Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Little Elf Princess at 21 weeks

These are from a couple of weeks ago, at 21 weeks. Everything is still going well! Adam got to feel the baby kicking for the first time the other day, and I think she had the hiccups at one point too.

I can't believe I have only 18 weeks left in this pregnancy... it sounds like such an impossibly short amount of time and I feel myself starting to hyperventilate about all the STUFFFFF! that we NEEEEEED! before we have a BABBY!!!! We can't have a baby yet, I'm not READDDYYYY! We don't even have a crib to stash her in! AAAAAAH!

Ok Mommy Friends... what are the items you found most necessary/useful that you wished people had given you before the baby was born or you found out you needed later on? I already have a list about 3 pages long, but I'm sure I'm overlooking some critical item that makes the heavens open and the light shine down during those early delirious days with a newborn.

This first picture is of her going to suck on her fingers.... it's TEH CUTE! Haha.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Korea Videos

Well, I haven't quite figured out how to embed videos from Picasa into Blogger. But the Korea video clips are all up here. They are short! Check 'em out!

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 26, 2009

At least we got lunch before the car died on the side of the road. Also photographic evidence of Santa's existence.

We decided to go up to the North Shore today to see the big waves. Surf report said 25 foot waves today. We had a nice lunch at Haleiwa Joe's and as soon as we left the parking lot, the BMW up and died on the side of the road. We couldn't have broken down farther away from home. We think it's the alternator. Thank goodness the weather was nice because we waited over an hour for the tow truck to show up. Which... I have to wonder where the heck he was because you could have driven from anywhere on the island in less time than that. Finally he came with a flat bed truck so we thought the four of us were going to ride in the Beemer back to Kaneohe, but he said that's illegal y'all are ridin in the cab with me.

Mom and I took one look at the cab and started cracking up because - seriously? we have to ride in THAT? Hahaha. The guys were still loading the car on the back and Mom and I were taking photos with her iPhone of the cab and laughing our heads off. Poor Mom and Dad were all scrunched up in the back seat and all of us went bouncing down the road all the way back to Kaneohe.

The fun never ends.
But we had a great day yesterday! We woke up and discovered that Santa had visited our house during the night.
Santa left us that big grill in the box over there.

First things first, though, we had to make monkey bread! It's a New family tradition to have monkey bread on Christmas morning. This year's turned out especially good, thanks to the lake of butter we cooked it in. I used this recipe. YUMMM! It didn't last very long. There was just a little chunk left that we ate this morning.
Then we tackled the presents under the tree. I got a nice new computer from Adam, and he and I got a new digital video camera. Adam is also getting a new alternator for the BMW for Christmas. Haha. Mom and Dad spoiled us with gifts too (including the grill - thanks Mom and Dad!).
The Little Princess is going to be spoiled for sure because she is not even born yet and she's already receiving gifts! Mom and Dad gave us a couple baby things, and Aunt Katie and Uncle Kelly gave her the cutest little outfit! Her first designer clothes OF COURSE came from Aunt Katie.
The cuteness - let me show it to you. The jacket has little monkey ears on it!

After the presents we headed over to the beach for a walk in the sand, then came home to start dinner. We (and by we I mean Mom) picked the most elaborate recipes available from Martha Stewart despite my protests! We had a beef rib roast with rosemary, a green bean casserole that required us to dirty about 7 different dishes, and mashed potatoes (you know your meal was hard to prepare when mashed potatoes are the easy part). We were alternately cracking up over the mess and complexity of the recipes, flinging butter and various herbs around the kitchen, praying to Martha, and collapsing on the couch for 5 minute breaks. The whole meal took about 4 hours to put together. Perhaps it is not really as difficult as we made it. Then again, Martha makes everything look and sound easy, and she has people to clean up her kitchen.

The roast before it went in the oven. We did not get a picture of it after it was done. We were too busy serving it up and digging in!

I did get a picture of my plate before I started eating. Rib roast with horseradish & creme fraiche, carrots & onions, green bean casserole (HOME FRICKIN' MADE, YO), and mashed potatoes with cream cheese and BUTTER! Mmmmm. Mom and I both agreed it was worth the time it took to prepare. It was one of the best meals I've had, monkey bread excepted.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

We spent our day hiking out to the lighthouse and sunning ourselves on Sandy Beach! We saw lots of whales playing out in the water, and a sea turtle. We brought our new binoculars that were a wedding gift from Megan and Nick (THANKS!) and it was so cool to see the whales through them! Hope your Christmas Eve's were just as grand! Mele Kalikimaka from Hawaii! The rest of the pics of our hike and the beach are here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

21 weeks!

We went to our second ultrasound appointment yesterday! I was so excited to see the little Elf Princess again! My mom was able to come with us too! She is getting big! (The baby, not my mom). The tech said she weighs about 12 oz - or 3 sticks of butter! Haha, that is how much butter we put in the cookies we made on Monday!


We got to see her suck on her fingers - it was really cute. Everything looked good and normal still. She is still measuring small, though. Last time she was about 6 days behind and this time she was about 10 days behind. Which - broken record - THEY HAVE MY DUE DATE WRONG!!! I am even more convinced now that I ovulated on about day 24 of my cycle instead of day 17 like I originally thought. And they calculated my due date based on a day 14 ovulation. So all that means is I'm probably only 20 weeks instead of 21, and that the baby is NOT measuring small, she's measuring just perfectly normal. I'll post some new ultrasound pics as soon as Adam gets them scanned!

That is ALL BABY. It has nothing to do with those cookies. Shut up.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Korea Pics!

Korea pics are finally up! I posted a few below. The rest with captions are here. I would have posted them sooner, but I just got a new computer and we had to figure out how to migrate my Picasa files onto it. I have video too, I will put those up hopefully tomorrow.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's good to be back. Sort of. Mostly.

We were so happy to come home to sleep in our own soft, supportive bed. The bed in our hotel in Korea was like a slab of cement. It was killing my hips to sleep on it.

It's nice to get away from the cold and sweaters that don't fit me. And every place being super overheated. Koreans think the heat is good for you so they keep everything really warm. I was hot the whole time we were inside anywhere.

We defintely, DEFINITELY are happy to get back to American food. Korean food is terrible. I am not even exaggerating. We only ate it a couple of times and then sought out non-Korean restaurants. Everything cooking smells bad... like boiling gym socks and rotten veggies. The two meals I ate Korean were served to us by our ROK hosts for the conference I attended. I had bulgogi and bim bim bap.

Ah, bim bim bap. I didn't starve the day they served us this because it came with some beef side dish and a fried shrimp that were pretty good. Every Korean meal comes with dozens of little side dishes of rotting vegetables and other curiosities that everyone just eats out of communally (eh, not me). Yes, that's an uncooked egg yolk sitting there. You are supposed to scoop a whole big pile of rice in that bowl and mix it all up. Yeuk.

Bulgogi smells terrible. The beef itself wasn't actually too bad, but everything served with it was not good. Halfway through our meal a waitress came by our table where a little cauldron of the stuff was simmering over a burner and poured in more broth, which looked like dirty laundry water. I was done eating at that point.

I have more pictures of the food, when I post our pics you will see. Half the time we were just like... what IS that?

We were happy to escape the horrible pollution. Hawaii's air is so clean compared to most places because the trade winds blow any pollution right out to sea. Seoul was so polluted you couldn't see buildings that were two football fields away on a bad day. As soon as we got into the outskirts of the city there was this acrid stench that actually burned my throat. Going along with that are the many other smells that Korea is famous for. Before I went several people told me that the whole city smells funny. I can assure you it is true. I think it's mainly kimchee? But also sewage, pollution, fish, boiling gym socks, etc.


I was not pleased to see that while we were away, the bugs and geckos were getting quite comfortable in our house. I can tell this because I found many poops and this grainy dirt that the geckos and bugs leave behind on the counters. There were three poops smeared on the bathroom counter and one ON THE TOILET PAPER ROLL. Smeared on there.
I'm in ur bafroom, poopin on ur toilet papers.

One poor gecko found his way into the kitchen sink and we finally figured out that he could not get out of there. Adam kept trying to catch him but he kept running into the drain and hiding out. Then one day he was sitting on our soap wand and didn't move at all... Adam says he had given up on life. He didn't try to get away when Adam got him out and put him in the little patch of ground cover in our front yard we call the Lizard Kingdom because so many of the buggers live in there. He's lucky he didn't get snarled up in the disposal.

And the bugs! The first night we were back, I got up to pee in the middle of the night, like I usually do these days now that my bladder can apparently only contain a tablespoon of liquid, and I was sitting there in the dark when I felt this PLOP on my head. MY HEAD! I about jumped through the ceiling, probably sprayed pee on myself, and started pawing at myself to get the thing off. I turned on the light to discover it was a giant cockroach. I didn't have anything to kill it with so I sprayed it with 409 and found it dead on the stairs the next morning.

And work. Work, work, work. I was not really happy to come back to work. Things are really busy right now for some reason. Almost a whole year goes by with me complaining that I'm too bored at work and now that I'm pregnant, suddenly it's like a firehose.

Still, we are glad to be home! It's Christmas time! My mom is coming in, and my dad will be here next week. Plus only a few more days until our next ultrasound and we get to see the little butter bean again!

Friday, December 11, 2009

An nyoung ha seh yo from Korea

That's Hello from Korea. It's been a busy week so far. My days have been long with the conference I was attending, and I haven't had a chance to do much sightseeing. Adam has been to a few places, and walked all over the area around the hotel already. Now that the conference is over, we can do our own thing for a couple of days!

Yesterday we did our tour of the DMZ and it was fascinating. We took lots of pictures and even shot some video footage with our camera. It's funny that the first thing we recorded was North Korea.

Today we are going to go to some markets to check out the shopping, and then see the Korean War Memorial Museum. I think tomorrow we plan on visiting some palaces and a historic village.

It has not been as cold as we expected. Which is good. Even still, the sweaters I brought to wear that were acceptable a week ago are not cute anymore. They don't cover my whole belly... Every morning when I look at myself in the mirror all I can think is fat guy in a little coat.

I feel like we have been here forever! Still a few more days to go till we are home again. I will be happy to sleep in my own bed. It should go much faster now that I am not stuck in meetings all the live long day. Adam's out of the shower so now it's time for breakfast!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Well... not really. I mean, it's 80 degrees outside and the sun is shining. And I'm wearing a t-shirt and flip flops. Meh. It looks Christmasy INSIDE now! We put up our tree!

We dragged out all the Christmas boxes and assembled the awesome fake tree we acquired last year in a Black Friday deal for only $100. Pre-lit!

I unwrapped all the ornaments while Adam hung them on the tree. We don't have a ton of ornaments... just the ones my mom bought and saved for me while I was growing up. It's enough for now!

Mom and Dad will be here in just a couple weeks for the holidays!

Meanwhile we are getting ready to go to Korea tomorrow. Ugh! Packing. I hate packing. And laundry. It's especially rotten when I have to pack up a bunch of sweaters that don't particularly fit me. Bah.

It's because of this. 18 weeks! Um, or 17 possibly (probably). Either way it barely fits in my sweaters! I took this on Monday... it's almost time to take the next picture.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Food, Inc.

Thanks for the comments... we are so excited to meet this little one! I think I am going to worry probably until she is born, but I'm pretty set on not doing the amnio. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if we had a miscarriage. I'm just going to do like Nina said and focus on those pretty ultrasound pictures! There are a thousand rabbit holes of worry to go down as a parent and if you let yourself start thinking about things that could go wrong, you're in trouble. Even if the baby is born healthy there are still a thousand things that can happen or go wrong after that! It's hard for me to practice what I preach, but it's not worth paying a worry-debt for the future.

We have another ultrasound December 22 to follow up. I originally had it scheduled on the 15th, but the tech said I should come in a week later since it looks like the baby is a week smaller. Which just makes me wonder more... why don't they just recalculate the test?! Anyway, moving on!!

The other night Adam and I were getting in to bed and when he turned the lights out, it looked so bright in our room even though we had all the drapes drawn. I was like, what IS that? Is that the MOON? And Adam peeked out the window and said, Oh, Good Lord... those are the neighbor's CHRISTMAS lights. Seriously we felt like the neighbors of the Griswolds on Chevy Chase's Christmas when they got blinded by Sparky's Christmas light spectacle. Good grief.

Adam and I finally got to watch Food, Inc. It's been on backorder through Netflix for MONTHS. Maybe almost a year now we have been waiting for it to deliver.

We, of course, had already had our shackles raised after reading or watching the likes of King Corn, Fat Head, The Omnivore's Dilemma and Good Calories, Bad Calories. This movie would be a nice introduction, or just a complement to the other resources, if you've seen/read one or more of them.

I defintely spent about 1/3 of the movie with my eyes closed. There are some very graphic and disturbing images of feedlots and slaughterhouses that I just didn't want to internalize. I am aware the situation is not that great; I don't need to have the images seared into my brain for all eternity. If you can get past those scenes, the rest of the movie is really interesting and eye-opening.

The three things that really stuck out in my mind were first, that there seemed to be so much secrecy around food production companies. Like the meat-raisers wouldn't let the crew film inside the feedlots or chicken coops, and declined to comment for the film. Why shouldn't we be allowed to see and scrutinize where our food is coming from? Right shouldn't fear light. That's messed up.

Second, that so many of the world's problems seem to have a nexus in U.S. food policies. For example, U.S. subsidies of corn and soybeans put farmers out of work in developing countries and increase social and political strife. This is happening in Mexico - as a result of NAFTA, Mexico was flooded with cheap grain products from the U.S., putting many Mexicans out of work, and contributing in no small way to illegal immigration and crime problems. If you consider the healthcare debate, you could make a strong argument that if people were not eating so much cheap processed crap (with corn and soybean by-products at their heart) there would be a lot fewer health problems and a lot less cost for healthcare. Two of the three major health problems in the U.S. are largely preventable or mitigated through diet - heart disease and diabetes. It is possible to make candy and cookies that don't have that crap in it. Go look at the ingredients in the gourmet German candy and cookies in your grocery store and compare it to Oreo's or M&M's.

And third, that the U.S. government seems to be very complicit in perpetuating and even exacerbating the problem. A shocking number of big food company former employees and even CEO's are now running the FDA and other regulatory bodies meant to protect consumers. Of course business is business and the bottom line will always rule in that context, but the government has a responsibility to regulate their operations in order to protect people. This is one area where I am definitely pro-government intervention; I'm usually more of a laissez-faire type. For example, because of complicated regulatory loopholes, it's virtually impossible to shut down a food company for having multiple food safety violations (like e. coli).

Where we are going as a country on the issue of food production, manufacture, sale, etc is disturbing. The film ends with a list of things you can do to change the situation. You vote with your dollars, and if you are unsettled by what is going on, you can buy from companies that treat animals and their employees ethically, support organic and local agriculture, and eschew frankenfood ingredients like corn and soy byproducts.

Phew. The air is getting thin up here on this soapbox, I think I'll step off now. Watch the film and see for yourself!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!

Oh my gosh, we're having a GIRL! I was so sure it was a boy! But it's definitely a girl. We had an unexpected ultrasound today and she flipped at one point and was completely and indecently spread-eagle.

Note the caption on the photo - IT'S A GIRL!!!!! ---->

No question about it, that baby in there is of the Princess variety (just like her mama teehee). Poor Adam is already worrying about protecting her from TEH BOYZ. Haha.

Can you blame him?! Look at her wee little elf nose!

So, I debated about blogging this, but... well, the rest of my life is pretty much broadcast to the internet on this blog anyway so what the heck. At my 16 week appointment, I was offered a Quad Test. Basically it's a blood test that measures 4 proteins in mom's blood and indicates possible risk for certain abnormalities like spina bifida, Down's syndrome and Trisomy 18. The midwife explained to me that the test could be skewed just by having the wrong due date. I consented to the test, even though I KNOW they have the wrong due date for me. I did tell her at the time that I was positive they have the wrong due date because I didn't ovulate on day 14 like they use to calculate my due date. She just shrugged like lalalala - like all the other nurses and doctors I have told this to - just a pat on the hand and a knowing smile as if to say, "of course, dear, you think you know, but don't question the system..." And I just shrugged because I guess I assume too much about medical professionals.


I was not all that surprised when I got a phone call yesterday telling me that my results came back showing increased risk (relative to our age group) for Down's syndrome (although negative for the other abnormalities they screen for). The nurse told me that based on the test, the risk was 1/186 that our baby will have Down's. If the test is anything greater than 1/270 you get a positive result. I guess that's because it outweighs the risk of miscarriage from an amnio at that point... it's pretty much arbitrary. Even at 1/186, that's only about a 0.5% chance our baby will have Down's - not very high odds at all, but still higher than women my age in general.

Naturally we were very concerned and we were glad they could get us in the next day (today) for a detailed ultrasound to look at the baby's physical characteristics and get a better idea of the due date. If the baby has the physical characteristics common in Down's syndrome (like missing pinkie and nose bones, short leg bones, heart problems or enlarged kidneys), then we could opt to have an amniocentesis, which is more definitive because it looks at baby's chromosomes. However, the amnio has a risk of miscarriage. We talked about it and pretty much decided before we even went in for the ultrasound that we were not going to do the amnio in any case because we don't want to risk losing the baby either way - we are going to love this baby no matter what.

Of course I spent the afternoon consulting Dr. Google about the quad test and abnormal results and found literally hundreds of message board postings about women who had positive quad test results and healthy babies. That test has a very high false positive rate. In my opinion, any test that can be skewed with a matter of a few days (out of a 9 month pregnancy) is not that reliable. In retrospect, I was kind of wishing I hadn't consented to the test because it seemed most likely that it would cause a lot of unnecessary worry and heartache and everything would be fine with the baby.

So we went in for our ultrasound today. The technician was amazing! She was really interactive and talked the entire time, pointing things out to us and telling us what she was seeing. We got to spend almost an hour staring at our beautiful baby on the monitor! She was so active - kicking and squirming. Adam started calling her the Party Princess. She was practically doing somersaults in there. It was so cute and amazing. We could see her little heart beating and all the bones in her spinal cord and ribcage. We could see 10 tiny toes and 10 tiny fingers.

Basically she looked like the most perfect being ever to be conceived (of course- haha)! Everything looked very normal and nice. She had NONE of the physical characteristics of Down's - all the bones and organs were in place and looked right - the brain, the kidneys, the heart. Everything looked good. We were so relieved.

Yawning. So cute! She is bored of all this talk of Down syndrome.

The baby looked small-ish; she said about a week behind size-wise, but the actual measurements weren't enough to change my due date and therefore the quad results calculation would remain the same. The measurements were still several days off from the due date they originally calculated for me. By my calculation, based on when I ovulated, I am 18 weeks and 1 day. Which she said would be enough to recalculate the quad assessment. But since the computer didn't match that, she couldn't change it. And like I was telling you all before, I could have ovulated a week after that! (My temp shifted again and I thought it was the egg implanting, but it could have been ovulation). In fact, the latter scenario would make sense because the baby seems to be measuring about a week smaller, and when we took the HPT, it was very faint, which would have only been about 9 days after ovulation in that case - really early to detect a pregnancy. I even got a negative pregnancy test when I went in to the clinic! They had to do a blood test to confirm. Either way, THEY HAVE MY DUE DATE WRONG WHY WON'T ANYONE LISTEN TO ME??!!!! Whew.

The doctor spoke to us afterwards and told us that the baby had a small spot of calcification in her heart, which they see in normal babies every day. Alone it means absolutely nothing. However, if you are considered "increased risk" then some people think it might be a "soft indicator" of Down syndrome. If you believe those people, it could raise our risk to 1/93 - still only about a 1% chance, if you believe that calculation. The doctor did say that sometimes babies look normal on the ultrasound and are still born with Down's syndrome (the only way to know for sure before the birth is to do an amnio). Conversely, sometimes people get negative quad results and the baby is born with an abnormality. The thing is, even if your risk is 1/10,000, you could still be that one.

We are still a little concerned, of course, but after seeing how perfect she looked, and considering all the ovulation/due date snafu, we are not worried too much. All things considered, I think she is going to be born healthy and most likely ACTIVE!

Front view of her face.

Pointing. Or #1!