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."
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Baby's Got Back

What are you doing OUT?

Boxing match

Walking freak show, and some damn good pancakes

Maternity leave begins

Happy anniversary! Oh shit, we lost the dog.

LAURA HAMILTON - 600 POUNDS!

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« December 2003 | Main | February 2004 »

January 27, 2004

Baby's Got Back

Just came back from my weekly midwife appointment. All systems go. Good blood pressure, baby is head down, facing inwards, ready to rock. Veronica's assistant Rebecca said that he had a big butt last week when she was feeling him out. We had a good laugh over that. Baby got BACK! Hmmm, I wonder who he gets that from? ;-)
J. Lo ain't got nothin' on me and Baby J

January 26, 2004

What are you doing OUT?

Dan and I went to go see comedian Harland Williams at the San Jose Improv on Saturday night. That guy is *hilarious*, and the two opening comedians were hilarious as well. I get discount tickets to the Improv through Yahoo!, so we have seen some really funny comedians there. We had seen Harland Williams on Comedy Central quite a few times and liked him, but he was actually much funnier in person. Dan and I were roaring with laughter.

We saw some friends in line out front, a couple whom we met at a baby shower last year. The wife is 3.5 months pregnant and just getting over her morning sickness. So glad I never had that! Anyway, they were teasing me about how I shouldn't laugh TOO hard during the show, and the wife said, "I can't believe you're out seeing a comedy show! I thought during those last few weeks you can usually barely even move around, but you're out and you seem fine!"

I instantly had this image of myself as Jabba the Hut, huge and immobile, tucked away in my lair urping up slime, eating bonbons, and waiting for the baby to be born. Ewwww. Glad I've been keeping active...although it's not *always* the most appealing thing to go for an hour-long walk every day when it's cold and blustery outside.

It occurred to me as we were leaving the show that we are going to have a baby soon (newsflash!) and won't be able to just head out and go see comedy shows on a whim for a while. Kind of a bummer, I guess. But it didn't bother me that much. Those kinds of restrictions used to be *all* I would think about when I thought about having kids, which I guess is why I'm 34 years old and just now having my first baby. I don't know, it doesn't really worry me anymore. I don't worry about feeling trapped or tied down. Hell, we take the dog everywhere with us...at least babies are allowed into restaurants and stores.

January 25, 2004

Boxing match

2 more weeks to go...maybe. It could happen tomorrow. Or it could be a month from now. All the uncertainty is kind of unsettling, but somewhat wonderful at the same time. Baby J will come whenever he's ready, that's just all there is to it.

I got my Gentle Birth tub by UPS about a week ago, but haven't unpacked it yet. I think I am finally finished getting the nursery ready and have absolutely everything that we need for the baby to arrive. We have taken all our classes too: childbirth, breastfeeding, infant/child CPR, and basic baby care. But now I am
obsessed with getting our closets cleaned out and organized. Must get rid of all unnecessary clutter! I'm not even selling stuff on eBay anymore, I just post it to the Freecycle list and give it to whomever replies fist.

I still have two weeks to go supposedly, so I'm not sure when exactly I
should set up the birthing tub. I mean, I'd like to set it up as soon as
possible, but I'm not sure when to fill it. You can leave it filled for
three days (it's heated and filtered) before the water starts to get old. I
guess I'll give it a trial run, the tub seems like a great place to hang out
when I am feeling huge and sore and tired and getting poked/kicked a lot ;-)

I'm going to put the tub in the living room next to our sliding glass patio
door...there is a garden hose right outside so I shouldn't even have to hook
up the faucet adapter, and I'll just drain it into the garden instead of the
sink. I think I still have a big tarp around here somewhere to put
underneath in case of leaks/splashes...

Two favorite links for the day:

1) 6 Myths about Home Births: a very good concise summary that factually addresses most of the
comments/questions that I get about having the baby at home.

2) Birthing pools ease labor pains: Yahoo! News report from today about how birthing pools reduce pain and therefore drug-based interventions.

I have been having a rough couple of days...I feel like a fragile clumsy
eggshell surrounding this vulnerable baby.

We went to go have dinner with some close friends of ours last Friday. Shortly after arriving at their house, their pit-bull/mix jumped up and pounced on me hard out of the blue, got me right on and above my pelvic bone. I freaked out, because it *really* hurt and Julian's head is right there, plus my pelvic seam is already sore. But I think she mostly got me on the bone and just scared me. Baby J is kicking and moving around as usual, but until he moved again after the blow I was terrified for him. My pelvis was sore all that night and the next day, but feels better now. Needless to say, I'm keeping far away from other people's dogs for a while, big or small. It just hasn't been working out for me, between this latest incident and the last...that bad dog-sitting trauma.

Yesterday I was outside walking Bugs on an unpaved trail near our
house and I heard a bike coming up behind me, so I moved over to the right.
Because bikes always pass on the left, duh! In fact, almost always they call
it out ahead of time while still coming up behind you, "Passing on your
left!"

Well, this was some idiot teenage boy and he screeched to a halt and knocked
into my right arm from behind, because he was trying to pass me on the
*right* without saying anything as he came up behind me. A few more inches
to the left and he could have totally knocked me flat! I told him angrily
that he had better call out before he tried to pass people, and what was he
doing passing me on the right anyways? He just rode off. It really shook me
up, and then as I was walking back the other way I randomly slid on some
loose gravel and almost turned my ankle and wiped out. At that point I
started crying and sniffling a little bit, I just felt like a walking disaster waiting to
happen! Ah, hormones....

I don't feel so hot physically either. I am not having contractions or
anything, but some kind of weird random pains deep down in my pelvis. I
think it's just the baby moving, and now that he has dropped down and is
facing inward, he is poking my tender bladder and nerves rather than my
outer abdomen as he has been doing all along. He feels like he weighs a ton.
I'm also starving all the time lately. I wake up in the middle of the night
to pee and then I can't get back to sleep, not because I feel lousy or
anything (I actually feel best when I'm laying down in bed or reclining), but because my mind starts going and I begin thinking about
everything...have I done this and that and this other thing? Then after an
hour or two of laying there I get hungry and have to go downstairs for a
snack. Bugs gets up with me and we usually eat a sliced apple
together, then go back to bed.

Yep, I think this would be a good time to break out the birthing pool and
give it a go, relieve some stress. ;-) I think I might schedule a prenatal
massage too...it would be nice to feel some pleasant bodily sensations for a
change, that might perk me up. I really shouldn't complain, this pregnancy
has been really easy for me compared to some of the stories I have heard
from other women. It's just this last home stretch that is getting to me. But for cryin' out loud, I'm going to complain a little bit and get it out of my system. I'm no whiner, but no martyr either.
I'm tired of being tired, sick of being huge and having to carefully
orchestrate every movement, and plus...I'd like to see what this baby looks
like after carrying him around for this long! There, whining over.

This morning Dan and I put nice cushy waterproof mattress pads on both the
beds, not necessarily for the birth itself, but just in general. I have been
worried that my water might break in the middle of the night and our
wonderful comfy mattress will be ruined (just happened to a woman I know),
plus if the baby sleeps with us and happens to "leak" at any point and not
be on the wool pad that I bought, it's no big deal. That was one of the stupid things keeping me up last night, if you can believe it...gotta get those mattress pads on the beds pronto! Good grief ;-)

OK, time for a funny story. Bugs loves to snuggle up to my belly because it's nice and round and warm. He also sits next to me and puts his paw on my belly to get my attention, and if he's sitting on my lap he actually scooches his butt up to sit on it like it's a stool or something. I always tell him that this baby is going to come out and give him hell for being treated like a piece of furniture.

A few nights ago Bugs and Dan and I were sitting on the couch watching a movie, Bugs was snuggled in with his head pressing against the side of my belly, and all of a sudden Julian started to kick Bugs in the head nonstop. It was hysterical, like "Finally, I'm going to get back at this dog!". Bugs didn't know what was going on, he would lift his head at a big kick, look around, then put his head back down just in time to receive another series of good solid kicks. Obviously they weren't *that* bad, he didn't get up and move away or anything, but it was funny all the same. I grabbed his head and held it in close to my belly and said, "Go on Julian, get that dog! Your time for revenge has come!", and the little kickboxer just went at him. Dan and I were cracking up.

Well, time for lunch. Oh wait, I guess I had lunch already. Um, time for a snack then? Baby J must be growing like crazy right now...I can NOT get enough to eat these past few days!

January 18, 2004

Walking freak show, and some damn good pancakes

So here's my little rant for the day...

I came home from the grocery store yesterday threatening to not go out in public for the rest of this pregnancy. I've had it...I am tired of feeling like a walking freak show for everyone to comment on!

I was buying groceries and a woman and passed me in the aisle. Her eyes bugged out when she saw me and she shouted, "You're going to pop any second!", like I was going to endanger her life by literally exploding right next to her. Everyone turned around to look, I was so mortified. At least 4 more people said something to me as they passed me, and everyone in the checkout line was commenting to me as well.

When I take the dog out for his daily walk people can't seem to believe that I'm actually out moving around. I get a lot of comments on the trail near our house. People jog by and shout things at me like, "Boy, not long now!"

It seems like 1 out of every 5 people I pass will either say, "Almost there, eh!" or "Ready to go any minute, I see!" or something similar. I usually reply that I still have three more weeks to go (if I say anything at all) and then I get an expression of disbelief and pity. Ugh, I am so tired of it!

My coworkers threw me a maternity-leave party at work before I left, and plenty of people were commenting on what a big belly I have. I didn't mind too much, but then a woman who just came back from maternity leave came up from me and she looked right at my belly and said, "Wow, that thing is HUGE. I mean really...HUGE!!" And she of all people...she was so big for several months before she went out on leave that people seriously thought that she was having twins, or puppies! ;-) She couldn't even wear maternity clothes, she just wore big tent-like dresses. And she's calling *me* huge! D'oh!

Even Dan is getting in on it. He always kisses and pats my belly, but the other day he grabbed it with both hands and said, "Wow, I can't believe it. It's just SO big!"
OK, he says it in a proud way, because he is happy about having a big strapping baby boy, but he also just can't believe that my belly is *that* damn big!

Arrgh. I am getting a little bit crabby about all the commentary, can you tell? I know it's all perfectly normal, human-nature kind of thing, and hey, it really IS an enormously big belly, it even surprises me and I look at it every day. But dang it, I feel like I should just join a circus or something! OK, end of my rant on that...

I had my first chiropractor appointment the other day to fix me up after the Dog Chasing Episode that crippled me for two weeks. I am completely sold!

Every day I would take the dog for a walk of a little over an hour, and by the time I came back I could barely move for the rest of the day. My pelvis felt shattered, shooting pains were coming down from my hip into my back, I felt like I had an abdominal hernia rupturing in front, and my right groin muscle was pulling tight as a drum. Yeah, just as much fun as it sounds.

So I went in to see the chiropractor recommended by my midwife. She put me face-down on a special pregnant table with room for my belly, pulled on each one of my legs, felt my lower spine and she told me that my tailbone was pulled to the right. She took some kind of clicking, snapping thing (I couldn't see it) and snapped it against my back to the right of my tailbone and lower spine in several places. Then I turned over and she gave me another quick exam, and said everything looked good, the problem seemed to have been based in my tailbone. When it pulled to one side, it pulled my lower back muscles on one side, and the muscles/ligaments that wrap around my hip, and even the groin muscles on that same side. So all my pains were caused by that stupid tailbone being out of whack.

She then had me point and flex my feet while deep breathing, yoga-style. While I did that, she took my head in her hands and applied a LOT of pressure to certain points/counterpoints on my head and neck, it hurt quite a bit at times, but then started to feel good. Then she had me get up and walk around to see if the pain had lessened. It had, quite a bit, but I still felt a pull in my back. I laid down again and she did more of the same. When I got up the next time the pulling sensation was completely gone. I couldn't believe it!

What she did is called "Vector Point Cranial Therapy", I don't really understand how it works, but wow, what results! I have been on the same walks for the past two days and no crippling pain anymore in any of those areas. My back still gets a bit sore, but hey, I'm still 37 weeks pregnant carrying a big ole belly around in front of me, I'm not going to go out and be able to run a marathon or anything. But all the pains that I experienced after chasing the dog are gone completely. I feel SO much better and am no longer hobbling/limping around like an old woman. Now I'm back to just my basic waddle. ;-)

Time for breakfast...featherweight whole-wheat pancakes. They are delicious! Light, nutty, and amazingly good for you. I replace some of the whole-wheat flour with toasted wheat germ and ground flaxseed meal for maximum nutritional benefit (tastes good too), and I use sweet butter and real Canadian Grade A maple syrup. Dan loves them too, and he's not a big pancake fan. The secret is the white vinegar. You can't taste it at all but it makes the pancakes rise up beautifully and turn out really fluffy and light.

FEATHERWEIGHT WHOLE WHEAT PANCAKES

Ingredients needed:

2 cups whole wheat flour (if you have toasted wheat germ or flaxseed meal you can replace 1/2 cup of the flour with it)

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, well beaten

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 3/4 cups milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Sift flour, baking soda, sugar and salt together. Combine eggs, vinegar, milk and oil and mix well.

Add dry ingredients to the liquid and stir only until smooth. Pour batter from the tip of a large spoon onto large frying pan or griddle. When underside is browned and before bubbles burst on top, turn and brown the second side. Serves 2-4 hungry adults.

Enjoy!

January 11, 2004

Maternity leave begins

Friday was my last day of work, I am now officially on maternity leave! Wahoo! I am SO happy! Yesterday I unpacked the baby stuff we have sitting around in boxes and bags and stuffed in corners, and started to organize it. I need to go to Ikea and get some kind of dresser/changing table to put Julian's clothes in, they have some nice ones. I'll wait for Monday though, so it's not so crowded and I won't have to stand in line forever.

I worked so hard last week to get everything finished in time at work. I was at the office every night until 8:00-9:00 pm. Dan would call me all mad..."You HAVE to come home now! You can't work like a crazy woman anymore! You need dinner and rest!" But I had a ton of stuff to finish up in order to leave things in good order for my boss and for the contractor who will be doing my job while I am out for the next 5.5 months. If I don't leave careful instructions and everything well-organized, it will be me who pays the price when I come back and everything is done screwed up or poorly done. Personally I would rather bust my butt and know that everything has been left in good order, then be able to kick back and *really* relax afterwards knowing that all is well. I always function better like that. Work hard, then play hard.

My coworkers surprised me with a shower party on Thursday, it was really sweet. Julian got some more cute outfits, and a Target gift certificate. I'll save it for after he is born, since I'm sure I'll suddenly realize that there are a bunch of things that I forgot about, or didn't realize that we would need.

We've been pretty good at staying minimalist with baby stuff. I put everything out on the dining room table yesterday. It all fits there except for the big stuff like the tub, car seat/stroller and co-sleeper. Now I just need to clean out some closets so I have somewhere to put it all. Time to get into serious nesting mode. I want to have everything ready by January 21st. That way if he comes two weeks early I'll still be somewhat prepared.

Since I was sitting in front of a computer for 8-10 hours a day every day last week, my pelvis had a chance to heal up a bit from the traumatic events of last week. It felt much better, so I took Bugs out for a very mellow hour-long stroll in the sunshine along the creek yesterday. The weather was incredible. I was creaky and sore when I got home, but hopefully I'll be able to keep up my walks. I would hate to be all crippled up during this last month.

Sitting for one week without walking or swimming was good for my pelvis to heal up, but my legs, feet and hands got very puffy from the reduced circulation, which is not a good feeling. The skin feels all tight when that happens, like it is going to split in my fingers and ankles. Not pleasant. The puffiness has gone down this morning as a result of my getting out and walking and drinking lots of water all day yesterday. I'll take Bugs for another walk today and hopefully I can get over to the pool and take a little swim as well while the sun is out. I can't believe that I used to be so fit, and now it's a major achievement if I can walk slowly for 1.25 miles on soft flat ground. I used to walk TWICE that every day, fast, and *then* go for a two-hour swim or run or some kind of real exercise. Oh well. There are lots more adjustments in store for us, this is just one more, I'm sure. I look at photos of myself pre-pregnancy where I used to think I looked large and now I'm like, "Look at that tiny waist! What was I thinking!".
I'm just looking forward to not carrying around this enormous belly anymore, being able to walk and run and bend over and do regular stuff again.

Oh, and normal clothes! To wear normal clothes again! I ordered some fairly chic caftans from Victoria's Secret, so I'm lounging around in those feeling comfy and not too shabby. I was joking that I couldn't wait for maternity leave so that I can just wear a muumuu and slippers all day, every day and not have to put on anything with a waistband anymore. I was only sort of joking about that. I even ate some bonbons this morning in my rocking chair with my feet up, just to complete the scene. Heh! Ah, maternity leave...

The caftans are great, because waistbands of any sort *kill* me these days. High, low, loose, whatever. They all itch and drive me insane. Julian hates them too. He kicks nonstop at where the waistband is. And I can't keep my pants on anyway, I always have to pull them up all the time. Hard to wear pants when your torso is egg-shaped instead of hourglass-shaped. My belly skin is so sensitive right now, it is tight as a drum. I can't believe that I still don't have any stretch marks. I keep it all oiled up with jojoba oil every chance I get. That makes no difference for stretch marks, because those take place deep in the dermis, but it helps keep the tight/itchy feeling at bay. I tried coconut oil and some other oils, but they were all too greasy. The jojoba is just right. I use it on my hair and face, too.

OK, it's noon. Time for lunch and a swim. I went to Trader Joe's yesterday, so we are all stocked up with lots of food in the house, which always makes me happy. Tonight I'm making duck and mashed potatoes and roasted artichokes for dinner. Yes! It's the little things in life, really.

January 04, 2004

Happy anniversary! Oh shit, we lost the dog.

Laying low all day today and recuperating from Dog Trauma Day yesterday. Dan and I were dogsitting my dear friend Brad's dog Dexter. We took the dogs on a great off-leash dog walk by Los Gatos Creek, and in the midst of the sniffing and gopher-hole digging and chasing, Dexter somehow slipped away in the blink of an eye. Horrible. Such a nightmare.

I knew he couldn't have gone far, because we had seen him digging next to Bugs by the creek just a minute previously. You can only go forwards or backwards on the Creek Trail, as there is creek on one side and a big fence on the other. So Dan took one direction and I took the other. I immediately ran into a family that said that they had seen Dexter with a blonde woman who was looking for his owners. They had just passed her, so I took off running, and ran for about a quarter of a mile. NOT a good idea when nearly nine months pregnant! I finally realized that it was crazy for me to be running, and I couldn't even see anyone on the trail ahead of me, so I slowed it down to a brisk walk.

I searched and called out Dexter's name for another half an hour, making a complete loop around the area where we had been walking, but no Dexter and no woman. I went back and got Dan, then HE ran around like Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man calling out for Dexter and looking for the woman, but no luck. Dexter had tags on with Brad's New York phone number, so we gave up walking around after more than two hours, went home and made some flyers, went BACK and posted them up, and by that time I was barely able to walk, having already done the running thing and then walked at least several miles that day. It felt like my pelvis had shattered into several pieces. We just hoped and prayed that the woman would call Brad and Dexter was safe. In the meantime we were both just devastated. Nothing worse than losing your dog, unless it's losing someone ELSE'S dog. Ugh. Dan and I barely said one word to one another, we were so stressed out and miserable, and not only that, but it was our first wedding anniversary that day.

All ended well though. The woman's husband called Brad and left a phone number, so we were able to go pick up Dexter. They lived *right* off the trail, I don't know why those fools didn't stick around for more than two seconds after they found him. Idiots. But at least we got him back. No more running for me though, I can still barely walk. I must have strained something pretty badly. There is a cartilage seam down the front of your pelvis and it starts to get *very* soft in pregnant women right around this time, in preparation for the baby to come. I really hope I didn't tear it or do anything severe.

January 01, 2004

LAURA HAMILTON - 600 POUNDS!

My life revolves around food lately...cooking it and eating it. Eating nice things is
one of my only pleasures right now...everything else is a big chore. Even
laying on the couch to read a book requires strategically placed pillows and
is not that comfortable. Julian kicks me half to death lately. This baby is
getting strong! Some of those kicks literally make me flinch and jump a few
inches. I am still sleeping fine, thank goodness, but I am getting sick and
tired of being this big and this full of baby.

Suddenly I feel like everything between my boobs and thighs is baby, with skin
stretched over it. My stomach is up by my boobs, my bladder is squished down
by my thighs, and goddess only knows how my other organs are faring. They
must be on either side of my spine in the 2 square inches of torso space
remaining that's NOT baby.

I am definitely getting to the point where I am ready to get this over with.
My back and feet are starting a violent rebellion where they cripple me if I
stand up or walk for more than 45 minutes. I just saw some pictures that
were taken of me a few weeks ago and I have a big round moon face with a
roll of fat under my chin(s). Ugh. (Note to self: do not wear hair up
anymore... newly sprouted neck and chin rolls are *very* unflattering).

I found a lot of comfort in something I read online the other day...it's a
*good* sign to be moderately swollen and puffy in your last trimester, that
means that you are retaining water, which acts as a buffer against
dehydration and helps to cushion the baby, your organs, etc. Hard to
dehydrate during labor when you have 15 pounds of water stored up like a
camel throughout your body cells. So I try not to get upset about my
slight puffiness.

Still, I am really lucky, and probably not *half* as uncomfortable as most
other women at my stage, so I am grateful for that and for Julian and me
both being healthy. I have really sailed through most of this pregnancy,
it's just now in the last five weeks that I'm starting to be OVER the whole
thing. I'm sure that's a good thing in a lot of ways...it certainly makes
you look forward to labor and delivery!

I have been having a lot of funny dreams lately. Last night I dreamed that I
was going into labor and I was like, "Yay! Woohoo! Bring it on!" But then I
remembered that I have five more weeks to go until my due date, Julian the
Bun is not fully and properly baked yet and needs more time in the oven, and
besides, I haven't even had any maternity leave yet! I want my full four
weeks of pre-delivery maternity leave! So in my dream I decided that it
wasn't a good idea to have the baby quite *yet* and switched to some other
non-labor dream theme.

Two nights ago I dreamed that I was in the cafeteria at Yahoo! and suddenly
there was an announcement over the PA system:
"We'd like to announce a special award today to Laura Hamilton, who has
achieved the Most Weight Gain, coming in at a record 600 pounds!"

Then my chubby face photo flashed up on the monitor with "LAURA HAMILTON -
600 POUNDS!" in bold letters next to it. I was mortified in my dream, of
course, and while I was hiding under my lunch table I kept thinking, "I
don't even weigh 600 pounds! I think I only weigh 580 or something like
that...this is bullshit!"



When I woke up I was all confused...do I weigh 580 pounds? Wait, no...I
weigh 180 pounds, which is shocking enough, but at least it's not 580. Then
I realized how silly the whole thing was and had a good laugh.

My dreams are so blatantly obvious lately. There's absolutely no mystery or
hidden symbolism to them at all. They're just pure extensions of my waking
anxieties.

The other dreams that crack me up are the ones where I'm this femme fatale
character, completely irresistible to all men who cross my path. In those
dreams I go around giving come-hither looks to handsome men, who promptly
fall down gasping with desire at my stupendous beauty and charm.
Occasionally some reality will break though and it will occur to me that I
am 8+ months pregnant in real life (but in my dream I never have more than a
tiny little training belly, if that). Then I ask one of the handsome men if
he minds about that, and he, the gallant, always says no, of course not...it
only makes me MORE irresistible and beautiful! The femme fatale dreams are
completely obvious as well, but I like them a lot!

As I sit here I can cup the curve of a baby butt (humping out from
underneath my right breast) with my right hand, and with my left hand feel
baby fingers poking me down by my left groin. Awww...ok, it's tiresome to be
the oven that this large and squirmy bun is baking in, but sometimes it's
pretty cute.

I had a burst of anxiety the other day that I wouldn't have anything ready
for Baby J in time with only 5 weeks until my due date. What if he comes
early? The bad part about having an online shower is that no one gets you
anything from your registry, whereas if you have a real live shower you
usually end up with *too* much stuff (not good either). So I took my Xmas
bonus and a birthday check from my Dad and some of my maternity leave
savings and bought everything in the registries that I couldn't imagine
surviving without. Like the cloth diapers, for example, and the stuff that
goes with those. Dad got us a really great stroller and infant car seat
travel system for Xmas, so I'm not sweating that anymore and could take that
off the list as well. So now at least the very bare essentials are taken
care of. I feel better now.


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