Monday, June 30, 2008

Ramble on

Still here, still alive! Still carrying a mini David Beckham in my uterus!

And now a word from our sponsor:


Thank you, baby.

Everything is fine; thanks to those of you who have emailed. I didn’t mean to disappear for so long, but I’m experiencing a serious lack of energy these days and when I get home from work, the last thing I feel like doing is getting online.

Sleep usually sounds like a much better option. Delicious, delicious sleep.

(not that my fatigue prevented me from staying up to watch last night’s Next Food Network Star, though I’m sure my two-hour afternoon nap was helpful in that endeavor. And my god, is anyone else watching it? Why do we bother? I just don’t think it’s possible for anyone but Kelsey or Shane to win, SERIOUSLY. They’re the only ones who can cook, talk to the camera, and be likeable at the same time.)

(also, why is Lisa so squinty-eyed? Is she related to Renee Zellweger?)

(and who wears Pucci shoes and a $300 designer shirt while doing a cooking challenge? Someone who can afford to spill a quart of sauce on them, I suppose. Last night I made chickpea croquettes, succotash, and a homemade orange-walnut salad dressing while wearing boxers, a tank top, and my Nike flip-flops. Why don’t I have my own cooking show? It could be called Klassy Kitchen with Liz & Belly.)

The boxers, by the way, are a red plaid pair that my grandmother sent me years ago, and I wear them to bed every summer. They are huge, and therefore comfy, and most importantly, THEY STILL FIT.

Did I mention that Mike hates these boxers? A while back I lifted my tank top to reveal my practically-up-to-the-armpits shorts and pulled the waist band several inches from my swollen belly. “Look!” I said happily. “They still fit! I think these babies might go the distance!”

“Great,” he said glumly.

I hope to have many more happy years with my boxers. In fact, my love for them is not unlike my love for my old denim shorts (R.I.P). I’d better keep an eye on Mike to make sure he doesn’t “accidentally” spill a quart of acid on them, or something.


Despite the fact that we don’t see eye to eye on my favorite boxers, I really have to give credit where credit is due. Honestly, Mike has been more patient and generous throughout this pregnancy than I probably would be. While I seem to collapse on the couch like a giant slug with alarming frequency these days, Mike does everything needed to keep things running.

He does the grocery shopping. He picks up my holds at the library and fills my car with gas on the way. He mows the lawn and hauls old furniture to the Salvation Army and vacuums the house. He walks the dog, bathes him, and takes him to the vet. He calls the insurance company and the lawyers and goes to meet-and-greets with local pediatricians. He accompanies me to all of my prenatal appointments. And he’s cheerful about it.

My activities are pretty much limited to working, laundry (but Mike carries the hamper down to the laundry room), cooking (but Mike cleans up afterward), and watering the plants outside. Other than that, I’m not good for much.

I’m not used to having such limited energy, and it’s incredibly frustrating at times. Last night I actually clutched my head and exclaimed, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?”

Mike looked at me. “YOU’RE PREGNANT.”

See, I keep forgetting that part.


We went to the midwife last week and I said, “I’m positive that this baby is sideways.” Just glancing at my football-shaped belly, she agreed with me, but after she poked and prodded a bit she announced that she was 99% sure that he’s head-down.

“Here,” she said, taking my hands. She pressed them into my lower abdomen and helped me jiggle from side-to-side. “Feel that hardness? I’m pretty sure that’s his head.”

Then she helped Mike feel it. The baby delivered a good kick to my left ribcage in response.

So the round, hard spot on the right that I’ve been talking to and stroking affectionately (because I thought it was his head) is actually his bum.

Mother of the Year! Where will I put all my trophies?

p.s. I have pictures of many things to show you. Stay tuned! One of these days I will muster the energy to plug my camera into the computer!

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Hiking Mount Hormone

I spent Monday morning puking. At the time I assumed this was a random morning sickness sniper attack, but on Tuesday I still felt weird. On Wednesday night, dizziness struck so suddenly that I wondered if I could drive myself home from work. When I finally got there, I spent the night trying not to move as the room spun in lazy circles and my uterus tightened with frequent, painless contractions. Mike was out of town and I mentally made a list of who I could ask to drive me to the hospital, if it came to that. At some point, I fell asleep.

The next morning I cautiously opened one eye and found the room blessedly still. The contractions had stopped. The baby was moving as usual. I felt better and better as the day progressed and saw no need to visit the midwives.

But this morning I missed my baby’s customary wriggling as I got out of bed. There was no excited response to my glass of cold orange juice. No somersaulting as I drove to work. By the time I got there, the uterine silence was deafening.

“YOU IDIOT,” I told myself. “You killed your baby!”

Tears welling, I gently prodded my belly. I bent at the waist and straightened up. I jiggled up and down. I drank a glass of cold water. I speed-walked up and down the hallway. I got on all fours and crawled back and forth behind my desk. Finally, as the tears were spilling over and I was reaching for the phone to tell Mike that I’d killed our son…


And he hasn’t stopped moving since.

A punch in the bladder never felt so wonderful.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Definitely destined for librarianship

The family room. Liz is online and Mike is testing all our pens so we can throw out the ones that no longer work. This is all part of the never-ending process called Simplifying Our Lives Before the Baby Comes.

Mike: What's the Thrifty Nickel?

Liz: The Thrifty Nickel? I have no idea. Sounds like a thrift store.

Mike: Well, we're the proud owners of a Thrifty Nickel pen.

Liz: Does it work?

Mike: No.

Liz: Figures.


Liz: Oh, it looks like the Thrifty Nickel is a publication, kind of like the PennySaver.

Mike: (laughing) You actually researched the Thrifty Nickel?

Liz: I can't not know things.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Baby Cake

Some very sweet friends who live up the street threw a baby shower for Mike and I last night. One of our gifts was a baby cake. I'd never seen anything like it!

Most of the "cake" is rolled up diapers. We have cloth diapers to use at home, but the disposables will really come in handy when we're out and about.

The parts that look like candles are diapers with wee socks sticking out, and the parts that look like lollipops are washcloths. Several bibs are also stuck in various places.

Isn't that adorable? I don't even want to know how long she spent rolling diapers. I'm going to leave it intact until my mom comes next weekend, so she can see it.

We have wonderful friends.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Morons and more morons

We got to watch a recording of three natural birth stories in last night's childbirth class. I thought they were very inspiring, and so did Mike. That is, when we could HEAR what was happening.

I was amazed by the immaturity in that room. I mean, these videos weren't even as graphic as they could have been, and certain (adult!) men (and women!) were laughing and shrieking like they'd never seen a vagina before.

And I KNOW they have, because they're in a childbirth class. So, HA! You can't fool me!

Not only did the vaginas set them off, but the mere sight of a woman's breasts as she labored in the shower was apparently scandalous.

Some of us rolled our eyes so hard that they popped out of their sockets and landed on the carpet.

It was like being in sex ed class all over again. I wanted to suggest that they hit PAUSE on their current pregnancies, wait a few years, and then continue when they can out-behave their children.


And now for my own moment of moron! Guess what I managed to do? I put a sweating glass down on a library book that had a pink PostIt stuck to the cover. Then I somehow flipped the book over, making a nice, soggy PostIt sandwich between the book and the light, natural finish of my wooden bedside table.

The result?

Uh, so. Someone out there knows how to get this off, right?

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

People smile and tell me I'm the lucky one
And we've only just begun
Think I'm gonna have a son

My grandmother on my dad's side always hated Danny's Song. I remember riding in her old car, Betina, and hearing the music flow from the radio as the Florida heat radiated from the blue leather car seats. I'd just started to sing along when she abruptly changed the station.

"Even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with you, honey!" she scoffed. "That's ridiculous."

My 12-year old self thought it was pretty romantic. Hey, I lived half my life in the fantasy world of Little House on the Prairie. Who needs money when you can burn hay for heat and sew your own petticoats?

But my nana always liked money, and desired it, and spent much of her life trying to get it (usually by marriage). She never really succeeded and I guess she didn't see any way to be happy otherwise.

I decided pretty early on that I didn't want to be like that.

When I was 16 my dad helped me buy a small car. Every two weeks, when I received my pay for my after-school job, I was to give him a portion as payment. I often gave him more than we'd agreed upon, because (and I quote), "What else am I going to do with the money?"

(they tried to ship me back to Mars, but the rocket ship cost much more than my car.)

When I was in college getting my degree in social work, I was shocked to find out that so many of my classmates' parents were opposed to their field of study. Not enough prestige, not enough money.

"My parents just don't want for me to struggle all my life," one student said.

I was amazed. My parents had never said one word against my choice. Actually, I thought they were proud of it. I knew they'd have said something if they were concerned, because my dad did speak up when, as a freshman, I toyed with the idea of majoring in English.

"But what will you do with that?" he asked. He wasn't confrontational, he was just.... wondering.

I mulled it over and realized that I had no clue what I would do with a degree in English. So I switched to psychology for a while, and eventually settled on social work. And years later, I settled again on librarianship.

When I married Mike, who was also a social worker, money still didn't enter my mind. Money was important, obviously, in the sense that we needed to eat and pay rent and adopt a dog (the dog was a priority for me, natch). I knew we wouldn't have fat paychecks and big bonuses each year, but I wasn't used to having lots of fancy things and so I didn't miss them.

Last year, when I got pregnant, we sat down and went over every bill and expense to see if we could afford for me to work part-time after the baby was born. We carefully added and subtracted, multiplied and divided, then held our breath and hit total.

It looked like we could do it.

Since then, we all know what's happened. Gas prices are skyrocketing. The grocery bill seems to grow every week, even with careful going-over. The health insurance premiums are going up, again. The house values have gone down, again. And when the economy is this bad, the raises we can expect are miniscule.

In other words, our paychecks are not keeping up with the rising cost of living. Pretty soon we'll be cutting one of those paychecks in half, and adding the amazing expense of part-time daycare.

Which is still not the end of the world. We've already made a list of things we will cut. Cell phones, cable TV, and my gym membership are already on the chopping block. I've been cutting Mike's hair for a few months now, and the dog will soon be getting home grooming, too. At least we have an emergency fund and zero credit card debt. And at least we love what we do, even if it doesn't pay a lot.

I'm trying to look at it as an adventure. Being able to stay home part-time is worth whatever sacrifices we have to make, but we've never lived so close to the edge before. I am holding my belly and craning my neck, and I can just about see the side of the cliff.

Tell me everything's gonna be alright. I don't want to care about money, but it's looking like I have to.

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Monday, June 09, 2008


On Friday I was shelving a few books when a knot of pain flared up on my right side. Ouch! I moved my fingers to touch it and felt a small lump, which I pressed gently.

Bam, bam! went the baby’s foot.

Sorry, baby. Of course you can stand on my liver if you want to.


In last week’s childbirth class, I sat on my pillow on the floor, leaning back against Mike for support. Slow breathing while focusing on an object across the room was the task at hand. Suddenly, my belly erupted in a series of jumps and ripples. I felt Mike’s chest shaking with silent laughter and had to bite my lip to keep from disturbing the peace of the room.


Yesterday we went to swim some laps at one of the community pools. It was very relaxing, especially in the 100 degree heat, although kids kept getting in my way in the lap lane. I also noticed lots of kids hanging out in the deep end, near the diving boards. Man, lifeguards are lax these days. I remember them blowing their whistles constantly when I was a kid. “NO RUNNING!” “GET OUT OF THE LAP LANE!” When I floated on my back, Mike had to stand next to me like a bodyguard, to make sure no one landed a cannonball on my stomach. My belly poked out of the water like a small beach ball.


After enjoying the pool for a while, we came home and I was determined to make cupcakes. I made a double batch of vanilla with chocolate frosting. Then I made a double batch of Mike’s favorite stuffed shells for dinner. All of this took the better part of four hours.

Remind me not to do that again. My feet are still throbbing, despite last night's lengthy foot massage.


This morning my husband’s alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m. and I got up to use the bathroom. When I returned to bed I had a contraction. I’ve had a few noticeable Braxton-Hicks contractions before, but they just felt like a mild tightening in my uterus, not very painful.

This one was painful. I sucked in my breath, and then remembered that this was precisely the wrong thing to do. Breathing slowly in and out helped. The contraction went away after about 40 seconds.

The baby squirmed around for a while until he found a comfy position, then apparently went back to sleep.

All was quiet afterward, but my eyes remained open and staring at the ceiling until my own alarm bleated at 6:30.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I don't know what this is about

Look at my fetus, blogging already. Him's a wee wittle narcissist, oh yes him is!

(sorry, I should have warned you to don your protective eyewear before viewing my white, white belly)

Project Offspring Update: Saw the midwife on Monday. She gave me a big hug when she came in, which is one more reason that I love midwives. She said I am measuring perfectly and that all the people who continue to tell me how small I am can shut it.

Actually, the most popular comment received these days is, "Have you dropped?"

Aiiieeeee! NO.

He just likes to hang low, that's all. It actually does look kind of funny, especially when I view my bare belly from the side. I don't have a round bump. It looks more like I swallowed a football and it's just lounging in my stomach hammock.

Stomach hammock? I have no idea.

(sounds like a product I should think about inventing. Suggestions?)

He is really active, to the point that I actually asked our childbirth instructor if there was any such thing as a fetus moving too much. This was after I sat through the first hour of class, positive that absolutely everyone in the room must be staring in horror at my jumping, bumping belly. I mean, my god, it was like he was doing a one-man performance of Flashdance: The Musical!

No, said the childbirth educator, there's no such thing as too much movement. Although she did laugh and mention that sometimes behavior in the womb is a preview of a child's personality.

"Oh no," I said to Mike. "Maybe he'll have to be on a kid leash, like you were."

"I don't even think they made kid leashes back then."

"Maybe your mom knit her own."

"Aw, I was a good kid."

"Yes, but they had to butter your head when you got it stuck in the banister."

"I didn't-"


Well, Mike grew into a very calm, kind, thoughtful person, so I'll hang onto that as the baby pummels my bladder.

I barely slept last night, awakened multiple times by hip pain and bathroom needs and hunger and the clicking ceiling fan and the dog dreaming of tearing down the hill behind our house and my husband breathing.

I know! The nerve. All that breathing he was doing. At one point I actually whispered, "Please stop breathing!" but quickly added, "So loudly."

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Indiana who?

In line for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at the Island Roxy.

Liz: Will I be completely lost if I've never seen any of the other Indiana Jones movies?

Mike: You've never seen any of them?

Liz: No.

Mike: Wow... I didn't know that. You're practically unAmerican.

Liz: I like movies about real things.

Mike: You like depressing movies.

Liz: You admitted that you liked Steel Magnolias.

Mike: I like the part in the cemetary.

Liz: "I just wanna hit someone until they feel as bad as I do!" "Here, M'Lynn, hit Ouiser! Go on, slap her!"

Mike: Are you high, Clarice?

Liz: "Ouiser, this is your chance to do something for your fellow man! Go ahead, M'Lynn, KNOCK HER LIGHTS OUT!"

Mike: Okay, so Harrison Ford is an archaeologist and blah blah blah...

Liz: You're losing me already.

Mike: Okay...

Liz: Let's start with something simple.

Mike: Sure.

Liz: What's Harrison Ford's name in the movie?

Mike: (stares)

Liz: What?

(guy in line ahead of us turns to stare at me, too)

Mike: (through sputtering laughter) INDIANA JONES IS HIS NAME.

Liz: No, I know that! (to guy in front of us) I knew that! But Indiana Jones is obviously a nickname, right? I want to know what his real name is.

Mike: (wiping a tear from his eye) Okay. His real name is Henry.

Liz: Thank you. Wasn't that his name in Romancing the Stone, too? Funny... his name is Henry in two movies where he gets chased by boulders.

(guy in front turns around again)

Liz: What now?

Mike: (crying again) Harrison Ford wasn't in Romancing the Stone. It was Michael Douglas, and his name was Jack. And I don't think he got chased by any boulders.

Liz: Well, you can see why I might get confused... they both wear hats.



Mike: Maybe you should just... stand in line and not talk for a while.

Liz: Agreed.

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Sunday, June 01, 2008


It's not a good sign when you're reading a book and you can't get through a page of dialog without muttering, "Oh, shut up."

Right? Right.

I quit.