26 April 2010

Hangin at the hospital

a decent, though sleepless, 24 hour stay at the hospital.

so, still down in the delivery room, X and i were getting acquainted. when they handed her to me, the first thing i managed to say was "she smells like a science lab." not "she's beautiful" or "hi there" or "happy birthday" like i assume regular people say. but honestly, all the crap she'd been floating in and around for 9 months smelled like science lab frog dissection day. formaldehyde or something. pretty sure the medical staff thought i was weird, but i'll bet their noses are desensitized to it.

anyway, the next hour or two were spent "relaxing" in this delivery room. X was a champ at breastfeeding, impressing some of the nurses. of course i was happy because i hoped it would mean i had one less thing to worry about figuring out about this tiny person. while she was learning to eat, i was taking advantage of the offerings i didnt get to "enjoy" had i come to the hospital earlier in labor. i had cups and cups of cranberry juice and dave and i had a popsicle (this hospital only lets laboring women have liquids, which isnt really a necessary restriction).

somewhere during this time the two paramedics came back. they brought a teddy bear in for X that said "nova scotia paramedics gave me a bear hug." i didnt realize they would still be hanging around. maybe its as decent a place as any to wait for the next ambulance call. and, humorously, the doula mentioned that when she arrived at the hospital she saw one of the paramedics out in the hallway breathing deeply with his hands on knees. she said he looked kinda freaked out. musta rattled him that he might have had to deliver someones baby in the back of the ambulance. lol.

(X with doula wanda; this photo is chronologically out-of-sync but this is the bear the paramedics brought for X)

then wanda (doula) drove dave home so he could get some items and drive our car back. during this time the nurse took X to get her weighed, etc. and to put the goop in her eyes to prevent blindness. while that was going on, i was helped over to the bathroom and encouraged to take a shower. i would definitely love to, but i am so FRIGGING sore and battered feeling (how do people who labor for 30 hours feel? or c-section ladies?).

turned out to be the best and worst shower of my life. definitely liked the idea of being clean, and the warm water, but it was hard to stand and i was a bit dizzy and it was kinda hard to breathe. i just had pounds of things leave my body an hour ago and now all my innards must be totally jolted. my belly was an icky saggy deflated balloon and its not like youre not...leaking. ugh. but i did make it out of the shower and in to some clothes. by then dave was back and we sat with X until the wheelchair came to take us up to the fifth floor for rooming-in and recovery.

up on the fifth floor we were deposited in a "ward" room. the hospital has been overrun with women having babies so we were put in this room that holds 4 new moms and babies. they say that normally they still try to keep the ward rooms to two moms per room, but with the heavy load of newborns, our entire room was full. we were the second ones to arrive though, so gradually throughout the night the room filled up.

sharing the room with 3 other moms and babies (and partners) wasnt as bad as it could be, but it definitely meant we got no sleep. there was always a nurse coming in and tending to someone, a baby would be crying, or visitors would be cooing at the new babies. thankfully everyone was pretty respectful of keeping their voices down...but theres only so much you can do in a tiny space.

id have to say the worst thing was to listen to the two bottle-fed babies in our room vomit and gag all day. newborn tummies are so tiny (the size of a chickpea!) and they are pretty inelastic so cramming hard-to-digest formula down their throat on a fixed schedule was too much for them. musta been hard on the parents too to have to be nervous about their baby choking on all that spit up. X had some mucus she was working on all day (she was born so fast that the birth canal didnt have enough time to squeeze all the goo out of her lungs) and her gaggy noises were disconcerting enough for us. but thankfully she was the least fussy baby in the room, and when she wasnt hungry or working on the mucus, she was sleepy and/or quiet.

anyway, typically (at this hospital at least), uncomplicated vaginal births get to go home in 2 days and uncomplicated c-sections get to go home in 5 days. but i had heard of many people with vaginal births going home earlier than that. we requested to leave in 24 hours, if possible. they said the main thing was to establish breastfeeding confidence and to see that X was doing well and then our request could be approved. so, in mean time, how did we spend our day...

1. i ate all the free hospital meals i was allotted. they had a huge menu and i ordered the max amount of food i could per meal. nope, it didnt taste good, but i was SUPER hungry!


(best meal we had at the hospital: veggie lasagna)

2. Xs bassinet was near the window which had a big air vent. the draft kept her from feeling comfortable in her own bed, so we had her with us and/or on us the entire time we were in the hospital. skin-to-skin with mom or dad the whole time. nice for bonding and staring at her.

(the three of us)

3. nurse visits. they are in for checkups of all varieties usually every hour or two. in the beginning, they come and check mom and baby a lot. lots of unpleasant pushing on my belly to make sure my uterus was starting to contract back down to size and not cause me too much blood loss. yes, childbirth is more acutely painful, but now that you are sore and tired, this pressure on your belly is really unwelcome. but what was welcome from the nurses was all the helpful advice, guidance (mainly for breastfeeding), and confidence. we had one nurse, in particular, who was fabulous. older woman who was a fountain of experience and knowledge and she so confidently knew how to hold, soothe, wash, and encourage X that i wanted to take her home with me.

(feeding time; X and her mohawk after the nurse gave her a shampoo)

4. lastly, bathroom time. they encourage frequent urination to make sure your system is functioning properly. thankfully they also have some lovely props to make that slightly easier. first, hospital underwear. highly ugly but very useful and welcome. i wish they would have sent me home with a second pair. second, the sitz bath was definitely taken home with us. when you dont have time for a full bath in the early days this little guy is a perfect fix. warm water, ahhhhh. and speaking of warm water, the little innocuous "peri-bottle" was (and still is) a lovely bathroom accessory.

in the end, we were able to go home at 9p the following night. X did not pass her hearing test because she had "cottage cheese ears" (another consequence of being born fast was that the goo in her ears didnt dissipate as fast as "normal") so we will have to come back for that but otherwise we were set to go. we brought her car seat up and the nurses inspected her positioning...and we were off. entrusted with the life of this tiny, helpless person. yikes.


final costs:
-cost to have baby: $0 (zero for all the prenatal care visits, zero for the tests i had, and zero for all aspects of the hospital stay)
-cost of ambulance ride: $134

survey of body damage:
1. 40 pound weight gain
2. 4 external stitches (second degree tear) in the nether region
3. one saggy (deflated balloon) tummy
4. one 'roid

*miraculously i avoided belly stretch marks. im thinking this was from a combo of genetics and that all the bloating pre-stretched my stomach to accommodate Xs future fetal growth.

24 April 2010

Ms. monster's wild ride

labor day.

so i woke up at 8a with more braxton-hicks than normal. id been feeling them since like month 5, so it wasnt anything unusual. but these were more numerous than "normal." still painless, just felt like a muscle contracting. when i got up, i decided to start writing down when i noticed them though, "just in case." i had perhaps 16 noticeable braxton-hicks from 8a-noon.

since nothing was out of the ordinary, dave went to his planned ultimate frisbee practice at around 11a and was back for lunch. at noon, my braxton-hicks became more noticeable and could be put in the category of painful, though only mildly so. i could definitely still talk and joke around through them. these are the "early labor" contractions i suppose. at this point, i started to take care of the things i needed to do/get done in case this was going to be "labor day."

from noon-3p i had maybe 15 contractions. i think i emailed the doula at around 2p to let her know about this, saying that hopefully this was labor starting but maybe it was the false kind. i said i "hoped to see her in a couple days." also during this time dave was getting things ready on his end, in case today was the day. i had bugged him for the longest time about shaving his beard so that he would be presentable to meet monster. after his shower, he did embark on this monumental task. and almost as soon as he put down the clippers and razor...things escalated.

(before...; after)

**things from here on may be described in more detail than you would care to read about. i say "avert your eyes" cuz im writing this as a record to myself and X for how things happened.**

at 3p, my mucus plug came out...and it all began...for real. i had about 10 contractions that hour and then dave started writing things down...a sign things were getting amped up. we were trying to look for the 4-1-1 pattern. nothing about what was happening was following a pattern. these were getting strong but were of varying intensities. they came at different times and were all over the place in terms of length. some required major breathing focus, which i hadnt practiced but my body ended up doing naturally.

the hour between 4p and 5p was largely spent in the bathroom. it was the only place i felt comfortable due to the strength of some of the contractions. at this time dave packed our hospital bag (i hadnt wanted to pack it early since i thought it would make me anxious to wait for baby). also, there was still no real pattern to my contractions. i had perhaps 17 contractions this hour, some were really bad, so i told dave to call the doula. during this whole time i could still feel monster moving and kicking so i was happy to know that at least baby was still having a good time and seemed healthy.

then, at 5p my water broke. i had a horrid contraction that was LONG, and somewhere in the middle of it i felt a weird sensation that something was holding me back, and that if i could somehow find a way to relax during the contraction, even for a TINY bit, i would somehow be able to release. so i did, and my water broke all over the floor (thank god i was still in the bathroom). i freaked out for a second. i was totally soaked, and it was warm, ew, and now it was seriously happening. today i would be going to the hospital. and now the contractions were MAJOR. the only way i found to get through them was to, embarrassingly, defer to whatever my body wanted to do. and that was to basically sing/bellow opera-like notes that would only be fitting for a full-on horror show. i am so lucky i didnt frighten dave away...and i can only imagine what the neighbors thought was going on on this sunny saturday evening.

anyway, while i was "singing" i realized i was completely paralyzed with each contraction and wouldnt be making it to the car. i just knew dave would have to call 911. thankfully he didnt argue with me and called, they were there in 4 minutes. at this point i was "on all fours" in the bathroom. i had tried to get down and take off my wet clothes and get into something dry before they came. nope, no luck. i was pantless when then strapped me to the gurney. thankfully i was in enough pain that i couldnt focus on being mortified. and thus i went to the hospital, half naked.

the paramedics were two men, and i think they were both a little skeptical and a little freaked out. i dont think they believed i was at the pushing stage of labor, but they deposited me at the hospital anyway. i had my eyes closed the whole time, trying NOT to push. THAT was fun! then i was on the labor/delivery floor and someone was ever so gently (NOT) examining my cervix. yup, fully dilated. ready to push. i was wheeled into a room and the on-call doctor was whisked in (recall, my dr was out-of-town, not that she woulda made it there on-time even if she were in town). it was also at this point that the doula arrived. now i had two support people to help me get this kiddo out. i felt lucky. i also, oddly, didnt really feel like pushing. everything had happened so fast that i just didnt want to see what this part was going to be like. i wanted to rest or get my bearings, but of course, it wasnt like i was pain-free, and the sooner i got her out the sooner i could exit this phase.

so, i commenced pushing and according to the clock on the wall, she was pushed out in 20 minutes. it felt like 5. once her head came, her whole body just slid out and she was born. placenta came very shortly after that and i had monster with me and the docs were taking care of my nether region. totally left all modesty at home. couldnt have cared less what was happening. i even thought that i wouldnt ever let dave at the foot of the bed to watch monster being born...but he was there. he was so calm through the whole thing and endearingly fascinated that i wasnt nervous about him being involved in everything. the only thing he was nervous about, was the possibility of having to deliver monster in our apartment. which, thankfully, he did escape.

so, in the end i guess i got my non-intervention, pain-med free labor that i had wanted. the doula said that typically labor is calculated from the point when contractions get painful and you cant talk through them because at this point things are progressing from whatever could be false or "early" labor into things that are definitely going to make a baby arrive. so, by that "standard" my labor was 3 hours long. while that may look nice and desirable, i would definitely say that something more along the 6-8 hours of steadily-increasing textbook labor would have been slightly more desirable. honestly. but i cant complain.

23 April 2010

Hot air 14 - Last chapter of life before becoming a milk machine

just the last collection of items watched, read, eaten, etc before monster arrived...


brittany (france that is) appreciation:
- watched the movie "a very long engagement" (by the director of "amelie") with audrey tautou. much was filmed in brittany (the towns of plogonnec and locronan to be exact). absolutely gorgeous breton landscapes. the film is about a woman who follows a thin paper trail to find her beloved fiancé after he is believed dead during WWI.


(map marker is in the town of plogonnec. locronan is just a few kilometers north)

- stumbled upon some tasty blog entries praising breton products by american chef and parisian food blogger david lebovitz:
1. an entry on the amazing salted butter of brittany
2. an entry on the famous salted caramel of brittany
3. an entry on the quality sea salt of brittany


nova scotia surfing:
- as ive mentioned before, there is some world class surfing to be had at lawrencetown beach, nova scotia. supposedly top rate for winter surfing. the cbc made a small documentary about it.


pop culture:
- weve been watching the 30 minute comedy called "better off ted" on occasion. we have tested out so many of the other prime time offerings and were severely disappointed. we yearn for more arrested development, but, in its absence, we can still get a portia de rossi fix by watching this new-ish comedy. not too bad.

- and...i see that the new "twilight saga: eclipse" trailer is out (june 30. woo!). i will put some minds at ease, i hope, by mentioning that i have ZERO interest in this silly twilight spin-off story about bree the vampire. im not that obsessed. does that give me back an ounce of street cred?

- amusing blog called "hyperbole and a half" had a funny post making fun of people who dont type "properly" while commenting in cyberspace. (one of the gripes makes fun of the way i type...no capital letters, no apostrophes. bite me. i feel that capital letters are aggressive and apostrophes are pretentious.)

- reese has a new guy. a little depressed it couldnt work with jake...

- celeb family pics...


(gwyneth paltrow with children moses and apple; julia roberts with niece emma)


some tasty recipes weve tried:
- white bean, sausage, and greens soup (recipe sounds like it coulda been "blah," but it was actually quite nice. we couldnt find any escarole so we used kale.)
- a simple, tasty cornbread (recipe chosen based on ingredients we had in the house at time of desiring said cornbread.)
- red lentil, zucchini, and cous cous soup (could you put together any other combination of random ingredients and want to eat it? not sure. its weird, but tasty. plus, i love soup and i love variety so this was a welcome treat.)
- cheddar and apple stuffed pork chops (heaven. random find by chef nib.)
- roasted potatoes and asparagus (easy side dish with the pork chops. garlic was added. SO yum.)


new yorker articles:
- brief article about the unusual topic of "citizen tree pruner." plus, safety tips about using a chainsaw. love it.
- brief article on bedbugs. ah, so random.
- brief article on u.s. health care and how the government can agree to pass new laws limiting what private insurers can do, but we cant even come close to partial agreement for public insurance.
- brief article about a female chicago architect and her thoughtful designs (she recently built a beauty of a condo skyscraper in lakeshore east).
- brief article mentioning the turmoil in the u.s. back when medicare was passed and what the fallout is/could be for this health care bill.

- short article about a michigan man who owns a cryogenic business to freeze your body after you die.
- short article on the current literature related to death, dying, grieving, and the culture around what is "acceptable."
- short article about a group of obsessed foodies who try to follow szechuan chef peter chang around the east coast as he mysteriously leaves one restaurant and shows up somewhere else.
- short article on clint eastwoods career and characters. written with respectful admiration.
- short article about happiness research/literature. interesting findings and thoughts for policy implications, though im not sure i agree with all of it.
- short article about a new food guide/movement in france called "le fooding." had never heard of it. younger vibe of people out looking for unpretentious food. im smitten.
- shorter article about a fascinating italian man in the fashion industry, brunello cucinelli. he makes exquisite cashmere clothes, respectfully uses local italian labor, and re-invests 20% of his company profits back into the town where he lives and works.

- long-ish article on the literature of mental disorders/psychiatry and the current drug treatment options and the mixed bag of opinions and "science" in those areas.
- longer article profiling the tea party movement.
- longer article about van gogh and a different side of his life and relationship with artist paul gauguin, and the possibility that gauguin may actually have cut off van goghs ear.
- longer article about andy warhol, his persona and art, and a general synthesis of the time period of art that he flourished in.
- longer article about an isolated group of "mountain people" who live just 25 miles from NYC and have been very misunderstood. very interesting.

On-going governmental nausea

living "off the grid" eating squirrel meat and berries sounds good right about now.

governmental updates:

1. maternity leave. the rules are clear as mud. at work, they made it sound like the process was simple. they sent me my paperwork documentation in the mail. it said i had to create an online account to manage this maternity leave period. so i do. at the end it asks for my "access code." i dont know what this is...or i dont have one. i call the number it says. the lady tells me that since i have never filed for any kind of employment insurance (of which maternity leave is one kind of) i have to go back to the home page and create a more general on-line account for this branch of government service. okay so i do.

only thing is you cannot move forward unless you enter the date you start maternity leave. which is fine, except it wont let you put anything in but a past or present date. you cannot list a future date. so...how am i suppose to start this account? i put in the current date and move forward. at the end, it tells me that i need to go to a "service canada" office in person to show my documents that i used to fill out the on-line account. come on!

so, today i go in to "service canada" and sit down with a lady. after explaining my story about three times to her she finally opens my account to see what i am talking about. she then basically accuses me of "gaming the system" by entering in my maternity start date as something earlier than it really was. i tried to explain to her that it didnt appear that i could have gone forward setting up the account without putting something in to the field. plus, maternity leave is very fluid. its totally contingent on when the baby comes. i wasnt lying, i was intending to correct the information once my account processing was rolling.

ugh, so basically i was there for almost an hour saying the same thing over and over. it came down to the facts: you cant apply for the first account until you actually START using employment insurance for the first time. once you have an actual date (in the past), you can move forward. THEN you can get sent an "access code," then you can create another account for your particular time off work (maternity leave for me). then you have to wait 28 days before you receive your first paycheck, which includes the non-payable 2 week "waiting period" whereby the government "gives" you 17 weeks of maternity leave, paying only 15 of those weeks. after which you can transition to "parental leave" for 35 weeks. oh, and of course you are obligated to call and update your file with any new information (you want to go back early, take more time, you get a part time job...). if you cant follow the logic or rules i just listed, im almost in the same boat as you.

2. dave and the canadian government. so his contract was in the special category of research post-doctorate that the government had listed as a tax-free type of visitors employment. with new budget workings for 2010, the canadian government has decided to remove this tax-free "benefit." they also chose NOT to grandfather any current contracts in, and in fact made the taxes retroactive back to the beginning of 2010 (even though the decision was made in march). ass holes.

3. french government tax update. despite at least three separate communications with the french government (via email and snail mail) in which dave informed them of our address change, they CONTINUE to send items of important time-sensitivity to my friends house in the u.s. that we have as our "permanent address" for several things u.s.-related. recently we got documents sent there about our habitation tax (like a property tax but for apartment rental people). we were charged a 10% late fee, even though it was them who didnt listen to us about where they could send us the paperwork...to be processed on time. and as for our general french income taxes...still havent heard anything...these people are ridiculous. stop pissing me off and wasting our time.

FASCC 5 - caribbean twist

managed to get in a "sushi club" tonight, though we didnt eat sushi.

our french friend and original FASCC member has been in europe for a while (almost two months) so we were on hiatus. he had a work trip on a boat near cyprus and after that he was spending some time in paris. difficult life. but, with the volcanic eruption disrupting his return to halifax, it looks like he will be in europe for almost another month (attending a conference and doing a job interview). so we had to get another food date in without him.

we took a couple of hot/spicy food loving geologists to caribbean twist. i think it was a big hit. they were both impressed with the level of "heat" and all the plates were cleaned. dave ordered the jerk chicken plate and i tried the curry chicken roti with curry potatoes this time. it was great. like a spicy crepe. i can definitely handle that.

plus, we had the banana cream pie to finish again. mmmmmm.

(daves jerk chicken platter; my curry chicken roti)

22 April 2010

Nessie news - 38 weeks

38 weeks. 0-4 more left. plodding, plodding, plodding along.



dr appt:
gained two pounds. blood pressure 100/64. baby heartbeat: 150 bpm. head down. dr is going to be out of town next week. she told monster to wait until may 1 to be born. we shall see how well monster listens to authority figures...

symptoms:
1. my belly is now shaped like a torpedo. my poor belly button is strained to its max and creates the perfect tip for a warhead.

2. my stomach has gotten smaller. my meals thus must shrink. but this doesnt mean im less hungry. it sucks.

3. nausea. i seem to be experiencing some low-grade nausea at night, just before i want to go to bed. propping with more pillows helps, but its makes me a bit sore in the morning.

4. bathing. dont want to do it anymore. the warm water makes me hot. heat expands things, including my blood vessels and my feet and legs get fat and heavy. bath...same story. sucks even more when i have to stand up and rinse off. i could turn the temperature down...but then it would be a cold shower. no thanks. but, i have found 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner to be helpful in cutting down the shower time.

5. fat fingers. they are so fat in the morning its hard to bend them sometimes. as the day goes on the circulation gets better and they feel and look better.

misc:
1. saw an article saying there is apparently going to be a baby boom in halifax this year.

2. last doula meeting before labor. we talked about post-partum stuff and breastfeeding. one interesting thing i didnt know: just one feeding of formula changes the stomach flora and introduces little fissures into the stomach lining (making way for irritations and potential future allergies to occur) that can take 2 weeks of breastfeeding to get back to "normal." then, the doula had to leave a bit early to help another woman who was in labor. the woman called and was like "i think you better come...now." oh boy.

3. our diapers arrived! dropped off by "diaper dan" himself (seriously, thats what he calls himself). friendly, chatty former navy man turned protector of childrens health. he really invests his whole heart in his business and feels proud to have never had a family using his service (10+ years running) with an asthmatic child. he engineers/sews his own diapers and is meticulous about how he washes them. good to know its not just someone who is running a business solely for money. he really stands by his work.

4. a few more thoughtful gifts arrived:


(blanket and hippo bath toy for the lovely admin ladies at work; thoughtful mommie package from lisa: a homemade baby wrap with pictorial instructions, a onesie, a lingerie bag that she found useful to contain all the baby socks, mittens, and other tiny bits in the washing machine, and a pair of safety nail scissors which she found much easier to use than baby nail clippers.)

5. since i havent had any baby dreams in forever, i'll post one from a friend. jomo. she dreamt: that i had monster, and she met him and it was a boy and i had decided to keep the name monster because "everyone was already used to it." then she saw us a while later, when monster could walk, and monster had become a girl - or i had just started dressing him in a lot of pink, she wasnt sure which. also, she thinks we were moving close to her in the dream (she lives in boston).

these all seem good to me. id love to live on the east coast (friends!). id be happy having a boy. im fine with males wearing pink. im even growing partial to the name monster. dave lengthened it to "monster m." at some point, so there is even an implied middle name there. plus, i can also see the dream possibly pointing to the likelihood of a unisex name (thus the gender confusion in the dream) which is a highly likely possibility with us weirdos as parents.

celeb news:
- actress amanda peet welcomed her second child, a girl named molly june.

18 April 2010

Clean crafts with cookies

got in a little fun on an ugly rainy/sleety/snowy sunday.

we decided to hit up the halifax spring crafters market. this was definitely not your grandmas craft show, it was actually more like a hipster rally. we didnt feel out of place or anything, but there was definitely a concentration of that population. but, it was fun because that meant that the products were really creative and thoughtful and different.

all kinds of "craft" media were being sold: pottery, whimsical creatures, handsewn/handknit accessories (some made with felt, which i always love), paintings, custom t-shirts, soap, etc. i recognized several of the items because many of the artists are featured in the adorable local store called "love, me boutique." its nice to know we can find this stuff another day if we wish. one of the more visually appealing stands was by a women who sold little knick knacky type creations of her imagined creatures. kind of dark but also fun. her website isnt terribly exciting, but her work was lovely.

since these types of events usually sell items for decoration rather than daily essentials, i always have a tough time convincing myself that i need a $30 do-hickey. i loved looking at everything though and imagine if we had a more permanent residence that we would have been more likely to purchase. as it was, we could only be tempted to buy our guilty pleasure: artisanal soap. soap serves a purpose and it gets consumed and then you dont have to tote it from move to move. we tend to get drawn in to the delicious smells and imagine the peaceful oasis the shower will turn into...if we buy this $5/bar soap. anyway, we selected 3 bars from the one soap vendor there: a chocolate mint bar, a licorice root bar, and a lavender lime bar. side note: the soap woman weighed in that she thinks monster is going to be a boy.

when we finished the tour of the craft tables, we decided to end on a food note. there was a vegan baker there selling her scrumptious creations. we chose her ginger cookie and chocolate chip cookie. um, they were fantastic. soft and chewy and flavorful and...gone in 5 seconds.

16 April 2010

Wallet woes

what could be more exciting then dealing with a stolen wallet a couple weeks before having a baby?

i was in at work for approximately 3 hours yesterday, during which time a shady character stole my wallet. this is the only current explanation i have. i had the wallet when i went to work and when i got home it was not in my purse. my office is approximately 12 inches from the door to my bosses office. these were the only two places i went while i was at work. i did go to the bathroom a couple times and there was also the trip up to the admin office for cake. this is where i think i met my demise.

i was told there was cake upstairs. uh...gotta have some of that. my boss was in her office so i left my door open. i got to the stairwell and saw this "unusual person" had just come off the stairs and paused at our floor. he looked a little uncomfortable and seemed to be contemplating something. i almost asked him if he needed anything. but there was cake on the line. i spent about 5 minutes in the process of getting cake and getting back down the stairs and when i reached our floor i saw the same "confused" man re-entering our stairwell from our floor and heading further downstairs. i had never seen him before and (not to totally judge someone by their clothes and body language) he didnt really seem to belong among these research floors.

cut to me back at home discovering my wallet is missing. i did assume i simply lost it, at first. i hunted around the apartment, tried to retrace my steps mentally but it just didnt seem to add up that i lost it. and at work, my purse sits in one spot. its not like i move it around and it falls over and things walk out of it. i was also aware that ive had "pregnancy brain" issues before. just a couple. not many. and none in a while. so, i waited to deal with the "stolen wallet" scenario reality until today.

checked back at work. nope its not there. i think i have to actively assume its stolen, or at the very least, really lost. i called 3 different security desks to check if any wallets were turned in, or if there were any reports of theft. nothing, except fairly incompetent workers staffing the phones. then i was forced to turn to the police and file a good ol' police report. no wallets had been turned in and no reports of theft in my building, so he took down all the info for my police report. this guy couldnt seem to figure technology out and didnt seem to ask all the necessary questions, but whatever. this part is over at least. now i have the huge hassle of canceling and replacing all of the items in my wallet. in the end this amounted to:

- 3 credit cards
- 2 debit cards
- a drivers license
- a health card
- a hospital card
- a library card (apparently its a thing around here that people who steal wallets will use library cards to check out movies and then sell them. thus making you pay for it, in the end.)

i only had the energy and patience to report 2 credit cards, the debit cards, and my library card as missing before i gave up on talking to incompetent/annoying people for the day. more will have to be done next week. fun. thankfully, in the 24 hours after the wallet was gone no charges were put on any of my cards. so i guess the person was after quick cash...of which my wallet produced perhaps $3 in coins. congratulations. and then he probably dumped it in a nearby trash can. ass hole. if your robbery session was performed to collect drug money, let me just say that i wish you the worst possible kind of trip. in my pre-pregnancy days i would have wished you more harm, but under the circumstances it seems hypocritical to wish you death. although a good maiming might be in order, i cant really endorse that either. im confident though that karma will square you up at some point...

15 April 2010

Nessie news - 37 weeks

37 weeks. full term. 0-5 weeks until arrival.

since it would be considered totally normal for you to arrive now monster, i wanted to offer a few slogans/sayings/mantras to let you know your time under my pitched tent is coming to an end:

1. *bing* you are now free to move about the world
2. plan your exit strategy. there is no option to "stay the course."
3. olly olly oxen free
4. go forth from whence you came
5. consider this a nudge from the nest...


(these pics certainly arent getting more flattering. monster you better come soon...)

dr appt:
gained one pound. blood pressure 118/60. baby heartbeat 156 bpm. still head down. group B test results came back negative, so thats good.

symptoms:
1. i have been getting a couple light nose bleeds per week. usually got them before being pregnant, but havent had them in a while. but then again we used a vaporizer during the winter for sleeping and we recently stopped using it. could just all be related. although, pregnancy does tend to increase nose bleeds.

2. noticing that eating apples is giving me slight heartburn. random.

3. monster movements. my ribcage is now fair game. usually under attack in certain positions when i lay down and when i am eating my breakfast. actually had a bruised feeling on my right bottom ribs for a couple days. thanks.

4. "bump" is now so massive that i cant perform any function without finding drips of liquid on my shirts and piles of crumbs on my belly. i feel like a fat man who watches tv all day while using his gut as a table.

misc:
1. dave has become very attentive again. not that he wasnt throughout this whole "adventure," but to be in hyper-drive for 9 months would be exhausting. in the early days i think he was so excited he kept asking if i was okay. then when i felt like crap for those beginning months he was very attentive in a more focused way. then when things got better all around, we went back to a form of living as normally as possible. now that im big, slow, limited in my abilities, and could go in to labor at any time, he is always checking to see if im okay. even if im just in the next room. its very cute.

he also regularly asks about how monster is doing and what monster is up to. it is also a near daily pastime to probe around and try to figure out which position monster is sitting in. dave found this weird blog: spinning babies to try to aid in that endeavor. so, weve all been bonding i suppose, and i guess thats a good thing. :)

2. recent doula meeting. this one was about how to stay relaxed at the hospital, general relaxation/techniques, and how to vary things and bring out certain tools at different points in labor. it was also a review of the pain meds offered at the hospital and awareness about their effects, etc.

3. hospital tour. our last public health prenatal class was the hospital tour. got lots of booklets and pamphlets and then we hit the labor/delivery ward. you spend the first bit in an assessment room where they determine if you are in adequate enough labor for them to actually admit you. you can be in there for 20 minutes or a few hours. presuming you are actually in labor, you then get your own private labor/delivery room. it has a chair that folds into a bed for the support person, a CD player, a bathroom with shower/bath tub that you can freely use during labor, a birth ball, and of course all the medical "stuff." ooo, plus they mentioned that you get all the ice chips and fruit popsicles you can stand. yippee!

anyway, you keep this room until you give birth. they then give you about two hours to bond with baby and take a shower before sending you up to the rooming-in floor. depending on what kind of birth you had you can be on this floor anywhere between 6 hours and several days. there are rooms you may have to share with 3 other people, 1 other person, or there are a few private rooms. just like the dorm...only you have a new tiny baby and you are exhausted. fun!

4. gifts arriving in the mail. some thoughtful items from friends and family have been trickling in for monster. kinda fun to find a new treat/surprise in the mail every so often. thanks guys!


(thanks mom and al, erin o, the meisners, joanie and barry, and "jens mom" for the goodies.)

5. "the last phone call." had a couple of friends making that last pre-baby communication. well, maybe not the last, but they definitely recently made sure to fit in a call or an IM before all hell breaks loose. very sweet and humorous. thanks guys. :)

celebrity corner:
- lisa leslie gave birth early to her second child, a son (she was due in may).

11 April 2010

Makin a list, checkin it twice...

getting ready for monster...

figured it was an appropriate time to get in gear and finish up that baby to-do list. on tuesday, dave finished some things that were pressing at work and that evening we went out for round 1. we picked up the pail for the diaper service, stocked up on kitty products so we dont have to worry about running out for that stuff when monster is new, got a few things at zellers (baby bath soap, butt wipes, D-drops, etc.), and we set up the playard/crib.

on friday we did round 2. during the day i went out and bought some baby friendly detergent, and some other odds-n-ends at the Nurtured store. later that evening we went and did 6 loads of laundry. three loads of baby-exclusive stuff (items from the shower, items we had picked up, items that have been sent to us). thankfully it took less than 2 hours, but we were moving the whole time: switching clothes around, tending to dryers, folding, packing...luckily, we had grabbed a tasty and filling dinner at "janes next door."

the sandwiches were great and reasonably priced, the mexican bean side salad was yummy, and the desserts we picked out were amazing! dave had the gluten-free brownie which tasted like smooth fudge (but not overly sweet) and i couldnt resist the lemon bar. SO delicious. they make frozen dinners too which we may hit up for quick prep stuff once monster comes...

then saturday, round 3. started in the morning with a trip to "whats for supper." first heard about these kind of places when we lived in ann arbor, its a business that has a rotating monthly menu of meals that you can come in and pre-make during a session. typically you have to make a bulk amount of meals, here they like to get you in for 12 meals (that serve 4-6 adults), but we paid the "splitting" fee and only signed up for a 6 meal session. anyway, the idea being that we prep these high-quality dinners and store them in the freezer for post-monster arrival. i couldnt believe some of the post-partum tips i was reading..."stock up on take-out menus, you wont want to cook in the days shortly after you come home with baby." uuuuummmm, but you DO realize that stuffing your face with pizza and chinese food is probably not going to give you the proper energy you need to adjust to your new baby-life...plus, im sure all that take-out food will do wonders for your post-baby figure...

after the session, we needed to get the food back home and in the freezer. on the way back, we stopped for lunch. with our on-going desire to try out new places we chose "caribbean twist." this is a jamaican place that we had read about and hoped would be as tasty and flavorful as people were saying. indeed. the place looks like a convenience store with tables which actually fits perfectly with the non-pretentious food. we stepped up to the counter and grabbed a menu. there were so many options that i couldnt decide and blurted out "jerk chicken platter" before i really thought about what i was saying. dave asked for the guy behind the counters favorite dish and ordered that, "curry chicken." we sat down and waited for our food and i began to worry that maybe i should have contemplated things longer.

soon though, our plates arrived and worries were laid to rest. so much food for so cheap. our spiced chicken came with a pile of rice and beans and cabbage. normally i dont go near cabbage, but i thought i would today. it was really good! and the mild starchy beans and rice were the helpful compliment to the ZING of the chicken. my jerk chicken was HOT!!! but still really flavorful. and daves curry was perfect: more on the flavor, less on the heat side of things, but still warm. we traded some pieces of chicken and basically scraped our plates clean. we were so impressed we wanted dessert. got the banana cream pie. apparently they order it special from toronto, and boy was it good. great crust, yummy banana pudding/custard and a layer of caramel pudding/custard as well. topped with whipped cream. perfect for soothing the throat after all that spice. we had big smiles on our faces as we went to pay. the place is staffed by all men, and they do actually seem to be caribbean (not sure if they are all jamaican) and they seem very proud of their food, and very happy to share it with people who enjoy it. i so want to go back (plus, i didnt even get heartburn!).

after our happy lunch and pit stop at home to drop off the food, we launched ourselves over the harbour into the consumer-land of dartmouth. the babies r us at the mall was our mission. we came away with a mattress pad and some bed sheets before we strangled anyone. we also picked up two card games to play at home in case we get stir crazy. i had never played "mille bornes" before, but dave remembered enjoying it from childhood so that was his choice, and my choice was a card game version of cranium. then we tooled around picking up a few other odds-n-ends, including batteries to make monsters musical and vibrating bed work. oh boy.

finally sunday. round 4. dave installed the car seat. kind of. the car seat is big, our car is not huge. we need to get a towel or something to make it sit level in its spot. and, even when we do that, the poor person sitting in front of the car seat has no option to recline their chair or enjoy large amounts of leg room. sacrifices, sacrifices...

but, at least now our to-do list is tackled and we are "ready."

08 April 2010

Nessie news - 36 weeks

36 weeks. a month to go. well, actually, to keep myself on a more realistic path it seems wise to give the margin of error: 0-6 weeks until monsters arrival.


(actually wore this shirt back in august during our east coast road trip. i suppose technically i was actually a week pregnant then or some silliness like that. but oh for the days when stripes were stretched far less...)

dr appt:
gained one pound. blood pressure was 120/60. baby heartbeat was 152 bpm. still in head down position. my doctor agreed to take monster and i as her patients after delivery, so that is good. and, now i get to carry around my prenatal records. apparently you have to bring them with you to the hospital so now i have to tote them back and forth from doctor visits and hospital visits until monster is actually born. lots of responsibility...

symptoms:
1. im SO slow now. somewhat uncomfortable as well, though managing in that department on a day-to-day basis. but i am snail pace slow. depressing.


(look at this multi-tasking preggo dutch lady making me look bad. stop it.)

2. itchy belly. relief! amy was lovely and kind and thoughtful when she came to visit. she brought me some Lush products to soothe my tummy. and they work! highly recommend the butter bar and the pot of lotion she gave me. stops the dryness for several hours. even the doctor could notice that i was using it. :)

3. monster movements. i am noticing the hiccups i had read about before. being head down, i can feel the gentle, rhythmic jolts quite well. usually happens in the late evening. also, monster is still moving around a lot. starting at around 33 weeks or so, the books and websites were saying "your babys movements will slow down. your doctor may ask you to do fetal movement counts to make sure things are still normal." no need on my end. i guess monster hasnt read those books because its still easier to count when there is NO movement.

4. blurred vision. weird. never had this before. only eye things ive ever had have been floaters. one night while eating dinner though, i had a blurry left eye for about 30 minutes. freaked the shit out of me. it did go away and i later asked the doctor about it. she said it wasnt a blood pressure thing because it only happened in one eye. she said it was probably a migraine halo (even though i wasnt having a migraine). she said it is nothing to worry about.

misc:
1. monsters crib arrived! amy and tony brought it when they drove up. my mom had bought it, had it shipped to them, and then they shuttled it here. oh the things people will do for a baby. :)


(monsters sleeping quarters)

2. PH prenatal class: we were too tired and apathetic to go for the "regular labor and delivery" class but we did make it to the "labor/delivery interventions" class. it was held at the IWK, the hospital. the hospital location is fabulously close to us...a 5 minute drive or 15 minute walk. anyway, the class was informative. it seems like the hospital is inclined to be open to alternative birthing options/styles, but of course they have all their helpful drugs and interventions. she said their induction rate is 30-40% for first time moms! if your water breaks, they give you a 24 period to have labor start naturally, on your own...then they give you drugs. 90% of first time moms get an epidural! the rate of c-section for the province is 30%. the rate of post partum depression is about 10%.

books:
1. "breastfeeding made simple: seven natural laws for nursing mothers" by nancy mohrbacher. finally got myself to read some more baby books. this one is great. very straight forward and filled with useful information. laid out in a helpful way. i would actually recommend buying this one, rather than renting it from the library. seems like a great thing to keep around once baby comes and you want to refer to something in those early days/weeks while still figuring out and getting used to breastfeeding.

2. "the birth partner: a complete guide to childbirth for dads, doulas, and other labor companions" by penny simkin. this one is actually for dave. he is reading it. and he seems to be getting useful information from it. acting more empowered with knowledge. :) it has drawings and lists and suggestions and lots of seemingly useful things for labor support people.

celeb corner:
1. singer mark mcgraths fiancee is due in may with twins.

2. actress paula patton and singer robin thicke had their son early and named him julian fuego.

3. reese and her gorgeous kids at the white house easter egg hunt:


(ava, reese, and deacon)

07 April 2010

Healthcare corner #13 - Final wrap-up

last class! done with class!

mostly a wrap-up class (with cake!) we reviewed the last lecture, summarized what we had learned in the class overall, and then the students briefly presented their final papers. their assignment was to do a "mythbuster" similar to the ones offered on the canadian website i mentioned last time. and, not surprisingly, due to the u.s. health care reform and the interest of many of the students in our debates, several of them chose mythbusters related to "u.s. v canada" things.

myth topics of students who compared u.s. style health care to canadian health care included:

-"profitable delivery of health care is of a higher quality than its not-for-profit counterpart"
(her research found that not-for-profit is at least as "quality," if not better, than for-profit health care. she also mentioned that she had her american roommate proofread her paper. she said he was very stubborn about believing her findings and even though she had research articles to support her words, he was unable to accept that what he was reading could be accurate. he was much more comfortable going with his "gut" than with trying to adjust his views in light of this new information he was reading.)

-"the publicly funded, not-for-profit canadian health care system wastes administrative dollars while the american privately funded for-profit system is forced to reduce costs to be competitive and is more administratively efficient" (this was kind of an easy one because any expert will tell you this is definitely a busted myth, but the student who did this had found some excellent evidence. interesting items: approximately 20% of for-profit insurance dollars go to executive bonuses. even private hospitals have to spend administrative dollars on advertising and bonuses.)

-"canadians are flocking to the united states for necessary medical care to avoid dying on long wait lists in canada" (her evidence found that most canadians treated in u.s. hospitals are those vacationers [or the wintering "snowbirds"] who need emergent care while visiting the u.s. for pleasure. rarely are people purposely coming to the u.s. specifically for "better" or faster care.)

-"more cardiac care is better for the heart" (spurred on by the premier of newfoundland traveling to florida for cardiac surgery, her evidence found that while cardiac care in the u.s. tends to fall into the "more aggressive" category in terms of higher use of technology, medication, and surgeries to treat problems, there wasnt any evidence that this improved outcomes.)

one last thing we talked about in class was the u.s. "RAND health insurance experiment." had heard mentions of this before but never looked into it. very interesting. it was a large-scale, randomized experiment conducted between 1971 and 1982 in the u.s. 2,750 families were randomly assigned to one of five types of health insurance plans created specifically for the experiment. there were four basic types of fee-for-service plans: one type offered free care; the other three types involved varying levels of cost sharing — 25 %, 50 %, or 95 % coinsurance (the percentage of medical charges that the consumer must pay). The fifth type of health insurance plan was a nonprofit, HMO-style group cooperative (this plan was given free to the participants assigned to it). you can go read more about it, but some of their findings were interesting...
- participants who paid for a share of their health care used fewer health services than a comparison group given free care. this resulted primarily from participants deciding not to initiate care (is using less health care good?).

- cost sharing reduced the use of both highly effective and less effective services in roughly equal proportions. cost sharing did not significantly affect the quality of care received by participants.

- cost sharing in general had no adverse effects on participant health, but there were exceptions: free care led to improvements in hypertension, dental health, vision, and selected serious symptoms. these improvements were concentrated among the sickest and poorest patients.

05 April 2010

A very merry un-easter, to us!

no egg hunt, no easter bunny, no church going, no family meal with ham and what not...we still managed to celebrate the fabulous weather and friends.

in the morning sunshine i was able to give amy and tony a halifax tour while dave finished up some work stuff. our first stop was citadel hill, top of the city. clear skies actually permitted quite a view. the harbour, the bridges, the buildings, the church steeples, etc. and a bonus was that the actual historic site of the citadel was open. normally there is an entrance fee so dave and i have just skipped it, but this morning it was wide open. inside is the fort and military barack. you can walk up on the fortified walls that are built right into the hill and get a close-up of the cannons and the fake ship mast (which i believe was designed to trick enemy ships who might be out in the harbour).


(amy with a citadel hill cannon. she looks like the captain of a ship going into war.)

after we'd had our fill, we drove over to the dalhousie campus and walked around the old stone buildings of campus. in later decades they built more "contemporary" (read: ugly) structures, but the core of campus has some very beautiful buildings. and after campus, we rounded out our historic tour by driving along some of the streets with rows of beautifully preserved, colorfully painted old homes.


(amy and tony on the dal campus. this was a weird corridor that kind of separated the ugly buildings from the older stone building area. in the back there is a dorm. at least the brightly painted adirondack chairs were cheerful.)

and, then we were ready for lunch. even though we definitely arent in france anymore, every so often we like to try and recreate the picnic-style lunches that were so much fun and offered tasters of unusual items. the goodies picked out from the market yesterday were a large contributor to the meal. we had a block of white cheddar with cranberries in it, a small tub of lemon dill quark, some manchego cheese for tony, some boursin, an avocado, and some garden vegetable hummus to pair with slices of seasoned chicken breast and sandwich between some kalamata olive sourdough bread, honey apricot bread, or quinoa bread (mostly for tony. it tasted like a crumbly, nutty cracker). there was even a cupcake dessert of either red velvet or lemon coconut from susies. and if we'd had the meal as a true picnic, out in the gorgeous weather, the eating could have lasted for hours. but, as it was, we were pretty focused on the task of eating and enjoying and then getting out in the sunshine. which is what we did.

first stop was the lame horseshoe "park" by the huge roundabout where dave had seen a picture of some seals on the weather channel website. there were no seals today. so, we drove out to fort york redoubt. last time we tried this place it was snowy and windy as hell, this time was much more pleasant. we walked the fortified walls and got a nice view of the part of halifax harbour that opens out to the vast atlantic. it was a perfectly clear day so we could see everything. after a while, we were interested in enjoying the weather at a beach, so we headed toward crystal crescent beach to hear some waves.


(a lone lighthouse across the harbour from fort york; amy playing with cannons again.)

the road to the beach was PACKED! they hadnt opened the park gates for the season so people had parked all over the place and walked the kilometer or so in. i had to go to the bathroom and walking that far roundtrip to probably find the beach potties still nailed shut for the season didnt sound appealing to me, so we headed back toward civilization.

back in town, we separated briefly. i needed to rest a bit from all the walking and sunshine. and amy and tony hadnt really done the waterfront walking of halifax yet. so they were off on their own while dave started dinner. by the time they arrived, ready to eat, the smell of chili was thick in the air. bowls of spicy chicken chili and gluten-free cornbread were enjoyed to the point of near paralysis. however, amid chatting, we were able to manage a game of yahtzee and euchre before our friends needed to leave.

as they had a loooooong drive home ahead of them, i dont blame them for turning in early. the plan was to get up and rolling around 5a to hope to get back in time to hit the sack before their school vacation ended and they had to get up for work the next day! we were very lucky and thankful to have friends willing to spend some of their vacation time with us. it was great that we had good weather for them, and more importantly, that they are versatile people who can enjoy lots of activity or simple sitting in a nice spot, sipping beverages, and enjoying conversation. this is key when you find yourself sidelined as a limitedly mobile, easily tired, often needing to pee person. i thank them a million times over for their patience. :) cant wait to make the trip for their wedding in july!!!!!!

two final items:
1. they stayed at the waverley inn while here visiting. it is literally one block down the street from us in a cheerful yellow house. it is a city b&b and comes highly recommended by amy and tony. i guess the rooms were decent (with fridges if i remember correctly), breakfast was hot and varied, coffee was always on, and friendly service was akin to what you would expect at a more rural b&b but it had all the convenience of a city accommodation: free wifi, free parking, desk attendants at all hours, etc. good to know for future visitors... :)
2. i keep forgetting to mention that some of the pictures in my posts for these past three days were actually tony photos. he has a fancy camera and i stole his shots before he left. thank you! :)

04 April 2010

Oldies and goodies with oldies but goodies

another fabulous day with friends. and better weather!

a gorgeous day commenced with dave taking amy and tony to the halifax farmers market. the place is way too crowded and hot for me on a regular day, and now its pretty much impossible, so i stayed home while they explored. when they came back, we stashed the goodies for our future easter lunch and jumped in the car for a trip to lunenburg.

that drive is always longer than i expect, but once we finally arrived and had the sunshine, temperatures in the upper 60s, and a cute town to share i was re-energized. since we typically choose the "salt shaker deli" for lunch we were motivated to try something else. we decided on the "tin fish," a restaurant attached to the lunenburg arms inn. this brightly colored restaurant had plenty of windows and a small but varied menu that was perfect for us.

(the restaurant sign; the gang at lunch)

we had a corner of the place to ourselves as we enjoyed our lunch. i ordered the daily special of poached haddock with citrus salsa and bacon, sweet potato, and corn chowder. the soup was great but the fish was "meh." dave had the spinach, goat cheese, and portobello salad with the daily special "pizza soup" because he couldnt help himself. his food was tasty, if a little unusual. amy ordered a salad and the seafood chowder. always a good choice. and tony, our wheat-free/dairy-free allergy guy, ordered the steak salad. :)

after food we walked around this little postcard of a town. the waterfront area was great in the sunshine. the brightly colored town buildings up on the steep hilly streets beamed their colors down like a rainbow. we milled around for a bit just doing nothing and of course popped in to a gift shop before we hit the road.


(amy on the docks in lunenburg; lunenburg as seen from the docks; cool, old church in lunenburg)

our next destination was nearby mahone bay. we took these english teacher folk to the biscuit eater cafe which is also a used book store. they have a nice back deck and a lovely sun room filled with cozy chairs, stacks of books, little plants, and lots of character. the crew ordered drinks and sweets and sat in the corner chatting. dave and i picked out the lemon bar, ginger cookie and chocolate macaroon. yum!!! and tony had a ton of wheat and dairy free options (which isnt usually the case). he was able to enjoy two chocolate and pecan cookies AND a banana chocolate cookie. and amy enjoyed her "kafka" cookie which was a chocolate and espresso shortbread. ;) anyway, we took our time with the sugar rush, knocked back the drinks, loved the atmosphere. as put by tony, "it feels like summer vacation."


(tony and amy at the biscuit eater cafe; view of the four famous churches of mahone bay)

this calm day of friends and food continued into the night. back in halifax we re-grouped for dinner. we took this opportunity to try a new place in town called "pipa." it is a brazilian/portuguese restaurant and it was fun. the place is romantic, filled with wood and candles, and has lots of little pieces of character. we sat by the window and watched the night settle in. for the taster round, the waitress brought a basket of cassava cheese bread with some fabulous (and hot!) chili sauce. at this time dave and amy were also enjoying some portuguese sangria (apparently made without juice and thus isnt as sweet) while tony tried a portuguese beer. and then our dinners arrived.

i had the mozambique (once colonized by portugal) dish of chicken piri piri. it was quite good, but i could have perhaps bumped up the spicy index a bit (nervous about heartburn of course). dave ordered the lamb shank braised with madeira and fig sauce on recommendation of the waitress. not something he would normally have gotten but the meat was cooked very nicely. amy tried the brazilian dish of "feijoada" which is a stew of smokey black beans and random pork meat served with collard greens, rice, and farofa. really good (and they give free seconds if you arent full)!! and tony tried the sirloin steak rubbed with brazilian coffee and cayenne pepper served with cassava fries. it looked like a very meat and potatoes american dish but definitely had flare. the cassava fries were good, and something different.

and even though we were full, dave and i couldnt resist the dessert menu. we split the coconut pudding (which came drizzled in caramel sauce and some prunes). it was a small sweet thing that was perfect to share. and it was great. in fact, everything on their dessert menu looked yummy, i would love to come back just for sweets sometime. :)

we all rolled ourselves back to our apartment. we had just enough energy to teach tony how to play the michigan pastime of euchre. i always feel bad for someone new learning the game with three other people who are familiar. but tony was a brave sport and actually caught on quickly. and so we wrapped up the night with another game...

03 April 2010

Friends burst through the fog!

our season of isolation has broken! friends arrived today (well, late last night to be exact) to spend their easter weekend with us!

i didnt realize how long its been since weve seen familiar faces (december 31 to be exact) but we were very excited for the first visitors of 2010. our new york friends amy and tony (who we visited in august) are teachers. they had easter week off, including easter monday, so they made the decision to come visit us via a crazy-long road trip through the east coast fog (took them about 16 hours to drive up...they did it in one day: 6:30a EST to 11:30p AST).

anyway, they were knocking on our door around 10a on this breezy, mild morning and we were happy to welcome them in. of course catch-up chatting quickly commenced and thats how we pleasantly spent the morning. then, as hunger mounted i called around to see what restaurants were open because it was good friday. our third choice place, henry house, was open for lunch so we walked over. this is the nice, historic pub a block from us that we have, until now, only had drinks and desserts at. we got a table for four by the window to soak up the daylight. dave was able to introduce his favorite local beers to the group and we all ordered simple pub fare. most of the food was just okay, but i was able to con amy into sharing her black bean burger with me, which was very tasty.

after food, it was time to tour. amy wanted to use her newly acquired rain boots on a local beach. since she didnt believe that there was the possibility to surf in nova scotia, we took them to lawrencetown beach. they also got to witness our weather phenomenons. we were having a mostly sunny day in halifax city, though there was a bit of fog over the water in the harbour. but, when we arrived in lawrencetown it was grey, dark, cool, and FOGGY. true to the nature of the locals though, this wasnt stopping anyone. there were over a dozen surfers out in the water and piles of people and dogs using the beach. we stuck around to watch the surfing and skip stones and see how much misty dampness our visitors could take. :) when theyd had their fill, we got in the car and tried out rainbow haven beach.


(the fog at lawrencetown beach; a real surfer. in full-on cold weather gear)


(amy layered in protective gear on the beach; dave looking for skipping stones; good chucking form...)

(amy really wanted to beachcomb and find some nice shells here...but its such a rocky beach that no shells really survive; me, dave, and amy having a pow wow. possibly deciding to leave.)

rainbow haven beach is much larger, sandier, and exposed. thus it was windier (but less foggy). we didnt stay long because we got chilled. then we did a drive-by of fishermans cove and were back among the sunshine again.

in halifax, we separated to get reorganized and then regrouped at our apartment to have a dave-made dinner of mexican food. of course more chatting (and furious knitting by amy to try and get some baby items done) occurred throughout the meal and then we played one of the board games theyd brought..."are you smarted than a fifth grader?" while there were some questions that did get answered incorrectly (i wont name names), overall, it was kinda lame. but of course, that didnt spoil the evening. :)

01 April 2010

Nessie news - 35 weeks

35 weeks. 5-ish more to go.



dr appt:
gained another 3 pounds (ive decided scales are cruel and unusual pieces of torture equipment). my blood pressure was 98/60. baby heartbeat was 156 bpm. still positioned head down. and, i got my group b strep test done today...something like 25% of women have it and it doesnt bother them, but there is a rare chance of transferring it to baby during delivery (if you have it). so around week 36-38 they do a test to see if you are positive or negative. this is done by getting a vaginal and rectal swab. fun! actually not too terrible, but definitely not glamorous.

then, because of the reality that monster is coming sooner than later, i asked about labor stuff. the doctor gave me the number for "early labor" at the hospital so i know who to call and where to get checked out. also, i asked the doc about her delivery flexibility, "do i have to labor on my back? are you okay with me doing what i want to be comfortable?" she seems happy to be involved in that kind of environment. so thats good. also, i have graduated to now having weekly doctor visits...getting closer...

symptoms:
1. my feet are tired and slightly puffy by the end of the day now. i cant wear my wedding ring. :( its just a wee too tight. i can see it in my fingers in the belly pic. i guess there is some water weight i am now also lugging around. it also gets generally worse if i get hot...which often occurs with any amount of movement. so...i guess this will mean the scale at the doctors office will continue to be unfriendly. new piece of advice: when you start having to get weighed for pregnancy...i suggest making someone else look at the scale and record the weight without telling you the actual number. they can just say "looks good" or "you might want to be careful with your meals for the next little while." i think this would be MUCH better for the mental state of pregnant people everywhere.

2. at night, it is common to wake up finding one or more of my limbs have fallen asleep.

3. i find i have alternate days where i either have energy but im sore or im tired but not as sore. no longer are energy and comfort combined.

4. still doing well on the heartburn front. i added little clementines to my combating repertoire. they were on sale at the grocery store and dave and i had forgotten this digestive aid from life in france. it really does help if you eat one after meals.

5. monster movements. being head down has curbed most of the random below-the-belt pokes thankfully. now the pokes are at about belly button level which is fine. but with a bigger baby comes bigger muscles and more ability to push the limits of my skin. its pretty impressive. and dave and i have categorized monsters activity into a few categories: wedging (between the hips, between the hips and ribs, under the ribcage into lung territory, etc.), packing (where monster curls into the smallest mass possible while distorting my belly), poking, and oozing.

6. i had read at some point that "now that baby can hear, you may find that certain things startle baby." i hadnt found that to be true. but, when im stretching on the bed, often my knee will crack and i do find that monster jumps a little. probably not only because of the noise itself, but the fact that some of that vibration must travel up my leg and into my torso.

misc:
1. PH prenatal classes: breastfeeding. had another lame teacher for this session. i could have answered peoples questions better than her. in my opinion it was a very important class to motivate and educate the people to get them to be encouraged to breastfeed for as long as possible. she missed the boat. it was more than disappointing.

memorable question of the night: "what do you wash the breasts with to get them clean?"...so, due to another question, we were talking about creams for the nipples (sweet). then the instructor reminded people that whatever you put on the breast will go in babys mouth. and also to think about the soaps and lotions you use because if you have something nut based you could be introducing nuts to the babys system too early and possibly encourage an allergy to develop later on. so, one dad raised his hand and asked this question about how you are suppose to wash the breasts to get them clean. it was hilarious because the way he said it made it sound like he thought they were the dirtiest part of the human body and it was important to really get them clean. the instructor was like, "well, in fact, water alone is just fine."

the only thing we learned from that class was that its a good idea for breastfeeding moms to buy D-drops to be able to get a one-drop-per-day supplement of vitamin D to baby because there apparently isnt a ton in breast milk.

2. along the breastfeeding v formula lines. i saw this article about botulism being found in baby formulas in the u.s. awesome. plus, someone else told me about another formula contamination of salmonella. scary...

3. had another doula meeting. we talked about all the procedures that get done at the hospital and how to make decisions about how you might want them to be used on you. things like sweeping the membranes, fetal monitoring, pushing while holding your breath, and suctioning the baby are all not really shown to be as effective as hospitals would have you believe. things like wearing your own clothes while in the hospital is a good idea to help make you feel less like a "sick patient." and things like getting frequent cervical checks can affect your outcomes: if they are done too often, then the staff may have more fuel to label you as someone with "failure to progress" and you could find yourself pressured toward a c-section. and c-sections are, frighteningly, still on the rise. lots of stuff about the hospital i hadnt quite thought about, so it was again great to have her, her experience, and her knowledge as a resource.

4. we watched the movie "away we go" finally. its about a pregnant couple looking for a good place to raise their child so it was quite timely. overall, id give it a 3.5/5, but i did enjoy many aspects. of course all of their friends/family in the movie were exaggerated/extreme caricatures of potential real personalities, but i found some connection. id say that actually i was a combination of many of the female characters: the foul mouth of allison janneys character, the slightly "alternative" birthing views of maggie gyllenhaals u of wisconsin - madison hippie character (i only claim the doula and midwife references. her breastfeeding and babywearing views were the crazy parts for me), the montreal friend who adopted/fostered kids with her husband while still getting out, having fun, and having a life (let that be me, let that be me), and the nomadic traveling of the main female character. and the male lead was a sweet guy with a beard (a lot like dave, except the guy was overly obsessed with his girlfriends potential post-pregnancy boobs). oh, and they did a good job of playing up the cringe factor of having most of the side characters comment on how HUGE the pregnant main character looked. nice. just what we all want to hear...

celeb corner:
-the celebrities due around my time are starting to have their baby showers...looks like amy adams attended hers recently, as well as tiffani thiessen.