msLaura: Modern Mama Laura Hamilton + Dan Baker = Julian Hamilton Baker & Adrian Hamilton Baker "When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her."
- Adrienne Rich



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Magic Calming Hand of Daddy

8 months along

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December 20, 2003

Magic Calming Hand of Daddy

Only seven more weeks until we actually get to *see* this baby! I'm finally at the point where I can tell if it's a head/butt or foot/knee/elbow poking out. Head/butt is round, foot/knee/elbow is pointy. This morning I was laying in bed and suddenly Julian woke up and started moving around. I could practically grab his little foot/knee/elbow as it was poking out. I gave him a little rub and he would poke me back...very cute.

I had never felt a pregnant belly before except briefly once, when my friend April let me feel hers. I remember being amazed by how hard-soft it was, not at all what I expected. It's like a basketball wearing a foam rubber coat. Hard underneath, soft on top. A very firm mattress with a pillow-top. Where the baby is, it's a little harder, and where he *isn't* it's a little softer. Kind of fascinating.

I keep hearing about how everyone wants to touch your belly when you're pregnant, but so far I haven't had *anyone* try to cop a feel without permission. I think a total stranger would be definitely skeezy, but I don't mind friends touching it at all. I think people are a little scared, or they don't want to annoy me. Sometimes I just issue an open invitation, "Hey, whoever wants to touch my belly, go ahead!" and then some people pounce on it, which is funny. Of course, those are always the times when Julian is asleep or chilling or whatever, so it's not even all that exciting, but it still has a magical talismanic quality.

During the first little movements I would put Dan's hand on my belly to feel, and he thought I was just breathing hard or something. Then we had the "Magic Calming Hand of Daddy" effect, where Julian would be rockin' and rollin', but as soon as Dan's hand would reach over to feel he would freeze. We would wait for a while, nothing...then as soon as Dan took his hand off he would start right back up again.

Finally one night Julian was doing some kung-fu moves while we were sitting on the couch and I said, "OK, NOW try to feel him!" and put Dan's hand on the spot. Per usual, Julian stopped all movement as soon as the Daddy Hand arrived, then all of a sudden a few seconds later, POW!, he gave a *massive* kick right where Dan's hand was. I think he wanted to make a good first impression or something...he was waiting until he could deliver something truly impressive. Ever since then he hasn't been shy at all, he kicks the Daddy Hand all the time, and Dan is always duly impressed. It's kind of too bad, I was hoping we could work that "Magic Calming Hand of Daddy" thing later on, it seems like it could really come in handy. ;-)

I'm still having paranoia that Baby J won't be head-down when the time comes and I'll have to go to the hospital for a C-section, so I am always feeling him to try to tell where he's at. I'm still not very good at it at all. Veronica, my nurse-midwife, is amazing. She practically waves her hands over me and can tell exactly what limb is where, how he is lying, how big he is, etc. After she pokes my belly a little bit, she says, "So to get the best heartbeat for the position that he is in, we should put the Doppler right *here*", and she always nails it dead on. Remarkable. Well, she has been doing this for 35 years, so it's not too surprising. I'm just a rank amateur. She's like a human ultrasound. I'm completely in awe of her, she's just too cool.

Only 11 more days at work before maternity leave. Strangely enough, I really like my job now and will be leaving on a very high note. Just six months ago my job was a horrible nightmare. I had a terrible manager and I got absolutely no recognition at all for the superhuman effort and horrendously long hours I had been putting in, in fact I was told that I had underperformed and was about to be laid off. Then we got a new VP of Engineering and I got a new manager, and both have been fantastic, really turned the place around. I just had my annual review and it was stellar. I got full credit and appreciation for all of my contributions towards our now award-winning software product, which is doing so well because it is "so intuitively designed that an operating manual is unnecessary" and has the "world's most easy-to-use interface". Guess who the designer was? That's right, yours truly. Lil' ol' me. :-)

I got a raise, I got some stock options, I even got a Christmas bonus that will help pay for FuzziBunz diapers and a stroller if no one buys them for us off the registry. I am pretty much on Cloud Nine after my review. It is just *sweet* to finally get credit for so much hard work when all I had gotten previously was a kick in the teeth and no thanks at all. Now everyone is telling me how great my work is, and how difficult it will be to replace me while I am just seems ironic that all this good career news comes right when I am not even focused on my career. I still get my job done, but I'm more worried about getting my closet cleaned out so that I have somewhere to put baby clothes. Life is really weird, isn't it?

December 14, 2003

8 months along

I'm now 8 months along with Baby J, only 2 more to go! Still feeling really good, sleeping fine. I'm pretty unwieldy, and even my maternity clothes are feeling pretty tight around the belly, but so far no real complaints, except for the lack of variety in my wardrobe. ;-)

I had about three uncomfortable days where Baby J got himself wedged sideways down at the bottom of my pelvis, so that he had his head poking into one side of my groin and his feet poking into the other side. It felt like he was going down my leg, and made me walk bowlegged for a bit. I budged him back into a head-down position by doing some yoga moves on my hands and knees.

My midwife says that everything is going along wonderfully well. I have a very long torso, so he has a lot of room in there and isn't very cramped. Less stretching for my skin and muscles as well. No sign of any stretch marks anywhere yet...woohoo!...which she says is miraculous since I've gone from A to DD. She said normally that kind of rapid breast growth brings horrible stretch marks. My blood pressure is good, my weight gain and nutrition are good...if it all keeps going this well I will have a great deal of blessings to be thankful for.

I rented a birthing tub online the other day. I'm not planning on actually delivering in the tub, but I will probably be in there for a good part of my labor. The warm water keeps your tissues/muscles soft and relaxed so that the contractions can do their work. It's extra-nice because you can get in all the way up to your neck, and there is a heater and a filter. It should be arriving about two weeks before my due date.

I'm pretty excited about the whole thing...I keep making jokes about my "Birthin' Beer Hut" because my midwife recommends having a few good beers while relaxing in the tub. Apparently this really helps to relax your uterus, and the whole process is all about staying as calm and relaxed as possible. So I have a standing order in with Dan for one tall Hefeweizen and one tall Oktoberfest, to be delivered to my Birthin' Beer Tub when the time comes. It's funny, I never drank beer at all until I was about 29 years old. I still wasn't a big fan or anything until about two years ago, and I still don't like most beers, I hate that bitter hops aftertaste. But the few beers that I like, I really like. And since I have been pregnant, I've been CRAVING beer for some reason. Dan will order a beer and I'll take a sip and it's all I can do not to chug the whole thing, it tastes so good. So I'm not even thinking about being nervous for labor, I'm just like, "I get to have a beer! Woohoo!"

At first I asked Veronica, "I can drink BEER in labor?", but then my midwife pointed out that if you go to the hospital they frequently will give you Demerol and morphine if you ask for it, and with an epidural you get drugs injected directly into your spinal fluid, all of which ends up in the baby's system and is potentially much more dangerous for both mom and baby. Compared to that, two beers over several hours of labor is nothing. Which makes sense.

It *is* funny that so many people want an epidural and don't think twice about it, even though it makes for a somewhat dopey baby for several hours/days after birth and many more problems latching on for key post-delivery breastfeeding, but if you talk about drinking a beer during labor everyone thinks *that* is dangerous.

I got some super-cool high-tech microfleece cloth diapers on eBay. I have more on my registry list, but at least I'll have some on hand.

And I got these two really great baby slings, one a soft polarfleece pouch, and the other a mesh sling that you can use to take baby into the shower or into the pool with you safely. It also works well in hot weather and blocks UV, which is good, because you can't put sunblock on babies under 6 months old. Both are in a soft cappuccino color, which is nice, because SO many baby things only come in the most horrible garish ugly colors. My friend April gave me another padded sling, but it's huge and it's a bright light blue, which isn't the worst thing, but considering that Dan and I will be wearing this kid around on our bodies for the next two years or's nice to have something that looks classy, is neutral-colored, and not embarrassing or ugly to wear.

Yesterday was my 34th birthday, it was really low-key this year. We drove to Santa Cruz to pick up a Xmas goose that I ordered from my local Slow Food convivium, and went to the beach with Bugs while we were there. It was a lovely day, sort of overcast, but warm enough, kind of a moody day.

Then Dan and I went to go get my wedding band ordered. Only a year late! I am still just wearing my engagement ring, which is fine, but I figured our pending anniversary and baby merited actually getting around to having the wedding band made :-) My ring is custom-made platinum, very simple, with a single brilliant 1.2 carat diamond, but the setting is very solid and thick, and square in the back so that it doesn't slide around on my finger. I tried looking for a less-expensive wedding band, but in the end it will have to be custom-made to go with the current ring, nothing else matches. I told Dan that this can count as my birthday, Xmas AND anniversary present, so that was easy enough for both him and me...there's not really anything else I need or want, except maybe a Sony photo printer for my digital camera. But I might buy that on my own. ;-)

To finish up the day we had friends over for hot spiced wine (I had cider) and then went on a horse-and-carriage ride through Los Gatos, an adorable town nearby. There is a certain neighborhood that has incredible Xmas light displays, so we toured through there and then through the downtown area, which is all lit up at night as well. It was charming, with our cute horse pulling the carriage and blankets on our laps. I did royal waves at everyone as we passed by...then we walked over to a local restaurant as a group for a fantastic dinner. Filet mignon and lobster tail and dungeness-crab-mashed-potatoes...phenomenal. We were seated at a round table near the entrance, and had curtains that pulled closed all the way around the table. Very cozy and VIP.

Only 16 days left at work before I go on maternity leave! Then I can devote myself to full-time nesting...I still have a million organizational projects to complete around the house. I hope the baby doesn't arrive early, I have too much to do!

On that note, I'm off to trim our overgrown backyard. The bougainvillea is growing over the kitchen window, blocking out most of the light, and I have all these spindly roses that need to be cut back, plus several dead plants that need a proper burial. Time to get to work. And the sun is out...lovely!

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