One Last Trip

When we lived in Delaware, it seemed like we visited NYC once every 6 weeks, especially once I was done with nursing school.  I still remember Ryan calling me once from work and saying, “Hey, want to head into the city tonight for dinner and maybe a show?”

So naturally we were psyched to be moving back up north, to New Jersey….making us even closer to the city…maybe we would head into the city once ever 4 weeks!

But I got into school and SURPRISE!  we’re expecting!  I was feeling pretty miserable and stressed with school over the summer, so we never really got into the city.  We did a quick day trip with my parents and I did a quick day trip with my friend Traci between summer and fall, but that’s been it!  No other trips!  Fall semester I was incredibly stressed with school, plus there was a lot going on in October/November between my brother’s wedding, a hurricane, Ryan’s school trips, Thanksgiving, etc.

So last week it was decided:  Friday we would go.

Friday was the only sunny day of the week.  Friday was also the day EVERYBODY in NJ decided to go into the city.  When we got to the train station, it was a zoo.  We missed the 9:21 train by seconds as we were waiting in a line for train tickets.  The next train wasn’t coming until just before 9:53.  We kept waiting, along with hundreds of other people who kept coming into the station for the train.  And once the train arrived and we actually boarded, it was standing room only…and we were standing at the door of the train.  We looked at each other, decided this was ludicrous and hopped off before the train even pulled out of the station.  It was a local train and we would have had to stand for 80 minutes.  With my luck I would have gone into labor.

So we ended up spending the morning in Princeton, and decided to head into the city later in the week.

Which was the best idea ever.

This morning we breezed into the station.  Got the 9:21 express.  an hour later we were in Penn Station and it was eerily empty.

Picked up some metro tickets, flew uptown.  Shared a pastrami sandwich and the largest, thickest, nearly inedible latke (potato pancake) I’ve ever seen (it was kind of disgusting).  Walked a mile down Lexington to my favorite cupcake shop, Sprinkles (we discovered it in Chicago when in town for the marathon last year).

Just before getting to Sprinkles though we stopped into a beautiful body store called Sabon.  It’s one thing to have a beautiful window, quite another to smell incredible from outside.  Inside were shelves and shelves of beautiful jars of lotions, scrubs, soaps, etc.  I had the most amazing hand treatment at their stone fountain that left my hands feeling softer than any manicure (high end or other wise).  My birthday is in March if anyone is looking to gift me 😉

But back to the cupcakes.  The absolute worst thing about Sprinkles is trying to decide what kind of cupcake to eat.  I picked pumpkin, but was also eyeing the black & white and the coconut.  Ryan got a dark chocolate cupcake that was so. incredibly. rich.  (I asked Ryan if we could get a third cupcake, for the baby…..he said no.  such a fun burglar.)

decisions decisions...

decisions decisions…












Next on the agenda were the windows.  which really didn’t happen.  Bloomingdales had already taken there’s down.  Bergdorf Goodman thankfully still had there’s up…and Tiffany, Cartier, and a few other jewelry stores were still decorated for the holidays.  Saks was in the process of taking their’s down.  The tree at Rockefeller was still there, lit and decorated, but looking pretty sad and weepy.

At that point we were on 49th and figured we might as well keep walking to the theater.  Somehow, no matter how hard you try, you can’t avoid Times Square.  But like Penn Station, Times Square was eerily empty.  No pushing, no shoving, no getting separated.

As we walked into Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the ticket scanner pointed out the emergency rest room “…in case you have an emergency during the show.”


The show (still in previews) was pretty darn good.  Not phenomenal, but a lot better than the other shows that are out there (it’s a shame how disney-fied broadway is becoming).  It was my first time seeing the play period, so maybe I just really really liked the script?  I don’t know.  But I think it’s sealed a new found obsession for all things Tennessee Williams.  The actress playing Big Momma (Debra Monk) was absolutely incredible.  Curious to see the reviews after the official start.

Anyways, our last minute plan to go to the Met after the show went down the drain when the show ended at 4:45 and we found out that the museum closed at 5:30pm.  Lucky Ryan.  I would have liked to hit up The Strand, but really didn’t need anything to justify the train transfers we would have had to make to get downtown and then back to the UWS for dinner.

So we decided to just walk uptown (because the 40-odd blocks we walked earlier in the day wasn’t enough).  But walking uptown I started having some painful contractions and at Columbus Circle we grabbed the 1 to 86th and walked into my favorite restaurant, Celeste (no website, cash only, I can go on, but you should visit to discover…).

We try and go there every time we’re in the city, and since it’s been about 2 years since it was just the two of us, it was 2 years overdue.  Just as good as I remembered it….the only thing I missed was sharing a bottle of red wine.  The mozzarella & roasted red peppers, the tagliatelle with cabbage & sheep cheese (odd combo, I know), the tiramisu, the cappuccino.  All. So. Delicious.

Afterwards to kill time we hit up Goodwill (not spilling the location) where I found a pair of barely worn Stuart Weitzman silver heeled sandals for $14.99 that were a size 9 (if only they were 8 1/2!).  The Tod’s loafers in the window apparently wouldn’t go on sale until FRIDAY, so I didn’t even ask if they were my size.  I’m just going to tell myself that they too were a size 9, as almost every good pair of shoes, jackets, and pants that I’ve ever found at this higher end Goodwill has been in sizes for much taller, longer, women.

At Zabars I accidentally got in line for some rugelach.  Hate when that happens.  We walked a few more blocks south along Broadway before grabbing the express back to Penn Station, and literally walked onto the train back to NJ.  The only souvenirs are the ones now sitting happily in my arteries and on my rear end.

I’m sad to be home and really wish we splurged on a hotel room.  But alas, I have a doctor appointment tomorrow and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be that far away from the hospital (only 2 hours, but that’s from the train pulling out of the station).  I purposely never asked about travel restrictions at my last appointment.

So glad though that I got a final dream date before the baby and classes start up again!  Fingers crossed we can do it once more (but with a baby!) before getting reassigned….

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The Questions

What is it about pregnancy that allows people to ask the most bizarre, inappropriate, and rude questions?  Is it to prepare for me toddler-ville?

I always heard about strangers at the grocery store rubbing someone’s belly.  Up until Thanksgiving it hadn’t happened to me, so I kind of figured that it was either a myth, that people finally realized that it was inappropriate to touch a perfect stranger’s belly, or that it was just another added benefit of living up in the north.  When visiting my family in North Carolina, we spent part of the day at a tiny town in South Carolina browsing antique shops when an older, obviously southern store clerk rubbed my belly and asked if I was pregnant.

I seriously wanted to say no, just to see the reaction, but figured that would be inappropriate.  After all, two wrongs don’t make a right.

So while I haven’t had the issue of strangers’ hands on my belly, I have had to deal with a steady flow of awkward comments and questions from people I know.

“Where will your husband be at delivery?”

I explained that he would be with me in the delivery room.  But this wasn’t good enough of an answer because it was followed up with, “will he be helping with the delivery?”  Yes, I said naively, “He’ll be holding my hand, he’ll be my support.  Giving me ice chips.  Whatever it is that needs to be done…”  But really, what the person wanted to know if he was going to HELP with the delivery.  as in catch the baby, take the baby out, in essence, DELIVER the baby.

Um, no.  I barely made it through a natural delivery as a nursing student and I wasn’t even at the foot of the bed.  My husband, I said, would be up at the head of the bed.

“So, tell me.  Any stretch marks yet?”

This was the follow up question to see how I was feeling (Great!  Thanks for asking!  Can’t complain!).  Of all the questions to ask a person in school and working part time, who enjoys reading and current events, and who happens to be pregnant, this is what I was asked.  Nothing about school, about the topics I was researching, about what I was studying.

I can see why some of my female politico idols are annoyed when their hair, makeup, and clothing is the topic of conversation instead of their current work and current events.

After taking a sip of my fizzy fruit punch, I responded, “You know, I really don’t know.  Our only full length mirror broke, our vanity mirrors are pretty high up, and I can’t look around my own belly, so I’m not even sure!” maybe I should lift up my shirt and you can tell me?  Then you can take a marker, circle my problem areas and cellulite, and I can do the same to you!

Some Ally McBeal imagery ensued.

“How about swelling?  Are you feet and fingers real swollen?  Are you still wearing the same shoe size?”  

Again, if you’re a friend or family member, you might have a pass on this.  It depends.  In all honesty, I guess this question isn’t that bad, but it’s still an odd question with a bit of passive-agressiveness (for lack of a better term).  The only way I can answer this fairly is to say, “After work my feet look kind of swollen, but whose aren’t after a 12 hour shift?”  (smile, sip, and walk away.)

“So, have the doctors said anything to you about size?  Have they mentioned how much you’ve grown?  Have they talked to you about difference from your first appointment…”  “How much have you gained?”

The poor person didn’t even get a chance to finish their question.  I should have let them continue to stumble with the question.  Instead I quickly answered, “Oh, I know exactly how much I’ve gained.”  I keep wondering if this person meant to ask about the size of the baby….but there was no follow up question asking that.  And yes, I really have been asked how much I’ve gained point blank (different person).

Maybe I’m going crazy, and maybe these are questions of genuine concern.  But I never asked those questions of my friends who were pregnant.  It was always a generic, “how are you feeling? is there anything you need?”  If I had questions about the things they were talking about regarding their pregnancy, then I prodded (“I don’t understand…why can’t you eat cold cuts?”) because I truly did not know what the issue was.

Obviously people are asking if I’m going to breast feed or not (I’m going to try, but if it doesn’t work there are other options available).  I was asked if I had a birth plan (yes, to go to the hospital pregnant and deliver a baby any way possible that is safest for me and the baby).

Maybe I’m not taking any of this seriously enough and one day I’ll look back at this post and roll my eyes at my ‘younger, naive’ self.  I don’t know.  Until then, let’s talk about the fascinating books I’ve been able to read in the past 3 weeks, what I learned while researching pharmacogenetics, the great restaurants we have in the area, and the number of phenomenal movies Hollywood has finally released.  I promise it’s more interesting than stretch marks and swelling.


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18 Days

That’s all there is between me, insanity, and a completely new, foreign life.

I feel like I should be doing SOMETHING to get ready.  I should be get a head start on a probable 15 page paper I’m going to have to write.  I should study the material for next semester….if I only knew what that material was going to be.

I should pack a hospital bag….if I only knew what to pack.  So far I have underwear, shower flip flops, a towel, and a baby book.  My pajamas are in the wash.  I know I need socks and slippers.  And toiletries…but I’m using my toiletries right now (and planning on it for the next 18 days)…although I guess I could pack some shampoo & conditioner, etc.  I haven’t picked a baby outfit yet, but really, if I’m going to be spending 3 or 4 days in the hospital, I figure Ryan can always run home and pick up an outfit.  He’ll need to have something to do during that time!  And the poor girl is being born in January!  She’ll be covered in blankets and hats!

Can you tell I’m still in disbelief over all this?

I keep begging Ryan to massage my ankles because there’s some pressure points in that area that *supposedly* can bring on labor.  Except his version of an ankle massage is more like ankle petting and playing footsie under the sheets.

I really am curious to see this little baby, although I’m still scared of holding them (babies)…and felt very uncomfortable holding a friend’s 10 day old baby boy recently (“please, just let me sit on the sofa to hold him,” I pleaded).

Last night the baby got the hiccups (I presume) for the first time.  A continuous flutter thumping for about 10 minutes.  Kind of concerning….but it made me realize that I probably haven’t had the hiccups at all the past 37 weeks (score?).

I bought a couple of nursing bras and a pair of nursing pajamas (who knew that was needed….or is it?).  What more to get??? Belly band?  Hip Shrinkers?  Is this stuff for real??

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I signed up for an extra shift this week since I’ve been going to stir crazy at home.

It was awful.

Shitty all around.


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“You’ve Gotten Big!”

Those were the first words my mom said to me when she saw me for Thanksgiving (granted, the full quote is, “You’ve gotten big(ger?) since the last time we saw you!”-which was only about 2 weeks prior).

Yup-suddenly I have exploded and gone from bump to full on parasitic appendage that prevents me from easily getting up and getting comfortable.  Not that I’ve been comfortable really at all, but I’ve gone from being kind of uncomfortable to nearly passing out at my ultrasound (I basically missed the whole thing because they had to do the entire scan with me turned on my left side).

At the 29 week ultrasound, the baby was still hanging out in the 20th percentile (she was at the 20th percentile at the 26 week appointment).  I found this kind of low (who wants to be in the 20th percentile?), but one of the docs (at MFM) assured me that, with my size, I did not want a baby in the 90th percentile.  Point taken.

But either the baby did not get that memo, or those stressful weeks of school that only allowed me to get to the gym once or twice a week made had it’s own effect, because in 5 weeks time this baby went from 20th to 50th percentile.


Things are looking good though.  Especially my fluid levels, which I think is directly related to my ability to hydrate like a camel.  (Oddly enough, I’ve always joked that I drink like a camel, but I never actually thought I would look like a camel on 2 legs, complete with appendage like hump.)

This past week’s appointment (with the regular ob/gyn) nearly sealed the deal for a planned C-section.  Which is ok with me-I’ve always had a very true fear of childbirth, and watching women labor was absolutely agonizing for me during my L&D clinical (observing a leg amputation in the OR and a C-section in L&D was no biggie, but watching a woman deliver naturally?  I had to start bending my knees to prevent ending up on the floor).  Funny, they say nearly 1/3 of women have C-sections, but I only know one person who has had a c-section and it was emergent, not planned.  So oddly enough, I don’t have anyone I can really talk to about a planned c-section and the recovery.

But since finding all this out, it got me thinking.  Why are women so hell-bent on having a natural (by natural I mean vaginal) delivery?  At our ‘breathing & relaxation’ class, most of them women taking the class were “…adamant about having a natural delivery” and upset that “…labor basics only focused on pushing epidurals and c-sections” (I took labor basics and did not get that impression).  I’ve never felt the desire-or need-to have a ‘natural/vaginal delivery.’  So when people tell me, “I was in labor for 26 hours!” or “I was determined to deliver naturally, even against my doctor’s wishes,” I can’t help but wonder why…

Are they trying to prove themselves?  Is there some club out there for women who delivery naturally?

When you become pregnant, everyone tells you how awful everything is (pregnancy, labor, breast feeding).  Considering how for the past 8+ months I’ve heard horror story after horror story, from those with and without kids, it’s rather impressive that I’m surrounded by families with 2-4 kids.  I’ve only had one friend who had a fast easy, uncomplicated delivery (either that or she knows better than to scare the shit out of me).  At my baby shower, one of the spouses brought her 14 year old daughter who, following the shower said to her mother, “Mom, you must have scared her!  I’m scared and I’m not pregnant!”

Why do women do this to each other?  Are they trying to prepare you for the worst while you hope for the best?  If you’re like me you  start to prepare and fear for the worst.

So far I haven’t told many people about the change in delivery plans.  But I’m sure when I do, the dull glazed look and polite head nod will make yet another appearance.

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Week 31

I’m think I’m starting week 31 of this pregnancy today.

“You think?” said one of the nurses I worked with on Sunday.

It’s not that I’m not trying to keep track, but there hasn’t been much time for reading baby books, and sometimes I go a week or two without looking at the pregnancy app, and the next thing you know a week or two has gone by and you’ve lost count.

I was clearly a fool at week 10, 12, 14, 16, etc when I felt big, because now I feel like a hot air balloon.  At Thursday’s doctor appointment, the exam room had a digital floor scale.  Of course your first instinct upon stepping onto the scale is to look down to see the reading, which resulted in me yelling in a panic, “I CAN’T SEE THE NUMBER!  I CAN’T SEE IT!”  Yesterday I started to wonder where all the skin was going to after delivery.  Will it be like a built in bikini bottom skirt?  Ryan just shakes his head.

These are the things I think about.  Clearly there is something wrong with me.  Take last week…

Last week in Pharm, I said to my classmate, “I have to google what these contractions feel like. I’m not sure what’s going on inside, but this kid feels like she’s head-butting me or something.”

Google informed me that contractions feel like menstrual cramps.  Which I thought was odd.  Whenever I had cramps it was a long achy feeling in the pelvic region last hours.  How do you count long achy feeling?  Do women really have pulsating cramps?  (my classmate said yes, making me feel, once again, that there is something wrong with me.)

On Thursday at the physician’s office, the doc listened to the heart rate, commented on the shape of my uterus (“…a variant of normal…”), measured my uterus, and then said, “Ah, you’re having contractions!”

Really?  Because I didn’t feel anything….

So I’ve since become one of those women who almost constantly has her hands on her belly because, “I think I feel something!” (although Sunday at work I had what can only be described as a mega contraction.  It kind of felt like a charlie horse, but instead of it being my calf it was obviously the uterus.)

Otherwise, things are going well.  I officially can’t see my belly or changing shape anymore thanks to a recent episode that involved mopping (which I will never do again to avoid paper writing-I’ll blog instead).

That’s a lot of bad luck.

In other baby news, two weeks ago my nursing school classmates from Delaware got together for a lovely baby shower brunch and spoiled me to no end.  I thought we would be going out, but my friend really knocked herself out, setting up an incredibly table and making a delicious quiche, french toast, pastries and cupcakes.  It was 10 times better than any run of the mill restaurant and I loved seeing everyone all at once.

adorable and sweet table setting

Last week the spouse group spoiled me rotten with a baby shower.  I was really surprised at how many people came out and all the baby clothes, books, and stories they shared.  These are women that, because of my school schedule, I really haven’t gotten a chance to know very well, and they really did come together and help celebrate.  I am so grateful to be part of such a tight knit group!

The largest cake I’ve ever seen…the picture doesn’t do it justice.  and why does my face looks like a work of cubism?!

While I was at the shower with my mom, Ryan & my dad went to Ikea to buy a dresser and set up the furniture for the combined office & nursery.  The crib & dresser are put together.  The clothes are folded away.  Now we’re just working on completing the little stuff….like the stroller, the car seat, etc.

We’ve done pretty well (I think) on getting by on a budget (I’m working only one 12hr shift every other week and my GI bill funding is exhausted until 2013-2014).  With the exception of 3 long sleeve t-shirts and a long sleeve mock sweater dress from Target, all of my maternity clothes has been thrifted or consigned.  We found our car seat base at the consignment shop, along with some other baby wants or needs.  The ‘is it really necessary video monitor’ we wanted for $250?  we found a $170 version (same brand) on Craig’s List for $100.  We ‘stole’ it for $75.  We ordered the BOB stroller (that I think looks monstrously huge) through Amazon with free shipping plus 28% off (!!), and we’ll use credit card points to pay for it, so it’s kind of like getting it for free.  I’ve been hitting the resales, consignment stores, and thrift shops, looking at the baby clothes and trying to pick up what I think I’ll need.  But really, how many clothes does a baby need? How many times will I have to change her clothes in a single day?  Better yet, how much laundry will we have to do each day or week??

Try as I might though, I can’t sell cloth diapers to Ryan or my mom (who thinks it’s like the cloth diapers of yesteryear).

My mom & I will be making the crib skirt and some of the linens for the baby room.  I can’t stand the bedding and fabrics I’ve seen at the baby stores and online (too matchy-matchy, too cutesy and outrageously priced), so I found some tasteful fabrics in soft blues and pinks instead that are more my taste.

It sounds like we’ve done a lot, but there’s still so much more!  I’ve yet to look at that breast feeding pump that a friend is loaning me.  Baby basics 101 is tonight, and Ryan is bound to divorce me when he realizes how little I know about babies (I think I’ve only held a baby 5 times in my life; twice as an adult, with a ‘family’ member saying “please don’t drop my baby”).  Tomorrow night is a breastfeeding class.  Next month is the 2-day childbirth class.

That’s enough baby news for now…Maybe next time I’ll write down for prosperity sake about how the manager of the baby store now knows who I am due to an unsightly crying episode that involved selecting a car seat.  Here’s what will probably the one and only set of belly pictures…

Halloween. It’s probably not a good costume if you have to explain that he’s a farmer who plants peas and that I’m a pea pod with a pea…

she certainly looks happy

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Home Stretch

Relief!  My 12-15 page paper, which ended up with just over 15 pages of pure writing, (equaling out to be 25 pages total with additional requirements) is finished!

I’m not saying it’s well written, just that it’s finally, finally out of my hands.  At 9pm the night before it was due, I decided that I didn’t like how one of the sections was organized and figured it probably wasn’t what the teachers wanted, so I spent that glorious time of 9pm-1am, otherwise known as “getting ready for bed” and “sleep time” on revamping a section of the paper.  Hopefully it makes sense.

The Big Paper Aftermath

aftermath of The Big Paper

The primary care exam went better than the first exam (barely an A by the skin of my teeth).  Either it’s pregnancy or mid-semester fatigue, but when I got to a question I didn’t know, it was, “Ah well, what are you going to?  ‘C’ sounds good.”  None of that going back and forth, magical thinking mental musings.

For pharmacology we were allowed to bring in a 5×7 note card to help with the 70 question exam (learning all generations and types of cephalosporins plus a gazillion other antibiotics is a bitch).  The first question was easy.  Until you realized the answer you knew was right wasn’t even an option to select.  Then you said, “oh shit.”   (in fact, one girl kept muttering that over and over again during the exam….).  6 days after taking the exam, grades were finally posted.  I did extremely well on the exam.  The grades were pretty mediocre (I think), considering we could use an index card. Yet despite the fact that my grade makes me look like a pharmacist, I don’t feel like I really learned anything.  I learned how to make a really good index card.  But then I remember that there were quite a few questions on the exam where I couldn’t use my index card because the information wasn’t written out (like question 1).  Other times I would use the index card as a guide, but really had to think through the case studies.

Since that hellish week that involved the pharm exam, primary care exam, and Big Paper, I haven’t been motivated to do ANY WORK.  Which means next week is going to be rough.  We leave Thursday to see my parents and brother for Thanksgiving, so there will be minimal studying.  Next week is an Acute Care exam.  The following week is a pharm exam, primary care exam, a patient education project, and a small paper that shouldn’t be too difficult (neither of which I’ve started).

Clearly I should be spending more time working on that patient education project right now.  Or studying for pharm.  Or acute or primary care.  Or all three.

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