Tuesday, September 28, 2010

She's Already a Pain in the Butt, Bless Her Little Heart

So I learned this weekend where my sciatic nerve is located.

Basically, it feels like it is located in my butt.  Evidently it is located precisely where Baby Duck is pushing/kicking/head butting or possibly at the place where she has relocated one of my internal organs.  Either way, this nerve is feeling pressure.

And the pressure is experienced by me in sharp pains that start at my low back or hip and run down my butt and sometimes my leg.  Mostly on the right side.

After bitching and moaning about the pain for a couple of days, I did a little more reading in some of my pregnancy books.

Guess what?  Sciatica is a fairly common symptom of pregnancy.

It is not pleasant.

Massage (at least the non-professional kind) does not really help me.  It's not like a muscle ache that you can work out.  It's just...  nerve pain.  And it hurts.  I've never felt anything like this before.

My yoga instructor gave me a couple of exercises that will relieve the pressure on the nerve, but when I resume normal postures, the pain comes back.

So far the only thing I've found that works is a heating pad.  I didn't have an electronic one, so yesterday at Target I bought a humidifier and a heating pad.  I felt geriatric. 

Supposedly the nerve pressure will ease up eventually.  The baby will get bigger and shift position and then the butt pain will stop. 

Anytime now, Baby Duck.  Anytime would be fine.

Unless you want to be named Sciatica. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Little Girls and Pretty Dresses

So, honestly, I've been pretty good about controlling myself with the baby clothes purchasing.

It helps that Grandma (my mom) seems to feel that it is in fact her responsibility to cloth this child from now until at least 24 months, so the wardrobe is filling out nicely without much effort on my part.

I did purchase a few summery things that were being clearanced out at Macy's a few weeks ago (and by "clearanced," I mean "clearanced"--these outfits rang up at $2.79 each!).  And the day after we found it was a girl, I totally snatched up this Madonna "Who's That Girl Tour" onesie (because obviously Baby Duck will be a Madonna fan).

But honestly, that's it.  My BFFs are throwing a shower for me in November and my cousins are having for one me over Thanksgiving weekend, so I figure that I'll just wait and see what cute stuff I get there and then let myself buy a few more sleepers with ruffly butts.

There was just one small exception to this plan when David and I hit Babies-R-Us on Saturday.  We were crib shopping.  Our criteria:  white, not huge, not super expensive.  The sales guy there told us that if we registered we'd get a coupon for 10% a couple of weeks before our due date.  And then he said that if we bought something before we left that day, we'd get a 20% off coupon for one item that we could use in a few weeks. 

These were magic words for David, who is coupon crazy.  So he insisted we had to find something we needed to purchase and we had to make two separate purchases so that we would each get a coupon.

But what to buy!?

The store was overwhelming and it was almost lunch time so instead of getting practical things, we headed for the clothing clearance rack. 

And we each picked out a dress for Baby Duck.

Can you guess which of us chose which dress?

Dress A
Dress B

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Road to Recovery

I am posting this from the hollow in my sofa that is shaped like my body because this is where I have been sitting/lying curled up in the fetal position coughing my brains out for the past five days.

Turns out my crying jag on Friday was not just haircut or hormones but actually really truly feeling terrible from being exhausted and also really freaking sick.  The cold that I thought I would be over by Monday ended up morphing into a cough that prompted my self diagnosis with Black Lung. 

Monday night I woke up at 2am, coughing harder than I ever have in my life.  To the point of breathless gagging.  Obviously there was no sleeping through that, so then David was up too.  And we ended up driving to Walgreens at 2:30am to buy cough medicine that was on my OB-approved list.

I hate liquid medicine (with the exception of Dimetapp because it tastes like purple grape deliciousness) but I slammed a shot of this nasty cherry cough syrup like a champ.  It didn't help.

I canceled class on Monday and Tuesday.  I was all about resting and drinking fluids and taking it easy, sure that I just needed a couple of days to recuperate.  By Wednesday, I felt worse instead of better.  The only part of the day that was even tolerable was the time I spent soaking in the bathtub filled with some kind of cold and flu bath salts that made the room smell like Vicks Vapo Rub.  David asked me to sleep on the sofa because my coughing kept him up all night.  That kind of hurt my feelings, but really I slept better on the sofa because it was easier to keep myself propped up, which I told myself helped with the coughing even though I couldn't really be sure.

The sofa quickly became my sick nest, covered with sheets and pillows and notebooks and books and my laptop and wadded up kleenex and cough drop wrappers.  My breathing has been so raspy and wheezy that David has taken to call me "Predator."  Every night this week I woke myself up coughing about 3am and was unable to fall back asleep for at least two hours (thank heavens for DVRed episodes of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta).  I was coughing so hard my back and stomach muscles hurt.  It was super gross and pretty freaking miserable.

I finally called my doctor and got an antibiotic prescription on Wednesday.  I didn't want to take an antibiotic because, you know, drugs, baby, worry, blah blah blah.  But I was desperate and the nurse at my OB office assured me that it was perfectly safe.

There was no teaching on Wednesday or Thursday either.  I couldn't shift position on the sofa without coughing uncontrollably.

On Thursday I still didn't feel any better, which was infuriating because I was taking prescription meds!  I wanted some results, dammit!

Instead, I kept coughing so much that I kept expecting to cough up blood and die of consumption like a good Victorian heroine.

I called the doctor back and was told to give it another 24 hours.

I figured in that amount of time, I would either get better or die.

But then!  Last night was the first night since Saturday that I slept through the entire night without waking myself up coughing.  

Today there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  I feel slightly more like myself.  I'm still coughing, but not with that out of control, gasping, wheezing cough that plagued me all week.  I plan to teach tomorrow.  Life just might get back to normal, although I'm not sure that the sofa cushions will ever regain their previous shape.

I've never canceled four days of class in a row.  I've never watched so many hours of television in a row.  Cooper has never gotten tired of cuddling with me before.  Evidently a wracking cough disturbs his sleep as well.  Little Mac was--unexpectedly--my loyal companion and slept on the love seat in the living room with me instead of in her bed with David in the bedroom.

It was a rough week.  I'm ready to get some energy back and feel like myself again.

But I think David will miss my sexy predator breathing.

10 Pregnancy Myths: Busted

1.  You're not that tired.
I have to admit that I would roll my eyes (or at least mentally roll my eyes) whenever the pregnant woman who has just announced her pregnancy is asked how she is feeling and (as long as she is one of the lucky ones who is not puking her guts out everyday) she inevitably says something like, "Oh, I feel good.  Just tired."  In my head, I was always thinking, "Yeah, sure.  We're all tired.  People get tired.  Guess what?  I had a long day too."  Pregnancy just seemed to offer a good excuse to complain about being tired while the rest of us just irritate people when we do it.

Busted!  You really are that tired.  I have never been tired like I was in the first semester.  There were nights in June when, by 8:30pm, my choices were:  (1) Go to sleep.  (2) Throw up and die.

I was seriously that tired.  The idea of staying awake literally made me feel ill.  The entire month of June, I taught my class on Banned Books and I slept.  That was really the extent of the first part of my summer.  That bone-aching, brain-melting tiredness faded away by mid-July and I'm still feeling something near my normal energy level (although that's relative because I kind of forget what is "normal" these days).  Still, I learned my lesson.  Embryos turning into fetuses suck the energy out of their life vessel.

2.  Your belly is the only thing that gets bigger.

Ha.  Ha ha ha.  If only that were true.  Does the phrase "D-cup" mean anything to you?  I also read recently that your rib cage will expand 2 to 3 inches over the course of the pregnancy but will return to normal size after delivery.  Insane!  But explains why some of my shirts are ill-fitting.  I haven't yet experienced much in terms of butt-and-hips spreading out, but some of my friends definitely felt like their hips got wider before their bellies got bigger.  And I hear that I can probably look forward to some butt-expansion.  Long before the belly gets big, all these other parts you had no intention of growing larger because they are most decidedly not housing your offspring are also going to balloon up.  So much for the cute basketball tummy.  I think I'm detecting upper-arm spread.

3.  Because all pregnant women look so cute, you feel cute all the time!

Surprise, surprise:  it takes a while to look pregnant.  In the meantime, you may feel (1) fat; (2) like a porn star with a beer belly; (3) bloated; (4) ugly; (5) like your forehead mistakenly things you are fourteen and therefore should break out in zits.  I kept fluctuating between wanting to look pregnant and wanting to wear things that made me not look pregnant.  It also makes me feel mortified for the celebrity magazines that post speculative "baby bump" photos.  Is it a baby bump?  Or just a fat day?  Either way, you do not feel cute all the time.

4.  You will crave pickles and ice cream.
 I have never liked pickles and pregnancy has not changed this.  I do, however, love sweet and sour combinations.  Any tart or tangy and sweet fruit (grapefruit, grapes, oranges, necterines) is a huge favorite.  Also those Mesquite BBQ potato chips.  So I get the idea of the pickles and ice cream combination.  It just hasn't been a particular desire of mine.  And since the first trimester has ended, I pretty much eat the same things I always did.  I think maybe I have more of a sweet tooth now, but that's the extent of my wacky cravings.  Oh--except for one day when I was just six or seven weeks pregnant and all I wanted in the world was a Long John Silver fish sandwich and a root beer.  I ate it and felt both gross and very satisfied.

5.  You will be an emotional roller coaster.
David confessed to me after I'd gone off the pill but before I got pregnant that he was kind of worried that "hormones" would make me "crazy."

And then I clawed off his face and told him he was a sexist pig who had no idea what he was talking about.

But seriously.  Overall, I think have felt much less in the way of mood swings and tearfests than I typically would while PMSing.  I've definitely been anxious before each ultrasound, but I'm not crying at Hallmark commercials or country music and I don't think I've been an evil banshee, either.  For the most part, I have felt pretty much on an even keel.  I hear this can shift dramatically after the bebe is born, so we'll see how the postpartum mood swings go.  But for now, I'm definitely more of the Lazy River than the American Plunge.

6.  Your skin will glow.

Sure it will.  It will glow a radiant light like a Pre-Raphaelite madonna and everyone around you will comment on how angelic you look.  This happens to me all the time.  By which I mean never.

I count myself fortunate that my skin has actually been pretty well behaved.  I've certainly seen both extremes--one of my friends said she was basically reliving the nightmare of seventh grade with acne that got so bad she couldn't even try to cover it up with make up.  Another friend who claims that she is never without at least one zit has had a nearly perfect complexion since she got pregnant.  I've been somewhere in the middle--my skin definitely got worse for a while in the first trimester (porn star boobs + zits = sexy) but things are pretty well back to normal now except for my forehead occasionally pretending that it is 1994 again.  I definitely don't feel glowy and perfect though.

Maybe I need a facial.

7.  Your husband will cater to your every whim.

Now, David has done lots of wonderful things for me since I got pregnant.  He feeds the dogs in the morning since the smell of dog food made me gag for a while.  He empties the compost bucket since the smell of compost made me gag for a while.  He asks what I'm in the mood for when he's making dinner and he lets me have a sip of his beer and nods sympathetically when I say that O'Douls just isn't quite the same.

But he has always been nice like that, so I definitely don't feel like I'm getting special treatment.  He still thinks I'm perfectly capable of running the vacuum and doing the laundry and making his lunch.  And, obviously, I am.  It's just...  I'm pregnant!  Where is my special treatment???

Come to think of it, I guess I'd rather have a considerate husband all the time rather than just 9 months out of my life, so I'll go ahead and keep him.

8.  You will become obsessed with all things baby.
Again, not so much.  I mean yes, I like to talk about babies and see babies.  But the registry and the books and everything...  Eh.  Kind of over it for the moment.  Would rather watch Say Yes to the Dress instead of A Baby Story.  (My obsession with the Duggar family totally proceeds the pregnancy so that show doesn't count.)  Baby stuff is still totally fun, but I also like talking about not baby stuff.  When I'm teaching, I totally forget that I'm pregnant and it's kind of... nice.  It's just good to remember that Baby Duck is a big and amazing part of my life but I do already have a life.

9.  You will have to buy lots of maternity clothes.

This one is both true and false.  I have bought some clothes, but I would say less than half of them are actually "maternity" clothes.  I finally found a couple pairs of maternity dress pants from the Gap that fit me that I can wear to teach in, which was a relief.  I could wear my regular pants, totally unbuttoned and unzipped, with a bella band to keep them up and smooth, but I definitely didn't feel comfortable standing in front of a class of college students knowing that one false move could have it all hanging out.  I want to buy more maternity clothes, but I also don't want to spend money on maternity clothes.  I feel like I have nothing to wear, and some clothes I thought I'd be able to wear actually don't fit because of the ribs/boobs issue.  I'm wearing more leggings than I ever have in my life.  I've been able to borrow some stuff from friends and I have some great winter stuff my mom bought me so I'm ready for the weather to cool off.

Fortunately, there are enough long, stretchy, tunic shirts out there, that buying maternity tops isn't totally necessary.  At least not so far.  I've made some of my own things work and I've bought a few more things.  I ask myself if I would wear it if I weren't pregnant, and that becomes the criteria.  Unless it costs less than $10 and I can make it cuter with a scarf.  Then I will wear something that I wouldn't be caught dead in normally.  Hey--I'm on a budget here, folks!

10.  People will say kind and supportive things to you.
Actually, people will say whatever the hell they want.  And you will not always want to hear it.  I've had people (ok one person--and a total stranger) tell me I look soooo big, people tell me I look small for being however-far-along I am at the time, people look right at me and tell me that my boobs have gotten a lot bigger (Oh really?  I hadn't noticed!  But I'm so glad that you both noticed and pointed it out to me!).  And, as I mentioned before, people will tell me that David is lying when he says he doesn't care if it's a boy or a girl.  People are more than willing to put in their two cents, which is why we are keeping the name a secret until the baby is born.  Because I don't want to know if that was the name of your psycho college roommate or if you know someone from church who just named their baby that same name or if you just saw that it made the Top 10 Most Popular Names for Serial Killers or if you think it sounds like a stripper's name or if you just don't care for it.  I want to hear you say, "Oh, that's a beautiful name" or I want you to keep your opinion to your damn self. 

In general, I think everyone should say only nice things.  Not only to me, but in general.  Just because I'm growing a fetus does not mean I am more receptive to your bullshit than I would be on any other day.  And if you can't say something nice?  Remember that old adage and shut the hell up.  Whether I am pregnant or not, I do not need your commentary on the shape or size of any part of my anatomy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Parenting Thing - It Begins?

We bought a stroller. 

I had no intention of buying a stroller so far in advance.  I mean, it's not like we're going to be strolling Baby Duck home from the hospital in January.

I had been talking about strollers for a while though.  And scoping them out every time we went somewhere.  I don't especially like striking up conversations with strangers, but I found that my desire to learn how people liked their baby strollers overcame any shyness.  So I asked moms at the mall, dads at the farmers' market, couples pushing strollers in Forest Park, how they liked their stroller.  I knew that I wanted a jogger to accompany Coop and me on our daily walks and I was trying to decide from among a Mountain Buggy (highly recommended by David's aunt, but the most expensive and least cute), a BOB (most popular stroller seen out and about, but so large) and a Phil and Ted (cute colors, although David ruled out my top choice of apple green in favor of--you guessed it--Cardinal red).  I compared online reviews, read about the strollers in the Baby Bargains book, and considered what I would be using the stroller for (it's going to be our everyday stroller, really, and I will be walking the neighborhood everyday with it but no serious trail running or anything like that).

In the end, the Phil and Ted won, mostly because it can be converted to a double stroller with a doubles kit that attaches to the back of the stroller but doesn't make the stroller take up any more space.  Sure, the kid in the back doesn't have much of a view, but I knew there was no way I was ever going to want to get one of the huge side-by-sides or one of the long train-style strollers.  So this seemed like a good plan.

I'd mentioned this to David several times, interrogated a woman pushing a Phil and Ted at the farmers' market (she loved hers--and it was apple green!), pointed her stroller out to David in person and later shown him pictures online.

David seemed willing to accept my well-researched decision, but not particularly excited about the stroller.  Not that I really expected him to be.  Once I made up my mind, we talked about the fact that we could register for the stroller but no one would buy it because it is so expensive.  So we might as well just wait and buy it with tax return money in February or March after the baby is born.  That seemed like a sensible plan, so I figured that was the end of it.

A couple of weeks ago, we visited a local store called Cotton Babies to investigate our cloth diaper options (and let me tell you, there are lots of them--that's a whole separate post in itself).  The very nice and informative sales woman gave us a tour of the different diaper options (the Eco-diaper, the Flip diaper, the Bum Genius, the Bum Genius 4.0, the Funzi Bunz, the "traditional" diaper covers, etc.).  I took notes because, seriously, how else could I keep track of all the options?

At the end of the tour, we wandered the store a little bit more and I oohed and aahed over the soft bamboo onesies and David played with the wooden toys and then we checked out the strollers.  David played with the Phil and Ted model, said he liked it, and then we headed home.

My mom and I were at the mall that afternoon when he called me.  He had found the Phil and Ted stroller online.  At a store that was running a $100 discount on the model we wanted and offering free shipping, no taxes.  Plus he'd found a promo code for 10% off.  He wanted to order to stroller right away.

Evidently getting to play with the "new toy" in person made it that much more exciting for him.  Suddenly he couldn't wait to get this stroller.  So we ordered it and the car seat attachment (Sold separately of course.  Of course.).

The evening it arrived, David eagerly began the assembly process.

Imagine our surprise that the baby was not included with the stroller.  For the price we paid, you can understand our confusion.

It was a somewhat frustrating process. 

The instruction manual has no written instructions.  Everything is shown in small, black and white pictures.  Which don't always offer the angle that would be most useful.  So it was a bit of a guessing game.  David was furious with the instruction manual by the time he got finished (although the stroller appeared to be put together properly).

  That smile - it's fake.

Cooper and Little Mac helpfully offer their assistance.

I reminded him of the time we borrowed a Pack 'n Play from the neighbor for his niece to sleep in and she brought it over with the instruction manual and we worked on it for at least an hour before I finally went back down the street to ask her to come over and show us what to do because the two of us could make no sense of the directions. 

At last, David had the stroller put together and both the dogs were very nervous about it.

Success!  Stroller appears larger than life due to small size of living room.

In the end, his assembly skills conquered the stroller's stubbornness.  Baby Duck now has a Cardinal red stroller.

At 21 weeks, the fetus is stoked about her new stroller.
And if we thought the instruction manual that came with the stroller was hard to read, just wait until we bring home the baby.  I hear that those things don't even come with a manual at all!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad evening.

It began with a cold.  Sniffles and a general stuffed-up feeling, quickly followed by a cough that--though occasional rather than constant--sounds eerily like it should be coming from an asthmatic chain smoker.

Then there was the class in which I asked a student to read aloud from a Very Important Handout about choosing a primary source for their Very Important Semester-Long Research Project and another student whipped out his cell phone, checked his text messages, and then began texting.  In the middle of class.  While someone else was reading out loud.  As the fourteen of us (counting me) sat around four tables in the formation of a square and he was two people to my right so I could clearly see what he was doing.  And yes, I gave my "Turn off your ringer and don't even think about texting during class because that is incredibly rude and disrespectful and I expect that you will be as respectful of my time as I am of your time" speech the first day of class. 

I was totally shocked and sort of furious and I seriously would have called him out in front of the class except that I didn't want to be totally rude and interrupt the person reading.  So I snapped my fingers in his direction and when he looked up I gave him my best WTF face (David is quite familiar with this face and agrees that it is an effective form of non-verbal communication).  The student put his phone away and I decided not to verbally flagellate him in front of the entire class later.  But just wait for him to try it one more time...

After class, I was in a fairly foul mood.  The cold and the student indifference were both getting to me so I was hoping that a hair cut would cheer me up.

It didn't.

I don't know what I was thinking.  I had her hack off like six inches of hair.  It was a total mistake and a total nightmare.  I managed to get home without crying and then called David sobbing like our dog had been run over.  He was still at work and had things to do and was not suitably comforting, so then I called my mom who said exactly what I needed to hear:  I'm sure it looks cute.  At the very least, it will grow.

At least I'm taking prenatal vitamins.  I think that will help it grow quickly.

And sure, it might be a cute haircut.  But I don't care.  I hate it and I will continue to hate it with a vengeance until it grows out again.  And no, I will not post pictures because I am not looking for sympathy comments of how cute it looks.  Even if you really think so.  Because I don't care.  I hate it.  And I also don't want to hear anyone say that you shouldn't cut your hair drastically when you're pregnant.  Because I already know that.  I knew it before I cut my hair.  I have no idea what I was thinking.

And do you know how demoralizing it is to have to stand up and teach in front of a roomful of people knowing that not only do you have nothing to wear, but you also have a haircut that you hate?

It is totally effing demoralizing.

Demoralizing enough that I cried off and on about it for about three hours.  In between grading essays and watching Law and Order reruns. 

Then David got home and brought me flowers which made me cry again because why am I crying about hair when I am so lucky to have such a nice husband and blah blah blah.

We ate dinner (although I didn't have much of an appetite due to traumatic hair experience) and watched an episode of Rome and suddenly I was crying again.  Because it was 9pm and I was exhausted.  Because I'd just finished grading 18 essays for one class and I have a stack of 28 more essays that have to be graded by Friday.  Because I had to get up and go to work the next morning by 9am.  Because I totally underestimated how tired I would be working 6 days a week.  And, oh yeah, because my haircut totally sucks and I hate it.

At that point I at least had the good sense to realize I needed to put my ass to bed.  Unfortunately, I slept fitfully, woke up with a stopped up nose and a sore throat from sinus drainage and ended up watching a DVRed episode of the new 90210 (don't judge me) at 4am.

I took a shower and fixed my hair this morning.  I still hate it.  But I am refusing to cry about it anymore.  Today.  It looks ok.  If you like this hair style.  Which I don't.  On me, I mean.  I would probably think it looked cute on someone else.  On me?  Hate.

I called in sick to work because I figured I didn't need to show up and cough on kids at a learning center.  Although they may have gotten me sick to begin with, little bastards. 

David is at his ballgame and I am about to retire to the couch to do some more grading.  If I can just get through 3 essays this afternoon, I will feel better about life (though not about my hair).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Baby Duck - A Chip Off the Old Block(s)?

I wonder a lot about Baby Duck.  What she'll look like, what she'll act like, what her little personality will be.  I wonder how many of her traits she'll get from me and how many she'll get from David and how many will seem to be just uniquely hers.

In some ways, David and I are a case of opposites attracting. 

He likes the movies and I like TV.  I take things serious and he takes 'em light.  He goes to bed early and I party all night.

Actually those are Paula Abdul lyrics, but you get the idea.

If you had told me in high school that I, the flannel-wearing, book-loving, drama-club president was going to end up marrying an uber-preppy prom king / baseball team captain, I would have laughed in your face.  (Seriously, I am not proud of this, but one time I dated this guy I wasn't interested in, whom everybody knew was a total pothead just because I wanted seem "edgy."  My parents met him and declared him "nerdy" -- perhaps because of his wire-framed glasses?  I'm pretty sure that "stoned" would have been a more accurate adjective.)  I spent my high school days feeling the angst of My So-Called Life (and practicing the eye rolling to match it).  Meanwhile, David spent his high school days playing baseball and "being nice to everyone" (who does that?).

Even now that we've (mostly) outgrown certain aspects of our high school personas, we still have a lot of differences.  I like things clean but I don't mind clutter.  David can't stand clutter but will put dishes away dirty just to have them out of the sink (seriously I have caught him doing this).  I could devour a novel in one sitting given the time to do so.  David would rather read something non-fiction with a number in the title (7 Habits of Highly Effective People, 10 Things Good Principals Do Differently).  I'm a vegetarian.  He likes a good steak.  I've never played competitive team sports.  He still plays in a men's baseball league.  I like Lady Gaga.  He likes Jamey Johnson.

Still, we obviously have a number of things in common, and so I think that while Baby Duck might end up being more like one of us than the other, she's pretty certain to inherit some of the characteristics that we share.

For your viewing pleasure, I provide an selective and illustrated list of interests that we share:

(1) A love for cookie dough and brownie batter (salmonella be damned!).

David daintily licks a beater.
Ain't nothin' dainty 'bout that appetite!

(2) Spending much of our infancy rocking an old-man hair style -- long on the sides, sparse on the top:

 Kids today and their new-fangled rock music!

 Bob Newhart and I share the same stylist!

(3)  Healthy work-out habits.
Tennis at the club?
Get in shape, girl!  Equipment required:  dumbbells, headband, legwarmers, tennis shoes, leotard.  Optional:  granny-panty underwear bunching up in leotard.
(4) A nice cold beer every now and again.

Note: This blog does not condone underage drinking.  But you see the kind of parenting skillz I have been taught.

(5) Rocking the latest fashions.

The only thing cooler than that Cardinals jacket is the shirt he's got goin' on under it.  Or possibly the hat.  Either way, a killer combination.

Hey there 1985.  You rock.  You and your side ponytail and your rainbow striped lavender bomber-style jacket. Also pictured:  my favorite skirt ever.  Denim & eyelet lace:  a match made in heaven.

(6) As if these striking similarities were not enough, it turns out that David and I also share(d?) a penchant for wearing gender-bending plaid while sporting androgynous haircuts.

Somebody thought David needed a plaid skirt to go with that haircut.  And also a bonnet to cover up most of it.

Meanwhile I am perhaps the most masculine two-year-old girl ever photographed.  
Gender:  it exists on a sliding scale.

I know what you're all thinking:  With parents like these, how could Baby Duck be anything but awesome? 

I can't wait until she has matching photos we can display alongside these.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's Elementary

David's grandparents are in town to visit us for the weekend and yesterday I drove them out to David's new school so that we could meet some of the staff and get a tour of the building.  I had not been there since I helped him decorate his office before school started, so it was nice to meet the secretaries and the principal and see David interact with the kids.

Back when he was Coach Duck, he was something of a superstar at the elementary school where he taught.  Anytime he would walk around the school or playground, kids would run up to him, shouting "Hi, Coach Duck!" and wanting to give him a high-five.  He would introduce me as Mrs. Coach Duck and sometimes they would want to give me a hug even though they'd never seen me before.  It was bizarre.

Since he's now the assistant principal and the discipline dude, I wondered if his superstar status would be diminished, but we quickly discovered that was not the case.  The kids call him "Mr. Duckworth" now, but they still want give him a hug or high-five him and they were very excited to meet his wife and grandparents.

I met one teacher who is also pregnant and due the same day I am and she's also having a baby girl.  David introduced me in front of her class and she said, "I hear we have a lot in common!" and one of the girls shouted, "You're both skinny!" which was hilarious and also weird because we both have preggo bellies.

My favorite part of the tour was the library because the librarians had set up a display they called the "Quack Pack."  They had blown up a photograph of David, pasted it on foam board and cut it out to look sort of three dimensional so his hand looked like it was holding the big sign that said, "Quack Pack."  It stands on the middle of a table and David puts out the library books that he recommends.  He said that he has to refill his recommendations almost on a daily basis because evidently the kids want to read whatever Mr. Duckworth recommends.  He told me in all seriousness that he is still waiting for the Puggle book to come back into the library so that he can put that out with his recommendations.  That afternoon he had added a book on octopus (it did not mention eating them).

He also mentioned that the students are easily persuaded by the way he presents the lunch menu--when he reads what the options are, he'll choose one menu item and say, "Oooh, my favorite!  Popcorn chicken!" or he'll choose a particular teacher and say, "And option three is Mrs. Dutton's favorite sandwich:  grilled cheese!"  Inevitably, whatever item he plays up on the announcement has the longest line in the cafeteria the next day.

His influence over young minds might be a little frightening.

The kids are pretty excited about Baby Duck, which I think is really cute.  The day that David left work early to come to my ultrasound, the principal announced that Mr. Duckworth and his wife were at the doctor to find out if they were having a boy or girl.  She told them to look at Mr. Duckworth's shirt the next day because whatever color he was wearing would indicate if it was a boy or a girl.  So when David showed up wearing pink, the girls were high-fiving him and saying "Yay!  It's a girl!" and a group of fourth-grade girls even made up a rhyming cheer about the baby girl that they performed in the office.

I guess it is those moments that help balance the parent phone calls and school bus problems that he has to deal with on a regular basis.  At the very least, the job keeps David on his toes because he never knows quite what to expect next.

There is one little first-grade girl at his school who has had a difficult family situation and so anytime she wants to talk to the counselor or the principals about her family, her teachers send her directly to the office.  The day that David wore his pink shirt, she was out at recess and told the teacher that she needed to speak to Mr. Duckworth about her mom.  So one of the recess supervisors escorted her directly to the office.

David was at the front of the office introducing himself to a couple of new parents who had just moved into the district, and there were a few regular volunteer parents there, as well as the counselor and secretaries.

The recess teacher quietly explained that this little girl needed to talk to Mr. Duckworth about her mom, so David stepped toward the door to escort her back to his office so she could talk to him privately.

Instead, she bounded up to him and blurted out, in front of everyone, "Mr. Duckworth!  I want you to come to my house and make a baby sister with my mom!"

David said that his face must have turned bright red.

The secretaries were laughing so hard that they had to turn they faces away.  The new parents were also cracking up, and the recess teacher's mouth was hanging open because she had no idea that was what this little girl was going to say.

Fortunately, David managed a pretty quick recovery and said something like, "Well, my wife and I are already having a baby girl.  So maybe when we have our baby, I can bring in pictures to show you.  Would you like that?"

That seemed to satisfy her.  Because evidently looking at pictures of our baby is equivalent to the exciting idea of David making a baby with her mom.

Never a dull moment at the elementary level.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Birth Plan

Shortly after I found out I was pregnant, David and I watched a documentary called The Business of Being Born.

Like most documentaries, it has a pretty clear agenda.  It advocates home birthing, midwives, and non-medicated childbirth.  It cites statistics of births in other countries compared to the United States and points out that the U.S. is basically leading the industrialized world in its c-section rate (25%-33% of all births in the U.S. are c-sections--it's closer to 7-10% in Europe).  The documentary explains the pressures put on doctors who face malpractice suits, and the desirability of a scheduled, predictable surgery that gets the doctor home in time for dinner with relatively little risk for mom and baby.  And then it explores those risks.  After all, a c-section is major surgery.

It comes down decidedly on the side of "natural," non-surgical, non-interventionist labor and delivery.  However, it also acknowledges that this isn't always possible for everyone (at the end, the director of the film ends up having to have an emergency c-section).  All in all, it was a thought-provoking documentary.

I admit I'm apprehensive about giving birth.  After all, I've never been much of one for putting myself under unnecessary strain.  Have a headache?  Pop an Advil.  Feeling tired?  Take a nap. Tummy upset?  Call David to fetch a ginger ale.  Do something crazy like run a marathon?  No thanks. 

I don't "power through" pain.  I whine and slump in defeat.  When I'm sick or hurting, I want to be babied, spoiled, waited on hand and foot. 

But the more I've thought about this documentary, the more I keep going back to the idea that being pregnant isn't an illness.  It's a totally natural, normal process that my body is prepared to handle.  It may not be entirely pleasant, and labor might actually hurt quite a lot (I've heard it compared to the lower half of your bottom trying to rip itself away from the top half), but it is not a medical problem that requires fixing.  It's just a biological process.

So, along with all of my reading about baby bargains, recommended car seats, crib recalls, best baby bottles, diapering options, parenting styles, and techniques to get babies to sleep through the night, I also started reading a lot about labor and delivery.

And believe me, there is a lot of stuff out there.  In the library, in the bookstore, and on the internet.

My doctor remarked the other day (after I quizzed him about my RH factor, my upcoming glucose test, and cord blood donation) that I was very well organized.  I told him that I completed my PhD in February, so this was my next big project!  He laughed and said maybe I could earn another PhD in pregnancy by the time I was finished.

I definitely haven't read as much about pregnancy as I have about Victorian novels (after all, my dissertation took years, and I only have nine months here), but it's still a pretty sizable amount of information that I am sorting through.  I'm lucky that I read fast.  And, really, this is what I'm trained to do--I read a variety of conflicting opinions, I sort through the reliable information, I return to primary sources (in this case, statistics), and I carefully arrive at my own analysis, taking all of the criticism and literature into account.  I spent all those years in grad school doing this--why would I stop now?

So I'm giving all of this a lot of thought, especially when I consider what kind of birth I would ideally like to have.  I know that these things cannot be entirely planned--I've seen this with a friend of mine who wanted to avoid being induced and avoid an epidural, but ended up having to be induced a few days after her due date because her blood pressure was high.  Once she was giving drugs that cause contractions, they became so unbearable that her hopes of going without an epidural went out the window.  Ultimately, she had a healthy baby and she was fine also, which of course is most important.  So I recognize that there will be factors that are entirely out of my control.

Still, I want to be as fully informed as possible.  I want to have a clear plan and vision.  My doctor has been so great about answering my questions and dealing with my minor neuroses that I feel incredibly lucky, but at the same time, I am not really worried about trying to be a model patient.  I mean, I'm not going to be a jerk, but I'm doing lots of research so that I can make informed decisions.  This means that I will definitely be a total pain in the ass if I think that it's the best thing for me and the baby.  I'm not worried about whether the hospital staff thinks I'm difficult and I'm not afraid to ask my doctor to clarify exactly why he is making certain decisions.  My body might be doing things it has never done before, but my brain still works just fine.

So as I filter through the information about episiotomies, epidurals, optional c-sections, unplanned c-sections, alternative pain relief, drugs that help speed up labor, I am doing a lot of thinking about what will be best for me and my baby.  I have to say that I am amazed by the way women who have non-medicated births practically become evangelicals for that birth plan--nobody says it doesn't hurt, but every single one of them says it was completely amazing.  Perhaps most interestingly, those who have had previous births with epidurals almost always say that the non-medicated birth was easier in labor and recovery.

At the same time, I have a close friend who asked to be induced, asked for an epidural and planned to have an episiotomy, and she was completely satisfied and perfectly happy with her labor experience.  Another friend felt sad about having to have an unplanned c-section with her first child and was determined to (and did) have a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) with her second baby.  Then I have a friend who was thrilled that her doctor let her schedule c-sections for both her babies and she felt the recovery from that surgery was no problem.  Another friend had a terrible experience with an epidural, ended up with excruciating headaches after the baby was born, and wishes she had had someone there to tell her she could do it without the pain meds.  But I also know other know women who were sure they wanted to avoid an epidural initially, but in the end were so glad they got them and felt it helped them enjoy the birth experience more.

Ultimately, I can only conclude from these stories that because everyone's experience is so completely individual, the anecdotal evidence is pretty unconvincing.  So I find myself returning to books that summarize and cite medical studies and journal articles about what practices are typically best for mother and baby.  What this helps me keep in mind is that no matter what I decide (and no matter how things actually shake out for Baby Duck and me), it will not be a decision that I would insist is best for anyone else.  I'm not claiming that all this research will lead me to the right answer--I just want to find an answer that works for me. 

In the end, even knowing that things may not go as I plan, I want to make sure that I am doing what I can to make the decision that is best for us, even if it isn't the easiest decision.

Something tells me that this will become a familiar refrain for parenthood.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Big Reveal: Daisy or Donald?

We had a little "gender party" for Baby Duck over the weekend.

[Side Note:  I do realize that the baby's sex is something he or she is born with, while gender is a socially prescribed set of parameters which an individual may or may not identify with, no matter what their biology.  However, we called this "Baby Duck's Gender Party" because there was something weird about inviting friends over for "Baby Duck's Sex Party."]

After our ultrasound, we left the doctor's office clutching our sealed envelope of photos and we asked the ladies at the reception desk to help us out.  I had called and arranged to order a "gender surprise cake" from a local bakery.  The cake would be white with neutral buttercream frosting on the outside, and the bakery would layer the inside of the cake with tinted frosting, either pink or blue.  The only catch was that the bakery owner was not there on Friday, so she wanted me to give her a call by 5:30pm on Thursday.  Since we didn't want to open the envelope until dinner, we asked the receptionist to call the bakery for us and tell them pink or blue and they were happy to do that for us.

We got home around 3pm and I tried to talk David into forgetting about waiting until dinner and opening our envelope right away.  He refused.

Finally, we went to dinner.  We ordered, waited impatiently for our waters, and as soon as the server set them down and stepped away, I busted out the envelope.

David had said from the moment that I was pregnant that he wanted to find out ahead of time what we were having.  And I had to agree.  I'm not one who loves surprises--I would much rather look forward to an event than I would be caught off guard by a surprise party.  Really I think the only good surprises are flowers, presents, and cash, which is not very fun of me, I realize.  But I can't help it.  I enjoy the anticipation and I like to be prepared.

So anyway.  We were seated at a nice table right near the water.  The outdoor section of the restaurant wasn't crowded because it looked like a storm was coming up.  So we scooted our chairs together, enjoyed the cool breeze coming over the water, and ripped open the envelope. 

It's hard to describe exactly how I felt when we saw the ultrasound pictures.  I was already so happy and excited just because we got to see the baby on the ultrasound that finding out the gender just felt like an extra bonus rather than the highlight of the day.  Still, it made the baby feel so real and it was exciting to be able to imagine the future in a little more detail.

Baby Duck's photo shoot!

My parents were coming up on Friday, and my mom told me that they expected some news when they arrived--they were not going to wait for the gender party Saturday night!  So Friday I had to go shopping to buy a gendered outfit (such a chore!) so that I could wrap it up and have my parents open it when they arrived.  This was good planning because it allowed my mom and me to shop with a purpose when we hit some consignment stores on Saturday.

And finally it was time for the Daisy or Donald party.  I had just invited a few of my girlfriends from college who live in town or happened to be in town for the weekend, and my parents of course.  I asked everyone to wear pink or blue depending on their guesses (some people wore one color but changed their bets at the last minute).  I took everyone's bets and the party guests were split 50/50 pink and blue.  (Losers have diaper duty!)

Then we all gathered 'round the cake.

 And then David and I cut it.  It was sort of a flashback to our wedding day, which was funny.

And as soon as the knife came up with frosting on it, all of the people who had guessed correctly (and everyone who had guessed incorrectly) let out a big cheer!

In case you're not sure about the accuracy of color on your monitor, that frosting is PINK!

 She's a Daisy!

Baby Duck is Baby Girl Duck!

(As I've said from the very beginning.  It's nice to be right.)

When we opened the envelope out at dinner on Thursday, I gasped and then I shouted, "Look!  Look!  I knew it!  She's a girl!"  And David laughed and said, "Well, I work with women, and now I live with women!"

Girl power all the way at the Duckworth house!

It was so much fun to celebrate with our friends and to see how happy they were for us as we start to realize that we are seriously halfway there on this parenting adventure thing.  It was also nice to celebrate with one of the cutest little girls I know, who will be Baby Duck's very first girl friend!

Lilly gives my mom a trial run on the g-ma thing.
In fact, there were so many babies-on-the-way at the party that it was obvious Baby Duck has a whole crew of instant friends:
Go Team Pink!  That's FOUR baby bumps and Lilly's mom.  And Steph (far left) is expecting twins!

And David and I are both so freaking happy.  It's ridiculous and gaggy how excited we are.  I feel so incredibly lucky to have a healthy baby on the way who will come into the world already surrounded by people to love and people who love her.

And she will also already have an adorable wardrobe, so she's got that going for her, too.

Tiny baby booties crocheted by Baby Duck's great-great-great-grandmother.

She's a lucky Duck.

* I wanted to add that I have had several people mention to me via e-mail or in person that they are reading this blog, so I wanted to let you know that I imagine some day I will have these Baby Duck entries printed and bound to make a baby book for her.  Your comments will be included, so don't be shy!  I love hearing from my fellow-bloggers (wahoo for the PhD Mommies!) and I'd love to hear from you freaks who know me in real life too.  Don't be shy! * 

Friday, September 3, 2010

20 Weeks: Ultrasound!

Today was the 20 week ultrasound.

This was a big one for us--we were going to find out the sex so we wanted to make sure that Baby Duck would show his or her boy bits or girl bits today.  But we also wanted to make sure that all of the measurements were on target.

Back in the first trimester, we opted not to do the prenatal tests that were available for the baby at that time.  Since I was not in any particular high-risk group, we felt that the tests probably weren't necessary, and the last thing I wanted was needless worry.  The tests are not exactly diagnostic--they don't tell you if something is wrong, they just tell you what your chances are that something could be wrong, which for my personality seemed like a recipe for disaster, or at least sleepless nights.  Plus I wasn't keen on the idea of an amniocentesis, which is the follow-up test if the initial screenings look like something could be wrong.  The amniocentesis involves the insertion of a needle into the abdomen--so you know I'm avoiding that if at all possible!

So we put off the tests and we waited until today's ultrasound.  This afternoon, our prayers were answered with a huge sigh of relief.  Baby Duck is measuring right on target for everything!  On a scale from 1-100 in terms of size, Baby Duck is at 48.9, which means that he or she is just where s/he needs to be in terms of growth.  Heart rate was well within the healthy range at 158 beats per minute.  Weight is 13 ounces and the sweet little foot we saw on the ultrasound today is just 3 1/2 centimeters long!

I am continuing to gain a pound for every week of pregnancy, right on schedule.  Which means, yes, I have gained twenty freaking pounds.  I'm hoping this levels off somewhere, because I'd really like to gain closer to 35 than 40 pounds, but my doctor evidently thinks 40 pounds of weight gain is just fine for my body type.  

Of course, my doctor is not dreaming of the day he'll fit back into his favorite pair of True Religions, is he?

We did ask the ultrasound tech to determine the sex of the baby BUT to wait to tell us.  She wrote it on the pictures and printed them out for us, then sealed them in an envelope and we will open it tonight when we go out to dinner.

We've decided to have dinner at the Boat House in Forest Park.  It's a beautiful night for sitting outside on the water and if there's a long wait, we can rent a paddle boat or canoe and float around the Grand Basin while we wait on our table.  The menu is basic American food (which sounds good to me since I now have an aversion to garlic and peppers, pretty much eliminating our standard Italian, Mexican, and Turkish/Mediterranean favorites).  Plus the service at the Boat House is never very good, which should give us plenty of time to open the envelope and dream about Baby Duck starting Little League or going to the American Girls shop and restaurant in Chicago.

Our ultrasound tech said it was a good thing that she got the money-shot of Baby Duck early in the ultrasound because after a while, the bebe became totally stubborn and uncooperative.  We didn't get to see the little face at all (a quick glimpse of the profile and then Baby Duck turned away from the camera completely).  Baby Duck refused to roll back over, even though the tech kept having me flip from one side to another and forcefully jiggled and poked my tummy with the wand.

We got a good shot of one little foot--as it kicked me in the side, protesting the poking treatment!  It was definitely the strongest kick I've felt so far, and pretty impressive considering the little bugger weighs less than a pound!

We also saw the tiny, sweet little hand as it reached up and played with its ear which was so adorable that it made my eyes fill up with tears.  It was just amazing.  David used to rub his ear when he was going to sleep and there are pictures of him curled up with his "hane" (blanky), his little hand still up by his ear.

Then Baby Duck proceeded to head butt me in the bladder for the remainder of the ultrasound until the tech finally gave up and said we'd have to schedule another one to get the measurements of the parts (heart, chest, and face) that Baby Duck refused to show us.

At least the bladder head butt totally explained why I peed before grabbing my purse and keys, then peed one more time before walking out the door, then peed again when I got to the doctor's office about 25 minutes later and had to pee again before we left.  (Bladder update:  Baby Duck seems to have shifted positions now--how convenient!--because I recently finished a frozen lemonade and haven't had to pee yet.)

I'm so giddy with excitement about seeing the baby (it's real!  it's alive!  it's kicking!) and having the doctor reassure me that all the measurements were normal and on-target, that honestly finding out the gender is just the icing on the cake.

It irks me that people don't believe me when I say that I don't care what it is and they really don't believe me when I say that David doesn't care either.  Seriously--people will roll their eyes and say that he is hedging.  Are you freaking kidding me?

Not only does the idea that a man would automatically have a preference for a son get my feminist sensibilities all ruffled up (and yes, that is always the assumption), it also personally offends me.  I mean, really?  Are you saying that my own father was disappointed when I was born?  Hard to believe since my dad is always saying that he likes me so much more than my brother, who was an afterthought anyway.  Hahaha just kidding, Brandon.  About Dad saying that, I mean.  We both know he thinks it.

The truth is that, yes, I would love to shop for a little girl and to read to her the same books that I loved when I was little, and I love the idea of eventually having a relationship with her like I have with my mom now.  I like French braids and ponytails and dress up clothes, and I'm even coming around to the idea of softball since I saw some really cute uniforms that included pink and black polka-dotted knee socks with matching hair bows.

But also?  I can't stop smiling when I imagine a little boy like David, with a mop-top haircut, building forts out of cardboard boxes and tossing a baseball up to the roof of the garage to practice catching it over and over again.  I also like to imagine a little boy like my brother, obsessed with dinosaurs and Legos.

I also realize that no matter how much we think that Baby Duck will be just like David or just like me, he or she will have a personality all his or her own (and, clearly, a stubborn streak--which just goes to show that there is definitely Taylor blood in those veins!).

Boy or girl doesn't matter:  Baby Duck is going to be awesome.

Ultimately, as much fun as it is to imagine what Baby Duck's little personality will be like, this ultrasound made me realize more than anything how much I am looking forward to meeting this baby and how excited I am for Baby Duck to become a part of our family!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Eating for Two

Long before the latest salmonella issue with eggs, I've been freaked out about food.  My qualms about eating meat began in college with an episode of The X-Files that took place in a chicken factory in Arkansas (here's a synopsis:  ground-up beaks and feet being fed to chickens trapped in tiny, airless cages.  gag gag gag).  It put me off meat for good.  I still eat fish, but I cringe at the mercury content and all of the other (potentially hazardous?) crap that the fish must contain (after all, every lake and ocean is polluted with trash, oil, gasoline, and sunscreen).  Growing our own veggies this summer was definitely a step in the right direction for us, and I supplement our garden with trips to the farmer's market or the organic section at Trader Joe's or Schnucks.

Once we decided that a Baby Duck was in our imminent future, I started paying even more attention to what I was eating.  If I buy food that comes in boxes, I read the sides and try to make sure that I can at least pronounce the vast majority of the ingredients.  I generally try to avoid Red No. 40 and Yellow No. 5.  I bypass high-fructose corn syrup and loads of artificial ingredients.  I buy Joe-Joes instead of Oreos.  I've started buying more ingredients instead of pre-made stuff.  I spend more money on organic and local produce and save money by not going out to dinner very often.  And, thanks to my cousin Amanda, we grate our own cheese.

Of course, there are always exceptions.  Like the bag of peanut M&Ms David brought me a couple of days ago (Yellow No. 5 and Red No. 40 were both delicious, thank you very much).  Lately I've been craving Mesquite BBQ kettle cooked potato chips (hello artificial flavors!).  And I definitely short-cutted with a cake mix when I was whipping up a German Chocolate Upside Down Cake for David's birthday.

So generally, I try to follow the 80/20 rule--eat well 80% of the time and don't worry too much about cutting corners the other 20%.

One of the first things I asked my doctor was whether being vegetarian would be an issue while I was pregnant.  I started out being a vegetarian because I was grossed out by the meat industry.  Now I would say I am a vegetarian for gross-out reasons, ethical reasons, health reasons, and food allergy reasons (beef and pork make me break out in hives).  I'll save you the lecture, but feel free to check out The Omnivore's Dilemma and/or Fast Food Nation and/or the movie Food, Inc. for a vast array of good reasons to think more carefully about what you're eating and how you get it.  I'm amazed at how little most people I know seem to care about these issues, or how easily they put them out of their minds when they hit a drive-through.  But since I try not to alienate my friends (and family), I keep my opinions to myself.

David still eats meat--and plenty of it--but he decided to buy a quarter of a free-range cow from a farmer near his dad's house and stock the deep freeze with grass-fed beef.  He also does a good job of not eating meat at every meal--we'll both have a veggie pasta dish for dinner, or tomato/mozzarella sandwiches for lunch.

David's family has a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea of anyone being vegetarian on purpose.  It's a good thing I have a food allergy, or they would think I'm a nut case.  Every meal they eat revolves around meat as a main course.  Vegetables are the afterthought and a great majority of the foods they eat are yellow (potatoes, corn, bread).  I know that they feel very sorry for me because I can't eat steak or hamburger.  And I let them feel this way because it is much easier than trying to explain that I have absolutely no desire to eat a steak or a hamburger.  I miss the idea of a greasy cheeseburger once in while, but regardless of my food allergy, I don't want to chow down on dead animal flesh.  It just does not appeal to me.

So I was relieved when my doctor said that being vegetarian wasn't a problem as long as I ate a balanced diet and took a prenatal vitamin.  I do eat eggs (preferably from the farmer's market) and I will occasionally eat fish.  Since I've been pregnant, I've made an effort to eat fish more often than I normally would.  Good for baby brain development!

When I signed up for our childbirth classes, though, my instructor sent me a list of recommendations and one of them was that pregnant women should get 70-80 grams of protein in their diet per day.  She included a list of common foods and their protein content (1 Egg:  6 grams.  Cheese:  6 grams.  Potato chips: 1 gram).

Needless to say, Baby Duck was not getting that much protein.  I was hitting somewhere around 40-50 grams a day, with most of my protein coming from dairy products, beans, and leafy greens.

So David suggested that I start drinking daily protein shakes.  I was skeptical about gagging down a protein shake everyday, but we bought some protein powder and now he makes me a fruit smoothie every single morning with 23 grams of protein in it (isn't he the sweetest?).  I eat Mojo granola bars for a snack (10 grams of protein) and with this regiment, and an extra effort to eat more yogurt and more spinach, I'm hitting or getting close to the recommended level of protein almost every day.

Further good news is that swallowing the prenatal vitamin no longer makes me vomit in my mouth the way it did during my first trimester!  So overall I think Baby Duck is getting the nutrients that he or she needs.

One of my friends asked me recently whether Baby Duck will be a vegetarian.  I don't think so.  I'm not going to enforce vegetarianism as a lifestyle that Baby Duck has to follow.  After all, I don't insist that David become a vegetarian.  But I do think that I will be very particular about the kind of meat that Baby Duck eats.  I won't be buying meat in baby food jars, but I am sure that when he/she is old enough, we will offer Baby Duck some of whatever David is having.  I just hope that I can be relaxed enough to follow the 80/20 rule about that kind of thing, too.

After all, one greasy hamburger never killed anybody.

Except a cow.