Thursday, April 24, 2014

Due Date 2014!

37 Weeks, "Early Term!" April 3-9
I had my 37-week appointment on Friday, which showed I had made no special progress in my "going into labor early" pipe dream. Then Saturday, I went on a hospital tour, even though I know the hospital pretty well at this point, the maternity wing is new and some things have changed in the last few years.

Kevin and James built the double-stroller, and Kevin cleaned and installed the baby's car seat next to James's car seat, so now we have no back seating for adults. He also wrote, Things My Wife Complains About #28: Pillows.

The weather finally got spring-like!

37 Weeks Pregnant 2014
37 weeks +1 day, and 20 days to go!

Baby progress: Three years ago, when I reached 37 weeks with James, babies were considered "full term" at that point. But now, the science has changed a bit, and they call 37 weeks "early term" (as opposed to "early term" before 37 weeks). The baby won't be considered "full term" until 39 weeks because the baby's brain and lungs are still maturing.

The baby is supposed to be size of a Winter Melon or Swiss Chard (no idea what those are) and weigh about 6 1/3 pounds, but she's really probably over 8 pounds. She's practicing some skills: inhaling, exhaling, sucking, gripping and blinking.
Symptoms: Terrible acid reflux so I can only sleep with my head propped on 3 pillows and a lot of back support (like on the couch). My left knee hurts. Some contractions.
Cravings: Beef, fiber, strawberries, chocolate
Anti-cravings: 2% milk is like water, anything even a little spicy
My Weight Gain: 28 pounds, 4 pounds less than last time
Things I Miss: Walking comfortably, sitting comfortably, sleeping, clothing fitting me, alcohol, you name it
Compare to 37 weeks with James, haha, we were so clueless and wrong about everything.

38 Weeks, April 10-16
I had my 38-week appointment on Friday, but I didn't learn much other than I showed no signed of progressing. So we scheduled a sonogram for 39-weeks to see how big our baby girl has gotten.

38 Weeks- April 2014
38 weeks + 2 days

James birthday playdate. The weather over the weekend was nice, but then it got cruddy again. Ash visits.

Baby progress: Baby is the size of a pumpkin. Let's stop lying, she's probably like 8.5 pounds now. She has a firm grasp, and her organs have matured.
Symptoms: Floating spots, head aches, stuffy nose, contractions- some Braxon Hicks, some more like the real ones, random temperature changes, dramatic mood swings. I've been sleeping better because I'm exhausted all the time.
Cravings: Chocolate, water, vitamin C in any form.
Anti-cravings: Food sucks
My Weight Gain: 28-29 pounds (we had to get a new scale so my weight gain isn't very precise now- comparing it to my doctor's scale is still a little confusing), 5 pounds less than last time
Things I Miss: Not being pregnant.
Compare to 38 weeks with James

39 Weeks, "Full Term!" April 17-23
Thursday with James Finally started maternity leave. I had one blissful day before my contractions started. James's real birthday and Easter is Sunday, so I thought we'd open some presents today

39 Weeks 2014
Friday, April 18
This is not a normal belly shape, correct?

Baby progress: She's a watermelon, and she's still gaining weight!
Symptoms: CONTRACTIONS. OW. Headaches, dramatic mood swings, random temperature changes,
Cravings: Water, everything.
Anti-cravings: Coffee.
My Weight Gain: 28-29 pounds
Things I Miss: 
Compare to 39 weeks with James

I had my repeat c-section scheduled for the due date, April 24th. Our specific plans for baby were and remain a little hazy. We had a sonogram scheduled for Monday, April 21 that would tell us how big the baby is and give us a better sense of the likelihood of a VBAC working. But we weren't actually holding our breath for a VBAC. We figured if we got to the 24th, she was almost certainly going to be over 8.5 pounds which would make me a good c-section candidate.

I had some contractions on Thursday, April 17th as I was wrapping up my work. I thought the stress of working might be causing them, and they did suddenly stop when I wrapped things up. I had almost none on the 18th. Luckily I ran around getting stuff ready on the 18th. Also I took a whole bunch of photos.

Early in the morning on Saturday the 19th, stuff started getting kind of real. The contractions were 10 minutes apart all morning, but I didn't feel like it was a particularly big deal since they were mild and so far apart.  But by evening they were getting a little closer and a little stronger, and I told my mom she was on stand by....


Spoiler alert: Suffice to say, today is the due date and Miranda is already here at home!

Compare to due date with James.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter 2014!

James's birthday falls on Easter this year! He'll be 3 years old on Sunday. We mostly celebrated early but we're planning on spoiling him a bit more this weekend. Here's his ridiculous smile with the Easter Bunny.

2014 04 18 Easter Bunny - edit
James and the Easter Bunny- last one without his sister!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ash Visits- April 2014

Ash came to visit this week and help me survive the last few days where I'm both super pregnant and Kevin is at work. I am really lucky in that Kevin works from home half the week. And also lucky that I have awesome helpful friends like Ash.

Ash Visit- April 2014
Playing Candy Land with James

Ash Visit- April 2014
I am really pregnant, yo.

Ash Visit- April 2014

Ash Visit- April 2014
Oh oh

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

James's 3rd Birthday 2014

Since James's birthday falls on Easter this year, and his sister is scheduled to come Thursday, we decided to mostly celebrate early. Because I'm hugely pregnant, we kept things simple. A park play date and some ice cream cake. Rachel and Tim kindly dragged Isaac and Eleanor up to Long Island to celebrate.

James's 3rd Birthday 2014
Walking to the park

James's 3rd Birthday 2014 
James, ladies' man, as usual

James's 3rd Birthday 2014 
Almost playing together

James's 3rd Birthday 2014

James's 3rd Birthday 2014
Fudgie the Whale cake for his birthday

James's 3rd Birthday 2014
Blowing out his candle

James's 3rd Birthday 2014
Trying to keep all the kids from sticking their fingers into the cake (fail)

James's 3rd Birthday 2014
More civilized cake-eating

James's 3rd Birthday 2014
Family picture but James is more interested in cake.

James's 3rd Birthday 2014
Easter basket/favors

James's 3rd Birthday 2014
Candy Land

We were planning on opening presents on his actual birthday on Sunday morning, but that didn't happen. More on    That in the next post.

James birthday interview part one: 

1. What's your name? Um, James.

2. What's my name? You.
What's my name? Mama

3. How old are you? James!
How old are you? Two.
You're three now right? Three.

4. How old is Mama? Six.

5. How old is Dada? So old.
So old? Yeah.

5. What is your favorite animal? Dinosaurs. (He was watching a TV show about dinosaurs.)
What other animal do you like? Giraffes.

6. What is your favorite color? Green.

7. What is your favorite food? Cookies.
What else? Apples.

Monday, April 14, 2014

James Quotes Before Turning 3 years old 2014

James turns 3 next week! I can't believe it how hilarious he's become in the last couple of months. The best part is that he laughs at his own jokes. He thinks he's hilarious. One of his regular gags is to get some unsuspecting adult to recite something and then suddenly interrupt them by yelling, "a turkey!" Um? Mind you, this is not my sense of humor or Kevin's. That's a James-special there.

Here are some of the best ones I've gotten down recently.

J (at 8 am): Ice cream!
E: Are you crazy?
J: I love you so so much.
E: Aw, I love you too.
J: Ice cream, please, Mama.
- 2/4/14

J: Foonee.
E: Foonee?
J: No, foonee.
E: I don't understand.
E: I don't know.
J: Mako.
E: Mako? What?
J: No, mango!
E: Oh a mango smoothee! Oh.
- 2/6/14

Smoothie 2014 
Enjoying mango smoothie that he transferred to his tea cup.

J: What's this?
E: What? Your hood?
J: What's this? [indecipherable]
E: I don't understand your question.
J: I have a serious question! I have a serious question!
- 2/10/14

J: Can I have a banana?
E: Why don't you wait, buddy? You've only been up 2 hours and you've eaten oatmeal, yogurt, milk, and a lot of apple sauce. We'll have yummy stuff at lunch.
J: More applesauce. 1, 2, 3, 4?
E: That's a lot of food!
J: But I still hungry!
E: Are you really?
J: Yes. (starts laughing)
E: Why are you laughing then?
- 2/12/14

J: "Put the poop on time out."
K: "Put the poop on time out? Did you poop?"
J: "Yeah."
- 3/1/14

J: You're the moon.
E: The moon! What are you then?
J: A rocketship.
E: A rocketship! I guess that works. What's Dada?
J: A bus!
E: A bus?
J: Yeah.
(I guess Dada won't be visiting me anymore.)

Bookstore 2014
James driving a fire truck

(In the car)
J: You're going too fast, Dada!
E: Dada's going slow.
J: You're going too fast.
E: What an old lady!
J: You're an old lady.
E: Burn!
J: (laughing) You're an old lady too, Dada.
- 3/26/14

K: James, can you help me with something in your room?
J: I'm drawing.
K: I appreciate your artistic endeavors but I need your help. Will you come help me?
J: Not actually. But maybe later, okay?
K: Really? "Call me, maybe?"
- 3/26/14

  St. Patrick's Day 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Review of WWFTC in The Quivering Pen 2014

Kevin just got my favorite review to date! David Abrams reviewed Kevin's short story collection We Were Flying to Chicago. David Abrams is the author of Fobbit, a novel that came out in 2012 to a ton of great reviews.

Here's my favorite sentence, "I'm attracted to Clouther's writing by its blunt, simple style... Dare I say that I hear Raymond Carver and Ernest Hemingway echoing in my head?" - David Abrams

Read the whole review on Abrams's book blog, The Quivering Pen.

Cartagena, Colombia 2010
Rocking his Hemingway face in Cartagena in 2010

Other fun reviews:
"Kevin Clouther's collection of wry, funny, big-hearted stories is utterly satisfying and unexpected, like scratching an itch you didn't know you had."
Rebecca Johns, author of The Countess

"Kevin Clouther's remarkable collection illustrates, page by page, the unique joys of reading short fiction. By turns subversive and poignant, darkly humorous and deeply moving, these ten stories show us the author's expansive range and the heart that drives his imagination. Clouther's beautifully rendered characters will stay with you long after you've finished the book--you'll see them on the street, in the office, in your mirror. "
Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Corpus Christi: Stories

"The 10 entries in Clouther’s debut collection all display a sure-handed grasp of craft. The first and last stories are the best. In the former, the title story, deft and subtle shifts of perspective among a group of young women lead to a well-earned concluding insight. Better still is the emotionally complex final selection, 'Puritan Hotel, Barnstable,' about two brothers, Michael and Connor, dealing with Connor’s cancer treatment."
Publishers Weekly

“[These] stories develop an intimate voice and the reader can feel characters’ hopes and despair. The title story is a particular standout. A group of airplane passengers are stuck on a layover; the story is told from their collective perspective ("For no good reason, we were flying to Chicago," it begins). The first-person plural point of view is inviting and fresh.”—Kirkus

We Were Flying to Chicago
We Were Flying to Chicago cover

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Baby Anna 2014!

My friends Cate and Matt have the most beautiful daughters, and now they have a third! Welcome the scrumptious Anna Mae!

  Anna Mae - April 2014
Meet Anna Mae!

Anna 2014 
Phoebe (7), Vivi (4), and Anna meet for the first time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Things My Wife Complains About #28: Pillows

Here is a quick pillow breakdown of the master bedroom:

Normal pillows: 4
Decorative pillows: 2
"Pregnancy" pillows: 2
"Wedge": 1

Total pillows: 9

I am allowed to use one pillow, but this pillow is given begrudgingly, as my wife claims I use no pillows. Actually, she claims I'm actively hostile toward pillows. (Apparently, this is genetic, as my brother did not even own pillows until my wife, horrified, insisted we buy him pillows.) In any event, two nights ago James figured out how to drench his pillow in urine, so now I have zero pillows. 

My wife complains, repeatedly, that there are "no pillows." I'm not sure how many pillows a queen-size bed can support, but nine seems like a lot with one six-foot non-pregnant person and one five-foot pregnant person. Often, my wife complains that I'm taking up too much room, which is sensible given that she is invariably surrounded on three sides by pillows. Only her feet have no pillows.

Of course, the nine pillows are never on the bed at the same time because the two decorative pillows are only allowed to be on the bed when people are not. I don't want to get into how ridiculous this is to me because I recognize that the concept of decorative pillows makes complete sense to about half the people in the world and no sense to the other half, and there is no gray area or hope of conversion.

It's also worth noting that one pregnancy pillow was recently banished for reasons I don't understand.

Possible solutions!

1) Replace me with Kevin-shaped pillow
2) Fill house with pillows, so wife might fall asleep anywhere at any time in comfort
3) Deal with a pregnant woman's demands for another half a month (hard)

James and the Preggo Pillow 2013
James likes the pregnancy pillow

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