Archive for March, 2012

All is well in pregnancy land, I got a nap today so I feel super calm and serene. Was getting headaches last week but they sent me to the neurology department and the clinician advised me they are most likely benign and just a result of the added blood (pressure) and nerve sensitivity that comes along with pregnancy. They gave me vicodin to take home just in case and I remembered that vicodin makes me nauseous, so maybe someone else can use it. I would feel weird using it anyway, she said a Tylenol and glass of green tea may be just as effective so I’ll likely try that approach first.

Had my 21 week check-up with my OBGYN today and heard Charlie’s lil heartbeat squishing away in there. I’ve been feeding him a lot of fresh vegetables these past few weeks to it’s nice to hear him thriving. My belly is finally something people notice and point out, as a visible sign of pregnancy. I guess I FEEL more pregnant now because of that, and because I make all these groany grunty noises now when I get up or sit down. I am SORE and CREAKY like an old man, or a not-so-old pregnant woman. The nurse told me I have gained 21 pounds total since the beginning of the pregnancy so far, which is way less than I thought so I was OK with that. Everyone says I should do yoga, and yeah, in an idealistic world I would be doing yoga every day… but in the real world I much prefer to nap and relax with a movie/book/music… and I just haven’t felt the adequate energy surge to pursue a bus ride to a yoga place that offers prenatal yoga. Too much work for me right now.

All of these things are a reminder that, as a mom, and just as a person, we can only do so much. My main goal is to minimize stress in my life which will subsequently minimize stress in Charlie’s life, and hopefully set the tone for our new life together. When the stresses of new parenthood are inevitable, it seems like toning down every additional stressor  is good preparation.

I got to spend time with my friend Jon’s mom who works in post-partum care at the Walnut Creek Kaiser. My mom wants to rent a small apartment in Lafayette so we can be close to that hospital and I can deliver there with their midwives, and hopefully in the room that has a tub! It was really nice to get the inside scoop on what it’s like there and some tips on what to expect and how to go about things. She was very direct and a wonderful resource and support for me. She even helped me go and look at the unit mom was planning on renting so we had a better idea of where I was going to be (AKA about a 5 minute drive away from Walnut Creek Kaiser, hooray!)

My company has been trimmed down to the very calm, supportive and wise… and I’ve been enjoying my time in San Francisco more and more. My plans are coming together and milestones are drawing nearer, and I feel more confident about my decisions all the time. I have a really exciting job opportunity in Seattle that I hope pans out in September or October, but I may end up wanting more time at home with baby, I’m not sure. Still not sure if I’ll be settling in Burien, West Seattle, Ballard, or wherever else, but I do know I want to be able to walk most places, so West Seattle and Ballard seem like real possibilities, but may have much higher rent than Burien… we’ll have to see if I can look at some places when I fly up for the baby shower in June!

I’ve been drawn to a lot of 70’s, 80’s, 90’s music and film since the beginning of this pregnancy, and it hasn’t really let up. Never have Phil Collins and Steve Winwood sounded so sweet or Kevin Kostner or Meryl Streep performed better. I really enjoy watching old Star Trek The Next Generation episodes covered in blankets, eating a bowl of cereal in my bed. Yes, my life is very exciting.

I also ordered some iron-on lettering to put fun phrases on Charlie’s onesies, which I am really excited about. I’m thinking about getting Rara, Gus, Jon and Scotty together and having a onesie party. Pretty sure Scotty will do “CHAOS REIGNS” and maybe Gus will do “SQUANDARLO” while I may do something like “You remind me of the babe!” on the front and “…the babe with the power” on the back. Who knows what Jon may do, he is a WILDCARD!!

Anyway, I can finally feel Charlie busting a move down there and it is quite a unique experience. It does indeed start out as a flutter, or feel like you have fish swimming around in you, or a teeny person flicking the inside of your belly at random points throughout the day. Maybe I can start to learn his patterns, when he likes to sleep, wake up, dance, meditate, pontificate, etc. From what I hear, it’s all fun and games until they gain weight, get stronger and suddenly it’s all knees and elbows all the time and it’s not so much fun anymore. I’m hoping Charlie has chubby knees and elbows, for everyone’s sake.


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Sorry blog, I kind of abandoned you. I was dealing with a lot of pregnancy stuff, who woulda thought! At the beginning of this month I went in to Kaiser to have my ultrasound anatomy check for the baby. They made me drink an ungodly amount of water and not go to the bathroom a couple hours before the appointment, so I was justifiably scared that a portion of the appointment would be spent apologizing for peeing on the technician. I barely noticed how full my bladder was, though, because I was so entranced by looking at all the magnificent body parts I had created. My kid has quite a nice looking brain, facial profile, kidney, liver, heartbeat, arms, legs, lil toes and fingers… I made those! All this french toast, milk, orange juice and multivitamins are just baby-linkin-logs putting a baby together almost unnoticeably inside of me. When I saw all of its parts, in the right order, doing what they are supposed to be doing to make a new being healthy and strong, I wanted to high five myself, but instead it was just this sort of zen wave over me… like, everything is just happening, and I can’t see it, and I can barely feel it, yet it knows what to do, and everything is going to be OK.

I zoned out looking at my little creature for awhile, mom had flown down to have a relaxed time in San Francisco and see how I was doing, so she was sitting in a chair at my side while I had my dress hiked up and stretchy pants pulled down, covered in a gelatinous mess, mouth agape, staring at this magical moving scan. The technician was very dry, very preoccupied with getting all the stills she needed for a thorough examination of baby’s anatomy. When I came in to the scan I was SO EXCITED we may be able to find out the gender, and the technician just kind of brushed me off like, “sometimes we can, sometimes we can’t, but that’s not what this appointment is for…” I was like, you have got to be fucking kidding me, I cannot possibly wait another few weeks, I’ve already been basically harassing my OBGYN to tell me the gender via e-mail, phonecall and every time I see her in person and I know she can use that ultrasound to just give me a quick peek. Every single person I know loves to ask me if I “know the gender yet?” and seeing that I’ve heard that question about 400 times now, I AM READY TO KNOW THE GENDER SO JUST USE YOUR POWERS FOR GOOD AND FUCKING TELL ME ALREADY!

While she was gliding around all over my belly, checking out organs and waiting for things to flicker or pump in a certain way to get her anatomical money-shots, I thought I saw a spread-eagle pose… sort of like if I sat my kid on a glass table and looked up underneath it and said…. “It’s a boy, right?” But she wasn’t even paying attention to any genital flashes, she was just like, “oh I don’t know, I’m just gathering these images right now…” but I had sworn I’d seen a penis.

You have to understand, I have a job that obligates me to sit in front of a computer with internet 40 hours a week. All I want to know is what this kid is going to be like, what our life is going to be like, what is happening to my body, what my birth is going to be like, are there others out there like me? With this insane obsession? Endlessly impatient and asking why and how and how much and when all the time? Yes, there are. They are flooding the internet, and I spend a large portion of each of my work shifts researching all sorts of pregnancy and birth-related topics, including: ultrasound gender determination… what a boy and girl look like at 7 weeks, 10 weeks, 13 weeks, 18 weeks,  how I might tell the difference without the assistance of an unenthusiastic technician or OBGYN… so I have been WAITING to just get someone to scan me and just diagnose gender myself… and that’s what I thought I had done at 12 weeks!

My aunt had sent me this web site ( http://www.baby2see.com/gender/study_ultrasound.html ) based on a study of 1619 ultrasound scans at 12 weeks, and their gender determination was 84% accurate. So, before my OBGYN appointment, I studied the images and thought OK I GOT THIS, I AM GOING TO KNOW THE GENDER OF MY BABY TODAY. And based on the 12 week ultrasound they gave me, I was 75% sure I was having a boy. I carried on with my pregnancy using the pronoun “him” and telling people I was 85% (overly certain of myself) sure I was carrying a boy, but it wasn’t until the 18 week ultrasound I knew a technician could actually give me a reliable answer.

“Looks like a boy to me,” she said, out of the blue. “What? It IS a boy?” I asked. “That looks like the penis right there, I’m pretty sure it’s not a girl.” That’s when my mom got really excited. “Oh my god it’s a boy, Ashley!” I FUCKING KNEW IT YOU SLOW-PACED MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS, I ALREADY KNEWWWWWW IT! But it was still very rewarding to be shown my kid’s junk. Hey look, I made a penis. I hope it works right, and gives him a lot of pleasure and entertainment especially during his middle school years when the social and hormonal constructs at work may make life seem pretty fucking terrible. I hope this penis  is a source of self-fulfillment that keeps him distracted and trudging onward… perhaps on a quest for someone who will pay as much attention to it as he does. But that is a long ways off…

So anyway, I’m having a BOY, his name is Charlie… Charlie Bennett Strayer. The Bennett is my step-father’s last name and the Strayer is my mother’s last name, which is still the name that is on my birth certificate, and the side of the family that is reallllly psyched to meet this baby… so I think it works. Plus, Charlie Bennett sounds like a totally suave lounge singer and I think that will work for him in the future. If he turns out to be a big gay bear, he can be Charles, and that is totally cool. But I like Charlie, and no one is allowed to call him Chucky because WTF I fucking hate that name. My friend Jon said, “what about Chippy?” OK maybe Chippy because it is a bit more endearingly creepy and Tim and Eric created a soft spot for it in my heart… but maybe only Jon can call him Chippy. Who knows.

So, Charlie is in there. He’s finally demanding healthy food, or somewhat healthy… I crave spinach lately, and eggs and LOTS and LOTS of milk and nuts and dried fruit and beans and fish and roasted vegetables… which is a far cry from when I was so nauseous all I could think of eating was ramen and soda crackers. I am happy to have more nutrition to offer now, I feel like a better mother..

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