Saturday, December 30, 2006

Making the switch

Well, we did it. We finally switched the blog to the new Blogger since it is finally out of beta. We haven't upgraded our template or anything yet...and kinda doubt we will for at least a while... but I'm just hoping nothing strange starts happening now that we've made the switch. It's kinda like getting a new car or something - you're all excited about the cool, new stuff but are afraid to punch all the buttons without carefully reading the directions so that you don't hose something up!

Hopefully, the transition will be an easy and painless one!

- Karen

A week ago

One week ago, I was just settling into the cardiac intensive care unit after having had a heart attack. It still all seems so very unreal to me. What I can tell you that's different is that I seem to notice every little twinge and shift in my body and wonder "is it happening again?". I'm hopeful that this fearful stage will pass and that I don't continue being hyper-sensitive to everything my body does. I find myself caught in this very weird place where all in the same moment I feel fear about doing anything that may cause something "bad" to happen and feel this strong desire to just get my life back to normal the way it was before last Saturday. I suppose that once you get a wake up call like this one, you never really go back to life as it was before, but I really do hope the constant "am I OK?" checks that run through my mind eventually lessen and go away.

I've received alot of blogger notes, calls, cards and a beautiful flower arrangement from my office that I really appreciate. My 6 yr old niece, Emily, sent me this cool note which I adore:

I suppose it'll just take some time to let this whole experience settle in. What I do know is that I am so very grateful for Wendy and our baby and for every precious minute of life I have. As the song says " goes on...".

- Karen

Up for grabs

We interrupt this blog for a brief commercial message.....

Due to more than one recent occurrence - the baby on the way and my heart attack - we've decided to not use our timeshare weeks this year. We have two: one in Mexico and one in Provincetown. So, we'd like to offer up these weeks to any of you who may be interested in a little vacation - or anyone you may know who'd be interested. There are actually several resorts under the same plan in Mexico to choose from. Here's a few links, if you're interested:

Harbor Hill (Provincetown MA) - Main site
Harbor Hill (Provincetown MA) - RCI site

Villa del Palmar - Cabo
Villa del Palmar (2) - Cabo

Villa del Arco - Cabo
Villa del Arco (2) - Cabo

Villa del Palmar Flamingos - Nuevo Vallarta

We're asking $750 for the Mexico week and $550 for the Provincetown week. This is to cover our maintenance fee and the fee to put the reservation in your name. The week in Mexico can be taken at pretty much anytime but the week in Provincetown must be booked between Mar. 30 - May 25, Oct. 19 - Nov. 2 or Dec. 21 - Jan. 4.

If you're interested, please drop us an email and we'll discuss the particulars. Also, we are considering selling these two timeshare units, so if you might be interested in owning vs. renting, let us know that as well.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

- Karen

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Name Change

I officially changed my last name today. I now have Karen's last name. (I really want to type it here but I guess it's more prudent not to). We are now the M***** girls!

I decided to do this because I knew, from the moment I was pregnant, that I wanted to give baby Kylie Karen's last name. And I thought it might make things easier for all of us to have the same last name when we meet with doctor's, teachers, etc.

The process started on 12/8. I had to go to the courthouse, sign an affidavit, pay my $105 fee, and post my notice on a public bulletin board. I then had to wait 20 days to see if there were any objections. Today, I went to the courthouse, stood in front of the judge while she signed my documents, shuffle even more papers and then the deed was done.

I had a big, goofy grin on my face the whole time. I"m so happy to have done this. I wanted to have my picture taken with my cheesy grin and my certified name-change document, but I won't receive my documentation for five more days.

Then I get to start changing my social security card, driver's license, passport, banking and insurance documents and so forth and so on.

But Hurray! I get to start the new year as a "new person". How cool is that?!

[22w, 3d]
[26 Babies R Us visits]

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

How I remember it

Karen and I are so happy to be at home. We're both resting comfortably.

I wanted to take a moment and share some of my experiences and memories of her heart attack and heart surgery.

  • Seeing the ER room fill with 10 people, all poking and prodding and hovering around Karen with her arms and legs spread-eagle and seeing the chest paddles brought into the room.
  • Being escorted to the cardiac surgery waiting room and sitting by myself for the first time. My head was buzzing with questions. When do I call her family? What will I say? When will I call my family? How long will this surgery last? What will the result be? And on and on and on. No answers- just tons of questions and nothing to do but feel the fear.
  • Going home for the first time after her attack, seeing Karen's pillow on the bed and her picture above the bed, and feeling all "what-could-have-happened" crashing in on me like a killer-wave.

    After three hits of nitroglycerine, Karen's pain was down from a 9 to a 4. At that point, the doctor ordered morphine to bring her pain all the way down. When he asked her if she was feeling the effects of the morphine, Karen said "There's Mr. Hand!". (This is a quote from the movie "Looks Who's Talking" wherein Bruce Willis is a baby in his mom's womb. He's received the effects of Mom's painkiller and he says in a drunken voice while playing with his fingers- "There's Mr. Hand"). When Karen said this, the doctor met my eyes and nodded like, "Oh yeah, she's feeling it!" He then asked again, "What's your pain on a scale of 1-10" and Karen replied, "What pain?"

    Yep. Karen puked on me in the emergency room. It was my fault because I fed her a few crackers and ginger ale when she told me she felt nauseous(the pregnant woman's answer to everything) so it was only fitting that I got showered with it.

  • Holding hands and looking deep into each other's eyes and saying our "I love you's" before she was wheeled into surgery.
  • The first time Karen stood up from her bed after her surgery, she held out her arms to hug me and then she "twirled" me as if we were dancing.
  • On Christmas, she squished over in her hospital bed so that I could lay beside her with my head on her shoulders.

    Thanks to everyone for your supportive comments. We love our blog family.

    [22w, 2d]
  • Tuesday, December 26, 2006

    Heart attack...or a very surreal Christmas

    Well...where should I begin? Let's start with a brief chronology of the events of the past few days:

    Saturday, Dec. 23
    10:40am - As I was finishing an hour of Jazzercise, I began to feel lightheaded, nauseous and had some burning and tightening in my chest.
    10:50am - I walked out of Jazzercise and opened the car door, where Wendy was waiting, and told her I needed her to drive us home as I was feeling sick.
    11:20am - Wendy came to a screeching halt outside of the emergency room at the hospital and I was taken inside via wheelchair.
    11:30am - I threw up all over Wendy as they put me in an ER room where within minutes about 10 people were poking, prodding and otherwise doing whatever they do to keep one alive while they're having a heart attack.
    12:40pm - I was taken to the cardiac cath lab where an angiogram was performed and a stint was placed in my left anterior descending artery (which was completely blocked).
    1:30pm - Surgery complete, I was taken to the cardiac intensive care unit for recovery and monitoring.
    1:45pm - Wendy joined me in recovery.

    Sunday, Dec. 24
    I spent the majority of the day in CCU but was sent to the much more restful cardiac floor around dinner time where I spent the night. After being woken every 30 minutes to have vitals taken and blood drawn every few hours, the new floor was like a Hilton in that they only drew blood at 1:30am and then woke me up again at 6am.

    Monday, Dec. 25
    I was discharged around 1pm and sent home.

    I have 4 new prescriptions for various meds to keep my blood pressure down and blood thin and pumping, have been told not to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for a couple of weeks as well as to limit my activity until I visit my cardiologist on Jan. 23rd for follow-up.

    How's that for a festive Christmas?

    I will say that I never really thought I was going to die. There were no moments of unconsciousness nor any visions of a light from beyond calling to me. I did offer up quite a few prayers for both myself and Wendy but most of all just remember thinking "holy crap...I'm actually having a heart attack!" over and over again. It still doesn't seem quite real to me, but here I sit with a teeny little stint (with a barcode on it to identify it and a card with that info to carry in my billfold) in my heart which now has my arteries all open and the blood flowing. Nothing like a little scare to make for an interesting Christmas!

    Wendy held up beautifully through the whole ordeal and is doing well. We both got a wonderful day after Christmas present when Kylie kicked hard enough for me to feel her for the first time today! We have our next appointment to check on Wendy and Kylie on Jan. 8 but Wendy seems to have popped even more in just the last few days.

    So, here we are....home, resting together and feeling very, very, very grateful to be alive and kicking as we head into the new year.

    We want to wish you all a happy holiday season with your loved ones and we'll be posting more about all our experiences of the past few days and the days to come.

    - Karen

    Friday, December 22, 2006

    Practice your kegels, dear

    I remember the first time I heard about my kegel. I was in my high school Marketing class and I had asked to go to the restroom. My female teacher replied, "Hold it in dear. It will make you a better lover". When she saw the blank look on my face, she went on to define the PC muscle, also known as the Kegel muscle and how if it was strong, I would be able to do interesting things with my urine flow and it would quote "make me a better lover".

    Later in life, aerobic teachers would remind me to practice my kegel exercises. My favorite suggestion was to kegel while standing in line at the supermarket. My aerobic instructor confided that she got a small, perverse thrill as she smiled and made small talk with others while flexing her "love muscle".

    Now kegels are back in my life. The Bradley method book that I'm reading recommends 300 flexes (done within five minutes) a day. A more advanced kegel exercise is to flex the muscle and hold it for 10 seconds at least 36 times a day. The gold-medal round is to flex and then release the muscle in thirds (high, middle, and low). Try that one out!! I dare you!

    But enough about that.... it's time for a belly picture.

    See that distracted look in my eye? Can you guess what I'm secretly doing?

    [21w, 4d]

    Thursday, December 21, 2006

    Show and Kiss and Tell

    Karen made it safely home yesterday. I loved showing her the deliveries that had been made in her absence (furniture, bugaboo, etc) and she enjoyed showing me the gifts from her family. You can see the gifts here.

    And now we are ready to settle in and snuggle for the holidays.

    [21w, 3d]

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    Headed home

    I'm in the Cincinnati airport awaiting my flight home. I've spent the last 10 days in TN with my family and seeing my dad through his two surgeries. He's recovering still but from all indications, things were successful and he should experience great results from having this done! I'm glad to have been there for it all although it was a bit tiring and stressful at times.

    It was fun to also be home and share my excitement about Kylie with my family. My sister and mom are both tickled and showered us with some wonderful gifts. We'll post the pix on our Flickr site once I get home and Wendy and I take photos of everything.

    Right now, I'm sitting in the Delta Crown Room (a nice perk for folks like me who travel way too much!). My flight leaves in about an hour, but it's quiet in here and I can get to email and the internet while I wait. It sure beats sitting at the gate.

    I've managed to pick up a bug while away and was worried enough about how it was progressing that I started on a round of antibiotics on Monday. My mom assures me that after 3 days of taking the meds I shouldn't be contagious and that I shouldn't pass along anything nasty to Wendy. Keep your fingers and toes crossed that is the case! After not having seen my sweet wife for 10 days I'm ready to slather all over her, but am horrified to think I might make her sick. Send healthy, non-germ-sharing vibes our way!

    - Karen

    Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    Santa rides a Bugaboo

    Christmas came early to our house. The Bugaboo stroller we ordered arrived today! It will sit by the Christmas tree for the rest of the holidays. It's freaky how much I like looking at this thing and playing with it. Chloe, our younger cat, had to jump in it immediately upon arrival and sniff it out. She deemed it acceptable for "her" house with a quick cat nod.

    I also finished knitting a stroller blanket for the Wee One. To make this lovely blanket, I had to learn intarsia knitting (see those colored hearts? The process to do that is called intarsia). And I'm addicted. I knitted this blanket in under a week! I had hoped to finish it before the Bugaboo arrived and I made it! I guess having one's girlfriend out of town tends to speed up progress on one's projects.

    For those few knitters who read this blog, here's those knitterly stats we love:
    Yarn: Blue Sky Cotton
    Needles: Size US 9 circular
    Finished size: 28 x 28 inches
    Pattern: Heart blanket found in the "Knits from the Heart" book by Kristin Spurkland - modified to include intarsia hearts

    [21w, 1d]

    Monday, December 18, 2006

    Karen's dad is okay

    Karen's father had another surgery today wherein they ran the electrode wires down his neck to a pulse generator inplanted in his chest cavity. Once again, he sailed through surgery. He is home resting from these two incredible procedures.

    Thanks again to everyone for their thoughts and prayers. We are so thrilled that he is home safely (albeit very sore) for the holidays.


    Childbirth Prep

    I was talking with my Mom the other night about how when she was pregnant the choices for childbirth were either 1) take a new class called "Lamaze" or 2) get knocked out and meet your baby when you wake up. Nowadays, the choices are mind-boggling: Lamaze, Bradley, Hypno-birthing, Birthing from Within, or your standard hospital class.

    My friend, RSG, let me borrow lots of her books that explain the different approaches and I'm slowly working my way through them. I read one thing recently that made a lot of sense: that my job as the laboring mom is to relax during contractions and to not tense up and fight them. I told Karen that one thing she could say to me as my coach during labor is "Your job is to relax".

    Well I got to practice this method last night.

    I stayed up later than usual last night. My ab muscles were tight from holding me up all day. And when I had a hard sneeze, I felt the immediate pain of a pulled muscle/tendon/whatever.

    Hard as I tried, I could not get comfortable in bed. Laying still hurt and shifting around hurt more.

    So I got to practice taking deep belly breaths and relaxing my body. Let me tell you... it's not as easy as it sounds!! (You knew this and I knew this... but still!!!) Your natural inclination is to tense up against pain and to hold your breath. Then you realize you've been holding your breath and you overcompensate making yourself dizzy. "Your job is to relax; the way through is to relax" I chanted over and over.

    I managed to get some sleep and woke up resolved to practice this active-relaxation stuff every day!


    Friday, December 15, 2006

    Good Lovin' and Burp Cloths

    I've started to feel the baby flutter more often these past two days. And I almost always feel her between 6 and 7pm.

    She made me giggle as she unexpectedly started fluttering when the song "Good Lovin'" by the Rascals (can be found on The Big Chill soundtrack) was playing. I guess she was telling me "All she needs is lovin'....good lovin' baby!"

    Some of you may remember that I was looking for an excellent burp cloth (see post here). I found the perfect cloths at Kohl's. It's strange how a small success can make one so happy.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

    [20w, 4d]

    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Dad is home

    Whew! The big brain surgery is over and my dad is now back home and resting comfortably (well...comfortably is a relative term when you've just spent half a day having a hole the size of a dime drilled in your head and had electrodes poked around in there). We were so excited to get the word from the doctor after the surgery ended saying that dad had "sailed through" and he felt that his prognosis for relief from his Parkinson's symptoms of heavy shaking and rigidity in his hands was in the higher end of what they'd hoped for.

    Dad stayed in recovery for about 2.5 hours and then we met him in his room after that. The scary and yucky part happened just after he got to his room and the local anesthetic they used for the surgery wore off. In a matter of minutes, he went from talking with us and looking pretty good to barely being able to move, grunt or anything as the pain gripped him. He said on a scale of 1-10, his pain was an 11. And...the nurse wouldn't get him any pain meds until she spent f-o-r-e-v-e-r asking him about a zillion medical history questions that he had answered that morning when he was admitted. Somehow, those records didn't make it to the floor and the nurse was just "doing her job" in asking all the questions, etc. OK... I get it that she has to "do her job". But, what I don't get is how a man has just undergone brain surgery and the nurse asks him "why are you here?"!!!!????!!! Is this a philosophical question? Duh! HE JUST HAD BRAIN SURGERY!!!! I thought my sister and I were going to whale on the woman trying to get her to give him something for the pain that was getting worse by the second. By the time she did give him something it was so bad that it took 2 shots of morpheine before he felt any relief at all. took about 8 more hours and 4 more morpheine shots to get him to the point where he qualified his pain as a 4 on a 1-10 scale!

    Needless to say, we were not happy with how all that came down, but by the time the doc came to check on him this morning, he was managing his "4" pain with aplomb and was just ready to go home! We had them give him one last pain med and then made the 3 hour drive home. He's now resting in his favorite chair in the den.

    There's something in this whole process that I noticed. When my dad is well I call him dad or pops when I talk to him. But, when he's sick or in the hospital, I always call him daddy. I think it's the little girl in me that thinks of her daddy as the strongest, biggest and bestest man on the planet and is ready to yell out to the world that "my daddy can do anything"! All in the same moment, I feel the sense of wanting to care for and protect him and at the very same time, wanting to curl up in my daddy's arms and just be his little girl once again. I'm just so very grateful that he is home and this phase of the process is over!

    Just to give you an idea of what they're doing to my sweet pops, here's a picture that shows a bit about Deep Brain Stimulation.

    There are still two more steps before he'll be able to experience the full benefits. He has to go back on Monday to have the "battery pack" inserted (this is the control unit where all the electrodes in his brain are connected and controlled) and then a final appointment to actually turn on the unit and get the juice flowing so that he gets the relief from his symptoms on a permanent basis. The whole thing won't be over until mid-January. But...for now, we've made it through the toughest part and are very hopeful about having him dancing a jig within another month!

    Thanks again to everyone for your thoughts and prayers!

    - Karen


    Some nursery furniture has arrived!!

    While it was being delivered, I had to refrain myself from squealing like a kid at Christmas. After it was delivered, I sat in our glider and had a lovely little cry. "It's so beautiful," I kept whispering to myself.

    The crib bedding is a gift from our realtor/builder/friend Candace. Our house was part of a small parade of homes before we bought it and our builder had this room outfitted as a little girl's room (a bit prophetic don't you think?). When Candace learned that we were having a girl, she announced that she had never sold/returned the crib bedding that she used during the show and that she would like to give it to us as a gift. WOW! We were blown away. So we are the proud owners of this lovely Wendy Bellissimo teaberry bedding.

    The crib is a lifestyle/convertible crib from Europa baby Peyton Collection. The window treatments and lamp are from Pottery Barn Kids. And the toy chest was purchased at a lovely local store called Goodnight Room.

    Right now, the furniture is on gliders so that we can move it around on the carpet. Our changing table/dresser will be delivered sometime in January. And I still have to pick out a nightstand.

    Here's some pictures. I think Kylie (aka The Biscuit) is a lucky little girl. I know I feel blessed to have a nursery like this for our little one.

    On another note, last night my friend and neighbor Heather and I went out for an early dinner. I had the quesadilla explosion salad from Chili's and an appetizer. About 15 minutes after Heather dropped me off at home, my belly "blew up". My belly always gets larger at night but this was phenomenal expansion. I would have loved to have seen it on time-lapsed photography!

    I walked around the house, rubbing my belly and saying over and over, "Holy Crap!". Finally, I could take it no longer. Someone had to see this belly. I called Heather and asked if I could come over so that she could witness this freak of nature. She took one look at my belly and said, "I guess that was an explosion salad!"

    I don't know if it was the pregnancy hormones, or the stress of worrying about Karen and her Dad, or what but I melted into hysterical laughter. I just laughed and laughed holding my tight-as-a-drum belly. Heather took several pictures as I giggled. Here is one of them:

    I know it doesn't look that big but trust me... it felt twice it's normal size.


    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    Karen's Dad

    Just a quick post to let you know that Karen's father made it just fine through his brain surgery for his Parkinson's. She'll post when she can but she wanted you to know how much she appreciates your thoughts and well wishes for her Dad and family.


    Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Plank girl

    I can no longer easily bend at the waist. In fact, I don't have a waist anymore. I have hips which suggest where the waist used to be but the waist itself is gone!

    This morning, as I sat and bent to tie my shoes, I noticed that in order to tie these shoes I had push my legs out to the side in order to bend over. Uuggghhh. Not the prettiest of pictures.

    And when I sit and read or knit, I'm only comfortable when I make my torso straight like a board.

    Here's a picture from a few days ago. See...... no waist.


    Monday, December 11, 2006

    Too much orange...

    If it's possible for there to be too much of the color orange in the world, I'm in the place where possibility becomes reality and where orange is freakin' everywhere! Here in east TN, even at Christmas time, the place is still painted in Univ. of TN orange. It's a bit much even for a TN girl born and raised...particularly for a girl who moved to Oregon and just came back home for a visit!

    I got here all safe and sound and will be doing hospital watch Wed and Thurs while my dad has his surgery. Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers! But, I knew I was certainly back "home" when the first shop I passed in the airport upon landing had an orange Christmas kidding! Then today, my mom and I made a trip to Babies R Us and I'll be darned if right as I walk in the door there's an entire rack of orange sleepers and orange Santa Santa outfits!

    So, now I'm taking respite in a Starbucks where I can use the wireless internet connection (my parents have dial-up...heaven forbid!) and pretend I'm back home in Oregon and all is calm and oh so *not* orange!

    - Karen

    Saturday, December 09, 2006

    The week in review

    This week has seemed to fly by for me as I've been really busy with work and getting prepared to be out of town (visiting family in TN and to be with my dad who's having some surgery) for the next 10 days. We've found out our biscuit is a girl on Monday, gone nuts ordering the furniture we'd picked out for her and then on Friday got a further thumbs up from our doctor about the continued health and well-being of both Wendy and Kylie.

    I hate to even think of leaving Wendy here for 10 days but think she's surrounded herself with a pile of knitting projects, a new scrapbook project to begin and a mound of chocolate chip cookies and Hostess cup cakes for those moments when nothing else will soothe. But, we decided that she'd stay here with the animals and just nest. I'll miss her horribly but am looking forward to a visit with my family and also to seeing my dad safely through his surgery. He has Parkinson's disease and is having Deep Brain Stimulation surgery to help relieve some of his more annoying symptoms. While the thought of having some neurosurgeon poking wires into my dad's brain is a little frightening, our hopes are high that it will give him some much needed relief from the constant shaking and other symptoms this horrible disease have brought to him. He's had to shave his head in preparation for the surgery (which will be this Wednesday) and I can tell he's feeling pretty upbeat about the whole thing because he told me he was going to attach an old TV antenna to the back of his neck and head and go walking into church with it to try and get a laugh out of folks. That's my dad! Please send your thoughts and prayers our way as he makes his way through this whole thing.

    Right now, Wendy is laughing hysterically while listening to a recording of Elvis laughing his way through "Are You Lonesome Tonight" where he got so tickled he could barely sing. Wendy loves Elvis and is just cracking up over this! If you have any inkling you'd like to join in the laugh visit here and enjoy!

    The other really funny thing that happened this week is that Wendy freaked both the cats and me out on Wednesday with a bad case of the belly growls. You can't even begin to imagine the sound that came from her belly! It was so loud, I thought the cats were fighting but when I turned in the direction of the noise, Phoebe (our older cat) was staring at Wendy's belly with this horror-struck look on her little cat face. Her sister Chloe, made a quick exit as she fled the noise and Wendy could only laugh and gasp and point at her belly. Of course, all this happened while I was on a work conference call!

    We had lunch with our friends RSG and HG and they brought us a sweet little girl outfit and some books for Wendy. Our dear friend Heather has also been showering us with sweet gifts for Kylie as well. Thanks ladies! Wendy's posted photos of their gifts and a bunch of other "girl stuff" we've already been given at our Flickr site if you want to pop over and have a look.

    Anyway, it's getting late and I've put off packing as long as I think I can. My flight leaves at 7am in the morning so I've got to make an early start. I'll try to post a couple of times while I'm away just to say hi and update about my travels and my dad's surgery. In the meantime, I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!

    - Karen
    [25 Babies R Us visits]

    Friday, December 08, 2006

    Doctor's appointment

    We had our regularly scheduled doctor's appointment today. Everything is just fine with me and the baby.

    All the ultrasound results came back completely normal.
    My blood pressure is 112/64
    Baby's heartrate is 140ish (manually calculated)
    Belly growth is 20cm (which corresponds with 20 weeks - how cool!)
    Placenta is at the back of the uterine wall (which may make it easier for Karen to feel baby's kicks).

    I really like our doctor. She has a wonderful smile and good bedside manner. However today she slightly freaked me out.

    If you recall from many posts ago, I've been having pain in my ribs on my left side. An upper abdomen ultrasound and complete blood work didn't reveal any problems.

    So for now, we are labeling this pain as costochondritis. On a good day, this just amounts to a feeling like a stitch in my side but in my ribs. On a bad day, it feels like my friggin ribs are being pulled apart and broken. There is no treatment except anti-inflammatories or steroids, neither of which is viable while I'm pregnant. So mostly I just grin and bear it and get on with my day-to-day stuff.

    But this week I developed a new sensation - a pulling or tugging feeling in the center of my body in the space between my belly button and my sternum. It feels very much like a pulled tendon or muscle or like some unknown internal organ was bulging forward in the middle of my body. I mentioned this to the doctor today and she just smiled at me and said that this is normal because of how the uterus is expanding and all the organs start to get smushed.

    Now I realize this is true. I've read about it and it makes sense. The rational Wendy knows all this.

    But COME ON! Palpate my abdomen for goodness sake!! Reassure me that the pulled-muscle feeling isn't my stomach or intestines getting ready to burst through like some freaky aliens. Palpate my abdomen and let me say, "Ouch!" when you poke at it and you say, "Poor baby but you'll be just fine".

    Don't just smile with your sweet darling smile-- you might irritate the hormonal woman on your table.

    And then there is the inevitable let-down as you leave the doctor's office. Because somehow, totally unrealistically, you expect the doctor to say that you are the most incredible pregnant woman on the face of the Earth. And that your baby is beautiful and perfect in every way. And because you are so very special they want to see you once a week simply to praise you.

    Instead, you are told that everything is "normal" and we'll see you a month from now.


    Deep Sigh.

    (Please tell me I'm not alone in the after office-visit let down phase).


    Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    Stationery and Snoogle

    I'm fortunate in that my grandmother (mom's side) writes me a letter several times a month. I treasure her letters! She tells me about her days, the weather in TN, how her garden in doing and how much milk/gas costs. She is a frugal lady and doesn't care much for frivolous gifts.

    When I moved to Oregon, I started a tradition of sending her stamps for Christmas (quite the practical present!). This year, I thought I would send some lined stationery to accompany the stamps. Well, guess what?! It is incredibly hard to find stationery these days!

    I checked at Target, at Hallmark and at a stationery store! All I could find was thank-you cards and invitations and small card-stock note cards. No boxed sets of writing paper and envelopes.

    And for some reason this shocked me. I was amazed that the advent of the personal PC has caused us to stop hand-writing letters to the degree that stores no longer stock writing-paper sets.

    Anyway, I got over my shock when I found some lined stationery at my local drug store (of all places!) but it was a wake-up call to remind me how quickly things change.

    (And part of me laughs at the thought of me as an old lady saying to my grandkids, "In my day, we had to write each other letters. We didn't have those new-fangled computers when I was a youngster!)

    On another note, I broke down and purchased a snoogle pillow. Oh! I"m so glad I did!! I'm sleeping much more comfortably. So thanks to everyone who recommended this very wonderful pillow.


    Monday, December 04, 2006

    Two lines are not balls

    Wendy and I were up before the sun this morning, anxious and nervous about our ultrasound. I think Wendy woke up a bit before I did but not by much as we were both awake by 5:30am. Before every appointment, Wendy gets nervous and a bit on edge about the baby's health and well-being but this was the "big day"...the day we were to find out boy or girl so we were both nervous. But, you know how it is when you first wake up and aren't sure if your partner is awake yet, right? You kinda shift around in the bed and maybe reach over with a little pat to see if you get any response. Well, I barely shifted and Wendy's whisper voice says "It's Christmas!" Yes...yes it certainly is!

    Now, being the planners that we are, we have spent inordinate amounts of time at every baby store in the area trying to pick out the baby's room furniture, the stroller, the car seat...well...pretty much everything. So, today was to be the moment of truth: did we buy the girl stuff or the boy stuff? And, you know that we've been holding off on buying much during our previous 23 visits to Babies R Us, right? Well, the itch to go buy something was about to kill both of us.

    So...on with the story... In retrospect, perhaps Wendy started drinking the 30+ ounces of fluids that she was to consume at least one hour prior to the ultrasound a bit early (since we were up and awake so early). I say this because by the time we got to the hospital, she was already floating in fluid and needing to go pretty badly. We had to wait about 20 minutes before the tech came back to get us and when she got up to walk back with the tech, it took her a good 30 seconds to stand and push herself forward...I think all the clenching she was doing made it just a bit difficult to walk! :)

    Anyway, the tech had a trainee with her who was going to watch and also do a bit of the scan so we got Wendy settled and began. The ultrasound jelly is usually very cold and Wendy was v-e-r-y pleased when it was toasty warm instead! Her bladder was so full that the baby was smashed in there pretty tight and for the first few seconds didn't move at all. But then, the tech moved over and we saw the heart beating strong and wonderful...whew! Within the next few seconds, the baby kind of spread her legs and rolled up on her shoulders and Wendy squeezed my hand tight. I knew what she was thinking...we didn't see anything dangling besides two little legs. However, the tech didn't proclaim gender at that point...sigh.... Here's the first picture...a lovely little profile (we both think she's got a cute little nose!):

    When the tech snapped this next picture Wendy kind of giggled and said "it looks like an alien baby"....hee hee....

    The scan progressed with views of the arms, hands, legs and feet and all the in-between parts. The heartbeat was 150 and it was quite a sight to watch it beating away. She even waved at us:

    After about 10-15 minutes, Wendy was so uncomfortable, they told her she could go relieve the pressure...but only a bit...and gave her this teeny cup and told her she could eliminate just that much. Come on people! When you've gotta go that bad, how do you stop?!?!?! Well...somehow Wendy managed and felt better after and was able to finish about another 25 minutes or so before they finally let her completely relieve herself. Yow!

    During the intervening time, the student tech took over for a bit and was much slower than the original one. And, the student tech was also a bit more heavy-handed and pressed down on Wendy much more. Within a few minutes, Wendy announced that she was getting really light-headed and they had to roll her on her side to let her recover a bit before we could continue. But, continue we did...

    Now, at this point, we'd been watching the biscuit intently and watched as the techs measured and labeled and pointed to all the parts, but they hadn't said a word about the gender. Finally, the main tech (now back at the controls) asked "so do you want to know the baby's sex?". Well, duh! "You bet we do!", we both scream at her! And, with a simple twist of the little ultrasound wand thingie, she got the angle, locked the view in and here's what we saw (I know it's hard to see but you gotta love the label "Special Parts"):

    The tech is pointing and says something to the effect of "here's what we look for...these two little lines here"...and Wendy says "...and lines are not balls, right?". Guffaw! "Yes...that's right. Those are the labia. You have a girl!", says the tech. And that's how we came to first officially greet our little girl! I have to admit...I teared up! The tears were as much from laughing as from tears of joys and relief! I'll admit that I had really hoped for a little girl...had felt the baby was a girl from practically the moment of conception and had just tried to hold the thought of "healthy baby" (regardless of the gender) in my head during all these weeks of waiting. But, to actually know that what I'd thought and believed to be true, really was true, was just amazingly sweet.

    The techs left the room to have the doctor take a look at things and gave us a few minutes alone and we both just hugged and laughed and shed a few little tears of happiness together. Our little girl has made herself known and we are so excited, happy and grateful.

    We've had her name picked out from the beginning and today made it official. So, let me formally introduce her to everyone: ladies and gents, I give you, Kylie. We're pretty sure her middle name will be she'll actually have the same initials as mine as it turns out. :)

    There's a couple more ultrasound photos on our Flickr site if you'd like to take a peek, but unless we decide to get a 3D/4D (which we're considering), that'll be the last peek at the little nipper until her birthday.

    OK...I know this post is long but hey...I'm on a roll!

    After the ultrasound we made all our calls to parents, family and friends who were waiting to hear the news and then made a quick stop at home before heading out to shop, shop, shop! So, the damage today was pretty hefty...we ordered the crib and changing table/dresser for Kylie's room, ordered the stroller we've been coveting since before Wendy even got pregnant and even scored our car seat (which we had a great discount coupon for at, you guessed it, Babies R Us). I'll have to post pictures of the furniture after it arrives: the crib will be here within a week and the dresser in about 4-5 weeks. The stroller is the extravagant Bugaboo Cameleon

    and the car seat is the Britax Marathon convertible

    We decided on the Bugaboo because we just loved it!! We decided that if we could drive a previously owned SUV (which we do) and buy alot of baby clothes at the consignment shop, we would splurge and treat ourselves to this grand indulgence. Go ahead...laugh if you will, but we are tickled to pieces with our extravagent new baby Rolls Royce!

    Finally, we had to buy a few "girl things" to put in Kylie's closet. Fortunately, Babies R Us had a few clearance racks and we found some really cute things that should come in handy in the spring and early summer after she arrives:

    And last, but not least...the woobie. This cute little thing caught our eye a couple of months ago. It's a blanket shaped like a little stuffed bear without the stuffing. It's so soft...we hope Kylie will love it as much as we do.

    OK....that's it....whew! Thanks to everyone who sent their best wishes and were waiting to hear the news and for all the excitement you've shared with us. We're both tired and happy and as Wendy says "I'm as full as a well fed tick". (Yes, we are from the south...can't you tell?)

    - Karen
    [24 Babies R Us visits]
    ...and one baby GIRL in the oven!

    It's a girl!

    All of you who guessed "girl" were right on target! We have a beautiful, healthy little girl growing well and strong inside Wendy...yay!!!

    Pictures and more info to come later, but now...we must shop!

    - Karen

    Tomorrow - the biscuit is unveiled!

    It's late Sunday night and I'm wondering if I'll be able to sleep tonight. Tomorrow morning at 8:30am PST, the biscuit's gender is to be unveiled (as long as the little nipper cooperates and spreads his or her legs for the camera)! Wendy and I both are nervous and excited and have lots of folks anxiously awaiting the news.

    So, keep your blog ears on out there for the results we'll have to share sometime tomorrow! You know of course that we're leaving immediately from the ultrasound and heading out to order our stroller and crib. We have made way too many trips to Babies R Us and restrained ourselves for way too long so we plan to go spend some $$$ and get a few things we wanted to wait until we knew the gender before we bought. Woo hoo!

    To entertain you in the meantime, here's a couple of photos of Wendy and I. We're including a photo of us in our Christmas cards this year. However, neither of these will be going out...but dang, aren't we just cute?!?

    First, the belly....

    Then, the boobs!

    Who'd a thunk the top parts would grow as big as the bottom parts!?! Personally I love it all!

    - Karen
    [23 Babies R Us visits]

    Friday, December 01, 2006

    More ramblings

    One of my neighbors has rented a CRANE so she can put up her holiday lights. As I type this, she is dangling from her roof and stapling lights to her trim like some crazy person. I'm getting quite a laugh out of it.

    We plan to put up our tree and such this weekend. I hope that our youngest cat, Chloe, will not climb the tree this year but I believe this is just wishful thinking.

    I'm pleased that as of last night, I've finished all of my holiday knitting. I'm sending packages home instead of traveling to TN for the holidays.

    For the past two days, I've felt a bit drained of energy. I tell myself that it's probably a growth spurt for the baby. Plus the belly seems to be growing by the hour. When I bought my maternity pants, I was told by the clerk that they should last the entire length of the pregnancy. Now I'm not so sure.

    I've been amusing myself by looking at lists of favorite children's books and then reserving them from my local library. I found a great book this week. It's "Over in the Meadow" by Olive Wadsworth. It's a counting rhyme book with beautiful illustrations.

    I'm Jazzercising around 3 times a week but I still get breathless every time I walk up the stairs in my house. I've started to get my "fat Wendy" double chin again. And my newest food addiction is Strawberry PopTarts. They have absolutely no redeeming food value but Oh My Gosh they taste great!!

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    [18w, 4d]