Monday, June 28, 2010

Charlie's Underwear

Here it is...I can no longer put on my underwear without sitting down. I kind of do this odd thing where I dangle my underwear and hope to catch my foot in the one side. Once that side is securely on then I can fish for the other foot, then do a slide up and all set. It's a good thing I am not much of a pants or shorts girl because I think that would be exhausting.

Last week I think I got charlie horses almost every night. I figured it the reason was that at the conference I was sitting all day. My lack of movement was keeping me up at night. There is nothing like the sharp calf pain at 3am to really shake someone up. As I return to the comfort of my own bed this week, I slept until 1pm yesterday which was lovely and reminds me of being in college. Today I got up at a reasonable hour, but took a late evening nap, why not? Catching up on sleep is the best.

My only lucky element at this point is that I haven't gotten a charlie horse while trying to put on my underwear. I can only imagine that this would be dangerous and catastrophic.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Really? How is she getting out?

It seems that this week especially I have really begun to worry about something. Something that may be seemingly irrational in some ways but true nonetheless. It has occurred to me that in order for my little girl to be here, she will have to come out of this belly. My belly is getting bigger, it feels like everyday now, and moving is getting to be a little more difficult. Sitting too long is rough. Walking too long is rough. Standing. Laying. Rolling over from one full side to another full side and springing from the bed is no longer an option. Though, I remain active and cheery there is not only a forced sense of conscientiousness that is now coming into play with every movement, but the inevitable truth that she's gonna come out. Whenever she is good and ready. God willing that will still be in a couple of months, but she is still gonna wanna come out. And at the moment it baffles my mind on how exactly that is going to happen. She is the size of head of cabbage, honestly the physics/biology simply does not compute. Alternatively, the other option is that she stays in there forever, at the moment that doesn't seem like an impossible plan.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pregnacy as a Global Langauge

This week I have indulged my inner nerd and been at the World Religion's Institute which is an event sponsored by the Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education. Basically, it is a bunch of religion teachers hanging out talking more about religion. As we discuss the impact of colonization on world religious tradition and hear from a beautiful Apache woman to let go of the white (in my case Spanish) guilt. It is time that the present day community stop beating ourselves over decisions and actions that were made by others. It's refreshing and liberating!

Other than this permission to let go what has struck me most about being here, in relative isolation because cell phone connection is weak and Internet connection is spotty, that even though I am not one to bring up my pregnancy for discussion, it is a natural topic of conversation. At this point, the jig is up. There is no tucking in the tummy not that I ever wanted too. Since I saw that cross on the pregnancy test I have been waiting to look pregnant. So I am thrilled. I digress, so many folks want to share and talk about their experiences and it has been really wonderful to hear so many great stories. From one woman who gave birth at home after going to the hospital with contractions and was told it would be hours before she was ready to another that had a great birth experience in a warm hospital setting after years of trying to become pregnant. I feel lucky to have so many intelligent kind women in my life already and now supplemented by these equally strong ones. Women that have not been pregnant also have great things to say or ask and even men seem to embrace the mystery of the whole thing, as they bring up their wives and children. I know that some folks experience random people saying stupid things to you simply because you are pregnant, as if they are suddenly without social custom. I have yet to experience such audacity and I am thankful.

This morning our Apache scholar was sharing the significance and process of the Apache Girl's rites of passage ceremony. My own daughter, who was still snoozing (a girl after my own heart), started hearing the chants and listening to the story and begun kicking way in there. She was rolling. She was tapping. She might have thought my belly was her own drum to add to the rhythms. Later on, I was telling our professor at lunch, and she said, "She already knows is a woman!"

Monday, June 21, 2010

More New Mexican Fun

When I last wrote we had  ventured through a good portion of Northern New Mexico. We were still on short trail kick, so we headed to Tent Rock. Unfortunately, we made it all the way there and they were closed for road paving. We quickly found another delightful location to visit: El Rancho de Las Golodrinas. This living historical museum transports you to the 1700's Spanish Colonial village. We were lucky enough to stumble on the "Dances with Wools" festival (still has me giggly.) The odd thing about our little diverted plan was the over the top reenactors with their over the top friendliness were a little too cult like. Our stride got faster as we began to wonder if people ever left el Rancho. After this little adventure we headed back to the  hotel and took a nap. Naps are nice. It turned out perfect. One major recommendation when traveling preggers, go slow and rest, there is never a hurry. If you miss something, you can always visit again.

In the afternoon, headed to Canyon Road to check out the galleries and have a late lunch. I was so excited to find El Farol, a Spanish tapas restaurant. I enthusiastically ordered us tapas and a small gazpacho for me to start. Sadly, I was disappointed. The flavors were off, the gazpacho was just okay. It was an all around disappointing experience and it made me yearn for this tiny beach restaurant in Cadiz. We treated ourselves to giant double chocolate shakes at the plaza later on, since I will sadly have to take my diabetes test again. I might as well enjoy now. Yes, I failed it! Damn it! So I will need to take the 3 hour fasting sugar test at the ever so exciting Quest when I return to the 'Burg.

The next day we headed for Albuquerque since Eliot returned home this morning. We checked in to our hotel and went to Sandia Peak Mountain to ride on the World's Longest Sky Tram. I didn't really think too much about it. I didn't read the brochure. Once we were there, on the tram. I looked down. I hate heights. My stomach drops and my overly analytical mind starts racing about the weakness of man made things. The kid running the tram can't even vote, and the other passengers are making jokes about how it would feel to fall. We go passed the second major marker and the drop is far. Suddenly, my stomach drops further and I consider that I am horrible mother. I have place my unborn child in a tiny moving metal contraption miles from the solid earth and she can do nothing about it. My anxiety starts squirting silently out of my eyes. We made it to the land which is about 11,000 sq. feet above. Once we arrive the views were spectacular and the breeze was wonderful. We had a little lunch and took some pictures. On the return trip one of the young workers took the ride down on top of the tram, she was harnessed on and that was it. I found this soothing. I also positioned myself in the middle where I could't see a thing. May defeat the purpose for some, but it was comforting. Surely this was one of those moments that I being pregnant only produces more of an emotional response. I have been on the Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, The Space Needle; I have hike some ruins in Peru at some of the highest elevations in the world and somehow, I managed to keep my head. Who knows.

We rested again, and strolled Old Town Albuquerque. We had dinner at La Hacienda which was surprisingly tasty and had the best restaurant sopapillas we've had. This morning Eliot returned home and I return to Santa Fe to start the World Religion's Institute on Hinduism.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Santa Fe, Taos Pueblo and The In-Between

We are on our third night here in the Southwest part of the country and we are really enjoying exploring everything this area has to offer. Eliot lived in Gallup, NM for almost 3 years and is currently serving as the official driver and tour guide for this adventure. Our first evening here we explored Santa Fe which is a delightful small town filled with tons of local artists and great food. There are many churches in this area that have been here for hundreds of years. As we walked around we found a tiny little French Bakery that makes the best crepes and later on ate dinner at La Fonda.

Each day we have gotten up naturally early and taken a new trip out. Yesterday we adventured to Taos Pueblo which is an ancient Pueblo Indian settlement. Oddly it was another one of those moments that the Spanish guilt set in as the tour guide explained that my people forced her people to change their religion and abolish their native names. Sigh. My people never look quite good in retrospect. Their are about 50 permanent residents in the ancient village that still live without electricity or running water to preserve the historical significance of these adobe structures. We spent tons of time chatting with the various artists and falling in love with such kind hearted individuals.

This morning we did the short main loop hike in Bandelier National Park. It was a total of 1.5 miles but some of it was straight up steps. Admittedly, I was nervous. I am pretty pregnant and normally have terrible vertigo on strange mountain trails but it was great. We took it slow. Being in 6000+ elevation doesn't help tremendously with being out of breath and such but we sipped water and took tons of pictures. I even climbed a wooden ladder into a cave dwelling which look like holes on the side of the mountains but served as homes for the Tyuonyi Pueblo Indians. Then we ventured to Sanctuario de Chimayo, which was built in 1539. The most interesting part of it for me is the worship of Santo de Atocha which is the image of the child or infant baby Jesus. There was a separate church that was dedicated to this saint and it was decorated in bright colors, wooden carved trees with wooden birds placed on them, and ornate paintings lined the nave walls. There was a prayer room filled with baby shoes where I believe parents bring in the tiny shoes from their children as gifts and tangible images of their prayer requests.

In the evening, we went on the evening tour of Georgia O'Keeffe museum which was incredibly enlightening. I never cared much for her work previously but learning about her was really inspiring. She was truly a pioneer for women in the art world. We walked around town leisurely and finished the evening with dinner at Cafe Pasqual's which was amazing.

The first 3 days have been great. The hardest things to remember is to rest. There is so much to see and explore but at the end of the day, I simply can't run myself too terribly ragged. Finding the balance is an art.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pregnant Packing

Packing for a trip while pregnant is not an easy task. There is so much to consider. For example, there is the marathon dash through the Atlanta airport with only a 38 minute layover. I have to be prepared to do a 6 3/4 month belly sprint in the most comfortable of clothing possible: sneakers, lightweight pants, t-shirt and super light sweater for the possibility of a chill on the plane. During the day in Santa Fe the weather should be in the mid 80's: flip flops, skirts, tank tops and such. In the evening, it reports a shivering 55 degrees, and I can no longer fit into my winter clothing so my super shopping mama and I went and got a couple of things at very reasonable prices that I can likely use after I have the baby, which is nice. That is just the weather to think of!

I have truly been lucky that the handfuls of things that I have purchased are versatile and still fit, but there is the occasion when things are just not working well. Not to mention the EWE (emotional woman effect), which states that at any moment your outfit can make you feel ugly, fat or funny, so you have to pack for those eventualities because in normal state of womanhood you can shake it off, during pregnancy you have a hysterical cry, a long spacey sit on the bed and then the sense to change clothes and move on kicks in. I hope to skip all of the later by having many options. So with just a few waking hours left before travel, I am ready for our Babymoon!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cross Your Fingers

Tomorrow I cross every woman's pregnant mount Olympus: the Diabetes test. I fast tonight after midnight. At 8am in the early morning I will head to the  midwife office and I will gulp down the sugary tang like drink and wait. They will take my blood and then I wait. My biggest hope is that I won't have to take it again. I have heard that the second test is much more grueling.

This is the day I have been worried about because diabetes is heredity in my family. At a family reunion, you could spit and hit someone that has diabetes. Not to mention that it may make natural birth more difficult if I grow a giant baby these last 2 months or so.

So keep those fingers crossed out there!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dream a little Dream

Another thing that is wild about pregnancy is vivid dreams. It's like I absorb all the visual stimuli around me and while I sleep I am beamed to another dimension. I first noticed the impact when we watched The Hurt Locker which was a great movie, we went to bed that night I was sent to Iraq.  I fought in the war for 8 hours. I woke up drained, exhausted and wanting a hot shower to get off the sand. Since then I have been on Dancing with the Stars, living with the Cosby's and trying to house hunt internationally (I watch a lot of HGTV.) Last night was no different.

Yesterday was the Eve of the World Cup. I recorded a lot of the full day of coverage, so when Eliot got home we indulged. We listened Alexi Lalas and John Harkes suggest line-ups and give predictions. We watched some of the three hour 2010 FIFA World Cup preview. Earlier in the day I had it playing the background as I was doing other things around the house and the World Cup concert featuring Black Eyed Peas and Shakira. We went to bed and I was reading my Vanity Fair which on the cover has international soccer players in their underwear and Eliot was reviewing our bracket choices. Even the baby was into it because she was kicking like crazy. When I fell asleep I was there...on the field, running.

I woke up several times to pee and each time I went back to sleep I was on the field again. I kept forcing myself awake and pleading, please no more. And more soccer playing was in store. The painters arrived to finish off the room and I was still in bed defending the back line, pregnant and winded. Exhausting. Go Yanks!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pretty in Pink

This quote entered my mind today when the painters left, "My colors are blush and bashful...I have chosen two shades of pink, one is much deeper than the other" -Shelby, Steel Magnolias. It turns out I am thinking Sally Fields was right, "Her colors are pink and pink." Sigh.

Eliot and I attempt to make eco-friendly decisions whenever possible and our baby room paint selection was another one of those moments though it limited the selection, plus it was better for me, who should not be inhaling the fumes of traditional paints. We selected two seemingly contrasting shades of pink from the available choices. I decided that we would embrace the girlie because the furniture is very dark and a light pink on the walls would brighten things up but to add a little interest, I thought it was best to have one wall painted darker. Not sure it worked out. Oddly, the paints do look different in the picture but not sure it's as noticeable to the naked eye. Should I paint again? Or just move on to the next phase of baby room decorating?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Count Down!

Today marks the official 6 1/2 months of pregnancy! According to the literature, she can open her eyes now. How sci-fi is that? She can see my insides. Lucky for her, she has no idea what she is looking at, but I wonder if I pick up one of those prenatal educational tools and added an anatomy CD if she would be a medical genius. That is Mommy's bladder you are pushing on! Yes, that is her crazy belly button! As you can see on the counter, there are less 100 days left of my pregnancy. I can't believe that we will have our little one so soon. Of course it causes a little anxiety considering all the things that need to be squared away before her arrival, but surely that is just the excessive nesting kicking into overdrive.

Schools out for summer! Two days and some hours until the beginning of the World Cup! Eight days until we head to our Babymoon in Santa Fe!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pregnancy Models

As women in the United States we deal with some major psychological issues regarding body image. I have written about it before and to be honest, by in large I have little concerns about how my body is changing, except the fact that some days I am shocked about how big my belly has gotten. It is an odd mental adjustment. It's just surprising at times; you don't consider the fact that one day you look down and there she is. The thing that gets me, on behalf of all women is pregnancy models. How completely unrealistic!

Every single major magazine shows young, thin pregnant woman. How is it possible when the majority of women are now in their 30's and most women are not super thin? Where are the images of normal women? Do we as a society really expect perfection from ourselves? Wouldn't it be more helpful for magazines to have images of real women? Wouldn't that sell?

It seems that in a time of our life that we should be embracing our bodies; enjoying the changes, we are still being pressured to follow so many rules. We are still being pushed to tone, dress fashionably and be a certain archetype, even in pregnancy. When are we allowed to exhale and appreciate the moment? Isn't it enough that we are trying to figure out how to be good moms?

As a little girl grows inside of me I worry about how the world will influence how she sees herself. It is reported that young girls have strong body images as soon as they enter pre-adolescents (these days being called the tweens) their body image drastically alters negatively. They become very critical of themselves and it traditionally marks the beginning of eating disorders, cutting and other damaging behaviors.There are young girls empowering groups like the Ophelia Project and of course the involvement of club sports is also been reported to be helpful, but is it enough? In 1994, Mirabella magazine went as far to create their own computerized cover model. Now we have expectations of perfection that are not even real. How can we protect them in a world that is bombarded with media definitions of beauty?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sleep Tickling

When Eliot was little his parents use to give him tickles. It was a good soother and Eliot was immediately addicted to this lovely past time as a child. His mom reports that he would snuggle up next to her on the couch put his arm out, look up and say tickles? As little Eliot grew he continued to like getting tickles. When we first started dating he introduced me to these magical tickles and admittedly they are lovely. Though, some times tickles are too ticklish for me, more often than not, they are soothing. Whether at the movies or cuddled up watching Criminal Minds, Eliot likes getting tickles.

In my sleepless nights, I have discovered many more little sleep habits of Eliot's. He just doesn't snore in his sleep but he is a cacophony of sleepy entertainment. I was beginning to feel a little abusive because I just started yelling at him when he snored because nothing else helped. "Eliot, stop snoring!" and he would respond completely in the middle of his REM cycle, "I'm not snoring" and then diligently continuing to do so. So he snores, he talks in his sleep with no recollection of doing so AND it turns out he tickles. Yes. He tickles in his sleep. Suddenly, as I watch Jon Stewart make another sarcastic, yet poignant remark regarding BP, Eliot's arm goes straight up in the air. Then I see, he is giving himself tickles. He changes arms. He does it for awhile and he rolls over and goes back to snoring. I had to document the activity for the world, well mostly for me. I wanted to be sure that my sleeplessness was not causing hallucinations. Evidently, I am fine. My baby daddy, on the other hand, is a freak.