Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Live, in concert...

Bob Dylan!  Last night, Tyler and I went to see Bob Dylan & His Band at the Aragon Ballroom, a nice small venue on the north side.  It was a great concert!  It's a general admission, standing only venue, so I was a little nervous about standing for a couple hours for the concert (not that I would have been ashamed to sit on the floor to listen to Bob), but I was fine standing the whole 2 hours.  I know it was pretty gutsy of me to even purchase the tickets so close to my due date, but apparently the coaching worked... Wait until November, Baby Girl!  Stay in until November!  The music was an excellent combination of Dylan's older folk music and newer blues style, and he even closed with All Along The Watchtower.  Tyler and I had a really good time, and I think Baby Girl enjoyed the beat of the bass paired with a little swaying.   It will be another great story to share with Baby Girl when she grows up.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Door warmer

This is a chalkboard picture frame Tyler gave me within a couple months of our first date. For years, it held a picture of us kissing and hung on walls in multiple sorority house rooms and apartment bedrooms. It's been empty for a few years now, waiting for its next purpose. Now, it has one, holding an ultrasound snapshot and welcoming Baby Girl home on the door to what will some day be her bedroom.

I love the sweet example of art imitating life.  The frame that once held a photo of us kissing now holds a photo of our baby girl.  It makes me look forward to what else this frame will hold.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


So, to celebrate being off of bed rest and get out of the house, I decided to do a little shopping today.  I walked up and down Milwaukee Avenue, browsing some of the boutiques, especially shoe stores- I'm in the market for a new pair of boots, though I didn't find anything that both a) would survive a winter in Chicago, and b) was in my price range.  I'm starting to think that some faux-leather boots would be perfect- nice and plasticky, less prone to salt lines and water damage.  Not very exciting though. 
I was only out for a little over an hour, and I cannot believe how exhausted I am!  Shopping- walking- moving- is so much harder than it used to be for me!  I feel like I'm still moving really easily with good flexibility and balance still, and I'm really grateful for that.  Apparently, though, it takes a lot more energy to do all that moving- and I wasn't expecting that!  
Now I'm back home, ready to rest on the couch for a while...  

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Diaper Duty (Already!)

Yesterday, I went to Be By Baby to check out their selection of cloth diapering materials.  They regularly host a cloth diapering class and boast a huge selection online, and sure enough, they were extremely helpful.  I'm pretty sure I got a personalized, one-on-one cloth diapering class for free!  I had done lots of research online, but seeing the diapers in person and touching them really helped when it came down to decision time.  Here is the loot:
I bought mostly pre-fold diapers, which are the old-fashioned square diapers that Mom used on me when I was little (except these are organic).  Instead of using diaper pins, we'll be using Snappis, these contraptions that work like a velcro cable to hold together the diaper without any sharp edges or pins.
snappi fastner 8 colors
Over the top go the colorful waterproof covers, which have been updated since we were young kids and now velcro closed in the front. I also bought two fleece covers, which are supposed to be waterproof, too, but are completely breathable.   
I fell in love with these SwaddleBees, which can be used either in place of the pre-fold diaper inside a cover for trips, etc., or can be used on their own around the house to provide a more breathable option.  They are SO soft I just want to hug them, and the top can be folded and snapped down to protect the newborn's belly button.  How cute is Baby Girl's bottom going to look in these, with the little ruffles around her chubby legs?  I can't wait to pat her bottom in these!
I realize that this won't be enough to get me through diapering a newborn.  My plan is to try using all of these and see which varieties work the best, what fits particularly well, and how realistic continuously cloth diapering will be, and then purchase additional supplies.  I didn't purchase any all-in-ones, which are cloth diapers with a waterproof exterior, pretty much the washable version of a disposable diaper.  If all the steps of the pre-fold and cover seem like too much for the middle of the night (I'm thinking of Tyler here), we may move towards some all-in-ones.  If the cloth diapering is going well, we'll opt for more pre-folds, which are super cheap and would be easy to add to our collection. 
There's a lot of preparation that goes into cloth diapering that took me by surprise.  The pre-folds have to be either washed in hot water 7-8 times or boiled for 20 minutes (I chose the latter- save time and water? Done!), then washed in detergent.  The SwaddleBees and diaper covers need to be washed once in detergent and 3-4 times in plain water.  I also didn't realize that cloth diapers need to be washed in phosphate-free detergent to maintain absorbency, and that phosphate-free detergent is actually hard to find.  Seventh Generation Baby Laundry Detergent is phosphate-free, but the Seventh Generation Free & Clear (which I have here) is not.  So, I had to purchase some phosphate-free detergent.  Be By Baby sells Charlie's Soap, so I just bought some of that for now.  I have to say, I like it.  A lot.  It smells clean but unfragranced.  A gallon container cleans 128 loads, which equals less than $.20 per load, and there's a pump to ensure the proper amount is used (and that 128 loads doesn't become 90 loads with generous pours).  The Seventh Generation Baby Detergent, on the other hand, costs $.90 per load (only 16 loads per $15 bottle?!?).  I'll have to look for other places that sell Charlie's- or just stock up!
So far, I've boiled the pre-folds and they are in the washing machine on wash #3 with the rest of the diapers.  Then they tumble dry on low.  Already today, I've washed two loads of our laundry and now I'm tackling... (duh! duh! duh! dramatic drumroll...)  our full laundry basket of socks that need to be folded!  I already know that I'm going to have to pull all of Tyler's socks out of his sock drawer to find the matches, so I've got a full afternoon of matching ahead of me.  At least each match is somewhat exciting and a small accomplishment in and of itself.  And, I have plenty of nesting instinct to get me through to the end of the task!  Gotta go restart the wash one more time...

Monday, October 26, 2009

37 Weeks! We're FULL TERM!!!

We've finally made it to 37 weeks!  We're now considered full term, even though we're 3 weeks from my due date.  Baby Girl is continuing to put on weight (which you can see from the increase in my bump size!).  The major development for me this week is the nesting instinct that has started to set in.  It's intense!  I feel an incredible need to be continuously organizing things- not necessarily cleaning, but definitely organizing (for example: refolding and reorganizing every piece of clothing in my dresser).  I'm still having frequent contractions that increase in intensity and frequency when I'm more active, but each contraction is no longer scary as it once was.  I've been told that I'll know when I'm in labor, so for now, I'm just going about my day.   

This weekend, we put together our stroller, 

added the car seat adapter so we can put our car seat straight into the stroller,

assembled the rocking seat,

 installed the car seat base in the car, and cleaned out the closet in the second bedroom/soon to be nursery (which inspired a cleaning out of the front hall closet as well).  Mom and Dad brought us the family cradle, so that is now in our bedroom, ready for Baby Girl.

I also organized the temporary dresser-top changing area in the bedroom (which will move to the nursery when our guest bedroom makes that transition).   

We got a lot done this weekend!  

Friday, October 23, 2009


Today was supposed to be my last day of work at JCFS, my emotional, bittersweet goodbye to the students and so-longs to my coworkers.  My plan was to spend, then, the next few weeks relaxing and preparing myself physically and mentally for childbirth.  
Boy, do plans change.  Instead, today is one of my last days of bed rest.  Beginning Monday, I'm looking forward to being more active instead of less active.  I'm not going to be trying to bring on labor or anything, but I'm really looking forward to being able to take Mico out by myself, doing some grocery shopping (with help loading and unloading the car, of course) and then cooking (I'm in the mood for homemade cookies!), and running last-minute errands before the baby arrives (we still don't have any wipes, for example).  I'm also looking forward to returning to my prenatal yoga routine, which always made me feel so much better physically.  I'll still be taking it very easy and doing my best to rest up for labor.  After all, 37 weeks is still early, even if we're no longer pre-term.  Plus, I have the added incentive of tickets to the Bob Dylan concert on October 30th... Baby Girl, hold on another week and you'll get to hear a legend perform!
It's not uncommon for pregnancy to be the source of strange dreams, especially late in pregnancy with the anticipation of the baby's arrival.  I've been having lots of dreams about our Baby Girl and childbirth recently, including one very vivid dream in which I delivered in the Alternative Birthing Center, my water had to be broken, I had a water birth, and Tyler put her on my chest (although he didn't catch her).  She was beautiful in that dream, and we even named her (but I'm not sharing what we named her!).  
Last night, I had a dream that reminded me much more of my pre-pregnancy dreams.  For some reason, my whole life, I've often dreamt of tornadoes when I feel very out of control in some area of my life.  It's as if my lack of control is represented by a natural disaster, and I can see the imminent destruction heading my direction, literally spiraling out of control.  Last night, for the first time in a long time, I had a tornado dream.  I dreamt that I was watching live television footage of a tornado that was heading towards the high-rise building that Tyler and I were in, and we had only seconds to run downstairs to safety.  When we got downstairs, we searched desperately for a safe place away from the windows.  While we were still searching for a safe haven for ourselves and my pregnant belly, the lights in the bedroom went on and I woke up.  
As I emerged from sleep, I realized, Yup, I'm definitely in a situation right now that feels out of my control.  For the past 3 weeks, I've been told repeatedly, "You can't do that," and "Stop, you shouldn't be doing that."  That's in addition to the list of things I've been told not to do, which feels like it's limiting my ability to be completely prepared for bringing Baby Girl home.  Even though I am looking forward to everything that the birth brings, apparently my subconscience is interpreting the upcoming birth as a huge, looming, swirling mass for which I'm not prepared and which may or may not leave a path of destruction.   
In some respects, there are similarities- I can't predict the timing of the birth or the details surrounding it, and I'm sure that life after the birth will leave me feeling less in control than ever before.  This pregnancy has been a lesson in faith and patience from the very beginning.  We had to wait to get pregnant (not in our control), wait for the ultrasound to confirm a uterine pregnancy (as opposed to another ectopic one, and also not in our control), wait to see if we were having a girl or boy (also not in our control), wait to see if my contractions were causing me to dilate or efface (again, not in our control), wait for fetal fibronectin test results to see if I would go into preterm labor (not in our control), wait every single day to be sure we made it through the day without progressing into actual labor (same issue- not in our control).  The waiting has paid off, and now we're waiting for the greatest out-of-our-control event yet... waiting to give birth.
Today was supposed to mark a very different milestone than it is, but hey... Some things are just not in my control, no matter how fast I run from the tornadoes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tyler's Favorite Commercial

Every time it comes on, he says, "I love this commercial." Considering 
how picky he is about commercials, I think that's quite a compliment.  
Check it out here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Last night, Tyler's work project team had dinner to celebrate a new phase of their project, and I was invited to join them.  We went to Topolobampo, Rick Bayless' high-end restaurant.  One of his teammates must have pulled some strings last minute to get us reservations.  Since Bayless won Top Chef Masters, Topolobampo has been booked solid 8 weeks in advance. 
Dinner was fantastic!  Tyler and the rest of the team ordered different 5-course tasting menus (including one tasting menu based on Bayless' Top Chef Masters experience).  Our waitress was extremely helpful in ordering vegan options, combining food options from Topolobampo and the next door Frontera Grill (they share kitchens), and even creating a desert option for me.  I had mushroom taquitos, black bean pozole, and a trio of sorbets, but since those descriptions don't do any justice to the food, here are descriptions off of the menu:
Tacos de Huitlacoche, Caldo de Jitomate:  Crispy rolled tacos filled with Three Sister's Garden huitlacoche (corn mushroom). Roasted tomato broth, crunchy pickled vegetables, avocado, Bayless Garden microgreens. 
Pozole de Frijol:  spicy vegetarian red-chile stew of pozole corn, black beans, grilled Healthy Harvest Garden wild mushrooms (hen and chick-of-the-woods) and calabacitas. Napa cabbage, radish, cilantro, lime and crispy plantain tostada.
My trio of sorbets included a peach sorbet, a Concord grape sorbet, and a pawpaw sorbet (which had a mellow banana flavor). They were all delicious, but the grape and pawpaw were exceptional, as in I've-never-experienced-eating-like-this-before fantastic.  Paired with organic tangerine ginger tea, it was a wonderful way to end the meal.  
Baby Girl got some got some good eats last night!  

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mmmm... Dinner....

Vegetable soup and fresh beer bread (Trader Joe's mix), all prepared
sitting down at the counter and then left on the stovetop or in the
oven to cook. A delicious meal.

I enjoyed the cooking almost as much as the eating. To be home and
not cook is incredibly hard for me. Clearly, I'm trying my hardest to
find ways around the rules.

36 Weeks!

We've made it to 36 weeks!
Your little one is now about six pounds in weight and measures slightly more than 20 inches in length. Growth will slow down now in preparation for birth, so your baby will be able to fit the narrow passageway to the outside and so he or she can store up the energy needed for delivery.

By now, many of your baby's systems are pretty mature, at least in baby terms —  and just about ready for life on the outside. Blood circulation, for instance, has been perfected and your baby's immune system has matured enough to protect him or her from infections outside the womb. 

According to, the lanugo (fine, down hair) and vernix caseosa (waxy coating) that covered Baby Girl's body are now disappearing- meaning a cuter newborn.  As the lanugo and vernix caseosa dissolve into the amniotic fluid, Baby Girl will swallow them and they become the meconium that will make up her first bowel movements.  Our Baby Girl is making poop!   
This morning was our birth plan meeting with the midwife.  Tyler was able to come with to participate, which meant so much to me.  Because many of the details that are important to me are standard for our midwife group, there wasn't much to plan.  For example, it's the norm for the midwife to place the baby directly on the mother's bare chest after birth, delay clamping the cord, and allow as much skin-to-skin bonding time after birth as the mother wants, without whisking away the baby to be bathed, weighed, stamped, and pricked as soon as she comes out.  We are opting to forgo the Hep B shot and eye drops at birth, and we'll only administer the vitamin K shot if the midwife sees a reason at the time of birth.  The best part of our birth plan is that Tyler is going to be able to catch the baby!  I think it's pretty fitting.  He helped put her in there, he can help get her out.  Another stage of life coming full circle.
We walked out of the appointment and twice between the office and the parking garage, Tyler said to me, "That was really fun."  We just had a conversation with our midwife that included the terms discharge, bloody mucus, merconium, and vagina, and the experience still rated positively.  
Tyler, you are going to be a great Dad.
Christmas 2008

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Hospital Bag(s)

Contents of my hospital bag:
oversize Tshirt and fitted tank top (not sure which I'll be more comfortable wearing during labor- but I get to wear my own clothes!), pajamas, going-home clothes, underwear, soft bra for nursing, standard toiletries (including unscented lotion, nipple balm for nursing, sanitary pads, and lip balm), fuzzy socks, slippers, rice sock (to be heated if needed), snack foods (I'm encouraged to eat during labor!), iPod speakers, change of clothes and swimsuit for Tyler (swimsuit in case he wants to join me in the shower or tub- I'm the only one who can forgo modesty!), list items to be added last minute
To be added last minute:
camera, camcorder, laptop, chargers for electronics and cell phones, pillows, makeup, hair dryer, ice pack, more snacks and beverages for Tyler and myself
Contents of Baby Girl's bag, packed in her diaper bag:
cotton onsie, fuzzy fleece sleeper, 3 pairs of socks (just to be sure), mittens, disposable newborn size diapers, two receiving blankets, all natural rubber pacifier, warm hooded fleece one-piece with feet for the ride home, Illini knit hat (because Tyler can't wait for her to show her true colors), yellow sleeper (just for all the stories I've heard of boys coming home in girls' clothes!)
The Labor & Delivery staff might think we're trying to move in permanently... 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

ABC Tour

Today, Tyler and I went to West Suburban Hospital for our tour of the Alternative Birthing Center (ABC).  We were one of 8 or 9 couples/families who took the tour, which was given by a doula with experience working at West Sub's ABC.  We started out in a classroom discussing the requirements of an ABC birth and then toured the Labor and Delivery department, including triage, the ABC rooms, the Family Delivery rooms (where I'll give birth before 37 weeks or if there are complications), and the Postpartum rooms (where I'll be moved 6 hours or more after the birth).  Being able to see the rooms is really comforting for me.  I now know what the environment will look like and can visualize myself in labor with more detail, which I think will really help me mentally prepare for the birth.  It's probably a good thing for Tyler to know how to get to the hospital, too.  

Friday, October 16, 2009


One month until my due date!  Only 31 short days until November 16, the day to which we've been counting down since early March.  Even though there's no way to know if I'll go into labor earlier than the 16th or after that date, being within a month feels like a major milestone.  I think it sounds like it, too- from now on, when someone asks me how far along I am, I can simply reply "Less than a month to go."  That doesn't sound like much time, does it?  I'm sure at least once I'll hear in response, "Oh, you're about to pop any minute now!" (I actually did hear that once already, but it was from a guy Tyler's age with no experience with pregnant women- and he said it about 2 1/2 months ago.  He's lucky I'm not easily offended... or the slapping type, for that matter.)
I know that there is still a possibility that I could deliver after my due date, but knowing that I'll likely go into labor within the next month is so exciting.  I can't wait to meet this little girl who is kicking about inside of me and hold the little limbs and bottom that I can already feel through my stomach.  I'm still thankful for every day that Baby Girl has inside of me and I appreciate every day... and yet part of me feels like Tyler and hopes that this next month goes by quickly!  

Thursday, October 15, 2009


"I can't believe she just hangs out upside down all day and doesn't get a headache or anything."
-Tyler, on Baby Girl's head-down position

More Preparations

In preparing to pack my hospital bag, today was baby laundry day.  Here is the first load of many, many, many baby loads.  
Look at all the cute pink and white and adorable patterns!  It's amazing how many tiny outfits fit in one load of laundry.  I double-washed all the clothes, bedding, and washable toys using my standard Seventh Generation brand all natural laundry detergent.  While part of me felt extremely guilty for using the water to wash the clothes twice, I just wasn't confident that a load of all new clothes would come completely clean of the new-clothes chemicals in just one wash.  It's a one-time waste at least.
This past weekend, we also made a typical new-parent purchase: a video camera!  
9456572 Angle Large
We wanted a small camera that could easily fit into our diaper bag/ purse/ coat pocket.  Knowing how much abuse the camera will likely take in those locations, we didn't want to drop a lot of money on an "investment" camera (especially with camera technologies changing so quickly).  It's not professional quality, but I think it will be good for what we want, which is really just to take videos to share easily with family.  It feels like a very typical new-parent purchase, and another step closer to bring Baby Girl home!

The Birth Bet

Tyler and our friend Matt have decided that my current state can be easily turned into a fun game that will include everyone they know...  The Nevius Birth Bet.  Friends can claim one or more of 80 12-hour time periods in which they think I'll go into labor, ranging between October 19 and November 27.  Tyler used his consulting experience to create an elaborate Excel spreadsheet where players can choose time slots and that even calculates each player's theoretical percent chance of winning.  Winner gets bragging rights, and perhaps a small pot, but really- bragging rights!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On my list of things NOT to try...

WLS-Ch. 7 anchor Judy Hsu gives birth on the Ike

wJudy-Hsu150x200.jpgWLS-Ch. 7 anchor Judy Hsu delivered her fourth baby this morning -- while riding in the front seat of a car on the Eisenhower Expressway. Hsu and her husband were on their way to Northwestern Memorial Hospital when Alexander James made his debut, weighing in at 8 pounds, 13 ounces, the station reports.  Mother and baby are doing fine, according to Hsu, who says the baby's nickname will be "Ike." Hsu told the station she went into labor just after 3 a.m. and left for Northwestern with her husband Tracy. "They made it to the inbound Ike at Cicero when they had to pull over. With the help of her husband, Judy gave birth in the front seat of her car," the station reported.
Hsu's husband said he remembered a story on the station's morning show of a couple who gave birth on the side of the road and the husband used his shoelaces to tie off the umbilical cord. 
Hsu's husband said he tried the same thing and "it worked like a charm." The paramedics arrived shortly after and took Hsu to the hospital.

Monday, October 12, 2009

35 Weeks!

Today is a major milestone- 35 weeks!  Now, whenever I go into labor, I'll be able to deliver with one of the midwives.  Just two more weeks to go until I can also use the Alternative Birthing Center at West Suburban.  I would love to make it past 37, but I think Baby Girl will tell us when she needs to come out, and whenever that is- now it will be okay!  
At 35 weeks, the Baby Girl is likely between 5 and 5 1/2 pounds and up to 20 inches long.  Her brain and lungs are still receiving some fine tuning, but most of her development is complete, including her now fully-functioning liver and kidneys.  My goals for this week are to research and hopefully choose a pediatrician, and to pack a bag for the hospital.  That, and rest enough to keep Baby Girl inside! Knowing that I could go into labor at any moment is a combination of scary and exciting... like I would expect to feel right before jumping off the plane to skydive.  I am looking forward to meeting Baby Girl more than words can explain, but I really want her to be strong enough to thrive once she's out, even if it means she needs to stay inside longer (that's that part Tyler is having trouble with!).  We just have to trust that Baby Girl will let us know when that right time is, and we'll meet her then.  

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wish List

Check out these beautiful, organic hand-made wooden toys and teethers made by Little Alouette out of Columbus, Ohio.  They more than caught my eye.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mail Call

Checking the mail can be a bit of a gamble.  Tyler loves checking the mail, always hoping for the best- something exciting addressed directly to him.  Most days, there's nothing in the mail box but advertisements for mortgages, Comcast, and telephone service.  There are also the regular catalogs that arrive, some useful (Crate & Barrel), others not so much (Smith & Noble window coverings, any clothing catalogs since the bump).  We also receive plenty of requests for donations from U of I, Cornell, JCFS, the Autism Society, and any other association to which we have been related in the last 20 years.  A few days each month, bills arrive.  And then there are the surprises, such as this one that arrived today:  
Yup, that is a jury summons.  For me.  A summons for jury duty now?  I was extremely relieved to see the date, though- November 4.  Before my due date.  I'll have a doctor's note!  I even called my midwife office to confirm.  Thank goodness!
Some days, atop our mailboxes, there is a nice little package waiting for me (or if it's a big package, it waits patiently on the floor).  Today was one of those days.  I saved the package for after the jury summons in case I needed a pick-me-up.  Mico investigated thoroughly to ensure the safety of the package.
The contents of this package were definitely good.
A soft, plush, warm and cozy new bathrobe!  I've had my old bathrobe for 10 years now.  It's traveled with me to undergrad dorms, the sorority house (where I slept in it most winter nights in the cold dorms, hood up), several apartments, Germany, Ithaca, and Chicago.  The once soft polar fleece is now thin and pilling the high-friction areas (like around the legs, where my lack of consistent shaving some years may have taken its toll).  The occasional rips and tears provide natural ventilation, I suppose.  But really, if there is ever an excuse to invest in a new bathrobe, knowing that plenty of people will see me in it in the hospital and anticipating living in it for several months post-partum are two excellent reasons.  And so, I ordered this, a luxury full-length bathrobe if I've ever seen one.  Waffle-weave cotton on the outside, soft terry on the inside, thick and heavy all around.  It just happened to be on sale, 60% off for Columbus Day at Macy's, which helped when I brought the idea to Tyler's attention.  Actually, he was so excited for me to be rid of the old bathrobe, I don't think he would have blinked at the full price, but I feel better.  (Sorry, Macy's is sold out already- I would have posted the link.  You'll just have to drool with envy when you come over to visit Baby Girl and see me enveloped in a vanilla-colored cloud.)
I anxiously unfolded the robe.  Beautiful!  Slightly overwhelmed by the new-clothes smell, I threw it in the washing machine.  It's now clean and dry and waiting for me on the back of the bathroom door.  Oh, the small luxuries in life.
Is it normal to get this excited for a bathrobe?  

Friday, October 9, 2009

Chicagoans are...

I'm not sure I agree with all of these opinions from Travel + Leisure magazine.  Are people allowed to vote if they have never been here?  At least they think the food in Chicago is good.  Thank you, Rick Bayless!

Travel + Leisure magazine poll: Readers peg Chicagoans as ugly, surly and not too bright

City ranks No. 1 for skylines and views, dead last in weather

Phil Vettel, October 9, 2009

In Travel + Leisure magazine's annual poll, in which readers rate American cities in myriad categories, Chicago is No. 1 (skylines and views) and dead last (weather) for the third straight year.

This year's poll, which compared 30 cities (up from the usual 25), pitted Chicago against the likes of New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Denver, but also against Honolulu, Santa Fe, Kansas City and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Wait. We've got worse weather than Minneapolis? So say the voters, who also ranked us No. 14 in intelligence, No. 19 in friendliness and No. 20 (out of 30, remember) in attractiveness.

T + L readers sum us up as ugly, surly and not too bright. Who voted on this, the IOC?

More insights: Within the category "type of trip," Chicago was ranked 22nd as an active/adventure vacation destination, 23rd for its relaxing resorts and 18th as an affordable getaway.

But in the "food/dining," "shopping," "people" and "culture" categories, we were No. 2 for big-name restaurants, luxury stores and theater; No. 3 for ethnic food; and in the top 10 for neighborhood joints, cafes/coffee bars and stylishness (homely but well-accessorized, that's us).

For complete rankings, go to, or check Travel + Leisure's November issue, on newsstands Oct. 23.

Taken at Chicago's free Blues Festival during BB King's performance last summer.  Take that, Travel + Leisure!

34 1/2 Weeks

Bump pictures at 34 1/2 weeks:
And pictures of my bed rest companions, who are keeping me company:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yup, bed rest....

Yesterday evening I had a midwife appointment.  Tyler actually got to come to this one, the first he's attended since I switched midwives.  He really liked Amy, the midwife who saw me.  He asked lots of really good questions about the birth and my limitations on bed rest, and his evident concern was really sweet.  After telling her about everything that went down at the hospital this weekend, Amy agreed that bed rest is the best option for me right now.  We talked about when I should call the midwife group since the normal guidelines of "regular contractions" doesn't really apply to me any longer.  Amy's explanation was to call either a) when my water breaks, or b) when the contractions are so strong that I'm squeezing furniture until my knuckles are white.  So, I guess that's what we'll look for- should be hard to miss either!  

Monday, October 5, 2009

34 weeks-- and bed rest...

Tyler and I spent yesterday in the hospital because I was having contractions.  Saturday evening, I had quite a few contractions, but I had half a beer (midwife-approved method for slowing contractions by calming the body) and the contractions slowed down.  It was such a sight to see me with a beer that Tyler took a photo of me.
Saturday night, I had four contractions that woke me throughout the night, which had never happened before.  Beginning at about 10 am Sunday morning, I was having contractions about every 10 minutes.  We finally went to Rush hospital at about 2:30 pm.  When the nurse hooked me up to the monitors, I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes, though I wasn't feeling all of them.  
(That double chin is NOT always there, by the way....)
The doctor took samples for quite a few tests, mostly to check for infections, which can cause contractions or preterm labor.  She also did another fetal fibronectin test and an ultrasound.  I was one centimeter dilated and 25% effaced (meaning my cervix was 25% thinned out- but that's exactly where it was at 25 weeks, so no change, thankfully).  All of my tests results came back negative, including the fetal fibronectin.  With all of the test results, the doctor concluded that with no additional stress, the chance of me going into labor in the next week is 1.7%-- excellent news.  I was discharged from the hospital but because I was still having contractions ranging from every 3-14 minutes, I was put on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy.  Because all newborns have to stay in NICU until 35 weeks, it's especially important that I not go into labor.  Before I was discharged, I was offered a steroid shot, which would help prepare the baby for preterm delivery.  The shots are only administered through 33 weeks because at 34 weeks, the risks outweigh the benefits.  Also, the benefits only last about 24 hours, so if I don't go into labor in 24 hours, there would be not real benefit.  I told the doctor I wasn't interested, and when she asked why, I told her that I'd rather continue with as little intervention as possible (thinking the whole time, I'm one day away from the risks outweighing the benefits and only have a 1.7% chance of delivering in the next day anyway- are you kidding?!?).  Tyler summed it up well by quipping, "She's a hippie."  Somehow, that explained it all to the doctor!
So here I am, on bed rest.  I'm SO grateful to have made it this far in my pregnancy.  I've had warning that I may be put on bed rest eventually, so I don't feel like it's a complete shock.  I've had two weeks to overlap with the new teacher in the classroom, so I feel like the students and my coworkers are in good hands and ready to keep moving on.  Tyler is likely in Chicago for most of the week, and when he goes out of town, I can stay at my parents with Mico.  Tyler's mom has also offered to come up if needed.  Matt, Tyler's best man, recently moved into an apartment less than a block away from us and is in town this week to help with anything.  Along with Mark and Todd and Sara and Traye and Liz who are always around, I feel like I'm in good hands.
I have a midwife appointment scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, so I'll be able to talk to someone else and get another professional opinion.  Even though it will likely be the same opinion, it will be nice to hear it from one of the midwives in addition to the doctor at Rush.  I'm grateful to have made it this far in my pregnancy and I'm thankful for every day that Baby Girl has to continue developing from the safety of my belly.  According to the ultrasound yesterday (which can be pretty inaccurate this far along), Baby Girl is 4 pounds 13 ounces- way too little to be coming out yet!  She's continuing to add fat to her body that will keep her warm once she's out, and her lungs are still developing.  Tyler is so excited to have a baby, part of him was hoping that I'd deliver yesterday.  Knowing Tyler is emotionally ready for fatherhood is wonderful.  I'm hoping Baby Girl and I continue to test his patience a little bit, though!


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