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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Can you believe it?

I never thought it would get here, but it's finally here. I'm so excited.

A 4 day weekend!!

Thank you Resolution Media! No work on Friday. No work on Monday. Sandwiched around a big juicy weekend.

Wait, did you think I was referring to the fact that we hit 30 weeks tomorrow?

Well that's pretty amazing too. It's odd to be talking about a week that doesn't start with twenty. And it's finally here, AND it just happens to coincide with a 4 day weekend. I'm a lucky man. It almost feels like we deserve a vacation. I wonder where we should go? Ali even had her toenails painted for the occasion (but no, it wasn't by me).

Hmm, maybe I'm too exhausted to take a vacation, but at least it looks like it's going to be a gorgeous weekend for hosting some friends, eating some meals together, and being patient.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nothin' doin'

Another good appointment! minihoff's heart sounded great (he gave the heart monitor a few jabs for good measure), my belly is measuring slightly ahead of schedule and I was told to just keep doing what I'm doing. The doc didn't check my cervix because it no longer matters. We've pretty much done all we can do; at this point I'm either in labor or I'm not.

Oh! One bit of exciting news: The doctor hinted that I may be let out of jail off bed rest by the end of September. Just four more weeks! I don't know that my Jello legs will allow me to do much by then, but it would sure be nice to go on a real date with Chris before the new roommate arrives.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday, Boring Sunday

Though the weather lately has been awful for most people, it's really worked in my favor. It's been too miserable to feel bad about the fact that I can't leave the house, so I've been content to entertain myself with things like...oh...the Miss Teen USA pageant [see entry below].

Today, however, was another story: gorgeous in the upper 70s with no humidity. I tried to lie in the recliner on our deck, but the three months of no activity have taken their toll -- it seems my joints are no longer comfortable anywhere that's not cushioned. And so I trudged back to my post on the couch, wondering how much it would cost to install a retractable roof in the living room.

I may have mentioned this already, but bed rest is the pits. Repeat after me, "Do you even KNOW what your mother went through to get you here safely?" You all have my permission to say this if minihoff ever acts bratty in your presence.

The highlight of today was that Chris shaved my legs. What, you don't remember that part from our wedding vows? Thing is, I can't stand long enough to do it myself, and I can't reach my legs lying down. So my sweet hubby agreed to help me feel human again. I'm pleased to report he did a lovely job -- not a single nick!

And now, just to reassure you all that I do still have a head, here's a picture of me from tonight. I think the belly has officially passed the bump stage into full-on pregnantness:


Goodnight and happy Monday, all.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Too bad she's too old for minihoff

Taking a quick break from the posts about minihofff, Chris and I felt it necessary to share with you this AMAZING video clip we witnessed live last night. This is Miss Teen South Carolina attending to the question portion of the Miss Teen USA 2007 contest. (Please, withhold your questions about why we were watching Miss Teen USA.)

I think I speak for everyone when I say I have never been more proud to be a U.S. American.

Friday, August 24, 2007

29 weeks!


baby

Thank you for all the phone calls and e-mails recognizing our weekly anniversary--lately it's like it's my birthday every Friday. :)

So yes, minihoff turns the big 2-9 today. Only three more weeks until our next big goal, 32 weeks, the point at which long-term complications would be very unlikely. (Though thankfully, we've reached a point now where the most serious risks are probably behind us.) Anything past 32 is icing, as far as we're concerned--though, I must admit, I'm a big fan of icing.

A little about his development this week from BabyCenter.com:

"Your baby now weighs about 2 1/2 pounds and is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel. His muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and his head is growing bigger to make room for his developing brain."

Goooooooo, minihoff!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

And here's next week's grocery list:


Don't worry, I'm sure Ali will have things to add to it.

Thank goodness for PBnJ


It's such a quick little lunch to make, spread it on and you're good to go. And thank goodness for that. Plus it doesn't hurt that Ali's been having a bit of a hankering for peanut butter, so it's working out for both of us. Between her desire for cold crunchy things -- cucumber, celery, peppers, and peanut butter -- I can have her lunches prepared in under five minutes.

Breakfast is another matter. But we can cover that another time. And yes, I cut off all the crusts and they look just like the ones in this picture. In fact, I think that is one of our plates. And one of our blue gingham table clothes.

Meanwhile, after I finished all the grocery shopping for the week, I realized there was one item I forgot. But I just added it to the grocery list for next week.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Apologies in advance for being boring...

...but I had another good check-up today. Yeah! My OB was more optimistic than I've ever seen him, and kept repeating how great it is that I've made it past the 28-week mark. I guess it really is that big a milestone. Of course, I'll still probably go early (I'd be thrilled to eat those words at 40+ weeks, but I'm not banking on it). However, it's incredibly comforting to know the scariest outcomes are mostly behind us, statistically speaking.

Meanwhile, the little guy continues to use my abdomen as his personal jungle gym, as if to say, "Jeez, Mom, you worry too much -- I'm fine in here!"

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Our little fighter


minihoff is getting stronger every day -- and what's amazing is just how externally obvious it's becoming. The first thing Chris said to me this morning was, "So, how many ninjas was he fighting in there last night?" Apparently minihoff put on quite a show for Daddy while I was asleep.

I must say, it's pretty incredible to be living through this evolution, from the light flutters I felt in the early second trimester to the powerful roundhouses I get now. Does anyone remember the scene in Howard the Duck when the alien comes out of Jeffrey Jones' stomach? (WHAT!?!? You've never seen Howard the Duck???)

Well, anyway, that's kind of what the third trimester feels like. Because really, the writhing in my belly doesn't resemble the movements of any baby I've ever seen. More like an eight-legged alien ultimate fighting champion.

Thankfully, ultrasound has confirmed he does, in fact, only have two legs.

Friday, August 17, 2007

28 Weeks!!!!!!


This is a big one!

Here's a little about minihoff this week from BabyCenter.com:

"By this week, your baby weighs a little over 2 pounds [wait, didn't they say that last week?] and measures almost 15 inches from the top of his head to his heels. He can blink his eyes, which now sport lashes. With his eyesight developing, he may be able to see the light that filters in through your womb. He's also developing billions of neurons in his brain and adding more body fat in preparation for life in the outside world."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Goodnight


Ali just went to sleep and I'll be joining her soon, but I didn't want to let the day go by without a post, especially as we sit poised on the cusp of 28 weeks pregnant -- a mini-victory for reaching the first big goal we set for ourselves what seems like ages ago. After so many doctors appointments and hospital visits, we finally made it. When Ali wakes up tomorrow and reads this, we'll have hit 28 weeks. Yay!

I knew we could do it. Well, to be honest, most of the time I knew we could do it.

Our next goal is 32 weeks, but we're grateful for every day that we get with minihoff behaving himself and staying put between now and then. And we're grateful that you're counting along with us.

So thanks for stopping by.

You stay classy, Readership.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A little bit more on prematurity

Incubator here. A few people have asked me recently what the big deal is with the 28-week mark. So I wanted to explain what I know. This chart shows just how much difference there is -- in terms of both survivability and long-term health -- with each passing week of the pregnancy. (Our hospital claims their numbers are even better, for the record.) You can see why my doctor says that weeks 24-28 are the most important in all of pregnancy. You go from having a baby on the cusp of life, facing almost certain disabilities, to a baby who will likely do well with modern medical care.

(But don't get any ideas, minihoff. It's still way cooler to be born full term.)

Interestingly, the field of obstetrics has advanced relatively little in the past 50 years, while neonatology has improved by leaps and bounds. In other words, doctors still haven't figured out a sure-fire way to prevent or stop premature labor (and believe you me, we've tried everything with my pregnancies), but they're continually saving babies at younger and younger gestations. Earlier this year there were reports of a baby girl surviving after being born at 21 weeks -- and with a birth weight of less than a pound!

Of course, no NICU will ever be as good as the womb, so I personally find it all kind of backwards. I guess it's pretty hard to conduct research on pregnant women, due to ethical concerns, but wouldn't the same be true of premature babies?

I read last night that the field of neonatology really picked up in the '60s, after Jackie and John Kennedy lost a baby born at 34 weeks. Their story is really quite sad, because today, a 34-weeker's chances of survival with NICU care would be about the same as any full-term baby. I had no idea we had this awful thing in common with the Kennedys, but I'm sure glad things have come so far in these 44 years. I wonder if someday, doctors will be consistently saving 22-weekers like our daughter. I hope so.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nickname

I wanted to share another nickname we've been using for minihoff. What can I say? We're big on nicknames; espcially since we're not yet prepared to divulge what his given name will be. This one in particular was coined the weekend we determined we were sufficiently crazy enough to walk this path again -- the weekend we found out we were pregnant with our second baby.

My father was in Chicago that weekend. He had driven out from NJ; straight shot, with tools, so that over a weekend we could ring the kitchen, living room and bedroom with crown molding.

And so we named him Molding.

Moldy for short.

We know, it's terrible. And fantastic. And that many of you may be cringing or shaking your heads in disapproval, but if just one of you can appreciate it, then we're glad you're on our side.

Thanks for the calls, emails, comments, prayers and support.

Ali adds: Please, whatever you do, don't take his idiotic parents out on him by actually calling him Moldy in his post-fetal existence. Our son's future therapist thanks you in advance.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dr. Comedian

Heard at the OB's office today:

Ali: "28 weeks is right around the corner and that's a big milestone!"

Doctor: "It sure is. You should celebrate it! With a bottle of...well, for you, water."

Ali: "Oh boy, a bottle of water."

Doctor: "Yeah...but you could treat yourself to a special bottle of water. Like Evian or something."

Monday, Monday


We're back to Monday appointments after the Wednesday aberration last week and once again, no news is good news. There have been no changes since the appointment at 25 weeks when Ali was found to be a little dilated, and we're thrilled to hear it. The minihoff is sitting tight and every day he continues to be an obedient little minihoff, we're thrilled.

Special shout-out thanks to JJ today who helped get Ali to and from her doctor appointment while I'm at work. I rode my bike to work today and offered Ali a ride on the handlebars, but no such luck.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Internet is my friend

Before I left the hospital two weeks ago, the nurse sat with me and went through my discharge instructions. No walking around, no climbing stairs, no driving, no cooking, yada yada. Oh, and no shopping -- "but online is okay!" she cheerfully clarified.

Thank goodness it is. And moreover, thank goodness a person nowadays can buy just about anything she wants while lying on her couch, because the process of preparing our home for the stork's delivery is one I'd be sad to miss.

And, so, yesterday I went shopping. All day long. The result? Minihoff's nursery is going to be pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself.

If I have to serve time on bed rest, I'm sure glad I'm doing it in 2007.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Mom-a-thon continues

So we traded Iris for Mary Ann, who showed up yesterday picking up where Iris left off -- doing dishes, making pancakes and treating us to dinner. Ali got a week with her mom, now I get a weekend with mine. We're both so fortunate that our mothers are willing and mobile enough to come from MN and NJ and help us out.

The question is who will help us out when my mom leaves on Sunday. I think I'm going to vote for Oprah; she lives pratically down the street and we know she has the means.

If that doesn't work out it looks like it will just be us for a little while, but we're getting it all down to a science: set out breakfast for Ali in the morning, with water and snacks for throughout the day, keep veggies, a lunch, and other snacks ready to go so Ali can just grab them, and then try to get home early enough to make dinner, clean up, and do whatever around the house.

It seems like a lot, but this won't last forever, and when the minihoff hits the scene everything will change anyway. Though the list of things to do will get much larger and their accomplishment will go much more slowly, but at least Ali will be on her feet and able to help out, assuming of course she hasn't become too accustomed to being waited on hand and foot. Also, she'll be able to leave the house, make a meal herself, go for a walk, see her friends, etc. -- all things I know she sorely misses.

As for the minihoff, the latest development according to the incubator (Ali) is that he seems to have found her ribs yesterday and has been using them as an internal jungle gym of sorts. I keep joking, encouraging him to tenderize her ribs because you know how I like a nice rack of ribs. He's also been getting the hiccups and it's funny to watch her stomach do these little rhythmic jumps.

Ok, that's the latest from me. Now I have to run some errands and maybe get the haircut I've needed for the last four weeks.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Housekeeping note

We've changed the comment settings so that you don't have to sign up for anything in order to comment. So, if you're out there reading this thing, please say hi! The love and support of friends and family is truly sustaining us right now.

27 weeks!


About minihoff this week (from BabyCenter.com):

"This week your baby weighs almost 2 pounds [actually, we know from our ultrasound that minihoff is a bit more than 2 pounds by now] and is about 14.4 inches long with his legs extended. He can now open and close his eyes, and he sleeps and wakes at regular intervals. He may suck his fingers, and although his lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with assistance — if he were to be born prematurely. Chalk up any rhythmic movement you may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually lasts only a few moments, and isn't bothersome to him, so enjoy the tickle. With more brain tissue developing, your baby's brain is very active now. Wonder what he's thinking?"

And here's a helpful page from the March of Dimes that describes what minihoff would go through if he were born today, versus each week down the road from here. It quotes a 90% survival rate at this gestational age. By next week it'll be up around 95%. In the moments I'm feeling weary of bed rest, I remind myself that every additional day he stays put is one less day in the NICU.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Scenes from bed rest

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This is how I've spent every day since Memorial Day weekend when I was first put on bed rest. The only thing that's changed in that time is the size of the belly.

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Mind you, I have not had my hair done since March. But pedicures are a non-negotiable, particularly since I stare at my feet all day long. I found a fabulous woman who comes to my house every two weeks.

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And this pretty much sums up how we're all feeling right now. For those of you who don't know her, that's my mom, Iris. This was taken at 9:30 this morning. No, I kid -- it was at least 11.

Unfortunately I don't have this particular stress-relief option available to me at the moment -- but you can bet it's the first thing I'll be asking for once minihoff is born.

By the way, for those seeking lasagna photos, start your own damn blogs!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

No news is good news

I had my first post-hospital check-up today. The very good news is that I'm holding steady. No further dilation or other changes since my exam last week. The bad news is that I didn't magically un-dilate in the past week. Damn!

The doctor said we'll be extremely lucky to get 30 weeks out of this pregnancy. Big sigh. I guess beggars can't be choosers, but...I'd sure like to be there 13 weeks from now laughing about how wrong she was. With today's care, 30-weekers generally do well, but poor little minihoff would still have to endure a stay in the NICU and would be at greater risk of long-term problems due to prematurity.

Then again, 30 weeks sounds pretty great from where I'm sitting right now. So with that, I'll go back to feeling grateful we've made it this far.

By the way, the fact that Chris and I might have the smallest baby of anyone we know is kind of ironic, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Incubator speaks

If nothing else, this kid is eating well. Witness my diet today, served couchside on a tray, courtesy of Chez Iris:

Breakfast
Decaf coffee
Whole grain toast
Two soft-boiled eggs
Strawberry yogurt
Sliced nectarine

Snack
High-protein bar

Lunch
Chicken breast with turkey bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo on lemon dill bread
Sliced cucumbers and carrots with ranch dip

Happy hour
Tortilla chips with smoked provolone

Dinner
Sauteed pork tenderloin
French potato salad with fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, green beans, kalamata olives and vinaigrette

Dessert
Chocolate-chip cookies
Skim milk

I mean, the only things missing were bon bons and peeled grapes. It's like I'm at a freaking spa...

...except for the part where I don't leave this couch. Would you believe I've been on bed rest for nine and a half weeks now? Me, the Pilates instructor! And that I don't get to get up until I've A) had a baby, or B) gone at least another six weeks? Holy crap.

The pitiful facts: It's been a week since I stepped outside. I haven't been anywhere besides the doctor's office or hospital since Memorial Day. I take a timer with me in the shower to make sure I'm not standing for longer than five minutes. I even brush my teeth lying down! The highlight of each day is putting another red "X" on the calendar, knowing that minihoff got that much bigger and more prepared for life in the real world.

And that's what it all boils down to. I haven't even met him, and already I'll do anything for this kid.

We go for my first post-hospital check-up tomorrow, and I'll be honest: I'm trying so hard to think positively, but nervous as hell my doctor's going to tell me I've progressed more. So if it's not too much to ask...keep those good thoughts coming!!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sir Kicks-A-Lot


Daddy here, I got into bed last night and Ali was sleeping on her side (I apologize if this is already too racy for anyone, but I'll keep it PG, I promise). Ali crawled up to me and we were situated so that my butt was up against her stomach. And laying there quietly, with her asleep, I felt a tiny little foot kick me in the butt. Unmistakable, tiny little foot, kicking through her stomach and into my butt. He's not even born yet, just a little over 26 weeks, and already he's setting the precedent that he's not afraid to kick me in the ass.


No Lolla for me yesterday, I was on lockdown, staying home to keep Ali company — not sure if you know this but I happen to be a rather accomplished company keeper. One of my better qualities. So I missed Tokyo Police Club, Interpol, Tapes N Tapes, Yeah yeah yeahs, and Rhymefest, as well as an aftrernoon an evening of almost constant light rain, but with any luck today I'll catch Yo La Tengo (Hoboken, NJ's finest!) and My Morning Jacket.


I did get out for a little bit yesterday to pick up some children's books so I can start reading to him at night while he's hanging out in the womb. Shel Silverstein's A Light in the Attic, featuring, "There's too many kids in this tub, there's too many elbows to scrub, I just washed a behind that I'm sure wasn't mine. There's to many kids in this tub," and Dr. Suess's Yertle the Turtle and Star Bellied Sneetches. Maybe a bit advanced for his age, but I'll read slowly.

Hope everyone is well out there, feel free to leave a comment anytime

Friday, August 3, 2007

Today we are 26

weeks. Pregnant. And while Ali stays home with nurse, maid, housekeeper, errand-runner, confidante, and mother Iris, Chris will be off at work for the morning. And then... Day 1 of Lollapalooza, hoping that the soothing sounds of Tokyo Police Club, The Fratellis, Polyphonic Spree, Silversun Pickups and Daft Punk, will travel across the city to Ali's tummy and encourage the minihoff to sit tight and enjoy the peace and love of the womb.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Looking forward to my bed


After two days on the hospital sleeping chair next to Ali's bed I have to say I'm really excited to sleep in a bed tonight. Especially my bed! It's also nice to be back at work and resuming a normal and productive life after the latest fire drill courtesy of the minihoff.

Don't hassle the minihoff!

My friend Kristin just sent me this token of encouragement. Nothing like the Hoff to ease one's worries!

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I hope little man gets the message to stay nice and snug for AT LEAST two more months. You listening in there, buddy?

Good news: I am stable enough that I was allowed home earlier today. Yeah! It's a little scary to be here on our own without the constant medical surveillance, but of course, Nurse Iris is regulating the situation. She plays Mama Bear for me while I play Mama Bear for my baby. :) What would we do without her?