Monday, January 31, 2011

27 Weeks, January 16-22, 2011

The week started out okay with our doctor's appointment and glucose test going well on Tuesday, and a really nice visit from Rachel and Eleanor on Thursday.  But it turned into another bad week with the death of my maternal grandmother on Thursday night.

Milestones: Baby should be less curled up now and be about 15 inches long.  The baby book says the baby is tasting all the food I eat and might react by kicking. I think I've felt that quite often actually.

What I miss the most: My loved ones.
Craving: Grapes, raisins, nuts
Anti-craving: Coffee
Symptoms: Lots of trouble sleeping, painful baby kicks. 
Baby-size: Still an eggplant
Weight gain: 24.5

Rachel and Eleanor Visit 2011
Rachel and Eleanor

The glucose test is really gross by the way.  I haven't had any soda during my pregnancy and I've been avoiding any beverage that isn't water, milk, 100% juice, coffee, tea, or the occasional delightful milkshake. So it's kind of ironic that I had to drink something that might give a person diabetes to test if I have diabetes. The first sips were delicious and orange soda like. But even though I only had to drink half of the tiny bottle I really wanted to throw up by the time I was done. If you fail this part of the test, you have to drink a larger bottle. If I failed, I had already committed to just following a diabetic diet instead of drinking a larger bottle of this trash. Luckily I got the thumbs up from the doctor; no prenatal diabetes here.

27 Weeks Glucose Test 2011
Evil glucose drink

26 Weeks, January 9-15, 2011

Milestones: Kevin built a little cradle that our friends passed down to us.  It makes the guest room look more like a baby room already. We're going to have to move the guest room upstairs soon.

The baby should be starting to open his eyes now, and might respond to light

What I miss the most: Not debating the best time to start feeding the baby solids. My mother: immediately. Me: 6 months-ish.
Craving: Grape juice. Keep it coming. It's baby wine.
Anti-craving: Anything I suspect might cause acid reflux.
Symptoms: Stuffy nose, bad acid reflux, a lot of trouble sleeping. My left knee is a little achy.  I sometimes see stars like I might pass out, but I don't actually feel like I might pass out. I looked it up and it seems like I might need to eat or drink more so I'm trying to drink plenty of water and spread out my eating.
Baby-size: Still an eggplant
Weight gain: 23

Cradle 2011
Baby cradle

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sarah Ann and Aaron Are Engaged 2011!

My law school and travel buddy Sarah Ann got engaged to her law school boyfriend Aaron last weekend. While I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting him, I can tell he is great based on his proposal. He proposed to Sarah in a nice restaurant and then he took her back to his parents to tell them the good news. Only when they got there, he had actually planned a surprise engagement party and invited all her family and the friends he knew. How lovely!

Aaron and Sarah
Aaron and Sarah

2011 01 22 Aaron and Sarah Engagement Party b
At their engagement party- you can see the love

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Grandmother Mima Passed Away

My maternal grandmother took care of me for a few years when I was little.  She was there when I lost my first tooth. She moved to Miami with my grandfather in about 1993. She stayed there when my grandfather died in 1997.  She was only 62 at that time, but she never dated again. She was the second call I made after my parents when Kevin proposed. When I told her I was pregnant she screamed with delight.  She was making some kind of crib bedding for the baby, and we were both looking forward to her visiting after the baby was born (in about 12 weeks).  The last time I talked to her a day ago she asked about the baby and reminded me to send her pictures of my belly because she hadn't seen it yet.

My mother spoke to the doctor yesterday afternoon and he said my grandmother had emphysema and bronchitis but she would be fine, and he would have sent her home with oxygen already except she has a cortisone allergy so they couldn't give her cortisone. They gave her an anticoagulant shot in her stomach as a matter of routine and she developed a subcutaneous hematoma (a bruise). It was causing her pain, so they gave her pain killers. She lost lucidity and was in and out after that. The doctor put her on the subacute cardiac floor even though he said her heart was fine so that they could observe her more carefully.  Yesterday after her friend Sylvia went home for the evening, she died from a pulmonary embolism.

Do you understand? Because I don't. I don't understand anything. Today is the two month anniversary of my father passing away. If anyone says, "Everything happens for a reason," one more time, I am going to scream.

It's snowing in New York this morning.

1981 12 24 Christmas new 509b
With my grandmother on Christmas when I was 3 and she was 48

GW Graduation 2001
The week of my college graduation, she was 66 years old

Visiting Mima in Miami 2007
Visiting Mima in 2007, 72 years old

Dancing with my grandmother at my wedding 2009, 74 years old

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Grandmother Mima Sick 2011

There will be no baby update today. I'm exhausted. It's been 8 weeks since my father passed away, and today we heard that my grandmother is in the hospital because she couldn't breathe.  We had been planning to fly her up to stay with us for a week after the baby came. Now it's not looking likely as it will depend on her treatment.

We're not sure what she has, but at a minimum she has emphysema, or possibly cancer.  She's fairly young at 76 for someone who is soon to be a great-grandmother, so she will probably take treatment well if it's emphysema, but it's a degenerative disease and you cannot get better.

She's a smoker, or was for most of her life, so this isn't unexpected so much as awful timing.    Doesn't seem like we get room to breathe around here. First my father passed away, something I am still struggling with every day. Then Kevin's father had a heart attack three weeks later, though he has recovered well. And now my grandmother is sick, which is probably too much for my mother to handle so soon after my dad.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

25 Weeks, January 2-8, 2011: Delaware Trip

Baby stuff first:

Milestones: There is a working theory that the baby can come when it's called now. This is of course, insanity, but you be the judge. Kevin first tried to get the baby to kick for him by calling him on New Years Day. He said something like, "Come here, son." Then about two days later, he tried again and it worked again. At this point I think Kevin decided to stop pushing his luck. Then Friday night, after my mother had spent a while trying to get the baby to kick for her, I said, "Trying calling him." As soon as I said it he kicked. We tried again Saturday morning and again it worked. So yeah, the baby is advanced.

What I miss the most: Lying on my stomach on top of Kevin. I can't even lie comfortable next to him on the couch because my belly kind of hangs off awkwardly. Hot.
Craving: I am milk.  Sometimes also crave ice  cream, or milk and cookies. Vinegar on food.
Anti-craving: Apple juice.
Symptoms: Stuffy nose, bad but short-lived acid reflux. I've had a lot of trouble sleeping this week. I sleep for about 3-4 hours, and something wakes me up and then I'm up for an hour or more before I can go back to sleep. There's no baby yet! How is this fair? Good news though, my left knee stopped hurting! Woo!
Baby-size: Eggplant
Weight gain: 20.5

The week began with me luxuriating in a hotel in Delaware while the boys made profitable sports bets at the casino, and promptly lost it all on craps. I earned my keep by taking this awesome photo:

Delaware 2011
The unbearable hotness of bears

If walking over 50 blocks in Manhattan was my stabymoon, then this was Kevin's bearmoon.

The rest of the week was fairly calm. Kevin started winter session classes on Tuesday , and I had dinner with Christina on Wednesday.

I finished out the week visiting my mother and packing up dad's books to take with me. Also, we had more snow in New Jersey... five inches on Friday! (On top of the only partially melted two feet of snow from last week.) Kevin and Jon came to pick me up and helped my mother get rid of a bunch of heavy stuff in her apartment. Thanks guys! You're the best.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review of 2010- Part 2

The second part of 2010 was hard. I'll try not to post too much overwhelming stuff.

We spent the fourth of July on the Cape with Kevin's mom.  She spent the fireworks show hugging someone's baby and throwing us looks indicating that we should make her a grandmother already. Josh and Anna got engaged. My grandmother Daisy turned 80.  Kevin and I went to Michigan to visit Sarah and Donald and to see Kevin's old stomping grounds.

My dad turned 61 on Friday, July 16th.  The next Monday evening, my dad was diagnosed with a tumor in his brain. I was at the hospital the next day when the doctor told us it was kidney cancer in his brain, lungs, and his one kidney.

Dad 2010
My last photo with dad in July 2010

Kevin and I had been hoping to get pregnant, but when my dad got sick we figured it wasn't going to happen after all this month. The morning after I returned from the first hospital visit, I got so dizzy I almost passed out. I figured it was the stress of the event, but now I think it could have been an early pregnancy symptom. By end of the month, I knew I was pregnant with our baby whom we would name after my dad, James.

We planned a trip to visit my friends Allison and Dan a while before we knew about my dad's cancer, and my parents didn't want us visiting them every single weekend, nor had my dad's treatments started, so we decided to keep our date in Boston.

Visiting Allison and Dan 2010
Me and Allison in Boston Common 2010

After Boston, we swung by to visit our friends Casey and Victoria and their daughter Laurel in Marblehead. We just missed the arrival of their second baby Oliver. Rachel and Tim's second baby Eleanor was born almost immediately after.  While visiting Marblehead, I had started to suspect that something was amiss, and as I got more and more tired in the following week, I finally took an early test that confirmed I was pregnant.

Dad got brain radiosurgery, a noninvasive but traumatic outpatient procedure.  He was also put on medication to prevent post-op seizures.

As with the month before, my parents didn't want us around constantly so we attended the Jeff and Inga's Wedding in California as we had previously planned and even had the chance to travel around San Francisco and Sonoma while we were there.  The wedding was amazing. Between the time difference and being pregnant, I ended up exhausted and going to bed some nights at 7 p.m.  We had a series of bad flights and I ended up throwing up on the final leg back.

Michalowski Wedding 2010
Jeff and Inga's wedding 2010

Dad had a lot of leg pain, and it turned out that the hospital never scanned his arms or his legs and he had tumors in both. They offered him an embolization for the tumor in his legJaime came to visit and we went to the beach, but between my dad and the pregnancy I wasn't really in a beachy mood.

The end of August was truly awful. Chrissy's mom passed away from cancer. Due to my dad's brain radiosurgery he was on antiseizure medication, but the doctor made a mistake on his prescription and because of that he had a seizure, and he again lost his ability to speak or walk. The doctors advised us to up his antiseizure medication and wait for him to improve again. With my dad in this state, I went to Maureen's funeral that Friday. I had to leave after the funeral to help my dad who had not improved after his seizure yet. Strangely, I have a lot of memories from that day: two of which are being grateful that I could make my dad a sandwich at lunchtime, and that he handed me a pillow so that I would be comfortable. He didn't even know I was pregnant yet. Even in his pain and sadness, he was thinking about me.

That Saturday, Kevin and I went to Patrick and Aubree's wedding in Vermont, which was beautiful. Mom called during the end of the wedding reception and told me that dad was getting worse, so I encouraged her to call an ambulance to bring him to the hospital. Kevin and I had to leave the reception so we could get up early and go back to New Jersey.

The doctors said we couldn't wait any longer to see if the brain radiosurgery would work, so he'd have to get regular brain surgery.  The day of the surgery was one of the worst days in my life, and definitely the worst day of dad's life. We followed dad all the way to just outside the operating room, and when mom stepped out right before dad went in, I told dad I was pregnant. He couldn't speak, but reached out and kissed my hand and cried.  He was eager to talk about it when he regained his speech a month later.

We had our first doctor's appointment for the baby and the doctor did a sonogram! Dad moved to rehab after the brain surgery, and started speaking again little by little. Things were extremely tough though. Ash and Janice visited that weekend to try to cheer me up, and I really wanted to tell them I was pregnant, but Kevin and I had agreed to tell our moms first and we couldn't yet.

Baby Clou at 8 Weeks 2010
James's 8-week sonogram

I attended Rachel's 30th surprise birthday party, and I got to finally meet Eleanor.  Becky and Brandon had baby Connor 14 weeks early.

Rachel's 30th Birthday 2010
Rachel, me, Christina, and Janice at Rachel's 30th birthday

My dad was in aggressive rehab when his leg pain increased. The doctors decided to perform a second leg embolization because the leg tumor had grown again. The first embolization was done with wires and this second one was done with alcohol and a dye that possibly encouraged my dad's kidney to fail. There was reason to worry, so I took some time off work and joined my parents at the hospital every day. Kevin and I had been waiting to tell our mothers that we were pregnant, but the circumstances were scary enough that I thought it would be best to tell my mother on Monday night so that she could enjoy the news with dad. Dad started his dialysis on Monday, and it was a nightmare because he had a rare allergic reaction to the dialysis chemical. Afterwards, he started feeling a little better than he had during the weekend, and mom was in okay spirits. So I told my mother right then. She started crying and hugging Kevin until I insisted on my turn for a hug. Dad pretended to be surprised, but I busted him. His kidney started working again on its own by the end of the week. Dad went back to rehab. Soon thereafter we got a second sonogram of James.

Baby Clou at 11 Weeks 2010
11-week sonogram of James

Kevin and I attended the Cory and Robin's wedding and Kevin even gave a speech.  Dad was in rehab and fighting cancer when he got an infection. After a few days at the hospital they were trying to release him, but my mom and I argued that he was not better and it turned out his had a blockage in his kidney.  So then he had a kidney-bladder stint surgery.  While this was going on, Kevin's mom visited, and now that I was 3 months along, we told her I was pregnant.  She was super happy.  We also showed all our parents a videotaped sonogram of the baby. I had to work that weekend, both at the hospital and at the office.

0054_robin & cory wedding-177
Cory and Robin's Wedding 2010

Now that I was in my second trimester, we started telling friends little by little.  We celebrated Wednesday's 30th birthday with her and Clark. We flew to the Sarah and Donald's Wedding in Alabama. We even went to the US Space & Rocket museum and bought a t-shirt for the baby. When we got back, we publicly announced I was pregnant in the blog post, Things My Wife Complains About: #15 Pregnancy. Kevin's cousin Jen and her boyfriend Damian got engaged.

Burke Wedding 2010
Sarah and Donald's Wedding 2010

Dad came home from rehab and we had dinner together in Ramsey.  He couldn't really enjoy his meal, but it was our last dinner all together at home.

I was 4 Months pregnant, I felt the baby move, and I had a sonogram where the doctor couldn't see much, but guessed the baby was a boy.  My dad continued to think I was going to have a girl, maybe because he was used to an all-girl world with me and my mom.

Dad got leg radiation.  It didn't work  and after the radiation, we found out that he didn't have much time left because his calcium was increasing and his tumors were growing larger. I was lost in a mix of denial and grief and wasn't able to say goodbye the way I would have wanted to. Dad passed away on the morning of November 21.

We spent Thanksgiving with my mom sitting on her bed. Kevin's grandparents were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary so we went to see them the following day. While all of this was happening I was going through weeks 17-19 of pregnancy.

At 20 weeks, we went to the sonogram that told us the baby's gender. My mom came with us, and she cried when the doctor said it was a boy. She already knew that we planned on naming the baby after my dad if the baby was a boy.

We tried our best to get through the rest of the year. I was 5 Months pregnant, at the half-way point. I documented being 21 weeks22 weeks23 weeks during Christmas, and 24 weeks pregnant. I sent a quick Christmas E-card. Kevin and I did a staycation-babymoon, and he wrote about it in Things My Wife Complains About: #17 Spending an Entire Day in the City Doing Everything She Wants to Do.

Clou Christmas E-card 2010 
Our Christmas E-Card 2010

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review of 2010- Part 1

In general, I think of 2010 as a bad year, but the truth is that things didn't get awful until the second half of the year. The beginning of the year, reviewed below, was full of happiness, hope, and promise still.

We still lived in Brooklyn, but we spent New Years Eve in upstate New York at Ash's place. My grandmother Catherine turned 90 years old.  Kevin and I went to a Bruins v. Rangers game and for a few weeks after that I thought I was a Bruins fan. There was a bomb scare near my job that resulted in me going for a lovely lunch away from the scene with Kevin. Cathy and Mike had a co-ed baby shower that involved a bar crawl around State College, Pennsylvania. Kevin made fun of me for getting lost in New York (TMWCA).  We went to go see the play "A View Under the Bridge" with Scarlett Johansson.

Steffan Baby Shower 2010
Kevin, me, and Cathy at Cathy's baby shower

I threw a huge multi-day party for Kevin's 30th birthday party and his brother and best friends flew in for the event.  Kevin and I celebrated Valentines day at the New York City Ballet.  We went to Baltimore to visit Kevin's cousin Katie and so that Kevin could give a reading at the Towson Arts Collective.  Allison and Dan got their dog Coco who is really their baby.  I dreamed that Kevin was mean to me, and held it against him (TMWCA).

Kevin's 30th Birthday 2010
"Professor theme" on Kevin's 30th birthday

I had a super fun 31st birthday in Manhattan's Chinatown with my college friends.  We had delicious cocktails at Apothéke and then even more delicious soup dumplings at Joe's Shanghai. Kevin and I also went to the opera Attila on the actual day of my birthday. My dad and my mom visited us at our apartment in Brooklyn.  I met Chrissy's beautiful son Owen for the first time, but the visit was also sad because her mom was sick at the time, and it would be the last time I would see her. Michele and I went to a red carpet event and saw Jennifer Love Hewitt. Kevin and I took advantage of a conference he had in upstate New York to drive a little further up to Montréal, Canada 2010.

Meeting Owen 2010
Me meeting 3-month-old baby Owen

We took a fabulous vacation in Cartagena, and Kevin wrote about me being profiled by tourists in Colombia (TMWCA). On the way back to New York, we stopped and visited Kevin's brother Andrew in Florida.  My friend Cathy had her daughter Madison, and my friend Cate had her second daughter Vivienne. Kevin and I took my parents out to dinner for their 25th wedding anniversary, and it turned out to be the last time I'd ever get to go out with my dad.

Parents' 25th Anniversary 2010
My parents on their 25th Wedding Anniversary

Allison and Dan got engaged! My friends Chrissy and Cathy S. celebrated their first Mother's Day as mothers! I spent a lot of time working but got in some quality time with my friends in New York. Kevin went to three bachelor parties in the Spring for Cory, Lukas, and Jeff M.!

I took work lunch many blocks away when there was a "suspicious package" outside my job. Brian, Akua, Kevin, and I went to the Daily Show in New York. My mother's cousin Raiza and her spouse Millie had dinner with us in the city. Jon celebrated his 30th birthday with us at the Astoria Beer Garden. My law school friends, Kevin, and I flew to St. Louis for Jane and Rob's wedding.

Kevin and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary a week early by going to Niagara Falls for Memorial Day weekend.

Niagara Falls, Canada 2010
Me and Kevin in Niagara Falls

Aubree, Laura, Kim, and I went out all over New York to celebrate Aubree's bachelorette.  Kevin and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary for a second time (the first time was a week early in Niagara Falls) by going out for pizza at Grimaldi's and opening our wedding guestbook time capsule. A couple days later we moved from our Brooklyn one-bedroom apartment to the Long Island suburbs.

On the way to the Lukas and Sarah's wedding in Ash-Lawn Highland, we went to Luray Caverns and all over Charlottesville.  The wedding was on Father's Day, so I sent my last Father's Day card and called dad from Virginia. Trey visited us in New York for the fourth time in a year.  Kevin made fun of me for hating stairs (TMWCA). Donald found out he was accepted to clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia.

Our First Anniversary 2010
Our first wedding anniversary, June 2010

Read about the second half of 2010.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

6 Months Pregnant 2010!

24 Weeks, December 26, 2010 - January 1, 2011

This week can be summarized as follows, pregnant food-benders, visits with friends, and a baby-visiting bender. Let's start with the belly picture in our hometown Snowpocalypse (2 feet of snow) and baby stats.

FloPa 2010
24 weeks + 4 days

Milestones:  Lots of people felt the baby kick this week including Janice, Sarah, Brian, and Brady. The kicks are stronger and more frequent, and he especially likes to kick anywhere I have tight clothing or my seatbelt, which I usually move out of the way for him, or my ribs which I have not yet figured out how to move. 

For about a month now I've been feeling the baby roll or somersault when I get in the shower. I don't know how I managed to leave it off the blog considering it feels really weird. The strength of the rolls has increased and I have started to look forward to his acrobatics at shower time.

When I first thought I felt the baby I thought it felt less like a kick or punch and more like a feel from the inside. This week that's become pronounced. Sometimes I feel a hand or foot dragging along the inside. It's super weird. 

Also, supposedly this week, his lungs are developing the internal respiratory branches as well as cells that produce a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he gets outside.

What I miss the most: Reaching the floor.  I'm already only 5 feet tall, so I can only reach up to five and half feet high. Now suddenly I can't reach things lower than two feet from the ground.  This means that the entire universe of things I can reach are in a small 3.5 feet span.
Craving: I drink milk.  That's the main food I consume.  Sometimes I also crave ice cream, cookies, or salty things.  New Year's Day I had to have french toast or people might have gotten hurt.
Anti-craving: Apple juice because it consistently gives me acid reflux. Food without sugar or salt.
Symptoms: I might have a cold. I hope I do.  Because if I don't, I have the most horrible symptom yet. It's a permanent stuffy-nose-alternating-to-runny-nose situation.  I would prefer acid reflux or even throwing up.  Not breathing sucks. But don't worry, there's no need to choose! I still have acid reflux and left knee pain as well.
Baby-size: Ear of corn
Weight gain: 20+?

Other stuff-- We got stuck on the Cape for a few extra days and saw Janice and Darren on Monday.  We went to Friendlies and I went on a preggo-bender of cheese waffle fries and mint-chocolate-chip-milkshake.  Only when I snapped out of the food daze did it occur to me that the fries and cheese were probably loaded with the chemicals I've been trying so hard to avoid. Mommy-fail. Tuesday we visited the Soward family and their new super-chilled out baby, Oliver. We spent little more than 24 hours at home before heading out again to visit the Grave's preemie, Connor, who recently came home. He was deliciously small like a brand-new newborn at 8 pounds.  We spent a quiet New Year's Eve with some of my good friends. New Year's Day began with me ordering breakfast for 2-3 people and eating it all myself, and ended with vegging on Brady's couch in Philly.

Visiting the Soward Family 2010
Kevin with his buddy Oliver

Visiting the Graves Family 2010
Me with my buddy Connor

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's at Brian's 2010 --> 2011

We had a quiet New Year's Eve with some friends of mine this year. I was glad to see 2010 end. Will Arnett said it best, "Hey 2010...[censored]. I'd call you an asshole, but that wouldn't be fair to assholes." Here's hoping 2011 brings all happy baby-related things.

New Year's Eve 2010 --> 2011
Law school buddies

New Year's Eve 2010 --> 2011
Me and Kevin

New Year's Eve 2010 --> 2011
Bear friends, Brady and Kevin

New Year's Eve 2010 --> 2011
With Jaime, my friend for over 11 years

New Year's Eve 2010 --> 2011
Lina and Roger
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