Friday, March 30, 2007

Tis the season

So as much as my darling Susanne loves me, here is the true picture of what she's been reaching for late at night in bed.

Yes, she's "somehow" acquired a nasty headcold. You see I was MISERABLE all last week, and just when I finally started to feel better, she started getting the sniffles. The sniffles are now the SNIFFLES! I do carry a certain amount of guilt over this.

We've been running the humidifier at night which has made our room into a veritable steamy jungle (we do have many plants) and we're hoping she can recover without having to take any medications.

In our developing birth plan, one of my jobs is to NOT suggest pain medications (she can ask for them at any time, but I'm not to encourage it.) I'm not so sure I'll be any good at this though based on how many times I've asked her if she wants cold medication (the safest kinds.)

Get better soon honey. I hate to see you so miserable. Love, Monica

P.S. Just to give you an idea of the magnitude of our colds, last week while walking near a gaggle of tourists in an underground Metro tunnel, I blew my nose and a startled child who couldn't see me behind her asked "mommy, is that an elephant?"

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Once in a Blue Moon

"Once in a blue moon" means very rarely, because it’s unusual that a full moon will occur twice in one calendar month. So whenever two full moons do occur in the same month you call the second one a "blue moon". Turns out that this May we'll have two full moons—one on May 2nd and the second on May 31st.

Our little one is due to make his or her entrance into the world on or around June 11th. I think it would be really cool if the baby could speed things up and come along on May 31st. Wow, a blue moon baby. Seems very “when the moon is in the 7th house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars” don’t you think? Not sure I'd like the initials our kid would have if we called him Blue Moon though. BM. Hmmm....

Susanne probably likes this idea better than my other brilliant idea though, which is to have the baby wait until July 7th to make an appearance. 07/07/07. Now that’s a cool birthday huh? We’d have to name the baby Septima or Septimo though right? ;-) -Monica

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Now that's a word you don't hear very often. Formation. When I was right out of college I got a job teaching at a wonderful Catholic high school in MN. The nuns often spoke of the formation that the girls underwent as they went through their 4 years of high school. During this time so many things happened in their lives and in their development--mentally, physically and spiritually. I was only 21 when I started teaching so my 9th graders were only 7 years younger than me which is pretty funny in retrospect. I didn't know it at the time, but I would only teach there 4 years before leaving to join the Peace Corps. So in some respects I went through a formation too.

My "kids" are now in their late 30s. I've kept in good touch with many of them. They are doctors and lawyers and television producers and everything in between. They have wonderful children who I get to see when I go "home" to see my family in MN. And I'm thinking about them today because I keep thinking about the formation I've been undergoing for the past many months. I feel like it's not just our baby gestating and growing in Susanne's many respects I feel like I'm changing too. I can't explain it except to say that it's all good. Formation doesn't have to be a painful tug or twist. Sometimes it's just the gentlest of notions. That's all for now. I've got to think a bit more about this. -Monica

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Surfing SUH

So last night the baby wasn't just kicking. He/she was dancing with broad sweeping motions--sort of like the waves of the ocean. I, of course, found it fascinating.

Susanne? Fascinated isn't quite the word she'd probably use to describe it--especially when she'd finally found an oh so comfortable position. We are not complaining mind you.

Tonight we go to our Birthworks class again. Should be a very interesting discussion considering that half us us have to find another place to have our babies since our birthing center is closing. What are the odds of a place being open for 25 years but suddenly closing with little notice 11 days before we are due? See, this is why I never bet on anything ;-) Have a great day everyone. Today is 70s and sunny in DC and I can't wait to finish up and get outside. -Monica

Monday, March 26, 2007

Introducing Johanna Nicole

Hi everyone. No pictures yet of our newest family member, but last night around 1:15 my niece Tara gave birth to her third child--little Jojo. She was 7 lbs 4 oz, and 20 inches long. Her big sister 6 year old Cassie tells me she has dark hair and some red spots on her face cuz she got "pushed out". Yup. That sounds about right. We are delighted that all came out well and Johanna appears to be healthy and strong.

Back at the home front, Susanne and I went in for her 28 week check up this morning and she had to do the glucose challenge test. We'll hear in a day or two if the blood tests show any gestational diabetes or anemia but we are hoping for the best. The baby's heart was beating away at 130 bpm--quite within the normal range but on the low side of it which made our midwife remark that folk lore has it that boys usually have the lower heatrates. We'll see. We are feeling more and more like it's a girl but we figure we have a 50-50 chance of being right whatever we guess ;-)

Speaking of 50-50 chances...I took a prep class all last week on Project Management and on Friday took a 200 question test which through the grace of God I passed and I am now a Project Management Professional or PMP. The best part is I never have to take the test again. I'm relieved it's over and glad that I passed the test.

Since I wasn't keeping up with my e-mail all week it wasn't until after the test on Friday that I noticed that we'd gotten several e-mails from friends about the fact that our Birthing Center is now going to close before we deliver. What a bummer. High malpractice insurance costs and the fact that they don't get reimbursed well by insurance costs led to the decision. We are now exploring other options, but are not going to get too stressed out by this. We can continue our pre-natal care there for now. Life just tosses you lemons sometime so you have to make lemon chicken I guess.

That's all for now. Hope all are well and that wherever you are, spring is in the air. -Monica

Friday, March 16, 2007

Bring it on! (The weekend that is)

Ah yes. Friday. What a wonderful word it is no? I guess that it wouldn’t make a very good baby name, but none the less, it makes me happy. This weekend Su and I have lots going on—buying a gift for a friend who is getting married soon, painting some furniture, getting more things for the nursery and also preparing for Su’s aunt and uncle from Europe to arrive. They’ll stay for a week and they are the best kind of visitors. They already know what they want to see, they can independently find their way to those things, and they are just overall very fun.

One wonderful thing they are doing is bringing the baptismal gown that all of the children on Susanne’s mom’s side have been baptized in for generations. It will be wonderful to see our child carry on, and enter into, that beautiful family tradition.

Having family visit won’t keep me from blogging much next week, but the week-long class and Project Management test I’ll be taking next week most likely will. So…if you don’t hear from us til next weekend, don’t worry. All is well. Hasta la vista! -Monica

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Deep (but quick) thought...

Doh! I’ve got to get going and I forgot to blog today. Will anyone miss us?

What I’m trying to say is, “if a blog stagnates in cyberspace and no one is there to read it, does it really stagnate?”

Isn’t “stagnate” a great word? Although I must admit my favorite word is “murmur”.

Oh, look at the time. Until tomorrow. -Monica

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Let's review...

1. Eat well

2. Stay hydrated

3. Plan your work, then work your plan

4. Stretch properly

5. Be aware of your breathing

6. Keep track of everything

7. Relax

8. Pace yourself

9. Remember what you learned

10. Envision the glorious finish!

Wow, this sounds so much like everything I did to prepare to run my one and only marathon in 2001.

But it also sounds like everything we are learning in our birthing class.

Huh...maybe all we really need to know we learned in kindergarten! -Monica

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Drumroll please...

We present, at the ripe old age of 27 weeks of gestation, our son or daughter who is shown here at yesterday's sonogram---yawning. We'd gone back for this sonogram because last time the baby was in a transverse postition making it hard for them to see some views of the heart, and we were thrilled to learn yesterday that all the heart views they saw this time were just fine.

In addition to seeing the heart beating away at 145 bpm, we were excited to see our little June Bug yawning and yapping away (the technician even drew a little arrow where you can see the baby's open mouth. Susanne wondered aloud how our little one could seemingly have my talkative genes without any direct genetic connection ;-) Just lucky I guess!!!

We had a much better technician this time and explained to her how disappointed we'd felt with our previous experience and true to her word she told us what we were seeing at all times.

On the home front we are FINALLY done with our room renovations with the last bits of shoe molding going in on Sunday. We set up the crib and darn if that little room isn't starting to look like a nursery. Fantastic. Maybe we'll post a photo or two later. But nothing can beat the photo on this post. Have a great day everyone! -Monica (and Susanne)

Friday, March 09, 2007

A new favorite sport!

So last night we tried a new idea we’d just read about. You put a piece of tissue paper on the pregnant woman’s belly and you can really detect every little movement. It was fascinating. When our cats sit on the window sill all day watching the birds we call it “television for cats”. When I lay on the bed watching a tissue paper on Su’s belly for an hour we call it “better than television!”

It was really fun! Then my mom called from Minnesota and I told her all about it. She had 7 babies so certainly experienced her share of kicking. When I told her about this fun new sport she perked up right away and said she had fond memories of our kicks too—she’d put her ashtray on her belly and watch it pop around. Ugh…

In her defense, they didn’t know then that smoking was harmful. I wonder if years from now people will marvel at the things we didn’t know. Like 20 years from now our kid saying "Moommm, I can’t believe you used to clean your ears out with Q-Tips when you were pregnant with me!” You never know ;-)

Anyway, to close today I want to include a link to a fun little spoof video called Greaser Babies. (As in "is the word, is the word..." Set in a day care center. My favorite is “You’re the Baby I Want!” Enjoy! –Monica

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Play Ball!

In spite of our chilly weather here in DC my thoughts have turned to baseball! I’m not a rabid fan or anything, but Susanne and I have enjoyed going to about 10 Washington Nationals games a year with friends, and look forward to bringing our baby with us when we attend games this summer.

Baseball holds a special place in my heart. As a kid growing up in MN I was a Twins fan. Tony Oliva, Cesar Tovar, Harmon Killebrew…I loved them all. I remember watching games on TV with my sister Alice, and once every summer our little park and recreation center would bring a busload of kids to Met Stadium. You’d better believe we were on that bus.

A perfectly groomed ball field is a splendor to behold I think. What’s the best harbinger of springtime? The crack of a bat I say. Apparently this love of baseball skipped a generation with my parents because they weren’t very interested in it, but both our maternal and paternal grandmothers (Dodgers and Red Sox fans respectively) used to follow the game too, keeping track on scorecards while hunched over their little radios.

The reason I started thinking about baseball is that the book I’m reading now had a little paragraph about a character feeling successful and how it felt like slamming a home run and rounding the bases in a victory trot—thousands of eyeballs basking you with glory. I played fastpitch softball through high school and college, but there was no leisurely trotting. You see there were no fences. I could tag the ball but then I had to run like a mad woman to stretch it into a homerun, usually with a close play at the plate. And I wonder why I’m anxious a lot ;-) Yes, I definitely think trotting while basking is a far better way to do it.

Baseball is a great analogy for life. Sometimes you nail the pitch and, crap, it is right at someone. You’re out. Other times you hit this embarrassing blooper and it drops for a hit. Go figure. But no one every tries to hit bloopers. You’re always trying to connect, and I think that’s true about life. In Spanish you call an outfielder a “gardener” (jardinero) cuz all you do is stand out there in the grass. So there is a relaxation element as well.

And baseball is the only major sport without a clock. Nothing artificial impacting the outcome. And whether you’re on offense or defense you’re always thinking—strategizing. You get to use physical strength and grace together with strategy and courage.

I hope that love of baseball doesn’t skip a generation with our baby. Oh…I know what song I’m going to sing to Su’s adorable belly tonight! -Monica

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Read(y) or not

Our Birthworks class was very fun last night. We met 10 other people who are all expecting babies soon too. The instructor did a great job of putting us through a process to get to the heart of what some of our overall fears and thoughts are about birth and delivery.

Su and I have both read and discussed some things but we definitely learned some new and interesting things last night and look forward to the next sessions. The other folks in the class seem really nice and traditionally the group meets one last time after the final baby is born so all the parents and kids can celebrate. What a cool idea huh?

One of the things we all first individually wrote down and then debriefed were those things that relax us. Su and I both had reading listed near the very top and not surprisingly, I included on my list listening to music while Su listed listening to NPR. Oh horrors if she gives birth on a Sunday since all we get is "Stained Glass Blue Grass" which neither of us really like. I promised her I’d download some podcasts of “This American Life” we’ve not heard before just in case ;-)

Anyway, on the way home we talked about reading. We are both usually in the middle of some sort of novel or mystery and if we are smart, when one finishes a book the other one reads it next so we can quickly return it to the library or put it in the box to donate. This works pretty well except for like this weekend when we were chatting at dinner and I said something like “I don’t really like the vigilante justice sort of books—like the one where the woman CIA director poisoned the…”

“STOP!” I think I saw her eyes say this before the word came out. It turns out that this was the very book she was in the midst of and hadn’t quite gotten to the poisoning part yet. Ooops!

Anyway, I shared with Susanne that my favorite place to be in a book is in the middle of it. That’s when I feel most engaged. I don’t like starting a book because I want to be hooked right away, and that doesn’t always happen. And I don’t like when I’m nearing the end of a book because I sort of feel like I’m mourning the fact that it will be over soon. I wonder if this is analogous to anything else in my life?

Something about taking this class is making us feel more and more like our baby is almost here. I just read on the Baby Center e-mail we get that the baby is about 2 lbs now and that it should more than triple its weight in the next 3 months. Pretty amazing. And a two pound baby of course means that our baby now weighs the equivalent of 8 Quarter Pounders with Cheese!

Huh, look at that. Lunch time already. And I’ve got myself a little “lunch date” with David Baldacci. Until next time everyone. -Monica

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Life is But a Song...

So every day Susanne drops me off downtown and I walk about a quarter mile to my job cutting through Lafayette Park in DC. This is what I see every day, and every day I think about that time that will come when the current administration will say goodbye. (To which I’ll silently wish them good riddance.)

Well this afternoon I was invited to a luncheon for EMILY’s List where I got to hear speeches by several women senators including Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, Clare McCaskill from Missouri, Hillary Rodham Clinton from New York and the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. They were all very good and I found myself wondering if people develop good speaking skills when they get involved in politics or if it's the other way around. Speaker Pelosi cracked everyone up when she said the question she gets asked most is what is it like being Speaker of the House.

“What’s it like being Speaker of the House? It’s FANTASTIC being Speaker of the House!” she quipped.

I loved it. I’ve never aspired to political office, and I’m not even sure yet who I’ll support for President in 2008, but in that room of over 1000 women this afternoon I felt really proud. Like if life were a musical everyone would have been singing a little of Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman Hear Me Roar” and “Free to Be You and Me”.

I'm glad I got the chance to go and I think I'll hum those songs when I walk down Pennsylvania Ave. tomorrow! -Monica

Monday, March 05, 2007


Well operation “Celebrate Susanne’s Birthday in Style” was extremely successful. We relaxed, played Scrabble, dozed, read books, were surprised by a Fedex delivery of birthday goodies (you are the best M&K!), rested, cooked a delicious meal, slept some more, watched blue jays, cardinals and red-headed woodpeckers play, went to a rustic local restaurant, curled up in front of a roaring fire and were reminded again of why we fell in love with each other (all of these things in no particular order.)

We ended the weekend with a once in a lifetime treat of dinner at the Inn at Little Washington. If any of you have ever heard of it, you’ll understand why it’s a once in a lifetime treat. I personally had never heard of taking out a mortgage to pay for a dinner for two. (Just kidding—but barely.) It was truly very decadent, and we had a wonderful time. Happy Birthday sweetheart!

Now we are back to the real world and tomorrow will take our first childbirth class. It's a program called Birthworks and we are looking forward to it. The instructor is a lesbian woman who gave birth at the same birth center that we will and we think that bodes well for an affirming experience. We'll also enjoy meeting the others in the class who will be due around the same time we will. Talk about shared experiences eh? Which reminds me...

Special congratutions to Maverick-Mama whose link is on our side bar. Her son was born yesterday and we are very happy for both mom and her new son.

We got a comment from MermaidGrrrl about the "belly rubbing" phenomenon I posted about the other day. We totally agree. Some people just can't seem to help themselves--they just love the feel of new life. To life! -Monica

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Another Pregnancy Milestone!

So Susanne had her first experience of a stranger rubbing her belly yesterday. She works at a social services organization where lots of clients come in for different services and a woman who was waiting to get into the medical clinic asked Susanne if she were pregnant.

“As a matter of fact I am” Su smiled.

The woman then rubbed Su’s belly and asked how far along she was. Su admits she was taken by surprise by this unexpected invasion of her abdomen. But the woman's intention was positive so Su felt okay about it. (Although if a man had done the same thing she’s not sure if she would have been so comfortable with it.)

Now back to the belly rubber's question. Su’s initial reaction was to say “25 weeks.” But who talks like that? (Those of us with these pregnancy tickers I think). Quickly she calculated.

“4 ½ months.”

“It’s a girl then!” the stranger proudly announced for all to hear.

Su told me all about this as we were driving to meet friends for dinner. “But honey”, I questioned her “you must be more than 4 ½ months no?”

We thought about the whole 2 week window thing whereby when you are two weeks pregnant you’re actually 4 weeks…it’s all so confusing. So…since the baby is due in early June and it’s now early March, we now think we are closer to being 6 months pregnant.

Hmmmm...we wonder if the fact that Su's farther along than she thought would have made this woman shout “it’s a boy then!” ? ;-)

Another funny thing about the belly rubbing incident is that Su was convinced that when clients finally started noticing she was pregnant she’d actually be asked “are you getting fat?” So this was much better!

Ah…tomorrow Su and I are heading for the hills to go to our favorite B&B. I can feel my blood pressure dropping already. It’s so wonderful. When you go to this place you have a gorgeous cottage all to yourself. The owner lives in a big house up the road a piece and other than that it's just you and Mother Nature. Such an incredibly romantic place with a wood burning fireplace, the sounds of the Shenandoah river outside our window, starry, starry nights, wonderful food and this weekend, a VERY special birthday to celebrate. Ahhhh…this could be the best weekend ever. Me and and the love of my life and our little place kicker. Life doesn't get much better than this. –Monica