Sleep, Blessed Sleep and Snark

Had another visit to the House O'Babies on Wednesday. We're at 32 weeks (technically 31 weeks, 5 days today) and had a good visit although I got the gestational diabetes lecture and was praised for not gaining any weight.

Baby's heartbeat was great. Blood pressure was 116/70. Baby's head down and wiggling.
I'm feeling good even though the Leg Cramps from Hell continue most nights. I've got sciatica in the left leg (Spider Monkey has her head FIRMLY on the nerve) and if I lay on my right side, the sciatica gets worse. I get leg cramps in the right leg. If I lay on my left side, my right leg cramps. So yes, this is a case of "damned if you do and damned if you don't".

I discussed this with midwife Stephanie with great gusto on Wednesday. As discussed, I've tried all kinds of solutions - more calcium, less calcium, bananas, massage, warm baths, stretching and pillows in between my knees, behind my knees, in fact, everywhere around my legs. No dice.

The midwife suggested diet Tonic water. She said it had something in it that might help, but couldn't remember what. I've since found out that most tonic water has quinine in it and that's an old cure for leg cramps (and the active ingredient in the over the counter leg cramp medicine - Legatrin). Well quinine was banned for use as a help for leg cramps in 1994 by the FDA and has been linked to birth defects when taken by a preggo - so I won't be drinking any tonic water.

So I was up at 3AM this morning trying to shake loose a leg cramp that was forcing my foot to literally turn over (this is REALLY painful). When I got the leg cramp under control and the heating pad fully warmed (which helps a LOT) of course, I was having trouble settling back down. Is a racing mind part of the third trimester? I had so many different things in my head at that point that I really considered getting up and writing some of it down.

Baby decided to wake up about that time and start her morning exercise. She's doing this thing where it feels like she's stretching as far outward as possible. My stomach kind of pooches out to a point when she does this and I feel pressure around my belly button. I can rub my belly and she relaxes, but she'll be back at it again in a few minutes.

So it's about 4AM now, my mind is going a million miles a minute, baby is awake and tossing and turning and WHAMMO! Another leg cramp.

I'm not especially a happy camper this morning.

But now that I'm reading back over this post, I realize, you know, I'm damn lucky to be where I am. Moo and I had almost unsurmountable odds against us being parents. He of the low testosterone and diabetes diagnosis. Me being over 35, fat, PCOS and surly. We didn't have to undergo weeks of testing and medical intervention to get pregnant - just a few weeks of Metformin and little hope.

This little baby is truly a miracle baby. So in the big picture, what's a few weeks of leg cramps? What's a few weeks of having to test my blood sugar and watch my carbs? In the grand scheme of things, does it even matter?

The Faith of a Little Child

My better half has written a great post about the new movie, Narnia: Prince Caspian. He and I talked at length about the movie and the solid Christian message it portrays.

Now, before I get into this, know that I am a Christian. But I like to think that I'm the kind of Christian that none Christians tolerate pretty well. I don't proselytise. I don't point out scripture to anyone and everyone. So keep an open mind thru this discussion.

A brief synopsis: Our heroes from the first Narnia Movie (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) are whisked back to Narnia, but it's a Narnia 1300 years after they were there. They find the land under the control of an evil group of humans who are determined to get rid of Narnians - meaning the trolls, nymphs, minotaurs, etc. Prince Caspian is the heir to the throne of this group, but has been exposed to the "myths" about Narnia as part of his education and is shocked to find out that all the myths are true. He then, with the help of our heroes, claims his birthright and makes everything better again for all species.

The point of the story is that it is an allegory about faith. CS Lewis was one of the great writers of the last century, but we must remember that he is also one of the greatest Christian writers in contemporary times. His stories are fantastic tales with men and beasts working together to bring peace. A reoccurring character in these stories is the lion named Aslan. Aslan is an representation of Christ. He is sacrificed in the first story (Lion, witch, wardrobe) and possesses the power to heal, move mountains, etc.

During the first movie, Lucy, the youngest of the children is especially close to Aslan. She witnesses his death and subsequent resurrection and is the first to see him during the current movie.

Her older siblings however, don't see Aslan. They believe they alone can save Narnia and help Prince Caspian. They possess a certain amount of cockiness. They are very sure they know exactly how to save Narnia and they know they can accomplish it. Their first attempt fails spectacularly. Only when Lucy finds Aslan and brings him to the battlefield, do the children see him and, only then, do they succeed in driving the evil out of Narnia.

As Lucy finds Aslan, he asks the most important question of the movie: "Why didn't you seek me out before?"

How many times do we fumble around trying to figure out what the best move would be? I know when I have a problem I think about every possible way to attack the issue and often make it worse. Most times, I just worry myself into a panic attack which is a big enough disaster in my opinion. If I just calm down, quiet my mind and know - really KNOW - that there is a solution to every problem and have faith that the best, most harmonious solution will appear, 100% of the time, the solution does appear and it always seems easy.

Today, try to calm your mind and ask your higher power (God, higher self, etc) to show you the resolution to the most pressing problem in your life.

Memorial Day Weekend

So it was the weekend that was .. well.. strange.

First, I had to go to my GD (gestational diabetes) class. Grrr.... it was mostly what I expected. Stay away from breads, pasta, candy and colas. Stick your finger 4 times a day and keep a log. Basically Moo's class when he was diagnosed with type 2.

Then, I got my hair colored on Saturday. I couldn't decide between coloring and highlighting. I only knew that something had to happen because my grey was PROMINENT! The beautician and I decided to split the difference and do both, so now I have a beautiful caramel color on my hair with highlights. Very cute.

Saturday afternoon was strange. I got home from getting my hair done and Moo and I decided to get some lunch and then head over to BabiesRUs to pick up the crib and changing table that we've chosen. Once we got to BRU, we both started feeling bad. I was really sluggish and hot. Moo was kinda nauseous. Since we knew that once we had the crib and table that I'd want to drag them into the house, we decided to go home, take a break and try again later.

Here's where it gets even stranger. First of all, I find out on the Baby Bargains Book blog that all cribs by Jardine Enterprises have been recalled by the manufacturer. Secondly, our air conditioning went out. I am not functioning well right now without air conditioning so this necessitated an emergency call to the air conditioner guys and a $300 service call Sunday morning.

So we didn't get the crib - in fact, couldn't have gotten our crib - but we had the funds available to get our air conditioner fixed. Strange how things work out, isn't it?

Marriage counseling from George Kostanza

George Kostanza from Seinfield is the reason that my marriage is a success.

Let me explain.

On one particular episode, George decides his entire life is screwed up and decides that in the future, that no matter what his first instinct is, he will do the opposite. For example, he would normally refrain from telling a beautiful woman that he's just met that he's unemployed. When he does the opposite, the beautiful woman is instantly attracted to him. When he goes on an interview, instead of the suit and professional demeanor he'd normally use, he goes in sweats and eats during the interview. Of course, he gets the job.

My parents were married for 31 years. They were not particularly happy years. There was a lot of arguing, blatant dishonesty, etc. So, when I married Moo, I was worried about perpetuating the same mistakes.

On one occasion in the first few weeks of our marriage, Moo and I were having a disagreement and I asked my mother for advice. She told me that the situation was none of his business and I should do what I wanted.

Yes. She said that.

I decided this was a poor way to address a problem when I had stood up in front of our families, friends and God and swore to be a good partner to Moo.

Instead, I did the opposite and Moo and I were able to quickly resolve the issue - to the satisfaction of both.

Since then, I've used what I call the George Kostanza method whenever any issue comes up in our marriage. I figure out what my parents would do and I do the opposite.

So far, it works.

As Jerry says: "If every instinct you have is wrong, the opposite must be right."

For more marriage advice and how to keep your marriage or save your relationship or how to get back your ex, check out The Magic of Making Up.

I am too sweet

Great visit with the midwife at House O Babies last week. Blood pressure was perfect. Baby's growing. Baby's heartbeat is perfect at 150BPM. While I was there I took the 3 hour glucose screen again and....

I failed it.

Damn, damn, double damn, triple damn, HELL!

The numbers looked like this:
  • Fasting: 93 - PASS - anything under 95 is great
  • After 1 hour: 189 - FAILED - needs to be less than 180
  • After 2 hours: 185 - FAILED - needs to be less than 150
  • After 3 hours: 117 - PASS - needs to be less than 140
Failing 2 of the 4 checks qualifies you as having gestational diabetes.

So I'm watching my carbs and I will go to class later this week to go over the diet and monitoring my glucose levels. Additionally, I'll now be monitored more closely by the perinatologist.

Meanwhile, I have had the leg cramps from hell. I've tried eating bananas. I've tried adding more calcium to my diet. I've tried stretching before bed. I've tried taking a warm bath before bed. Still, I'm up every hour or so every night. I think I only had about 3 hours sleep last night.

I knew that sleep sucked during the last trimester, but I didn't know it would suck because I would be in agony.

Hot Topic: Polygamy and Cannibalism

Time for Manda's totally different take on a hot topic: The Texas FLDS polygamy situation

As you've read, some 400+ children were taken from a FLDS compound in Texas a couple of weeks ago. Allegations of abuse and coercion were the instigating factor. Child protective services, doing what they do best, decided it was in the best interest of the children to remove all children and young men and women under the age of 18 from the compound and place them in protective custody. Word has come out that these kids know nothing of the outside world except that it's evil. Other atrocities have been thrown around like ceremonial beds in their temple for deflowering virgins and sexual and physical abuse of all the children.

Yes, it all sounds horrible. when we see these women in their simple old-fashioned dresses and long upswept hair, we recoil at what their lives must be like. But I have to play devil's advocate here for a few minutes so please read with an open mind.

These folks believe that a woman who submits to her husband is holy and she will go to heaven because of this. There are a lot more religious groups than just this one - including main stream religions - that believe this, so we can't say it's just an FLDS thing. Even within my own household, I treat Moo as the head of our household and defer to him on a great many things. I'll have to discuss why I do this in another post.

Second issue: This group, like the Amish, have chosen to separate themselves from the rest of us. They take literally a Bible passage that talks about being apart from the world. Again, this isn't just an FLDS belief - it's more common than you think. I believe the passage is Romans 12:2 which reads: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

We think the Amish are quaint when they do this, but when a group of polygamists in Texas do it, we're all freaked out. Why? why are we fascinated by groups that don't want anything to do with the rest of us? They hold the modern world in complete contempt and yet, we continue to try to force them to conform to us.

But what if the reason we're freaked out is because of the polygamy thing? If the fascination or disgust we feel is with polygamy, then we have a totally different debate. I'm thinking that most of us have the same fascination with it that Oprah did when she had a plural family on the show a few weeks ago. The question that seemed to burning a hole in her brain was not why you would be in a polygamist relationship, but how the arrangement of who and when was sex being had. How did they take turns? Did they schedule it on a calendar? That was the fascination and I think it's the same fascination most westerners feel when they hear about harems in the middle east. Somehow our naughty brains have to think about someone possibly having more sex than we do.

Third point, as late as 2006, there were states here in the US that allowed a female as young as 12 to marry with the consent of her parents. Right now, the state of New Hampshire allows females as young as 13 to marry with parental consent (court consent may also be required). Several other states allow 14 and 15 year old girls to marry with parental consent. Even Texas, where this saga is taking place, allows both males and females as young as 14 to marry with parental consent.

Why aren't we raising holy hell about this? If we believe that young women under the age of 18 aren't able to make their own decisions, then why aren't these laws being changed in all states? Why are we focusing solely on this small group of people that marry their young women at early age WITH parental consent?

If they've forced these young women to marry, then hell yeah, we should charge the lot with coercion and possibly even rape. But if the young women married willingly, knowing they were fulfilling the laws of their religion and with the consent of their parents and/or guardians, why should we care?

Fourth, and this one will earn me the most scorn, I believe that a female of 12 or 13 or 14 has the sense to understand what is happening. These are not children, they are young women. My own grandmother married at 13 - she and my grandfather, who was 5 years older, eloped. If she were alive, she'd be 83 this year. I asked her one time if she understood what she was doing when she got married (there was an incident at my school where a 15 year old freshman got married and it caused quite an uproar) and she said that she decided to get married and talked my grandfather into it - not the other way around. She influenced him - he didn't coerce her to do anything.

My thoughts about the forced prolonged childhood of humans have earned me more than one argument. I believe that my 13 year old niece, 15 year old Miley Cyrus and I, at 37, all have the same rights when it pertains to our own happiness and control over our bodies. No one will ever be able to convince me that a 13, or 15 or a 25 year old woman can't think for herself. True, the 25 year old has life experiences that the 13 and 15 year old doesn't have and this will color the decisions made. It is the job of parents to make sure that children and young adults understand the consequences of their actions even when those actions concern our sexuality. I believe that it is in no one's best interest to think that a child can't handle something just because we think of them as too immature to understand it. We certainly are learning that lesson when it comes to teaching young adults about sexuality (what? 1 billion dollars put toward abstinence only education and the horny little bastards still want to do it? What's wrong with them?!?!)

But I digress. . .

Am I outraged that these folks have isolated themselves and their children to such an extent that they don't understand the way modern society works? Yes. Am I angry that these women, of all ages, believe that they must submit to their men? Absolutely. Am I glad that my own daughter will be taught that she can do anything she wants without regard to her gender? Hell yeah. But will I force these folks to change their beliefs because they don't mesh with mine? No. Because I live in the United States and I believe in Freedom of Religion.

Folks will argue with me and say that doesn't excuse anything. Folks will say that other religions allow for free will. Other folks will say that it's ok for the parents to practice this, but the children should be allowed to make up their own minds.

Ok, smart-ass, what are you going to teach your children about God? Or Jesus? Or about Satan? Are you going to say "oh no, I can't teach you about this because you're a child and you need to be an adult to make up your mind about this"? No, you're going to teach your child the tenets of your religious beliefs. You may have your child enrolled in a Sunday school or take your child to synagogue or have your child go to Hebrew school.

My question is: how is that different than what was taught to the young women and men in the FLDS group? How is it that I can teach my child about taking communion - which most Christians believe in as literally eating the body and blood of Christ - but that Mary Lou, FLDS member, can't teach her daughter that to get into heaven, she must marry? On the outside, they both sound absurd. Symbolic cannibalism and arranged marriages both sound pretty awful to me when put that way. But to the faithful, it's as close as we get to heaven without that whole dying business.

So as you're listening to the hype, keep in mind your own children and what you teach them, because ultimately that's all that really matters.

30 Weeks and Counting (well technically 29 weeks but who's really counting)

We've hit an important milestone. We're in the 30th week - can you believe it? Technically, I'm 29 weeks and 2 days, but is always ahead a week and I like it like that!

Right now, Spider Monkey is jogging around - I've decided she must have a roller coaster, treadmill, dance floor and other goodies in there. She has started kicking and hitting simutaneously this week so I feel the punches on both the northwest and southeast corners of my belly.

There's only about 10 weeks left of this pregnancy. I'm am so not prepared. We got the room painted, but we still don't have the crib or changing table. I haven't been able to decide what kind or if I want a rocking chair or glider in her room. The baby stuff we bought with MIL is still sitting in our living room.

I'm telling myself that until we get the crib at the end of this month that I'm not stressing out about the room - but the truth is that I am freaking out a little bit. I want to go on a crazy shopping trip and buy everything I think I need - which seems to be everything they sell at BabiesRUs. Logically, I need to wait until after my baby shower on May 31st before I go on a major shopping spree. But that didn't stop me from looking at baby clothes at ToysRUs this past weekend.

I'm in a real quandry about buying clothing. For one thing, I have no idea what will fit. She's measuring ahead so if I buy the newborn stuff, she might be too big for it. But I don't want her homecoming outfit to be so big that she's swimming in it. If I find the "perfect" coming home outfit, I'm tempted to buy it in newborn and 0-3 month size so that I'll have the right size no matter what.

I failed my 2nd one hour glucose tolerance test. Oh boy! I get to do the 3 hour one again!! Yippee! I wish to hell I knew what I needed to eat the day of this test to pass the damn thing. This last time, I had sausage and a little smidgen of bisquit. I was supposed to eat my normal breakfast before the test, but since I have frosted miniwheats every morning (and failed the 1 hour last time after eating them) I thought I'd go low or no carb for breakfast this time. I didn't mean to eat the bisquit but I was still really good and only ate the top half. I guess it was carbtastic enough to push me over the limit.

The Days are just Packed!!

The last few days have been action packed!

Saturday, we spent the day with Moo's parents shopping. We went to my FIL's (father-in-law) favorite shoe store - I didn't buy anything, but Moo found some really cool shoes.

Then we went to Baby Valhalla, otherwise known as Babies R Us and picked out the cutest bedding set. Here's the quilt:

And a link to the rest of the stuff

Amazingly, neither Moo or I have seen this set at our BRU before Saturday. My MIL got us the bed in a bag set that comes with the quilt, fitted sheet, bumper pad, dust ruffle, window valance and diaper stacker. I went ahead and picked up the night light and the switch plate cover. We got the room painted last week, so we'll get the room together over the next couple of weeks and put up a photo once we've gotten it together.

Sunday, Moo and I went to Iron Man. That was an AWESOME movie!! Of course, I've always been a Robert Downey Jr fan - besides being HOT, he's a great actor. And he was fabulous in this movie. Really unlikable in the beginning as Tony Stark is supposed to be and as the character grows, you can see RDJr's acting skills really come out.

During the movie, Spider Monkey was really active. At one point during the movie, everytime there'd be an explosion on screen, she'd jump. It was really kind of cool. I was watching my stomach more than I was watching to movie.

Last night, Moo and I went to the hospital where I'll deliver for a newborn care class. The instructor was really funny. She had us introduce ourselves and wanted to know what the sex of the baby was. After that, she'd go into another little room and bring out a newborn baby doll of the appropriate sex and race. We were instructed to hold these "babies" during class and we were not to put the baby on the table or floor and if we needed to go to the restroom, we had to work it out as to who would hold the baby.

We saw a particularly disgusting but fascinating presentation of normal newborn appearances with the instructor pointing out stork bites, infant rashes, etc. I say it was disgusting because there was more than one shot of a kid freshly born still covered in blood and goo. But we did learn a few things and Moo and I were able to practice a few holds that we've read about but never put into use.

Yesterday, I returned for my 28 week ultrasound. I got a great sonographer and we were able to get some amazing views of the SM. She's head down - which I was informed was early, but not too early. Her head has caught up to her belly, so she's now a solid 2 weeks ahead on growth putting her in the 85% percentile for babies at her gestational age. And she's weighing in at a hefty 3-1/2 pounds. They are estimating that if the current growth rate continues, that she'll be a 10 pound baby and after measuring my pelvis, they're telling me I probably won't be able to deliver a 10 pound baby vaginally so my odds of early induction and/or c-section have just gone up.

This picture shows her little face. Turn your head to the right to see her eyes, her nose and her mouth. She's got her hand up on her face, with her little finger over her left eye.

Yeah, I know it looks like some kind of crazy Rorschach test!!

They are concerned about her size, but they don't think she's big in the way that babies exposed to Gestational Diabetes are. They want me to continue monitoring my food intake (even though I'm still 15 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight) and have another glucose tolerance screen. Moms with PCOS are more likely to experience Gestational Diabetes than other mothers. So it works out well that I had another Glucose Tolerance Test (the 1 hour thank goodness and not the 3 hour - blech!) scheduled for right after the ultrasound appointment. We'll know the results of that in a day or two.

Additionally, during this ultrasound session we were able to confirm the sex. Here's a photo of my daughter's girly bits as viewed from the bottom (you can make out her legs and the arrow marks the "spot" so to speak):

The Boob, the whole Boob and nothing but the Boob

Had a great OB/GYN visit at the House o Babies on Monday. Baby is growing, I'm still losing weight and I feel great. Blood pressure was perfect and all other signs/symptoms are not bothering me.

I've been thinking since I got pregnant about the whole breast versus bottle thing. My instinct is, and has been, to stick with formula. We were introduced to the simplicity of formula feeding by Bilbo and Spanky - our friends who have 2 kids who are 12 years apart in age. But I've been inundated with the whole BREAST IS BEST schtick.

I freely admit that breast is best. I admit that breastmilk is the perfect food for my little spider monkey. I also understand and recognize that it comes in the perfect packaging, at the perfect tempature and is perfect in almost every way. I know that studies shows that kids who are breast fed have fewer ear infections, fewer allergies, etc.

But, I also know from friends and blog-moms that breast feeding isn't always easy. That not only does mom has to learn how to breast feed, but baby has to be taught to latch on correctly. I also know that breast-fed babies eat more frequently and can often be fussier than formula fed babies. I also understand that breast fed babies don't particularly like bottles.

So I get it. I understand the pros and cons. The midwife that I met at my 12 week visit said it best: "If Mom isn't 100% committed to making breastfeeding work, it [breast-feeding] won't work."

I'm not 100% committed to making breast-feeding work. I want Moo to be able to feed SM. I want the ease of mixing up the bottles as I go. I don't want the pain of engorgement (I know I'll get it when my milk first comes in). I don't want to engorge everytime I hear a child - ANY CHILD - cry.

So Moo and I have talked about this a lot. He's 100% on board with formula feeding.

This topic comes up now because of the e-mail I got this morning from I get a daily message from them and today's was a message for dad. It said:

Week 28: Got Milk?
Each week we'll send you a note to share with the dad-to-be in your life. Pass it on!
Bottle or breast? She may already have made up her mind, or she may really appreciate talking it through with you. Together, do your homework — you'll find out, if you haven't already heard, that breast is best for a variety of compelling reasons (from less risk of allergy and illness for baby, to a lowered risk of breast cancer later on for mom, to less smelly poop for you to clean up). If either of you have reservations about breastfeeding (some men worry about the idea of their partner exposing her breast in public, others worry about their territory being appropriated by baby, still others worry about being left out of the feeding process), put them on the table before you make your decision.

I forwarded this to Moo along with a note that said something to the effect that I know we've discussed this, but I still sometimes feel like I should try to breastfeed or something like that.

He sent me the following message:

BONK! …. You are getting very sleepy…

Click the following link to see the picture (It’s animated), and repeat after me….

“Formula provides longer lasting nutrition….”
(Look at the spinning picture)

“Formula can be shaken up and made ready by hubbies….”
(Look at the spinning picture)

“Formula is easy to find in grocery stores, target stores, and baby stores…”
(Again, look at the picture)

“Babies who take formula don’t bite you on the boob too hard…”
(Another spin around the block)

“Breast pumps frighten Moo, and look like demented S+M gear from another planet… Especially double pumps…”
(More turning… Pretty…)

Is it any wonder why I love this man so much?!?!