Lest I sound ungrateful in my rantings about work, I should really stop to say what a cool company I work for. Not only have they been really tolerant of my absences and flakiness because of my pregnancy, but they're wonderfully flexibile and generous to the moms who work for the company too. One of my coworkers works 2 days a week from home. Another works 32 instead of 40 hour weeks.

I'm not yet sure how much time I want to take off with Little Bean. At least 3 months, and somewhere in there I'll decide if a fourth would be helpful. And I haven't decided if I want to try working from home some of the time afterwards, or potentially even coming back with reduced hours. But my agreement with them is that I'll try to have some sense of all of that by about 6 weeks postpartum, so we can both plan appropriately.

But what's so cool is that I just went to talk to my HR person about my maternity leave, and I'm pretty pleased with the result. I'll get one lump-sum payment from short-term disability equivalent to 70% of my salary for 6 weeks. I can also choose to use some or all of my vacation time to cover other portions of my leave. Haven't decided yet if I'll do that, or if I want to hold onto it for later in the year when I'll no doubt want it. But here's the really awesome thing - not only will they continue to pay for my (and Eric's) health insurance while I'm off - I don't even have to cough up my portion of the premium (currently about $250/month). How cool is that?

It's not as good as Canada (where the government pays for 1 full year of parental leave divided as you see fit among both parents). And I'm sure there are other companies that have better plans. But given that I was really worried about the health insurance issues, and thinking that short-term disability might only cover 50%, I'm quite happy.
We went to our first childbirth education class tonight. I wasn't really sure what to expect, because the person running it was not at all good about returning my phone calls or sending me information. But it was one of the two classes that were recommended by the midwives, and the other one was full, so I found out the class location from a friend and just showed up tonight.

It was pretty good. Eric, no surprise, found it too touchy feely for his tastes. I'm not reallly into creating birth art and the like either, but I was keeping and open mind and getting what I could out of the experience. Practicing breathing awareness while holding ice cubes (not that ice cubes simulate labor pains, but they give you a "compelling sensation" to work with during practice) was probably the most useful part of the class, even if I sometimes had a really hard time with it. Which in itself is a good thing to know. And as part of what lead up to the eventual art thing, we had to come up with some words and concepts to describe things that we wanted during our labor, and that helped me focus on some things (concrete and less concrete) that I want or feel strongly about.

The class goes on for 5 more weeks, although I'm going to miss one session because of my trip to DC. Eric, while not thrilled with the whole idea, has agreed to go with me. As I said to him - it's important that he go with me so he knows all the things to remind me of during labor.

Sadly, my throat is still hurting, so I think I really am getting sick. I'm going to finish drinking my pregnancy tea and head off to bed.

New Icon!

Jan. 28th, 2004 09:18 am
At long last, the updated icon. You can visit my website to see the side by side shots. But first, click through the cut for a bonus pic!

Look Ma - No Hands! )
Okay, I've given the blow by blow, but not really said how much I enjoyed the weekend. And I did.

It was fabulous being [livejournal.com profile] gerisullivan's guest liaison - she was everything a girl could want in a guest. It was very fun to have a chance to hang out and get to know each other better. Ben just sent me email to say that he'd heard from her and that she'd arrived home safe and sound (and was going immediately to bed!).

The new hotel rocks. It's a real hotel, with real staff, and they were a joy to work with. They followed our agreements to the letter, like contacting Operations or the Hotel Liaison whenever any issues arose, which meant that the few problems there were did not blow up into something bigger. They were welcoming and friendly and I never saw one of them so much as roll their eyes at our weird antics. Note to self - suggest to [livejournal.com profile] netmouse that we follow up with a big thank you card for all of the staff. More than one person reported getting hugs from their housekeeping staff! Quintessential example of the welcome we received - in the wee hours of Sunday morning, [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha K and two friends "liberated" the hot tub and a bunch of people indulged in some skinny dipping. A hotel staffer walked in, saw what was going on, didn't say anything to the people in the tub, but reported it to the front desk. The front desk called our hotel liaison to discuss the situation. Final result? That they should put their clothes back on by 5:15, since the pool opened to the public at 5:30. That's something I'd expect from a hotel that we'd been at for a couple/few years, not the very first time!!!

Being pregnant at a convention was a lot of work. My midwives have been wanting me to get more exercise, but I don't think they meant all in one weekend! I'm really regretting not getting my picture done last week like I wanted to, because due to me standing and walking around so much more than usual, my belly dropped by about 1-2 inches. For a while there my belly and boobs were looking like they were about to merge, I was carrying so high up! So it was work, but aside from overdoing it a bit on Friday, I managed it pretty well. I went to programming, sat down in room parties for a longer stretches of time, tried to stay well hydrated and fed, and generally took it easy. (Yes, for me, this weekend really was taking it easy. Honest.)

I went to 4 panels and the Masquerade. That may be a record for me. In fact, that may be more programming than I usually go to in an entire year!

[livejournal.com profile] netmouse did a really fabulous job. She pulled together a team of really good people, and set them loose to make things work. And they did! Our art show was the best in years. The ConSuites continued to be the social centers of the convention, even on the 14th and 15th floor. Everything came together, as it does.

I wrote a mothering analogy in my second convention post, and that continued to resonate for me throughout the weekend. I still think of ConFusion as my baby, and feel very protective of it. I want to see it grow and become bigger and better and stronger and wiser. And right now, it's in someone else's hands, and that's a good, wonderful thing. My baby's gone off to boarding school. *sniff sniff* Sometimes it's a challenge not to be the overprotective, doting mother, but it's worthwhile and important to make the effort.

And I suspect you've all heard enough on the subject from me, so I'll shut up about it now...
Long and busy day. Up early for breakfast with [livejournal.com profile] kgkofmel, then back to the hotel to get the last bits of registration stuff taken care of and ready to be passed off to Robyn. Then I met up with Geri and Ben to go to the zoo. As Geri's guest liaison, it's my job to keep her well fed and entertained. I'm glad she decided she wanted to leave the hotel - it was good for me and for [livejournal.com profile] netmouse that I not be there attempting (and probably failing) to push down my desire to backseat drive! I still very much think of ConFusion as my baby, and it was hard to leave it on its own as it entered this next phase in its life. Geri says that my a) recognition that I needed to do that and b) actually doing so are signs that I'm worrying too much about being an overly protective or obsessive parent to Little Bean.

The Detroit Zoo is a pretty good place to visit in the winter. Read more... )

The trip back to the hotel was a little slow, but otherwise generally uneventful. But the snow was continuing to fall, and it was clear that it was going to cause problems later. By the time we got back, a convention had miraculously appeared in the hotel! I did some troubleshooting of various problems registration was having, and then left them to their own devices so I could take Geri off for dinner.

I've mentioned the snow a couple of times. It feel pretty continuously for about 6 or 7 hours starting at 3 in the afternoon. While not quite the blizzard that we're all worried will someday happen to ConFusion, it was enough to seriously slow people down. It was taking 3 hours to get here from Ann Arbor and a similar time from the airport. Some folks from Chicago took as long at 12 hours! So people trickled in slowly all night, and because of that Opening Ceremonies and other Friday events were pretty sparsely attended. Our at-the-door membership took a hit, as you'd expect - looks to me that we're down at least 100 people at this point from where I would have expected/wanted to be. But hopefully we'll make up those numbers today.

After listening to Geri's fabulous speech and seeing [livejournal.com profile] bighoward inducted into the newly formed "Detroit Science Fiction Hall of Fame" at Opening Ceremonies, I got a chance to hang out and see people and socialize. Eventually I headed back upstairs to do several rounds of the parties in my capacity as secret room party judge. At 1 AM, I met up with my other party judges in the consuite to kibbitz on our Friday choices. When I'm done writing this, I need to write up our newsletter article about the results.

All the party hopping combined with the zoo trip meant that I was on my feet for a long time yesterday, and by the end of the night, boy could I feel it! Not in my feet, which were fine, but in my belly muscles that were holding up Little Bean all day long! I was expecting them to be really sore today, but so far they feel alright. Today I will endeavor to sit down more often and drink more water. And probably take a nap - I haven't slept well either night that I've been here. After I went to bed last night (well, this morning - 3 AM) I was paranoid because I realized I hadn't been feeling Little Bean move, so I spent too much of the night was paying great attention to my belly and worrying that something was wrong. But I've had some stirrings this morning, so all seems to be well, and I'm definitely going to take it easier today. Many, many people were greatly surprised that I was pregnant - they're people that we see mostly at conventions, and since we didn't got to ConClave it was a big shock for many of them. So lots of congratulations all around, and happily, very little unsolicited advice and no uninvited belly touching.

And now I think it's time to start day three!
Soon, when I use that word, I'll only be thinking of diapers...

I have to change the way I get up from a lying down position. My midwife told me this at my last appointment, and I promptly did it the wrong way anyway when getting up from my exam. I'm not supposed to pull myself to a sitting position directly from lying on my back - I'm supposed to roll over onto my side first. And not just a little half roll, but a genuine shift all the way.

I'm working at making this habit, but it's not coming easily, especially in the middle of the night. Cause if I don't do it, I go "ouch" and regret it. But sometimes it's hard to roll over onto my side from my back (or worse yet, onto my right side so I can get out of bed when I've been sleeping on my left side). And that's only going to get worse as the belly gets bigger and bigger...

I _will_ get the picture for my new icon taken tonight - [livejournal.com profile] sarahf, can you remind me when you're over? "pregnant22" really isn't cutting it anymore - I'm much more, ummm, abundant now than I was a month ago.

Long day

Jan. 20th, 2004 05:21 pm
I was in a staff meeting today from 8:30 until 5. At 5:45, we meet to go downtown for a belated staff holiday dinner at the Earle. So all told, it will probably end up being a 12 hour work day for me. But at least it's better than being bored, and I only drifted off once during the meeting (a combination of a too hot room and Chinese food for lunch).

In other news, the person running the Birthing from Within childbirth education class _finally_ got back to me, after only my third phone call to her. The class was supposed to start in early in January, but a friend who had signed up told me that the instructor had delayed the start of the class in order to try to get more participants. Well, if she's as bad at getting back to other people as she is at getting back to me, then it's no wonder she's having hard time filling her class! I can only hope she's a better instructor than organizer... Everyone raves about her class, so I'm hoping. The class starts on the 28th and runs for 6 Wednesdays, which means I'll have to miss one while I'm in DC.

And that's all the news from here. ConFusion starts in two days - yippee!
I have to start eating smaller amounts, at least for dinner. The other night I had too many chocolate chip cookies before bed, and I regretted it a lot in the middle of the night. Tonight we went to Zingerman's Roadhouse, and I pigged out on far too much bread and butter. But it was really good bread, and really good butter. But now I don't want to go to bed, even though I'm tired, because I know I'm going to have fierce indigestion and heartburn!

Goals: Smaller meals more often. Try to avoid eating after 8 pm.

New icon coming tomorrow - 26 weeks!
Our admin associate decided to clean the tables in the conference room with Windex this morning. Now the entire office suite smells really strongly of Windex. I was almost retching from it earlier, it was so strong. I closed my office door, which is keeping most of it out, but blech!

I don't know if it's pregnancy nose (mine is even a little stuffed today) or if it's just that vile. We never use that kind of thing in our house because it's bad for the fishtanks, so maybe I'm just not used to it.
Pregnant bellies are beautiful!

I didn't much like my belly before I got pregnant. It was a little too ample for me to ever really be happy with it, and soft and flabby to boot.

But pregnant bellies are different. I don't mind my belly being big now, because it's big with a purpose. And it's anything but flabby - the skin is stretched taut and everything underneath it is firm and burgeoning with power and strength. "I am woman, hear me roar," it says. I can't help but touch it, stroke it, wonder at its form and glory in its size.


OB Fat Acceptance note/ advance response to inevitable comments: This is all about me, and my belly. Whoo-hoo fat acceptance movement. Whoo-hoo to all of you who have managed to accept your own soft and flabby bellies for their own merits. I am not so strong as you, but I am pleased to like my belly now, and I'll worry about the rest later.
This morning I found myself with a powerful craving for a donut. But alas, there are no donut shops on my way to work, so I arrived with my sack of healthy food, donutless. When I walked in, I asked our admin assist if anyone had brought in donuts. She looked at my kinda strangely, and then said "Yes, the local Hampton Inn brought us some." Synchronicity, man...

A glazed cake donut and a caffeine free coke - now there's the breakfast of champions.
As I mentioned in an earlier LJ post, we had dinner tonight with our neighbors. It was a very nice time, both for the company and the food. Elph works at Zingerman's and brought home the newest cheese arrival - La Ture, a creamy, stinky, cow/goat/sheep blend from Italy (although it tasted very French). It was very, very yummy. Good thing I'm ignoring that whole "no soft cheese during pregnancy" prohibition...

I did get suddenly light headed while carmelizing onions and had to pass the cooking duties off to someone else lest I fall over. Sitting down and drinking some water helped. I think I'd just been on my feet too long - I'd been busy cooking for a while at that point.

Little Bean is doing well. The midwife complimented my lovely uterus - everything feels exactly as it should at this point in my pregnancy. She found the baby's heartbeat with the fetascope pretty quickly, and Eric was able to find it too. Little Bean clearly doesn't like having his heart listened to, as he kicked the fetascope while the midwife was listening. I guess he values his privacy!

I like the scale at the midwife's office, because it always has me weighing less than the scale in the CNM office or at home. And my coworker Kathy noted that I seem to be gaining all of my weight in my belly, which so far does seem to be the case. But I've still got 15 weeks to go... I'm hoping I can continue to manage my weight gain as well as I have been - if I can keep my total weight gain to around 20 pounds, I'll be very happy. And that will be easier now that we've gotten back on the wagon of healthy eating and menu planning. Now I just need to start incorporating some exercise into my life somewhere...

But not tonight. I am very, very sleepy, so I'm going to go fall over now...
I haven't really done anything but surf LJ and read and answer email. Pathetic.

Thinking a lot about what I'm going to do after the baby is born. How long to take off, should I go back to work full or part time, how to afford childcare if I do, if it would be possible to manage going back to school part-time. If I want to look for a different job, and what the heck kind of job I might be interested in and able to get. Given that if I wasn't pregnant, I would have quit my current job by now (or at least be heavy into a job search), it's clear that I need to give that last more thought. Looking through old LJ posts from last year, I'm seeing "I'm bored with my job" posts months and months ago, so this is not just a new problem.

Lots to think about.

On a non-work related, buy laziness-related note, I do want to start being better about fulfilling my cohousing committments. To that end, I really need to drag myself off the couch to go to a committee meeting - committee membership is one of the responsibiliites that I have been shirking so far, and there's a common house meeting starting in ten minutes.

After the meeting, Eric and I are going down to Deluxe Drapery and Shade to see what our window treatment consultant has come up with - she came out to the house to measure and take a look on Tuesday, and should have fabric samples and preliminary prices for us today. I think we're going to have major sticker shock.
I feel like getting pregnant has improved my posture. I stand up much straighter now when I'm moving around - I just naturally keep my shoulders back to compensate for my big belly and shifted center of gravity. Same thing when I'm sitting - I don't slouch like I used to, cause slouching over my big belly is just not comfortable.

It would be nice if I can continue some of this afterwards. One of my problems with having good posture is that the muscles that hold things in the right place were atrophied from lack of use, so when I tried to sit or stand up straight, I get tired really quickly. Hopefully this will strengthen those muscles so I can continue to try to remember to use them later...

Baby update

Jan. 5th, 2004 01:03 pm
Visited the U of M midwife for the last time today. I've gotten all my blood tests and my ultrasound done - at this point all that's left that's medical is a Rhogam shot if Eric's blood type is positive, and my homebirth midwives can arrange for that. Oh, and I got my "glucola" for the standard GTT that the CNM's do, and can go into the lab directly in 3 weeks if I want that done - but I suspect my homebirth midwives will say it's not necessary unless it appears I'm having problems.

My midwife was very cool about me switching care. She's aware of New Moon, and has a friend who recently gave birth at home with them. She agreed that my pregnancy is proceeding just great, and that I'm at no special risk. That's good - I was worried that I might get horror stories or she'd try to talk me out of it. But she printed off my whole chart for me with all of my history and lab and ultrasound results so that I can take that over for New Moon, and wished me congratulations and the best of luck in advance. I'm not their first patient to do this - and as the appointments start to come closer together, managing two sets of appointments gets more difficult, and most women planning homebirths drop out of CNM care around now or a little later.

Baby is measuring up right where it should be for 24 weeks. Heartbeat is in the 150's. She showed off by kicking the dopler scope away twice while having her heartbeat checked. You go, baby! Flex those muscles. My weight is up, but as the midwife said, Little Bean is in her blossoming time. I'm still only about 10 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, so that should remain manageable with only 16 weeks more to go. Especially now that the holiday season is over and I can try to convert my cravings and hunger pangs over to healthier food choices now that all the holiday junk food is mostly gone from my house.

Everything is proceeding completely, utterly normally, and I show all signs of having a healthy, happy pregnancy and birth. I must keep remembering that, and not let my anxieties overwhelm me. On some level I'm utterly convinced that this is all going too well and something will inevitably go horribly wrong - gotta figure out a way to work through that one somehow...



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