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