June 1, 2008 (27 weeks, 6 days):
Wow, I'm starting the third trimester! It's kind of amazing how close everything is getting! Just this week Robert finally felt a kick through my stomach. Basically, he sat with his hand on my stomach for an entire movie (we were on the couch watching a Netflix) and every time the baby moved I'd say, "There!" and point to the spot on the top of his hand which was over the spot of movement. Once he actually reacted, and said, "Huh, I think I felt that." I think he was expecting to see an entire foot extend up out of my stomach and forcefully kick into his hand--we are not quite that alien, though, and things may be a trifle more subtle than he's expecting.
Meanwhile, I'm researching pediatricians and starting to look into daycares for January (some places have wait-lists, so it seems to make sense to plan ahead--although, as Robert observed, there really isn't anything I think it doesn't make sense to plan ahead!).
June 8, 2008 (28 weeks, 6 days):
We saw Kelley (and her assistant Barbara) again on Saturday--everything looks good. I'm measuring 29 cm and I've gained about 28 pounds by this point, both of which are right on target. The baby is head down, and Kelley thinks s/he is likely to stay that way for now (as they get heavier and larger, there's less space to flip around completely, which is fine), though his/her back is currently over to my left side. The baby was pronounced "big, but not too big--not at all scrawny." I'm having some very minor swelling, just a little bit in my making my wedding ring slightly uncomfortable and a little bit at my ankles. Of course, it's also over 90 degrees right now, as it was yesterday and they're predicting it will be tomorrow and Tuesday as well, so the heat is probably contributing to that. I'm just making sure to stay completely hydrated, to eat plenty of protein and plenty of foods like blueberries, watermelon, and cucumbers (all of which I like--though watermelon less than the others--in any case, so that's not at all a hardship). Robert boiled this advice down to, "Basically, we should go to more barbeques--eat lots of steak and watermelon," which is fine with me.
June 16, 2008 (30 weeks):
Yesterday was Robert's first Father's Day--Aunt Loretta called to wish him a happy day, my parents sent a gift (a Flip Mino digital video camera) and card, and Aunt Mary and the cousins also sent cards. I got him a card and a little packet of presents--an otoscope (he's always had a weird fascination with them), a tee shirt that says "Dad" in binary, and two old Jet Li movies on DVD (these are interesting first of all because we got rid of our only remaining VCR, and hence all our old Jet Li movies on VHS, when re-doing the spare bedroom, and also because these are the two movies--The New Legend of Shaolin and My Father the Hero (also called, more lamely, The Enforcer)--that show Jet Li fighting with a child, his son, and so they comprise a pair of father-son kung fu bonding movies).
At right is a picture Robert took of me at Grandma Helena's house yesterday after dinner (we went to a random strip-mall steak place on Route 1, which wasn't bad). Even while defining my stomach with my hands for comparison purposes, I'm giving him why-are-you-taking-my-picture vibes, so I cropped out the annoyed look on my face. I have been incredibly hot, even now that the weather is in the upper 60s, but Grandma Helena kept insisting that I would be cold in a sleeveless top and I should borrow a sweater. No such luck--Robert is still complaining about the house being freezing and me kicking off all the covers at night. . .
I've seen another pediatrician/family doctor and just today visited the first daycare--that was very exciting! It's only four blocks away, very reasonably priced, and very friendly and warm. I've got appointments to see three other centers over the next few weeks (and I also see the final pediatrician next week, too), but it's nice to know on both the doctor and daycare front that we've got a definitely good possibility for each already.
This week we went to a Newborn Essentials class at Isis Maternity Center in Brookline. Isis, Brookline, and their whole baby-crazy-ness kind of scare me, but Robert was with me and it was okay. Basically we learned how to hold a baby, in different positions; how to put on a diaper and make sure it doesn't leak; how to swaddle a baby; and how to prop a baby's fists under his/her chin in order to elevate the head a little during tummy time. Robert was also excited that I chose (from the giant pile of babies/dolls in the center of the room) the baby he had already earmarked, mentally, as "our" baby--a medium-complexioned super fat baby dressed in purple. Everyone else got the scrawnier pink or blue babies, so I thought really, this was our only chance--I was prepared to fight for it, actually. We are going back to Isis next month for an infant CPR class, but no "childbirth education" classes or anything like that.
Meanwhile, we've been stocking up on diapers (in different sizes, just in case we have a big baby who spends very little time in Stage 1, for example), clothes (lots of fabulous deals online, both regular out-of-season clearance sections, but also beautiful clothes from funky organic and bamboo clothing places--in the latter case, often these small producers misjudge their sizes or mislabel them, so you can get things at 75% off if you just keep track of the size they really are vs. the size their labels say they are), and other supplies. We also got two lovely gifts this week--one, at left, from a current Chinese student, is a series of Chinese paper cuttings in the shape of rats, since our baby will be a Year of the Rat baby. My student, a rat herself, explained that it's traditional for one rat to give a new baby rat a rat present, and I immediately found a frame and framed these for the small bathroom off the baby's room. (Incidentally, they're hanging underneath a gift from another, former, Chinese student.) Robert seemed surprised that these are cute rats, perhaps more like we'd think of hedgehogs, squirrels, or Secret of Nimh creatures than typical subway rats (though, really, we do love all rats).
Then Rie and Steve and Maria and Dave treated us to our lovely bassinet, which arrived extra quickly from Target.com. Robert had fun carrying it home on the subway--he took it out of the box for easier transport, and he said everyone kept doing a double-take and checking to see if there was a baby in it. People did even more of a double-take when he accidentally lost his grip on one of the handles and half-dropped it in the middle of the subway car. . . but the basket/bassinet is home now and looks fabulous, and will work out perfectly in the space next to my side of the bed. I like that I can still get out of bed easily around it (some of the co-sleepers that attach to beds are so long that it becomes impossible to get out of bed without practically crawling down to the foot first) and also see the baby in the wardrobe mirror, actually, from where I am lying. It's not at all going to be a stretch for middle-of-the-night feedings, which should be very nice.
Oh, and my light finger/ankle swelling seems to be gone, at least while I'm being diligent about water and protein and while the weather stays cooler. Just to be on the safe side, though, I removed my wedding ring and found a safe spot for it for the next few months--it just seemed like pulling it on and off as comfort levels rise and fall could only lead to me at one point forgetting what pocket/pocketbook/corner I'd secreted it away in.
June 22, 2008 (30 weeks, 6 days):
After returning on an uneventful Delta Shuttle flight from NY, we saw Kelley and her assistants again today for a good basic appointment. No problems, everything's fine, and we're sticking to an every-two-weeks schedule for now.
We'd spent the weekend in NY, from Thursday evening until midday today (Sunday), and it was a really nice weekend. We actually had an eventful planride down on Thursday when, upon swooping into LaGuardia and being about to land, suddenly we veered up off the runway and kept rising over the rest of Queens. Robert was making, "Hey, you missed my stop!" jokes until the flight attendants gathered at the front (and we were only in the second row, so we could hear them quite well) and conferred nervously about how they "didn't want to die today." Uh-huh. Apparently, the pilot explained, they weren't sure if the landing gear went down--it might be broken and not going down, or it might just be a blown-out lightbulb on the indicator panel. Either way, they had to run through a number of safety checklists to determine which it was. We flew very low over Manhattan, low and slow, getting a gorgeous view of The City (here I always think of the Tick: "Ah, The City! My The City!"), while they ran through these safety checks, but apparently they still couldn't determine what the situation really was. We flew further north, until over Westchester the pilot announced that they were going to try one more thing--a visual check of the landing gear. To do this, the flight attendants had to clear people from the four rows behind the emergency exit, and then the pilot depressurized the cabin and the co-pilot came out of the cockpit with a periscope. He crouched down and was eventually lying down on the floor in part of the vacated rows, actually sticking a periscope out of a tiny hole at floor-level under a special panel. When he was able to verify that yes, the landing gear was actually down, then everyone was allowed to go back to their seats and the pilot said we could land. However, the pilot warned, we shouldn't be alarmed if we saw "a few" fire trucks and emergency vehicles on the runway--"technically" he had to declare this an emergency landing, but he reassured us that there was no emergency at all, really. Uh-huh, again. We came back around and down and in for the landing, which was mildly bumpy but perfectly unremarkable, after all of this, except that there were 3-4 yellow firetrucks on either side of the runway, which quickly surrounded us upon landing and escorted us to a spot a little distance from the gate. When the trucks and the police cars with them had made a circuit around us and determined that we were not, in fact, on fire, we were allowed to proceed to the gate and the trucks drove away, dejectedly. All of this was very exciting, I thought, though Robert was getting mildly nervous during the whole thing. It gave us something to talk about, though, and made the ride home, like I said, surprisingly uneventful in comparison.
Then Thursday night we found a grand-opening Korean restaurant to go to and I got to have yook hwe (ice-cold shards of raw beef, served with Asian pear and cucumber on a bed of orange), scallop sashimi, nice raw salmon, and lobster sashimi--in addition to all-you-can-eat Korean barbeque. My parents got interrogated about their ages to see if they qualified for the senior discount (they did--and at 50% off, that's pretty good), and we were informed that the lobster was a grand-opening special--having never had lobster sashimi before, both Robert and I were thrilled. It came with a little sauce of sesame oil, butter, lemon juice, white pepper, and garlic, and both the half of the lobster we ate raw and the half we threw, still wiggling, onto the table-top grill were sweet and delicious. It definitely tasted like a fatter, richer cousin of ama ebi (sweet shrimp) to me.
Other meals this weekend included an appetizer of Col-Pop chicken--a Coke and olive-oil-fried popcorn chicken nuggets all in one handy package, from the Korean chicken chain BBQ Chicken ("It's not barbeque--it's Best of the Best Quality fried chicken!" they claim; I'm pictured, above right, with my father and the clever little one-handed cup concoction); a dinner of sandwiches and pancakes and dumplings at Province Canteen on Church Street off of Canal downtown with Robert's cousin Angelina and her boyfriend Tim, who have just moved from Minnesota to New York; a first dessert of rice pudding at Rice to Riches in the Village ("Is this area just filled with one really cool place after another?" Angelina asked. Yes. Welcome to New York!); a second dessert of super-sour (but delicious) frozen yogurt with berries and mochi at Pinkberry, just next door to Rice to Riches (see above left for a shot of Angelina, me, and Robert in Pinkberry; at right you see Tim, Angelina, me, and Robert in Little Italy as we walked back toward Canal from the Village, giving them a small tour of some lower Manhattan neighborhoods and taking a nice picture to print and mail to Robert's picture-obsessed Grandma Gracie in Minnesota); a Saturday dim sum of extravagent and unusual items at Ocean Jewels on 39th Avenue in Flushing; a Saturday dinner with Aunt Mary and Rie and Steve and my parents at Amici's, the surprisingly good Italian restaurant we always go to when we're out on the island near them; and a great Sunday breakfast of scrambled eggs with chives and smoked salmon on toasted bialys. Ah, New York--city of fabulous food!
In addition to the food, and getting to spend some time with family, the other highlight of the weekend was getting to celebrate Robert's and my tenth wedding anniversary in the city (and borough) in which we got married. On Friday, our actual anniversary, we headed over to Flushing Meadow Park to take some (hopefully) nice maternity photos. Above you see two pictures from the results. We took a bunch, like the one at left, on a small grassy hill with the new Mets stadium being constructed in the background (even though it happens not to be visible in this particular shot)--the soon-to-be Citi Field, possibly the best brand-name stadium if you have to have a brand-name stadium, but I feel that I'll still always be loyal to Shea. Then we took a bunch of pictures in front of the unisphere, and I kind of like the one I put at right above. It was a fun, if amateur, photoshoot, with my father snapping pictures and my mother directing ("Put your hand there! Make a fist! Robert, move your legs the other way!"). It's funny to think that there really are three of us in the picture at left, and that just two months from now we'll be able to take quite different pictures of the three of us.
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