Sunday, April 26, 2009

Two strange things, mom don't read the second

Two strange things are happening.
1. all the photos I've posted lately, feature the same expression on my face. Strange, cause it's so normal. And peaceful. Not quite exploding with bliss, but, you know, glow-y. Many a photo for many a year had me doing many a face. Especially if I was featured alone in the frame. It was always much more of a performance thing. Now maybe that the preggo shots are documenting-things I'm toning it down. Ah, shit, say it ain't so. (So, here is a photo of the view from my daily hike. I love where I live!)

2. And the other thing. Horniness still a good friend of mine. Which means I can still nod in agreement anytime I hear "I Touch Myself" — but the execution of "me time" has altered a bit.

Maybe I thought I'd be taking life easy for the remainder of my childless life. Lounging with fresh-squeezed fruit juices (we got a juice for xmas), snacking on salmon and prenatal vitamins, leisurely pleasuring myself for hours a day.

Nope. I'm making sure to keep crazy busy. Taking on more work than I should, accepting admission to grad school, pushing for a internship with a planner to happen sooner than later, picking up odd jobs, and watching porn for a few minutes a day.

WATCHING. This has not been my usual, really ever. WATCHING is more of a group thing for me (best done in pairs, really). Whereas one-handed reads and flipping through the pages of a magazine are familiar activities and go hand-in-hand for me and my libido.

Masturbating does not seem like a chore. But I'm enjoying the quickies more than the other solo options.

Good thing there's many a disk to be had in this household. Have I mentioned how much I love my man lately? And more proof that we're a good match: we have similar taste in porn. At least enough to keep me satisfied. His tastes to veer further into, well, never mind.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back in time: sand dancing for the wee one

So appropriate that while I was in Mexico Ginger Rocket (the old ladies decided that Rocket is OK, Crash is not) was 'posed to be the size of a mango. A "large" mango. Because I ate a lot of mango in Mexico. I did not, however, do so without washing the outside of it first. (Last year = 24 hours of the poops. This year, with clean mango, no questionable or liquified poops!)

What they say about week 23:
"Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With her sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that she's more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see her squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing her for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won't faze her when she hears them outside the womb."

The below, body stuff, but first, how it applies to me:
--The all-night flights, without platform flip flops to raise up my feet/legs followed by bus rides, and STANDING on bus rides in the heat was a bit hard on my legs. My poor almost broken veins were angry. I was not comfortable. I was not in pain, though. And I ALMOST broke out the specialty hose. Almost is key here.
--I was swollen after the flights, but that's normal for me. Also, I ate all those ham and cheese sandwiches that Mexicana Air give you. Yummy salt bombs that go down great with Tecate.
--Exercise regularly: Check!
--Left side sleeping. My back is still comfortable for me, so I flop around a lot
--Dancing: Did a bunch of this on the beach. For the wedding. And at a beach party with a few other pregnant ladies. I think she'll come out liking brown people who play the drums and sing in multiple languages.
--Comfortable shoes: Yup! Even wore running/tennies/walking shoes to carry my pack and fly and travel by bus. Hence the unelevated feet on the flight. Said shoes have some pink, so they are passably cute. But barely.

From Baby Center:
"You may notice that your ankles and feet start to swell a bit in the coming weeks or months, especially at the end of the day or during the heat of summer. Sluggish circulation in your legs — coupled with changes in your blood chemistry that may cause some water retention — may result in swelling, also known as edema. Your body will get rid of the extra fluid after you have your baby, which is why you'll pee frequently and sweat a lot for a few days after delivery. In the meantime, lie on your left side or put your feet up when you can, stretch out your legs when you sit, and avoid sitting — or standing — in one place for long periods. Also, try to exercise regularly to increase circulation, and wear support stockings (put them on first thing in the morning) and roomy, comfortable shoes. You may be tempted to skimp on liquids to combat swelling, but you need to drink plenty of water because staying hydrated actually helps prevent fluid retention. While a certain amount of edema in your lower extremities is normal during pregnancy, excessive swelling may be a sign of a serious condition called preeclampsia. Be sure to call your midwife or doctor if you have severe or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, more than slight swelling of your hands, swelling in your face, or puffiness around your eyes."

22 weeks was fun: hairy vegetable, no marks

Here's what they told me about my hairy spaghetti squash (?!?).

"At 11 inches (the length of a spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound, your baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment. If you could see inside your womb, you'd be able to spot the fine hair (lanugo) that covers his body and the deep wrinkles on his skin, which he'll sport until he adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside his belly, his pancreas — essential for the production of some important hormones — is developing steadily."

Below is more of what to expect about the ol bod. But I'll just say:
--no stretch marks yet
--no one has tried to play with/pet my tummy, but I'm kinda keeping it under wraps/baggy clothes when at school, still, cause I want to get into school
--friends can still hardly tell I have a belly, unless I stick it out.

"How your life's changing:At this point, you may find your belly becoming a hand magnet. It's perfectly okay to tell folks who touch your tummy that you'd rather they didn't. And if people are telling you that you look smaller or bigger than you should at this point, remember that each woman grows — and shows — at her own rate. What's important is that you see your practitioner for regular visits so she can make sure your baby's growth is on track.

"You may start to notice stretch marks on your abdomen as it expands to accommodate your growing baby. At least half of all pregnant women will develop stretch marks by the time they give birth. These small streaks of differently textured skin can range from pink to dark brown (depending on your skin color). Although they most commonly appear on your tummy, stretch marks may also show up on your buttocks, thighs, hips, and breasts. There's no proof that lotion helps prevent stretch marks, but keeping your skin moisturized may help with any itching."

i do not have swine flu

No swine flu for me. Or for Ross. So far, Mexico has not made me sick. And my tan seems to be fading. Which is unfortunate.

More good news: I have a fancy new gift to show off. My friend Lee gave me a killer deal on a necklace I could not live with out. We call it the preggo necklace, acquired with my preggo discount. Which, Lee says, I should be liberally applying for from friends, family, strangers and perverts alike.

Lee makes awesome pretty intricate gifts and wearables. She outfits performers and divas, pregnant ladies and friends. Her work can be seen here, at Fool Proof Studio. When I went to visit her at her studio, she was beading. Beading! Like stringing them. And she had just finished a necklace she had made, for fun.

Ah, the artsy/craftsy folks I love.

(Also, my awesome hair is, as always, by Tracy, at Vine St. Salon in Berkeley.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mexico makes people worry, and I'm like What, Me Worry?

We took The Belly to Mexico. Tulum, actually. It was lovely! Relaxing, hot and breezy. I hardly had any tequila (the midwives said I could -- with steak!) and did not sunburn my belly. Tanned, yes. Sunburned, no.

In preparation to leave, I chatted about the trip with my midwives and with friends and kinda with family. Turns out that people are kinda freaked out a pregnant people traveling. And that many folks equate Mexico with death/murder/rape/illness/the other/pooping/ etc.

Sure, there is a lot of hype right now about murders and beheadings kidnappings and narco issue, but that's mostly segregated to the border areas, and entirely contained by areas known to have previous narco issues. (The Mexican government is taking out/down the leaders of the drug cartels. There are power vacuums. Narco types are gunning each other down, claiming new territory and even crossing the border into the US to "kidnap" folks back to Mexico. Not a good time to pop over the border in AZ, NM or TX.

But Tulum, well, Tulum is in the Yucatan. South of Cancun. A lovely beachy sleepy area populated by ex-pats, hippies and mellow Mexicans/indigenous populations. I've never been to a safer, more mellow area of Mexico.

Still, there were worries (not mine!). Ross and I and Nicole and Sander stayed in Tulum last February. Sure, I got the shits for 24 hours, but I kinda licked the outside of a mango... so I was asking for it.

suggested that I take grapefruit seed extract: I did. Tasted terrible. But if you put a leettle beer in your mouth and squeeze some drops into the beer, goes down with no problem. Three to five drops a few times a day = no pooping water for me. Ross was not so diligent with the GSE, and so, not so lucky.

Friends and friends in the medical world: fear of cheese!
Listeriosis, Mexico, pregnant people. I ate a ton of cheese, from the super market, at restaurants, and taco stands. No problems. I did not eat any "artisan" cheeses, nor did I consume anything from farms: pasteurized = OK.

Don't get kidnapped! OK!

Dehydration from pooping water or just from cooking myself in the sun was to be avoided. But still, dehydration in the heat, at the beach, in a foreign country was likely. I took EmergenC for the electolytes. True, they recommended that I take something a bit more powerful, less sweet, but I couldn't find it. (I didn't try too hard, to be honest.)

Friendly neighborhood reminders (ie from Nicole)
Snacks! Getting hungry on the plane, on the buss, in the cabana sucks. Last year, not pregnant, a shot of tequila could make the hunger pains wither and die. This year: Belly Bars, Luna Bars, Tiger Milk Bars, Turkey Jerky. I even brought enough to share with Ross. And upon arriving in Tulum, we headed for the supermarket -- for beer and tequila and bottled water (OK, mostly for Ross.) But day 2, I returned to get tortillas, salsa, chips, avocados, fruit, etc. for storing in a bag tied to the rafters (all the harder for the iguanas to get to), and for snacking.

It was easy and cheap to eat safe and only drink bottled water. I did, however, drink coffee, eat salads, and consume drinks with ice. And still, no problems.

And listening to advise, even following it, was pretty darn easy/harmless as well. So, if you offered up any wisdom, THANKS.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ladies who hike together, get bigger together: introducing the pregnants

These are the ladies I hike with. Lan and Kitty are a few weeks ahead of me in the counting weeks of gestation game.

We've been hiking together darn near weekly for months. At first it was goofy, 'cause we'd excitedly talk about being preggers, being tired, taking naps, books we were reading and cute/scary things people would say to us — all discussion was centered on being pregnant. But we, back then, were all tiny little things, very not visibly pregnant.

As the weeks have progressed, we've:
--gotten more out of breath (50% more blood makes us breathe harder!)
--watched each others boobs grow (I'll never forget the first time I saw Kitty's boobs jiggle!)
--consumed more water
--discussed and deconstructed preggo myths that seem to aim to keep women on their backs and fearful of breaking a sweat for 9 months
--graduated to new hiking clothes: Lan was first to out-grow her regular duds
--altered our other-than-hiking exercises: Lan: no more contact/kicking/punching classes; Kitty: less pilates I think, Me: new poses to accommodate The Belly at bikram
--compared to-do, to-buy, to-deal-with-later-lists
--commented on body changes (from constipation to gas to movement to BOOBS -- but you knew that was coming, right?)
--compared nap schedules

We also have the occasional dinner with our menfolks. We have watched films together, traded book lists and watched the men drink.

We are called: "The Pregnants" (coined by Kitty's Brazilian Hublet Abel. Some things are not lost in translation, they just get cuter.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

ross felt ginger crash kennedy loy kicking

(No, that's prob'ly not her name. We still have to add another "first name" in there.)

Last night, sitting in bed, we were staring at The Belly. It's time for proper noun status. Though I can still hide it from my professors. But not from anyone who knows me. The Belly has become quite an entity this week. Most of my pants still fit, some summer skirts don't really work, but other than that, I can manage in last year's (and the last five years') wardrobe

We were staring at the belly. I was petting it a bit (not sure if this is really a natural thing or if I've seen so many preggo ladies do it that I feel like it's a natural thing and so do it. hmmm.) And Ross joined in. I was feeling some movement (not gas, pretty sure) and BOOM, up went my belly, right under his hand.

Gasps, chuckles, and a few cheesey other things followed.

Today when we chatted about regular end-of-day stuff on the phone, Ross asked: Did you feel her kicking today?" (Cue the "ahhhhs!")

Yup! Although that gurgling right now, might just be gas.

my, how they've grown

So, that website sent me an email about boobs, so, duh, I read it. Didn't learn anything, but it does have good info.

What do you need to know about my massive breasts today? Well:
I had to buy new bras, real bras! and... drum roll please: C-cups!!!!
--got one fancy (ok, at Target = $9.99 cause even when I'm fancy I'm cheap) black one that is shaped like a bra/cup thing but has no padding (Ross and Mom approve
--and got one beige thing that has some room to grown in that will replace my yoga tanks/camis for day-to-day wear

When I got out of target I called my mom and then Ross. To brag.

More updates:
My C-cups (yeah!) did itch a bit today. And they have a bit more heft to them that even a week ago. My new bras still fit (I know I've mentioned the C-cup, but, well, I'm not tired of mentioning it yet.)

More shirts just don't fit.

This week I made one woman uncomfortable, yes, with my massive breasts: I caught her looking at them and then she looked quickly away.

And when I was talking to our neighbor Rudy (me in spanish he in spanglish) I told him about being pregnant. He said. "Ah, yes. Your chichimongas are more better!" I laughed and agreed.

Actually, I grabbed them in agreement.

"Why are my breasts so sore now that I'm pregnant?

Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause increased blood flow and changes in the breast tissue, which may make your breasts feel swollen, sore, tingly, and unusually sensitive to touch. Some women describe the sensation as an exaggerated version of how their breasts feel before their period.

Breast tenderness is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. It usually starts around 4 to 6 weeks and lasts through the first trimester.
What other changes can I expect?

Starting at around 8 weeks, your breasts also begin to get bigger, and they'll continue to grow throughout your pregnancy. It's common to go up a cup size or two, especially if it's your first baby. Your breasts may feel itchy as the skin stretches, and you may even develop stretch marks on them.

You may be able to see veins under the skin of your breasts, and you may find that your nipples are getting bigger and darker. After the first few months, your areolas — the pigmented circles around your nipples — will also be bigger and darker.

You may not have noticed the little bumps on your areolas before. But now these bumps, which are a type of oil-producing gland called Montgomery's tubercles, may become much more pronounced. Your breasts go through these changes in preparation for nursing your baby.

Around your third month of pregnancy, your breasts start producing colostrum, the special milk your baby will get when he first starts nursing. During the last few months of pregnancy, you may begin to leak a small amount of this thick yellowish substance, although some women start to leak earlier and some never leak at all.
Can I do anything to reduce the soreness?

Your best bet is to find a few good, supportive bras. Take the time to get fitted by a knowledgeable salesperson in a large department store or maternity shop.

You may find that bras with underwires are less comfortable now. To prevent chafing, look for soft material with no seams near the nipple. Cotton bras will be more comfortable and breathable than synthetic.

For extra support during the day, try a maternity bra. (During your third trimester, you might want to invest in a nursing bra, since you'll need one anyway if you'll be breastfeeding.) For nighttime, try a pregnancy sleep bra — a soft, nonrestrictive cotton bra available at maternity stores.

It's especially important to wear a supportive bra that fits properly while you exercise, because your breasts are heavier. A bra designed for exercise will provide the additional support you need and minimize discomfort.

Consider buying your bras with a bit of room to grow, since you may go up a size or two (both in cup size and chest circumference) as your breasts grow and your belly expands. Choose the ones that fit when the clasp is on the tightest setting, so you'll have some room to let them out. This is definitely a good idea if you end up buying a nursing bra before you deliver."

crash has ruined my skin, that little brat

I think it was Tuesday. My skin went on strike. And flaked off. From my chin, up both sides of my face, eventually pealing as far as my eyes.

This is new.

I blame it on being pregnant.

(oh, the photos: From an article on "Skin Etching Artist Explores Our Relationship With Our Bodies"

Here we have my first complaint! Goddamn flaking skin that no amount of lotion or oil or scrubbing can stop.

Back for Christmas, Ross gave me some fancy healthy lotion to slather on my soon-to-be massive breasts and my coming-soon belly. I happily applied morning, after hikes/yoga and night. Within a few days the skin in these areas had turned red, kinda hard and was kinda burning. And there were bumps. And there were a few pimples, just to make it even grosser.

So, there I was, with new my new boobs, wanting to show them off, wanting to talk about BOOBS how I had them, etc. But mostly I was just itching them.

Ross was slow to accept that the magic lotion could be the problem. So, having down time and zero work back in December and January, I pretended to remember anything at all from my many science projects and performed an experiment on my belly and boobs.

I applied one lotion to one side of my bod, and the magic lotion to the other. Redness continued under the magic, redness faded elsewhere.

We figured my newly hijacked body was being super sensitive — and that the new lotion was a no no. No real harm done. I went back to my old lotion. Which worked.

Until this week.

Old lotion on neck and chest: burning firey red skin = wash that shit off quick
Fancy natural face lotion that I have been using for years = lizard skin falling off my chin in sheets.

Wait at least 30 minutes after bathing before I put any lotion on.
Apply lavender or other OILS to my face at night, wash and apply less lotion during the day

Six days later, it's better. Wonder how my new skin will adapt to Mexican sun, sun block and salt water? Guess I better bring a hat too.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spider veins, support hose and kicks by the carrot

From Babycenter (this is from the weekly email I get 'cause I signed up with an EDD [estimated due date] and a first day of last menstrual cycle] I usually click through, compare what I'm feeling to what is expected.)

"How your baby's growing:
Your baby now weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10 1/2 inches long — the length of a carrot. You may soon feel like she's practicing martial arts as her initial fluttering movements turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges. You may also discover a pattern to her activity as you get to know her better. In other developments, your baby's eyebrows and lids are present now, and if you're having a girl, her vagina has begun to form as well."

So, let's see: kicks and nudges, YES as of Saturday pm, I am fully feeling her. So, excellent, finally on schedule for that. I wasn't worried bur Mr. Ross was a bit anxious as the lit. says first timers can feel movements as early as 16 weeks, AND if movements aren't detected by week 22, midwives/doctors should be alerted. Kicks = yay!

And more:

How my life (should be) a changin':
You're probably feeling pretty comfortable these days. You're not too big yet, and the usual discomforts associated with early pregnancy are, for the most part, gone. If you're feeling good, relax and enjoy it while you can — the third trimester may bring with it a new crop of complaints.

That's not to say you won't have some minor glitches to deal with now. For example, increased oil production may contribute to the development (or worsening) of acne. If that's the case, be diligent about washing well with a gentle soap or cleanser twice a day, and make sure that any moisturizer or make-up you use is oil-free. Don't take any oral acne medications — some are very hazardous during pregnancy — or use any topical acne products without first checking with your practitioner.

You're also more prone to varicose veins now. As your pregnancy progresses, there's increasing pressure on the veins in your legs; higher progesterone levels, which may cause the walls of your veins to relax, can make the problem worse. You're more likely to get varicose veins if other family members have them. Also, they tend to get worse with each successive pregnancy and as you age. To help prevent or minimize varicose veins, exercise daily, prop up your feet and legs whenever possible, sleep on your left side, and wear maternity support hose.

You may also notice so-called spider veins (a group of tiny blood vessels near the surface of your skin), particularly on your ankles, legs, or face. They may have a spider- or sunburst-like pattern with little branches radiating out from the center, they may look like the branches of a tree, or they may be a group of separate thin lines with no particular pattern. Though they may be a bit unsightly, spider veins don't cause discomfort and usually disappear after delivery."

What's really up with me and my bod:

--Yes, I feel great. Though I never felt bad. During the first three months I was very tired, so I napped a lot, 'cause I could. As well, I was ridiculously horny. But that's kinda par for the course — when I have down time, well, I wanna get down.
--Grr. Veins. Yes I can see them growing and wanting to do mean things to my legs. My mother got her first vericose veins when she carried me, her first child.
--Spider veins: I have one cool, kinda pretty little spider vein sunburst on my right calf. It gets very bright after yoga, but calms down a lot as my body cools. No pain there. The v.veins kinda pound with my heart beats.

To do this week:
--Give up. Get support hose. So far, pharmacies only have nude (!!!) hose and they tell me that maternity support hose might be found at a medical supply store (!). I will buy a $20 pair of icky nude hose and then find other colors online or elsewhere. We'll see how long I can put off going into a medical supply store. Since when is being pregnant a medical condition, oh, yeah, right, enter Western Med.

--Buy a bra. Mom and Ross agree. It's time. Fine.

--The midwives will be here tomorrow for a visit: Reading material includes: vaccinations decisions, chopping off part of a baby boy's penis, and gestational diabetes screening.

Also, I should expect to gain a pound a week! More ice cream, please. Thank you.

And: photo: Ducks!!! Yellow is not pink — thanks, mom!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Gas attack! oh wait, it's her!

Went to a lovely dinner last night at the familiar and, yes, yummy, Tuk Tuk Thai with (Ross's long-time Ohio) friends Steve, Deanna and Mr. Ross. Ordered some of the usual: papaya salad, coconut, chicken, lemongrass etc. soup, and a sizzling seafood (really, yes our usual if you add green tea ice cream to it) and we all shared these plus two curry dishes.

I'm a fan of curry. Had some sticky rice. Had a Singha beer (love the Thai beer with the Thai food!) and tons of regular ol' white rice.

Left in typical new-me fasion: "I'm pregnant, can't get drunk, want to eat it all so fuck it and if you get in my way I'll eat your head THAT LAST BITE OF SALAD IS MINE!" and added a bit of mint chocolate ice cream to the fullness when I got home.

Laid in bed. Farted a few times. Listened to Ross's stomach make terrible noises that matched my own (stomach's terrible noises). I was ordered downstairs so I couldn't hear more terrible bowel-related noises.

After more ice cream (cause I can!) I settled into bed for a movie.

And: BOOB! WACK! SWOOSH! The little lady gave me a kick or a punch or is swimming laps. Yup, I felt her. At first I wondered if it wasn't gas... but it felt different, my belly even moved under my hand! And yes, felt like someone tiny was in there and practicing her penalty kicks. Yay!

She's alive. I mean, we've seen her move on the sono screen (we did two sonos, don't plan to do any more) and the midwives have pointed out that my belly is growing just as it should be, but it was a bit disconcerting to be 21 weeks and still be uncertain about feeling movement.

Ah, sweet relief — I can still sleep, and she only kicks/punches a few times in a row. So, more yay!

(photo above: pinkish bear onesy from my mom. Ross likes the bear! He is waiting for the black or camo clothes.)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

ginger crash kennedy loy (?)'s first bikini

Tracy had a birthday. I ate as much mac n cheese as I could fit. Ross pretended that his blood pressure is that of a 19-year-old's and tried to keep up with me. Tracy looked great (see!) her son was awesome and crazy and boy-like. We gave her gifts. She gave me and Lan gifts.

I'm finding that my lady friends who have little boys are more excited than I am about the fact that I'm having a girl. Cause dress up (for them) can now begin. Behold, the cutest bikini I've ever seen.

Me: Yay! It's pink!
Ross: Whoa... it's pink.
My mom: That's adorable. How big is it?
Me: 3 months
Mom: (pause) The poor kid.
Ross: Hey, the ruffle goes all the way around the butt!
Me: Yay?

Sonos, baby

She looks like Ross. He says all babies look like him at this point. But really, look at those cheeks!

We got these recent sonos at our 16 week visit. 45 minutes of sono with the Russian lady technician (she thought our little lady was cute, but I bet she says that to all the giddy moms (to-be).

And yes, I was giddy. What a kick to see toes, finger nails, and a beating heart. What a TRIP to hear her heart. About 140 beats per minutes, ticking just she should be.

Halfway to huge

And then 20 weeks came along. Not so much of a difference. Ross and I have noticed that as soon as we got the "all clear" from the amnio, that my belly became a belly. There is noticeable growth every week now.

Boobs? Stil formidable.

Ice cream flavor of the week: French Vanilla
Old friends wonder: Am I craving anything?
I wonder: Is my but getting smaller?
My mother says: No, you little shit, the rest of you is getting bigger.
Me: Oh.
Ross: Yeah!
Me: I love this man.

From the email/website/crackbabyland:

"How your baby's growing:

Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces now. He's also around 6 1/2 inches long from head to bottom and about 10 inches from head to heel — the length of a banana. (For the first 20 weeks, when a baby's legs are curled up against his torso and hard to measure, measurements are taken from the top of his head to his bottom — the "crown to rump" measurement. After 20 weeks, he's measured from head to toe.)

He's swallowing more these days, which is good practice for his digestive system. He's also producing meconium, a black, sticky by-product of digestion. This gooey substance will accumulate in his bowels, and you'll see it in his first soiled diaper (some babies pass meconium in the womb or during delivery).

See what your baby looks like this week. (Or see what fraternal twins look like in the womb this week.)"

Poop! She's making her first poop!

How they say I'm a changing:
"How your life's changing:
Congratulations! You've hit the halfway mark in your pregnancy. The top of your uterus is about level with your belly button, and you've likely gained around 10 pounds. Expect to gain another pound or so each week from now on. (If you started your pregnancy underweight, you may need to gain a bit more; if you were overweight, perhaps a bit less.) Make sure you're getting enough iron, a mineral that's used primarily to make hemoglobin (the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen). During pregnancy, your body needs more iron to keep up with your expanding blood volume, as well as for your growing baby and the placenta. Red meat is one of the best sources of iron for pregnant women. Poultry (especially the dark meat) and shellfish also contain iron. Some common non-meat sources of iron include legumes, soy-based products, spinach, prune juice, raisins, and iron-fortified cereals.

If you haven't already signed up for a childbirth education class, you may want to look into one, especially if you're a first-timer. A structured class will help prepare you and your partner for the rigors of labor and delivery. Most hospitals and birth centers offer classes, either as weekly meetings or as a single intensive, one-day session. Many communities have independent instructors as well. Ask your friends, family members, or caregiver for recommendations."

I have signed up for a class! It's a class that's designed for folks who are aiming for a home birth. Of course, I asked about transfer, and yes, the class has a section about what to expect when we have to make a transfer, how to be prepared for it emotionally, etc. The instructor is the daughter of one of our lovely ladies of Awakenings Birth Services -- so I know we'll be in good hands.

This week's treat: Ginger cat cookdies, with French Vamilla ice cream and chocolate chip-like things from Holland. I think I'll have some now!

19 weeks -- tomatos are fruits, afterall

I've been busy, bad, boring? No, not boring. But here are some of the weekly updates about my growing fruit-human.

19 weeks
"Your baby weighs about 8 1/2 ounces, and measures 6 inches, head to bottom — about the size of a large heirloom tomato. The hair on her scalp is sprouting. This is a crucial time for sensory development: Your baby's brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Some research suggests that she may be able to hear your voice now, so don't be shy about reading aloud, taking to her, or singing a happy tune if the mood strikes you."

And what my body is 'posed to be up to below, but:
--no aches or pains
--tons of energy
--the palms of my hands are NOT read, but this sounds kinda cool
--and i guess the belly line i see on the birthing videos will come in due time, maybe to match a healthy set of newly red palms?
--and, not so self-conscious about anything, yet

"Think you're big now? You'll start growing even faster in the weeks to come. As a result, you may notice some achiness in your lower abdomen or even an occasional brief, stabbing pain on one or both sides — especially when you shift position or at the end of an active day. Most likely, this is round ligament pain. The ligaments that support your uterus are stretching to accommodate its increasing weight. This is nothing to be alarmed about, but call your practitioner if the pain continues even when you're resting or becomes severe.

You may be noticing some skin changes, too. Are the palms of your hands red? Nothing to worry about — it's from the extra estrogen. You may also have patches of darkened skin caused by a temporary increase in pigment. When these darker patches appear on your upper lip, cheeks, and forehead, they're called chloasma, or the "mask of pregnancy." You may also notice some darkening of your nipples, freckles, scars, underarms, inner thighs, and vulva. That darkened line running from your belly button to your pubic bone is called the linea nigra, or "dark line."

These darkened spots will probably fade shortly after delivery. In the meantime, protect yourself from the sun, which intensifies the pigment changes. Cover up, wear a brimmed hat, and use sunscreen when you're outdoors. And if you're self-conscious about your "mask," a little concealing makeup can work wonder"