Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I think...

I can't be 100% sure, since I was half-asleep at the time and am obviously quite new to all of this, but I believe that I felt the gerbil-sized offspring moving around in there this morning. Either that, or I've got a large and rowdy tapeworm. It is Halloween, after all. ;)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Four months

Says Great Expectations this week: "The crown-to-rump length is 4 1/2 inches, and your baby weighs 2.5 ounces - about the size of a small gerbil."

Um...I'm assuming they're not including the tail?

Today is "officially" the end of the 16th week (officially in quotes because these sorts of calculations are never precise). More people are commenting on the little belly I'm developing. I'm hungry almost all the time now, trying to maintain the delicate balance between eating enough and not gaining seven hundred pounds over the course of this pregnancy. Because, you know, it could go either way.

On the Bell's Palsy front, things are looking up. Sunday night, three two! weeks to the day after I started noticing the first symptoms, I discovered that I can move the corner of my mouth on the right side, ever so slightly. My eye closes a little better on that side too, and almost all of my taste buds are working again. So hurrah! Looks like I lucked out and got away with only having the mildest version of this thing. I'm quite relieved and feel very fortunate.

That's it for now.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Borrowed it from the Pope?

Funny exchange from last night. We're making our way through season one of Friday Night Lights, watching the old episodes online (props to NBC for making them available). Anyway, one of the characters had a little picture of Jesus propped up on the dashboard of his truck.

Tom: Is that a photo of Jesus?
Me: Well...not a photo...
Both: *laughter*
Tom: Yeah, where'd you get that camera?!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bambi needs to eat!

I don't remember where that exclamation came from, exactly. It was the product of one of Mom & Aunt Teresa's marathon giggle-fests, certainly, but the specific context has escaped me. However, it's really the only appropriate thing to say right now. I have been hungry almost all the time this week. It's as though I'm eating nothing but Chinese food; I finish a meal and then an hour later...

The only acceptable way to deal with this, I realize, is to have lots of food around that's good for me. I'll be able to nosh contentedly without succumbing to the siren call of the vending machine. I've been able to avoid the little devil thus far only because I haven't taken any cash with me to work, but I suspect that I'll crack eventually and just borrow a dollar from someone. It's only a matter of time. Quite honestly though, I don't even really want vending machine food. I want fruit and berries and (perhaps incongruously) mashed potatoes. Starch. Carbohydrates. The very things I need to avoid if I don't want to give birth to a thirteen pound monster, but this early in the game, I'm pretty sure it's okay to eat all that. Moderation, yada yada. Chips and candy bars just don't appeal to me right now. Of course, I know that may very well change tomorrow or next week or next month.

All this talk of food has made me hungry! Shocking! I'm gonna go make some dinner.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Week 15

Greetings from the sunny southwest. I'm having a great visit so far with the family. There has been much consuming of tasty foods, many games played with an extremely energetic kitten, and of course much laughter.

Great Expectations is boring this week, with no fun size analogy. It merely says the kid's "between 4 and 4 1/2 inches in length, and about 1 3/4 ounces." I have definitely started to get a little bit of a belly, but it still looks more like I had a big lunch than like I'm with child or something. Supposedly in 2-4 more weeks it'll be more obvious as a "baby bump" (to quote the crazy entertainment magazines and their speculations over which celebrities are secretly pregnant this week).

I did actually buy some maternity pants yesterday, serious maternity pants with the wide elastic band around the waist. They're surprisingly more comfortable than I expected, and (dare I say it) they're actually kind of cute, when I wear a reasonable shirt that covers all the elastic. These pants and a crop top would not be a good look. Maternity stores are kind of odd places though. Most of the clothing assumes you're well into a serious belly development and doesn't provide much in the way of options for those of us who have only just outgrown the waistbands of our everyday pants. Then again, I'm not sure what I expect them to do instead. It's just weird being in kind of an in-between place right now, as far as all that goes. Soon enough, I know.

All right, I'm off to eat some breakfast and start the day. Hope everyone's having a great weekend. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Phoenix Bound

This evening I'm hopping a plane to spend a couple of days in Phoenix visiting my sister (who lives there now) and parents (who have also flown in to visit). As I've never been to the Grand Canyon State, it should be a fine adventure (even if it is a full 10-15 degrees hotter there than here right now). I'm a little bummed that I realized, just at this very moment, that I forgot to pack my camera (d'oh!), but it'll be okay. I'm told there will be maternity clothes shopping, a visit to my sister's classroom, and a possible trip to the state fair. Should be fun!

In other news, I'm on the antivirals and Prednisone now for the Bell's Palsy. All the doctors I spoke with agreed that these are okay to take while in my current, childbearing condition, so that's good. I don't know that the symptoms have gotten much better (I mean, come on, it's only been a few days), but they haven't gotten much worse either. Also good. The right side of my face is nearly completely paralyzed - can't wiggle that eyebrow or flare that nostril - but nothing's drooping. Half of my face just looks impassive. My right eye closes pretty well most of the time when I blink, so with the occasional addition of eyedrops it's been all right. I haven't had to tape it shut at night or anything like that. Decidedly strange, when I look at myself in the mirror, but on the whole not too bad. From what I've read about the condition, my symptoms are definitely on the mild end of the scale, which hopefully is indicative of a speedy and complete recovery. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. ;)

That's all I've got for now. Wishing everyone a pleasant weekend!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Great News!

We just saved a bunch of money on our car insurance by switching to Geico!

(Seriously, we did. I've always wanted to say that.) ;)

Bell of the Ball

It's been an interesting 24 hours for me. Educational, somewhat scary at times, but interesting.

Something seemed funny last night when I was brushing my teeth before bed. I couldn't manage to spit the toothpaste out the center of my mouth. It was like the left side was making a tighter seal than the right, causing my left cheek to balloon out like normal and the right one to be somewhat flatter. Hmm, that's odd. Oh well. I went to bed.

The same thing happened when I brushed my teeth this morning. I thought, again, that it was somewhat strange, but chalked it up to being too focused on trying to make my face do something while looking in the mirror. You know how sometimes you can trick your brain into not being able to do something you normally do without thinking? I figured that was what was going on. Besides, I had to get to work.

I hadn't been at work very long when I noticed that, if I closed my eyes, the right one didn't close as tightly as the left one. I could scrunch up the left side of my face, but it was like the right side had been Botoxed (not that I'd know personally, but based on all the various caricatures I've seen, that was the analogy I drew). Okay, what the hell is this? Am I having a stroke? What the crap?

I proceeded to freak out, just a wee bit. This may be the first time I've had a real honest-to-goodness "must protect the unborn child" instinct. But as freak-outs go, it was pretty minor. I tried to call the Kaiser "advice line," but that turned out to just be the automated appointment-scheduler thingy. So I called Mom. Because that's what you do when the going gets a little scary and the option's available.

Mom told me I wasn't having a stroke, so I calmed down a little. She said it still sounded like I ought to go see a doctor anyway, advice with which I agreed, so I left work for a bit to make my way over to the nearest Kaiser hospital, where (supposedly) Urgent Care was to be had.

A few brief words about the Kaiser Permanente system. I've discussed it before, so you can check out that post if you like, but the bottom line is that nothing's quite the way you expect it to be. At the little clinics, "urgent care" requires an appointment. At the big hospitals, "urgent care" doesn't open until 4:30pm. Do they bother to mention that on their website? Noooooo they do not. My options were to go to the Emergency Room or to schedule an appointment for later in the day. I chose the latter, since I was fairly certain that I didn't have an actual life-or-death emergency. I got an appointment back at the Pasadena clinic for this afternoon.

The diagnosis was Bell's Palsy. To be perfectly honest, I had done a little internetting after I'd gotten back to work, so I wasn't at all surprised when the doctor said that's what I've got. From the Bell's Palsy InfoSite & Forums: "Bells palsy is a condition that causes the facial muscles to weaken or become paralyzed. It's caused by trauma to the 7th cranial nerve, and is not permanent." It's believed to be viral in nature, so the typical treatment involves a course of antivirals, to fight the virus of course, along with a short course of steroids (specifically Prednisone), to reduce the swelling on the nerve. Were I not with child, I'd happily be on said medication at this very moment, but Prednisone's effects on fetal development are not well studied. So the doctor wanted to consult with my OB before prescribing anything. He said that even without any drugs, the condition will resolve itself, usually within a matter of weeks, rarely within a couple of months. Oddly enough, being in the third trimester of pregnancy is actually considered to be a risk factor for Bell's Palsy; I'm not entirely sure why, and I'm only in the second trimester now of course, but I still thought that was somewhat strange.

So, what's going on with me? I feel fine, first of all. My smile, crooked already after my broken jaw six years ago, is even more lopsided than normal. I can't close my right eye without also closing my left, so no winking on that side. Eyestrain from staring at the computer seems to come on a bit more readily than usual. Also, it's a good thing I'm not drinking much of anything but water these days, because little dribbles of water are so much less troublesome than little dribbles of, say, red wine.

This will go away. I will be fine. I'm thankful to only have this minor annoyance to deal with, rather than the major worry that a stroke would have been. I'm writing this so that if, someday, you or someone you know presents with the same symptoms (since this is apparently a much more common condition than I realized), you'll be able to look back and say, "Aha! This is just like that thing Susan blogged about. No worries; I know what it is and what to do."

And now for the hugely ironic moment of the day. Tom & I are of course assembling potential name lists of both genders for the unborn offspring. We're not ready to share those with the world yet, but this one little thing was too strange not to mention. One of the middle names we were considering for a girl-child: Bell. Not the French adjective, but the English noun. Something tells me we may not be using that one now. ;)

Update: For more on my Bell's Palsy Experience, read this post.

Monday, October 15, 2007


There should be some sort of rule, nay, a natural law, that both members of a couple are physically unable to be sick at the same time. It would make things much easier. Tom's managed to catch himself a cold and has been feeling pretty crummy all day. Lo and behold, by the time this evening rolled around, I was feeling less than awesome, myself. Fortunately we were both able to lay low for most of the weekend, so I'm hoping I'll be able to fend off whatever this thing is before it gets too too bad. But seriously, how are we supposed to take care of each other if we both feel like crap?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Willpower? What willpower?

Every Friday, I go out to lunch with some friends from my old job. Our usual haunts are Quizno's, El Pollo Loco and Taco Hell (I know...we're high class), with Chipotle making an occasional appearance for special occasions, since it's a bit of a drive. But oh, no. Today they informed me that they wished to go...where? McDonald's, since they are playing the Monopoly game. They invited me to pick up lunch from wherever and meet them at the golden arches, but as my unborn child had clearly gone to great lengths to arrange the stars just so, I could not refuse.


The cheeseburger did not live up to my memory of it's kind. It may be worth noting here that the last time I ate a McDonald's cheeseburger was, oh, almost a decade ago, before my vegetarianism. After I fell off that wagon, McDonald's was one place I never felt any desire to revisit, which is why the craving was so unusual. Today's cheeseburger was not disgusting, but it was nowhere near the perfection of the one I had built up in my mind. So I expect this craving to dwindle away from here on out. What will replace it? It's anybody's guess at this point.

You asked for it

Yep, it's time for more updates. Try as I might, I'm having a hard time coming up with something to write about other than this whole "new life growing inside me" thing. Sorry if that alienates anyone. Most of the people who read this are family anyway, and I know you guys are all detail-hungry, so I figure you probably won't mind too much if I babble about this stuff for a while.

All right, so we're officially in Week 14. Great Expectations could have done better with this week's size comparison: "Your baby weighs about 1 1/2 ounces and is about three to four inches long - almost as wide as your fist." Umm...don't you mean "almost as long as your fist is wide?" Because, as Tom said, the way they wrote it makes it sound like the kid's suddenly become spherical, and that's just creepy. Little Cartman-looking thing in there making me crave pot pies and cheezy poofs...

Speaking of cravings, I suppose you're wondering if I've had any odd ones yet. The short answer is "Not really," but since Week 14 is officially the start of the second trimester, I guess I'm due to start having them pretty soon. The one slightly weird (for me) thing has been a bizarre yen for McDonald's cheeseburgers, but I haven't actually given in to that craving. I'm gonna go ahead and refuse on the grounds of "yuck, even if I do need to eat cheeseburgers, I will acquire them elsewhere." Mostly I've craved normal things (pizza, burritos, cheese, tomato soup) but I have found that, on occasion, whatever I'm craving is the only thing that sounds good to me. That's happened to me in the past, of course, usually when I'm sick, but it seems to be a more frequent thing these days.

So the first trimester is over. Since I didn't get to write about it at the time, here's a brief recap. I had a fair bit of nausea for a little while there, but I was fortunate in that I didn't have the classic "can't keep anything down" morning sickness. I was super, duper, extra tired at first; I had an even harder time than usual staying awake during meetings. We got to see the first ultrasound image at 7 weeks (that's the photo below), and when we were watching in real time on the screen, we could see a little flashing light that signified the heartbeat. That was pretty awesome. Even though the kid itself didn't look very human yet, that little heartbeat flicker made the whole thing more real to me, even though I didn't yet (and still don't, really) feel pregnant.

I've had some trouble sleeping lately. Mostly, it's trouble going back to sleep after I get up for a middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom. I've also, in the last week, developed some congestion that I'm told is fairly common and will likely last through the remainder of the pregnancy (fun!). However, I have also gotten the promised second trimester nausea abatement and an increase in my energy levels, to go along with my increased appetite. In the next 3 months I'm supposed to put on something like 60% of all the weight I'm due to gain, so that'll be interesting. Already I've had to get some bigger pants, since all my usual ones are just tight enough about the waist to be uncomfortable when I sit at my desk for long stretches of time. It's not so bad though. I've had to put away quite a few shirts as well, as my chest has decided it would like to expand significantly faster than the rest of me. I'll say no more about that. ;)

At the end of the month we'll get to go in for ultrasound number two, at which time there's a fairly good chance they'll be able to tell us whether the critter in there is a little Tom of a little Sue. So that's exciting. I generally like surprises just fine, but this is one of those times when I would like to know in advance what we can expect. Not in the sense of whether I should stock up on pink things or blue ones, because I don't plan on doing that anyway, but I feel like we'll both be able to make a better connection to the kid if we can call him/her by name before the birth. Sounds kind of silly when I actually write it out like that, but there it is.

All right, that's probably enough for now, yeah? You can feel free to ask specific questions of either Tom or me in the comments, if there's yet more you're dying to know. ;)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Some tedium for ya

Ha. I just realized that my last post was the six hundred sixty-sixth. Part of me feels like I should have written about sacrificing goats or something. Or not. Aaaanyway, moving on...

I had to go to San Diego today to fetch some crucial data for my thesis. I haven't had to do that drive for a while, and I was astounded anew at the stupid little traffic clusters that crop up along the freeway. There weren't any accidents, and there was no road construction; there was essentially no good reason for there to be any slowage or outright stoppage of vehicular movement. There are just too damned many people on the roads. Southern California blows.

All in all it seems to have been a successful trip though. I finally have my experimental results in-hand (well, in-hard drive), so I'll be able to actually, you know, finish writing my thesis. And I managed to find good music to play in the car, so as not go completely batshit crazy. I'm tired, but not whooped.

And now for a gestational update: According to my Great Expectations book (not the Dickens version), the little critter is almost 3 inches long and developing vocal cords this week. The book goes week-by-week, which is pretty cool, and has very silly analogies for size. "This week your baby is approximately the size of a chocolate chip or berry." "Your baby is just under an inch long...about the size of a thumbprint!" The next week, it was a garden beetle. Then a peanut. Then a squash ball. We're currently up to the goldfish level. What will be next?! What?! I'm expecting to read in a few weeks that it's as tall as a llama's ear. Hello, Captain Random!

That's all I've got for now. I'm being distracted by the delicious smelling linguine in the kitchen. Gotta go get me some a that. ;)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Horse Tattoo Mystery: Solved!

For those of you keeping score at home, the great mystery of the illegible lip tattoo was solved this past weekend. It turns out that basically the first number Caitlin tried with the Jockey Club, over a month ago, was in fact the correct one! (That would be G22021.) The Jockey Club originally said the number was not a match because their records indicated that it belonged to a horse that was a different color than Royal. Well, they were wrong!

The Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau did a more thorough investigation, given the partial tattoo number and a complete description of the horse, down to his markings. This investigation, naturally, took a bit more time but eventually revealed that, though the color on his papers is listed as "dark bay" instead of just regular "bay," Royal is definitely a horse called Majinski. (Not Magic Thang or whatever the previous owner thought his name might be.)

And it gets better. Royal really does have some fairly regal bloodlines. His grandsire, Nijinsky II, was voted the UK's "Horse of the Millennium" in 2000. Royal did not, it seems, inherit any of his grandsire's racing gifts, since he never even made it to the track (though he is tattooed, he has no race record whatsoever), so this is a good thing for potential buyers who might worry about the stresses that racing puts on young horses' legs.

Anyway, I know you were all just going crazy with anticipation, waiting for the resolution of this strange tale. Now you can sleep easier at night. You're welcome. ;)