Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Treading New Ground

News alert: I've never been this pregnant before.

Well, let me clarify. With each passing day, I venture into previously unexplored turf. It's all new to me. The changes, the sensations, the challenges. New surprises every day.

Oh, sure, I check out baby2see.com each week to see what's happening with the baby. I was able to find out when his eyes opened and when he developed fingernails and things like that.

But there are things no one tells you. Things you figure out as you go.

No one tells you that the constraints of your belly skin will feel stretched to their absolute limits some days. I think, oh my, baby boy must be growing a lot today. My belly feels like it is going to burst!

To pick something up off the floor, I have to maneuver like a giraffe: feet wide apart and lean over so that the belly goes between the leg space. Yup. Odd.

Last week at work I was in the hallway waiting for some co-workers to come from the restroom so we could go have lunch. I set my carry bag on the ground and squatted to rearrange some things in the bag. I...well...I couldn't get back up. There was nothing nearby for me to grip to help myself up, and I was kind of stuck. Fortunately the women came out of the restroom, saw my predicament and helped me up.

The baby doesn't only kick outward. He moves in all directions. So sometimes he wiggles or jumps and I have the strangest (and - ahem - sometimes even erotic) sensations deep within my body. My, my!

Sometimes when I lie on my side in bed at night, I swear I'm lying right on his little head. It feels hard and I worry I'm squishing him. Can you squish the baby by lying on your side?

One of my nipples has grown a nipple. I'm not sure if this is pregnancy related, or the result of my advancing age (you know we tend to grow more moles and such as we age). At the 6 o'clock position (basically, underneath) my left nipple, a little skin tag has suddenly appeared. What the....?!

Speaking of boobs, there are moments of shooting, pinching pain in one boob or the other. Developing milk ducts? Not sure. At home I sit with my hand up my shirt, massaging the poor burning spot. In public, I can only wince.

Yes, I am beginning to waddle.

No, I can't get comfortable at night to sleep.

My internal organs are no longer where I used to recognize them. I think my stomach is now squarely between my boobs.

And just yesterday, my DH said that sometimes I breathe loudly, like an overweight trucker. That's nice.

Hm. Who knew? Each day is a new venture into the peculiar. Of course you know I don't really mind any of this a bit. Small price to pay for a sweet baby boy. It's just that I wake up each day wondering, and not really knowing, what to expect.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lo and Behold

'Twas the day after Christmas, when all through the house, a creature was stirring...hey, it's my spouse!

Contrary to my expectations, my DH got underway early yesterday. He went through boxes in the garage, filling trash bags and setting things aside to go to Good Will. He reorganized and consolidated what was left. He moved unneeded furniture from the back bedroom to the garage until we can get rid of it. He moved most of his home office "stuff" from the room that will be the baby's into the back bedroom and got it all set up. He piled documents to be shred. He moved books and bookcases and....well...it was a sight to behold.

Newton's First Law of Motion states: An object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion at constant velocity, unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

I was not about to be the unbalanced force slowing down my DH in motion.

I did what I could to help - which wasn't much. He didn't want me lifting so much as two books at a time. I cleared bathroom cupboards of sundries never used (they too will be donated) and sorted some kitchen items.

His former home office will be the baby's room. It's nearly empty this morning, and already my DH is back in there, clearing out the rest. I'm utterly impressed. He says we should be able to paint the baby's room next weekend.

The only twinge of disappointment I felt was seeing the back bedroom - which used to be my "woman cave" - largely taken over by my DH and all his office stuff. His books, CD racks, computers, printer, desk and other work-related gear. Sigh. I haven't a corner of the house to myself anymore. He reminded me that I'm gaining a baby room, though. Perhaps baby boy won't mind sharing his space with me.

Yesterday's work made me realize we have too much stuff. Stuff we don't use. Stuff we don't need. Stuff that is sometimes difficult to get rid of, nonetheless. But we are making headway, little by little.

And soon, I'll get to do the really fun part - filling the baby's room with furniture and toys and all the things we'll need to make our home his.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Feeling the Love

To all my beloved blog sisters: Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Every Other Holiday! I wish you joy, peace, and a bright year ahead, full of wishes fulfilled.

I looked at your comments to my previous post. It turns out I didn't need to defend myself at all.

I came to my blog and there you all were. Again. Supporting me, defending me, agreeing with me, or at least supporting my right to my own opinion.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I just love you guys and I wish - especially now that it's Christmas - that I could give an IRL hug to each of you.

From the bottom of my belly to the top of my heart - I wish you all happy holidays.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Change of Heart

Well, I was going to write a post defending myself against the couple of attacking comments to my last post.

But to those who know and understand me, no defense or explanation is necessary.

To those who don't, nothing I say will matter anyway.

Besides, two things are more important.

One, is that EB at IVF 40+ Path to Parenthood just found out she's pregnant. My heart is so full of happiness for her that I refuse to make room for bitterness. Congratulations, EB! I can't wait to follow your pregnancy over the next nine months!

Two, is that Alex P. who understood and defended me, wrote a really beautiful post about giving. Read it. I guarantee it will warm your heart and give you new (or renewed) perspective about the meaning of the season. Thanks, Alex.

And in light of Alex's post about giving, let me say that all of you give me so much. You warm my heart with your kindness, your blogs, your tenderness for each other and your ability to reach out and say just the right thing. There is so much give and take in this community, in just the right proportion, it is a true testament to the goodness of the human spirit.

Monday, December 21, 2009

What Am I Doing?

We received news today that the big case I've been working on might settle. Negotiations are in the works. Last I heard, the parties were "close." For what that's worth.

The possibility of settlement brings mixed emotions. On one hand, I think if the case went to trial, we would kick the other side's lying, evil butts, which would give me great personal satisfaction. On the other hand, being able to stop the insanity, stop having to respond to their ridiculous motions, start working reasonable hours and put those jerks behind us - is a really welcome thought.

My boss already invited everyone out for drinks tomorrow night. I think it's a bit premature, but, whatever.

In the mean time, Alex P asked me some questions in her comment the other day. She asked what I am doing to get ready for delivery, whether I am taking Lamaze classes and what my plans are for having the baby, meaning whether I plan to get an epidural or go natural.

So I guess the big question is: What am I doing?

I'm embarrassed to admit that I have not yet enrolled in any childbirth classes, although I plan to. I have not done much research about my childbirth options. I know, I know...how could I not have done these things? I have not yet talked to HR at work about my maternity leave, nor have I discussed it in any detail with my bosses. I'm not even sure what I want to ask for. And no, we have not yet interviewed any daycare providers.

I'm a mess. The past few months have somehow evaporated.

I do know a few things though:

(1) My first choice would be to give birth naturally, without an epidural. But since I have no idea what that pain is going to be like, I am absolutely open to shouting the word "Anesthesia!" and getting an epidural when it's offered. I'm no martyr.

(2) I'm also open to the possibility that I may need a C-section. Breach position, stalled labor, other emergency - whatever - I'm no hero. My first and foremost concern will be the health and safety of my baby. This birth is not about my experience - it's about getting the baby here safely.

(3) I need to take some classes. I know how to care for the baby once it's here, but labor and delivery are not my expertise.

(4) I do not want a midwife or doula. Just not my thing. When I'm in pain, I need quiet and I need to focus. Somebody touching me, stroking me or talking to me is likely to get cursed at and punched in the nose. All I want in the room are a doctor and a nurse telling me what to do periodically, and my DH, standing quietly nearby. I don't focus well when there are a lot of distractions.

(5) I'd love to be able to take 6 full months of maternity leave. I'm not sure what my bosses will think of that. I'm not sure my DH and I can afford that. But in a perfect world, it would be great. Alternatively, maybe I can take 4 months and then work from home part time.

(6) As for daycare, my Mom is supposedly going to move here and take care of the baby once I go back to work. But, we need to be prepared in case that doesn't work out. And my preference is a commercial daycare organization rather than a private home. I just feel like a commercial business will have strict rules and more people around so that the chances of someone shaking my baby (my worst nightmare) are less than in a private home. Just my own preference.

(7) My DH's plan is to get the baby's room emptied (it's currently a home office), cleaned and painted during the holiday break so that it will be ready for baby furniture and decorating. We'll see. My DH is a fabulous procrastinator. And I'm not moving furniture.

Oh boy. There is a lot to do. So, it will be helpful if the legal case settles so that I'll have time to turn my attention to some of these things. Otherwise, one day my water will break and then I'll really wonder: What am I doing?!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Trapped in Booth Hell

Well, I thought I was off scot-free. Not so.

Usually it's Christmas at Wacky P's. But this year, MIL and FIL both have other plans, so we're off the hook and - for the first time ever - my DH and I get to spend Christmas home alone together! This is wonderful news to the both of us.

Ah, but not so fast.

MIL was going to be in town this week and wanted to see us. She has something for us. Well, okay, MIL by herself isn't so bad. And the plan was just to go out for dinner. So it would be a time limited event.

On Thursday, DH emailed me at work (which, by the way, was a day in hell unto itself) and said there had been a change in plans. New plan was to have lunch Friday (yesterday) with MIL and Wacky P.

Really? Do we have to? Will Wacky P's kids be there? Does Wacky P get to choose the restaurant (as usual)? Poor DH. He doesn't know the answers. He just knows I'm putting up resistance. As usual.

So, okay, [sigh] it's just lunch. At least we got to pick the restaurant (I insisted).

And, as it turned out, no kids - just MIL and Wacky P and DH and me.

So there I am. Trapped in a booth. Looking out the window, gazing at all the people walking by. Those not trapped in a booth with MIL and Wacky P.

Here is an assortment of the questions/comments MIL and Wacky P posed:

- What are you going to do for daycare?

- The county provides a list of approved daycare providers, people's whose homes are licensed...

- You know, one question you should absolutely ask any daycare provider is whether you can drop by at any time unannounced. If they say no, you don't want that place.

- You're not going to have a C-Section are you? (this was MIL's question, to which Wacky P immediately replied: "No, of course she won't, she's healthy and strong and there's no reason she can't push that baby out.")

- Do you have a doula or midwife?

- I have a wonderful book about natural childbirth...it's called "Blah Blah Blah" and it really helped me.

- Will your mom be there for the birth?

- Is your mom coming to help you with the baby when it's born?

- Do you have a breast pump?

- You know, there's a lot to taking care of a newborn, but you'll eventually figure it out.

- Will Mr. BWUB get to take some time off when the baby's born?

- How much maternity leave do you get?

- What are you going to do about Daisy (my bark-happy dog) and the baby ?

- Do you knit? Can I knit you blanket? What color do you want?

- (From Wacky P): Oh, we used Such-And-Such daycare with both of our kids. Do you know Such-and-Such daycare? Well, they serve organic vegetarian meals and they do this and that and blah, blah, blah.

- Did you know that in some cultures they use a birthing sling? They squat over it....[okay, at this point I mentally checked out. Holy crap, were they really going to discuss the mechanics of childbirth in a restaurant?].

I was in hell. Not all of the questions were that terrible, but it was like a firing squad of questions coming at me. And it was in public. I'm sure the old man in the booth behind us was delighting in all this talk about natural childbirth and breast pumps and birthing slings.

And - duh - I was a pediatric nurse for crying out loud. I worked peds, intensive care and even the NICU. I managed 3 preemies for 12 hours at a time. Yeah, I know that my own child will be different, and I won't get to leave after 12 hours, but good gravy (I'm trying to cut back on the profanity so I don't sound like a trucker to our baby), I think I know how to hold, feed, change and burp a baby. Hell, I can just about twirl a newborn over my head like a baton.

As for the childbirth experience itself, no one can know what that is like until they've gone through it. Wacky P can't say that I won't need a C-section. Duh. What if the baby is breach? What if he won't engage? What if labor stalls for too long? I just didn't want to get into all this with them.

Ultimately, too, not much of this is their business. At least in my mind it's not their business. My DH sat there eating and saying almost nothing the entire meal. He thinks they're just interested and trying to "bond" with me.

The only saving grace was that we were there and done in less than an hour. MIL gave us a Christmas gift and that was that.

Good grief. NOW you see why Christmas alone sounds so good.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy x 2

First of all, I am thrilled and so excited for EB at IVF 40+ Path to Parenthood who had an amazing transfer experience today, and was able to freeze eleven embies to boot! EB has been through as much as anyone, and I hope with all my might that her dreams are about to come true.

Second, I've had a turn of good fortune too.

Those of you who have followed me for a while may remember the dreaded OMC. The Outside Monitoring Clinic. Since my clinic is located so far away from where I live, the OMC (a local IF clinic) performed my b/w and u/s's. They charged me non-contracted rates (read: expensive) for their services, plus a $125 per visit "monitoring fee." They refused to submit anything to my insurance and balked when I submitted the claims myself.

Their position was that since I wasn't "their" patient, they had the right to charge me full price for everything.

Ultimately, after hundreds of phone calls, and fantastic people at my insurance company who went the extra mile on my behalf, the insurance company agreed with ME. All of my b/w and u/s's should have been covered, and all I should have paid was a $25 co-pay per visit. I was not entitled to get back the monitoring fees (amounting to another $1,000), but hey, I wasn't about to be greedy.

I collected my insurance coverage letters, and wrote a nice, professional, stern, lawyerly letter to the OMC, attaching the coverage letters, showing them the math, and telling them, in no uncertain terms, that I expected them to immediately send me a check in the amount of $1,790.


The check arrived in the mail two days ago.

Holy crap. I won.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Regaining Perspective

Even before I went to bed last night I was feeling guilty about my last post.

The whining. The crabbing. The complaining about my DH.

I got up at 7 a.m. this morning to quickly take it down before anyone saw it. But wait - there were comments already. Supportive, understanding, validating comments! I should have known that you guys would take my big waaah-fest with a grain of salt and back me up.


I still feel badly though. The male co-worker of mine of whose wife gave me a gift bag full of baby goodies? He and I chatted last week about work strategy - before digressing onto the topic of babies.

He told me how, when his wife was pregnant with their first child, he was happy and excited and all, but he didn't really get it until the moment the baby was born and he heard his son's first cries.

He said that for women, we begin to change our feelings, our mindset, our priorities and everything else during the pregnancy. After all, we are the ones who carry the baby, who feel the baby move, who realize with every cell of our being that we are no longer alone. And I think for IF'ers, our feelings about having a child kicked in long ago.

But, he said, it was different for him, and for most men, he suspects. Except for the fact that they see their wives' bellies growing and intellectually know there is a baby, they just are not as affected as we are. But then, he said, at the moment he heard the cry, it all changed (no, he was not over the doctor's shoulder, witnessing the baby crown. I guess he couldn't handle that. When I first witnessed a crowning, I found that experience alone to be miraculous).

Upon hearing his newborn son's first cry, he said it was like a tiny, dormant seed in the back of his brain was suddenly triggered, releasing a chemical throughout his body that changed him. Changed how he thought and how he felt and what he realized. He cried. He cried! He is not an emotional guy. He said the moment was life changing for him.

Well, this gives me, and hopefully others, some hope that when the time comes, our DHs too will experience a similar change. I have to realize that my need to control everything about this pregnancy - including the way my DH feels and acts - is unnecessary. I need to stop complaining and just come to grips with the fact that until the baby is born, my DH is not in the same place as me. And I need to be okay with that.

I do, however, appreciate the supportive comments, and even getting a chuckle out of some of the suggestions, like swiping the gift card and enjoying a spa day for myself! As usual, you guys have once again come through for me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

You Have GOT to be Kidding Me

First, the good news. Bring on the mini candy canes. I aced my glucose tolerance test.

Funny how anyone who'd ever taken the test before moaned and groaned to me about how awful the whole procedure was. Hm. Not so. Can I just say that the very sweet, sugary lemon-lime chilled beverage was tasty? Yeah. It was. I gulped it down and went to my OB appointment. The sugar had my kid on a high, and he was kicking and dancing up a storm!

In other news....

Our built in microwave oven stopped working. It's built in, so you can't even find the electrical cord. Crap. Remember the beat up old microwave my DH had stored out in the garage? The one I'd bugged him to get rid of? He gleefully dusted it off, brought it inside, and plopped it on the counter. Ugh. In his world, if something breaks, you just stop using it. If it drips, you put a pan under it. If it chips, you use it till it breaks completely. I mean - OH. NO.


My DH's company had their holiday party. He came home with a basket they'd given him in honor of his 5 years of service. It had a $100 visa gift card in it. A hundred bucks! Visions of baby things danced in my mind. Him? He was licking his lips wondering how many CDs that'll buy him. Not that he doesn't already own 8,275 CDs.

I said, "You could spend it on baby things, you know. We're going to need a lot of things."

Him: You're kidding, right?

Me: No, I'm not kidding. You wouldn't get something for your kid?

Him: I am getting him something. I'm giving him a house to live in.

Me: [Shooting extremely dirty look and voice dripping with sarcasm] "Mm. Big of you."

He didn't speak to me for the rest of the night. He went to bed without saying good night.

Um, excuse me, but one who rudely refuses to make the smallest sacrifice for the sake of their kid can be mad all he wants. I sacrificed to the freaking moon and back for this baby. All the physical crap I endured. It was my money that financed the whole thing. And now HE has the nerve to be selfish over a crummy $100 gift card?

You have GOT to be kidding me.

And last but not least.

Here is what is awaiting me at work on Monday. It arrived Thursday. I asked my secretary to put her hand on it for perspective. Yeah. The abusive opposing counsel on the other side of this case filed two new motions. This stack of papers? That's all of two motions. Our opposition papers are due when? December 24. Really. It's going to take that long just to read all of that!

Need I say it? You've got to be kidding me.

Well, none of it amounts to the end of the world. I realize that. Just enough frustration to remind me that life ain't perfect.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Belly Pictures and Other News

I started writing this post last Sunday. Then work kicked into high gear and I had to put the post on hold. Sorry it's such a long post, but here's the lowdown:

So it seems that baby boy is growing. I have the belly to prove it! Amazing how the growth is now picking up speed. Even my secretary commented that I look noticeably bigger. It's true.

My thighs and behind are bigger too, but, oh well. There will be time enough to work on that another day.

NEW INFO: I had my glucose tolerance test today. God, I hope I don't have gestational diabetes. I have been eating mini candy canes like crazy and can't imagine giving them up now. I also had a doctor's appointment and I gained SIX POUNDS since last month. I thought that was huge. The doctor looked at the overall picture and said I'm right on track as far as total weight gain. 26 weeks - 19 pounds up. She figures at this rate I'll end up having gained right about 30 pounds by my due date, which is the recommended. But I must say, it feels weird to weigh more than I ever have in my life. (of course, if I could stop with the candy canes already...)

In the "Wow, I wasn't expecting that" category, last week one morning one of my male colleagues came into my office - and gave me a gift bag! He and his wife have 2 little ones, so I had picked his brain a few weeks ago about day care. He talked with his wife about my pregnancy, and she bought and sent me baby gifts! This is a woman I've never even met. How sweet was that?! And I must say, she has wonderful taste. Adorable outfits and toys.

I was stunned and couldn't say thank you enough. Of course my co-worker admitted he had no idea what was actually in the gift bag as I proceeded to open it. And he also admitted not really "getting" why women coo and fawn over baby clothes.


But I am really touched. I showed the gifts to my secretary, saying they were the first gifts anyone had gotten me. She grinned and said, "Mmm, no they're not...they're just the first ones you've received."

What great people I work with.

It almost makes the 12 hours I worked on Saturday seem worth it.

I'm working this weekend too, but hey, March (and my due date) is right around the corner.

Besides, I jokingly (well...not really) told my boss I'd likely be up to my eyeballs in this case until the day my water breaks. Then I will be gone on mat leave. The problem with that is that my other work - the work I was actually hired to do before being sucked into this huge litigation case - won't get looked at until next summer at the earliest. To my utter delight, she said they interviewed and hope to hire another attorney, who should start work in January, to take over the lead on this big litigation case! That way I can pull out of it (by and large) and finish up my other work and cruise into my maternity leave without the stress of working day and night on this grueling case. I was thrilled. It can't happen soon enough. Pretty soon I need to start thinking about pediatricians and birthing classes and shopping for baby things and...doing the FUN things that I have waited years to do!

Just this morning my DH said, "So you're just about 6 months then, right?" And I said, "No, in 2 weeks I'll be 7 months." And it was like a brick hit him in the head. "We'd better start getting things ready then!" he said.

Ya think?


Monday, December 7, 2009

I Need a Nice, 45-hour Day

I have things to blog about but no time at the moment.

My dear co-worker, with whom I have been sharing the burden of this huge case at work has gone on vacation for a week. I urged her to go. She needed to go. Her very elderly father and her mom live in a country on the opposite side of the globe. She needs to see them. She needs a break from this case.

So off she went. I'm handling the full reins in her absence, and you know, I'll manage. One way or another.

One way is by working at night.

Another is by working the weekend.

So, dear friends, pardon my absence. I am absolutely peeking in on your blogs, I just don't have time to comment right now.

Luck, love and hugs to all.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Along the Road, On the Way to the Moon

It was not very long ago that I refused to allow myself to think about concrete baby matters, you know, just in case the pregnancy didn't work out.

I wouldn't think about names.
I wouldn't look at baby clothes.
I wouldn't worry about where the baby would live (i.e., his room).
I wouldn't think about how to afford maternity leave.
I certainly wouldn't do anything as dangerous as look at baby furniture or room decor.

Finally, at 25 weeks, I've begun to consider these last, formerly dangerous, items.

Yeah, I know, I'm probably running late with these things. And I have no real idea of what I want. I began noodling around Amazon and elsewhere just to get ideas. And to look at crib recalls (holy crap, now there's something to worry about!)

As for room decor, generally, I like simple and soothing. I still don't know about color pattern(s) or furniture or anything else.

First, I have to show you this gorgeous fairy tale girl's room idea. It was an ad for expensive bedding. I can only imagine what these gold sheets must cost! My disclaimer is that I loved fairy tales as a child, but perpetuating the "prince charming and happy ending" fallacy is not what I would want to do if I had a daughter. Nevertheless, the image is beautiful.

No princess themes for my baby boy though!

I stumbled across one single item I loved. And it's just a silly toss pillow. It comes from a child's story book - which I had never heard of. But when I read the phrase, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

"Guess how much I love you? To the moon and back."

All of us in this community, we who have suffered from one form of infertility or another, understand and have lived, suffered, mourned, hoped, lost, and sacrificed to the moon and back, all in the hopes of becoming pregnant and having a baby.

The road is that arduous. It is long. It is exhausting. It can be defeating.

Now, feeling my baby move inside of me, seeing my pregnant belly, and hearing my baby's heart beat each day (I still have the doppler), I finally realize that I might actually get to have and keep this baby.

My IF struggles, the two years' worth of BFNs, my two miscarriages, the meds, the shots, being wanded and probed, the fights with the Outside Monitoring Clinic, the money spent.....I have not forgotten those things. I will never forget those things. They are the road that paved the way to this pregnancy.

But those events suddenly go pale and out of focus, the way the audience and room go dark when you are on stage, looking outward, bright lights in your eyes. Like a weary traveler, stopping momentarily to rest and catch my breath, I turn to see the long road stretched behind me. The miles I have traveled and the hurdles I have cleared. Of course there are still miles of road that I must travel. There are no stage lights, though. Rather, I am looking up at the bright, full moon that lies ahead. At last, it draws nearer. Its magnificent light, shining in my eyes. I feel the impact of my journey.

I am suddenly struck by the words, and how deeply they resonate within my heart.

Yes, I love this baby to the moon and back.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Who Have I Become?

I am approaching my 25th week of pregnancy. Sometimes I still can't believe I'm actually pregnant.

Then again....

My body has changed in so many ways.

My bump is medium sized now, and although I can still squat down and stand back up, bending over is difficult. I don't fold in half in the middle anymore. AH! That's why pregnant women do that familiar and recognizable back-arching elbow-lift from a chair maneuver. It's not the extra weight that's so much the problem as the fact that you simply cannot lean forward to get enough leverage to stand up!

My innie belly button is opening up! I can just about see down into it (or I could if I could lean forward a little further). It used to be more pinched shut. Interesting (yes, folks, you caught me contemplating my navel!)

My boobs are...well...incredible. Wow. I was a "barely B" pre-pregnancy. Of course I don't have a tiny waist or tiny hips to make me look fantastic, but still, it's strange but fascinating to see myself with such full breasts and real, live cleavage!

Thankfully, I don't see any stretch marks anywhere - yet. I suppose those most likely show up during the final month when baby makes a final growth spurt. I've been diligent in slathering myself daily with moisturizing lotion, so hopefully I'll keep the worst of it at bay.

My nails and hair are growing like wildfire! Didn't I just get my hair colored? I already see quarter-inch roots growing out.

I hiccup randomly. Just one. One, single hiccup. I don't anticipate it or realize it's going to happen until - HIC - it's out of my mouth. Kooky.

I am out of breath so easily. With the slightest amount of exertion, my belly cramps a tiny bit and I have to lean back and catch my breath. It happened when I walked roughly 5 or 6 blocks at a moderately brisk pace to meet friends for lunch last week. And to think that a co-worker and I used to take a mini exercise break at work and run the 16 flights of stairs in our building - up and down three times without stopping!

No dark line running downward from my belly button and no "mask of pregnancy." I guess these are the benefits of being a redhead (for some reason we are not prone to these changes).

Sleep. I simply cannot get comfortable. I used to be a happy belly sleeper. Now I have pillows on both sides of me. Support here, support there. The problem is that I wake up after a few hours with a stiff hip, or a kink in my spine, or (this sounds weird) the baby feels like he's "slipped" way over into my dependent hip and so my belly feels off-balance....it's always something. I am always awake at 3 am. For at least an hour. Sometimes I'm also awake at 1:00 and at 5:00. The bright side is I'll be right in the swing of things to get up and feed the baby every few hours.

Finally, and thankfully, I still feel great, have lots of energy (until I'm winded, anyway) and am delightfully shocked every time I look at myself in the mirror.