Sunday, December 23, 2012

Welcome to the Enchanted Forest..


We're like, 95% done.  We still need a dresser, a rocking chair/glider, to put up the valances, a few pictures, shelves, and decorations and we're done.  The hard part is finally over!  All hand-painted with the exception of some appliqué's.

The baby-hoarders piles have now left my office and are the baby's problem now.
I hope the baby won't be freaked out, I made the owl's eyes glow!
 Hoo's watching you?
I pretty much based the whole room on the nursery set we bought.
Things without a place: we still have to install the shelf for the lamp.
The day bed, for whoever wants to sleep in the baby's room.
Yes, that's the moon, and it's freakin' awesome!!!
The coolest nightlight ever!
The shimmering pond (in progress).  I have no concept of perspective, but then again - I'm not much of an artist.  I don't think the baby will care.
The shimmering pond (completed).  In the dark, you can see moonlight on the water.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

32 Week Scan

Our latest scan came Tuesday morning - a few days earlier than expected!


All is well, and the spine is still there.  :-)  I was traveling when it came, but it was a nice surprise at breakfast.  (And iMessage is so handy!)

Baby is measuring about a week behind (consistent with prior scan), about 3.75 pounds, and already head down!

Yay!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Pediatrician

Last Wednesday, we had a great visit with Baby's future pediatrician.

Honestly, until Morgan started talking to some of his co-workers, we didn't even know this was a thing - don't you just take your baby in when he/she is sick???  But apparently, there's a whole protocol here - who knew!
We live in a more rural part of Massachusetts (the whole state isn't Boston, ya know!) - so of our few close-by choices, we can go one town over to see the ONLY pediatrician in that town (who everyone loves, but who is swamped and the only pediatrician in his practice), or go one town over from that and be in a practice with several pediatricians who all cover for each other (read:  if you need it, you'll get an appointment, even if it's not YOUR child's doctor).  That one was a winner for us!  So we picked one of the doctors whose bio just seemed to resonate with us, and off we went.

Obviously, the questions you ask are very specific to what concerns you personally and fits your (and your baby's) situation.  For example, we've already decided against circumcision (if a boy) - she asked this, but we didn't bring it up.  The topic of vaccines is also very personal depending on your own beliefs on the subject - we discussed, but were on the same page as the dctor.

So we trolled Google for good questions (links below) and settled on these:


1.  Tell us a little about yourself, and why you became a pediatrician.  Do you have children yourself?

2.  What are your office hours/days, and what is your coverage if we want to be seen on a day/time you're not available?  How do we contact you for questions?  Is there urgent care available?  Do you recommend a specific hospital/urgent care?

3.  Through what age do you usually treat?

4.  Do you recommend...  a specific formula?

5.  When do you typically want to see a child during its first year (related to: what is the typical vaccine schedule for the first year)?

6.  Do you have other patients with same-sex parents?

She was a kind and upfront woman with good experience, and we felt comfortable with her.  She took her time and didn't rush us (though this was a pro bono visit).  And she actually answered most of the questions (and many others) as she talked, so it was really more conversational.  And that, honestly, was one of the big things I was looking for - can we have a conversation with her?  (And I will say - having solid experience giving job interviews really came in handy here too!!)

Morgan thought she was more business-like than he was imagining - but really didn't know what to expect.  But in the end, we didn't think she would just be gushing over our baby (particularly with no actual baby in hand), and we're rather happy at that - we want a doctor who can think clearly (one who cares, but isn't so emotional that they forget they're actually the one with the medical degree in the room).

Our questions were a splattering from these sites:


(Now, if you're really paying attention, you'll notice that these are the first three links when you Google "Questions to Ask a Pediatrician" - so yes, I was a bit lazy.  But hey, I just saved you about 10 whole seconds finding the info yourself!)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Flurry of Activity

The clock is just moving faster and faster, and things are just going nuts!


In just the past couple days:
  • We booked our flights.  We decided to just book flights in advance both directions and just hope timing works out!  We can always rebook (with fees), but we'll be arriving in Delhi very very early on Friday January 25th!
  • We reserved our hotel.  We're at the Svelte - it's a bit more than I was planning, but it's probably the best option for us overall.
  • We reached out to the Embassy.  Karin supplied a wealth of info, and gave me a whole new set of To Dos!!  :-)
  • We arranged for the DNA test.  We went with Chromosomal Labs, which so many of you recommended - Morgan will get his test done later this month.
  • The crib arrived.  Of course, we put it together even though the nursery isn't QUITE done - just couldn't resist!
  • We found a pediatrician.  We meet with her for just an informational chat next week.
  • And probably a hundred other things - if the task is checked off, then I don't care!
Already got our visas a month or so ago.  Just need to finish the work around the house, buy a few more baby necessities, and start planning for the actual trip and our very own Operation Exit India!

More to come this week!!!  Hooray!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

28 Week Scan

We got our latest scan Monday morning, just about 28 weeks.  We're so very happy that everything is going well.  No profile pics in this batch either, but I do believe I see a spine!


To those in or from the US:


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Speechless... (Super Double-Post)

POST #1:

We made dinner plans with our friends awhile back, as we thought it would be an excellent break from all the painting, nailing, sanding, drywalling, flooring, etc.

The plan was for sushi around 5pm and we were meeting at our friend's house.  And when we walked in the door, all my friends from work were standing in their living room:



Jaw, meet floor.  Yes, they all snuck around and planned a surprise baby shower for John and I.  It is, hands-down, the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me.  We got great gifts from great friends and it was a night I'll never forget.

As I write this, I'm realizing we didn't take pictures (we always forget to do that!), but they did take a video:

video

The awesome party favors...



We played a game where everyone places a bet on the sex, birthdate, and weight.  The general consensus is that it's a girl, born toward the end of January, in the (I think) 6-7 pound range.  My family also thinks it will be a girl.  I'm 51-49, leaning toward a girl - it seems like most of the SCI babies are girls, LOL.

The gifts...

Thank you, to all my friends, you're all honorary aunties & uncles!  Feel free to babysit whenever I want.

REGISTRY NOTE:  We made our registry at Babies 'R' Us and I guess a lot of what they have online, isn't actually in the store.  So if you're thinking of setting up a registry there, it may be better to go to the physical store to do it (and probably more fun!).  Almost all my friends said when they went to get something, it wasn't in stock.

+-----------------------------------------------------------------+

POST #2:

It feels like we've been working non-stop on the house renovations and the nursery.  And while we still have a long way to go, things are progressing nicely (though time is going by much faster).  The kitchen and dining rooms are mostly done, we need to reattach the trim & molding, and stain & hang some doors.

The nursery is a whole other beast.  John installed the hardwood floor all by himself (I tried to help, but sometimes two people = too much);  I opted to paint the dining room.  We painted the nursery walls (blue for sky, green for rolling hills) to prepare for the forest theme.  As John is reattaching the trim & molding, I'm beginning the mural.  I'm cheating a bit and using some appliqués for some of the the animals and painting the rest of the animals, trees, pond, etc.  Have I ever painted a mural before?  Of course not!  I'm hoping I didn't bite off more than I can chew.  I did simplify my grand design (by quite a bit, actually), but even so, this seems pretty daunting.

Work in progress:


I really can't wait to be finished with the nursery.  I'm keeping all the baby stuff in my home office, away from the pets; and right now, it looks like I could be on a show called "Baby Hoarders."  Wall-to-wall piles of baby things in a confined space, with no organization.  [Embarrassing Photo Not Available]  Ugh!

Before we left for our surprise shower, we received a box of goodies from my sister, Auntie Dana:

Thanks, sis!
BABY UPDATE:  No news is good news.  We're expecting a scan later this week - hopefully a nice profile shot (fingers-crossed).  We've got our names picked out (we had them locked-down months ago, actually).  I like to tease people by giving extremely difficult hints, and so far no one has come close to guessing the right names - and we won't let you know if you're right or wrong.  Go ahead, guess:

Boy name is biblical, starts with a "J", and isn't John (good luck - there are tons of them!).

Girl name starts with an "S", mentioned in a song from the 60's (any other hint would give it away).

Until next time...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

100 Day Countdown!

The pace is quickening a little TOO fast - counter says 100 days to go!  We're talking double digits - like, tomorrow!



Really, we're anticipating a week or two before that, but we'll take a milestone where we can get it.

So the overwhelm-ness is starting to sink in.  It's very sly.  Crafty even.  But as all the various aspects of our lives slowly start to ramp up all at once...
  • Work?   Swamped refocusing after an acquisition and reorg
  • House?   In various states of being remodeled or touched up, though I haven't touched the outside in months (oops)
  • Car?   At least that one's checked
  • Baby Prep?   We need to buy WHAT now?
  • Travel Prep?   Yahhhh.....
And how much time do I have again?

100 days!!!


But then I think of the little baby growing however-many thousand miles away - or I read someone's blog with their kid's first Halloween, and I smile.  BIG.


Meanwhile, as if life isn't quite crazy enough, we've started on Paleo this week.  Today is day 4, and going OK.  We really didn't plan this very well, but we're adapting.

I've done Atkins a couple times with good immediate success, but didn't stick with it long term.  Carbs proved to be the dominant lifestyle - though I know they're poison.  But so yummy!

Morgan is doing this with me this time, though, so we have mutual support and don't have to worry about separate meals.  All the cooking is a big obstacle.  I can cook pretty well, but I just don't like it - usually despise it actually, unless I'm going all out for a holiday or something.  So there's that to get over.

A big difference now is I'm more interested in feeling good, with weight loss just a side bonus (HOPEFULLY!).  So perhaps this motivation will be more successful!  (Until we get to India and live in a mall for 2 weeks - Morgan found their website today, and they have a Cinnabon!)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

36

Well, today's my birthday and it's been a week of fantastic gifts!

A new lease!  Something much safer to drive than the old car.  Baby will be able to ride in comfort, style, and safety.

The Jeep has a remote start and heated mirrors for those tough, icy New England winters and 4WD to get out of unplowed driveways.

I couldn't resist trying the car seat out!


We also went on a mini (and expensive) baby shopping spree and got a lot of small items that, when you really look at it, add up to not much...if that makes any sense: cloth diapers (for cleaning), wipes, thermometer, onesies, socks, small toys, wipes, kids movies that we can tolerate, aspirator, bibs, towels & washcloths, wipes, carseat mirror, hats, more receiving blankets, wipes, fleece pads, quilted waterproof mattress covers, bottle starter set, bottle brush, and a few more packs of wipes. Once unpacked, it looks like you barely got anything.

We also bought the nursery set that I've been wanting (pretty much since the moment we got the positive so many months ago).  We got an excellent deal online at Albee Baby (http://www.albeebaby.com - use coupon code "15OFF") - much cheaper than Amazon.  We did end up having to get the bumper on Amazon though.
Lambs & Ivy - Enchanted Forest Collection (illustration, not our actual nursery)
And lastly, the best gift of all...
...a clean bill of health!  Not the greatest looking scans, but as long as our baby and lovely surrogate are healthy, who cares?

Best birthday ever!!!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Deal of the day (10/13)

Deal of the day (for U.S. customers):

Head on over to kids.woot.com

Bumbo floor seat (in blue) with a play tray for $36.99

It comes with the $10 play tray and is still less than the cost of the seat by itself.

It''s much cheaper than Amazon, Babies 'R' Us, or Target!

You can use your Amazon log-in, & it's $5 shipping.  The cool thing is, anything you buy on woot.com has free shipping the rest of the day!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

22 Weeks!!

I can't believe it's been 22 weeks already!  That means - realistically - we're probably only 14 - 16 weeks away!
Baby should be about a pound right now, and about 10 1/2 inches!!!

We're finally applying for our Visas - hope to have those by end of the month.  Looking at flights, but don't want to commit yet.

Work has been busy, with two recent long trips in a row - plus working on the house and trying to find a new truck for Morgan, I barely have time to think.  Whispers of things to come, I suppose.

Fall is setting in - the trees are turning, and it's really pretty out.  I haven't actually gone outside in months (see above), but it's nice from the windows and in the car.  :-)

Actually photo - but from 2008 (again, see above)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Put your hands in the air!


It looks like there's a party going on in womb-town!
Oddly enough, this is exactly how I sleep.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Triple Marker OK!


Got it, and it was good!

Honestly, have no idea what the numbers mean - even after Google - and they included a nifty graph too!

So now we wait for the 3D scan (one of us more impatiently than the other :-)).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

19 Weeks! (well, almost): Saving Money


Let’s start by starting to save!

We’ve been fixing up parts of the house (I guess you could say remodeling) and things are progressing well.  Two words that should never, ever be spoken in any language, no matter the circumstance: “Let’s wallpaper!”  While John is proving to be quite the electrician by installing lights and switches, I’ve been peeling wallpaper off the walls.  Tip: wiping the wall with a mixture of fabric softener and water has made this job easier that I ever would have thought; it is just peeling off.  That, or even it knows it was a bad decision to wallpaper and is literally itching to come down.

I’ve been acquiring some more baby items (but no more clothes!).  If I see something that I definitely know we’ll need and use, and at a HUGE discount, it’s worth considering.  Also, registering for things has benefits.

Babies 'Я' Us: They give you a gift bag (a bit of a girlie one), filled with a catalogue, a sample of butt paste, breast pads (they make excellent yarmulkes for the pets - mazel tov!), a diaper sample, a wipes sample, coupons, magazines (with coupons on them), registry cards, and a neat notebook from Similac to track your pregnancy.  The notebook has been handy for notes that will eventually find their way into a baby book, but most of the printed content is useless for those in our situation.  Sign up for a Babies 'Я' Us points card as well, I guess your points get you free things and discounts as well -- be sure to connect it to your registry, any purchases made from the registry will add points to your card.

SIDENOTE: This is not our actual cat - I could not find the picture we took, but the cat's expression was the same: not happy.  Ok, enough blasphemy...

Cat Mitzvah or Puuurim?
Either way, Mr. Katz is not happy.
Amazon.com has a nifty feature that tracks who bought what to simplify your “thank you” list.  Also, 30 days before your due date, they give you a 10% completion discount to finish purchasing the remainder of your registry list.

Similac offers a ton of coupons and samples when you register through them.  There’s also an organizing caddy you can get with a coupon when you bring it to the hospital when the baby is born.  For the hell of it, I emailed them to say we’re having our baby through surrogacy abroad and they were kind enough to mail it to me a week later.  The coupons and samples don’t arrive until closer to when the baby does.  Also, in one of the magazines from the Babies 'Я' Us bag, there is a coupon for a free Similac baby bottle ($8 value, no purchase necessary).

Enfamil also has coupons, samples, and some sort of organizing kit.  Like Similac, they’ll send coupons and samples closer to the baby’s due date.  However, they pretty much told me I’m out of luck to receive the freebie organizer kit.  They said I could try calling them after the baby is born if they have any promotions.  Yeah, I’ll be a greedy sourpuss, Similac wins this round.

Woot.com has a kids tab that sometimes has some good baby deals.  I got a Jeep Car Seat Starter Kit for $11 (comes with a mirror, reusable window tint, a mat for under the car seat, an organizer for the back of the driver seat); a Jeep Shopping Cart and High Chair Cover for $11; and an Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym for $19.  Watch Woot.com, some days they have multiple “woots” so once an item goes away, it’s gone, and another will take its place.

Prices Drop Monitor:  A free app. for Mac or PC that tracks items you choose from Amazon.com and notifies you by email or notification center or when an item’s price drops and by how much.

BuyBuyBaby also has a free registry gift bag, but there are so few of those stores around, I can’t say what’s in it.

Pampers also has a ton of coupons to give (closer to the due date) and they also have a points program to earn rewards.  This reminds me of “Marlboro Miles” from my smokin’ days...  But I guess you can get some cool toys or more diapers with them.

EXPIRING 9/16: Babies 'Я' Us is having a “trade-in event.”  Bring in your old stroller, car seat, highchair...and they’ll give you 25% off select car seats, strollers, play yards, highchairs, etc.  We happened to have an old hand me down stroller we weren’t going to use, so we ended up with $25 off of a cheap travel play yard.  You can bring in as much as you want (see the website for details: http://www.toysrus.com/shop/index.jsp?categoryId=4346706&ab=Bru_homepage_aspot:3:The-Great-Trade-in-Event).  This may be good if there are a lot of garage sales or flea markets around you where you can get an old used item for next to nothing and swap for a higher discount.  Ends this Sunday!

Monday, September 3, 2012

17 Weeks!!!

It's been a LONG month - and quite worth the wait!  We got our latest scan in this morning - 17 weeks 1 day (just a day behind reality).  I see a face - A FACE!  A REAL FACE!


And in that last one, you can see brains!

mmmmmmm.....   braaaaaaains....

Monday, August 20, 2012

Week 15: Keeping Occupied; Apples & Oranges


Month-long waits between scans suck.  Two week waits (other than the first) were bad, but now you really have keep yourself occupied.  Depending on the baby guide you look at, at week 15 your baby is the size of an apple or orange - roughly 4 inches (crown to rump).  Things are progressing quickly and (thankfully) smoothly.


I'm never one to prepare.  I usually fly by the seat of my pants.  But something is happening to me. Suddenly, I want everything done before the baby comes.  I want to have everything we need ready to go so when we bring the baby home, there's nothing to do except feedings, changing nappies, doing laundry, and losing sleep.

HOUSEWORK

This weekend John began work on the bathroom floor of the in-law apartment (it suffered from termite damage) -- a task that would be lost on me.  If I was doing that by myself, I would have filled the gaping hole with cement and covered it with linoleum.


I moved out of my office/pet sanctuary into another room, so that I can begin work on the nursery.  I cleared the room of almost everything, grabbed a pencil, and began sketching the 360* mural I'm going to paint on the walls.  The good news: I'm a better artist than I thought.  The bad news:  this is going to take more than a few weekends and a LOT of paint. Good thing I'm starting early.  And if it turns out horrible, I can simply paint over it.

CLOTHING

We're getting quite a wardrobe going.  It's mostly my fault for having no self-control when I see baby clothes.  What clothes do you buy for baby before he/she arrives?  Baby clothes sizes: premie, newborn, 0-3m, 3-6m, 6-9m...ugh.  From what I've been reading, don't buy anything premie or newborn.  Chances are they will never fit (if newborn does fit, it won't after a week).

I think I should put an end to buying & receiving anything in newborn size.  If we need it, we'll get it in Delhi.  Perhaps concentrating on necessities in the 0-3m size would be the better path to go: white shirts, onsies, socks, etc.  0-3m outfits are cute, but maybe those should also stop (unless they're unbearably cute) until after the baby is born; that way we can get gender-specific outfits.

INVENTORY:
Newborn size: 4 onsies and 3 sleepers.
0-3m: 5 sleepers, 1 onsie, and 2 gowns.
3-6m: 1 sleeper.
Misc.: hats (one 0-3m, two 0-6m, one 3-6m, and one 0-9m), 1 pair of booties (6w-3m), 1 bib, 2 pairs of scratch mittens, 3 burp cloths, 4 receiving blankets, 2 other blankets (one thick, and one thin).

A VISUAL VOCABULARY:
ONSIES

SLEEPER (OR SLEEP 'N' PLAY)

A RANT ON GENDER

I hate not knowing the sex of the baby.  In India, there is a law (and I believe it is perfectly fair) preventing the doctor from revealing the sex of the baby to ANYONE.  They sign-off on every scan that they have not intentionally revealed the baby's gender to any party.  That being said, we want to know!  We hate surprises, and we are in very different circumstances than why the law was put into place.  But the law is the law.

I don't think we're the only one in this boat either.  I get why some people want to be surprised, I do. But I think most Americans find out what they're having (although I may just be reading the wrong forums).

Let's go to the store:
SALESPERSON: "Can I help you?"
ME: "I'm just looking at clothes, thank you."
SALESPERSON: "Are you having a girl or a boy?"
ME: "I don't know, it's a surprise."
SALESPERSON: "Oh, how exciting!  Let me take you to our yellow clothes section."
Okay, I love what we have in clothes so far, but is yellow the only gender-neutral color now?  Where did mint-greens and apricots go?  I mean, they're there, but they are hard to find in stores.

Never mind clothes, setting up a nursery becomes more difficult as well.  You walk by all the blue & pink nursery set-ups in the stores, and tucked away in the back of the store is the dusty old yellow bedding set.  For the color-blind, you can tell by all the return stickers and "reduced to clear" labels on them.

(END OF RANT)

AND LASTLY...THING'S YOU CAN'T UNSEE...

Will you be my friend forever and ever?
This cute & cuddly little fella is made from human placenta.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Hairy Lemon

Week 14: Your baby is the size of a lemon and is sprouting hair all over it's body. Can you imagine what's in my mind right now? A Fruit-of-the-Loom Robin Williams.

This weekend I looked at what needs to be done around the house before the baby comes. We have 20 weekends until the end of the year to basically remodel an in-law apartment, replace a bathroom floor (thankfully it's small), and create a nursery (replace the floor, paint, and furnish).

Nothing like a baby to motivate you to finish unfinished projects...

PS: I googled "hairy lemon" and came up with Australia's answer to the US's 5-hour Energy shots: http://www.hairylemon.com.au

Friday, August 3, 2012

I see a nose!

The 12 (or 13) week scan is in!


Everything looks great - we're near the end of our 12th week, and baby is tracking very nicely with all the stats we have (best I can tell anyway).  S/he's got quite a nose already - I would normally say he takes after me, but that would be some magic.

We're so excited to be leaving our first trimester - only 6 more months to go!  WOW.

Now comes the first really long wait - four weeks - until the next scan.  I've been lucky to have been traveling nearly every week lately, so the past three months have flown by.  But now I have nothing planned for a while, and I have a feeling it's going to be a LOOOOOONG August.

But a happy one!