Thursday, May 1, 2014

how time flies

Friday, April 18, 2014

Notes on Being Visibly Pregnant

I am usually the only one in the room. Or, I feel weirdly competitive with another pregnant lady in front of me in line at the grocery store.

My shape is an instant ice breaker that inspires the same series of questions: "how are you feeling; when are you due; what is the sex; have you picked a name." Sometimes people ask if everyone touches my stomach. Remarkably, only one lady, a Latina who cleans my office, placed her hands on my belly without asking first, and I did not mind. In fact, I felt an emotional connection with her and almost transported to some other time period or culture where women are not afraid of each other.

Invariably, after the formality of these questions are out of the way, the next part of the conversation is about someone that person knows who is also or was once pregnant. A sister, a friend, a wife, a coworker. And then I hear either a horror or fantasy story about emergency room visits or 20 minute deliveries.

No one is satisfied with the answer "I'm fine" or even "I'm great" ... I must elaborate. My general nature is to talk about myself at length, so I can easily go on to say "I'm tired" and "I'm sore" ... and, more rarely, "I'm bored" with this topic.

Ironically, my peers often encourage me to order a beer or at least offer "you can have a glass of wine!" They don't understand that I do not want one. I don't want one in the way that you don't want another french fry when you are too full. You know it's delicious, but you just don't have the appetite for it.

I hear regularly how thin I look which I know is meant as flattery but really comes across as insult to the many women who gain noticeable weight in their faces and arms or who were rotund before pregnancy. I have not mentioned to anyone (maybe only one friend) that my inner thighs chafe from rubbing against each other and that I worry I haven't eaten enough of the right food for the baby.

My dietary restrictions are not aligned with the popular farm-to-fork movement. I am advised against eating anything unpasteurized (soft cheeses, artisanal bottled juices), anything raw (poached eggs, sashimi), anything with mercury (big fish, medium fish). I take a daily iron supplement along with a multi-vitamin and folic acid. I'm advised to also ingest 100 grams of protein everyday, eat leafy greens, high fiber grains, fruits and other nutrient rich plants, while this creature inside me grows and cramps the space for all this food in my stomach. I literally can't fit it all in me.

The biggest surprise, even beyond all the miracle of life stuff, is how much my husband cares about every detail. He does not bore of what the baby is doing right now or what the doctor said or how annoyed I am about whatever happened today. He is not angry when I wake us both up in the middle of the night with my inability to get comfortable. He does not complain about having to do the bulk of the house work.

Being pregnant is special but obviously not uncommon. On the surface, I'm over it, but deep down, I'm savoring every moment.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Last year, I won eye lash extensions from a lady who had a booth at a bridal trade show. I liked them enough to pay her for a second set around the time of my wedding and then again 6 months later (today). The process takes about an hour and a half because she applies individual fake lashes to each existing natural lash. She says that a lot of her clients choose to sleep, but I don't see how that's possible with how much she gabs.

Today, we talked mostly about pregnancy and parenthood. Most of my conversations these days are about pregnancy and parenthood just as how most of my conversations were about weddings and bridal matters in the months leading up to my nuptials. Clearly, I instigate the topic both because I am trying to learn as much as possible and also because I inspire people to remember and share their own experiences in this situation.

The lady who does my lashes (K) has a daughter by adoption and never carried a baby to term, so she was less interested in commiserating with various ailments I am currently surviving. Her adoption story, though, captivated me and made the 2 hour session breeze by like a good film.

She had tried to adopt through an agency with at least three different mothers. Two of them decided after delivering to keep the child while the third strung her along for several months and then disappeared. K says she thinks the latter was using K for emotional support. They spoke daily on the phone, which cost K $400/month, and K visited the mother in Texas (from California) on occasion. K concedes that she was too involved in her life.

Later, K's husband S told the woman who cuts his hair that they were looking to adopt. That woman put them in touch with a family friend of hers who wanted to find a better home for her second child, a girl. The child's father was, at the time, being sentenced for beating her first child (who was only four months old and blind) into a coma.

The little girl was five months old by the time the adoption realized. She is now twelve years old. K made sure that her daughter understood from the get go that she is adopted but still struggles with how much information to give the girl about her father. K had written the girl's father in prison to request that he write the girl to tell her about himself, and his letter was full of stories reflecting a life full of remorseless crime. K has not given the girl this letter, yet.

Parenting is hard for a lot of reasons. But one of the big questions that I'm struggling with right now is how much truth do you give over time and when. Thankfully, I don't have any big family secrets to hide (yet!) ... other than the story about that time I danced on stage at a nightclub for money. Maybe I'll save that one for when my kid is old enough to read this blog.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Moms on Facebook

Gap Target Bump Start from Motherhood Maternity resale consignment shop in a swanky part of town maxi dresses elastic hair band looped through your button hole and around the button bellyband Topshop blog "Girls Gone Child" black maternity pencil skirt a stretchy athletic nursing bra leggings goodwill in a nice neighborhood Justine Huseth Gap maternity for cute pants / jeans. Target for everything else. Don't waste your money at maternity stores unless you're rich. Quinn Christie I never liked any one store but my favorite tank top I wore under everything was from Target, my favorite leggings were Bump Start from Motherhood Maternity (but that store is a nightmare in general). Lynn Hicks Definitely don't spend a lot, you don't wear it that long, buy bigger because you will get a lot bigger, stick with basics and accessorize with jewelry. Target is great, old navy is okay, maybe try to find a "once upon a child" or "kids to kids" or other resale consignment shop in a swanky part of town. Motherhood maternity is pretty much inevitable, but at least it's pretty cheap. Justine Huseth Also maxi dresses are a good choice. I tried to find creative ways to buy stuff that had give in the stomach but was still wearable. Don't jump the gun just. An elastic hair band looped through your button hole and around the button can buy you time with your current wardrobe. Also if you don't have one, get a bellyband. They keep your current pants up without having to button them and help post pregnancy when you just need a few extra inches or support around your waist Lynn Hicks Thumbs up to the maxi dresses! Jendi Tarde Killberg ...Good stuff! You can find it at some Pea in the Pod stores and at Nordstrom. I just stick to the online catalog, though, because there's a better selection. They are true to size and very flattering. Jendi Tarde Killberg Oh...and maxi dresses rock. Rupa Bhattacharya I lived in Topshop but your professional night differ from mine. And yes to consignment, too. Katie Dominguez The blog "Girls Gone Child" has had smart ideas for non-maternity maternity wear. Easiest way to find them is probably googling "Girls Gone Child maternity clothes". Kathryn Elizabeth Tuggle I have to say I see a lot of nice maternity things at thrift stores... I feel like it often gets worn once and donated. Madeleine Ildefonso I've heard that finding a good pair of pregnancy jeans that you can grow with you is key. Jacquie Fuller I bought 2 pairs of maternity skinny jeans from Motherhood Maternity, and some black maternity tank tops from Target which I wore under my non-maternity shirts to elongate them. I pretty much lived in those jeans. Gap and Old Navy also have some decentbasics that can be pretty cheap on sale. I had a very basic wardrobe and just rotated stuff - didn't care if I was caught one week in the same outfit as the week prior. A black maternity pencil skirt is good for work, too. Get as much second hand as you can. Jacquie Fuller And you may need a bigger bra. Get a stretchy athletic nursing bra. Don't buy molded cup nursing bras until you deliver (mine got even bigger after the baby came.) And get fitted for one. Christina Prieto Muchow Def get as much borrowed or used as possible. The belly band is good in the beginning. But it's nice to have at least one pair of jeans you feel good in and some leggings. Kristy Becerra Go to the goodwill in a nice neighborhood. I got Paige jeans for maternity for $2.50! Seriously, it's the best place to get good stuff that won't break the bank. You only use it for a few months

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

23 weeks

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MAY 2014
As you may have inferred from the subject line, Athena and Matt are 23 weeks along with the incubation of their imminent offspring. 

According to a doctor visit on January 2, we're expecting a boy on May 6 (give or take 2 weeks).

We're very excited about this move to Babytown and beyond happy to share this news with you.

Long story short: Athena showed very few symptoms for months beyond fatigue and weight gain (both of which she had attributed to the stress of her new job). Other interesting signs (that only became clear as signs in hindsight) included an increasing aversion to alcohol and moodier mood swings.

On December 21, Matt ran a 15k (on his path to running a half marathon in February). Later that day, Athena complained of a stomach ache. The next day, the Sunday before Christmas, Athena's insides were behaving much more weirdly than any stomach ache she'd ever experienced. An OTC pregnancy test revealed two lines. The ultrasound on January 2 shows him to be a very active baby with all his fingers, toes, and a giant pair of lips.



Did you really not know you were pregnant?
It's true!

Do you have a baby registry?
Not yet!

Do you want any of my stuff from when I had my last baby (including advice, books, furniture, clothing)?
Yes, please! 

Have a name yet?
We have a few in mind but haven't made a final decision.

Are you guys stoked?
Super stoked!


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Sunday, December 22, 2013

2 blue lines

I spent the day with Leila ... we took our bikes to Hermosa where her boyfriend works. He took pity on my bike immediately and tuned it up before our ride.
I made a lot of comments on this ride about how much weight I've gained...but only in my mid region. She said out loud that she had also gained weight in the same way but told me later that she'd noticed my growing belly. When we returned to Los Feliz, I dropped her off at home so she could prep an arepa dinner while I stopped at Rite Aid to buy beers and a First Response pregnancy test. I took the test after dinner when I got home and sure enough there were the tell tale parallel lines. Matt had left that morning for Sebastapol so I spent the night alone trying to figure out how I felt about this news.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

BEAST: a vegetarian affair

Dinner Party with Haute Food