Tuesday, December 27, 2005

34 weeks 1 day: Headaches and Swelling

Two good friends of ours have just had their babies in the past week. Both have used frozen sperm too, and one baby was almost 10 pounds, and the other was over 10 pounds! (and almost 22 inches long!) Now I am afraid.

Very afraid.

I went to see the doctor today, because I have been having more swelling in my feet and hands, which I assume is normal for 34 weeks pregnant (and eating too much sodium in the past few days. Hanukkah requires Chinese food and fried potato pancakes and matzoh ball soup. Not a holiday for the health conscious.) The Chinese food is a minhag (tradition--not religious) but the latkes and soup? You have to eat that. When I realized that I have had a headache for 48 hours, and swelling, I called the doctor. We checked my blood pressure last night and it was fine, but better safe than sorry.

The results of our unscheduled OB appointment:

blood pressure: 148/84
urine: clean of proteins
heartrate: 150s
uterus: "he's really growing in there!" (no specific measurement, but I assume that means 34-36 cms)
weight: up 3 and a half (7.5 pounds total)

We saw Dr. T again, after calling this morning to ask about the headache and swelling. I have had the headache for 48 hours and it didn't respond to Tylenol and caffeine. He said that everything looks fine, and diagnosed the headache as a migraine since it is on one side of my head and has lasted so long. He prescribed codeine and caffeine, a long nap and side lying for the next couple days. No official bedrest/doctor's orders to take it easy, just common sense rest and relaxation as much as possible. We cancelled Thursday's appointment.

Next appointment: January 12 at 10:45.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

33 weeks 3 days: You Can Never Go Back...

I went to spend the day back at my old job yesterday. I arrived around lunchtime and stayed until the buses were arriving at the end of the day. I dropped into different classrooms, chatted with teachers, hung out with some of my old students, ate some junk food, caught up with the principal. It was really nice.

But, the added bonus was that every single person I ran into immediately said, "You are so lucky to be off of work this year." Every. One. The principal. The assistant principals. The nurse. The police officer. The guidance counselors. The custodians. Every. Single. Teacher.

For the past month or so, I have been stressing out that I was not working. It sure would be nice to have had my income this fall, and a paid maternity leave. (I had like 70 days of sick leave, plus the 12 plus 3 personal days I would have earned this year. I could have some really close to leaving in January and being paid until August 2006.) That would have been like $2000 a month income (after taxes) instead of nothing.

But, the reason it is good that everyone at work is miserable is not because i am a sadist. Rather it is because it cemented to me (and to Dyke Two when I told her the story) that some things are more important than the money. And, my health, our son's health, and our collective stress is far better than it would have been had I been working in an environment that is so toxic this year. I mentioned to a bunch of people that I was regreting not working, and they all told me that I probably would have been placed on disability by November. (They know me well, and know that I would have been in the thick of things, taking all the shit to heart and internalizing the strife and tension.) So, I guess it has been worth a $40,000 income this year to have a complication-free pregnancy, and an opportunity to really get ready emotionally for the baby.

Although, when I really think about the money, it would be nice to lift that stress of "providing" for me and the baby off of Dyke Two.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

33 weeks 2 days: Nerd Alert

I just checked my grades on line. All A's.

As I said to Dyke Two, it is a relief, but not a surprise. The ed school requires that you get at least a B minus to get credit for the class, which makes for massive grade inflation. A B minus is like a D, so a B or B plus is like a C, and a B plus or A minus is like a B, so almost everyone gets A's. A pluses are hard to get, but A's are a dime a dozen. No A pluses this time, but I am satisfied with A's.

I was assuming I would get straight A's, but it is always nice to have that worry of "What if I really screwed up that last paper?" appeased.

33 weeks 2 days: Life with the Dogs

This has been the week of the vet visits. I took Orangedog in on Friday, and had to carry her almost 70 pound rear end into the office, since she refused to go in the door. Her bill of health came back clean as a whistle, despite the trauma of getting her ingrown claw dug out of the pad of her foot.

Yesterday was Hounddog's turn. Dyke Two met us up there so that I wouldn't have to lug his butt into the office. Turns out he has gained almost 10 pounds in a year. The vet strongly recommended a diet for little Hounddog.

But she also drew blood for his heartworm/lyme/erhlichia test. And he tested positive for ehrlichia.

Now he needs to go back next week for a complete CBC panel to see if the ehrlichia is in the active phase or dormant phase. If it is dormant, then it will clear up on its own. If it is active, and causing trouble, then he will need a round of strong antibiotics.

Poor little guy. First a diet, now possible medication. Life is hard when you are Hounddog.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

32 weeks 2 days (maybe 3)

Here is my to-do list:

Turn in project

Of course, that one little thing involves driving across town in the ice storm that they are predicting...

I don't care. I am done!! The project is printing as we speak, but it was too big to email to the professor as a digital file, so out into the ice I will go tomorrow.

I bought yarn to finally make a blanket for the baby. Tomorrow is going to involve laying in bed, crocheting, playing on the computer and sleeping. maybe I will drink some hot chocolate.

I might even take Friday off too.

Then, Saturday, the cleaning and organizing for the baby can begin.

I must say, I am really glad I started school this semester, while pregnant, rather than waiting until next year with a 6 month old. I really feel like I accomplished something for me by getting started in school, and if I had been working, I think I would have felt like I was biding time until the baby was born. Now, I am one quarter of the way done with my coursework which will make it that much easier to finish with a small child.

It sounds weird to think that going to school was my selfish act before having a baby, but I love being in school, and it has given me a great opportunity to have me-time since my schedule was so self-dictated.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

32 weeks 1 day

Dyke Two has been hit with the nesting urge. Actually, so have I, but I have to finish the semester before I do anything. At the beginning of finals, my to-do list included:

Stats Final
Teaching Evaluation Project
Teaching Evaluation Final
Qualitative Research Project
Seminar Paper
Seminar Take Home
History of Education Project

Now, it looks like:

History of Education Project

What a good feeling. Of course, I haven't posted my list of baby to-do things, or holiday to-do things because they would just spiral me into a deep depression tinged with panic.

It was very cute yesterday. One of the gayboys came back to town for the month from graduate school about 3 hours away. He arrived and was horrified that the walkway still had ice on it from last week's snow. Whatever. I am tremendously well-balanced on my feet, and haven't really been going outside in the dark, so the ice hasn't been frozen when I've walked on it. Gayboy immediately took the snow shovel and chipped a path to the car for me. He came back in the house and said, "I didn't do it for you. I did it for my nephew." Later in the evening, while I was working on my paper, he was able to come in and watch and feel the baby move, to which he shrieked like a little girl.

I am in the midst of trying to print out my take home and final paper for my program seminar. Unfortunately, our POS computer that only gets used for printing and web surfing decided to go nutso on me and won't open my email anymore. So, I had to set up my laptop for printing and download the right driver. Stupid, stupid technology.

The results from our routine OB appointment at 32 weeks 1 day

blood pressure: 120/72
urine: normal
heartrate: 132 bpm
uterus: right on track (i guess that means 32cm)
weight: up a half pound (4 pounds total)

We saw Dr. T, though he was running really late because there was a woman in labor at the hospital and he needed to check in with the nurses before he saw me. He suggested that we call for an appointment with the pediatrician, which we will do as soon as we get the insurance figured out. He suggested requesting Peggy for one of my next couple appointments so we can talk about breast feeding and labor and delivery since she is both an OB nurse one night a week and one of the four lactation consultants for the hospital (and a mother of 5, not sure how she does it all).

Next appointment: December 29 at 11:45.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

31 weeks, 6 days

I am officially freaking out about my finals. I finished one paper (due Monday), and have all the notes ready for another (due Tuesday). I even have the basic jist of what i will say in the take home exam (due Tuesday). I have all of my photos ready for the project due Thursday, and know where I am going to find the historical images for that same project.

But, I just don't see how the take home and 20 page paper will both get finished before 5 pm on Tuesday with a doctor's appointment thrown in at 3:15. I need to plan on finishing (and printing) both of them by 2:30 so i can run them across town before my appointment. I might email them to the professor and tell him I will get him the hard copies after my appointment, but just in case the appointment runs late, I wanted him to have the digital copies.

Anyway, I wouldn't be freaking out if it weren't for the fact that I am behind in the schedule I created for myself. By this time today, i was hoping to have finished the paper due tomorrow, the pictures for the project due Thursday and the take home due Tuesday. Really, I am only behind on the take home, which has a 3 hour time limit, so in truth, I am only 3 hours behind. But, still, I freak out.

Dyke Two has been so wonderful throughout this freakout. She has cleaned the kitchen, made me breakfast, made me dinner, brought me snacks, drove me around for my picture taking yesterday, done some laundry (and only washed one pen in it, so that only two pairs of pants now have purple ink all over them) gone to the grocery store, borrowed the digital camera from her office for me, and loaded all of the pictures from the camera onto my computer.

Really, the only thing I should be freaking out about is what i would do if she ever got tired of my lazy, procrastinating self....

Thursday, December 08, 2005

31 weeks 3 days

Two classes down, three to go. I am in good shape with the paper due on Monday, and pretty good shape with the paper due on Tuesday. Tuesday's take home, let's not talk about it. The project due on Thursday, let's really not talk about that. my laundry? forget it. dishes? let's not even go in the kitchen. my car inspection that is now 8 days overdue? i just won't park on the street, so that they can't ticket me.

We went to see a friend's new baby Monday night. He was about 28 hours old when we saw him. So cute. Dyke Two freaked out when he cried as his diaper was being changed. I laughed. Does this make me some sort of unfeeling freak??

I finally caved and ate a donut for breakfast this morning. Actually, I ate a cherry-cinnamon bear claw and a blueberry donut. Full disclosure. Don't ever accuse me of lying by omission. That lady at the donut shop is so nice, but damn her! I was all set to just eat my bear claw, and she had to go and ask, "Would you like anything else?" Who asks a pregnant woman in front of a donut display a question like that?? Of course I would LIKE something else. And of course, those blueberry ones have always been my favorite. So, a blueberry donut and a bearclaw later, and Red spent the next three hours doing a tumbling floor exercise in my uterus. My cervix and bladder served as the trampoline, and I think my ribs are somehow the uneven parrallel bars. Maybe the horse, I can't tell. After the gymnastics, it appears he has moved on to a cheerleading routine, because I swear I am feeling 4 distinct limbs kick and move. He might have even invited a friend over, because there are times when I think I feel 8 limbs.

We have our second childbirth class tonight. Dyke Two can't come because she has a meeting, so I asked my mom to come with me. I almost asked a friend but I thought it might confuse the teacher to see me with a different black woman.

When I told my mom that the topic was early labor, she replied, "Oh, that's the part of labor I never realized was happening."

I guess I really need to listen tonight and take notes. Really good notes.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

31 weeks 1 day: Oy...

I met with the rabbi today, and it was a great conversation. But, he gave me so much to think about. He really encouraged me to hire a mohel for the circumcision, saying that having been at both mohel circs and OB circs, he really feels more comfortable with a mohel circ. He said babies scream less, the circumcision heals better, and that the process is over faster with a mohel, rather than an OB, who straps the baby down to a board and clamps the penis and foreskin with a plastic ring that stretches the foreskin away from the head. (I knew this, because I read it all on line when we decided to really look into this. That is why I cried so much that night. What a sacrifice Jewish people make in the first 8 days of their sons' lives).

He gave me the names of two mohels in the DC/Baltimore area, and suggested being completely up front about everything. Tell him that the baby is from my egg (apparently if the egg was from a donor who wasn't Jewish, a conversion might have to happen) and donor sperm. Tell him that my partner (and the donor) are both African-American. Tell him that we are an inter-faith couple. Tell him that we are a same-sex couple. Then let him decide his level of comfort.

The one thing he suggested that I "forget" to mention is that I am not Jewish in an Orthodox sense. My mother converted before I was born, so he suggested that I not volunteer the conversion, but if asked, say she converted "halachically" and if pressed, say it was with a Conservative rabbi and not an Orthodox one. Some mohelim, when finding that out, convert the baby to Judaism.

This is offensive to me. I am Jewish. I have been called to the torah for my bat mitzvah, I have family members who perished in the Holocaust, I have experienced anti-semitism, hatred and exclusion due to my religion. My son will not be treated as an outsider to his birthright. He is a Jew. Just like his mother, his grandfather, his great-grandparents, and the countless generations who practiced their religion in hiding to escape death at the hands of the Nazis, the pogroms, the Crusades. Just as he is African-American, and must know of the long, varied, proud and painful history of the oppression of his people based on skin color, just as he is black like his mother, his grandmother, his great-grandmother, just as his people were forced into slavery, Jim Crow institutions and inadequate education, vocation and lives. Our little boy has a lot of history to carry with him. And no one will tell him that he is not black, and no one will tell him that he is not Jewish.

The rabbi agreed that if we cannot find a mohel who will treat him as the Jewish baby that he is, that we should use our OB to do the procedure. He said, without knowing who our doctor is, that the one OB who he feels comfortable working with is ours. He actually said, "There is this delightful, older, Indian man who performs the procedures at some circumcisions for me. He is so gentle, so kind, so careful. His name is Dr...something long with a T." I smiled and said, "He is our doctor." The rabbi said, "You are in good hands."

I think I need to remember that: You are in good hands.

Monday, December 05, 2005

31 weeks 0 days

It is cold and sleeting outside right now, with the expectation that it will turn into 5-10 inches of snow accumulation (according to the Weather Channel--4-5 inches according to our local news station) by tomorrow morning. Here in our temperate climate, 2 inches is enough to freak everyone out. Grocery stores get ransacked, schools close, people lose their minds. I'm not sure what people do with the bread, milk and eggs they buy by the cartload for winter storms, but people will have 5 gallons of milk, 3 dozen eggs and 4 loaves of bread. Enough for me to last well over a month, but families buy it for the two days of being snowed in. The only thing I can think of is that people eat a lot of french toast when it snows.

So, anyway, Dyke Two had to go out of town last night for a business trip. She is going to be back later this afternoon, so it is hardly a long business trip, and she is only going to a city three hours from here. She is freaking out. Freaking. Out. Not because of the snow and her getting hurt or stranded, but that I will somehow slip on the wet porch, fall down a flight of stairs, get my car stuck in a "snowdrift" (from 4 inches of snow mind you...) or some other calamity.

i am beginning to re-think a February due date. She would be much happier and more relaxed if I were due in, say, June. Or, we moved to Florida.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

30 weeks 3 days

We started our Childbirth prep class tonight. There were 8 couples, 2 of whom (besides us) were inter-racial. We were the only same-sex couple, but there were two couples who definitely were very liberal/crunchy (yoga practicing artists). Given the city we are in, this is not a surprise to us. The instructor told us that she birthed her second baby squatting on the floor after the nurse at our hospital suggested it. We were very relieved to hear her talk so freely about positioning, movement, etc. She sprinkled in a lot of relaxation techniques too, so it wasn't like information-overload, or too much touchy-feely stuff. Our one complaint? After I specifically introduced Dyke Two as my wife, and received some smiles from the other couples, she INSISTED on talking about daddies, gentlemen, husbands whenever talking about the non-pregnant part of the couple. I know it is habit, I know it is accurate for probably 90% of the birthing teams who take the class (most of the 10% i am thinking of are single moms with a family member as their coach). But, it was like having a pebble in your shoe. The two crunchy couples were rolling their eyes everytime she said it. Dyke Two and I are trying to decide if we should say something...