Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Both a weekend and midweek update in one day!

I am happy to report that we are now Comcast free!! We managed to get the free Google wifi working for us, using a signal booster. Since we don’t really watch tv, we figured we could cancel Comcast altogether. Yay!!

We just started watching season 5 of The Wire. We are half way through and totally hooked. They definitely are going out with a bang! If you haven’t seen this HBO series, I definitely recommend it. It took us a few episodes in season 1 to get into the series, so don’t give up too early. The Wire is probably my favorite HBO series, followed by Rome, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Sopranos. Deadwood is another good series, but it can be a little gory and intense for me. If you watch Deadwood, pay attention to the dialogue because it’s really good, almost Shakespearean.

We started our labor and delivery class last night. It’s a 9 hour class over 3 days. We watched a birth on video last night. I was a little nervous it would gross me out because I tend to get queasy with gross stuff, but actually it was quite fascinating. The husband, on the other hand, is more convinced that he needs to be somewhere else during delivery. Too bad he doesn’t really have a choice. During the video, when the mom saw her baby, she said “that doesn’t look like a baby.” And it was true. When babies are born, they are usually covered in a layer of something (can’t remember what it’s called) that kind of looks like Crisco. It’s to protect and help get their skin used to the new environment. But it also makes the baby look like a white alien.

In addition to the typical signs for the onset of labor (water breaking, labor pains), there are a few other ones that could signal the start of labor. These signs included a nesting behavior, where the mom suddenly goes into a getting ready frenzy. This kind of freaked me out because over the weekend, I had a bit of a nesting frenzy myself. I started reorganizing the house and was hanging up pictures, moving stuff into the garage, organizing my crafts. I had also noticed a shift in the baby’s position and now I feel as if I’m carrying the baby lower (the baby “dropping” is another sign of labor). But I’m hopefully just being paranoid because we are only at 29.5 weeks and the baby needs to bake for another 2 months.

In taking these classes, we’ve figured out that most people find out the sex of the baby before it’s born. We tend to be the only couple waiting for a surprise out of 10-15 couples. I find that odd. But then again, I find it very odd that I myself am really excited about waiting. I guess my competitive self beat out the control freak in me.

I love mole, especially when my dad makes it. Making mole is a very involved process, so I don’t usually request that my dad make it for me. But it’s become customary for my dad to have 1 or 2 frozen containers of mole for us to bring home whenever we visit him. The recipe calls for at least 4 different types of dried chilies, sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, and chocolate, in addition to another 10-15 ingredients. There are different types of mole, too, such as sweeter, spicier, and even green mole. Each region in Mexico has its own unique style of mole. My dad’s tends to be spicier with the flavor of the chilies really obvious. Mole is usually made with chicken, but my uncle’s tell me that my grandmother’s signature recipe is turkey mole (I’ve never had it). I’ve also had mole with fish (the fish choice wasn’t great) and with potatoes (fantastic). My dad has also mentioned mole with different kinds of squash. Maybe with leftover turkey, I’ll try to make mole. Oh, and what’s the best beverage to accompany mole?? Coke. Seriously.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!

Another Good But Busy Weekend

Here’s the highlight reel:

We completed another one of our baby classes – baby care. I am really glad we took the class because I feel a lot more confident that we won’t screw up too badly. I am sure we’ll constantly do things wrong but hopefully they will all be minor mistakes and we’ll be smart enough and observant enough to not mess up with the big things. Here is an interesting tidbit...did you know that babies knead? Yup, soon after they are born they start kneading very similar to cats to help get the milk going for breastfeeding. For the first week or so, not only will we need to monitor the baby’s milk consumption, we’ll also have to keep track of the pees and poos. The instructor passed around a chart with pictures of…well, you can imagine. They also taught us how to swaddle and soothe the baby. We saw part of The Happiest Baby on the Block and it was amazing to see a baby go from screaming to completely quiet and relaxed in a matter of seconds. The trick – swaddling and the reverse football hold (imagine carrying a football, except the baby’s face faces away from your body).

We also got the crib delivered this weekend. We inherited our friend’s crib and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Once we get the guest/baby room more organized, we’ll be sure to send out pictures. Surprisingly, the cats haven’t jumped in the crib yet. They probably associate the crib with my friend’s two little girls who gave the cats more attention than they wanted. But the cats were great. They tolerated all the petting, holding, and running around without a single scratch. Phew! I think they will be excellent with the baby.

Over the weekend we went to the Computer History Museum with our friend Leonard, who was visiting from NY. It was ok. Definitely not my thing, but there were a couple of great highlights. I enjoyed the demonstration of the Babbage Difference Engine No. 2. It’s really a remarkable machine made of over 8000 parts. Mr. Babbage came up with the design over 150 years ago but it was finally built in 2002. It takes a brilliant mind to design something so complicated (so many moving pieces!) without the help of computers. I also enjoyed some of the old computers they had on display such as the recipe organizer from the 70’s that cost $10,000 but you had to input/output everything in binary. Useful.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Weekend Update

So this weekend we did something that we rarely do...we went to the movies. On Sunday afternoon we checked out the new Bond movie. It was pretty good – action packed but not too over the top and not too long. Plus, the new Bond guy is hot.

Overall the weekend was quite busy but fun. We had brunch with some friends in San Jose and then strolled through the San Jose Rose Garden. It was a gorgeous day and the smell of the roses was very pleasant.

On Saturday afternoon we had a baby class – breastfeeding. It was basically all you ever wanted to know about breasts and then some. The husband tried to get out of the class but I made him go, and I am glad he went because I was a little overwhelmed with all the info. Plus, it was a couples class so my husband was not the only man in the class and not the only one making weird/shocked/disgusted faces.

Saturday evening I took my coaches out to dinner as a thank you for being my assistants. After dinner I became DD for the husband’s poker night.

On Sunday we also sorted through baby clothes and tried to figure out what we already have and what we need. Since we didn’t actually know the names of most of the clothing items, our inventory descriptions read like this: “one piece thing with a zipper down the front, long sleeves and long legs and little feet.” The clothes are actually really cute and really small. The other baby thing we did was unpack and assemble the stroller. We got a stroller/car seat travel system, so the car seat can either click into the stroller or you can take the baby out and put it into the stroller. The car seat is a little bulky when it’s folded so we had a hard time getting it into the trunk. I think we might end up getting a smaller frame that adapts to the car seat and use that when we don’t need the full stroller.

In other thoughts:
Costco rules. The husband bought a sweet, custom built HP laptop through Costco. A couple of weeks ago, the laptop died. So we called Costco’s Concierge Service and they put us through to HP. HP sent us a box and next day FedEx label. I shipped the laptop on Thursday evening and we got it back, fixed, on Monday. Amazing! The best part was not getting transferred overseas for customer support. Yay for Costco.

I think I prefer Facebook over all the other friends sites such as My Space and Linked In.

There are a lot of spiders all over the place. I think they are making their final push before they all die.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Great Game Last Night

The Patriots vs. Jets game last night was really good. The Pats lost in overtime, which was a bummer. But the Jets did win the OT coin toss. Don Banks has a good recap of the game here. Well, once you get over the nauseous “Bret Favre is a god” section. The NFL network announcers have a huge man-crush on Favre. It’s really weird.

I guess I am a little biased, but I lost respect for Favre after all his drama between seasons.

"For one game, the Favre magic was real, and he delivered when it mattered most."

Not really. The Jets got lucky, after blowing a 24-6 lead. I can’t imagine an unbiased person saying that Favre was really the hero. If anything, Favre should thank Keller who was wide open at their last opportunity in OT and the Pats’ defense for screwing up and leaving Keller open. Without that play, the Jets would have turned the ball over and given the Pats an opportunity in OT.

Anyway, the game was good. Welker didn’t do awesome but he was fairly reliable. Moss didn’t do much until the game tying touchdown catch with 1 second left. That was pretty awesome. And Cassell had an awesome game with over 400 yards throwing and 62 yards rushing. I guess that’s a sole NFL record. If I were a quarter back, I would run a lot like Cassell. Now, don’t think Cassell is my new hero. I still prefer Brady’s precision and elegance as a quarterback. But Cassell is stepping it up. Plus, Welker is still my favorite player.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pregnant Updates

I woke up on Tuesday morning with incredible back pain. I was walking around like I had a stick up my butt. I have a bad lower back and I was afraid the added pregnancy weight and the changing center of gravity would really mess up my back. That’s why I was doing pilates up to 3 times a week, to keep my core muscles strong. While I wasn’t able to avoid back pain altogether, I have no doubt that pilates really helped me avoid it thus far.

My doctor checked me out and ruled out pre-term labor. I was pretty certain that it was back pain and not pre-term labor, but at the same time I hadn’t felt the baby move all morning and it was a little concerning. But we listened for the heartbeat and everything was fine. At 27.5 weeks, we would prefer it if the baby stayed inside to cook for another couple of months.

I went to Physical Therapy and it turns out the left side of my pelvis was rotated forward and causing all the strain in my lower back. The rotation was probably due to sleeping on it wrong and relaxed ligaments in my body (due to pregnancy). So the therapist massaged my back and gave me a few stretches to do. The next day my lower back was almost all better, but my mid-back was super sore from compensating for my lower back. I felt as if I did 1000 situps. After another PT session that included more massage, I am almost back to 100% today. Phew!

We took our first baby class yesterday. It was the infant and child CPR class. This is the class you hope to never have to use, but it’s good to know what to do in an emergency. Choking is a big concern, especially with small children. We have a bunch more classes this month – breastfeeding on Saturday and next week we start the labor class. The labor class is the one the doctor said we should really take (all others were optional), and it’s a 9 hour class over 3 days. I can’t imagine that we need that much time to discuss labor.

We are also trying to figure out if we want to bank the baby’s cord for potential future use. It sounds like a great idea in theory, but we are not convinced yet.

Why wouldn’t you do everything you can to help your children?
There’s a 75% chance this baby’s cord could help other children we have, and a smaller but viable chance it could help us as parents and others in the family.

The up front fee is over $2000 and the yearly fee is ~$125. Insurance will not cover any of it.
The probability that you will actually use it is small due to the limited number of standard procedures cord blood can be used for, but at the same time this is changing constantly with increased research.
It seems like a standard procedure might use up all the cord blood, thus making it only available for 1 treatment/person/etc.

The investment actually doesn’t sound that bad. But at the same time it could be ~$5000 for a 20 year investment for 1 child. The big question is, will we regret it if a situation arises and we don’t have cord blood available. Maybe. But you can’t prepare for everything, right? Even when you weigh the pros and cons of any situation and feel as if you made the right choice, sometimes the decision you make will still end up being the bad one. I expect this is the first of many hard decisions we will make as parents. It’s definitely a lot easier to make a decision for yourself, but when you have to make a decision that so directly affects another human being, it gets a lot tougher.

We’ll continue to do the research and probably ask new parents who were faced with the same question and see what they decided and why.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bitter-Sweet Celebration

The husband and I couldn't be happier that Obama will be our next president. Early on election day morning we walked over to our local polling place and connected our arrows. We used to vote using touch-screen machines, but this time around, at a new place, we had the huge ballots - they were about 2 feet tall and made out of heavy-weight paper. Talk about old school.

California has a weird process where the citizens vote on a lot of stuff you would expect the state government to take care of. There are always a ton of measures and propositions (some that can even amend the constitution) on the ballot. This really annoys the husband. Makes you kind of wonder what the legislative body does all day.

This year we voted a definite YES on proposition 2, for the improvement of living conditions for farm animals. It passed with a pretty strong majority. It's a start for farm animal well-being.

We voted no on proposition 4, to not require parental notification before the termination of a minor's pregnancy. The husband and I both support abortion rights. I'm actually surprised this didn't pass (no notification will be required), but I expect it was the strong young voter turnout. There were actually quite a few measures and propositions around the country relating to limiting abortion rights and none of them passed. That's an even bigger surprise.

One of the bigger political disappointments I have experienced is the passage of proposition 8, amending the California constitution to ban gay marriage. Wow. How hateful and unjust. In banning gay marriage, California is basically telling gay people all over the world that they are second class citizens. Melissa Etheridge doesn't believe she should pay taxes as a second class citizen.

I can think of two reasons why the propositions passed. The first is because the "Yes on Proposition 8" campaign ads claimed that unless proposition 8 passed, all schools would be required to teach about same-sex marriage. That's BS. I learned about marriage in high school, but that's because I went to a private, Catholic HS. We never discussed marriage in K-8 grades, not even in sex-ed.

The second reason proposition 8 passed is because of the church influence. Fine, believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman because that's what God intended. It turns out that the Bible does have a few passages that mention homosexuality, but the big surprise is that Jesus said nothing about it. You would think that if it was such a big issue, that God would make sure Jesus did not forget to mention it. Huh, miscommunication? And same-sex marriage is not what's ruining the American family. Sumana counters this quite well:

"I say to those opponents of same-sex marriage: If you care about the stability and happiness of the American family, then work to subsidize daycare, lengthen paternal and maternal leave and move us to single-payer healthcare. If you care about the sanctity of marriage, then work to institute a federal waiting period and separate the civil contract of marriage from your religion's requirements and ceremonies. Widows, grandparents, uncles, nannies, foster children, step-parents and same-sex partners all contribute to and sustain households everywhere."

I love my husband. I know that even if we weren't married, I would still be happy on whatever other path in life I had chosen. But I can't believe that another path would be as fulfilling and as happy as the one we chose together. And now that we are a few months away from growing as a family, I can't imagine a greater joy we might experience. To deny a group of people this right to happiness is heartbreaking to me, to say the least.

Sorry about the rant. I feel a little guilty that maybe I didn't do enough to help stop the passage of proposition 8. I could have talked to more people or perhaps I could have had better answers to the religious arguments. Hopefully California's judicial system will recognize that it's unconstitutional to deny a minority group their right to happiness.

I know this post is over a week late but I had been working on it for a while. Just had a enough time to proofread and publish.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Weekend Fun

Over the weekend we went down to Orange County to hang out with my family and the very excited grandparents-, uncles-, aunts-, granduncles-, and grandaunts-to-be. My family threw us a baby shower and it was loads of fun. The shower was coed so it was fun to see the brother, cousins, and husband participate in all the shower games. One of my favorite games was when people would measure out toilet paper to try to guess the circumference of my waist. There was a three-way tie, and the tie-breaker was to guess the husband’s waist circumference. I am happy to report that his waist was only one toilet paper square smaller than mine. Now I don’t feel like a giant blimp. At least compared to the husband.

It was a little weird to have a lot of people fawning over my belly, giving it rubs, and talking to it in baby talk. But I didn’t freak out with all the touching as I expected to. As long as I see a hand coming, I can kind of brace myself. It’s a little weirder if I’m hugging someone and they start groping my belly unexpectedly.

We had a guest poll to see what everyone thought we were having. The tally was girls – 11, boys – 18. So if my family is right, we’re having a boy. But a couple of women my mom knows, that I would consider modern-day sages (in tune with nature, spiritual, you know what I mean), both said we are having a girl. So that still leaves me undecided. I used to always picture us with a baby boy, but now I’m starting to picture us with either.