Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nora's arrival, part 1--the calm before the storm.

On the whole, my pregnancy was pretty easy. Sure, weeks 6-16 featured monster "morning" sickness that extended all day and reduced me to huffing vanilla in public. But once I got into the second trimester, it was pretty much smooth sailing.

It was fortunate that I was feeling good, because I had a lot to do. You may have noticed a severe drop off in posting around the first of the year. That's because my job market process kicked into high gear around then. I was flying to interviews all over the place, including a few in Europe. My last flight was just a week before the airlines would start refusing to let me on the plane. And I felt pretty good, albeit a little tired. I wasn't particularly huge (go tall lady!), and I managed to avoid a lot of the third trimester discomfort that most women experience.

No sooner had I finished the interview circuit, and I had to turn my attention to defending my dissertation. The goal was to finish my thesis, send it to my committee, and do the oral defense before the Goober arrived and changed our lives forever. I set the date for 2 weeks before my due date, figuring that either the Goober would hold off until I finished, or I'd have a great story to tell.

The process of defending the dissertation is remarkably anti-climatic. You turn in the thesis 1o days before the defense. You give an hour long talk. They ask some questions. They pass you. Frankly, by the time you get to the oral defense, they've already decided you should graduate. In my case, I already had a job lined up. They couldn't fail me. At the same time, I wanted the talk to be worthwhile. It seemed silly to work so hard for six years and give a lousy, half-assed talk at the end. So in the week or so between when I handed the draft to my committee and when I had to defend, I planned to make my talk really shine.

But during that week, things started going down hill. I was having some difficulty getting the talk in order. I had to present considerable background, plus three very different models in less than an hour. Plus, my luck seemed to be running out, pregnancy-wise. I was feeling extraordinarily tired. My feet were swelling up. Over the weekend, I felt so sick that I thought I was coming down with the flu. On Monday, our traditional beer night, I seriously considered staying home, because I didn't think I could make it all the way downtown. The walk took a lot out of me, and I got a ride home. I couldn't concentrate on my talk for more than a few minutes at a time. I did the best I could, and figured it would have to do. I thought that it must just be the third trimester creeping up on me. After all, women are supposed to be uncomfortable near the end, right?

My talk was on Tuesday. I felt ok that morning--better than I had been feeling in the days before. I picked up the paper work I needed and tested out the equipment. Ross handled all of the snacks, and set up a feed so my parents could watch my talk. The talk itself went very well, though I felt pretty distracted throughout. I felt really hot up on stage, and a couple of times I lost my train of thought. I had to take a seat for the questions at the end, and I was so warm that I felt kind of faint.

I spent Wednesday making some of the corrections my committee wanted done. My goal was to have them done by Friday.

My OB checkup was scheduled for Thursday at 3 pm. That day, Ross and I went on a walk after lunch. We were planning to have one more cocktail party that weekend, before the baby came. Ross wanted some raspberry sugar for a special cocktail he was concocting, so we walked to Kerrytown. I was tired enough when we got down there that I contemplated staying there until my appointment and then cutting across--saving a small amount of walking. But there was a seminar I wanted to attend, so I trudged back to campus. I remember thinking that I was lucky that the bad part of pregnancy had held off for so long--I had only 10 days to my due date, and I was just starting to feel lousy. Famous last words.

After my seminar, I dragged myself down to the OB clinic. It's only a mile or so from campus to the university hospital, where the clinic is located. I had been walking a lot throughout my pregnancy--both because of my travel schedule and because we just like to walk more than we like to drive. I'd walked to all of my OB appointments--a fact that baffled the folks at the clinic desk. So a mile would normally be a trivial distance for me. In fact, we'd joked that I could just walk to the hospital when I went into labor. But that day I was feeling pretty bad--and we'd already walked all the way downtown and back--so I seriously contemplated taking the bus. In the end, I decided to walk, not so much because I wanted to, but rather because I didn't feel up to figuring out which bus to take down. Since I never left the hospital after I checked into the OB clinic, I'm able to say that I did walk to the hospital for delivery after all.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Month 9 recap

First Halloween costumes:
1) Our family costume was Ichabod Crane (me), the Headless Horseman (Ross) and the pumpkin head (Nora)
2) Nora dressed as a dragon for most of the rest of the festivities, including a walk around the neighborhood (though no trick-or-treating)

Nora bean has a new favorite food--refried beans with enchilada sauce. In related news, my girl eats SO MUCH FOOD. She ate half of the beans that came with my big ass combo plate. And her milk intake ain't shabby either. Now if only she'd nap every once in a while...

We went to the science museum today and played. So much fun! The columbus scienceuseum has a huge play area with water tables. I'm thinking we may have to find something similar in Pittsburgh.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Month 8 recap

Tonight is date night! First one since Nora was born, nearly 8 months ago!

Date night last night was a fantastic success. And of course, we missed Baby Girl by the end of the evening. Also, RED is a really fun, easy movie. 

Nora made a friend today! Shannon (our nanny) took her to a storytime at the local Borders and she met a little boy who is almost exactly her age. They are going to meet up again at the library tomorrow. Yay!

Nora has a tooth! My little girl is all grown up! 
Watch out apples! Watch out pickles! She's totally gonna eat you!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Month 6 recap

My baby is babbling. This is new in the past few days. She's also growing hair. And can grab nearly anything. Who told her she could grow up? Also, I wish I had two days every day--one to spend on work, and one to spend with her.

Nora's 6 months old, as of yesterday. At her 6 month visit, she was 21 pounds, and 95th percentile in height and weight.
 Today is her first full day with the nanny. I was a weepy mess this morning, but working helps. 

Nora (age, 6 months) has outgrown all of the 6 month clothes, and most of the 6-9 month clothes. The 9 month clothes fit snugly, and her new 12 month clothes (from granny OConnell) are the right size to start wearing. We have 6 months of baby in a 12 month package! I don't see many other babies, but it creeps me out when I do. The ones her age look so small. And the ones her size are all walking already. Compared with them, our baby is a giant! 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Month 5 recap

Note: Again, I'm just reposting what I wrote in another forum at this time in Nora's life.


It appears that Nora is also an aspiring rock climber--she's always headed for the high ground. She's especially good at climbing her dad--she pushes off his belly with her feet and uses his beard as a rope.

Nora doesn't sleep more than a few hours at a time. During the day, she will sleep at most 45 minutes on her own. She cries without waking up, and if I am there to comfort her, she'll sleep for several hours. At night, she will occasionally sleep for 3 or 4 hours, but most nights she is crying every 1-2 hours. She seldom opens her eyes all the way during those times, but she cries and cries, until I feed her. Is that really a learned thing? She really seems hungry.

 I just caught Nora trying to pull herself up on the windowsill from the back of the couch. Home girl is STRONG!

Wow. I am more exhausted than I've been...maybe ever. Last night was my fourth in a row of 5 hours of (heavily interrupted, narcoleptic) sleep, followed by stressful days of teaching, moving related shenanigans, and taking care of Nora. Yesterday we sent Nora off to her Aunt/Uncle/cousin for a few hours, and while we did get about 1000x more done without her, it was almost worse to not have her around to keep us company. I guess that's true love for you. Yesterday the packers came, and magically transformed our house full of stuff into a house full of boxes. Today the movers come and put it all in a truck. Tonight is last dinner with the Detroit family. Tomorrow we try to take care of the quintillion things that have to be done before we leave. Saturday we load the baby, cats, and a weeks worth of stuff into our car and a rented van and drive down to Pittsburgh. My feelings on that vary depending on how recently I've woken up. 

One really cool thing to balance out the above: we had to inventory all of the items in our house that are worth more than $100/pound. It turns out that there aren't many things that fit into that category, because many things are expensive but heavy. The exception in our case was artwork. As we cataloged our unframed artwork, it became clear what our main indulgence is. We have over 100 major works on paper (not counting my own artwork). Going through it all was lovely, and renewed our resolve to get more of it framed for the new house. We've been working on it slowly over time, but it's time to step it up.

Also, the most valuable item in our home? A library book from the University of Michigan from the 1880s. It is one of two books that first promoted posters as an art form. Ross got it from the vault, which the place where they put books that don't get used very often--a kind of storage facility. We've had it for 5 years now. It's never been reissued and currently goes for about $5000. I feel like it should be in special collections, rather than in a storage facility, badly bound and falling apart. Perhaps we'll contact special collections before we return it.


Our younger cat, Roxy, puts up with no shit from anyone. Except the baby, who can pull her ears and suck on her tail. Just when I think I have that cat figured out...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Month 4 recap

Note: I stopped blogging right around the time we moved from Ann Arbor to Pittsburgh. Moving to a new city, starting a new job, and taking care of a 4 month old baby proved to be enough to handle, without blogging. But I continued to write in a more private forum. I'm reposting them here more for my own benefit than anything.


Baby girl is so unhappy. Teething pain? Earache? Just a bad day? It's hard to tell. She's ordinarily so happy that we figure minor fussiness = problems. But maybe it's not? She's holding her ear, but I've read that teething pain can be redirected to feel like ear pain. And she tugs her ear when she's tired too. I'm anticipating a call to the doctor in the morning. I'm also anticipating that they'll act like we're nuts.

Baby girl has been unusually fussy all day, and particularly unhappy to be put down. I finally took off the shirt she's been wearing all afternoon, and discovered that it had one of those plastic hanger tags on the inside shoulder. Super scratchy. She is SO HAPPY now. I feel bad because it was clearly really irritating her, and kept her from sleeping. But I'm also glad that there was a reason. 

Ross took Nora out for a walk. She's been "asking" to face outwards for a while now--twisting herself around in the Moby or Bjorn in an attempt to see out front.  So he let her face outwards for the first time. She loved it! He said that she squealed the whole time, and met so many more people than usual. It must have been tiring though, because she was asleep by the time they got back, and took a solid nap this afternoon for the first time in days!

Also, Nora is having a growth spurt again. I am STARVING.

A friend is having us over to use his complex's pool on Saturday. I've been planning to take Nora swimming in Pittsburgh once she reaches 6 months, but I'm starting to wonder if there's any reason for that magic age? Especially after reading [|this article] about taking a 6 week old to swim lessons. So when is it ok for a baby to go swimming? Nora probably won't be going on Saturday regardless, because of the sun. But do I need to wait if I can find a pool that would let me take her? What equipment (beyond a swim diaper) would I need?

Middle of the night update: I'm sitting with baby girl in my lap, post-feed. She looks asleep, but then, in rapid succession, she
1) throws her arms in the air
2) screws up her face
3) relaxes her face and sticks out her tongue as far as it will go
4) darts the tongue back in and arches one eyebrow

Baby girl's first tooth is slowly working it's way to the surface. Yesterday, I felt a little bitty point. She's 3-1/2 months old tomorrow.

Nora is crazy strong! She's been supporting her own weight standing for a while. Just today, I stood her up, and she grabbed onto the couch. I figured I'd try letting go to see what would happen. She stood there, by herself, holding onto the couch for at least 10 minutes. She even tried to reach for a soda bottle on the back of the couch. Home girl is only 3-1/2 months old! Super baby! 
But she can't roll over--to each baby, her own, I suppose.

Baby girl was very very fussy today, her fussing increasing in urgency until total melt down by this evening. The only thing that seemed to make it better was eating and sleeping and eating and sleeping. I thought it was the teeth finally breaking though (they are SO CLOSE). But she didn't want to chew. I thought she might be plugged up, but evidence indicated otherwise. I was about ready to call the doctor, when I noticed her bum was BRIGHT red. So we had a little soak in the tub, and we've been avoiding pressure on the diaper area. SO MUCH BETTER. My baby's happy again. Too bad moms are stupid sometimes.

Baby girl is NOT HAPPY. I don't think that the diaper rash was the whole story. 

Hmmm...all signs point to a super gassy little girl. Her life is sucking a little less today, but I'm keeping a fart count. 
I had no idea that motherhood would be so glamourous. 

We went swimming at a friend's complex yesterday. This was Nora's third time in the pool, and she *loved* it. None of the trepidation of the previous two outings. Just pure, unbridled joy. 

Miss Nora is almost 4 months old! She is celebrating by making huge progress in all things physical--she is standing like a pro (by herself if we prop her against something solid), starting to sit up (she totally rocks the bumbo), picking up things large and small (favorites include soda bottles, tall glasses, rings, her sproingy toy, and Sophie the giraffe), baby cobra position while on her tummy, and as of last week, she started rolling over (front-to-back). She'll be jimmying windows in no time!

Nora's 4 month appointment was yesterday. She's in the 90+ percentile for weight and and the 70th percentile for length. This, from a baby who started out WAY too skinny (35th percentile weight and 80th height after one week). What a chubber!  

We also filled out that "ages and stages" worksheet, but we were stumped on the very first question. "Does your child chuckle softly to herself?" Does my child chuckle? I have no idea. What does that even mean?  After hilarious minutes spent speculating what a baby chuckle would sound like, we decided that no, she doesn't chuckle. In fact, given her personality, she may never chuckle. Home girl is on or off--quiet, or squealing madly. There is no room for anything so half-assed as chuckling. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A week's worth of mini blog entries

Sproingy toy IN MY MOWF!!!


New favorite toy: fortune cookie, in wrapper.
New favorite person: Tim
New favorite flavor: General Tao's chicken sauce


According to the lady at TK WU, Nora is huge. Also, she's that big because I've been eating at TK WU.