Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh my aching...wrists?

Yep! It's my latest affliction and I almost can't believe it. All weekend I complained about having throbbing pain in my forearm and elbow. My wrists and shoulders weren't feeling so great either. I kept thinking that it must have something to do with the way I was sleeping. Poor Sam tried to rub them but the pain would just move up or down my arm out of his reach. I don't have a ton of meat on my lower arms to really give a decent massage and there was pretty much no relief.

Eventually, it got so bad that I looked it up. It turns out A LOT OF PREGNANT WOMEN GET CARPAL TUNNEL. What the heck?!? As a lady who's had knee surgery at 14, sciatica at 17, and a bum left shoulder through grad school, I almost can't believe how much pain a wrist can cause.

Apparently, the swelling I am experiencing pretty much everywhere else is also going on inside my wrist joint. They look normal to me but who knows.

So, maybe I will do more video voice overs and a little less typing. But who knows.

While I am on the topic of aches and pains, I got up from laying on the couch yesterday to discover that I was stuck. My sciatic nerve was in full-blown freakout and I just stood hunched over waiting for it to dissipate. Sam couldn't stop laughing and I laughed while a single tear of agony escaped. It took about a minute but it went away. This is something I am sure you all would have loved to have a photo of but we were stuck in the moment.

I scheduled a massage for Tuesday the 8th so we'll see what Lydia can do with these wrists of mine.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"You look down-right chunky!"

I went by my friend/neighbor Jessie's house earlier today. He is an 87 year old WWII vet and an all around interesting guy. He gives me guilt trips all the time for ignoring him and I am sort of used to it. When he answered his door today we did our customary greeting, "I almost didn't recognize you," he said. This is usually followed by, "I haven't seen you in so long that I forgot what you look like."

Today I got, "I almost didn't recognize you because you have gained so much weight! You are down-right chunky. Now, come on in." He then gave me a rocking chair so I guess all is forgiven. Ha ha. No, in all honesty, it didn't bother me much. He's sweet, if blunt. Though I did promptly change my sweater and put on mascara when I got back home. No point in not trying. :)

So, at Ella's request, here is a belly shot. It doesn't look as good as real life. I got one with my shirt picked up that looks pretty good but I think I will save that one for myself. :)

The Making of a Nursery

So, what is the first step that comes to mind when morphing a study into a nursery?!? Well, you must morph the guest room into a guest room/study. A place where all of you and your guests' sleeping, dressing, and business needs can be met - no short order, I tell you.

We have finished step one of this process and I am so excited to introduce you all to our new guest room/Cruise Holidays headquarters. :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This is Where the Magic Happens

So, I have been scouring the earth and heavens looking for a suitable crib for baby Zayd. For me, the following things were important. (Or, more specifically, NOT important.)
  • I don't need a crib that goes from crib, to day bed, to full size bed, to SUV. I want to put a baby in this crib. And then when that baby needs a real bed, I want to make another baby to put in this crib. And on and on forever.
  • I don't want "Adult Styling". I am not trying to fit this crib into the decor of our modern-esque bedroom. This crib will go in a baby room with baby things and should look like it belongs to a baby, not Justin Timberlake.
  • Along those lines, I wanted a natural-ish looking wood. Not unstained but a light cherry or medium colored oak. Espresso for my room, light colors for baby.
  • I want a crib that can withstand a baby as rough as my brother was.
  • I want Consumer Reports and Baby Bargains to confirm that the crib is a good idea.
So, I spent an hour a day for months and here is what I have come up with. I ordered it (with a pretty decent Black Friday price) yesterday.
It hasn't arrived yet and it has a great return policy but I am hoping hoping hoping that I will want to keep it.

In the interest of full disclosure - this crib does it all, toddler bed, day bed, full size bed. But you can't win them all.

22 Weeks - He's a Palindrome!

So, we missed 21 weeks but lets see what Baby is up to nowadays:
  • Zayd is nearly a foot long (I've read between 8 and 11 inches) and weighs about a pound! (Or, as I said to Sam this week, "He is like 3 of those filet mignon.")
  • He has started sprouting hair on his itty bitty noggin and apparently it is bright white! It better darken up a bit or Sam will be mighty ticked when the little one emerges!
  • His sense of touch is getting more advanced and he might be snuggling his umbilical cord. There aren't exactly a ton of toys in there for the Z-man to play with.
  • He LOVES listening to his first story book that his mother so lovingly bought him called The Little House.
What about me:
  • I am getting rounder and rounder. And loving it!
  • I am a bit hungrier, though the flu last week really got me off track with eating and weight gain.
  • I find myself funnier everyday. And I tell people how great they smell much more often than I did pre-baby.
  • My skin is FREAKING out: acne, allergies, ashiness. You name it (and it starts with an "A"), I've got it!
  • I'm just getting to the point where laying on my back is hard to breathe. It isn't impossible but it feels like a conscious decision breath after breath.
  • My center of balance ran away. Sam and I have both laughed as I try to stand from a cross-legged position on the floor and find myself strangely close to "toppling".
  • My knees hurt. My left foot hurts. My left shoulder and wrist hurt. But I DON'T have sciatica so I call it a win.
What's new for Sam:
  • He counts how much ice tea I drink when we go out and reminds me that the baby prefers water. (Cute, not annoying.)
  • He has felt a couple of faint kicks but thinks I am making my belly jump.
  • He is eating well, now that I am back home.
  • He is eager to get advice from parents and it is adorable.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Get Your Swagger On

We haven't bought much for little Zayd but I did pick him up a present near the ranch in Oklahoma. Isn't it adorable!?!
The funniest thing about this is that now the little prince owns two outfits and both come with a tie. My parents bought him a three piece suit with a pocket square and tie. This photo isn't the best because it's off my mom's iPhone but you get the idea. What a dapper baby we are having.
If anyone knows of any events in or around July where the little man will be needing a three piece suit, lemme know. We might have a black tie optional house party just to suit the suit, so to speak.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A tidbit to hold you over

Hello friends. I am stuck in Denver after what has really just been the longest week of my life. (Though Delta is paying for my room and I'll be out of here in the morning.)
I have no luggage, no toiletries, and no clean clothes but have fashioned pajamas from a maternity tank Miss Merrillee gave me, and a scarf I bought in Pakistan. While walking past the mirror I noticed that I am really rockin the bump in this get up so I thought I would send it your way.

I owe you a 21 week post but it will just have to wait. It's bed time for baby and me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rolling with the Punches (and Kicks!)

It' been almost three days of this nonsense and I am still sick. Strangely, I have a new major symptom everyday. We've done vomiting, back aches that are debilitating, sore throat, congestion, even weird things like claustrophobia that made me so crazy I took my shirt off in the bathroom at work yesterday. Not my typical behavior, to say the least.

But I am eating, taking my vitamin C, and just trying my darndest. And Baby Zayd seems just fine; he's as active as ever. I must say that while I love feeling his kicks and Superman punches, when my stomach is turning over while I hurl, I think its just wrong to be simultaneously kicked in the gut. That being said, the happiest news is here! You can feel little Zayd's Krav Maga moves from the outside. Everytime I say, "Zayd's awake", my mom runs over and put her hands on my belly and she's gotten a couple second degree kicks now too! I can't wait to go home and kick daddy. Ha ha. I called Sam daddy. I am actually laughing out loud. Just give me a minute...

To ease my backaches, I took a warm (not hot!) bath that was helpful. (Every baby book you read says to take baths in exactly that way (not hot!).) I felt a little ridiculous sitting there with my big belly bumping out of the water. Then, I realized that my bump was lopsided - little Zayd was all curled up on the right side. So cute! Wish you could have seen it but it really wasn't a Kodak moment. :)

OK. So, that's the latest with the little one and I. My pizza just arrived and I am committed to eating two pieces. (And keeping it all in.) Talk to you all soon!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Superman to the Rescue!

I got a message on my Baby Center Cloth diapering group that someone called DooDah Diapers was having a free giveaway. You know me, shopping and sales are two of my favorite things. (That and brown paper packages tied up with string.) So I headed to their Facebook Page and eventually found my way to the site I listed above.

Now, originally I was just going to poke around and hope to get something for free. (The details if anyone wants to register to win a free diaper are here.) But then...THEN...I found a superman diaper! Sam will be so happy! Or at least as happy as he's ever been to see a diaper.

So, as I am going to check out, I see...OWLS! Masculine looking owls! You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find owls with a little testosterone.
So, I think I should just get them both. I had told myself that I wouldn't buy anymore diapers until my cloth diapering class on December 16, but these are just too perfect, right? And they really are quite affordable! Eek, indecision time!

Photos courtesy of the

Waaah! I am sick.

Hello ladies (and maybe a couple gents).
I am in Minneapolis completing training for Cruise Holidays so that I can become an accredited travel agent. Woot woot!
Sadly, I missed most of yesterday because I came down with something horrible. I knew something was REALLY wrong when I couldn't eat my lunch. Me! With my truck driver appetite! (Well, I am still working on that but I am definitely eating much more than ever before.) I got about three bites of my sandwich down before calling a taxi to get me home. I was in the hotel room for about 6 minutes before I lost those three bites and all of my breakfast. I had a hard time deciding what was worse, the nausea/vomiting or my throbbing back, a by-product of the violent way that I wretch.
So, I slept from one pm yesterday till now, basically. I was probably up for about 3 hours total after the incident. I couldn't eat anything until late last night and have since had LOTS of rice, a couple handfuls of almonds, and probably 8 pieces of tofu. I call that progress.
I called one of the midwives yesterday and felt much better after talking to her. She asked a ton of questions, then said I just have a stomach bug and proscribed food, fluids, and extra vitamin C. Its so nice to have someone on call just to put your mind at ease.
I am feeling much better and think I am going to head back to training. Wish me luck, friends.

P.S. I am really feeling for my friends still in First Trimester land. Puking is really hard work.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Oh! We're halfway there! (20 Weeks)

Twenty weeks! That's half of 40 weeks! (Which is the gestation period in case anyone wasn't quite sure...)

So, what has Zayd been up to?
  • He has reached somewhere between 9 and 10 inches and is roughly the size of a butternut squash. We now measure the baby head to foot instead of head to rump, so that makes for the growth spurt
  • He weighs approximately 10 oz. This struck me as strange. It means little Zayd has to only double in length but must increase his weight 8 fold!
I am...
  • Always, constantly, persistently checking for fetal movement. Luckily, I have a kicky baby.
  • I am also definitely having trouble finding room for baby, food, and air. Today I said, "I wish I could just open my neck up like a PEZ toy and get some AIR!"
  • Honestly, my hair looks great. :)
  • I think there is a chance that I should be hungrier than I am. But I sure am trying.
  • I still have an innie but apparently that is a fleeting thing. I'll let you know when I really pop. Maybe it will coincide with that "trucker-like" appetite I should be experiencing.
OK, I am in Oklahoma City and the kiddos are dying to use the computer - so I must leave you here. Enjoy the weekend. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I was Right All Along

Yesterday, Sam and I had the midwife appointment that I had been waiting for. It was the kind of appointment where I felt I was heard, taught valuable things about pregnancy and birth, and nurtured by a woman who knew more about this process than I do but was helpful without being overbearing or (even worse) condescending.

We met with Jennifer yesterday and though I would rather not compare her to my old OB, it is the easiest way to describe to you all how she succeeded where I felt others had been failing me.

Pediatricians - We asked about circumcision and she said that in the third trimester we would have a meeting and talk about how to find a pediatrician - how to interview, how to figure out what matters to you, where to begin your search, etc. She offered to give us some references now if we wanted but assured us we'd still have a thorough discussion in a couple of months. Two weeks ago, the OB asked us where we lived and assigned us a pediatrician that she trusts based on geographic location. I never even got his name but its in our file at the hospital. It's not necessarily true that one of these methods of healthcare is wrong and the other is right. But it is certainly the case that one of these aligns so closely with what I expect from the woman assisting me through pregnancy and the other response makes me feel completely left out of the process.

Headaches - she saw from my notes that I have headaches and asked me to describe when and where in my head I usually have them. I have complained about these persistent headaches to the old doc, our first midwife, and now Jennifer. I told her all about them, they are in my forehead and they are with me when I wake up. She said that this is probably due to low blood sugar from going all night without eating. She told me that I needed to be eating consistently and that protein (NOT OJ!) is the best way to regulate your blood sugar over the long haul. She recommended that I eat a handful of nuts when I wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. (In contrast, my OB said, "Well, all you can take is Tylenol, so take two extra strength.") One thing that the midwife said that I loved was something like the following, "This is a good time to get accustomed to that type of schedule because you are going to have to wake every 2-3 hours and feed that beautiful baby or yours. So, its good to teach you body now that it needs nutrition, also." Simple but sweet and overwhelmingly positive. What a positive outlook on getting up every three hours to eat a handful of nuts. So, at three am this morning, I woke up with a horrible headache and the need to pee. I ate seven hazelnuts and downed a glass of water before returning to bed. When I woke up at 6, my head felt fine. FINE! I cannot tell you what a relief it is to roll out of bed without a stabby foggy head. Even more, how often does a medical professional give you a solution that actually works? Well, a solution that isn't a prescription, I suppose.

When I told her that I might be occasionally dealing with a higher level of anxiety than the average pregnant woman, she said, "Tell me about it." It was such a relief. And I did tell her about it, all about the many things that cause me "headaches" and prevent me from being calm. She didn't recommend that I speak with a psychologist, she just let me speak with her. And it helped and built our relationship instantaneously.

I was positively giddy about our appointment all evening long and rode that cloud of positivity straight through today. I finally feel like I know what I am doing and I am on the right path to creating the birth experience I would like to have. Now, according to my hippy dippy book, I simply have to visualize it. :)

Just to clarify, at the birthing center we are using there are four midwives and we will have one appointment with each during this trimester. That way we get to meet everyone and determine who best fits with us. So far, Jennifer is in the lead but we have two more ladies to meet with. We will then, sometime in the third trimester, pick a primary and secondary midwife for the birth day.

P.S. Sam would like me to refer to the midwife somewhere in the post as my "witchdoctor". So, that satisfies that request. He likes to make jokes about us all burning incense and waving dream catchers over the baby during midwife appointments. Its all nonsense but he LIVES for the opportunity to poke fun at his "hippy-esque" wife. I am just grateful that he participates in this slightly left-of-center childbirth process. What a lucky couple little Zayd and I are.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Subscribe by Email

So, on the right there is a Subscribe by email link - click it if you want email alerts when I update the blog!

If it doesn't work, just comment here...

(Crossed fingers),

The Name Game

I think the name game has come to end, my dear friends. I know you have been anxiously awaiting our littlest Z's name. Wondering day and night: Zahir? Zack? Zeke?!? What could it be!?!?

Without further ado:

So, we are finalized: Zayd Varughese Mammen.
Varughese is Sam's father's name and I am so happy to be carrying into our next Mammen generation. (And like any good pregnant woman, I am now all teary-eyed.)
Zayd is a name we have seen in many different versions, spanning a few continents and once listed as a "Made up Name" by the Coolest Baby Names book. Ha ha. It means empowerment, and we think it is a fantastic moniker. For clarification, it rhymes with made, paid, or prayed, so that should help you pronounce it. It is funky (which meets my needs) and short and punchy with a "Z" which keeps Sam happy.
Mammen - I will have Mammen as my legal last name by my birthday. This is a promise I have made to myself. (Yes, I am a bit behind...)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Adventures in Meditation

So, according to my hippy-dippy book (which maybe I should just officially review) meditation is a great way to relieve stress. As some of you might recall from either knowing me or reading about my panic attacks on this little blog, I lead a stressful life. In the interest of having a healthy, happy baby, I am doing my best to act like the rest of humankind and am willing to try mediation as a path to well-adjusted infants.

The book recommends taking deep breaths and imagining pink light surrounding your baby with each inhalation. It says to do this eight to ten times to begin a relaxation period. During my Cruise Holidays lunch break I walked out to the beach, took off my business-casual attire to reveal a one-piece bathing suit, and put down my stuff. I sat at the waters edge, cross-legged and eager to be relaxed. The first breath: the air came in, I saw a pink glowy light surround my baby, and I exhaled. Then, I realized that probably the baby needs to be moving in my imagined womb. A still baby is not ideal so I added that to the list. Breath in, pink light surrounds baby, baby plays with light, exhale. I did this at least 10 times, always an overachiever.

This might be where I began to stray from the course. It seemed to me that I wasn't being visual enough. What color is the light as it comes in? I felt it was a bright white light and that only upon interacting with the baby did it get a pinkish haze. Breathe in, out, in, out. New idea! I breathe in white light, it hits the baby and gets its hue, the baby breathes it in his tiny lungs, he exhales, I exhale. Phew! Then I thought that maybe the exhale should be a different color, and settled on a dull blue. I did a few breathes with the extra visual aid and then realized I shouldn't be imagining anything leaving my body as a pale blue versus pink and illuminated.

And with that, I just went swimming.

So, not the best meditation anyone's ever done. But I definitely did better today than yesterday when I hadn't even tried it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Z's First Swim

We are so unbelievably lucky to be starting a travel business; I just can't say how thrilled I am. Not only am I going to get to do something fun and something that enables others to have fun but our training locations are the best! The little Z-monster is enjoying his time down in Cancun for sure. (I asked him - see the previous post about week 19.)

So, folks, I know that I owe you all a great baby bump picture. I figured that being in a bathing suit on the beach would be perfect - so form fitting. It seems the bump might have been better suited with a horizantally striped mumu than a black rouched tankini. I would say the bump just doesn't photograph that well. It's always shying away as soon as you pull out the camera. I simply can't explain it. But here he is...

Speaking of my Z bump, it is getting bigger and harder by the day and I just love it. Yesterday evening, I lied down to relax and laid my hands on my lower belly. I got a small thud, faint, but perceptible to the touch. We spent the next five minutes with me trying to get the baby to kick my momma but with no success. I think I have identified his head by touch but will have to wait for the midwife to confirm if I know what I am talking about. I am reading a really hippy-dippy mothering/birthing book that talks about knowing your baby without machines. So I am trying and I am pretty sure I found his noggin. I suppose it shouldn't be too hard given its a 97th percentile cranium. Anyway, back to adventures with baby in Mexico...

I know that the Z-Man can hear now so I took him out to the ocean and let him hear the waves. I am not sure what he can hear better, the tiny waves lapping against my belly or the large waves raging over the rocks, but either way, I hope he learned about the ocean and how magical it is today. I let him go swimming (i.e. sat with my belly just under the water) but didn't feel a ton of movement. In either case, it was relaxing, we had a good chat, and I got a little sun. A perfect lunch break from my Cruise Holidays training.

The Littlest Z's First Brunch

When my lovely Bell came to town, she and some of my favorite ladies took me out to brunch. We had a lovely time and it was great to get to reconnect with some of my favorite women. We laughed, we cried, we had a riotously smiley afternoon. I must say that I love spending time with the women who matter to me. Pregnancy is really one of those times when you can never have too many women around. Pregnancy and undergrad, I suppose. (Yay Bryn Mawr!)

I arrived at the Back Street Cafe to see my friends, my favorite little bee Brianna, family, and the cutest balloons you ever did see.

So, all my other ladies out there in cyber land, when am I going to spend some time with you?!?! Here's a couple of photos from the day, just to make you all jealous. Thanks to those of you who made it out for brunch. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Weeks 18 and 19 and a trip to Cancun

Sorry for missing almost a week without a single entry!
I have been running a muck all over Texas and landed in Cancun yesterday morning.
In short, the last week has contained the following events:
  • A grilled cheese party for Payal's birthday (with sauteed squash, prosciutto, arugula, tomatoes and apples, and pears, oh my!)
  • Ella's arrival to SATX
  • A nice brunch with some of my favorite ladies
  • Wedding dress shopping and BUYING!
  • An early morning flight to Cancun for Cruise Holidays training
So, I missed week 18 and now we've reached week 19 and you folks deserve to know what's up with the little baby. :)
  • He is 7 oz as I said and the size of a baked potato! (Much like the baked potato I scarfed down on Wednesday to avoid vomitting on I-35. A wendy's baked potato is really the best anti-vomit food I've found so far.) He should be somewhere between 6 and 8 inches long. There is really a lot of variation between the different books I have!
  • He is kicking and I should be feeling him off and on. Last Saturday when my niece and I were laying in bed, I could feel him kicking away. I suppose he loves his cousin's precious voice. He was extra active while I layed by the pool yesterday. Apparently the Mammenito loves Mexico...just like his mommy.
  • The baby can pee! Oh joy!
  • Little Z-man has hair! (Probably lots of it, if he is true to his roots.)
  • Apparently, the baby is complete and just has to get fatter and stretch out a bit. :)

What is new with me?
  • I popped! I have an official baby belly and I will post a pic ASAP. It's super adorable.
  • We picked a baby name...
  • I have started talking to the baby more. I have a funny book that tells me to ask him what he needs. So I ask. The book suggests that I might intuit an answer from the baby. Once I got a kick in response, which I took to mean, "I would like more room, mommy."
OK, thats it for now!

More later and a much deserved belly pic. :)