A Day in the Life

I have loved reading about all of your daily routines (daaamn, some of you ladies manage to pack a LOT into your day – color me impressed!), so I am writing out my own, even though it is so not that interesting. And even though it will memorialize my shocking laziness. Here's my (very lengthy!) Tuesday:

5:20 am: Mark’s alarm sounds for the first time and he does not respond. Wiggle close enough to kick him until he gets up to hit snooze. He returns to the bed and groggily greets the fetus with a pat. Repeat every nine minutes until he staggers toward the bathroom.

6:10 am: Mark turns on the lights, kisses me goodbye, and attempts to make sure I am actually conscious, as I have to take my mom to the airport this morning. I blearily mumble my usual goodbye: “Love you. Nice day. Lunch.” (He will still forget to take his lunch.)

6:20 am: I reluctantly drag my sorry carcass from the sheets and stumble to the bathroom where I shower, brush teeth, and fix the hair and makeup, etc. It’s an off day for hair washing, so the routine is speedier than on washing days. (This is all set to change, however, as I am getting my hair chopped off tomorrow. HOORAY!! I haven’t had it cut since August and it needs it desperately.)

6:40 am: Head to the closet to get dressed, stopping by the dresser for a hit of perfume. I am already pantyhosed and beskirted when I realize that the cardigan I normally wear with this skirt is in the wash. I grab another black top that I know will make me crazy all day long because the neckline is too big to wear without a scarf and I have no scarf to wear with this skirt. C’est la vie – it’s too late to look for something else.

(I definitely spent all damn day futzing with the neckline o’ regret.)

6:45 am: Make the bed, open the blinds, and head downstairs where Mom is waiting for me. Grab lunch bag and start throwing in snacks – a cheese stick, 2 clementinesa yogurt. I normally make a half sandwich for lunch also, but Mom made Italian wedding soup last night (mmm), so I scoop some into a jar instead. Spoons and a napkin complete the bag. I forego making my usual breakfast for the car (2 eggo waffles, toasted with butter, and a half-caff latte) since I am heading out early and will have time to stop at Starbucks.

6:55 am: Mom and I gather our stuff. I set the alarm and we head into the garage to load the car. It is shockingly chilly again and the sky looks like snow is coming; the unbelievably gorgeous weekend we had was such a tease. Into the traffic we go.

7:20 am: I drop Mom at the airport for her 8:30 flight home. She says more of a goodbye to my belly than to me. (The grandparents are kind of beside themselves with excitement. It’s pretty cute.)

7:25 am: I head back out into the traffic in the opposite direction to head to the office. My commute requires driving a particularly nasty stretch of the DC Beltway, and today is no exception. I gladly fork over the dollars to use the express lanes (toll road) and zip past the parking lot that is the main lanes.

7:55 am: Stop off at Starbucks on my way in for a latte and a cinnamon scone. Lovely treat.

8:10 am: Arrive at the office. Gather my work bag, lunch bag, purse, water bottle, and breakfast and schlep it all through the parking lot and into the building. Chat with coworker in the elevator and on the way to our desks.

8:15 am: Start up the computer and head to the galley kitchen to put away my lunch bag. Stop to chat with coworker on the way back. She was out of the office last week and apparently the belly has gotten a lot bigger in that timeframe. We chat about the baby, her upcoming wedding, and the conference that most of my team attended last week while I held down the fort in the office.

8:30 am: Get to work. Check emails, read daily listservs, sort through some researchy tasks, and make my list of what needs to be done for the day.

9:00 am: Check on Mom’s flight via FlightAware. I am a crazy person and do not care for having my loved ones 30,000 feet above the earth in a metal tube, therefore I track their flight’s progress, keeping them aloft with my mind. It’s exhausting, as you might imagine. (I kid, but yes, I like the little altitude graph that assures me that my mommy has not plummeted into Long Island Sound.)

9:54 am: Receive text that Mom has landed safely in Boston.

12:50 pm: Emailing with Mark. He really wants to host a March Madness/Basement Warming party, but we are split on dates. We leave for vacation on Saturday, returning the following weekend, then we have friends visiting the weekend after that. He still has some finishing touches to complete in the basement, so I am of the opinion that we need a weekend to prepare before having a party; he is more concerned with the basketball schedule and the abundance of games that first weekend. I am also stressing about getting the baby’s room together, but I could be just a tad irrational on that topic, seeing as we have a good 12+ weeks to go (I hope, knock wood, etc.). We shall see….

1:05 pm: Head to the kitchen to heat up lunch. Chat with coworkers while soup heats up. Head back to my desk. Soup is delicious, but yogurt was very liquidy and possibly curdled? Ugh, definitely not eating it. Have cheese stick and clementines insteadCheck the news while eating.

1:45 pm: Heeeeartbuuuuuurn. (Daaamn, baby, cut Mama's digestive tract some slack!) Root through purse for Zantac.

2:55 pm: Chin dives are FIERCE today. I am struggling to keep my very red eyes open. Decide that this calls for caffeine and chocolate. Head to the break room, where I also put my soup bowl and yesterday’s mug in the dishwasher. Conveniently, some coworkers are brewing a fresh pot of coffee. I select “Grandma’s Chocolate Brownie Cookies” from the vending machine, which shorts me $.10. (These cookies? They were made by Frito Lay, not anyone's Grandma, and I am pretty sure my Grandma has never made cookies which had shortening and HFCS within the top four ingredients. UGH, desperate times.) Fill up with coffee when the pot is full and head back to my desk.

3:05 pm: Encounter coworker in the hallway on my way back who had just been down to my office to see me. She comes in to chat about an interesting new potential client. There are some questionable regulatory issues happening, so I ask her to set up a conference call on Thursday morning, which gives me some time for research. To the FDA regs I go…

4:22 pm: Mark emails to see if I am still planning to head out before 5 since I was in early. I am hoping so, because while the coffee helped, I am still wiped from the very fun weekend. I mention stopping at Old Navy to look for summery maternity clothes on my way home, seeing as I have none and we are leaving on Saturday. (Here’s hoping my cache of Lands End Fit and Flare dresses will be as forgiving to the six months of baby attached to my person as they were to the severe post-egg retrieval bloat. Mental note to try them on tonight.) Mom gave me a gift card to Motherhood Maternity for Valentine’s Day, which is earmarked for a bathing suit. Looks like I’ll have to stop there on Thursday, leaving Friday open for a mani/pedi and packing. Nothing like waiting until the last minute!

4:48 pm: Note that my liquid intake has been less than ideal today – two coffees and one water bottle does not sufficient hydration make, at least not when I am trying to ward off the scary cramping. Will have to step it up tonight.

5:02 pm: Begin fighting with archaic phone system in order to forward my phone for telework day. It keeps saying that my cell is a non-working number. The hell it is, you effing piece of crap. Decide to cross fingers, as no one ever calls anyway, and pack up. Stop by the bathroom on the way out because, well, pregnant + 30 mile commute. 

5:20 pm: Stop by Old Navy to check out potential options for vacation clothing. Store claims to carry maternity line; store lies. Moving on!

5:35 pm: Decide to try popping by Destination Maternity around the corner from Old Navy if I can find parking. Luck out with street parking and take it as a siiiign. Not much luck with actual clothes (come oooon, Fit & Flares!), but I find the bathing suit I had been eyeballing online in my size and it's not horrible. Put it on hold and plan to come back with gift card from Mom. 

6:10 pm: Return home, fall head first into bag of chips husband purchased (I never, never buy junk food for precisely this reason). Find husband in the basement, putting some finishing touches on the bar. Screw around chatting for a bit, half watching an episode of Ken Burns: Baseball. Laugh when Mark says he cried a little when they talked about the Sox winning in '04. I love nothing more than watching the 30 for 30: Four Days in October with him; it's his "Steel Magnolias." 

6:45 pm: Head upstairs to find my jammies and start some laundry. Remember I have to try on the Fit & Flares. They are slightly awkward, but I can make it work. WOO. Another LE dress fits as well. I also have high hopes for the flared skirts with the fold-over waist bands. Now to find t-shirts...

7:00 pm: Head downstairs to make dinner, completely forgetting to start the laundry. (Crap.) We're making sandwiches with the leftover tenderloin roast from Saturday night's dinner. Heat oven #1 for the baguette and oven #2 for the beef. Slice up the beef and throw it on a small sheet pan to reheat, shove all of the food in the ovens. Mark sets the table. When the food is heated, I cut the baguette in two and slather the insides with this amazing creamy dijon horseradish sauce we found at Whole Foods and stuff the sandwiches with the beef and some arugula. Root through the fridge for leftover roasted veggies and call it dinner. 

7:50 pm: Mark loads the dishwasher while I make him a lunch sandwich with the leftovers and wipe down the table and counters. Now? Now it is basement time -- cozy man chairs, a comfy quilt, and House of Cards. I refill my water bottle and we head downstairs. 

9:50 pm: Mark turns into a pumpkin at 10 and I'm too exhausted from the weekend to try to con him into another episode. We tidy up the room and head upstairs to bed. I stop off in the kitchen for my meds (Phenergan: Don't leave home without it!), turn on the alarm, and continue up to bed. I turn on the fan, forage for my vitamins, and set up the iPad and headphones. (Ohhh, the bedtime tv battle we used to have -- I need something to focus on so I can turn off my brain and sleep, he needs quiet darkness. The iPad arrangement has saved me yeeears in prison for Mark's murder.) Mark helps me roll into bed (the SPD pain is getting much better, but getting into bed is still hurty; it helps to have him swing my feet in rather than to go leg by leg) and we're both out within minutes of our heads hitting the pillows. Zzzz...

And then we do roughly the same thing again the next day. I had no idea "Groundhog Day" was so true to life. ;)

100 Days

This past Thursday, in addition to a cozy snow day, we hit the 100 Day mark -- 100 days left until the due date. I was thinking it would be kind of fun to mark. I'm due the day before the 13th anniversary of my college graduation and, as seniors, we planned a huge ball to celebrate the beginning of our last 100 days of college. I'm certainly not thinking about throwing what amounted to a very formal kegger, but I was thinking I'd take a first shot of the belly (it is still very stubbornly looking like a fat beer gut rather than a baby, so I haven't exactly been thrilled by the idea of memorializing it) and would maybe start packing up the stuff that's occupying his room so that we can get to work on a nursery. 

Instead I spent the entire day fretting that something was very, very wrong. I felt kind of off, and I had a wicked backache and vague crampiness all day. By the time we finished dinner, I was DONE and ready for the couch. There the backache developed into distinctly period-like cramps that started in my back and wrapped around my hips and went down into my thighs. It would cramp up, then relax, cramp up, then relax; this went on for over an hour, by which time I was thoroughly distraught. I took a hot shower to see if that would help, but by the time Mark came to check on me, I was all, "WE ARE GOING TO THE ER. NOW."

We headed out into round 2 of the snowstorm, and of course the roads were miserable. The highway was covered in icy slush and regular streets were even worse. We decided to go to the closer Urgent Care center operated by the hospital system rather than continuing to the hospital where the baby will be born. I figured that if things were actually dire, they could send us to the hospital by ambulance. I had barely gotten the words "25, almost 26, weeks pregnant and cramping" out before they called a nurse to bring me back and kept my husband to finish the registration stuff. 

In the exam room, I changed into a gown and they started an IV to draw blood. They had me give a urine sample and then we waited for the doctor, which took a surprising amount of time given that I seemed to be their only patient. (Given his later bedside manner, I'm thinking maybe he was googling "25, almost 26, weeks pregnant and cramping.") The doctor came in with an ultrasound machine and went to work checking out the baby. Unfortunately for us, he looked very frowny and said NOT A WORD for many minutes, until I said in a panic-stricken rush, "Um, YOUFOUNDTHEHEARTBEAT,RIGHT?" He looked at me like I was annoying him and was all, "Yes, but I cannot get a good image of the cervix." 


He eventually pointed out the baby moving around, after COUNTING ON HIS FINGERS to calculate the heart rate. (This is where I reeeally started regretting not trekking to the real ER.) He said that where he couldn't get an image of the cervix, he would have to do a manual exam. I am pretty sure he had not performed a manual exam since med school, if ever. As he was lubing up to do the exam, he said to the nurse, "Oh wait, second trimester, I need sterile gloves." He then proceeded to conduct the most painful medical experience I've had since the egg retrieval. Seriously, the nurse had to remind me to breathe, it was that bad.

One funny thing -- he asked if I wanted Mark to step out while he did he exam. I was like, dude, first, he's my husband; he's familiar with that region. Second? We did IVF; I am utterly devoid of dignity at this point.

Anyway, he left the room to check lab results and then came back in with a diagnosis of -- no joke -- lower back pain. He said the urine results were negative, he couldn't feel anything "bulging around the cervix" (was he expecting to find a baby hanging out down there?), and the baby was doing fine, so he felt comfortable sending me home. The next part was my favorite. He said that he couldn't guarantee it wasn't preterm labor and that he had had one case where a fetus was later expelled (WHAAAT?!), but he thought that would be an unlikely outcome. I sat there, dumbfounded, unable to believe he had really just said that. Like, eh, it's possible your baby could fall out sometime tonight, but you know, try crossing your legs and you should be fine! After he left the room, the nurse started to go through discharge instructions and I asked whether they were going to monitor me to see whether the uterus was actually contracting. She said she thought the ultrasound could tell that, but went out to check with the doctor. Turns out the ultrasound can't see that, and they don't have that kind of monitoring equipment. AWESOME. I'M FEELING SUPER CONFIDENT IN YOUR DIAGNOSIS OF "BACKACHE," SIR.

We were released and headed back into the snow, hoping the car would get up the steep hill we live at the top of. The cramping had subsided somewhat, so we decided we'd try to get some sleep, but would go directly to the ER if anything changed. By morning, I was sore, but the cramping was gone. I called my OB to let them know what was going on. They were glad we went in to get checked, but not thrilled that they had lacked the appropriate equipment. They suspected dehydration and ordered this terrible water drinker to step it up substantially, but said to call right away if the cramping returned and they would send me to L&D to be checked. My next regular appointment is Monday, so they felt ok letting me wait through the weekend as long as there was no more cramping. I started pushing water by the giant bottle (ugh) and spent much of yesterday lying on my left side, but *knock wood* there has been no more cramping. Here's hoping it stays that way...

I did have a wee breakdown Friday night. I was making pizza for dinner and Mark came up to hug me from behind. Unfortunately, he also accidentally clocked me right in my junky sinus with his water glass. My eyes got teary and from there it was aaaaall over. I could not stop the waterworks. He was horrified that I was hurt and I was like, "I'm not hur-ur-urrrt; I just can't sto-o-op, I don't know what's wro-o-ong with meeeee. *SOB*" We were both laughing at how ridiculous it was, but it took me a bit to calm down. Guess my cold dead soul was pretty worried about my wee, undercooked baby. 

On the upside, there's still no more cramping AND my buddy made me breakfast in bed on Saturday. 
He actually bought an ebelskiver pan specifically for a post-Valentine's surprise! How cute is that? He is the best. 

The 100 Day mark wasn't what I expected, but then again, neither was the road to get here. We're hanging in, though, and so very grateful that this was just a minor bump in the road. Here's hoping that the next 97 days (and beyond) will be smooth and boring...


Back again so soon, eh? It'll be a quickie this time -- promise. This one is food related.

Food has been a sensitive subject up in these parts for the last five months. We spent the fall slogging through life in general. I just could not deal with grocery shopping or cooking (or living, really), and my husband, while very supportive, is really not a cook. It was also troublesome that one very specific food item would sound slightly palatable at dinner planning time, but in the amount of time it took to acquire that specific item, it would undoubtedly become mostly unpalatable. I had an intense relationship with Starbucks breakfast sandwiches in the first trimester, but our love burned hot and fast. I went through a short Velveeta/Rotel/Hormel chili queso phase, and most recently, had an intense affair with danish (but only Wegmans raspberry or cheese kuchen -- so good). (Danish still has my heart, but I had to break things off before he also got my ass.)

In short, while I'm still not in top form on the food shopping/preparation front, I am doing my best. I phone it in more than I would prefer, and grocery shopping often is more than I can manage, but there is dramatically more real food coming out of my kitchen these days. (Woo!)

Last night, I kind of winged it on a phoned in dinner and it was so easy and delicious, I had to share. I was yet again too sore at the end of the day to buy groceries, so I had Mark stop and pick up some pizza dough and deli ham. When I got home, I threw together a quick calzone and white bean soup from an Alessi mix. 

For the calzone, I rolled out the dough into a long rectangle. I sprinkled a good layer of Trader Joe's Quattro Formaggi shredded cheese blend down the middle. Next came a layer of ham (about 6 oz) and a layer of swiss cheese. I folded the sides of the dough over, tucked the ends in, and pinched everything closed. I flipped it over, gave it a brush of an egg wash, and threw it in the oven. I put it on parchment on a preheated pizza stone. I normally cook pizza at 525, but had preheated the oven to 450. I turned it down to 425 to make sure the calzone cooked through without burning. It took maybe 15-20 minutes, until it was a deep, golden brown and melty cheese started to escape. 

It was sinfully delicious -- the kind of meal that leaves us saying, "Damn, my brain wants more, but my belly is too full." We were both super excited to have leftovers for lunch today too. Stupidly easy and delicious? That is a win in my book.

Hello, old friend!

It has been a while since I checked in over here and HOO BOY, are things better. I would like to kiss the face of whoever invented Phenergan. Seriously. I went from constant, nauseated misery coupled with crippling constipation (a giant bird to you, Zofran) to "I FEEL COMPARATIVELY MAAAAARVELOOOOOUS" with one dose. There were tears of gratitude on more than one occasion, no joke. With time, the nausea has gotten much better on its own too. I am down to one dose nightly, which gets me through the morning, and if I forget to take them, the misery is minimal. Thank GOD; the fall was a dark, dark time over here.

Conveniently, the dramatic improvement in health came just in time for the holidays. We went to Boston for the massive Irish shit show (i.e. Thanksgiving -- it's a lovely tradition, though pretty funny as the sober one). There is lots of delicious food (I come from a family of amazing cooks) and wine, and it's a great day with most of my mom's huge family. She's the oldest of nine, and 7/9 attend with all of their spouses and kids. We missed it last year, so it was great to be back. 

Once we got home, we decorated for Christmas as much as I had energy for, because Mark's parents were coming to us for faux Christmas. I loved having the decorations up; it made the house feel so cozy. 

We had a great visit. We did "Christmas" on the Sunday of their visit, with my MIL making her traditional cinnamon rolls and opening presents. I made a tenderloin roast with horseradish cream sauce for dinner with a potato gratin (Smitten Kitchen's recipe + caramelized onions -- omg) and roasted green beans with a lemon chive butter. We had boozy icebox cake for dessert and sat around on the cozy couch lit by the tree. Lovely. 

We went back to Boston for Christmas proper. We got there in time for the Christmas party with my mom's side of the family, went up to visit Mark's grandmother, and had Christmas Eve/day with my dad's family. We do the whole seven fishes thing on Christmas Eve (my mom hosts -- we have smoked salmon and fried calamari with the apps, linguini with clam sauce, scrod baked with crabmeat stuffing, and baked stuffed shrimp and scallops). It's much more formal than with my mom's family, but my cousins on this side are really funny. I'm the oldest by six years, so I wasn't really close to these cousins when we were younger; I was a babysitter rather than one of the kids. It has been really fun as they've all gotten older too. 

My tiny grandma sleeps over on Christmas Eve (she has done this since my grandfather died in 1996) and we open presents and eat leftover smoked salmon with bagels and cream cheese. We go to my uncle's house for dinner with the same crowd (SO MUCH FOOD AND TOGETHERNESS), and then on the 26th, we have the traditional Day of Sloth. We clean up the presents and arrange them under the tree, shower and change back into jammies, and then we take to the couch. Well, my mom and I do. My dad usually goes to the office and Mark went to meet up with high school friends. It was glorious. I gave mom Downton Abbey on dvd, so she powered through the first season while I napped. We had leftover baked stuffed shrimp for lunch and an afternoon snack of pie. I tried to soak up the gloriousness as much as I could, knowing that next year will (knock wood, fingers crossed) be VERY different. 

On the baby front, all is going well. My biggest issue to date has been some pubic symphysis discomfort. I sleep with a pillow between my legs and sit down to put pants on. Flipping over in bed and putting all of my weight on one foot is pretty painful, and for some reason, walking around grocery stores practically cripples me, but otherwise it's pretty manageable. Baby boy, whom we are calling Billy for the time being (it's a long story, and probably only funny if you know my dad), had his 20 week ultrasound, and he's looking perfectly healthy, which was such a huge relief. He also revealed his funny little personality. My sweet guy is a total stinker. They spent two hours checking him out and I still had to go back for a repeat because he refused to let them measure the structures in his head. He was just as much of a stinker the second time around. They were able to measure everything they needed to, but when they tried getting a 4D image of his face, he hid behind his hands, looked away, and even shook his head "no" (OMG). We did get a profile and he's adorable, of course; I think he looks just like Mark, not that you can really tell. 

The really fun stuff is that he's super active, and I love feeling him wiggling around in there. He's a big chocolate fan, so that always gets him dancing. He totally responds to his space getting squished too. He punches me when I lean over the computer, and he was pissed last week when I wore regular khakis with a belly band. They were kind of digging into the belly, and he spent a good portion of the day punching right where the pants were cramping his style, poor baby. His kicks and punches have gotten to the point where Mark can sometimes feel him too. 

We celebrated hitting the viability mark by ordering his crib, mattress, and changing table, as well as getting baby registries started. Would you please look at these shoes I bought? Have you ever seen anything so wee and adorable?

It is all both awesome and terrifying, because he feels so real now and I love him so much already, and I am absolutely terrified (TERRIFIED) of something happening to him. I know it's out of my control, so I'm trying to focus on the fact that all is going well to this point, rather than all of the horror stories my brain has accumulated over the years and naturally prefers to fixate on. It feels so impossible that we could really be so lucky after so much disappointment; I think I'm just so used to waiting for the other shoe to drop.

24 weeks, 4 days today. We are SO EXCITED to meet you, my Billy. (We'll gladly wait until you're fully cooked, though.)