January 31, 2003

Preggo World

Why is it that all of a sudden EVERYONE is pregnant? I'm not even talking about the 50 or so babies I've counted in a one year period amongst people I know (I am going to prove that one up someday soon by actually posting my list!); I am talking about even on TV. Reruns of Friends: Rachel is having Emma (note to self: Cross Emma off the name list!). On ER, Carrie has a miscarriage. On Scrubs, Dr. Cox's ex-wife is pregnant with the child of a bellboy in Greece and they do a whole episode about whether or not to find out the gender. I read what I thought would be a silly girly book, and the main character gets pregnant, and the end of the story focuses on how she deals with single motherhood (that was nowhere on the jacket). I can't tell if it is because I am just noticing these things more, or if it is because I am at that point in my life even if I weren't pregnant myself, or what. But it's starting to really freak me out!

Posted by Dineen at 09:22 AM | Comments (1)

January 29, 2003

There's a Fundus Among Us

Had a doctor's appointment this morning, and everything is going great. At 21 weeks 5 days, this was the first time they measured my fundus -- the length from my pubic bone to the top of my uterus, in centimeters. At this point, it is supposed to approximately equal the number of weeks along I am. The top was a little over an inch above my belly button. The nurse measured 22 cm, the doctor measured 23, and doc said both are fine. My blood pressure was good, too, and the heartbeat sounded good and strong.

I was a little mad at the nurse, though. I asked whether I was back up to my pre-pregnancy weight yet (answer is no, I am still 2 lbs below) and got a lecture about how I shouldn't be trying to gain weight because the baby will do that for me. Like I have ever in my life tried to gain weight. Seeing as how most of the people I talk to had gained anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds by this point in their pregnancy, I think I am doing very, very well, thank you. I am trying so hard to be healthy and not go crazy, and I still get a lecture.

I therefore almost lost it when the doctor started giving me the instructions for the gestational diabetes screen that I have to take in four weeks, and started bracing me for the fact that it is not unlikely that given my weight and family history I could have GD but not to worry, as long as we control it by diet I should be fine. He immediately said he didn't mean to imply that I was not already eating well and just meant that I likely would not have to use insulin (after I got teary and told him I was trying very hard to eat well and stay away from sweets, refined sugars, and empty carbs), so it wasn't that he was being purposefully insensitive, but still. Not my best appointment. (I then proceeded to projectile vomit in the middle of crossing the street on my way back to my office. Darn trucks).

Next appointment in four weeks is auspicious for two reasons: (1) I get to take that dreaded GD screening and (2) I start seeing the other doctors in the practice. I am starting off easy with one of the other docs that was recommended to me by my friend Rachel (who is due herself in February). Also, Rachel tells me that her doc is one of the only ones in the practice who didn't give her a lecture about her weight (she's gained almost 60 pounds). So hopefully I at least won't have to deal with any of that.

Posted by Dineen at 12:07 PM | Comments (3)

January 28, 2003

And I was doing so well...

Apparently, even though I skipped the bacon and did not use all the syrup, scrambled eggs and pancakes fall into the grease + sweets=totally sick category. That's what I get for oversleeping and not having my normally healthy shake for breakfast.

Posted by Dineen at 10:03 AM | Comments (1)

January 27, 2003

Belly Button

I am starting to wish I had taken a "before" photo of my belly button. Yesterday as we were lounging in bed, Mike mentioned to me that my belly button looked different. I had noticed a slight change the day before. It is a little less deep than usual, and the shape is slightly different. Makes sense -- as of week 21, the uterus is supposed to be 1/2 an inch above the belly button, which of course must mean more pressure on that spot. It's still not too obvious that I am pregnant when I am clothed, but the belly is definitely starting to get bigger. Today I am wearing my first full-fledged maternity outfit (both skirt and shirt, thanks Mom!). It's great because it is more comfortable than tighter clothes, but still not obviously "maternity." Still, clothes won't be able to hide things for much longer!

Posted by Dineen at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2003


They say that it is good for the baby to listen to a lot of music while you are pregnant, and my friends at BabyCenter.com tell me that this is the week the baby can really start hearing what is going on in the outside world. I've always been a music person, and we always have music going in the car, and often in the house when we go about our daily business. I hope the baby is getting the good vibes a baby needs to get nice and smart in there.

Unfortunately, though, I am not sure our current choice of music is optimal. We've been really into the new Dixie Chicks album, Home, lately. The Dixie Chicks have great harmonies, and kicking violin lines in their songs, and those are all things that I am sure are good for the baby. They also have a tendency to do at least one ridiculous funny song per album. On this album, it's a little ditty called "White Trash Wedding," which is both hysterical and very catchy. SO catchy, that I haven't been able to stop singing it to myself for days. I fear this child is going to pop out of me twanging "I shouldn't be wearing white, and you cain't afford no ring!"

Posted by Dineen at 09:54 AM | Comments (2)

January 24, 2003

Week 21 -- Hide and Seek

And now we are more than half way. The obstinant child loves to kick me like crazy, except when Daddy asks it to. Last night, Mike crouched down with his lips on my belly and told the babybean "c'mon, kick me! I know you're in there!" I think he was hoping to get a kick in response to repetitions of the question "Who's your Daddy?" but that didn't work either. He finally caved and told it, "OK, you're young, so I'll give you a hint -- I'm your Daddy." Still no response. Of course, the second he stepped away, I got a big one. I told him it was a delayed reaction.

Posted by Dineen at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2003

Instincts are a Powerful Thing

I don't think I've ever seen Mike jump to his feet so fast as he did last Friday, when a friend's two-year-old daughter toddled away from our insular section of the restaurant and into the waitstaff's traffic pattern. Heck, he was even on his feet faster than Sophia's daddy was (although he deferred to Chris conduct the eventual scoop up).

He's ready.

Posted by Dineen at 08:37 PM | Comments (1)

January 21, 2003


The moment the transducer hit my stomach, we saw it very clearly: "Is that the spine?" I asked in wonder. "Yep!" said our technician, Shannon. For the next hour, Shannon turned me this way and that, sliding her magic wand across my tummy with obvious skill. As she explained, "the best way to get the baby to move is to move its house!" She was very good at explaining everything we were seeing (maybe in part because she had a potential hire in the room observing, but she seemed the type to explain things a lot in any event).

We watched in marvel as she pointed out the placenta and the umbilical cord. As she measured each long bone in two tiny legs and two tiny arms. As she focussed on all four beautiful chambers of the fluttering little heart, and turned up the sound so we could hear that heart beating away at 160 beats per minute. "Baby has a nice strong heart beat!" Shannon said, and we beamed with pride. Here's a kidney, there's the stomach, and now we see and measure the thickness of the skull and the sections of the brain. She captured a picture of the bottom of a foot, and we could count five little toes. She gave us photos of the face head-on: Skelator's a good name for a boy or a girl!" we joked. The most precious are the few shots of the baby's profile, little knees drawn up to little chest, and little hands drawn up to little mouth. Once your eyes acclimate, you can see the curve of a pert little nose, the mouth, the ears. Just as she was about to finish, the baby drew one hand away as if to wave, and Shannon appropriately captioned that last shot "Hi Mom and Dad."

The doctor came in to take one last quick look, med student in tow. Coincidentally, the doc (a petite Asian woman) is about as pregnant as I am, and she joked about us not wanting to know the gender. The doctor is having a girl, and she amused us with tales of her and her husband's struggles over picking a name (although despite her profession, her husband keeps insisting that maybe she's wrong, that this child will be a son he can name Maximus like the gladiator). "He wants exotic dancer-type names like Lolita," she laughed, "I keep picking WASP-y names like Providence, and my husband asks me where I think this WASP baby is going to come from."

Just before she finished, the baby decided that it had had enough of all this poking and prodding, and kicked the transducer. The doctor actually started, and said "Did you feel that? Did you see it? The baby kicked!" We saw it alright -- the leg poked right out and planted a foot right in the middle of the screen. It was so cool to see it and feel it at the same time.

Her final tease was "I know what it is, but I'm not telling." Then she got serious and told us that the baby looks great, is right where the baby should be at this point in the pregnancy. Everything is measuring right on track (in fact, if they were to adjust my due date, it would be one day early, but she said anything plus or minus two weeks at this point is just fine). The baby currently weighs about 13 ounces.

We wandered out of there in a daze of happiness. Mike said he hadn't really thought about what could be wrong until they were actually determining that it was all alright. Every time they pointed to a body part, his brain raced "Yipes! What if that kidney/stomach/heart/brain/etc. is abnormal?" Thank God, we don't have to think about that so much anymore. There's a real, live, apparently healthy baby in there, and that baby wants its privacy, thank you.

Posted by Dineen at 11:48 AM | Comments (5)

January 20, 2003

Where's the Belly?

Before I was pregnant, I didn't realize that most of what I thought of as "pregnant" -- the big belly -- doesn't just automatically appear. OK, so I knew it didn't happen the second sperm meets egg, but I certainly didn't think that I would be halfway through and still not be obviously pregnant to the casual observer.

Other people who have never been pregnant seem shocked when I tell them how far along I am, because there really is just nothing much to see from the outside. Except for my jeans, I am still wearing the same clothes I wore pre-pregnancy. (That said, three cheers for JCPenny maternity jeans!)

My currently and recently pregnant friends all tell me that in a matter of 2-4 weeks, I will be longing for the days when I could say I didn't look pregnant. Maybe so. But right now, I am longing for the day when I can sit around with my hand on my belly and not have it look quite so bizzare as it does right now. When I can take someone's hand and say "Feel this life growing inside of me!" When people pass me on the street and get a little smile because they can see I am pregnant, and they know all the wonder and heartache and love I therefore have in store for me.

Posted by Dineen at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2003

Baby Kicks!

Mike felt the baby kick today. Twice. Yay!

Posted by Dineen at 08:05 PM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2003

Our little bean has grown...

into a large sweet potato. This, according to my weekly e-mail from BabyCenter.com. All I can say to that is wow. I mean, I am pretty regular at looking up how big the baby is on a particular week, and I knew 20 weeks meant the baby was about 7 inches long. But somehow, I envisioned that 7 inches only in two dimensions. Reading that the baby at 20 weeks is about the size of a large sweet potato really kicked my mind into 3D. Nevertheless, this baby will always be my little bean.

Posted by Dineen at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2003


I look forward to Fridays each week with great anticipation -- not because it's the weekend (although that's great too!) but because Friday is my rollover day. That is, each Friday I can add another tick to my calendar and call myself another week farther along on this magical journey of pregnancy. Today is a particularly special Friday, because today my calendar reads Week 20. As in, halfway though they typical 40 weeks of pregnancy. It seems impossible to me that I could be this far along already. The rest, I am sure, will just fly by.

Twenty weeks down, twenty weeks to go, little bean. Your Mommy and Daddy can't wait to meet you.

Posted by Dineen at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2003

Cravings and Aversions

People talk about pregnant women having cravings -- it's almost a national joke. I don't know if my recent eating habits qualify for cravings, exactly, but they certainly are different than they once were. In the first trimester, absolutely NOTHING was appealing to me. Every food I normally love was an absolute struggle. Forget fish, forget chicken (gag!) forget salad and most other veggies. I pretty much lived on mashed potatoes (from a box; that's how desperate I was!), palacsinta (Hungarian crepes), oatmeal, water, crackers, ginger ale, and Ensure shakes. I literally sometimes went days without letting solid food past my lips, because I just could not do it.

Now that food is more kind to me again, there are a few items that had mostly left my diet that are back with a vengence. Pierogies, for one -- I stopped eating them when we were avoiding carbs, and now want them about once a week (even though I am still mostly limiting carbs). Ravioli, if we go out for Italian.

And my diet has become a little more rigid, if healthier. I have had the same exact banana-peanut butter-yogurt-wheat germ smoothie for breakfast just about every day since the new year. I have great frozen strawberries in my freezer (everything in my freezer is frozen, with a nod to Keri), but I can't seem to bust out of the banana-peanut butter mode. I've gone through an entire jar and a half of peanut butter so far. I am eating pears just about every day when hunger strikes around 3 pm. And lunch is almost always moussaka at the great Greek place in the food court -- meat, eggplant, custard, potatoes, often with a big side of steamed broccoli, cauliflower & carrots; it's a perfect well-rounded meal. I am proud to say that I gave away most of the chocolate I received as a Christmas present (and several of the eaters commented that they were the best truffles they had ever tasted!), and have mostly avoided the candy dish that is constantly calling from my secretary's desk. I am really trying to keep the eating under control.

Of course I say I am not having a lot of cravings -- and certainly, I have not yet sent Michael out on a middle of the night quest for any particular food -- but on the one day last week that I didn't have moussaka for lunch I ended up at the smoothie place, where I purchased a bannana/blueberry smoothie, a bag of wasabi peas, and huge dill pickle. And I ate every bit of them. That's just this side of the pickles and icecream stereotype!

Posted by Dineen at 10:38 AM | Comments (2)

January 12, 2003

Just Like Jaws

At 19 weeks on the dot, the little bean decided to make an externally cognizable appearance. I was on the phone with my Mom, laying flat on my back in the bed, with my hand on my belly just 'cause. All of a sudden, I felt a stretchy roll across the palm of my hand. Like a little shark fin pushing up against the surface of my belly from the inside (though it was probably more like a knee or elbow). It lasted just long enough to do the ominous "Duuuh-nahhh" from the Jaws theme song, and that is one of the first thoughts that popped into my head. How appropos for two lawyers to have a little shark gestating in there.

Posted by Dineen at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)

January 10, 2003

The Metro Gods

In my first trimester, when I was sick all the time, I also was blessed by the Metro gods: No matter how full the train was, I almost always managed to get a seat. The few times I did not get a seat, I pretty much had no shame in any event. There was one day that I just plopped down on the floor and sat there the entire ride in, as that was the only way I could keep from puking. Another time, I recall standing in a sardine-like situation, with the guy next to me looking at me funny. "Are you OK?" he said, looking at me like I had two heads. Well, I was a litlte green, and trying to cope with relaxation and breathing techniques that must have made me look and sound funny. I told him honestly, "I am just trying not to throw up on you." Luckily for us both, I didn't.

Now, in my second trimester, I have for some reason had less luck with seats. Thankfully, standing isn't quite as bad as it used to be, but it is still one of the few things that can reliably induce nausea. Two days ago, I was standing on a crowded train home and just coveting, coveting a seat. Two stops later, someone stood up. I was about to snag it when the woman next to me said "Would you offer her this seat?" The woman she was referring to was (unlike me) quite visibly pregnant, and standing behind me. I felt a little ashamed about my eagerness to scarf up the seat, and immediately offered it to Ms. Eight Months. She plopped into the seat with relief and started the same kind of breathing I usually end up doing. I was glad we gave her that seat, and mad as heck at the able bodied men around who hadn't bothered to notice Ms. Eight Months and offer her a seat earlier. Very bad. I've always tried to be good about offering my seat to older folks and pregnant women, and it floors me when others don't do the same.

Today, that good deed was revisited back on me. This morning the train was crowded, and when I got on there were no seats. I found myself having to do some breathing (my balance already seems to be a little off, even though there's no visible tummy, and I also stumbled a bit). The twenty something in the seat immediately in front of me offered me her seat after about one stop. "Are you sure?" I said incredulously. "Yes, I only have a few more stops." (Turns out she got off only one stop before me, by the way). "Thank you, so much." I replied. ""Even though I don't look it, I'm pregnant, and having to stand sometimes makes me sick." I plopped into the chair and started breathing. And said a little prayer of thanks for that nice girl.

Posted by Dineen at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2003

Tummy Talk

Back when I was sick all the time, I would talk to the babybean between heaves. Things along the lines of "What in the world are you doing to your momma?" and "Well, I guess you just don't like McDonald's very much, do you?" Several weeks ago -- probably even before that first sonogram -- Mike started occasionally talking directly at my belly. At first, just little stuff, like "Hello in there!" or the ever succinct "Baby!"

As time progresses, we are both getting more used to the notion of talking to this miraculous creature growing inside of me. "Baby!" (type doesn't do justice to Mike's "Baby" voice, by the way) is now mostly reserved for use in conjunction with the buddha belly rub, from afar. Talking at the belly is really talking now. I talk out loud everytime I think I feel the baby move in there (still not 100% sure that's what I am actually feeling, but I am guessing any gas will ignore my cooing, and the baby can hear me even if I am not really feeling the baby move).

And even though there is not yet all that much belly to stare at, Mike will often stare in wonderment and kiss my belly as he is joining me in bed at night. Many hugs turn into a laying of the hands as well ("Baby!"). We both marvel at how taut the area below my belly button has become, because we know full well what is behind there. I find myself sitting back like a fat cat with my hand on my belly even though there isn't all that much belly to touch just yet (at least, not more than there usually is).

If we are both this head over heels at not-yet-19-weeks, I can't imagine how in love we will be when this child actually arrives.

Posted by Dineen at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2003

Wait List Hysteria

Ohmigod all I want to do is cry now. I got a list of Arlington county day care centers from a pregnant colleague today (thanks, Janet) and called a few to find out basic information about their facilities. The two Bright Horizons facilities I called sound and look fabulous, and will be impossible for me to get into. The one at Ballston -- minutes from my house -- has a wait list of up to two years for its 9 infant slots, with priority given first to NSF employees, second to Federal Government employees, and third to members of the general community (i.e., me). The woman there told me that people do actually sign up once they decide on trying to conceive, rather than wait until actually pregnant. How hypercompetative yuppie is that?? The one at GW -- minutes from my office -- has a similarly long waitlist for its 13 infant slots. The woman who answered the phone discouraged me from even signing up for the wait list, but reluctantly agreed to send me information anyway. Sounds like we are pretty much screwed.

Posted by Dineen at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

Telling People

Since the new year, we've started telling our friends and co-workers in earnest that the little babybean is on its way. It cracks me up to observe the variations in reaction.

The male partners that I work for say congrats, then quickly launch into discussing how work will be covered when I go out on maternity leave. They very much shy away from any personal discussion (in fact, I learned after the second one that it is a lot more palatable to them for me to say "I am going on maternity leave in June" rather than "I am pregnant." The P-word is too scary. Might was well say "Just wanted to let you know that I had sex successfully," given the uncomfortable reactions to the P-word.)

Male colleagues that I don't directly work with are a little more enthusiastic with their congratulations, but then launch directly into how I don't look pregnant at all. The ones with small kids of their own are a little more enthusiastic than the non-dads or dads with teens or older who are far removed from the baby thing.

The women -- the women are wonderful. I have been sure to tell a woman immediately after telling any male partner, just to get a little affirmation about how good this news is. Doesn't matter what level, or whether I work with her or not, a woman generally throws out her arms enthusiastically to hug me and jumps up and down. I love it!

Family, of course, is excited as heck. My grandmother was just thrilled at the thought that not one by TWO great grandchildren are on their way (my cousin and his wife are expecting baby #1 in April). My parents and Mike's are both beside themselves with happiness. Our siblings are loving the thought of being Aunts and Uncles. My nephew is taking very seriously the role of big cousin, and can't wait for Aunt Dina to have her baby.

Our friends have been just great. Most are paired off -- heck, many are either expecting, trying, or new parents themselves -- but even the single guys are joyous. I love it. This baby is going to be coo-ed over by a very large number of people. (S)he will be welcomed into a world of love!

Posted by Dineen at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2003

It's a......

Psych! Don't know and don't wanna know until the baby slithers into this world. I always skip right over the "It's a....." messages on the message boards; they don't interest me. I can understand how people like to plan ahead, but I like that not knowing forces me to be more neutral about how I decorate and how I plan to clothe the baby. And we'll be thrilled no matter what, so why bother? It's fun to have a little suspense.

That said, people just love to predict, and old wives tales abound. It is too early for a lot of them yet (no belly to hang my wedding ring over, for example), but other predictors we already have. (I'm willing to take bets, too.)

If you go by:
Fetal heart rate -- the baby's heartbeat was in the 148-ish range via doppler at my doctor's appointment today, which is on the faster/girl side of most predictors. [Update: At our January 21 sonogram, the heartbeat was a strong 160. So we're still definitely in girl range, according to this one.]

My face -- Supposedly, "Boys give beauty, girls take it away." I have looked just awful ever since I got pregnant. Glow my a**, I am broken out all over my face and back, my face looked like a red tomato at Thanksgiving, and my skin has just been generally awful no matter what I do. So if you follow this one, it will definitely be a girl.

Chinese Horoscope -- There are lots of these tables on the web. This one says its a girl, as does this one and this one and this one. Although I would be a little surprised if I got different results on different sites, seeing as how my age at and the month of conception (30 and September, respectively, for those who want check out other charts) aren't changing.

Mayan Legend -- I read this one in a magazine at the doctor's office. If the year of the mother's birth and the year of conception are both odd or both even, it's a girl. If not, it's a boy. Baby was conceived in 2002, I was born in 1972. Another vote for girl.

So far, they are all of one accord. Who knows if they will be right? Just in case though, I think we had better start thinking a little harder about girls names!

Update: From the Mouths of Babes. Keri informs me that when Sean asked whether Aunt Dina's baby was a boy or a girl, she told him that we wouldn't know until the baby came out of Aunt Dina's tummy. Sean then turned to her and very seriously said "Mom, it is a girl." Keri's gut tells her the same, as does my Mom's, as does Mike's and mine, to be honest. So, we're either all right, or we're all going to be terribly surprised come June!

Posted by Dineen at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)

Good test results

Got the results of my quad screen today. All of my probabilities are within normal ranges for my age, so the doctor didn't recommend any more testing (which we may not have done in any event, but now it is off the table entirely). *Whew!* Of course, this doesn't guarantee a normal healthy baby, but it certainly says for sure that the odds are in our favor. That's the best one can pray for. And besides, how "normal" can a Wasylik child really be in any event???

Posted by Dineen at 03:22 PM | Comments (1)

It moves! (I think)

I am pretty sure I am starting to feel the little one moving around in there. It's so hard to tell for sure at this point, since I don't know what I am supposed to be feeling for. Women who have had babies before report movement as early as week 13 or 14, but most first timers like myself can't really discern the feeling until much later, even into the 20s. I am as I sit here 17 weeks, 6 days along. (Scary how me, oh she who can't remember anything to do with numbers, have the baby's age down practically to the minute at any given moment!)

But I may have felt a flutter a few weeks ago lying in bed, and then on the Sunday before Christmas we went to the Dave Matthews Band concert and I really thought I felt some dancing in there. Certainly, I could feel the bass right through me, but this was different. The weird thing is that I also felt the same kind of movements a week later, when we were driving home to DC from the parental visit to New York. Mike put in his new DMB CD, and I swear the little one was reacting to the music all over again. Mike says that means the kid will have good taste in music!

Earlier this week, we went shopping and I felt a frequent popping low in my belly. Mom says that's definitely it ("gas travels, the baby will keep hitting in the same few spots!" says she). But I don't feel it every day yet, so who knows. It will be more real when Mike can feel it too.

Posted by Dineen at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)