Wednesday, March 28, 2007

continuing the lazy blogger trend

After a visit with my midwife and a day of shopping I'm feeling much better. Nothing new to report, so once again I'm going to poach something from my email inbox to entertain you (I think #3 is my favorite):

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their
collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school
essays. These excerpts are published each year for the amusement of
teachers cross the country.

Here are last year's winners...

1. Her face was a perfect oval. Like a circle that had its two sides
gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances
like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a
guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of
those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country
speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar
eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli, and he was
room-temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes
just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six foot, three inch tree.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated
because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude
shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a
bowling ball wouldn't.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a hefty bag
filled with vegetable soup.
11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an
eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city
and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 PM, instead of 7:30.
12. Her hair glistened in the rain, like a nose hair after a sneeze.
13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when
you fry them in hot grease.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across
the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having
left Cleveland at 6:36 PM traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka
at 4:19 PM at a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences
that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds that
had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart were a mob informant, and she was
the East River.
18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap,
only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law, Phil. But unlike
Phil, this plan just might work.
21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not
eating for a while.
22. He was as lame as a duck, and not the proverbial lame duck,
either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on
a land mine or something.
23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender
leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around
with power tools.
25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells,
as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I am so tired of this.

I'm trying so hard to be patient and to let this baby come in his own time, but that's about as effective as trying to sleep or trying to ignore all the well-intentioned pressure around me to go into labor already. The fact that I'm trying just means that I'm not actually doing any of those things.

The funny thing is that the longer I go with little-to-no-signs of impending labor, the more distant the reality of this baby is. It's like I might just be pregnant forever; never have to change a dirty diaper; never get to hold my sweet little boy. I'm going to spend eternity with a bowling ball-sized lump on my belly.

I think the worst part is that just keep having the same conversation with myself over and over. Be patient. He'll come when the time is right. It won't be too long now, and there's nothing you can do, so just keep your mind occupied with other things.

That works for about a half an hour while I go grocery shopping with my mom, or eat dinner, but inevitably my mind drifts, and I wish I was having a contraction or feeling my water break.

I just don't know what to do anymore.

I recently read that there are three stages this late in the pregnancy: ready, done, and miserable. I've been Ready for while, but I can feel myself rapidly approaching Done.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Letter to the Sesame Seed - Week 40

Hello Sesame Seed!!

Welcome to week 40! We've arrived at your estimated due date, which means that the phone calls of friends and family "just checking in" may take on a more anticipatory vibe. I can already see it in the eyes of people when they drop by--like they're just waiting for me to say, "Why yes indeed, you've arrived just in time to see me start labor."

Even your father has devoted a new level of attention to me. He's primed for action, ready to jump at a moment's notice. Take this example from a couple nights ago:

You'd had a fun day of jumping on my bladder, and I wasn't looking forward to my 50th trip to the bathroom. To express some of my discomfort I said to your dad, "Honey, I really don't want to get up; would you please go pee for me?" Well, he was halfway to the bathroom before he realized the difficulty of the task.

It feels great to have reached this day and know that your arrival is imminent, even if the chance of you actually showing up today is about 2%. This is particularly true when considering your parentage. That kind of punctuality would make me question whether aliens hadn't swapped our real son for a better organized, more disciplined model.

Your grandma flew in from Vegas yesterday and immediately started taking care of me. I tell you, there is nothing like having your mom around to make you feel safe and loved. Just knowing that she's here has helped me relax and feel like I don't have to be quite so on top of things. I think you've been waiting for her to show up before you come into the world--somehow you know how important it is to me to have her around for labor. And to prove my point, we had some really great signs of progress last night. I had my first actual contraction just before I went to bed!

For the benefit of my girlfriends who are now salivating at that thought: these could go on for days if not weeks, so take a big breath.


There... do you feel better?

During the past week I've been having more frequent Braxton Hicks practice contractions (painless tightening of the uterus that happens throughout the pregnancy) as well as a couple low, crampy feeling ones. These are both normal pre-labor workouts for my muscles. But last night as I was watching the last few minutes of a movie I could feel my back start to ache and the muscles in my abdomen tighten in pain. I got up and moved around to see if it would go away, but after about five minutes I was still rocking and swaying and breathing deeply through the pain. It was so cool!

I know that's a strange attitude, but it was my first contraction, my first real sign that I will, in fact, be having a baby soon. If pain means that things are progressing, then pain is a great thing.

I haven't had any more since that one last night, but I don't think it will be long now.

I hope you're getting excited about seeing the world. I'm very excited to see you! Don't be scared about the journey you have to make--we'll do it together--and you'll see that it's well worth it.

I love you,

Sunday, March 18, 2007

in-flight comedians

I've been sorting through some old emails and just came across this forward from my mom. It gave me a good laugh:

After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form, called a "gripesheet," which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight. Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humour. Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas' pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers.

By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never, ever, had an accident.
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.

P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny. (I love this one!)
S: Aircraft warned to: straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

And the best one for last..................

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget

Friday, March 16, 2007

Letter to the Sesame Seed - Week 39

Hello pookie!

Just when I think you couldn't possibly get any bigger, you stretch my belly out another centimeter! You're probably close to the average newborn weight and size now--about 7 lbs and 20 inches, but you'll keep padding on the fat until you decide to join the world. You've been moving around like crazy the past two days, and I've been imagining a little disco ball and the sound of the BeeGees keeping you company.

I've been doing some interesting reading this week. First is a book about how the brain develops from conception through age five called What's Going on in There?. It's a little a more technical than I usually read, but very interesting. One of the coolest things I've learned is that it's actually chemicals in your brain and hormones in your body which activate labor. So I can take walks and eat spicy foods to my heart's content, but you're just going to show up when you darn well please.

The other reading that has occupied much of my time this week are the forums at Your dad stumbled across this website while doing research on a pediatrician and I've been hooked ever since. Mothering is the parenting magazine for hippies, and it's pretty much a perfect fit for your father and I. The more we think about how we want to raise you--researching current methods of discipline, diapering, feeding, and sleeping--the more we realize how far outside the mainstream our beliefs are. It's great to have a resource like this website to connect with like-minded parents and experts.

Lest your grandparents worry that we might move to a commune, refuse to bathe, and raise you fruitarian, there are limits to our hippiness. For instance, we went to see a pediatrician recommended by one of my midwives' clients and discovered that we are just not wacky enough to think a woman who fervently believes in homeopathy and refuses to give vaccinations is right for us. I'm hoping our next interview with the transgendered doctor yields better results.

I actually left the house yesterday--a rare and amazing feat!--and went shopping for nursing clothes. It was challenging to imagine what my body might look like in a shirt without the bowling ball belly underneath, but I think I did okay. I managed to get through Macy's and Borders, but the idea of walking all the way across the mall to H&M was just too taxing. It's really kind of sad when walking the equivalent of one city block feels like climbing a mountain.

My mission today is to pick up the glider for your nursery that I have been anxiously awaiting! When I ordered it they said it would be ready in early April, so I had resigned myself to not having it until after you were born. But YEA! it's ready! Now your room really will be complete. I have to drive about forty minutes away to get it, so I'm taking your aunt Crystal with me since she's afraid I'll go into labor on the road. Probably not a bad idea.

Well, it's only one more week until your granny Ostlund arrives, so you might consider hanging out until then (as much as I would LOVE to see you sooner).

Hope you're feeling good and enjoying your disco dancing--

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

what was I saying...?

My brain is so scattered lately, it's hard coming up with a coherent post. My erratic sleeping patterns continue, my energy level keeps dropping, and my emotional stability is all but gone. Most days I wander around like a zombie, in some sort of weird, distracted daze.

Even though standing for more than a few minutes causes incredible back pain and a comic loosening of my hip joints (I look like a marionette controlled by the hand of an alcoholic puppeteer), my latest nesting urge has been to cook enormous, complicated meals. Sunday night was our "Mock Thanksgiving" dinner with stuffing, "turkey," gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and cranberry compote. Monday night we feasted on spinach enchiladas with a tomatillo sauce made from scratch. And last night I created the most gigantic pot of chili my kitchen has ever seen.

The leftovers from all of these meals now sit nestled in our freezer, awaiting a day in the not-too-distant future when even thinking of the word dinner will tax my brain beyond comprehension.

We set up the birthing tub this weekend, so I really could pop at any moment and I would be thoroughly prepared. The tub is gigantic and filled with warm water, and I've started using it before bed to relax my muscles (pretty successfully) and my mind (somewhat less so).

And now, since I've about exhausted my ability to focus, I'll leave you with this picture of the belly taken this morning.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Letter to the Sesame Seed - Week 38

Well darlin',

Here we are again, up at an ungodly hour, trying to kill some time in the middle of the night. These late-night sleep breaks are happening more frequently, but at least I have the luxury of sleeping in most days.

Tomorrow is not one of them.

I'm going to get a haircut in the morning--don't worry, no drastic soccer mom chop--which wouldn't typically be noteworthy except for the fact that leaving the house these days is somewhat of a Herculean task. Simply getting dressed in the morning requires acrobatic skill; you wouldn't believe the panting and grunting elicited by putting on a pair of socks. Then there's the layering of sweaters, coats, scarves and other winter paraphernalia to keep the insane cold at bay. By the time I get down the stairs, into the car, and put my seat belt on, I feel like I've just finished a half an hour workout. Not to mention the immediate need to pee and/or eat. This is all before I've driven across town, braved parking on Newbury Street, and (very slowly) waddled a few blocks to my hairdresser's.

This is just to say I'm anticipating quite a production tomorrow, and I kind of wish I could catch up on some sleep to prepare.

But cest la vie.

We've had a very busy week, Sesame Seed. Deborah came over for our home visit on Monday to get the lay of the land, during which I learned two very important facts. First, as I expected, you had indeed "dropped" and are now firmly engaged head-down in my pelvic girdle. Very good news and a positive sign of progress. Second, I apparently have a nice wide pelvis. I've always known there would come a time when my large hips would provide some kind of advantage--since they've certainly never helped during swimsuit season.

Your daddy's birthday was on Tuesday and we celebrated by going out for the best pizza in Boston (a claim not to be taken lightly considering what a pizza connoisseur your father is) and watching South Park. There will come a time when you ask us why there are certain cartoons you are not allowed to watch, but that day is not today, my son.

Yesterday morning my midwife hosted a meeting for all of her expectant mothers to get together and chat about our fears, joys, expectations, and experiences. It was really fantastic to finally be surrounded by a group of like-minded women. It can be pretty lonely being a pregnant lady outside of the mainstream system; people who aren't actively opposed to your choices are often simply ignorant as to why someone would be "crazy" enough to attempt a natural home birth. Steadying myself against the stereotypical medicalized images of birth on tv, in books, and in people's conversations can be exhausting. So I am extraordinarily grateful to have had this chance to bond with women who not only understand, but celebrate, my choices.

After that meeting, I came home to meet with our new house cleaners. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have some help in that department. I've spent months getting every nook and cranny of this house ready for your arrival: every closet, cupboard, drawer, and shelf is organized, every picture hung, every light fixture installed, every paint or touch up job complete, every piece of new baby gear or furniture in place. In short, this nest is as ready as it's going to be. The final step was to have a very thorough cleaning done by professionals.

Since I can't maintain cleaning duties in my current state, and I imagine I'll be even less able to do so once you arrive, we're going to have them come regularly for at least the next few months. This means that your father will no longer have to clean out the litter tray--a service for which he would gladly pay anything short of giving up his first born son (don't worry, I'll make sure he makes no Rumplestiltkinian bargains).

Having finished just about every item on my To Do list means I'm going to have some free time on my hands in the coming weeks. I imagine I'm going to go kind of stir crazy waiting for you to arrive, so I'm trying to figure out some activity to keep me occupied. People keep telling me to take up knitting. I don't know, wouldn't it be more fun if you had a mother who knew how to juggle fire?

Anyway, it's time to attempt to sleep again. I hope you're feeling nice and cozy in there (and starting to be just a little bit curious about the outside world).

I love you,

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Letter to the Sesame Seed - Week 37

Hello sweetness,

I'm sorry I'm a couple days late with this one. I've been getting over a cold and just now feel well enough to focus on anything besides healing. It's amazing how much energy it takes to fight off an illness and grow a baby at the same time; my body just decided there was nothing left for me.

Luckily your dad was here to take care of me yesterday. He let me sit on the couch and watch tv, read, and nap all day. He made me meals, kept me supplied with kleenex, and managed to clean the house too.

I think it's entirely because of him that I feel much better today and I'm very happy to be among the living again.

We spent the morning at the Asgard for brunch, then went over to Isis Maternity to buy a couple nursing bras. My girlfriends will be shocked (and perhaps jealous) to know that I came home with three new bras bearing the cup size "F". I'm sure the questions on their minds are: since when did they go up to that size, and how is it I don't topple over when I stand up? Mysteries of the universe.

I'm planning to attend a yoga class tonight, which should feel really good after a week off. You'll enjoy that too, since you'll get to experience all the fun twisty-turny positions that you seem to like.

You've been very active the past few days. Statistically your movements are supposed to decrease as you get more cramped, but that hasn't been true at all. You seem to spend a lot more time awake and shifting around than before, especially in the evenings.

We watched the Tenacious D movie last night and you really seemed to like that. This fact combined with your similar reaction to Spinal Tap has me slightly anxious that we have a little rocker on our hands. Of course I'll love you no matter how you turn out, but I do anticipate quite a few headaches in your teenage years.

This week marks your arrival at "full term." That means you could be delivered anytime now and would be well prepared to meet the world. It's a very exciting landmark and has me pretty anxious to meet you. I'm trying to stay calm--I'd like my mother to be around for your delivery and she won't be here for three more weeks--but I also just want to see your cute little face and hold you in my arms.

I love you so much and I hope you're enjoying yourself in there. Maybe for a treat next weekend, we'll rent Wayne's World for you.


Thursday, March 01, 2007


When Thom and I started trying to get pregnant I began taking the ├╝ber pills otherwise know as prenatal vitamins. For over 9 months now the mega-doses of vitamin C included in my daily tablets have kept me illness-free--a really remarkable feat when you consider how often I get sick under normal circumstances.

Well, my illness-free streak has come to an end. No amount of boosted immunity could save me from the whopping cold I've had for the past three days. Thom suffered through a pretty miserable cold this weekend, and just as soon as it looked like I was in the clear, the nasty little virus took hold of me.

I hate being sick. I'm a big baby about the whole thing. But Thom is taking care of me--in fact he just stopped by to bring me some No Chicken Noodle Soup for lunch.

And Jenn sent me a great clip from YouTube to amuse me. Hopefully, this stays up long enough for you to check it out because it's hilarious--especially to an actor.

If you've ever been curious about how a great actor does what he does, here's Sir Ian MCKellen on "Extras" to explain it.

Now I'm going to go mope and use up another box of kleenex and another bag of lozenges...