Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Baby room making

Brad has overwhelmed me with his unceasing energy and determination in clearing out our excess "stuff" from the house and garage. I'm really glad he's able to move heavy furniture and the like with my only "help" being to sit and point at where I want things to go. Although we definitely could have used an extra few days on our already long weekend, we finished clearing out extraneous boxes from our garage, and last night, Brad finished clearing the stuff (to donate and/or sell) out of the future baby's room!

We put the yellow chair in there, and Brad built and set up a new bookcase. The only things left in the room now are all baby related! (And am I a little scared that we have managed to fill up the the bookcase and baskets that go on it already with baby things? Yes, I am!)

But getting the space cleaned out and then put together again with a new purpose makes a huge difference. Of course, I KNOW I'm pregnant. I am reminded every minute of every day that a new person has already made his or her presence in our lives. But somehow seeing all of my favorite kids' books lined up on a new person's bookshelf made me misty-eyed (OK, I cried) in a whole new, more real and wonder-full way. (Yes, I hyphenated that to really emphasize it! What can I say, my hyphens were stiffled at work today!)

So, we've got our "Lime Granita" colored paint ready to go, and will have a bunch more to do around the house to get ready. I can't believe we'll have a new person living here soon! But it gets more believable when I go in the room we're making for the little one, and see the tiny chair I used at my grandma's house, waiting for someone new to occupy it. It's certainly been a while since I've been able to sit in it!

In the meantime, although it's way too easy to get caught up in the future, I'm trying to remember to enjoy the present. And I'm really enjoying Brad's abilities to fold baby clothes and push around a huge dresser in the same hour, and to be just as excited as I am about how lucky we are right now and to look forward, too.

(I guess this doesn't have much to do with the Beetle. Although in the spirit of sprucing up, I have been playing with the wheel finder on Big O Tires' website.)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Blockbuster and a baby

Tonight, we saw I think the first movie in a theater since I've been pregnant! I had to see the new Indiana Jones movie on opening night. So, the baby's first big-screen movie was Indiana Jones.

Since we don't usually go to the movies, it was a big deal. Brad produced giant packages of Hot Tamales (for him) and Junior Mints (for me), got popcorn in a tub, and the biggest fruit punch drink I have ever seen. I seriously think that drink weighed more than the baby weighs right now!

Popcorn, Junior Mints, and fruit punch was my movie theater treat of choice when I was little. It's not a combination I have very much now (fortunately for me, I'm sure!). I lasted all of about two minutes into the pre-preview commercials (I remember way back in my day when you had to just make conversation with your movie partner before the previews started...) before I cracked open the Junior Mints package. But, as soon as I had the magical combination of all three items in succession, I instantly felt seven years old.

I know scent is supposed to be the most powerful sense in triggering memories, but I think my candy/popcorn/sugary drink combination has to be high up there for me.

I told Brad I felt like I was seven, and he laughed and said, "Seven instead of twenty-seven and pregnant?" I said, "Yeah!" The magical time-traveling properties of movie theater food.

Maybe it was the plot (which I never really followed, even though I thought there was too much action and not enough character stuff), or maybe it was the fact that once the instant sugar buzz wore off on me, it seemed to go directly to the baby, who kicked and moved and often stepped on my bladder. But whatever it was, I found myself staring down at my moving abdomen and grinning away, vastly entertained by my own body, oblivious to whatever Indy was doing onscreen. (Which is really saying something for me, and anyone who knows of my once-overpowering Harrison Ford obsession.)

It was a really entertaining evening. But since I had more than enough action-adventure wiggling around in my own body, Indy's adventures didn't really impress me like they used to.

I realized, as I zoned out on yet another probably important plot detail while staring at my stomach, that the candy and punch and popcorn had made me a little sick. Then I got some more big kicks and remembered that, much as my senses might have tricked me temporarily, I'm really not seven, or seventeen (about how old I was when I saw my first Indy movies, on tape).

Harrison got older, Indy got older, and I got older...and, although I have to say that Harry has crossed the line into not crush-suitable anymore for me, I'm glad to be twenty years older than my candy made me feel! I am twenty-seven and pregnant, and very glad to be both. Although it was fun to take a brief little trip back in time with the mystical snack food combination, and seeing a new Indiana Jones movie, I am quite happy to be back in the present day. (And the next time I go to a movie, I'm going to remember that I don't need to eat quite so much of that popcorn/Junior Mint/punch combination to get a little thrill!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Test-driving the delivery

OK, so it's probably not possible to really take a practice spin on labor and delivery. But Brad and I did recently take two hospitals' maternity area tours, and I am definitely glad for those "practice laps" around two of our local hospitals. The interesting thing is that the hospitals are both from the same health group (rhymes with "Butter"), but the experience at each was so different.

Of course, in an emergency, any hospital is a good hospital. I have gone to what I now know is not my preferred hospital in the middle of the night, received excellent care there, and been reassured by the friendly, competent nurses that all was well. Emergencies are a separate thing altogether.

But, hopefully, labor will progress in a relatively calm state, and I will be glad of having a choice of which hospital to go to. I am so glad to live within driving distance of the hospital in Davis, with its birth center, because I greatly preferred that one to the one in Sacramento.

The Sacramento hospital--although it's the hospital my current OB works out of, and which contains very knowledgable, pleasant nurses that I've encountered--was also just about the complete opposite of the Davis one. And not in a way that was the right fit for what we were looking for.

I'll give a small example of this: Today was the first over-100-degree day of the year in Sacramento, but not nearly the last. Unfortunately, it was uncomfortably warm at the Sacramento hospital--inside. As in, no air-conditioning warm. Inside the hospital! I asked about the temperature controls for the labor and delivery rooms, and was told enthusiastically that every room had a fan (we're talking a 12" tabletop fan here) and ice chips available. I'm all for natural birth, but this was pushing it.

I realize that temperature isn't everything. Maybe in labor, you couldn't care less what the room's like and you're totally inwardly focused. Really, I suppose you just need a place where you feel cared for and safe.

But, come on! A fan and ice chips is the extent of comfort that a major medical center in the state capitol can offer birthing women? (And the partners, labor support people, and medical personnel who care for them?)

Although I will miss my OB, I feel so much more comfortable in the Davis center (temperature-wise, but also, more importantly, in a general outlook on giving birth). I will gladly be driving farther to my new healthcare team in Davis.

Even though it won't be as convenient for going to work and my check-ups in the same day, I'll take a place where I feel comfortable, albeit with a longer drive, any day.

Test-driving the hospitals made the choice incredibly easy. But what I kept wondering as our tour group shuffled around the different hospital floors tonight was this: Why weren't the other women and men "kicking the tires" a little bit while they were taking their own tours?

Nobody asked any questions! My temperature question was the only one asked, and even that was a frivolous question compared to my greater questions, which I would have asked about if Brad and I weren't so sure within three minutes of the tour's start that this wasn't the place for us, and that I was hot and wanted to get out of there. Maybe everyone else on the tour felt the same way. But I suspect not everyone had ruled out the place.

I understand being shy and all, but it seemed the other ladies (and men) were way too content to just accept the conditions of the hospital, with absolutely no questions asked. Anyone buying a car would ask more questions and demand more answers from the salesperson! We're not talking about mileage and free floormats here--it's a huge, life-changing milestone in life that may or may not involve some major surgery. (And, not to keep focusing on the comparatively minor detail of the climate, but I seriously doubt anyone would even get a new car now that didn't come equipped with an a/c!)

Now, maybe I'm pushing the whole "car/driving" metaphor here. But maybe not: What did we spend proportionately the most time discussing? The fact that the hospital's hourly parking rate had gone up, and detailed instructions on where to find said parking lot. Not about the hospital's general approach to labor and delivery, or C-section rates, or episiotomies, or hospital policies. Nope, we barely even made a dent in anything of substance. I don't think that is the fault of the person leading the tour--she's the spokesmodel. Her job is to get you to like the place. The "consumers" here are the ones who need to be more involved and proactive in learning about what they're going to get.

Perhaps the other tourists liked that hospital. Maybe it was what they were looking for. Just because a place isn't the right fit for me doesn't mean it's not the perfect place for someone else. Or maybe there's an insurance limitation on where people can go, and it's their only option. But I would still have hoped to hear some questions from the test-drivers about what they can expect on the road ahead.

We left the tour, glad to live so close to Davis, and so close to a hospital with a birth center as its inspiration. It's worth the drive for me. And it was well worth the test-drive to know that for sure.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Babies as bumper stickers?

We were having a discussion at work a couple weeks ago that has been knocking around in my head ever since. It was about bumper stickers that are designed seemingly for the sole purpose of annoying a large amount of people.

Rebecca mentioned one she'd seen (I believe plastered on a Hummer or other very large vehicle for a suburban area) with a message to the effect of, "I use up all the gas you save driving your wimpy small car." We all groaned. I said, what purpose could there be in that sticker, other than to provoke people?

On the other hand...

I think this shirt is pretty cute.

(Shirt sold on Tiny Revolutionary, linked from Cool Mom Picks.)

I think it's adorable, but I'm not sure if I want to put it on my kid. I like its message. But is treating your baby like a bumper sticker a good idea?

I don't know. The most "bumper-sticker-ish" I've gotten so far is to register for an outfit that says, "Save the planet (I'll need it later)" printed on a onesie. But I might chicken out on that, too. For one thing, it sets up a pretty high standard for ME! I feel like if I'm not driving the Prius and using the disposable biodegradable diapers we hope to be able to use on a given day, I can't in good conscience put the kid in that outfit.

Even though I think it's a good message, there is the chance that it's a little too similar to that pro-gas-guzzling bumper sticker that fueled my ranting. I'm all for freedom of speech and for making a statement, but I can't decide if I want to see the written equivalent of a sound bite on a bumper sticker or on my own baby.

I think it's too much thought to put into a piece of clothing that is destined to get thrown up on almost immediately. I think I'll un-register for the "message" shirt and add another plain organic onesie to the list instead.

Monday, May 5, 2008

This rocks!

Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with the Beetle, other than the fact that both my selection of the car and this chair were largely based on wanting to at least have some fun when I bought both big items.

I had registered for a very comfy glider/rocker chair thing from Babies "R" Us. The black wood matched the other black wood furniture we had pointed out scanner-gun at, and after wandering around "BRU" for an hour, and in desperate need of a seat, that glider seemed pretty good to me. I waved the scan gun at the barcode listlessly while I drank some water and propped my feet up.

"You know, that chair only comes in this check/plaid-type fabric," Brad told me from the next glider over.

The chair was serviceable and available. I scanned it anyway.

I tried to overlook the gingham print that covered the cushions. Not that gingham is bad (it is downright cute in some settings!), but it doesn't exactly blend in with the tiki-meets-space theme Brad and I tend to gravitate toward in our decorations.

But I deleted that glider online as soon as the site would load once I saw...this rocking chair!

Yes, it's true, I suppose someone might have bought me the glider on the registry, and it would have saved us the money. But what would become of that glider when the baby doesn't need to be rocked any more? Or is too big to share the chair with? I couldn't envision gingham-covered puffy cushions in the living room, or the very traditional chair itself living in any room of ours but a baby's. Chucking a chair or selling it for $15 at a yard sale just didn't seem like reasonable options.

Buying this did!

OK, so maybe my view of "reasonable" isn't exactly right-on.

We got it in the lemon yellow color. I had sensible design-advice thoughts echoing in my head during online check-out: "Always buy furniture in a neutral." I scoffed. What's the point of laying out some cash for a major purchase if it doesn't give you a little thrill?

Well, I do understand a little bit more now what the point is. At least when it comes to buying online, I think the point is that you also don't have a color shock when you place your brand-new yellow furnishing next to an existing ultrasuede purple couch and a green velvet chair!

Other than possibly needing to wear sunglasses when in view of these three furniture pieces at the same time, the new chair is awesome. By the time it's ready to rock and roll into the living room, maybe by then new parenthood will have taught me to embrace the unexpected and love it even with the rainbow effect it produces. (Or maybe it will be time to get it reupholstered.)

Either way, I love the rocking chair's amazing coolness in the future baby's room, and I love that somehow I feel cooler by sitting in it. Everyone tells me that I have no idea how my life will change when I have a baby, and I have no doubt of that. Who could have predicted that even in pregnancy, I'd get so excited about a rocking chair?