Thursday, September 28, 2006

What's New

Well I had trouble at my local yarn store finding a good green yarn for the froggy set. All the stuff that was the right gauge came in very kid-unfriendly (yet elegant) poop green colors. And all the fun green colored yarn was in the wrong gauge. I know what you're thinking: "How can a poop colored yarn be elegant?" I don't make the rules, people. I just report 'em like I see 'em.

So this was the best I could do, but I think it's going to turn out to be a nice choice. It is very inexpensive, soft, and 100% merino wool. The photo is a little misleading on the color. It's a lime green, something in a light kermie.

Let's see... what else is new. We saw the midwife last night for a checkup. Everything looks good. Arwen got to hear the heartbeat for the first time. There is something magical in that woosh-woosh sound. I haven't felt any movement yet, but that's the next big thing to be on the lookout for. Amy said that most first-time moms start feeling movement around week 18 or 20. I'm only 14 1/2 right now, so I still have a little ways to go.

One other thing I wanted to mention. We've gotten some sweet and thoughtful goodies in the mail from people, and I just wanted to say thanks. Karen sent us a funny book for dads called "Pregnancy Sucks for Men." Josefa sent us a care package with all kinds of goodies in it, including a cute little pair of socks and a book about teddy bears. Our friends Billy & Jenny sent us the Dr. Sears Baby Book which articulates a wonderful parenting philosophy. So thanks you guys.

Monday, September 25, 2006


So here they are, the finished product. One pair of booties and one cute little hat to match. I actually finished them days and days ago but I've been too lazy to take a picture. Something new for the hope chest!

Here are a couple more shots of the hat. I'm particularly proud of it, since it was cobbled together partly from a pattern and partly with a little ingenuity. I never thought those triangles would be so tricky! I can't wait to see it live and in person on our little ray of sunshine!

Well anyway... as far as what I'll be knitting next... the results are in. It was a close call, but the frog hat and booties are the clear winner, followed closely by the duck hat & booties. I have to say I was a little surprised by the overwhelming popularity of the froggy set, and also that the bunny hat got no takers (the baby in the picture was sooo cute!). So thanks everyone for voting. I can't wait to get my needles a-clacking again!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Belly Shots
I've managed to fall a little behind on posting belly shots, so now I'm making up for it. You can see the progression of the last 3 weeks. I'm officially 14 weeks today, and it seems like the peanut bump is really starting to become noticable. My clothes are getting tighter. I've especially noticed that all my t-shirts are too short. I have to wear something under them or risk peeking out.

So today I picked up a pair of maternity jeans and a couple of cute maternity tops. The jeans and one of the t-shirts are what I'm wearing in the Week 14 picture. It's nice to have some clothes that look good and feel good. I've missed being able to bum around in a pair of comfy jeans.

As far as what we've been up to lately, it's mostly been the boring practical to-do list type of stuff. Saturday we started our home search in earnest. We went out all day yesterday with a realtor to get a feel for what's out there. There is a lot to see in this neighborhood. By the end of the day we'd become interested in a totally different area than where we started.

We did manage to have some fun last night when our friends Amanda and Doug invited us to a party at one of their friends' houses. It was yet another experience of hanging out with a roomful of strangers who we almost instantly felt we had a lot in common with.

As far as pregnancy symptoms go, things are supposed to be changing for me now. Moving into the second trimester I'm supposed to be feeling less queasy and my energy level is supposed to be returning. Well I guess I'm halfway there. I seem to be back to eating almost all my normal foods. Except for some weird reason, Mexican food is tricky for me. But as far as my energy level goes, I've got a long way to go. I have been *so* tired all this week. Friday night I could've gone to bed at 6 pm. Tonight I plan to be in bed by 8:30. I don't know why the peanut is so tired lately. I guess all that growing is hard work.
Week 14
Week 14
Week 13
Week 13
Week 12
Week 12

Just a reminder - if you haven't had a chance to vote in the "What should I knit next poll," be sure to scroll down and cast your vote!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Knitting as Therapy

Well this week hasn't exactly been the greatest ever for my family, but we keep on keepin' on. Thanks to everyone who has offered their sympathies. We are so lucky to be blessed with a close and loving family, and it's in the toughest times that we shine in our ability to come together for each other. For that I am incredibly grateful.

This past week I picked up the knitting needles after a long relocation-induced hiatus. There is a yarn boutique within walking distance of our house (dangerous!), and the ladies there are so nice and helpful. When I told them I was looking for a little something for our upcoming bundle of joy, they fussed over me until I found just the thing. An adorable pattern for some booties and some beautifully soft silk-alpaca yarn in a lovely pumpkin color.

With all the stress of this last week, I raced through those booties in no time. You can see my handiwork pictured here. The only thing they're missing is a pretty yellow ribbon tied into a bow on each one. It's funny but knitting seems to be the cure for whatever ails me - whether grief, anxiousness, impatience, or boredom - picking up those needles seems to soothe all my cares away. They take me to a quiet contemplative place where I can mull over what's bothering me without drowning in it. Knitting isn't as cheap as booze, but it comes without the hangover!

So since the booties knit up quickly, my next task is to create a hat to match. That has proven more perplexing. The pattern I originally selected is difficult to decipher and even tougher to knit. So I went on a quest for an alternative hat. After trying out a bunch of different options, I finally settled on something that is part pattern, part made up by moi. When I'm done it should look like an orange cap with a rim of triangles, sort of like a festive sunshine crown. Hopefully it will come out alright. Here's all I've got so far.

Now that my needles are back to clacking, I have so. many. plans. for cute stuff to knit. I thought it might be fun if I posted them in a poll. What do you think I should knit next? (Click on the pattern description to view the pattern. Click on a checkbox to select your answer. You can select more than one answer.)

What should I knit next?
Swirl hat
Tart hat
Bunny hat
Frog hat and booties
Jester hat
Duck hat and booties
Pixie hat
Free polls from

Monday, September 11, 2006

Uncle Kean, we will miss you

We had some sad news over the weekend. On Sunday we learned that my Uncle Kean died suddenly and unexpectedly. The circumstances at this point are not entirely clear, but it appears that he suffered from a heart attack or that his heart suddenly stopped.

My uncle was a young man, incredibly vibrant and full of life. He brought so much joy to everyone who knew him. Every room he ever walked into lit up with his sparkle and magic. He had a way of making people feel loved and cared for like no one else. To be a guest in his home or at his dinner table was a real treat. He could throw a party like nobody's business.

He and his partner of 14 years or so made a beautiful life together in San Francisco. He and Jim met around the same time as Arwen and me. Having been lucky enough to experience for myself loving and being loved by someone completely and unconditionally, I am so grateful that my uncle was fortunate to have shared his life with such a wonderful person. And now my heart goes out to Jim in what is no doubt an incomparable loss.

Losing someone suddently is so hard because it takes so long for it to sink in. I feel like I suffer over and over again the terrible realization that I won't see his beaming face again. That I won't see him at Christmas like we planned. That he won't ever get to hold our little peanut.

I had been trying to get in touch with Uncle Kean the last couple of weeks to share our good news with him. When I picked up Jim's voicemail on my cell phone I thought at first that he was returning my message. But then the tone of his voice made it readily apparent that he was calling with terrible news.

I so wanted to get to tell Uncle Kean that he was about to be a great uncle. I couldn't wait to tell him about my midwife and the hospital we picked. As a former RN, he was the one who planted the idea of using a midwife in my head to begin with. I was counting on him being around to help explain this 'crazy idea' to any doubters in our family. I feel so cheated, so robbed of getting to share this amazing experience with him. And I feel like the whole world has been robbed of the light and love that he so freely offered of himself.

So many people have said to me - when I expressed regret at not getting a chance to tell Uncle Kean that we're pregnant - "Don't worry; he knows all about that now." Whether or not that is true, I can't say. But I do believe that my dear uncle will live on in each of us whose lives he touched, who carry a piece of him in their hearts. And I know he will be with me in that delivery room when it comes time to dig deep and find all the strength that I can muster.

I intend for this blog to be a happy place, so I'm sorry for this somber tone. I just felt like I could not post cheerful musings or belly photos or anything else without stopping for a moment to acknowledge this loss.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

09/07/2006 - Live from Houston

Little CutieWell this has been a good couple of days, considering the long hours traveling and in meetings. I've gotten a lot of work done, and even better managed to spend a little quality time with Mom and Stephen.

Mom was really cute. When I got there Tuesday night she said she just had to get something for "the baby." You know, the "baby" that is barely past the embryonic stage in its development. The "baby" that still looks like the creature from the movie Alien in the ultrasound photos. Well, she got "the baby" the cutest teddy bear rattle. It says "Little Cutie" on it. I will enjoy looking at it over the coming months as we wait to meet the tiny creature.

It's funny. The more time that passes, the more this pregnancy seems real. It should seem real enough, given that I started this blog to chronicle the whole thing, but it's so hard to get your head around the idea that you are going to be completely responsible for another person, that your life will soon revolve around this little person you haven't even met yet. But the more real it becomes, the more suceptible I am to worrying. You know, like what if "something happened."

Even before there was a "baby," when it was just Arwen and me, I've thought a lot about the fact that when you are lucky enough to have someone in your life that you really care about, along with that comes the fear of losing that person. Arwen and I have been so lucky to be wildly in love with each other for years and years. But it's like Janice Joplin said. "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." When you love someone with all your heart, it's the one thing in the world you can't stand the thought of losing.

But the great thing about worry is that it doesn't help one way or the other to indulge in it. So you might as well do the things you can - eat right, get rest, avoid bungee jumping - and then forget about your worries. So that's what I plan to do, as much as possible.

Monday, September 04, 2006

9/4/2006 - Labor Day

Yummy!Arwen and I managed to have a nice weekend, considering I worked some Saturday, Sunday and most of today. Besides going to that party saturday night, we've been doing a lot of walking around the neighborhood, checking out shops and restaurants, sampling the food, and checking out houses for sale.

Last night around 10 we were both hungry. The prospects of finding a place open that late on a Sunday night before Labor Day weren't promising. But whaddaya know, just around the corner from us is a place called ".99 cent Tacos." Much to our surprise, the place was hopping. There was a guy outside cooking up a huge slab of meat (pork we were later told) with a crowd eating, drinking and enjoying themselves. We gobbled up some delicious, although tiny, tacos and tostadas for a pittance. It turns out the place stays open till 1 AM on Sundays, and you never know when you will need cheap Mexican food in the wee hours of the morning.

We also checked out the "Taste of Colorado" tonight, an annual festival held downtown with music, food and local vendors. I had been working feverishly to get some software ready for a client demo tomorrow and *finally* wrapped things up just in time to catch the last hour of the festival. That's me in the photo above about to enjoy a French Bratwurst. (Whoever heard of a French Bratworst? Isn't that an oxymoron?) We had a good time roaming around, eating carnival food and people watching. I had half a mind to pick up one of the adorable tie-dyed onesies I saw, but I figured there will be plenty of time for that later.

Oh the other important thing we accomplished this weekend was getting Arwen's snowboarding pass for Breckenridge. He may end up getting one for Winter Park as well. I figure he better get as much snowboarding in as possible this year because who knows what next year will be like. It shouldn't be too long though before we get to start the peanut on a snowboard of his/her own. I think ski school starts at age 3!

Tomorrow I leave for a business trip to Houston. It'll be nice to see Mom and Stephen and Kelly and Lee Ann, but it won't be fun to be away from Arwen for three days.
9/3/2006 - Starting to feel like home

Doug & Amanda's HouseDon't have much to report today. Life is pretty darn good here in Denver. Although it still mostly feels like we are on vacation, we are starting to settle into the happy realization that this is *our* new town. One thing that has really helped that along is our friends Amanda and Doug. They have gone out of their way to show us some cool things around town and to help us feel like this is home.

Last night they had us over to their house for a party celebrating their recent snowboarding trip to Chile as well as Amanda's birthday. They made Pisco Sours (a delicious - or so I heard - Chilean cocktail somewhat similar in flavor to a margarita on the rocks), had lots of yummy things to munch on, and showed pictures of their trip. They had a houseful of friends who were a lot of fun. And Amanda & Doug went out of their way to let everyone know that we're the new kids on the block, so folks were especially friendly and made an effort to introduce themselves. We met a lot of great people who generally live in the neighborhood, some with kids, some with kids on the way, lots of them outdoorsy types, all of them funny and smart.

We learned a lot at the party! We heard about the hut system in the Rockies, where you and a group of friends can reserve a hut for the weekend. It's most popular in winter, and people snowshoe or cross country ski in anywhere from a half mile to 11 miles to the huts. We also learned about Denver schools, so now we can start the process of looking for a home. Apparently they have this thing called "Colorado Choice" which means that you can pick any school for your kid to go to - even out of district - as long as you provide the transportation. That's because schools are funded mostly by state taxes rather than property taxes, so everyone sort of has an equal claim to the good schools. We heard about lots of great restaurants we'll have to try out. And one of Amanda's friends, who is a Physician's Assistant and is due to deliver at the same hospital one month before me, said that my CNM Amy Wallace has a great reputation.

It's funny how meeting just a few of the right people can really make a difference in making a place feel like home.
8/31/2006 - Amy Wallace of Little Tree

Today I found my health care provider for this pregnancy! Her name is Amy Wallace of Little Tree, and she's a Certified Nurse Midwife with St. Joseph's Hospital. She has a bachelor's degree and a master of science degree in nursing and eleven years of experience as a midwife. I had done some reading about midwifery, but wasn't positive it was the right choice for me until I spoke with her in person. Amy's friendly demeanor and her obvious professional competence put me right at ease. Her office is five minutes from our house in an adorable, historical shop front building. She spent nearly two hours with me, reviewing my medical history and records, explaining what midwifery is, taking blood and urine samples for labwork, examining me, and answering all my endless questions.

We listened to the baby's heartbeat for the first time! It was going at 155 beats per minute, which is within the range of normal. She confirmed that the peanut is the right size for 10 weeks. And she determined that my bone structure will provide enough room for a good sized baby (something I was worried about since I have a short torso). She also said I have excellent muscle tone, which should help me recover after birth.

Birth!! Woah! We are having a baby! Sometimes it's still hard for me to grasp.

I am really excited about delivering at St. Joseph's Hospital. We haven't taken the tour yet (we get to do that a week from saturday) but we've taken an online tour. Their LDR (labor, delivery & recovery) suites have lots of wonderful features like whirlpool tubs, a birthing bed with many positions, birthing bars, and other "birth accessories" that help during delivery. St. Joe's is a big proponent of skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and of rooming in. The LDR suites are set up so that the baby's immediate after birth care and admission procedures can be done bedside.

For those of you who are not familiar with the practice of nurse midwifery, you may have some questions. I know I did.

Q. Does this mean you're going to deliver at home?
A. No. Amy works with a group of Certified Nurse Midwives who practice with St. Joseph's hospital in downtown Denver. St. Joseph's has delivered more babies than any hospital in Colorado, and their birthing unit, called The Baby Place, is a spa-like setting and has been nationally recognized. We will have access to all the latest technology, and should anything go wrong we will be in the ideal setting to address it.

Q. So I guess this means you won't be able to have anaesthesia during labor?
A. Actually, I will. Anaesthesiologists are available 24/7 at St. Joe's. Whether I plan ahead of time to use it, or whether I opt for it unexpectedly during labor it will be available to me. I will have all the same choices in this regard as any other delivering mom.

Q. Does this mean you won't be using an obstetrician?
A. That is correct. As long as the baby and I continue to be in good health, we will continue in Amy's care. If I happen to develop a serious condition like gestational diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy, I will transfer to the care of an obstetrician. Amy has access to board-certified obstetricians 24 hours a day, should she need to consult with them regarding my care. And of course if I feel at any point in time that I would be more comfortable with an obstetrician I have the ability to transfer over.

Q. What if you have to have an emergency C-section?
A. No problem. Should I need an emergency C-section or should any other condition arise that would be best addressed by a doctor, board-certified obstetricians are available 24/7 to provide that care. Likewise, should there be a problem with the baby necessitating a stay in NICU, St. Joe's has a nationally recognized NICU.

Q. Is she going to wave crystals over you or give you potions made with eye of newt?
A. No way! Amy's practice follows the norms of Western medical methods. With a masters of science in nursing, she is a trained medical professional and she shared with me that she takes research seriously. For those of you who know me well, you know that with my scientific background I would not entrust my pregnancy or our sweet little peanut to a health care practitioner operating outside the standards of Western medicine.

Q. Is this covered by insurance?
A. It sure is. In fact, health insurance companies are big fans of Certified Nurse Midwives. The patients of CNMs tend to have shorter stays in the hospital and fewer medical interventions, which equate to lower costs for the health insurance companies. It also typically means an improved experience for the patients.

Q. Are you putting yourself and your baby at risk by opting to use a midwife instead of an obstetrician?
A. It goes without saying that if I thought that even for a second I wouldn't even consider using a Certified Nurse Midwife. Certified Nurse Midwives are highly competent professionals. They screen their patients to confirm that they are good candidates for using a midwife's services, and they monitor patients throughout pregnancy for issues that would necessitate a doctor's care.

Obstetricians shine brightest in high-risk pregancies or pregnancies with complications. In contrast, midwives' strong suit is in managing normal, healthy pregnancies. They have more time available to spend with their patients. They make education a priority. They have time to make their patients feel listened to and to help them feel comfortable with this amazing journey. While obstetricians are usually only present during the final moments of delivery, midwives are present throughout labor and delivery. Even if I had to transfer into the care of an obstetrician during labor, she would still be present to offer emotional support. I am choosing a midwife because I hope to get better, more personal, more complete care than what I could expect from an obstetrician.

I feel comfortable working with a Nurse Midwife because I believe that the risks to myself and the baby are no greater than working with an obstetrician, especially in light of the facilities and resources she has access to. In addition, I feel that Amy's practice and midwifery in general better address the whole woman and the whole pregnancy. I have never felt so fully cared for by a health care professional than I did with Amy. And not because she was nice or made me feel good. But because of her solid medical professionalism and her ability to address issues you almost never hear a doctor discuss: nutrition, breastfeeding, birthing options, and anaesthesia options.

By choosing to work with Amy I feel that my preferences will be honored, my concerns will be addressed, and this pregnancy and birth will be an enriching experience.

Here are some things I really like about Amy's practice:
  • In addition to the time she spends with patients one-on-one discussing all sorts of issues related to pregnancy, child birth, and child care, she offers a wide range of classes at Little Tree. Childbirth preparation, breastfeeding, infant care, cloth diapering, the circumcision decision, and how to carry your baby in a sling.

  • One option she offers is something called "Centering Pregnancy." It's basically like a group doctor's visit. It's a two hour appointment, during which each patient gets individual time with the midwife followed by group time spent on education and answering questions. Dads often come to these appointments, and women with a range of due dates participate. This is only optional, but I think this is a good fit for us. Since we don't know many people in Denver - and don't know anyone yet with small kids - I think this is a great way to become involved in a community of new parents.

  • Every week she hosts a free gathering from 11-12 called Parent Chat. Each week they have a different topic, and people gather - some patients and some not - to discuss various topics of interest. It's another opportunity for education and connection with other parents and parents-to-be.

  • She also provides well-woman care, so even after the baby comes I can continue to see her for my annual checkup.

You can read more about St. Joseph's Certified Nurse Midwives here. And if you have a chance, take a tour of St. Joseph's Baby Place to see the amazing, spa-like setting we will be delivering in.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

8/30/2006 - Settling into a routine

Me at 10 weeksWell we finally managed to get around to snapping our first belly photo. Does it look like I'm purposely swaying my back to stick out my tummy? Because I was trying to stand up as straight as possible. I was a little disappointed when I saw it. Much ado about nothing. How can the peanut bump look that small in the photo, yet make me feel so HUGE?

As we saw in the previous post, being a mom-to-be seems to involve a long list of "to do's" and "not to do's." It's hard to remember all this stuff and manage to squeeze everything in each day. But I'm starting to get into a groove. Here's what my morning routine is shaping up to be:

6:30 - wake up and throw on some clothes, eat a few graham crackers or a handfull of nuts to stave off nausea
6:45-7:15 - take Sasha for a walk
7:15-7:30 - brew a cup of ginger tea (no more coffee for me!), eat some breakfast, take a prenatal multi-vitamin (a giant purple pill nearly the size of my thumb) and drink a glass of milk 7:30-7:45 - take a shower, slather vitamin E oil over all my expanding parts, and get dressed
7:45 - get to work!

The rest of the day looks something like this:

8:30 - morning snack (a few berries or crackers)
10:00 - first lunch (something small - a little cottage cheese and a boiled egg for example)
11:30 - short nap
1:30 - second lunch (perhaps a piece of fruit and string cheese)
4:30 - afternoon snack(carrot sticks and cantelope)
5:30 - feed sasha
5:45 - make dinner, preferably something with vegetables and not containing: onions, garlic, olives, basalmic vinegar, fish, or anything "stinky"
6:30 - take Sasha for a walk to the dog park
7:30 - various errands and "to-do's" around the house
10:00 - get in bed, read some in my pregnancy books, eat a handful of nuts and drink a glass of water

For those who remember our hike of the Appalachian Trail, the way my day revolves around food may seem familiar. There's a big difference here though: the quantities are small and the foods are healthy. You won't catch me snarfing down a large pizza and an order of hot wings. (Ah, the good ol days...)

I was having a heck of a time feeling nautious and generally being turned off to food until I picked up Eating Well When You're Expecting, which has lots of great suggestions on what and how to eat. Not going too long between "mini-meals" was one of their best tips for preventing nausea.

They used to think that the mother's body, through it's complex wash of hormones, sent messages to the growing peanut to tell it how to develop. Now they know that while that's one side of the story, the peanut also sends its own chemical messages to the mother, which stimulate changes in her body and also can shape behavior. According to my books - and my experience so far - our peanut is more than capable of sending the message, "Mom, I'm hungry!"

Saturday, September 02, 2006

8/29/2006 - Lots of lists

When you get pregnant, you find out about all kinds of things that you're suddenly not supposed to do while you're "in the family way." Some of them are obvious, like alcohol and drugs. Others seem arbitrary. See how many of these you knew about.

Alcohol, drugs and smoking are a no-noStuff I'm supposed to avoid:

  • alcohol, recreational drugs and smoking (oh darn)
  • asprin and ibuprofin (use tylenol instead)
  • soft cheeses (because of listeria)
  • unheated lunchmeat (also because of listeria)
  • cat poop (because of toxoplasmosis)
  • raw/undercooked meat or fish (no sushi or rare hamburger for me!)
  • fish potentially high in mercury or other toxins: tuna (canned or fresh), shark, swordfish, mackerel, tilefish (never heard of it), mahi mahi, grouper, or amberjack
  • alfalfa sprouts (because of bacteria)
  • unpasteurized milk products (ditto)
  • fresh squeezed - and therefore unpasteurized - fruit juices (double ditto)
  • fatty parts, dark meat or organs of poultry and meat (because fattier parts and organs have higher concentrations of toxins)
  • coffee and other caffeinated beverages (I switched to ginger tea)
  • sodas (drink water and juice instead)
  • peanuts and peanut products (may be linked to the development of allergies)
  • aspartame, saccharin
  • refined carbohydrates (eat complex carbs instead)
  • coming into contact with paint or other chemicals
  • sitting in hot tubs
  • snowboarding and skiing
  • riding bikes
  • rollerderby (ha ha)
  • climbing ladders
  • falling down

Juggling a healthy dietAnd then there's also a long list of things I'm supposed to remember to do all the time. Stuff like this:

  • drink lots and lots of water - 12 glasses or more a day
  • take a prenatal vitamin (mine is huge - *literally* as long as the first joint of my thumb!)
  • eat foods high in vitamin A, C, calcium and folic acid
  • eat organic when possible (no pesticides or hormones)
  • eat local when possible (more nutrients)
  • eat nuts and legumes
  • take in omega 3s
  • choose whole grains
  • eat a protein and a carbohydrate at every meal
  • get plenty of rest, nap when possible
  • walk every day, do yoga or get some other form of mild exercise

But the list I'm most interested in is the stuff I can't wait to do:

  • reach 12 weeks so we can share the good news with all our friends and family
  • actually look pregnant instead of chubby
  • make friends with other expectant moms
  • find a prenatal yoga class near me
  • feel the baby kick
  • get some cute pregnant clothes
  • knit some baby things
  • sew some baby things
  • find a house to live in!
  • decorate the baby's room
  • go to childbirth classes
  • ...

I'm not thinking too far beyond childbirth classes yet. Trying not to get too far ahead of myself!