Wednesday, December 28, 2011

8 Weeks & Counting

If cute is a limited resource, we may have a problem, because Oliver is using it up fast. 
Grinning: A+
Napping: also A+

Some vital stats, at 8 weeks:
  • From 8 lbs 1 oz at birth, he's now up to 13 lbs
  • Still a champion sleeper - 7 hours is not a stretch
Unfazed by inflatable livestock
Notable events
  • 4 weeks: Smiling
  • 5 weeks: Reaching
  • 6 weeks: Grasping
  • 7 weeks: Giggling
Waving may be accidental

He's an extremely adorable, highly interactive, totally lovable bundle of joy. Adam told us so!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


As many of you will know by now, our little bundle of joy arrived on his due date - ah, I knew you'd be impressed! - of Halloween, at the extremely sociable time of 3:14 in the morning. We are now the proud new owners of a baby boy, Oliver.
Uncle Phil says he's going to be a model. Oliver, that is, not Uncle Phil.
We won't talk about the 60-hour labor or the 4 hours of sleep in 3 days. Nope, not a mention of that! Little Oliver weighed in at 8 pounds 1 ounce upon arrival and has, thus far, been a complete charmer. This is, surely, to lull us into a false sense of security before he begins his campaign of crying all night and covering all available surfaces in bodily fluids.

So fashionably dressed that he has to have clothing credits:
Top - Krankin Klothing Empire / Trousers - Ed McLenaghan & SLZ
His main interests thus far involve 1) eating 2) looking as though he's plotting the demise of the world while making a mess of his diapers 3) chewing on his hands and 4) having sleep-offs with the cats.

The paparazzi are really going to be a problem.
Oh, and Auntie Anna thinks that his outfit is on the iffy side of metrosexual.
He may be the most beautiful baby ever born - we're not entirely sure, because we haven't verified the other 7 billion on the planet currently. For now we're pretty satisfied that he is.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Measuring Up

As I approach my due date (3 more days until Oct 31!), I thought it would be appropriate to look back over the the course of my pregnancy to remember how it has measured up.  

Health Things
- Glucose test: 103  --> I'm not really sure what it means, but I've just been telling people that I got a hundred on my glucose test.  Basically, I don't have gestational diabetes.
- Hematocrit 12 and 36 --> I don't really understand this one either, but my doctor said "looks like you're eating well" after she told me these numbers.

Baby Sizing
- 7 week ultrasound: CRL = 1.43cm or 0.56 inches
- 12 week ultrasound: CRL = 6.4cm or 2.51 inches
- 19 week ultrasound: 11 oz

Additional Milestones
- Stopped mountain biking: 12 weeks
- First PhD Qualifying Exam: 16 weeks
- Trip to the British Virgin Islands: 16.5-18 weeks
- Trip to Seattle: 20-22 weeks
- Stopped running: 22 weeks
- Started prenatal yoga: 24 weeks
- Started swimming laps: 28 weeks
- Gave in and bought a prenatal bathing suit: 30 weeks
- Started reading to the belly: 30 weeks
- Baby shower: 34 weeks
- Second PhD Qualifying Exam: 34 weeks
- Last plane trip: 35 weeks (Christine & Jody's Wedding!)
- Stopped riding my bike to work: 36 weeks
- Baby dropped! 37 weeks

SLZ Sizing
- I was sloppy about keeping track of my weight gain over time.  Somehow, it hadn't occurred to me to keep track of this stuff on my own and now it's in two different places and I have some missing data.  Sloppy.  Anyway, I've gained ~40 lbs!  They recommend you gain 25-35, so I've exceeded the recommended range of weight gain for people with normal BMI.

Here is how I've grown (through pictures) instead of the happy little graph I was planning.

~16 weeks, sailing in the BVI with Blob and his family!

~20 weeks, kayaking in Seattle with Jessica

~22 weeks, Hiking in Mt. Ranier Park

~24 weeks, with Meredith (who was just 11 weeks!)

~28 weeks

~29 weeks with AED (who was ~18 weeks! and photo-averse)

~30 weeks

~33 weeks

~35 weeks at Christine and Jody's wedding!

~35 weeks after hiking Mt. Kearsarge

~36 weeks with some similarly shaped epi-friends ( ~34 weeks and ~32 weeks)
~37 Weeks with another another soon to be hot mamma (~35 weeks)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Slz Pregnant? I had no idea.

Slz would like me to pull my weight (which is now slightly less than hers) and describe what this whole growing-a-baby experience has been like for me. Now, as Sabrina pregnant is remarkably like the rest of the US population on a better-than-average day (slightly rounder than you would expect, with an elevated fondness for ice cream) there isn’t really much to tell. She has had disappointingly few pica incidents – I have not had to hide the potting soil, the paint, or the wood glue – and apart from the occasional fourth breakfast by 10:30 a.m. she generally keeps the foraging to a dull roar.

The more entertaining aspects of Sabrina pregnant are:

  • Use of the baby containment vessel as a shelf: useful for glasses of water and extra food she might want later
  • Extensive discussion with the baby, which from the other room simply sounds like she’s lost the ability for an internal monologue; of course, I'd probably converse with something that was kicking the living daylights out of me from the inside, too
  • Proprioception: the baby containment vessel is MUCH bigger than Sabrina thinks, and as a result gets in the way A LOT – I have learned not to attempt a side-to-side pass in the hall lest I end up a permanent part of the plasterwork
  • Baby Ate My Brain: she does have a tendency to forget everything from her name on down and blame the baby, which is obviously going to be a genius

These diversions aside, Sabrina has been shockingly easy to be around for the last 38 weeks. Until about a month ago she rode her bike every day, which is more than I manage! It’s possible that our good friend Grey has been more affected by the pregnancy (lavish displays of excitement about the baby and extensive nesting).

As for us parent-type people, we’re pretty excited about the new addition. Clearly we have no idea about the terror that is about to be unleashed on our lives, but maybe knowing you’re not ready is preferable to thinking you are!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Look! It's a whale on a bike!

I have a confession. I'm 33 weeks pregant and I'm still commuting to work by bike. And I love it.

Saturday, Blob and I were stopped at a light on our ride back from breakfast.  Our friends drove by yelling out the window: "Look!  It's a whale on a bike!"  (They meant me)  I was thrilled.

Starting the morning commute--33 weeks pregnant

Most women probably wouldn't be too happy to be referred to as a whale (on a bike or elsewhere).  But I should explain: I've been desensitized.  Completely.  From the day the pregnancy test came out positive, Blob immediately began the baby whale jokes.  Note: I hadn't gained a pound by this point, nor would I for at least 4-6 more weeks!  I also don't have any body image issues and he knows me well enough to know that I'd find it hilarious, rather than be offended; 7.5 months in, it still cracks me up.

Anyway, I'm still commuting to and from work by bike.  I should explain that my commute is only two miles. It's pretty flat and mostly on bike paths or with protected bike lanes. I've also slowed down quite a bit, though still get excited if I manage to pass people! And also, as a child, more of my waking hours were spent on a bike than off, so I feel pretty stable and comfortable on bikes.  It's also an incredibly stable bike--kind of like a tank.

I know some nervous people may have trouble with this, but I tend to be less risk-averse than the average person. I'm not in risk-denial, but I don't sit still well and don't like the idea of being overly cautious when the risks are minimal. I'm still capable of doing quite a bit. And, I feel so much better after any small bit of exercise that I couldn't imagine denying my body or my baby that feeling.  Of course, I continuously assess the risks of riding and will be honest with myself if I start to feel wobbly, but until that point, I'm going to keep riding. And keep loving it.

I had to stop running at 22 weeks due to some issues with my feet. While I love running and hoped to be one of those people who ran through the 8th month, I gave it up when my body told me it was done. While walking also exacerbates my feet issues, I still walk quite a bit, but that doesn't provide the same effect. So I swim and do prenatal yoga and ride my bike to and from work.

Even though biking is still physically comfortable, I'm having a really hard time bending over to roll up my pants!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

TSA, it's not OK

We recently took another trip. This time to visit Blob's sister and brother-in-law. It was a quick flight and a great visit.  Except for the airport security.

Just a couple years after Sept 11, 2001, most people had figured out how to travel with the new security requirements--bag your liquids, take your shoes and belts off, remove your computers, etc. But, in the past year or two, security has become more of a production. I'm blaming the full body scanners.

Not sure if they're actually the cause, but since they've been implemented, lines take longer and everything seems to be more of an ordeal. Blob likes to call it "security theater", since he doesn't think the full body scanners provide any benefit on top of the pre-existing safeguards...besides annoying the passengers.

Since there is a dearth of evidence on the effects of these full body scanners and to annoy the TSA agents, Blob and I usually opt out of the full body scan when we're shuffled through it.  As a consolation prize, we get patted down by a TSA officer.  Apparently, as part of their protocol, they have to check the top bits of your pants.  On a recent trip during the pat down, one TSA officer at RDU said:

"This is why I love patting down pregnant women!"

Really?  She was genuinely excited.  She was referring to the (yes, it's fabulous) elastic waistband in my preggy pants.  I get it, they're great.  I'll probably wear them forever.  But is it too much to ask that she should be a little less excited about it!?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

What's in a name?

For those of you who haven't done it, naming a kid is a little stressful.

I've always loved my first name. When I was a kid and couldn't find personalized pencils and useless tiny license plate replicas, it was a bit frustrating. But still, I loved it. My initials on the other hand (SLZ), not as much. Though I've come to love them. Blob guessed my middle initial soon after we met and christened me "sleeze" or "sleezy." All of his (now our) friends refer to me as such, but in an endearing way (I tell myself). It's something you just have to own when you're ready.

Blob is OK with his name, but apparently rather would have been named after a horse. Instead, he was given a name both his parents liked. He also has cool initials (R.E.D.), which may or may not have been intentional. Not sure. I don't feel too badly for him.

For us, it didn't seem to matter much whether we had the "perfect" name. So why does it seem like this is such a big deal?

Well, here's part of the problem. I'm the girl who waited for almost two weeks to name the damn cats. I wanted an idea of what their personalities were like so I could pick something that fit.

We only get 24-48 hours to name the current project. Now, how to go about this?

The Criteria: cute name, not to weird, not too common, has to sound good with Blob's last name, can't spell anything weird with the initials, somewhat related to both of our heritages and most importantly, both of us need to not have a visceral reaction against it.

This last criterion ends up being the name-killer. Blob meets a lot of people on the job and they determine how he feels about a particular name. Unfortunately, as he works in a customer service industry, these people often need things from him. Needy people do not make good impressions. That doesn't leave us with much.

Also, everyone has opinions, which is both good and bad. I love getting suggestions for what people think we should name the project, but I don't really feel like sharing the names we're seriously considering. It's been hard enough finding a few that both Rob and I like, never mind trying to please everyone else who may have an opinion.

A good friend of mine is pregnant now too. Her in-laws don't like some of the options they've been considering. Instead, the in-laws would like them to name a boy Michael, which would then make their kid Michael Moore. Or Alexis or Alexandra for a girl so they can call her Lexi (since Lexington, MA has a special meaning to them). The problem is that my friend is a teacher and she's had too many Lexi's who have given her trouble in class. The in-laws decided that if they don't love the chosen name, they'll just call it Lexi anyway. No pressure.

Who knew naming a kid could be so political!

NPR is doing a series called "The Baby Project." Here is the post that got me thinking: Check it out!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Project

I promise I won't use this blog to talk entirely about being pregnant, but it's kind of a big part of our life right now. Thought I should document the good, the bad and the ugly somewhere. Feel free to skip this one. I'll probably be guilty of oversharing.

Blob and I discussed important things this past weekend (e.g., like who we might want to be guardians for this little person). In keeping with his systematic approach to life, Rob referred to him/her as a "project" that would need to be taken on if something bad were to happen to both of us. This reference was highly amusing to me, so until we meet and name the incubated, I'll refer to him/her as the project.

I've been extremely lucky with this pregnancy so far, but thought I should document the little things somewhere and share some of the milestones I've found interesting along the way.

Stages of Project Development:

- Mittelschmerz. In German, this means "middle pain". In medical language, it's referred to as painful ovulation. It lasted ~5 days. I'd never had it before. While it's usually a sign of irritation during ovulation, it may also be felt upon successful fertilization. Apparently, I could feel the zygote traveling down the fallopian tube. This was probably the single most unexpected, weird and fascinating thing about this whole process for me so far.

- Pillow Lust. I don't think I've ever been as tired as I was in the first two months of pregnancy. So tired for weeks 3 to 8 (as most of you probably know, since the gestational age counter starts at the last menstrual period, I wasn't actually pregnant during week1 and 2). The sleepiness quickly went away.

- Baby Brain. Yes, I think this is a real thing. No, it's not debilitating. At 6 weeks, I took the only test of the hardest methods class for my program and passed. At 15 weeks, I took the preliminary qualifying exam for my doctoral program and passed. Lots of people do this. Don't let this scare you away from having kids while in graduate school or chasing your career! Just make lists and use your calendar so you don't lose track of things.

- Morning, Afternoon, Evening, Night Sickness. While I was mildly nauseous on a daily basis and at different times of the day until week 17 or so, I've been lucky and haven't actually been sick. I'm extremely grateful for that.

- Baby Olympics. Activities began around week 16.5 and were in full effect by week 20. Apparently kids start to move around in utero around 7 to 8 weeks and women can feel movement between 16 and 22 weeks. I could feel ours on what seemed to be the early side, but before you start thinking we have a future Olympian on our hands, based on the early measurements I think we're a week or so ahead of the "official" schedule.

- Floating upside down in urine. Yes, I know it's better to incubate people-to-be for the full term, but I really would like to rescue him/her from floating around on his/her head in a mixture of amniotic fluid and urine. And yes, I know infant urine is mainly nothing, but still....

- I'll scratch your eye out. My finger and toenails are growing like crazy. This seems to be a result of the winning combination of prenatal vitamins and a good growing environment. I have to cut them on a weekly basis.

- Rubber feet. As a side effect of pregnancy, ligaments become loose. Not just in proximity to the uterus, but everywhere. So, my feet have finally failed me. Well, I may have failed them. Not knowing how loose these ligaments would get, I did a lot of walking in Seattle. I had supportive shoes, but not the super-supportive inserts that I could have worn. So I've discovered a lovely condition called metatarsalgia. It's an inflammation of the metatarsal area of the foot (the balls of your feet). Don't worry, it's just mildly inconvenient. It's easily treatable and not really painful in the grand scheme of things.

- Cravings. I haven't really had any. Although, I have adopted the mantra that there is no such thing as too much ice cream, but I'm sure it's unrelated.

- Elastic waistbands. I switched from regular clothes sometime between 16-18 weeks and haven't looked back. Thankfully most of my dresses still fit and will for quite a while. As weird as they look, I think they are fabulous!

- Weight gain. We don't own a scale, but at the last appointment (week 22), I had gained about 15 pounds. If I were to guess, I'm probably up to 18 now (at 25 weeks). For people with a normal BMI, the recommended weight gain is 25 to 35 pounds, so looks like I'm on track.

- Activity. I don't sit still very well, so I was a bit worried about what type of activities I'd be able to maintain. The official advice is that you can and should be able to continue doing low impact and low risk things that you were doing before pregnancy. Walking, fine. Running, fine. Swimming, fine. Climbing, not fine. Mountain biking, not fine. I miss trail riding a lot! Much more than I thought I would (even more than beer!). It's just temporary.

- The waddle. I have a friend who is a very astute observer of human anatomy. She's interested in people's build and how their bodies change. Pregnancy is good for this and in conjunction with some research she's done, she is pretty good at identifying the progress of a pregnant woman. She was telling me about which things help her estimate timing. Naively, I turned to her and asked: "when will I get the waddle?". Her amused and surprised response: "oh honey, you already have it!". Hmmm. Apparently not always, but as she was behind me for most of our hike through Olympic Park, she probably has enough evidence to convict me.

For those of you still here, thanks for sticking it out. I mainly just wanted to record all of the things I remember and found interesting throughout this process so far before I forget. Hope you don't mind the overshare!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

When We Become Three

Hi Friends and Family!

As most of you know by now, Rob and I are expecting a new addition on Halloween this year! We're both excited.

In answer to some frequently asked questions:

- I'm currently around 23 weeks pregnant (~5+ months). Officially due October 31, 2011.
- Yes, we were planning to start a family.
- So far, I've been lucky. Things have been going well. Minimal nausea.
- We'll wait until delivery to find out the gender.
- Rob has been fantastic!

Here are some pictures in case you want to see how the little person is growing.

12 weeks

20 weeks
- While most of these made our tiny person look like a gargoyle, I think this one looks a little like Rob

The view from outside ~22 weeks, while hiking at Mt. Ranier Park

In preparation for the big changes to come, we've been busy. I had my PhD qualifying exam in May (and passed!), which means I'm officially done with coursework for my program. Just that pesky dissertation to start now.

Rob finished painting the exterior of our house, dramatically transforming it from battleship gray to a gorgeous rich red. He also painted the guest room (soon-to-be nursery) last summer while I was in Malawi. (Note my many convenient excuses for not being able to help with the painting)

We've also been trying to have some fun before we become three. We joined Rob's family last month on a 10 day sailing trip around the British Virgin Islands. It was amazing!

Soon after, I went to Seattle for 2.5 weeks for a nerdy conference. Rob went to San Diego for a training where he was also able to hang out with Philip for a couple days. He then joined me in Seattle to wander around Whidbey Island, Mt Ranier park and Mt. St. Helen's.

Some pictures from Mt. St. Helen's

We hope to do some more fun things before the end of October...including visiting friends and family in Maine, NYC and New Hampshire.

Hope to see you soon!
Rob and Sabrina

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Well, this weekend was our first house-iversary. One year in our awesome place. The past year has been great for us and for the house. While I was away, Rob did a lot of work on it. It was great and livable to begin with, but now it feels even more right--even more ours. I knew Rob was handy, but when I returned from Malawi last year, I realized he must have some go-go-gadget appendages that allowed him to get everything done.

This next year promises more excitement. We're about to do a lot of planting in the yard. And we'll probably change the color of the house. Hopefully I'll be more useful with these modifications and can learn the secret of Rob's handy powers.