Being Tired

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Yesterday was full of energy.  Today is full of yawns.  Unfortunately, my sleep has been interrupted by a mixture of heartburn, leg cramps, and a bladder the size of a walnut. I’m going to see if taking warm baths before bed help with the leg cramps, and I’ve started leaving Tums on my nightstand, but there’s not much I can do about the bladder when nubbin decides to lurk in the lower half of my womanly pop-up camper.  Adult diapers?  Don’t laugh.  If it would get me an uninterrupted night’s sleep, I’m thinking it might be worth it.

Tonight is our first Bradley class.  Will it be worth the time/money?  I guess we’ll know in a few weeks.  (I am optimistic, of course.)

Aaaaand tomorrow is 28 weeks.  Holy jeez, two months to full term, and 10 weeks to the start of my maternity leave.  Speaking of which: I owe a post on the delightfulness that is Cigna.


Babymoon

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Actually, we didn’t intend to do a babymoon.  Or if we did, it would have probably involved camping.  But we wound up in Vegas for a long weekend, and decided — what the hell.  Let’s commit babymoon.

Now, Vegas without alcohol is a bit like playing contact football with both hands tied behind your back, but we managed to make it work.  We had several decent meals (Burger Bar, Hash House A Go Go, Rí Rá) and a couple great ones (Bouchon, Lotus of Siam, the frrrrozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3).  Along with a few friends, we took in a really good show (Absinthe) that was definitely not age-appropriate for Zoe.  We attended my company’s party at a swanky nightclub and danced a little.  And we walked.  A lot.  Because I need to walk to not feel guilty about all that dessert.

We stayed in a very nice hotel (Mandalay Bay) and we gambled within our means.  We more or less broke even, because Mike is a scientist at blackjack, while I am the reckless fringe whackjob who splits and doubles down on a whim.

We drank coffee.  We napped.  We ate bread.  I took numerous bubble baths.

But most of all, we hugged and held hands and were in love.  We are always in love.  If I told you of some of the endearments we fling around I’d probably make you puke or put you in a diabetic coma or both, so I won’t do that.  Instead I’ll just say: We had a great time, like we always have a great time.  Part of the secret to having a great time is to have great company.  You can get through just about any experience with the right people involved.

And that was our babymoon.  Walking the Strip, eating good food, seeing fun shows, hanging with friends, being in love.  Little darlin’, I hope someday you know how much your parents love each other, and intend to bestow that love unto you.  I hope you don’t need to read this post to know that.


Soup. I hear it's good food.

Sausage-Potato Soup

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Is this really a recipe?  I’m going to say yes.  Yes it is.

I have been eating a lot of soup lately.  This soup in particular is the result of me realizing we’re about to go out of town and I really need to use up stuff in my fridge.  You could probably do this with ground beef in a pinch, but you might want to amp up the spices.  Also, doubling is encouraged if you’re eating for more than one or two.  You could even just double the veggies, spices, and broth and leave the meat quantity alone, if you wanted something less hearty (you will need a bigger pot, naturally).  You could swap out the potatoes and swap in white beans.  You could use kale instead of spinach.  You could try it with sweet potatoes instead of white.  It’s versatile like that.  Also, it’s on the table in about 20 minutes, and you can peel and chop your veggies while the meat cooks, so the economy of time to flavor ratio is excellent.  Enjoy.

Sausage-Potato Soup

Serves 2-3
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Allergy Egg
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Soup

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Medium onion (minced)
  • 2 Links sweet Italian sausages (raw)
  • 1 Medium russet potato (peeled, cubed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme (dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1/2 clove garlic, minced/grated
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup chopped, frozen spinach
  • 1 Medium carrot (peeled, diced)
  • 1 Large egg (beaten)

Optional

  • drizzle olive oil
  • sprinkle grated parmesan cheese

Directions

1. In a medium-sized soup pot (2-3 quarts), squeeze the sausage out of its casing in little lumps and heat over medium-high heat. I prefer to break the sausage up this way because beating it up when it's in the pan and cooking is just too much trouble. While the sausage is browning, chop all your veggies.
2. While the sausage is still a bit pink, add the onion and give everything a stir so that the fat from the sausage coats the onion. Allow to cook while you keep on chopping veggies.
3. Stir in the potato cubes, then add the spices (oregano, thyme, garlic), broth, and water. Add the frozen spinach. Stir, and allow the pot to come to a simmer. Taste for salt; season according to taste. Cook for 7 minutes at a simmer, stirring occasionally, then add the carrots and continue cooking until the potatoes are soft, about 3-5 minutes more. (If you prefer mushy carrots, then add them with the spinach. I like my carrots to have a bit of bite, though, so I don't add them until the end.)
4. With the soup simmering and stirring constantly, slowly drizzle in the beaten egg. Turn off heat and dish up. Garnish with olive oil (I like a lemon-scented one with this) and parmesan, as needed. Fresh ground pepper is also excellent with this.

CPR and First Aid

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In high school, I enrolled in a semester of EMT training.  This was awesome and I nearly went off and became a paramedic because of it.  But it also taught me some very important things about EMTs in California in the 1990s: they were essentially glorified cab drivers.

Administer drugs?  Couldn’t do that.  Put in an IV?  Nope.  Emergency tracheotomy using a pocket knife and a pen?  Stop watching medical dramas, please.

Essentially, this was what I learned in my EMT course:

  1. If they’re bleeding, use stuff to stop or slow the bleeding, and get them to the hospital.
  2. If they’re cool, pale, and diaphoretic, get them to the hospital.
  3. Children go downhill very fast.  Get them to the hospital.
  4. If the patient is in cardiac arrest, check airway, breathing, and circulation.  Then you can administer CPR.  And get them to the hospital.
  5. Use a cervical collar if you so much as suspect a spinal injury.  Put them in one before you get them to the hospital.
  6. If someone is having a severe allergic response, try and get their consent before using their EpiPen on them.  Then get them to the hospital.
  7. Sucking chest wounds sound awesome, but please get them to the hospital.
  8. If they were on fire, definitely put them out before getting them to the hospital.
  9. Downed powerlines are a hell of a way to die.  Do not underestimate them.  Getting you to a hospital probably won’t help if you stumble into a live current.
  10. Everybody lies.

I’ll probably re-read my old EMT manual sometime between now and labor.  I’ve signed us up for a CPR course, and when Mike’s mom arrives we’ll get her certified as well.  Basically, my first aid breaks down to this: can it be treated with a bandaid and a kiss?  No?  Then call 911 and get them to a hospital.


The Urge to Live

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I am sitting here enjoying 1/3rd of my cheddar truckle from Trader Joe’s with some slices of perfectly tart and textured honeycrisp apples. Meanwhile, my daughter is kicking and squirming and rolling around inside me, probably having woken from a micronap or showing her mutual enthusiasm of aged dairy products. And Aaron Swartz is dead by his own hand.

The truckle was a gamble that paid off; TJ’s has no elaborate cheese counter where I can taste the product, and so I put down my money and hoped for the best. But at $4.99 a piece, it’s pretty much a steal. It’s the sort of cheese I will savor over the next couple of months, sealing it carefully in plastic and pulling it out when I’m hungry and need the kind of comfort that only a sharp, robust, well-rounded cheddar can bring. It plays well with fruit; I suspect grapes would also taste divine with it. It is the sort of cheese that makes you happy to be able to chew and taste and live. I realize that’s a lot to hang on a piece of food, but I’ve made an effort to fill my life with little treasures like the truckle, because I find life pleasurable and pleasant.

Aaron did not.

Honestly, I didn’t know his name until today. I knew his technologies, and this blog uses some of them. I remember when RSS first came out and thinking, my god, finally. In retrospect, it was the sort of thing that the Web was just waiting to invent: an easy way to aggregate information that is now so common most people don’t even know when they’re using it. That it was so obvious doesn’t diminish its genius or his contributions.  So many smart ideas are simply born from the ability to differentiate the sound from the noise, to find the blindingly obvious goals amid the detritus, and then to grab that idea and see it through. It sounds like Aaron had that knack.

Since Zoe has started kicking me, I have pondered this urge to live. My daughter, who knows nothing of RSS feeds or truckles or Neil Gaiman’s dog Cabal, wants to live. Her kicks and rolls tell me so. And I ponder that. That innate drive that she expresses so effortlessly. I ponder how some lose it later on down the road, yielding bit by bit to the crushing weight of depression. Until there’s nothing left, but a seeming final answer with no winners, and leaving a mountain of anger and guilt and questions for the survivors.

I have been sad. I have been despondent. I have had moments where I felt like I was at the bottom of a well, and that my decisions put me there. But I also know that I have never been clinically depressed. I have friends who are — friends who measure out their days, who fight just to get out of bed. I cannot understand what they go through, I can only offer my sympathy and hope it helps.

Of course, not lost on me is that “zoe (ζωή)” means life — life with character, not just biological life — and that’s not unintentional. Meaning is important; Mike and I both wanted to give our child the gift of a useful name. A name meant as a benediction. And that’s also fun to say.

My daughter flutters. She’s only existed since July, and yet the desire to live is there, part of the factory settings. She will enter the world wanting to survive. For a time, she will rely on her father and me to make sure she does so. And I hope someday I shall slice her apples and cheese and see her reaction to both. To show her the joy of little pleasures, new experiences, reasons to live.

Because sometimes the factory settings get skewed. I hope if my daughter is ever at the bottom of that well, she’ll know she can call us for help. Doesn’t matter the time or place.

We want her to live, to be happy, to find her own truckles.


Of Research and Wendigos

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Spent most of last night research breast pumps and trying not to laugh too hard at this video.  I know.  I’m eight years old.  But seriously, it had that SNL shorts quality to it (I’m thinking “Mom Jeans” or “Annuale“).

Found here: http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0xqusfTxl1qkoec9o1_500.gif

Speaking of Mom Jeans…

And today I’ve scheduled a February consult with a pediatrician.  And I wrote our Bradley instructor to make sure we’re still on.  And looming over all this is the “so when are you going to start maternity leave” question, which is currently complicated due to Reasons, and a ranty ranting post all in and of itself but let’s not turn this into a pretzel, shall we?

Last week marked the week that I stopped being able to eat normal-like, what I’m referring to as the “Baby Lap-Band”.  I’ve basically gone from a 13-gallon tank to more like 7- or 8-, and if I go over I feel gross and bloated and gasoline spills out of my mouth.  Something like that.

I also realized I’m going to be wearing the same. six. shirts. for the next. three. months.  And while that’s an incredibly minor complaint, I still may wind up going out and buying new shirts because otherwise I might go slightly insane…r.

Sleep’s still good, though half the time I wake up with no covers on.  This is a reversal of thermal fortune; normally I’m the one burrowing into Mike for LIFEGIVING HEAT and now it’s more often him clinging to me.  The other morning he wrapped around me like a squid and whispered, “Warrrrrm so warrrrrm.” and I had to make sure he wasn’t one of the undead or a wayward wendigo.  Spoiler alert: he wasn’t.

Oh, and the wrist brace is working.  It’s not what I’d call perfect, but I haven’t woken up with a frozen hand since I started using it, and that’s a win.  Bonus effect: it gives people a safe way to ask me what’s up without out and out asking ARE YOU PREGNANT?  Because I’m pretty sure some people are still weighing the question.  I mean, the holidays did just go by and I am known to be fond of cookies.


24-ish Week Checkup

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Well, 23 weeks and 5 days according to my midwife’s charts…but 24 according to my calculations.

The good news is that I only gained a pound since my last visit, and the wrist brace is definitely helping with the numb/stiff fingers in the morning.  The bad news is…there is no bad news, actually.  Everything’s going great.  Let’s keep it that way.

Next visit is the diabetes screening.  I’m not really looking forward to gulping down the Stuff.  I’ll also be getting my TDAP vaccination which apparently you can get while pregnant.  Fancy that.

My work gives us a week and a half off, and today is my first day back.  What did I do over the holidays?  I slept, cooked a ton, cleaned a little, played Borderlands 2, and enjoyed the relative peace and quiet.  This time next year won’t be so peaceful or so quiet, so I’m filling up on serenity while I still can, and pondering how I’ll reclaim it once the wee one’s around.

No deep thoughts at the moment.  Just happy to be having a relatively peaceful and easy pregnancy thus far, and going to continue doing what I’m doing to hopefully keep it that way.