Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Holiday diorama

Holiday diorama
Originally uploaded by jessicafm.
Okay, are you all sufficiently bored with Davey photos yet? Well, tough! Of course, you're welcome to ignore the link if you like. :-)

We've had a great time so far these holidays. New Year's Eve is yet to come, but we don't have anything exciting planned...

Last week we went to a Christmas party at Kimo's, a friend and neighbor of Bonnie's. That was Davey's first time spending the night away from home since we left Marin General Hospital. Then, within the last week, our carpenter tore down the old fence between our house and one of our neighbors and built a new 8' (including lattice) fence. Whoopie!

On the evening of the 23rd we had a small, impremptu party at our house, when Bradford Noble came by for a visit on his way to his cousin's house. Shortly after Bradford arrived, Polly showed up with Rozzie and Rozzie's friend, Ally. Not long after that, we all thought, "Hey, let's see what Dad and Linda are doing!" I called Dad's cell phone and, lo and behold, he and Linda were pulling up outside our house at that moment, thinking that it would be a good time to drop by and see us. Perfecto! What a fun evening that turned out to be.

Then we went off to Mom and Mick's for dinner on Christmas Eve and we spent the night there (Davey's second time spending the night away from home). A wonderful morning was had, eating panatone and opening presents with Mom, Mick and Jack. After lunch Mark, Davey and I headed to Bonnie's, where Dad, Linda and Bonnie's friend, Don, joined us and we had a delicious Christmas dinner. More presents were opened... lucky for us and Davey, Santa found us in all three places (our house, Mom's and Bonnie's). Weee!

And now, after eating way too much too good food, it's time to get back to Pilates!

I hope you've all had a great holiday season so far, and if we didn't get to see you yet, we're sorry for it. Let's make plans to see each other soon.

"Wait... it's on the tip of my tongue... don't tell me..." 80 days old

Cool Davey, cool! 79 days old

Cool Davey, cool! 79 days old
Originally uploaded by jessicafm.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

First Christmas Eve

Davey awoke on the morning of Christmas Eve, surrounded by trees, lights and presents. As we're spending the night of Christmas Eve at the home of Grandma and Grandpa Brigden and then Christmas day and night at the home of Grandma Johnson, Santa stopped at our house the night before Christmas Eve. Next year, when Davey's more aware of the allure of gifts and wrapping paper, we'll let Santa know we'll be home on Christmas morning...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My boys - 74 days old

My boys - 74 days old
Originally uploaded by jessicafm.
Today was a busy day for both of the Merz men. After watching Davey while I went to Pilates, first thing this morning, Mark spent the day in Sausalito. He was helping out Bonnie with the two recently vacated apartments and, I think, some Christmas shopping in San Francisco (the shopping is speculation on my part). Mark didn't get home until pretty late in the evening and he was exhausted.

Davey's day was busy in that he had three, count them, three visitors. First was Nancy Moss, who was thrilled to finally meet the boy. She brought him a very cute outfit of a turtle neck shirt, jeans and a pea-coat. Suuhhhweet! Then Grandma Julia came by for a short visit, on her way through Marin County. That was followed by some nursing and a two hour nap on mom (me). Once awake, we went to the back yard to look at today's progress on replacing the fence between our house and Jack's house. Not bad! Should be done, weather willing, by end of day Christmas Eve. While all bundled up and Davey in the Baby Bjorn, we went for a walk around the neighborhood. While on the walk, we got a call from Grandma Dee, who was in Novato and wanted to come by for a visit. So she did! She brought us a great set of flannel sheets for our new-ish bed, played with Davey and walked with us to the local Japanese restaurant for some dinner.

By the time Mark got home, Davey was pooped! A quick top-off of milk and Davey was crashed on Mark. And within 5 minutes, Mark was crashed, too. Very, very sweet, my boys...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ho ho ho

Ho ho ho
Originally uploaded by jessicafm.

The holidays are upon us!

So how did Davey spend his first night of his first Chanukah? I'm a bad part-Jew and we didn't even light the menorah. In fact... where is it? Hmm.

Anyway, on Friday afternoon we took Davey to his first Christmas party at Russell's, Kimo's and Harold's house on the Russian River. The house was really decked out with Christamas decorations, there was tons of food, an open bar and a whole lot of friendly and fun people, including little kidlettes running about.

Davey held up to the party very well, cuddled up on Mark's chest in his Baby Bjorn. After an hour and a half or so he'd had enough and was fussing, so we walked back to Bonnie's house (Cocopah, not Bonbons) where we stayed for the night. It was Davey's first time to spend the night somewhere other than our home since he left the hospital.

And what did Davey do to celebrate all these firsts? He slept for five straight hours! Oh, Davey, how I love thee.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Amazing how fun it is to just watch Davey each day. Somehow the days fly by, just hanging out together. Of course it's more than simply hanging out -- there's plenty of feeding, diaper changing, bouncing, figuring out what his cries mean, napping (sometimes together -- sometimes I get something done while he naps, like laundry or writing in this blog). He's so time consuming, but he's also the giver of unbelievable, all-consuming love, at the same time.

Meanwhile, I've started my foray in to getting back in shape this week -- yeah! There's a pilates studio just around the corner from our house, so Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week I signed up for private instruction, to learn the ropes, so to speak. I'll join a class, 2 or 3 days a week, starting next week. If feels really good to be getting physically active again.

So Davey's milestones... that's where this entry started, right? Davey's been smiling for well over a month, and gets smilier every day. He hasn't started laughing yet, but I bet it comes really soon. His doctor said he's got enough fat reserves to sleep longer than 4 hours now, so to go for it (but that's as long as he'll sleep at a stretch). He holds up his head for longer periods of time now -- our strong necked boy! He finally enjoys his swing, finally is falling asleep in his bouncy seat...

I realized a couple days ago that I realized if Sybase didn't have such good maternity benefits, I'd have had to have been back at work already. My last day of disability (aka "maternity leave") was December 1, 8 weeks post-partum. However, as it is, I'm using every bit of vacation, sabbatical, company holidays, paid family leave and unpaid family leave in order to stay home until the first Monday in March. Right now I can't imagine how I'll do it. I absolutely see the benefits to mother, child and family for a stay-at-home parent. Well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Smiley and ready to go to lunch - 62 days old

Much happier the day after immunizations! This time he was bundled up to go to lunch at Kabuki Sushi with Aunt Polly and her regular Friday lunch crew. Davey started out smiley, as you can see, and then continued to be smiley (or sleepy) all through lunch. He let me eat my first sushi in over a year. Nice going, Davey, thank you!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Happy birthday - 2 months old!

Yes, two months old. It's so hard to believe.

So how did we celebrate Davey's two month old birthday? Why, by having a well-baby visit with Dr. Lee, of course! Dr. Lee checked him out and pronounced, "I'm very happy with his growth." Davey's now 23 inches long, 10lbs 8oz and has a head diameter of 15-1/4". So for those keeping track, since his last measurements he's grown 1" in length, 2lbs 2oz in weight and his head is 3/4" bigger. Grow, baby, grow!

Dr. Lee also suggested that it's time to start getting Davey to sleep in his crib and not in the bassinet at the foot of our bed, and that he's got enough fat stores now that we should start pushing him to wait longer between feedings at night. So tonight we'll try to get him to sleep in his crib and try to push his feedings to once every 3 hours (or more, if he lets us). Wish us luck!!

And last, but not least, Dr. Lee's nurse gave Davey a present: 4 vaccination shots and one oral vaccination. Yeah, THAT was a real treat. Poor little guy. Vaccinations: Polio, DTaP, HIB and the 2nd Hep-B (2 of 3). Plus the oral vaccine for Rotovirus. And when we got home we gave him his first vitamins (Vit A, C and D).

Now Davey's sleeping on Mark's lap, at least for a little while... that sweet, little angel.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Shower time! 60 days old

Shower time! 60 days old
Originally uploaded by jessicafm.
Alright, even though he's not smiling and doesn't look thrilled, I swear Davey loves to shower. Heck, he likes baths, too. However, showers are more fun for everyone, all around. Today was shower day. Funny though -- his face and scalp always seem so much dryer after he showers. Why is that?

Sleepy Merz-men - 59 days old

Sleepy Merz-men - 59 days old
Originally uploaded by jessicafm.
Ah, I'm glad Mark and Davey fell asleep this way. Davey and I sleep together like this frequently -- it's Davey's favorite midday nap position, in fact. But Mark hadn't experienced this for himself until last night. I went to bed and left them like this, figuring Davey would wake Mark when it was time for his first middle of the night feeding. And yes, of course, he did. :-)

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Uncles and sons - 57 days old

Uncles and sons - 57 days old
Originally uploaded by jessicafm.
Today Mark too Prescott to the Raiders vs Texans game. Garrie and Prescott started the day with a 7:30 soccer game and then Garrie brought Prescott over to our house. By 9:00, Mark and Prescott were on their way to Oakland. Though the Raiders lost (boooooo), they had a great time together and Prescott enjoyed getting to sit in the first row of the black hole, only a few seats away from the Voodoo guy. Meanwhile, Garrie, Prescott and Jessica went for a walk to Dr. Insomnia's for coffee and scones in the brisk morning air. Beyond that, it was a quiet day at the Merz house for Jessica and Davey... lots of cuddling, nursing, napping and movies.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Jessica & Davey - 7 weeks old

Jessica & Davey - 7 weeks old
Originally uploaded by jessicafm.
Mama and baby bear...

Enlightenment - 52 days old

Enlightenment - 52 days old
Originally uploaded by jessicafm.
I love this photo. A serene morning for David.

Davey & Daddy - 53 days old

Davey & Daddy - 53 days old
Originally uploaded by jessicafm.

Floating in too large clothes - 55 days old

Yes, he's at an awkward size at 8 weeks old. He's officially too tall for at least one of his original outfits, but the next size up are still a bit big for him. And here it is, December. Well... bundle, bundle, bundle!

Daddy & Davey out for a stroll - 55 days old

Yes, let's go for a walk to breakfast while the weather holds out!
Following are the posts we'd initially placed on our comcast home page. With a newborn, it's just too time consuming to edit that page. At least much more time consuming than creating a post on this blog. So for the sake of posterity, here's what was written before. The last posting is from just days before Davey was born. Enjoy!

3 October ‘06

Week 39: Still waiting!

Had an exam with Dr. Maioriello this morning -- 1 more week to due date!

Unfortunately, even though I'm feeling increased pelvic pressure, things don't seem to be progressing. Dr. Maioriello is concerned that the baby's head is still not engaged ( i.e. locked in to place in my pelvis). As the "dropped," about a month ago, he'd expect the baby's head to be engaged by now. When he did a pelvic exam, he could not feel the head, and when he checked externally, he could still fit his fingers between the top of the baby's head and the top of my pelvic bones. So his concern is that the baby's head could be too large for the internal opening to my pelvis.

At the same time, he's said all along that he doesn't want me going beyond 40 weeks. Initially that meant that he'd start inducing labor if I was at 40 weeks and hadn't spontaneously gone in to labor. However, with the baby's head still not engaging, the worry is that I could easily be in the hospital, going through induction for a couple of days and still not be able to deliver (and the baby continues growing while we're waiting). So yes, he's thinking that a c-section is entirely possible next week. We'll see how things change between now and our next scheduled appointment at 8:15 next Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, I'm healthy and baby's heart rate is good. This morning’s NST/AFI tests showed baby’s still healthy. Just stubborn!

26 September ‘06

Week 38: Waiting

2 more weeks until the due date and everything seems to be fine. This morning’s weekly exam with Dr. Maioriello showed that the fundus is 39cm, and he’s still not calling for a caesarean section birth. That is, he’s still not worried that the baby’s too big to be delivered naturally. His first question today (after asking how I’m feeling) was, “So have you had any signs of labor?”

I replied, “I’m not sure. I’m having Braxton Hick’s contractions, usually more in the later afternoons, but nothing painful. Some occasional, mild lower back cramping. Some pelvic pressure when I get up and walk around. It’s getting a lot less comfortable to go for walks.”

He did an internal exam to see how “ripe” I am and found that the cervix is about 50% effaced and not dilated. Baby’s head is still down, but there’s still a little distance between the top of his head and my pelvis, so he’s not yet quite locked in. So likely we won’t be having a baby today. Though he did say, “Hey, you can start having contractions and go in to labor without any dilation. So don’t count it out as impossible today.” But it’s unlikely.

Meanwhile, I mentioned that I’ve noticed the baby’s not moving quite as much the past few days as he was previously, and that his movements haven’t been as vigorous. Dr. Maioriello said not to worry, that it’s actually pretty normal, that it’s getting pretty cramped in there and that the baby’s heart rate is showing that the baby’s fine. Okee.

Later this morning is the first of this week’s NST/AFI testing, then we’re going to Heller’s to have them install the car seat for us. At some point we’re going to hit up Babies R Us to use a gift card we received (thank you Tom, Lucy, Ian and Elena!) to complete some of the newborn necessities. By then, I’m sure it’ll be time for my requisite afternoon nap.

20 September ‘06

He's officially "fully cooked"

That is, I'm now in week 37 and the baby is now considered, "full term." He could be born anytime now and thrive. Come on baby!

Had two good doctor's appointments yesterday morning. Dr. Maioriello (the OB) said the size of the fundus is exactly on target for the baby's gestational age now, and not feeling too wide, so he's feeling pretty good about the baby's size. That is, he's not feeling too concerned that the baby's too big to deliver normally. The baby's still head-down and "dropped," but I haven't been feeling any contractions or noticed other signs of impending labor. Next week my OB will likely check to see the ripeness of my cervix and see how close we are. After that it was time to go to the hospital for the first of the week's NST/AFI tests. Baby was moving plenty, his heart rate moved exactly as it should and there was 16cm of amniotic fluid. Thumbs up!

And, by the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESCOTT NICOLL! Yesterday was Prescott's 13th birthday and we had a lovely dinner last night at McNears, his choice of birthday dining. It's hard to believe he's now a teenager... mostly because he's still so darned nice! Polly says there will be a birthday party for both he and Garrie on October 8, but I figured I'd best join him for dinner on his actual birthday, as I can't know my availability on October 8 at this point.

Now it's time to go finish emptying out the baby's dresser (formerly my Granny's), wash all those baby clothes, put 'em away and start writing thank you cards. Nest, nest, nest...

Ahhhh… and a big sigh of relief that we signed on our doula today. Her name is Susan Hollander and I got the best vibe from her when she taught our childbirth class a couple months ago. I felt so comfortable with, and good about her, as soon as she said she does doula work, I knew she’s who I wanted. We spoke this morning and she said she’d, “be honored.” We’re so happy about this. Phew! And for those that like credentials (don’t we all?) she’s a Nurse Practitioner (specializing in obstetrics and gynecology) as well as a Certified Nurse Midwife, and works in Dr. David Galland’s office (a highly respected OB/GYN in Marin County – formerly my OB/GYN, in fact).

18 September ‘06

Plushy Patrol is Ready and Waiting

Wow, this baby is loved! Yesterday we celebrated the impending birth of Baby Merz with a baby shower. Mom, Mick and Bonnie threw a fabulous party with fabulous decorations, food and a terrific ambience (big shout out!). And so many people that we love showed up to help us get ready to bring our little one in to the world. Thank you all! We were overwhelmed with the gifts… so many cute outfits, practical items, hand-made blankets, stuffed animals… a stroller and a car seat. Baby will need it all and we really appreciate it. We’ll thank everyone individually, but for now, I’m a little wiped out from all of yesterday’s expended energy, so a big group ‘THANK YOU’ for the moment.

12 September ‘06

Week 36 and maternity leave are both here. Wow, it’s all really happening!

Today was the first official day of maternity leave, though it was kind of the “overlap day,” where I kept an eye out for urgent email (none – excellent) and answered the phone if it rang (only once, for last words of advice with Debra). Now that the work day is done, my office phone now goes directly to voicemail and emails to my work address get an “Out of the Office” automated reply.

The day started with this weeks obstetric visit. Dr. Maioriello took a culture to check for Beta Strep (routine check) – cross your fingers! Also, upon external palpation, he said it feels like the baby’s “dropped.” That is, the baby’s head has dropped deeper in to the pelvis and is engaged, getting ready to go. Yay! I read up on this in What to Expect When You’re Expecting and it doesn’t really predict when labor will begin. It could begin tomorrow. It could begin in six weeks. But it’s good to know that he’s stayed head-down and he’s getting “locked in.”

Then it was off to Marin General Hospital for the first of this week’s non-stress testing (NST) and Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI) testing. Baby was awake and cooperative today, making the NST go quickly (and he was “perfect,” according to the nurse) and the AFI showed about 16 centimeters of fluid, which is great. The sonogram did, indeed, confirm that the baby has dropped. His head is way down in my pelvis now. Plus I got to see his sweet little head, a hand, a foot and… hey! proof of his gender…

Baby boy Merz is definitely on the way!

Oh, and meanwhile… We bought some Dreft detergent and washed the bedding for the crib. The crib is now put together and waiting:

We got a changing table on Sunday. Mark gets to assemble it now. Let the nesting begin!

5 September ‘06

Week 35, here we are! Today was a day all about doctor visits. First Dr. Maioriello, our obstetrician. I’ve gained half a pound in the past two weeks and the height of the fundus is 37cm. Dr. Maioriello said the results he’s been seeing from the fetal stress testing have been really great and that things are looking good. He did reiterate that he’s not going to want to let me go much beyond the due date. I.e. He’ll want to induce me if I haven’t gone in to labor naturally when we get to 40 weeks or so. We discussed the induction methods he uses. Things were fine.

Then Mark and I went to interview Dr. Martin Joffe, a pediatrician. I knew that his name was familiar to me and that people really like him a lot. So, as he has an office in Novato (2 days a week – the other 3 he’s in Greenbrae), I set up this appointment. Mark and I both really liked him. No nonsense kind of guy, but personable at the same time. And he’s got a South African accent, which gives him extra points for me. We’ve got an interview set up with a Dr. Lee later in the month. He was recommended by Dr. Maioriello. So… no decisions yet, though Mark and I already have a good vibe about Dr. Joffe.

THEN, a quick bite for lunch as I drove to Marin General Hospital for the first of this week’s fetal stress testing. Baby wasn’t cooperating with us, as he seemed to think it was a good time for a nap. The point of these tests is to determine his heart rate variability as he moves around. So I tried shifting positions and drinking ice water. Zzzzz. The nurse turned on the TV and put the TV speaker against my belly, tucked under the waistband of my shorts. A little nudge and then zzzzz. So then she took out a buzzer thingy… Just a little device that vibrates and makes a low buzzing sound. Before she placed it on my tummy, she addressed it (the tummy) saying, “It’s not your mommy’s fault – this is the nurse.” Then she buzzed my belly. YEP, sure enough! It acted like an alarm clock and he started moving around. Phew! So instead of the usual 20 to 30 minutes for the appointment, today took about an hour. D’oh! But his heart rate looked great and she said the amniotic fluid level is great. It’s supposed to be between 8 and 20 (centiliters? I forget which unit of measurement she said), and mine was 13. Great.

Today Dr. Maioriello gave me the note that said my last day of work should be September 11, with a due date of October 10. Tomorrow I meet with Sybase’s HR department to get the paperwork going for the maternity leave. Holy moses… I’ve got 4 working days left!

Yesterday, while I was at Polly & Garrie’s for a family dinner (fun!), Mark said he was going to work. But you know what he was really doing? Oh, that sweet man… he was buying a great crib, bringing it home and setting it up. Excellent! It’s used, but beautiful. Hard wood, cherry stain, in great shape and a lovely style. Phew! Now to find a changing table to coordinate…

30 August ‘06

Hey there!

Yesterday marked the beginning of week 34 and also my birthday! Mark took the day off to spend with me, doing whatever I wanted. Ah, how nice. I had work to do, of course, but I worked extra hard on Monday so I'd not have a lot of responsibilities.

We started with a fetal stress test at Marin General Hospital. We both got to hang out and hear the baby's heartbeat for 20 or 30 minutes and then watch the sonogram while the nurse measured the amniotic fluid levels in baby's home. The nurse said that his heart-rate and range were great, that there was plenty of amniotic fluid (good!) and from what she could see, baby looked healthy. Meanwhile, we got to see the little guy's face, fingers, spine, ribs, etc. Nice and reassuring. The nurse said that the equipment she uses is not adequate for gauging the baby's size, so I still have no idea how big he is. She said we'd have to do ultrasound to get that kind of measurement. I wonder if my doctor has that in our plans?

Afterwards, we continued my birthday with a trip to Heller's, the Marin County baby store. We finally got the low-down on the differences between the three Bugaboo brand strollers, now understand how the infant car seats fit in with the scheme, got a clue about crib prices, etc. Now we know which stroller and car seats we want, yada yada yada. We filled out some items on our registry there, then went to Wild Fox for lunch (had a great grilled salmon cobb salad) and then back home for me to get some work done.

Later in the afternoon my mom and dad both showed up to visit for a bit. Great to have time to hang out with them for a while. Then Mark, Mom and I went to the movies, where we met up with Mick and saw "Little Miss Sunshine." If you haven't seen it yet -- GO. It was wonderfully, darkly funny! After the movies, we met up with Polly at Moylan's for dinner. The nurse practitioner at the endocrinologist said to go ahead and have dessert on my birthday and not worry about having a high reading for that one meal. In fact, she said to go ahead and share a glass of wine with dinner if I wanted to. It turned out I didn't actually feel like having any wine. However, I did forgo the mashed potatoes that came with my steak, in favor of sharing a warm fudge brownie with ice cream, caramel and fudge sauce with everyone. Yum! Very rich and very sweet, but darn it, it was great to have sugar for the first time in seven weeks.

And yes, my glucose numbers were quite high for the last readings of the night. ;-)

All in all, it was a really lovely birthday.

18 August ‘06

Woo hoo -- the tile's going in to the shower! Mike showed up today and started the tiling job in the shower.

Looking good so far! Hopefully this'll be done quickly.

I met with my OB this afternoon and things seem to be fine. Baby's heart rate was 142bpm (dandy) and he seems to be in the right position (head down) based on where we heard his heart-beat loudest.

325weekspreggo_with_mimiStarting Monday, I'll go in for weekly (or possibly 2x/weekly) fetal monitoring at Marin General. If my blood sugars are doing well and the baby's looking good, then I'll only need to go in once a week, probably. For the past couple of weeks, my blood sugar readings have been within acceptable ranges
and the baby's been very active, so I'm hoping for the 1 visit a week schedule. But if it needs to be twice a week, so be it. Perhaps I'll have some new images of baby to share by Monday afternoon.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. I've lost a little more weight. I'm now up a total of 8lbs since pre-pregnancy weight. As my OB said, "As long as the baby is growing, but not growing too much, I don't care what your weight is." As I say, "Hey, this pregnancy thing is a weight-loss plan!"

12 August ‘06

Hi all!

I started out the week with a check-up with the endocrinologist. Because of 3 high glucose readings during the road-trip, my nurse practitioner was concerned that it will soon be time for me to start taking fast acting insulin before each meal. So she gave me a "pen" filled with fast-acting insulin and plenty of extra "tips," and gave me a brief explanation of how to use it. However, she said that I didn't have to start using it immediately -- she just wanted me to have it in case she feels I need to use it before our next appointment (a week from Monday).

But guess what? Not one high glucose reading all week so far. It's definitely easier to make sure I eat every 3 hours and eat properly when I'm home and not on the road. So that's all good news, yay!

Meanwhile, little baby is rockin' and rollin' inside all the time. By some of the fast riffs he plays, maybe he'll grow up to be a drummer. Scary. :-p

The weather is beautiful here again. Not too hot, not too cold. I think today will be a good day to explore used baby furniture stores! Mark has to work this weekend, but I'm ready for shopping! Maybe a movie will be in order, too. Perhaps "Little Miss Sunshine."

Isn't life nice?

4 August ‘06

We're home! After a fun-filled, whirlwind 3000 mile road-trip, we're home from vacation. We spent nights in Salem OR, Lakebay (aka Home) WA, Wenatchee WA, Kalispell MT, West Glacier MT and Wells NV. Along the way we visited the Oregon coast, looked at some VW buses (a car day for Mark), our friend Dave Parker, my aunt Susie (and the sweet kitty, Bubba), Glacier National Park (wow!), a couple truly dumpy hotels and we were the bringer of death to many, MANY interstate bugs. Ah well...

P1070416And then we got home this evening to find that Bonnie, my mother-in-law, did unbelievable work at our home while we were gone. Our gardens, which I so dearly love and which have been so disastrously overgrown while I've been pregnant are COMPLETELY cleaned up, weeded, trimmed... oh, it's heaven! I'll take photos in tomorrow's morning light. All that was a TOTAL bonus, in that we only expected her to paint the baby's room (so the paint fumes would have time to dissipate before I got home). THAT she did as well, and beautifully. Here's a first shot of the room with the new color, freshly painted trim, my grandmother's dresser, the rug my mom bought and the gifts that baby Merz has accumulated already...

Now that the room is cleaned out and painted, we can start getting furnishings for the little guy... time to decorate and shop -- oh boy!!

28 July ‘06

Hello insulin!

Eh, it was bound to happen, right? I had a slightly high glucose reading after lunch today, so I dutifully called it in to the doctor. She said, "You have a choice to make now."

"What's the choice," I asked?

She replied, "You can come in this afternoon or on Monday to learn about more fun with needles."

As Mark and I are leaving on a week long road trip tomorrow morning, this afternoon had to be the time! So off to the doctor's office I went. She's starting me off with a low dose of insulin, once a day (15 units at bedtime). I'll have a follow-up visit a week from Monday and we'll see how things are going. Meanwhile, I'll call her from the road when/if I'm not feeling well, having high or low readings, etc. And now I get to check my glucose levels before and after every meal and, if I'm awake anyway, between 2 and 3am. Woo hoo!

But the road trip... I'm really looking forward to that. Seeing the Oregon coastline, visiting friends in WA, seeing my aunt Susie and Glacier National Park... it's going to be great.

See you all when I get back!

11 July ‘06

Two weeks ago we did routine testing for gestational diabetes. Last Thursday the results came back that I’ve got gestational diabetes. This is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy only, going away after delivery of the baby. You don’t have to have had other types of diabetes prior to the pregnancy to get it. The American Diabetes Association says the reasons for why some women get it aren’t exactly known, in fact. The basic gist is that pregnant women need up to 3 times the insulin as non-pregnant women. And for some reason, some women build up a tolerance to the insulin. This means there’s excess glucose in the blood. The excess insulin doesn’t get passed on to the baby, but the excess glucose does. In response to the excess glucose, the baby’s pancreas creates extra insulin and also stores the excess glucose as fat. This can lead to “macrosomia,” aka “fat baby,” syndrome in the baby, which can lead to an overly large baby, leading to complications with labor and delivery. Such as shoulder dystocia (the baby’s head gets through the pelvis but the shoulders are too large to get through). This increases the chance for caesarean section or large episiotomies. Lovely. Also potential issues for the baby, once he’s born are: Hyperglycemia immediately after birth, lethargy, poor feeding, jaundice, plus an increased potential for obesity and type 2 diabetes as an adult. LOVELY. There are other, rarer, worse things that can happen to the baby if it’s not kept under control, but I don’t even want to go there.

Obviously this is something I need to take care of and take very seriously.

I had my first appointment with the endocrinology clinic yesterday, seeing a nurse practitioner as that was the fastest way to get me in there. I'll have a follow-up with the doctor (Dr. Linda Gaudiano) on August 28, as well as with the nurse that day. Here's the run-down of how thing went yesterday:

The nurse and I basically just talked a lot yesterday. Talked about my lifestyle, how the pregnancy's going and the basics of gestational diabetes. She gave me a glucose testing kit and showed me how to use it, plus a journal where I'll keep track of my readings and what I eat.
If any of my readings are above the max. allowed, I'm to call her immediately. We'll try to take care of this gestational diabetes via diet if at all possible.

Diet-wise, I'm to eat 3 meals a day with two to three snacks in between. Always allowing at least two hours between meals and/or snacks. No meal should have more than 30 grams of carbohydrates, and absolutely no sugar or other "natural" sweeteners (including honey). No juice. Fruit is okay, but because it's high in natural sugar, smaller portions than usual (i.e. 1/2 piece of fruit is a serving). From what I can glean so far, there's not much limitation on protein or fat. The only thing is to ensure that each meal includes some protein and fat in addition to the carbohydrates.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed about what to eat, as how do I ensure I'm getting enough calcium? No O.J. supplemented with calcium as that's too much of a mainline for sugar. Non-fat milk is good, but it's relatively high in carbohydrates, so I can't overdo it on that. The nurse said she hopes I like string cheese -- that it becomes a snacking staple for lots of gestational diabetes patients. I've got an appointment with the clinic's nutritionist at 11a tomorrow, where we'll put together some meal plans.

Testing-wise, I'll test my blood 8 times a day, plus testing my pee once a day. Nice. After waking up, test my blood (should be <90 for glucose at this read) and test my ketones (pee on a strip) and log it. Then test my blood one hour after breakfast, before lunch, one hour after lunch, before dinner, one hour after dinner and before bed. The glucose reading should be <130 for those 7 readings. So far, of the few readings done since 4p yesterday, I haven't been close to reaching any of those numbers.

Also, exercise helps burn the excess glucose. She said that a simple 30 minute walk each day should do the trick. "Just put on some headphones, walk out the door and when it's been 15 minutes, turn around."

The nurse also said that usually the numbers will get higher as the pregnancy progresses. Hopefully I won't start getting high readings. If I do, then it could mean adding insulin to the treatment plan, which I really don't want to do...

That's all for now... stressing out.

Oh yeah, speaking of stress. I was told that stress actually raises glucose levels, and to avoid stress whenever possible. Easily said.

3 months to go…

27 June 06

Alrighty, 25 weeks, here we are. Not only am I feeling big, but I’m getting big. Today I had my regular 4-week visit with Dr. Maioriello where he measured the height of the fundus (baby’s home), checked me for fluid retention (I’ve got a little bit – it’s been hot), weight, etc. Okay, so at the previous two visits, I’d gained 2 pounds in the previous 4 weeks. I.e. I had a 1/2lb per week weight gain, on average.

This visit, we found I’d gained EIGHT pounds in the last 4 weeks. 2 pounds per week! YOW! My eating habits haven’t changed, however, and the height of the fundus increased in height by 6 inches. Picture this – the fundus was previously measured at just slightly shy of underneath my belly button. Now it’s just below the notch in my ribcage – a growth of 6” in 4 weeks. I’m really looking pregnant (not just fat) now. What did the doctor say? “Don’t worry, you’re right on track. He might just a big baby!”

June 24, 2006 in front of the ’56 Deluxe

I asked him a bunch of questions today… such as:

* What is your rate of caesareans? (“16%” -- that’s great – it’s quite low)

* How do you feel about me having a doula? (“No problem, they’re great! They’re expensive, but I have no problem if you want one.”)

* How much will you be in the room with me while I’m laboring? (“You won’t see me a lot, unless there are problems. If everything’s going well, you’ll just see me occasionally and then when it’s time to push. If there are complications, I’ll be with you all the time.”)

* What if you’re not available when I go in to labor? (He named the 3 other doctors that are on call at Marin General and said, “If it’s late at night when you go to the hospital, whoever’s on call will get the call and they’ll check in on you. As long as I’m in the Bay Area, they’ll give me a call to let me know you’re laboring, and they’ll call me to come in when it looks like it’s time for you to push. I always try to be there for my patients.”)

* Have you found any particular birthing method/schooling better than others for your patients? (“I think Lamaze is better than Bradley for in hospital births. The classes taught at Marin General are actually very good and allow you to get to know some of the nurses there, as well as get more comfortable with the facilities. Bradley is good, too, but more geared towards home birthing and can be very critical of any kind of intervention.” When I mentioned “hypnobirthing” he said, “Oh yeah, that can be great! Whatever you feel is going to work for you best.”)

2 June 06

Alright, alright… I’ve had enough requests that I asked Mark to do it this morning… take the first “belly shot.”

Belly at 21 weeks, 3 days

Please forgive the pajamas, not-yet-made bed in the background, messy hair and bad lighting. I just wanted to get it over with. Yesterday afternoon I realized that the kicks felt strong enough to be felt externally so when Mark got home last night and said hello to the baby, I suggested he hold his hand still, in one place, for a little while. Sure enough, he felt a couple small bumps. Hello baby!

Oh, by the way… it’s a boy. :-)

30 May 06

Today begins week 21, and was started off with my regular checkup with Dr. Maioriello. I gained two pounds in the past 4 weeks, which puts me on average at gaining ½ a pound per week during the second trimester, which Dr. Maioriello said was perfect. The blood test taken last exam showed that the baby’s spinal column has sealed (which is good) and that it does not have a rare disease that prevents it from metabolizing cholesterol properly. It was easy to pick up on the baby’s heart beat today, and it was still beating a steady 150 beats per minute. Go, baby, go! He said that the results of the ultrasound showed that there’s nothing for us to worry about and basically… “life’s great and see you again in 4 weeks!”

We hosted a fun family BBQ yesterday for Memorial Day. Lots of family and a few friends and, of course, too much delicious food. It wouldn’t be a Freiberg BBQ without too much food, right? And of course we went insane on desserts: Polly made chocolate chip cookie bars and lemon bars, while I made strawberry/rhubarb crisp, cherry pie and coconut/ginger/lime ice cream. Oy – glad I’m supposed to eat extra calories for a while!

Both of our moms were at the BBQ yesterday, both professing that they want to throw the baby shower. Thanks Moms! I asked them to coordinate and work together on the shower. My only request is that it not be just “for the girls.” Guys should get to come to the party too. So now you know who to talk with if you’re curious about it!

20 May 06

This week I’ve been feeling the baby move somewhat regularly. It feels like fizzy carbonation or sometimes faint taps from the inside. It’s really neat, but still so slight that it’s almost hard to believe it’s real. When we can feel the movement from the outside I think it’ll really hit home.

Last week we did an ultrasound to check on everything and it looks like the baby’s doing fine. At least the ultrasound technician didn’t blanch, mutter, “Oh my god,” or anything else worrisome. The next checkup with my OB is on 30 May, where I’ll get to grill the doctor on what was seen.

Meanwhile, we’d told the ultrasound technician that we didn’t want to know the gender. So he didn’t say anything. However, when I went back this week to pick up a CD of the images taken during the ultrasound, imagine my surprise when I got to the last image, which turned out to be a report, which indicated the baby’s gender. We talked with the genetic counselor, who definitely knew the gender, just to confirm. So yes, now we know the sex of the baby. This will make picking out names easier, eh? Not sure if we’re sharing this news with the world yet…