out of the ordinary. I always crave things, so I don't notice a dramatic change. No pickles and ice cream or bark and pebbles. The last time around, I was slightly addicted to pretzel bites at this place in the mall. They are so salty and buttery and puffy and chewy. Yum. I could go for some right now.

This time though, my focus lately has been animal crackers. They're not too sweet, but sweet enough, not entirely bad for you, but not too healthy either. The vending machine in our break room was feeding my need for awhile, but then the vending machine guy stopped stocking them. Ack! Cruel world. So now, T has been my supplier, regularly picking some up at the grocery store. I have a bag stashed in my desk, and it hits the spot in the late afternoon.

Today, however, I made the mistake of offering Q a handful of animal crackers along with his banana and cereal bar. He apparently shares his mama's tastes and immediately took to the little bits of animal-shaped goodness. He shoveled them in his mouth, eschewing all other food offerings. I kept trying to reason with him. "Eat one piece of banana, and I will give you more crackers." But no. He was determined. I am ashamed to admit Q had a lunch entirely made up of animal crackers today. Not that I blame him.


Dog park disaster

Rudy went to the dog park for the very first time this weekend. As you can see from the picture above, it was ill-fated.

We were so excited about the trip. I have never been a dog person, but I always thought it would be fun to go on walks and to the dog park. You just can't do that with a cat.

We went for a 2.6 mile walk beforehand, and Ruby kept up like a champ. She was even pulling on her leash. I think I was the dead weight on the expedition.

Then we excitedly went in the dog park gates. We unleashed the hound ready for her to frolic and play with the other dogs. She was immediately surrounded by the other big dogs and bullied. She rolled over on her back as they prodded and sniffed her. One of the large, white beasts pictured above started nipping at her. The owner of the behemoth insisted she was "just playing." It did not look like that to me or to poor tiny Ruby. The big, mean dog was chewing her back. We scooped up our tiny, shivering pup and hurried out of there. Sigh. Such a letdown. Dog bullies.

However, some good news to report. I receive my three boxes of Girl Scout cookies tomorrow. I predict they don't make it through the week.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Feeling better

I was considering throwing myself off a bridge yesterday, but today I am safely back from the brink. I feel much better today with just a few coughs, and my voice is returning. Being sick sucks.

I am still teaching aerobics and yoga tomorrow. It might be my last stint at aerobics for some time. I am so easily winded right now and feel kind of silly anyway. I might do another week or so of yoga, but even that is getting pretty rough. If I was teaching prenatal yoga it would be another story, but trying to do full out yoga for non-pregnant people is a challenge. I try to toss my leg forward around my round belly for a low lunge, and it is a miracle if I make it.


The woman whose husband died last weekend sent T and me a letter. If you remember, her husband passed away just a month after they got married, and she told us to go ahead and run the story. She thanked us for airing the piece and said it brought her a lot of joy to see him one more time smiling again.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Sick and tired

I had a rough day today. I have been sick for several days, coughing like crazy and losing my voice. I feel dead on my feet being eight months pregnant and sick. But, I just had to keep trucking along with all my events this week.

Today, I finally decided to call in and try to rest. That might have been a mistake. It is not exactly restful at home. Ruby the dachshund kept jumping on me and climbing over my belly. Q constantly wanted "Up!" and then would climb all over me elbowing my stomach and not giving me a moment's rest. He is still sick himself and clingy. The dog is still not housebroken so I was cleaning up her pee and poop and trying to get Q to eat lunch. I started to get flustered and irritated and decided I just needed a break. I put Ruby in her kennel and stuck Q in his crib with some toys. I felt guilty and tired and sick and completely irritated with constant coughing, but I just needed to lay down. He fussed for awhile but eventually calmed down, and I took a wonderful nap complete with a bizarre dream about one of my co-workers making me a sandwich.

My entire abdomen is tight and achy with all the coughing and the contractions. I am feeling wiped out and sorry for myself and a little down. Why can't this all be easier?


In the good news department, Q passed onto the next level of swimming lessons. He is now a perch! T and I are ridiculously proud of him. We were pretty sure he would flunk kipper and be forced to repeat, but the swimming prodigy proved us wrong.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Left hanging

I had a shoot last night for a project I put together completely myself, and a tardy couple almost screwed it all up!

I had an idea to do this roundtable discussion on how our area is seeing an influx of rich retirees and how that affects everyone from high schoolers to the retirees themselves. My bosses said, "Great! Do it!" I was hoping it would be more of a team effort and not just me, but I was up for the challenge.

I found my eight guests, and we figured out our format and scripting. Everything was falling into place nicely. At the agreed upon time, six guests were in place, and two were missing. The guests were sitting in their chairs squirming under the hot lights. Members of the crews were milling about and my boss was sitting in on the whole operation. I started to get a little panicky when they were about 20 minutes late. I repeatedly called their home phone as my mind raced about what to do. They had just confirmed a day before!

A girl I work with realized her mother knew the father of the couple, so we started calling around to get their cell phone number. About 30 minutes after they were supposed to be here, I finally reached the woman. They had gotten very lost despite my specific directions and just went back home. Hey, thanks for the extra effort. Once they arrived 40 minutes late, we settled in and things went smoothly and quickly. My boss seemed very happy, and I was incredibly relieved.


Today, I had to emcee a big event and both my boss and my boss's boss were at the front table. Very nerve-racking. That sort of thing is just not my forte. I dread it a bit actually. I had these two big events hanging over my head this week, and it is wonderful to have them behind me. I forced myself to speak slowly and to be calm, and I think I did well. I am just not a natural, but I figure the more I do things that make me uncomfortable, the better I will become. Though, I have been doing them for several years, and it's not getting much easier.


I waited forever for Q to say "mama." For the longest time, it was "da-da" this and "da-da" that. He never would correctly address the one who actually birthed him! But, now he calls both of us "mama." Excellent.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Feeling sunny

I don't think I have Seasonal Affective Disorder or anything like that, but man does the weather affect my mood. It has been sunny and springlike the last several days after weeks of gray, wet weather. It just lifts my spirits. I took walks outside with Q the past two days and enjoyed the warm sun on my face. I sort of overestimate the warmth and shiver in my shorts when it is just in the 50's, but it is such a welcome change. It makes me crave summer. Unfortunately, the rest of the week's forecast calls for clouds and rain. I will crawl back into my hole of glum, self pity.

My parents are in town this weekend. They bring with them the normal amount of frustrations and annoyances as parents do, but all things considered they are pretty fun people to have around. They are less fun when I am pregnant though. We went to a wine shop, and they sampled several glasses of different reds and whites. I sipped self-consciously on one glass of Sangiovese. Tonight we all went out for Mexican. As everyone else enjoyed the margaritas the size of their heads, I nursed a glass of water with lemon. Boo.

Q wreaked havoc during our dinner tonight. He managed to douse himself with water and spread beans all over his arms. He alternated his baby giggle with crying and screaming and wrestled away from us under the table several times. We mentioned to my parents that is becoming increasinly common for grandparents to raise their grandchildren and asked what they thought about that?

My parents are helping us get the nursery ready. My mom is painting it cream and light green with an orangish stripe and dots of yellow. We have jungle bedding and cherry furniture. It should look great.

I had an ultrasound again today. They are not even really novel anymore since I make my way in there every two weeks to get scanned. My mom came to this one though, as my dad chased Q around the parking lot. She had never seen one done, because they were only for emergencies when we were born. The new baby looks chubby already with full lips and a pug nose. And, most importantly, he is staying in there so far! Seven and a half weeks to go if all goes as planned.


Friday, February 15, 2008


T and I went to a belated Valentine's dinner tonight, and it was phenomenal. My belly is so full of food and fetus right now, it is ready to pop. Gross image, I realize.

We started with a little half bottle of Prosecco or Italian sparkling wine. I was a bit self-conscious drinking any alcohol in front of other people, but this seemed to be a more sophisticated crowd who realized a glass won't hurt anything. We had a cheese plate with goat cheese, figs, candied walnuts, toasts, and honey. T had fish with shrimp and potatoes, and I had a margherita thin crust mini-pizza. Then we had this apple, walnut, cinnamon tart and cappuccinos. I could have burst, but it was quite tasty.

Q got a bit sicker today. His temperature was up to 101.9, so we decided to stay home with him. I went to work late, and T came home early so we could make the hand-off. Poor Q was coughing and so clingy. He did not want to be put down. It was kind of exhausting really. I finally just put him down for a nap, locked up the dog, and grabbed a quick nap myself before I went back into work.

This evening, Q seemed much more like himself, though he doesn't have much of an appetite. His fever was down, and he was walking around chattering and tossing his ball.

My parents arrive tomorrow. It is always a good time, because they are into enjoying themselves whether it be at a good restaurant or a winery. Being pregnant and having a toddler complicate things of course, but we should figure something out.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

I wish I were married to me

Being the wonderful wife I am, I made T French toast this morning and even bacon, though it grossed me out. The French toast was heaven. I included the recipe below. It was actually very easy, because you put it together the night before and cook it in the morning. I didn't have Grand Marnier on hand, so I substituted a bit of orange juice and orange zest. Yum.

We are going out to dinner tomorrow night for a very rare dinner out without the bad baby. Speaking of him, he has been sick lately, coughing and with a continuously running nose.

My story ran today on the two older couples. I mentioned before and after it that one of the men had died this past weekend. So sad. I am proud of how it turned out though and hope his family members take it as a touching tribute instead of a sad reminder.

Crème brûlée French toast
The editors of Epicurious share a winning recipe that's sure to please
Makes six servings
This highly rated recipe from is a cinch to prepare — and one of the tastiest breakfasts you’ll ever eat!Why not marry two of the most delicious dishes of all — crème brûlée and French toast? This easy and extremely popular recipe can be prepared the night before and baked in the oven the next morning. You can spice it up even more by cutting the bread with heart-shaped cookie cutters and then serving it to your loved one on Valentine’s Day.
Although the Diehls use large slices from a round loaf of bread and remove the crust, we also tried the recipe with a baguette, leaving the crust on, and found it just as delicious. At La Maison, challah is often the bread of choice.
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
An 8- to 9-inch round loaf country-style bread
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish. Cut six 1-inch thick slices from center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use, and trim crusts. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.
In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 350° F and bring bread to room temperature.
Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes.
Serve hot French toast immediately.
© 2008 Epicurious. All rights reserved.



Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Different lives

I visited a home for pregnant and parenting teen mothers tonight. I offered to talk to them as a working, pregnant mother to perhaps give them some advice or serve as a role model. It was an interesting experience.

These girls are fairly successful as far as being teen mothers goes. They are raising their children in a healthy environment and going to school. Many other teen mothers don't do as well. But, they also seemed so different from how I was in high school. One didn't realize that it cost money to go to college. Another wanted to be a psychologist like the people on "SVU." As I was talking to them they seemed like such children even as they bounced their own children on their knee.

They asked me about my job, and I told them honestly it's not a job I recommend to most people. My salary started so painfully low that I had to lean on my parents to help me move and to buy furniture for my tiny apartment. I am doing well now, but I would have been screwed if I was supporting a baby and had no parental backing! These girls start with the deck stacked against them.

One asked if I had a lot of debt from college. I answered sort of sheepishly that my parents had paid for me to go, but that these girls had many options for grants, scholarships and loans. One girl told the other one that they could apply for a grant as a teen mom and also because both had lived in foster care. What different lives! I can't even imagine. I am sort of embarassed of all the advantages I have had. I am glad I didn't completely squander my opportunities though.

I don't know if they got much out of the little meeting tonight. They were busy talking about what to get their boyfriends for Valentine's Day, checking text messages, and showing off a new pair of stilettos. I did tell them that they impress me very much and that seemed to mean a lot.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Sad news

A neat story I did last month did not end quite how I hoped. I was assigned to do a story on senior citizen couples who could provide lessons in love. One couple I profiled was married for 72 years and have known each other since they were in elementary school. The others were newlyweds at the ages of 89 and 90.

Both couples were extraordinary, still deeply in love, holding each others' hands and looking dreamily at each other. The story turned out to be very touching and sweet. It was set to air this Thursday on Valentine's Day.

Then today, we got a message that the 90-year-old newlywed had died. They had only been married a month. How depressing. T called the widow to see how she felt about us still airing the story as a tribute to their love. She agreed and said she "had lost the love of her life." I am glad she doesn't mind sharing their story, though I imagine it will be painful to watch.

The news put a damper on my day. I have the hardest time shaking depressing thoughts like that. They just kind of cloud my thinking and bring me down. My poor, fragile hormone-washed brain can't take this kind of thing!


Friday, February 8, 2008

Child care heaven and BPA hell

I have been on time or even early every day this week. It is some kind of miracle. My frazzled existence from before has just evaporated. Our new child care arrangement is working beautifully. Our child care provider arrives with her little son shortly after 2:00 p.m. and after we chat a bit, I leave and get to work by 2:30.

If Q is napping, I can let him sleep instead of jarring him awake, slapping a clean diaper on him, and throwing him in his car seat for the race across town. If he is having a late snack, he can peacefully eat in his chair when I leave. My usual 30-minute drive to day care and then work is now a straight eight-minute shot to the station. Before, lights, construction, or chatty neighbors could easily slow me down, but now I am out the door and walking into work with little stress.

The miracle of it all, is that this arrangement is actually cheaper. Why didn't we do this before? They go to the park or to the mall playground and on walks. Q seems to get a lot of individual attention. A part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Will she change her mind? Will we be left in the lurch? I guess we'll worry about that when the time comes.

A recent report has me worried about plastic baby bottles and the chemicals they leach into milk. I searched online for BPA-free bottles and found them either sold out or very expensive. So much to worry about, so little time.


Baby drama

Q has become quite the little drama baby. In the short time I was home for dinner tonight, he had several mini-meltdowns. One when the dog stole the bib he was playing with, another when I wanted him out of the pantry, and a third when he wanted his loud toy bus.

They are kind of funny really. When something has displeased him, he stops in his tracks, starts with a small, quiet cry, and then squeezes his eyes shut and builds up to a wail. His reaction is so out of proportion with his perceived injustice.

Tonight after I rudely closed the door to the pantry, he started screaming and went to his daddy for support. T dutifully ignored him and went about his business, till Q realized his performance was fruitless.

Our Early Childhood educator says when he does this, we should calmly say, "I can see you are mad right now, but Mama needs to close the pantry." And then just ignore him. Easier said than done of course, but mostly his drama just makes me smile. At home that is. Public meltdowns are a different story.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Doctor's visit madness

How do people with five children do it? I just don't understand.

I had an obgyn appointment today and had to take Q along with me. I waited for an hour for my appointment that was supposed to be at 9:40. How do you get that behind that early? T came by to help me for awhile, but then he had to go to work. Why do I even try to get there on time? I might as well just roll in half an hour late.

As I was in the stirrups, Q was bopping around pulling out magazines. When I was scheduling my next appointment, he threw a plastic frog behind the desk and ran off to explore other offices. At my ultrasound, he opened the door while I was in my underwear and carried around a urine sample cup. He took a piece off the toilet to play with and then found a stirrup cover to occupy his time. He screamed as I tried to wrestle it away. Eventually he was so exhausted from all the badness, that he laid on the ground on top of his stuffed seal. "Is he always this good?" asked the ultrasound tech as he lay there peacefully after his rampage. What??!!

The medicine they gave me to soothe my contractions is often prescribed for high blood pressure. My blood pressure is already on the low side, so I didn't like the sound of that. I have been feeling a bit light-headed lately as a result. Today the nurse measured my blood pressure at 88/58. It was probably even elevated slightly because Q was stressing me out. She asked if I was still actually alive. Great, huh? The doctor decided to half my dose, though I swear my contractions aren't easing up at all anyway.

Other than that, everything looked right on track, and I am not showing any signs of premature labor. I don't want the craziness of two babies to get here any sooner than it has to.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Slowing down

Things are settling down in my world after a few hectic days. T and I had a family friend come over Sunday night to watch Q and then dropped Ruby off at another friend's house. We then headed north to the state capital. We arrived at 7:30, got a bite to eat, and went to bed.

The next day was a looooong day of covering the legislative session. I felt a little light-headed a few times and had to sit down. Not a good sign. It was a fun day, especially since T and I rarely get to work together like that any more. We had some technical issues late in the day trying to get our live shots working and get our material fed back. That was extremely frustrating, but we did the best we could on our end, and that's all you can really do.

We drove back Monday night and arrived just before 11. I then had to work on my story for the next day, so it was a late night. My back was hurting and my eyelids were heavy by 1:45 a.m.

Then this morning was swimming lessons. It was a monumental effort to pull my suit on and get out the door with a squirmy little boy.

T and I really missed Q. It was weird not to have him in the car and toddling around our motel room and throwing food in the restaurant. When we got home, I had to ease him up out of his crib and squeeze him and smell his baby smell. This afternoon he was ridiculously cute insisting on wearing a stalking cap and paging through upside-down books.

We started with our new child care provider in our home today, and though it is always a bit awkward on that first day, it was wonderful to drive eight minutes to work instead of across town. T and I also drove straight home for dinner, cutting a huge amount of drive time out of our day. Anything to make the day less hectic is good for me.

We are listening tonight to the Super Tuesday results and monitoring them online. A guy I work with is from Egypt and just became a citizen a year and a half ago. This will be his first election to vote. He is fascinated by the process and asks many questions. It is interesting to find out just how much you really don't understand. Why do some states have caucuses and others primaries? Which are winner-take-all and which divide their delegates? When will a nominee be chosen? It demonstrates how complicated and crazy the process is. There must be an easier way. But, seeing him excited and enthusiastic about it makes me appreciate the madness a bit more.


Friday, February 1, 2008

Painful changes

Next week we switch to our new daycare provider. I was surprised how sad it made me to say goodbye today. I am not even overly attached to our current one, but I just know she must feel a bond with Q. He is a happy, sweet little guy, and she has had him almost every day since he was a newborn.

T picked up Q tonight for the last time, and he said she hugged and kissed Q and said it was so hard to say goodbye. Such a bummer. I know some parents can just change providers at the drop of a hat without even thinking about it, but it sure has been hard for me. I just hope we are making the right decision. The good thing is, we are leaving on entirely pleasant terms and could always go back. She also said she would be available for drop-in care which is a nice option to have. Sigh. I hate change.

This weekend, T and I are taking a rare business trip to the state capital to cover a legislative session. A family friend will come to the house to spend the night with Q. We are leaving Sunday right at the start of the Super Bowl, so I will be lucky enough to listen to it on the radio for the entire four hours. Can't wait.