The Roof, The Roof, The Roof is.... nevermind

This post is about the roof! Our stupid, leaking, good for nothing roof.

That DH and his brother so kindly replaced.  Good thing little brother Hartman didn't have anything going on for this past weekend.... 

They look excited up there, right?  This was Saturday, around 8:30 a.m.  They had barely gotten started, so I have no idea why they look so excited.  If they knew what was really in store for them, they would not look so happy. This picture was taken after Breakfast 1 and just before Breakfast 2.  A lot of food is in order to keep Hartman men working hard.

If I ever wanted to convince someone that I lived in poverty, in a dilapidated shack, I would use this picture as "evidence."  There are stray cats and everything.

Demolition continues following Day 1 Breakfast 2. The gutters were an unintentional casualty of this project.  Apparently it's hard to tear off a roof and preserve the gutters.  You can imagine my excitement over discovering yet another unplanned expense.  But boys love themselves some demolition, so I'm pretty sure this was their favorite part of the entire weekend.

Day 1 After Lunch, the roof is off and about 15 pieces of plywood are replaced.  We probably should have replaced all of them, that's how crappy those boards were.  But we are poor with a capital PO.  So 15 pieces of plywood it is.

Here I am checking out the yard across the street from us through the whole in my house.  It's a good thing the sky was clear blue without a cloud in sight or I would have been seriously worried.

Day 1 After Snack, just before Dinner.  Plywood is all in place, and shingles start going down in the front.  We live in the middle of a mountain, so it can't get a picture of the front roof because I'm too far downhill at that point.  Believe it or not, this picture is taken only 3/4 of the way up our back yard.  Seriously - I wasn't kidding when I said we live in the middle of a mountain.

Who wouldn't love this mess!?!?

Day 2 after Breakfast 1 and Breakfast 2, the shingles start going on the back of the roof and I can finally photograph some progress.   I think the boys consumed about 96 cups of coffee by this point, between the two days.  I thought shingling would be the easy part.  I've shingled a roof in my day, if you can believe that (my mom didn't.)  But no one likes a pregnant woman doing roofing work, so I was relegated to kitchen and coffee duty.  Oh, and I painted in little New Hartman's room.  When I would get bored, I'd go outside and photograph.  Everyone loved it when I decided to climb the 40 foot ladder from the front of the house to check out the progress.  Yep, everyone loves a pregnant woman on a ladder.

Anyway, shingling took forever, and I won't bored you with pictures of that.  But here is the final product.

For all of the time, energy, and money that went into that thing I think I expected it to sparkle with flecks of gold or perhaps, I don't know, maybe shoot off some fireworks from it's peak.  No such luck though.  It's just a gray roof that hopefully (hopefully!) doesn't leak.  It shouldn't, right?

Of course, now that the roof is done, we need to look into replacing those gutters.  Our first estimate?  SEVENTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!! And that doesn't even include leaf guards which are essential in the suburban wilderness and an additional $2 to $5 PER FOOT!!! Seriously!?!?! This is highway robbery, people!  And now my poor husband feels compelled try to do the gutters himself, because to spend $2000+ dollars on gutters just seems outrageous.

Remember dear readers  - RENT, DON'T OWN!  Make your landlord fix that leaky roof!


The Woes of Homeownership

You may have noticed that I took a brief hiatus from blogging the past few days.  Believe it or not, even though I have tons of back posts ready to go, I was too busy to even get online and set them up to post.  Why so busy?

Well first, we're still doing renovations indoors following the dining room and office/spare bedroom work.  This time it's for the "old office" aka "new baby room."  Progress has been slow, to say the least, even though we're not doing much - painting walls and woodwork and installing new closet structures.  We also added a new attic access to this room, which involves a pull down ladder instead of the whole in my closet that was the previous access that required a ladder.

"But why do you need a new attic access?" you might ask.  Great question.  Well, we still continue to be plagued by the mice from hell that simply WILL. NOT. DIE.  After about 8 weeks of having a ladder in my closet, we decided we needed a better way to wage this war with the rodents.  We're still losing. Miserably.  Every night we wake up, listening to them dancing around above our heads.  This new batch of mice are fearless little buggers, and no amount of racket that we make below stops them from their disco above.  Our sleep is disturbed in major ways and we're constantly tired these days.  All we want to do in the evening is relax and go to bed.  Stupid mice.

Unrelatedly, during a particularly torrential downpour a week or two ago, water started coming into our bathroom.  DH went to the roof to do a patch and then visited the attic.  There was definite evidence that our roof was leaking.  Fast forward to Wednesday of last week (hmm... or is that rewinding, since it's now Wednesday of this week?) and water started coming into our kitchen.  While it was raining DH went back to the attic and found no fewer than 5 places where water was coming, and he only checked 5 places so who knows how many other leaks there were.  A few quick phone calls and we had a dumpster ordered, DH brother ready to drive in from Baltimore, and a need to dip into our savings account for an emergency re-roofing project.  Fun.

That was this past weekend.  Do you remember this past weekend at all?  It was cold. Bitter cold.  18 degrees in the morning cold.  Thermos' can't keep your coffee warm kind of cold.  And DH and his brother were out there from 6:30 a.m. to about 7 p.m. both days this weekend putting a new roof on our house.  If that isn't commitment, I'm not sure what is.

Our roof went from looking like this:

To this:

I had no idea our original roof was tan.  I kind of like it better in that color now that I'm comparing, but honestly, I could care less what color our roof is, as long as it doesn't leak.  Or maybe I just like that picture better because it was taken in the spring, at a much more artistic angle, and there are flowers blooming in it. 

Also, why does our house look like a shack from the back?  It's really an ugly house from this perspective.  I'm glad that we don't really have back-yard neighbors.

Anyway, a future post will be written with more details about the roofing weekend.  It was long, hard and cold, and I wasn't even up on the roof. 

It's times like these when we wonder why in the world we bother with home ownership.  If we were renting, our landlord would have to replace the roof.  If we were renting, our landlord would be responsible for bringing in an exterminator to deal with the mice.  And if we were renting and needing more space for an addition to our family, we would find a bigger apartment to rent.  Done and done. 

So for those of you who lament renting, read this post again and be thankful.

Artificial Sweeteners and Pregnancy

Before Pregnant Me (BPM), I essentially refused to consume liquid calories.  The only exceptions were alcoholic drinks and even then I would only drink light beer or liquor with diet sodas.  I primarily consumed diet sodas, sugar free kool-aid (a childhood vice I simply can not seem to give up), Powerade Zeros (LOVE them), and water during the day when I'm at work.

When I found out I was pregnant I was immediately concerned about what I could drink.  Since we were about to head off on our mini ski vacation and that usually involves at least a bit of drinking.  It's not like I was a huge drinker, but I am definitely a social drinker, and going to a bar or being around others who are drinking and partaking as well is fun for me.  One minute I was allowed to drink, and suddenly the next I could not.  I think it was probably like quitting smoking cold-turkey - I was angry, sad, confused, resentful, depressed, jealous, and a whole range of other emotions.  I guess I can blame my moodiness on the pregnancy - god knows I have been extremely emotionally sensitive the past few weeks - but let me tell you, I was not pleasant to be around.

Anyway, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, artificial sweeteners.

So before embarking on our trip I decided that I needed to stock up on tasty, flavorful beverages that would hopefully help me to feel less sad about the fact that I couldn't drink.  I bought a bunch of my favorite flavored, carbonated waters, the Sierra Mist Free Cranberry flavor, Powerade Zeros, and a couple of other things.  It wasn't until after purchasing all of these things that DH and I realized we had absolutely no idea whether or not I was allowed to drink artificial sweeteners, which all of these beverages contained.

I had checked out a book from the library called Pregnancy Do's and Don'ts and it's basic recommendation was that artificial sweeteners were fine during pregnancy as long as they were consumed in moderation and as long as they did NOT contain saccharine, which has apparently been proven to cause cancer in rats.  Saccharine is the main ingredient in Sweet and Low, so if you current use Sweet and Low I would highly recommend that you switch to something else.

I did a lot of online research as well, and found an article written by the American Pregnancy Association to be the most helpful.

Stevia and Splenda - Both have been deemed as "safe" for all people, including pregnant women.  Stevia can be found in products such as Truvia, Stevia in the Raw, and Sun Crystals.

Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet) and Acesulfame Potassium (in a product called Sunett, I've never heard of it) - Both have been deemed to be safe for pregnant women in moderation.  The in moderation piece is apparently key.

Right now, I use Sun Crystals or Splenda in my morning coffee, so I'm good there.  I currently drink a soda at lunch time and will consider purchasing Diet Coke with Splenda if they still sell that, since it would be better than consuming aspartame.  I'll still get a little aspartame in the evenings when I have my glass of Kool-Aid with dinner, but only one instance of aspartame per day is moderate, right?

So, although I am by no means an expert on pregnancy or sweeteners or anything really, that's what I found in my research and that is the information that I am using to make informed decisions about what I should and should not consume during this pregnancy.

2-24-11 - The Cough

Written on 2/24/11

I still have this nagging cough, which has been killing me at night.  As soon as I start drifting off I cough, and then I am wide awake again.  I try focusing on keeping my throat moist by swallowing a lot to prevent the coughs, but then I realize that doing so just makes me be wide awake again anyway, so why not just cough?

Last night really set me over the edge.  It is day 9 of this incessant cough.  I like to sleep.  A lot.  And I hate that my sleep is being interrupted so constantly.  I basically cough until I am so exhausted that I pass out for a few hours, and then I wake up again and start coughing some more.  I am tired all day, and not motivated at all in the evenings.  On the weekends, because I can, I want to take a nap but sometimes it does feel like I'm wasting away my precious weekends.

In any case, I will be calling my doctor's office tomorrow.  Now that I'm in the 2nd trimester, I hear that there are medication options that I can try to attempt to help with these symptoms.

2/23/11 - 14 Weeks - End of the First Trimester!

Written on 2/23/11

Today marks the official 14 week point.  Depending on who you ask, the first trimester ends after either 13 or 14 weeks, but the practice I go to says 14 weeks so I'm sticking with that as well.  Regardless of how I define it, I am finally out of the first trimester and into the second!

Here's what I look like at 14 weeks:

Gotta love that look Murph is giving me....

I have a really rough week last week with a cold and a nagging cough that has been keeping me up most nights.  The tiredness has left me feeling lazy and unmotivated, which meant no workouts for almost an entire week, and a lot of giving in to cravings of not-so-healthy foods.  I gained two hold pounds in one week, for a total of 4 pounds gained total in this pregnancy so far, so I'm planning on losing those two - or at least most of them - this week as I get back on the diet train.

My stomach still isn't noticeably larger to anyone who isn't the wiser, but I definitely notice it.  Also, after I eat, especially if I eat even just a little too much, it puffs out like I'm at least 6 months pregnant and it hurts soooo bad.  I'm still wearing all of my pre-pregnancy work clothes, but there are a few pairs of pants that definitely leave button marks on my stomach when I'm sitting at my desk all day - those will soon be retired.  I have at least 3 pairs of pants that were always a little too big on me so I'm hoping those will get me through the next two months or so to when it's slightly warmer and I can start wearing skirts and dresses.

2-17-11 - First Trimester Screening

Today we had an appointment to meet with a genetics counselor and have a first-trimester screening done.  Our meeting with the genetics counselor was pretty useless, if you ask me, and I don't think we'll go back unless something is found to be really wrong from the screening.  She seemed really scatterbrained and spent the entire time asking us questions about our family history and drawing a big family tree on a piece of paper for her records.  And that was it, really.  She didn't really "counsel" us in any way, or offer any advice or guidance as to how we should proceed with what ended up being a really convoluted and messy family medical history.  So we left without asking any questions, because we didn't really have any confidence that it would be helpful anyway.

I think we're ready to move forward with a positive attitude.  No worrying about the "what ifs."

I then had blood work and an ultrasound done as part of the first trimester screening, which is mostly a screening for Down's Syndrome.  I did not initially realize - until speaking with my insurance company to make sure that this screening would be covered - that we would have an ultrasound done as part of this appointment.  I was excited for that part of it, and it did not disappoint.

Even at only 13 weeks, the thing in my stomach definitely looks like a baby.

In fact, it even looks like a baby that might belong to us!  Big forehead (us), long legs (us), and an enormous nose (DH).

The ultrasound was definitely a more exciting moment for me than the heartbeat appointment was.  There were no "manual internal adjustments" needed for them to get a clear picture of my uterus so it wasn't uncomfortable at all.  I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but I was definitely shocked when we could clearly see the form of a baby the moment she touch the wand to my stomach.  No trouble finding it at all!

In about 7 weeks, we will have the ultrasound that will tell us the gender.  We had already talked about it and we both want to know.  I am tired of calling this child "it" and DH always resorts to saying "he" so we're ready to start using the proper pronoun!  I'm excited!

2-16-11 - Hit me like a peach in the face

I am officially 13 weeks today.  According to the app on my phone, the baby is now the size of the peach, thus the peach reference in the title above.

However, this post is not about fruit or even the baby.  It's about me getting sick, completely out of nowhere.  I was totally caught off guard, just like if someone had thrown a peach in my face (because who in the world would be expecting that??)

Yesterday was a busy day for me at work, and at the end of the day I had to give an hour and a half long presentation that involved me talking for most of the time.  As I was walking towards my car I noticed that my throat was sore, but I figured it was from projecting my voice so much for the presentation.

But then I swallowed. And there was a slime in the back of my throat.  And I sniffed, and my nose was stuffed up.  I couldn't believe it, but at some point between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. I had come down with a cold.

I was miserable all night last night.  I was swallowing nasty thick slime that made me feel more nauseous that anything else associated with this pregnancy has so far.  I wanted to use nasal spray so bad - it's my go-to drug for when I'm stuffed up because it's so damn effective.  But obviously nasal spray is a no no.  Sad....

I knew that the immune systems of pregnant women were always weaker than normal.  In fact I read - and I'm pretty sure that I mentioned this here already in a previous post - that the reason for this weakened immune system is so that your body doesn't try to reject the baby as something harmful.  I think that's so crazy.  Anyway, I've always had a pretty good immune system and don't regularly get sick at all.  I have allergies that are sometimes really bad, but I can tell the different between bad allergies and actually being sick, and I am almost never sick.

The worse part of the whole thing is that I can't sleep at night, because I can't breathe.  And when I can finally breathe, I start coughing.  It sucks.  Even worse than that is my bladder. It's pretty normal for me now to have to go to the bathroom every time I wake up during the night, even if I just went an hour ago.  So when I sleep for 20 minutes and then wake up again, my body makes me think that I had to go to the bathroom again, so I get up - thus fully waking myself at that point - to the go to the bathroom.  Then I drink some water to help with my dry throat, which only results in adding more fluids for my already over-active processing system to work with.  It's an endless, horrible cycle.  I think I went to the bathroom at least 6 times last night.  That is definitely a new record.

I really hope that this doesn't last too long.  Come on immune system, you can do it!

2-13-11 - Maternity Clothes

I have been gradually stocking up on maternity clothes, and today I made quite a few purchases to add to my arsenal of clothing for the upcoming summer.

So far, I've already purchased a swim suit, khaki skirt, and a top from Motherhood Maternity.  What I've learned so far is that I am definitely a medium in shirts and tops, and somewhere between a medium and large in bottoms, but hopefully since I'll be wearing this stuff in the last three months, the bigger sizes (I got larges in everything) will fit.  I think for any future purchases though I'm going to order mediums.

I also ordered a pair of gray dress pants that I found on that were on clearance for $13, and two maternity tank tops, since black and white ribbed tank tops are pretty much a wardrobe staple for me year round.

Then this past weekend I went to Gabriel Brother's to browse for a new purse (and found not one, but two for $7 each!) and I noticed that they had some maternity clothes.  Granted, it was only three racks (what stores, other than Motherhood Maternity, are in the Pittsburgh region and have actual physical locations where I can browse through racks!?!??!) but I was excited to be able to try some things on instead of just shopping from the internet.

I picked up some Old Navy Maternity tanks that they no longer have on their website, but that are basically just a tank top with an empire waist, and I got it in three different colors because I loved how they fit.  They were fitted and cute while still leaving plenty of room for growing.  I also picked up a white short-sleeved v-neck shirt, a pink Old Navy shirt with ruching on the side, and a pair of just below the knee skinny denim capris (can you really call something that is part of a maternity line "skinny?"  Probably not.) The shirts were all $5.99 each and the jeans were $7.99, so for $37.94 I got 6 items and I feel like I got a ton of clothing!  Definite win! If I can continue to stock up on stuff like this when it's on sale, I won't have to spend $1000 to make my wardrobe maternity friendly.  My regular pants are already starting to feel a little tight, but I haven't yet had to start unbuttoning my pants, so at least there's that!

Then a day later, I also purchased a pair of maternity jeans from Target for $7.50.  They were originally $29.99, and the sticker said they were on sale for $14.98, but they rung up for $7.50! I love surprise discounts.

I tried to do a little photo fashion show, but I more or less failed.  The lighting in our house is pretty horrible at night (not a lot of overhead lighting, so it's all lamp light) and I'm not very skilled at self-photography.  But here they are anyway.  At least you get a sense of what I've gotten so far!

One of the Old Navy tanks with the Motherhood khaki skirt

 The Target jeans (full panel) - they're like, 95% spandex.  I'm not sure if there's actually denim in them.  Thus super comfortable.

The demin capris with the white v-neck tank

Another shot of the denim capris - these are under-the-belly pants, unlike the Target jeans

As you can see, I'm trying both the "full panel" and "under the belly" versions of things. Some people feel strongly one way or the other, but so far they've both felt fairly comfortable to me.  I may have a strong opinion later on, but for now I'm going to give both styles a fair try.

Now that I've invested some money into these clothes, I need to hope that everything still looks as cute when I'm 20 pounds heavier in the middle.  Some of these clothes are so cute and comfortable I seriously could start wearing them now!

2-10-11 - Genetics

Today I called to make an appointment for the first trimester screening - a fairly routine process where they do bloodwork and an ultrasound to test for your risk of having a baby with Down's Syndrome.  While on the phone with Magee - the screenings are performed at the Magee Center for Genetics - the question came up as to whether I or my husband had any history of genetic disorders, and my response raised a whole lot of issues.

You see, DH actually does have some genetic family history, and although we weren't initially too concerned about risk, I'm starting to wonder if this could be a big deal.  If a chromosomal disorder is in his family history, then it's very possible that DH is a carrier even though he doesn't display any symptoms. I'm not sure how much we should worry - or if we should even worry at all - but for now we're going to move forward with the tests and just keep our fingers crossed that we both have good genes.

2-12-11 - 12 and a half week pic

I'm not very good at taking weekly pics, but there's also not a ton of change to record right now.  I think in the future it will be easier to be more regular about picture taking because I'll want to see the changes.  Who knows, maybe when I go back to look at these later on, I'll actually notice a change!

The other thing is that because my "weeks" start on a Wednesday, I don't usually get around to taking a picture to the weekend, so all of my pictures are "and a half" for the most part.  Oh well.

Wow, note to self - do NOT take these pictures first thing on Saturday morning when you're hair is greasy and you still have your glasses on.  Definitely NOT the best look.

This week I actually feel like my stomach looked flatter than usual.  But the next day it was right back to feeling big a puffy. No new symptoms lately.

It's still really hard for me to be around people who are drinking, because I want a drink soooo bad, but I think it's slightly less painful that before.  I'll really be put to the test this coming Friday when we're meeting up with some people at a bar where there's not much else to do than drink.  But every week this becomes slighter more real, which makes it slightly easier.

2-14-11 - Migraines and pregnancy

The thing that I feared most happened this past weekend.  I got my first migraine while pregnant, and it was not pretty.

It started as a regular old headache, which is usually what happens, but I could still tell right away that it was going to be a migraine.  Maybe it's really not just a "regular old headache" after all, since I can always seem to tell the difference between a headache that is going to progress to a migraine, and one that is not, but for some reason I still always perceive them as one in the same.

I fell asleep around 8:30 p.m. last night, not because I was tired but because my eyes were throbbing and I couldn't stand to keep them open.  I woke up around 9:30 when DH came to bed, and I noticed that my nose was stuffed.  Not only did I have a migraine, but my sinuses were clogged (I'm sure that wasn't helping the headache at all.)   I had a mini panic attack, as not only could I not take a Max-Alt, which is the prescription I usually take at the first sign of a headache to ward off it's progression to a migraine, but I also couldn't use nasal spray to clean the blockage in my sinuses.  It was my worst nightmare come true and I tried to relax myself enough to go back to sleep.  DH left the room a few minutes later, since I sounded like a dying horse whenever I took a breath, and although I felt bad forcing him out of the room, it was probably a wise decision on his part - there's no reason for both of us to stay awake all night suffer. 

Last night was a new record for late-night bathroom breaks - 5 total trips.  I kept waking up from the intense pain, holding my head with my hands and thrashing back and forth.  I wanted drugs soooo badly - I am so not used to not being able to treat my ailments.  The headache is still there, overwhelming and painful but it seems like I'm going to make it through the workday without having to go home.  I can't wait until a couple more weeks, when I can at least take tylenol if I need to.  Who ever thought I'd be excited for Tylenol?

2-8-11 - Everyone and their mother

Lately it seems like everyone and their mother is pregnant.  Seriously.  I can't tell if it's because everyone really is pregnant or if I'm noticing more because suddenly I am too, only no one else really knows about it.  In general, we are still keeping everything a secret.  I only tell people if there is no way around telling them, such as the people that we met up with at the Super Bowl party on Sunday.  6+ hours at a bar and not a sip of alcohol would make anyone suspicious (at least, anyone that knows me.)

My stomach is definitely growing.  I'm trying to stay positive about it and I keep reminding myself that it's not fat, it's a small human.  A good reason to gain weight.

When I work out in the evenings I always used to feel so good afterwards.  I would stretch and touch my stomach and feel my abs, which I always believed were more pronounced right after a workout.  This all sounds incredibly vain, I am just realizing, but it's the truth.  Those abs, that feeling of those abs, was an incredible motivator.  It reminded my why I workout and kept me going from one day to the next.

Now that's gone, and I'm not sure what I have to replace it.  Any suggestions??? I just need to get past this mental roadblock.  I think I'm close, just not quite there yet.  Soon, hopefully.

Also, I ate a turkey sandwich today for lunch.  I totally forgot that I'm not supposed to eat deli meat.  It was so tasty and I totally didn't even realize it until after I was done eating it that I shouldn't have.  I guess I shouldn't stress about it too much at this point, since it's over and done with and probably already digested.  Hopefully nothing bad comes as a result of it.   I love deli turkey so this "no lunch meat" thing is really hard for me - but not as hard as the "no alcohol" thing.

2-2-11 - The Second Appointment

I had my 2nd prenatal appointment on February 2nd.  This was supposed to be the "big" appointment, but apparently the doctor that I saw during the first appointment covered the majority of bases, including the blood work, so this one didn't end up being that big of a deal.

First she went through a lot of information with us (it was with a different doctor from last time.)  That was nice since I didn't really feel like we got much information at the first appointment.  We talked about genetic testing such as the CVS and first trimester screenings, and I think we're probably going to do the less invasive first trimester one.

We also got to hear the heartbeat although it wasn't an easy process, which is made it notably less exciting.  Basically, because of my retroverted uterus, which is tilted back towards my spine instead of towards my stomach, it makes it very hard to find the heartbeat.  The doctor couldn't find it at all.  She finally had to call in a nurse who used the doppler thing to find the heartbeat while the doctor manually and internally shoved my uterus towards my stomach with her hand.  The discomfort (it wasn't painful, but horrible uncomfortable) of that pretty much negated any excitement that I might have felt at hearing the heartbeat, since I was cringing the entire time.  I'm pretty sure when the nurse excitedly said, "There it is! Do you hear it?!" I grunted something like, "Oh.. yeah."

Oh well.  It can't be a magical moment for everyone right?

A Family of Mice

It's fairly obvious to us that there's a family of mice living in our attic.  We can't keep up with their procreating, although we are doing our best to try.

Last night - after that horrible night of listening to nesting noises and finally sleeping in the spare bedroom - DH went up into the attic with a plan.

Part 1 - Remove all of the insulation in the area where we most frequently hear the mice.

Part 2 - Relocate all of the traps to this area.

Part 3 - Cross our fingers for the sound of the "snap!"

The good news???

We caught one!! At around 4:20 this morning I was startled awake by a loud "snap" and then "thump."  My subconscious had apparently been waiting for that noise all night, because even though I was still mostly asleep I exclaimed "Yay!!!" and woke up DH in the process.  He was like, "Huh? What happened?"  And I, now full awake, responded, "We caught a mouse!"  I'm pretty sure that the trap snap so quickly that it shot up into the air and then landed on the bare wood just above the dry wall, which is why it was so loud.

I was thrilled that we had caught a mouse, and my sleep was pretty much ruined after that (I've been having a horrible time sleeping lately.)   The bad news is that in the hour or so after that first mouse was caught, I heard the pitter patter of another one, in the same area, probably coming to see what had happened to Uncle Mickey.  (Hahahaha! He's GONE sucker!)  I listened intently for another snap, but this mouse did not take the bait.  Damn.

Then this morning when I was getting ready for work I heard the same pitter patter and digging noises on the other side of the house, above our living room.  Damn again.  We will never win.

Anyway, about our plan that I mentioned above.  Removing the insulation might sound like a stupid idea - after all, we're probably just wasting heat since it's still pretty cold at night.  But you have to understand that we are desperate people taking desperate measures, and it's only for the short term.  Our hope is that we can kill the mice that are there now, and then no new ones will come.  (We can dream, right?)

My thinking is that right now, even when we kill a mouse or two, there are a bunch of other family members still up there inviting their aunts, uncles, in-laws, and second cousins to join the party in this awesome house!  Kill the messengers and the word won't get out.  That's my plan.

DH's plan is a little more practical.   Once we feel we've killed most of the mice, he's going to re-insulate the section of the attic and secure floor boards down.  He's going to take every measure possible to make sure that the area under the floor boards (the area above our bedroom) are air-tight and completely mouse proof.  We'll probably have to repeat that for the next 20 years of our life until we can do that for the entire enormous, currently useless attic.

So we caught one mouse, and every dead mouse is a good thing, right?  That's the good news.

The bad news?  DH discovered that our roof is leaking and we're going to need to replace that asap.  More on that story later.  But I have to ask myself, Does the drama in our lives never end?


Written yesterday, March 16th - Blogger was giving me issues and I wasn't able to post it! Also, update coming later today.


I had hoped that when I wrote my last mouse-related post a few weeks ago, it was truly going to be the last one.  I'm sick of dealing with - and writing about - mice, and I bet you're sick of reading about them.

But it appears that our mouse-capades are not yet over.

We'd been noticing occasionally that it seemed like the mice were back, but it wasn't too horrible.  A sound here and there, but it wasn't keeping us up at night.  We thought we had adequately covered their entrance point, but apparently they either found a new one, or that wasn't their entrance after all.  Then, DH found a dead mouse in one of the old traps that we had set back in January, and once we removed the body, apparently his family came en mass to protest.

Ever since the carcass was removed, the mouse noises have increased.*  A couple of nights ago DH put down some floor boards and positioned 4 fresh new traps each baited with a base of peanut butter and an additional tasty treat.  These treats included raisins, cheese popcorn, a crouton, and a dog treat.  The hope was that at least one of those treats would entice the mouse to die.  You know where this is going, right?

Last night, I woke up around 12:30 for the first of my nightly bathroom visits (which usually number around 2 or 3.)  At that time, I heard the mouse.  He was right above my bed and making crazy loud noises.  I would love to know what they're doing up there.  Can digging in insulation really be that fun?

Anyway, I tossed and turned for an hour and a half or so.  DH started becoming restless around 2 - probably because I was moving around so much.  At 2:30 I got out of bed and went to the kitchen to get a drink.  I had made the decision to sleep in the spare bedroom.  I figured that if DH didn't completely wake up, he might be able to sleep through it.  But apparently he completely woke up because a minute later he was coming out of the bedroom asking what I was doing.

He decided that he was going to up there and whack a broom around for a minute or two to try to scare the thing away.  I was stationed right under the mouse noise so that I could listen and hopefully hear which direction he ran so that we would have some guidance as to where they might be getting access.  But even with all of the racket, the mouse just stayed where he was and kept making noise.  Was he stuck?? That was my best guess, but I don't really believe that to be true, since even with the floor boards the whole attic is pretty much open.  But he was either stuck, or really fearless, and what could be worse than a fearless mouse????

So it was decided that we would all relocated to the spare bedroom for the night.  I have no idea what time it was by this point.  We went from sleeping soundly in our queen sized bed with the dog in his crate to a full sized bed with the dog in the bed with us (because he doesn't like being left alone in a room at night.)  It was a crowded bed, and I was so wide awake by this point that I had a really hard time getting to sleep.  I was on the wall side of the bed, so I couldn't see the clock, which is probably a good thing - I tend to be a clock watching when I'm restless and I'm sure that doesn't help with sleeplessness.

Eventually I drifted off and then what felt like 5 minutes later DH's alarm clock went off and he was up for the day.  I went back to my bed and put in an ear plug to wait for my own alarm to go off 30 minutes later.  After 40 minutes of snoozing I finally woke up.  Needless to say, I am soooooo tired right now.  I basically feel delirious.

I need suggestions people!  How do you get rid of mice in your attic!!?!?

We've tried:
- locating their entrance point (fail)
- traditional neck snapping traps (partial success -when they take the bait)
- pet-safe traps (fail - they just injured the mouse but it was still alive! So sad...)
- Light (fail - we figured mice are nocturnal, right?)
- Sonic pest emitters (fail - the mice are back, after all, and right next to one of the sonic things)

What we haven't tried yet:
- Poison (don't want the mouse to die up there and then start rotting and us not be able to find it)
- Glue traps (seems really cruel since they basically just starve to death or chew their limbs off, and I was traumatized enough by the pet-safe trap when the mouse didn't die, however, I'm really close to going this route to see if it works)

What are we missing?!? What can we try???

* No, I don't truly believe that the increased mouse noises are actually related to the removal of the dead mouse, but I like to take some creative license every now and then.

2-1-11 - Soooo tired

I'm still feeling good, but have been abnormally tired lately - much more so than the early weeks, when I thought it was normal to feel tired.  I've been getting a ton of sleep - as much as 11 hours a night on weekends and usually at least 8 on weeknights.  And yet sometime right around 2 p.m. I feel so exhausted I just want to curl up on the love seat in my office and take a nap.

In other news, I'm not sure if it's true or not, but I've been up 2 full pounds for the past 3 days.  I certainly feel bigger, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's true.  I'm getting used to this roller coaster of a weight ride, so we'll see if it's up for good, or if it will go down once again.  Either way, it's not a big deal to me anymore.

Speaking of tired, I am too tired to think of anything else to write.  Good night!

1-30-11 - Week 11 picture

I'm not very good at taking these pictures on any sort of regular basis - hopefully I will be once there is actually something there to photograph.

Please excuse the hair - I just got out of the shower (see below for more details)

Close Up

In the meantime, here is the week 11 picture.  Not too much noticeable change from the week 9 picture, but there is definitely a little pudge there.  I swear that I haven't gained a pound since week 5 back in December so who knows what that is.  I'm not exactly a model eater, but I'm also not a trainwreck of an eater, and my cravings have been relatively mild.

My least favorite symptom right now - greasiness. I think I talked about this already, but I can't get over it.  I used to be able to go for at least 48 hours without having to shower.  After 48 hours my hair might start to look a little greasy, but even then, it wasn't a sure thing.  Now, in less than 24 hours I look like I dipped my head in a vat of oil.  I need to shower every single if I want to leave the house, otherwise I look horrible.

If I haven't mentioned it before, I HATE showering, especially on weekends.  If I'm dirty or sweaty then fine - I don't argue about showering. But in the winter when it's cold and I'm not sweating or getting at all dirty I like to leave my warm clothes on and skip the water.  That's not an option anymore, and it's definitely a new thing since this pregnancy has started.  The weirdest thing is that greasy hair isn't really a symptom that I found in any of the books that I've read, which is only making me feel more and more like I can't relate to any of these stupid pregnancy books that go on and on about morning symptoms, crazy cravings, and mood swings.

Even DH notices my greasy hair. That means it must be bad....

1/27/11 - Week 10 and the swim suit break down

Week 10 is over and I am officially in week 11 now.  I am feeling great.  I no longer have any spells of queasiness (knock on wood) and thus my workouts have been strong all week.  Maintaining your current weight is SO much easier than trying to lose weight, so while I'm struggling mentally with weight gain, physically I'm actually doing fine!  I am eating way more than I was before, exercising less (just less intensely really, not usually for less time), and yet I have able to maintain fairly steadily so far.  I think that's a great sign and hopefully the scale at the doctor's office next week will agree with me.

I broke down last night and ordered a maternity swimsuit.  I know, crazy right? It's the one thing that I have been obsessing over for no apparent reason other than I am scared to death of overheating and not enjoying my summer.

Maternity swimsuits - and maternity clothing in general, really - is outrageously expensive!!!! I can't get over it.  Most of the swimsuits that I've seen were between $50 and $100 in price, with some going for more than $100! I have never spent $100 on a swimsuit and I never will.

I found a reasonable looking suit for $35 from Motherhood Maternity.  It certainly wouldn't be my first choice in terms of style or pattern (a little busy for my normal tastes), but then again, I'm not willing to spend $100 on my first choice, so something's got to give.  In the end I decided to sacrifice style over price - after all, I'm going to be fat and pregnant and style probably won't mean much to me come summer anyway. 

I also ended up ordering a khaki skirt and a dress shirt for work.  Both were $9.99 but it was buy one get one 1/2 off, so I got pieces for $15, an excellent deal if I may say so myself.  I figure this method of gradually buying some clothes will find me well stocked by the time summer comes around and I actually need to start wearing maternity items instead of just squeezing into the stuff I have now.

1/25/11 - 2 Pounds

Lately I have not been diligent about watching what I eat or exercising.  It's a combination of going out to watch the Steeler's game, me craving random things and then usually overeating, and the fact that I'm not tracking my calories.

As of today I am up 2 pounds from the 5 week point and my weight has been the same for the past couple of days so I'm pretty sure it's not a fluke.  2 pounds is a lot to have gained in that short amount of time, so today I am going back to calorie counting. Yuk.

But on the bright side, for the past week or so I have felt great.  None of the queasiness that I would occasionally experience a few weeks ago.  Could it really be that I am already past the worst of it?  If so, that would be amazing.

I am also really starting to come to terms with the pregnant me - it's becoming more of a reality as the days tick by.  We went to a bar the other night to watch the Steeler's game and although I did indulge by ordering chicken tenders instead of a healthier option, I was also not at all sad or upset that I couldn't drink beer.  I ordered a cranberry juice and was happy sipping on that for the evening.  I've realized that ordering water is the cheaper, but less satisfying way to go, and if I only have water to drink I feel sad and left out but if there's something tastier for me to drink I can usually pretend quite easily that I enjoy it just as much as I would a beer.

Has it really been a full month since I've had a drop of alcohol??? That is truly amazing.

Does my ranting about how much I miss alcohol make me sound like an alcoholic? I hope not, because that is so not the case.  But I definitely want something more when I'm not allowed to have it and alcohol has been a prime example of that.

And speaking of months, yesterday was January 24th, exactly 7 months from my due date.  Crazy!

Update as of 1/27/2011 - Back down to my original starting weight.  Guess it was water retention or something like that after all!

1/20/11 - Weird Pregnancy Fact of the Week

DH and I often comment that pregnancy is one of the strangest, most abnormal things in the world.  As we come across random facts that support our musings, I'm going to post them here.  It probably won't be as frequently as once a week - it fact, this might end up being the only one - but who knows.

Anyway, here's your Weird Pregnancy Fact of the Week:

"When you're pregnant, your immune system is weakened so that the body does not reject the baby."

Seriously!?!? If that's not proof!  Pregnancy is so bizarre and unnatural that even my own body wants to reject it!

1/21/11 - Yep, that's definitely a bump

The above picture was taken on 1/19/11, the day that I wrote about how it was the first time that I really felt fat.

That night I had a fairly successful workout despite the raging headache, and I decide that since it was week 9 day 1 (which means I'm in my 10th week! Agh! 1/4 of the way there? Already!?!??!) that I should document it with a picture.  Up until this point, I had only taken sporadic pictures of myself randomly and really, they all looked the same.

But this time was different.

Yep, there's definitely something in there.  This time I couldn't even suck in the bump if I wanted to.  Those abs that I had worked so hard on, that were still showing in the early weeks?  Gone.  (*sad face*)

According to the books and apps, my uterus is now the size of a large grapefruit or small melon, and the baby is the size of a green olive.  I can't even imagine a grapefruit in my abdomen right now, but if there really is something the size of that in there, then no wonder I look a little chub.  In fact, I don't think I believe the grapefruit thing. Grapefruits are huge, aren't they??

When I weighed in this morning I was at exactly 1 pound gained.  This fluctuates from day to day, mostly because of water retention, from what I understand.  Yesterday according to the scale I was only up four tenths of a pound but one morning after a particularly salty meal the scale told me I was up nearly 5 pounds, which I don't think it true at all.  I'm really trying hard to manage my weight but it's definitely a challenge with the cravings.  Yesterday I wanted fries more than anything in the world.  In fact, what I really wanted was hard-boiled eggs, cheddar cheese, and fries.  I had everything except for the hard-boiled eggs, but only because it was quicker to make scrambled eggs instead.

DH isn't really happy with the way that I give it to cravings, but I don't let it get to me too much.  I'll try to be reasonable, but we all give into cravings every now and then anyway, right? So I'll try to be good when I can, but this green olive is HUNGRY, and when I start feeling hungry I start feeling inklings of sickness, which I totally want to avoid.

The Man's Role

It has never been any secret that I like to sleep, and it's something that my husband absolutely hates about me.  He has a hard time sleeping past 7 a.m., no matter what day of the week it is and no matter what time he went to bed.  I, on the other hand, sleep soundly until I get a solid 10 hours, unless something else wakes me up before that (i.e. an alarm clock.)

Obviously this whole "baby" thing is really going to rock my socks off.

But for right now, I'm just pregnant and there's no baby here that needs immediate attention.  It's also a fairly well known fact that pregnant women tire more easily and generally need more sleep than usual.  Let's add this to the list of things that my husband doesn't quite understand - when I say I am tired, it's not just because I'm lazy.  I know that I may have gotten 10 hours of sleep the night before and I know I had coffee in the morning in an attempt to try to get through the day without a nap.  But sometimes it's just not possible.  His body isn't focusing all of its energy on growing a small human, so I'm not sure that he will ever really understand.

Being the husband in a relationship must be particularly challenging during pregnancies.  Men have no idea what it feels like to suddenly get so tired you feel like you're going to faint, to want Domino's pizza more than you have ever wanted anything in your life, to have to wake up every single morning with painful breasts and horrible cramps.

My husband has it sooo good. I don't think he even realizes it.  I'm not throwing up (yet, at least - knock knock on wood), I'm not sending him out to get me crazy food items that I'm craving, and when he makes comments that I feel are rather insensitive (like when he rolls his eyes because I say I'm tired, or when he tells me I'm hurting the baby when I decide to eat a golden oreo) instead of flipping out and going all pregnant-lady-crazy, I usually just keep my mouth shut and walk away.  No need to get all angry - I know he just doesn't understand.

His role is to support me, right? To make me feel better and to remind me that this will all be worth it, particularly when I'm feeling sad or depressed.  That's the man's role in a pregnancy, isn't it?

But how can they possibly support when they don't understand?  Even the books don't explain everything well enough.  I tried to explain what "cramps" felt like to him, and I know I failed miserably.  He has no idea.  Or at least, he thinks he does, and he probably thinks it feels like gas or stomach pains.  Seriously, how do you describe cramps to a man? How can you convince a man who is oh-so-very practical that there is just no way you can stomach that healthy food right now and that you NEED buffalo chicken.  You just can't.  They think they understand cravings - like when a man really wants a beer or red meat or fried food or something else manly like that - but regular cravings versus hormonal cravings just can't be explained or understood by men who will never experience them.

It would be nice though to have a husband who tells me to lay down and relax whenever I start to feel tired.  Or one that understands that sometimes baby just NEEDS a Mad Mex burrito, right here, right now.  That would be sooo nice.  But I'm also thankful.  At least my husband isn't scared shitless or angry at the fact that I'm pregnant.  He's accepted it, and I think even excited about it. And although he's worried about things like money, and well, the simple fact that we'll have to care for a human soon, he's on board in a great way, and that's an awesome feeling.

When we're sitting at dinner, and he makes a sweet comment like, "You know, I think that having a child is going to be nice," I just melt and forget about all of my frustrations.

1/19/11 - 9 weeks and a realization

Well, I made it through yesterday, but it sucked the entire day.  I felt like total crap.

Today I definitely feel better, but there are a few noticeable changes.  Is it just coincidence that today officially marks the 9 week point?

1. My hunger has taken a turn towards intense.  I am starving, constantly.
2. I feel fat for the first time. My belly looked puffed out for the first time this morning and as I am sitting here typing this it feels like a fat roll is bulging over my pants.  I've gained less than 1 pound people, what's going on here?
3. Cramping has intensified.  And I've experienced some weird spotting.  But the books say this is normal, so I'm not panicking.
4. Nesting has kicked in.  I want to start looking at maternity and clothes and cribs and other things that we need to purchase.  This desire seriously just hit me.

Speaking of maternity clothes, perhaps that interest was sparked by my decision to go through a tote of maternity clothes that my sister gave to me years ago when she was trying to clean out her garage.  I took them, figuring that anything she bought would be nicer than anything I would.

I realized two sad facts last night though.

1. Style changes - even with maternity clothes.  My sister is a very stylish person, but I can't imagine myself wearing some of suede-feeling shirts that are in that bin.  Maybe it's style, maybe it's just personal preference.  Who knows...
2. The maternity clothing needs of a woman due in February are extremely different than those of a woman due in August. 

If I could wear turtlenecks and heavy, long-sleeved shirts during the months of June, July and August, then I would be all set.  Something tells me that I am NOT going to be interested in doing that though, and so I'm definitely going to have to invest in some summer-friendly clothing.

The pros of all of this?  I'll be on maternity leave during the fall months, my absolute favorite season.
The cons?  Pregnant women are already sweaty, overheated walking incubators, and I'm going to be at the peak of that during the hottest and most humid months of Pittsburgh's summer season. Joy. That probably means I should start stocking up on skirts and sleeveless shirts if I see anything on sale from last summer.  I would rather buy things gradually over time and then have them when I need them instead of waiting until I absolutely need something and then have to go out and pay full price for it during peak season.

Let the searching begin.

1/18/11 - Uh Oh

Last night I had a horrible time sleeping.  I had weird, painful cramps and I wasn't sure it was just normal cramps or something wrong with my intestines.  Whatever the case may be, I didn't sleep well.

Then, this morning I had this feeling that I was starving.  Absolutely starving.  So I ate some Mini Wheats as I packed up my breakfast and lunch and went about my day getting ready.  But I couldn't shake the feeling that something just didn't feel right.  I was standing in front of the mirror and I felt so tired, and so weak, and so hungry, and so dizzy that I kept having to sit down.  First I went to the couch.  Then I laid in bed.  I eventually convinced myself that I needed to get moving and the fact that I was now running late motivated enough to get me out of the house without thinking about it again.

But then I arrived at work and I felt it again.  This nagging feeling that if I didn't eat something right that very minute that I was going to regret it greatly.  I ate all of my packed cereal in record time and continued to snack throughout the day, always feeling queasy, but never like I was going to throw up.  Just dizzy. And weak.  And all of those other things I mentioned before.  I can't shake this feeling that I need to eat.  It's not a craving for something specific, but rather a craving for food to be in my mouth and in my belly at all times.  Chewing gum does not help, and in fact that extra fluid in my stomach from swallowing all of that saliva made me feel worse.

I can't help but thinking every single time I have an unpleasant symptom - Do people really feel this horrible for weeks?!?!?  Do they really throw up on a daily basis and feel nauseous all day?  And if they do, then why in the world would they put themselves through that again?  I realize that I sound whiny, because - as I've said hundreds of dozens of times - I know that I have it good and that I'm incredibly fortunate to not be feeling worse.  But I don't know what it feels like to feel that horrible and so I only have my worse days to use for comparison to other days. And on these worst days I can't help but wonder why people put themselves through months of this time after time after time.  It's awful!

But I guess I'll find out in 7 months, right?

1/11/11 - "You're Next!"

Today was the baby shower of a coworker who will be leaving to go on maternity week at the end of this week.  She is due on Monday.  Two and a half months ago another coworker had her baby and a week or two before she left, I co-orchestrated an office baby shower for her, collecting money and buying all of the gifts for the shower.

Apparently I became the office "party planner" after that event, because it was assumed that I would do the same for this one. That's fine.  No big deal in fact, except that I had no idea what to buy.

So now I have two baby showers under my belt, and after the shower today some other coworkers were saying, "You're going to be next?"

And I was like, "Oh yeah? Why do you say that?"

Their response: "Because you're the only one left."


It's true.  Obviously they do not know the truth - I am definitely next.  Undeniably next.  But this baby that I have in August will be the 4th baby our office has birthed in less than 10 months.  That ridiculous, right?

When you look around, there are quite a few late 20s, early 30s aged women - prime reproducing age.  And so it's inevitable, in many ways, that there will be babies.

I hate that I'm #4.  By the time my due date comes around I feel like people are going to be so sick of babies and baby showers and pregnant women that they're probably going to push me out the door. I know that's not true of course, but it really does feel like I jumped on the "baby bandwagon" even though that is not the case at all.

Real Time Randomness

It's March 9th (yep, I'm writing this post in "real time") and I feel like I'm behind the times because of all of my back-posting.

1. Is it just me, or do we need to get this show on the road?  
I love that I wrote so many posts in my early days of pregnancy, but apparently I am wordier than I even knew.  If I don't start releasing these posts more frequently than one per day it's going to be August before we're up to date, and I'm getting impatient.  Be prepared in the near future for a temporary overload of posts until I get closer to real time posting.  I miss posting live!

But, I've also loved all of your comments, emails, facebook messages, and personal comments about how you're enjoying my posts.  Thanks so much for that!  I wasn't sure if people would be interested in things that I wrote months ago, but I sooooo appreciate the feedback - keep it coming! 

2. Am I am the luckiest girl or what?  Look at these cuties....

Murph doesn't usually like to cuddle at night.  Neither does DH. (Nor do I, for that matter!)  Usually, Murph crawls right into his crate and creates a little cave or nest with his blanket until we lock the door.  This night though, he wasn't feeling well, and wanted nothing more than to cuddle with daddy.  It melted my heart...

3. We call our unborn child Critter.
Not in a "pest" sort of way, but in a "aww... look at that cute little critter" sort of way.  It's weird and we know that, but for some reason, it's stuck and so Baby Hartman is also known as Critter.  I've refrained from calling him/her Critter on this site so far and probably will continue to do so, but in case there's anyone else out there who think that your pet names for your kids - born or unborn - are ridiculous, know that you're not alone. 

4. April 8th is the date for our ultrasound...
...where we'll find out whether Baby Hartman is a boy or a girl.  Yes, we are finding out.  And I can't believe how many people are shocked to hear that!  Why wouldn't we want to find out!!?!?!  I do NOT need to be surprised when I am pushing a human out of my body.  I would rather be surprised on April 8th so that I can plan accordingly. I like to have control and there's not much control in childbirth - I'm going to retain what little control I can.

1/10/11 - What I Crave

If you've never been pregnant before, let me tell you one thing that I have learned that I used to totally discredit - cravings are real.

DH thinks it's mostly in my head, that I'm using this baby as an excuse to eat whatever I want.  I understand why he might think that since he's not raging with hormones or feeling all of these crazy things that I am feeling inside that I haven't even told him about because I think he would think I'm just making it up.  But the other night, when I had planned a tasty dinner of tilapia and vegetables, I felt that "queasiness" feeling and I couldn't possibly imagine eating that for dinner.

But we're trying to be healthy (remember? New Year's Resolution) so I kept cooking it and snuck in a snack of chips or pistachio's or something else to tide me over.

I barely ate half of my tilapia.  DH of course blamed it on my snack, which I ended up admitting to, out of guilt for wasting food.  But I know it wasn't just the snack.

Cravings - for or against - certain food items are real.

What I've been craving like crazy late:
  • Domino's pizza (omg... this one is the worst!)
  • Mexican food
  • Guacamole (probably could be counted as "Mexican food," but the craving for this comes separately so I'm counting it separately)
  • Fruit Punch, particularly the frozen concentrate kind
What has been turning my stomach just thinking about it:
  • Tilapia
  • Peppers and most vegetables in general
  • Yogurt (I've been trying to learn to like yogurt but it's not going well)

In general I want strong, satisfying flavors.  Bland, wheaty, or grainy things aren't really cutting it for me.  Instead give me oven baked french fries and a buffalo chicken sandwich.  Salt is my friend, going down at least.  A couple of hours later though I feel incredibly bloated, and considering I've never really experienced bloating before, I hate it.  And then salt is no longer my friend.  We have a love hate relationship.

I have a feeling this is going to be true for many more weeks...

1/14/11 - Pregnancy and Weight Gain

I am struggling right now with the idea that I will be - am actually - gaining weight.  I need to count my calories in order to stay on track.  As soon as I stop tracking, I overeat.  I fail.  Some people say that after a few weeks or months of tracking calories they no longer need to track because they know what they can and can not eat and manage quite well.

That is not me.  I need to see the numbers in front of face, each and every day.  I need to know where I stand on my "percent daily recommended values" and I need to plan for what I'm allowed to eat for the rest of the day based on those numbers.  I need to physically type my food into a computer to keep me accountable.  Otherwise, I won't think twice about having a second rice cake or popping a piece of candy into my mouth.  If I don't weigh my food I'll just dump as much as my eyes want on the plate and let that be that.  In those cases, it's almost always more than 2 servings.

I know that pregnant women are supposed to gain weight.  But my doctor highly recommends that I control my weight gain and I couldn't agree more.  Add on top of that the fact that I didn't have any morning sickness - vomiting in those early weeks usually causes women to lose weight instead of gaining, and since I'm not throwing up any calories, my body is already storing them away.  So far, I've gained about 2 pounds, which fluctuates from day to day, so it might just be water weight, but either way, I'm already uncomfortable with it.  I'm only at 8 and 1/2 weeks.  I have a loooooong way to go, which means the potential to gain a loooot of weight.

I am also supposed to increase my normal caloric intake by about 300 calories per day.  Since I usually shoot for 1200 net, that means normal for me is 1500 a day (since the 1200 net is when I'm trying to lose weight, which I'm no longer supposed to try to do.)  So add 300 to that and it's 1800 calories per day.  Sounds like a lot, right?  But I always eat more than I'm supposed to, and that used to be ok because I'd negate it with exercise.  Add to that the fact that eating just makes me feel better, and we're got trouble on the food front. 

The other challenge is exercise.  I am not supposed to allow my heart rate to go above 140 beats per minute.  When I do my usual routine on the treadmill, my HR is well above 170, far to high for me to feel comfortable with that given the warnings.  In fact, I can't even jog without my heart rate above 140, so I either need to jog and be ok with less calorie burn and a HR of 150 or so BPM.  OR, I need to switch exclusively to walking (which feels like SUCH a waste of time) in order to keep my HR below 140 BPM. 

This already is, and will obviously continue to be, my greatest struggle.  Balancing what is right for the baby with what feels right to me.  Too bad balance has never been my strong suit.

1/11/11 - What I'm Concerned About Right Now

Welcome to the world of my trivial little brain... 

Right now, I cannot stop thinking about the fact that I will be enormously pregnant during the summer months. I cannot stop thinking about purchasing a maternity swim suit.  You'd think I would be focusing on cribs, or perhaps strollers, or perhaps anything more functional for the baby.

But apparently it's all about ME right now, and I'm really worried about my summer comfort apparently. The sun and warmth associated with summer are the only things that get me through the winter!

I had NO idea how expensive maternity bathing suits were though.  Most are around $100!! I saw one that I liked, on clearance, for $40 and I felt like I should order it right now so that I have it for those earlier months.

Also, I have already decided that I am going for the tankini or one-piece look.  My hat goes off to those women who can throw on a tiny bikini and just let their stomach's hang out there for the world to see, but I can already tell that I will not be one of those women.  I am horribly self conscious and love to show off my stomach, but only when it is toned and at least somewhat flat looking.  I work hard to get it that way, and if I lose my right to wear two-piece suits. 

So yeah, seriously, I really really really want to buy a swimsuit.  Right now.  Shouldn't I be craving ice cream or something other than clothing?  Perhaps I need to make a pregnancy related purchase to make this feel more real?

1/7/11 - Oh, The Secrets We Keep

Written on January 7, 2011

There's a funny thing I never knew about secrets - it's impossible for most people to keep them.  Actually I probably did know it, but since I tend to be the one that people tell secrets to while I keep mine to myself, I haven't really been the victim of secret sharing before.

We found out about this pregnancy on December 22nd, literally one day before hitting the road for our holiday travels, which starting with a skiing trip.  I have been known to enjoy an alcoholic beverage every now and then (Oh, have I mentioned that already? Oops.) particularly during the holidays when spirits are high and particularly when with family (not because I can't tolerate them but because that's just what we do! It's fun!)  I'm not so much of a drinker that people give me a funny look the first time that I decline a drink - in fact, I figured I could decline a few times before it became really obvious.  But I wasn't really in the mood for lying and I knew with DH's siblings it would be even harder, particularly since in lieu of gifts for them this year we were participating in a beer swap.

So we told our families right away.  And we asked them to keep it a secret.  We thought that was a simple enough request, but now we know better, and I want to pass this new found knowledge on to you.

First, know that if you tell your family that you're pregnant, they are going to tell other people.  It's inevitable.  Even if they agree not to tell anyone.  They will.  They'll say something like, "Well, don't tell anyone because it's still a secret but I wanted to let you know... "  They'll think that by saying, "Don't tell anyone" that they've covered their bases, but there's a domino effect here.  Those people will then go to someone else and tell them, with the clause "But don't tell anyone."  You see how this works? 

Secondly, even if they have the best intentions, sometimes things just slip.  They may offhandedly mention to someone how so-and-so couldn't drink over the holidays, and when questioned as to "why" they may not be quick enough to think of a good cover-up and then suddenly the secret it out. 

Know this though, your family's failure to keep your secret is only because they're excited for you, and because they love you.  When deciding whether or not to tell your family early on, you need to decide how prepared you are mentally for the fact that the information is going to be shared, whether you like it or not. 

Most people don't share news of pregnancies early on because of the high risk of miscarrying in those early weeks.  That was certainly our rational.  If something happened we didn't want to have to go through the pain of breaking the bad news to others.  The nice thing (if you can call this a nice thing), is that if you tell your family and they tell others, then it's on them to break the bad news if bad news happens.  And if they are willing to do that, then great.  But it can also lead to some uncomfortable moments if - a few weeks down the line - you run into someone that you didn't even know knew about your pregnancy, and they say something like "congratulations!" because they figured that the good news was out.  If the good news went from being bad news, that's hard enough to share, but add to that all of a sudden you have to deal with the fact that your secret was out, and it's just that much worse. 

So, my final point is simply this - if you decide to tell anyone when you find out that you're pregnant, make sure that you're mentally prepared for the fact that some people just can't keep secrets.  If you're going to get mad at them for leaking your secret, then just don't tell them.  Don't put them in that position.  In those early days, it's hard to not shout it to the world, and you feel like you're just exploding with news and you can't think about anything else.  But once you get past that, I found that it's actually quite easy to pretend that nothing really changed, and writing about my feelings and experiences on this blog (in draft form, of course) let me get my thoughts and emotions out there without being public about it initially.  And it was a great way to record this exciting time and be able to share it all with you retrospectively without any risk of hurt or disappointment. 

So think twice before sharing secrets.  And if someone does decide to confide in you, for the love of god please do not tell anyone else, ok?  Thanks.

Pregnant women aren't any fun because...

Because they're not allowed to be!

Man, this is tougher than I expected!

"Let's go to a bar and watch a Steeler's game!"
- Ok, I'll order a Diet Coke. Wait, am I allowed to have Diet Coke? Do I have to order full fat coke?

"Let's drink coffee!"
- Yes! I love caffeine! Oh wait, is caffeine allowed? Even if it is, should I really be parking?

"Want to go in the hot tub?"
- Absolutely!!!! Only... oh yeah, I'm not allowed.

"Let's drink a beer!"
- O. M. G.  How I want a beer.  Or more specifically, a Blue Maui, my signature drink.  I've tried some non-alcoholic alternatives, like sparkling grape juice and alcohol free frozen daquiries, but so far, they just haven't cut it in terms of cutting the cravings.  My next idea is a milkshake.

"Let's party all night!"
- Hmm... well, I'm tired and being the sober person isn't much fun.  I think I'll just go to bed.

The no-alcohol thing is way harder for me than I ever expected.  I figured that as soon as I found out I was pregnant I would suddenly feel all maternal and motherly and not even want alcohol.

Not true.

At all.

In fact, I think it's my nature to want something more than ever when I know I'm not allowed to have it.  Thus I have been craving alcohol more than ever before in my life. 

Don't worry - I haven't given in.  But you better believe that I talk about it alllll the time.

(Also, I don't mean to suggest that one must have alcohol to be fun.  However, I, personally, really enjoy a nice cold drink on occasion and believe that I have more fun when I am drinking.  Also, please refer to my earlier comment above that states I want something more when I'm not allowed to have it.  That is definitely playing a role here.)

1/6/11 - When Pain Hits

And I don't mean labor pains.  That's waaaay too far in the future for me to even be concerned about right now.

But there are constantly a lot of other pains in my life, and I have been dealing with those lately in new and uncomfortable ways because of this pregnancy.

Remember that root canal that I had back in November?  Well, for insurance reasons I had to wait until after January 1st in order for phase 2 of the root canal to be covered.  That appointment was yesterday, and for obvious reasons - even though we haven't really told many other people up to this point - I knew that I needed to tell my dentist since these root canals usually involve at least a dozen x-rays.

What I didn't know was that pregnant women also receive a different numbing agent than they usually use, one that is far less effective.

So while my lips and face were completely numb, I felt every single horrible sensation as the dentist took a drill to my gums as he drilled down my bad tooth into a nubbin. I felt blood dripping down onto my tongue and almost choked at one point (sensitive gag reflex is a definitely a symptom.)  My gums were throbbing, and they hurt sooo bad.  Tears were welling up in my eyes and he just kept saying, "Well, this is one of the problems that we experience with pregnant women."

Then came time for the x-ray.  I had done some research in advance and apparently dental x-rays - since they're so concentrated to the region above the neck - aren't really that high risk, although they should of course be avoided for any elective x-rays.  But apparently my insurance copy will deny a root canal claim if there isn't an x-ray included, so upon on the advice of my dentist I decided to go ahead and have one done (one is all the insurance really needed.) They put so many x-ray blankets on me that I felt like I was buried in sand, and that part of it was quick and easy.

Then I left.  My face was still numb which gave me a droopy expression.  I hate that.  I also had the very strong taste of blood in my mouth, and my blood basically tastes like liquid iron.  Yuck.  But on top of that, something that they used during the procedure tasted like overpowering, horrible barbeque sauce.  I'm a buffalo sauce girl, and I hate barbeque sauce so this taste was horrible for me.  I kept overproducing saliva and wanting to spit but I couldn't form my lips right because of the numbness so I just drooled into paper towels.  I also tried to swish water around in my mouth to get rid of the taste but did you know that when your face is numb you can't close your lips tight enough to form a seal?  Well you can't.  So I proceeded to fill my mouth with water and then each time I swished water gushed out of my mouth, completely out of my control.  It was horrible.

I felt sick for the rest of the day because I couldn't eat my afternoon snack, and I felt horribly queasy all afternoon, perhaps because of the pregnancy, or perhaps because of the procedure.  Who knows at this point....

Then that night it was still throbbing so bad.  All I wanted to do was take some pain pills and go to bed.  But you can't!!!  It's one of the worst things about being pregnant, especially this early on.  You're not allowed to take anything.  At all.  Because of some first trimester developing organs crap. (I kid... sort of.)  But seriously, it really sucks.  I wanted something SO bad.  I had a hard time sleeping because of this as well, and all I wanted to do was swallow a benadryl so that I could doze off.

But that was not to be. And this morning I woke up feeling exhausted because of lack of quality of sleep, and to top it all off, I had a headache.   Again, I still can't take anything, and in many ways that makes my headache worse, because I'm suddenly panicking and stressing about it.  Not good.

So now it's lunchtime, and because of the headache (or perhaps because of craving) I've already had cereal, coffee, a pack of skittles and two rice cakes, because one of the only things that sort of helps my headaches is giving into my cravings and eating what I want.  Except that all of that sugar so early in the morning made me hot and dizzy and sick to my stomach.  Or was it really just my first real bout of morning sickness?

Who knows... but what I do know for sure if that if there are more days like yesterday and today that this pregnancy thing is going to be a whole lot worse than I ever anticipated.

1/5/11 - My "Retro" Uterus

Written on January 5, 2011

Upon further reflection of my appointment, I can't help but marvel at how bizarre and surreal the whole thing was.  I mean, a doctor was feeling my internal organs and commenting on them!!!!  How do so many people go through this and not remark about it?  Is it because they are embarrassed? Or because it's so normal that they don't think anything of it?

For example, let's consider the absurdity of the following conversation.

Doc: "Oh yeah, that left ovary is really enlarged.  I bet that's the one that released the egg.  Does this hurt?"

Me: "No, not really."  (Thoughts: Other than the fact that you're squeezing my ovary....)

Doc: "Good, that means you probably don't have tube pregnancy because that would hurt. *pause during exploration* Ok, and the right ovary feels good.  Good, good.  Oh, has anyone ever told you that you have a retroverted uterus?"

Me: "Nope." (Thoughts: Who in the world would tell me that other than someone from your office!?!?!)

Doc: "Well, you do. It's backwards.  But don't worry...It occurs in about 30% of women.  Completely normal. Completely normal."

Me: "Ok." (Thoughts: Great.)

Doc: "Wow! You have a nice pelvis!  You shouldn't have any problems pushing out a baby with that pelvis.... that's a real nice pelvis."

Me: *Silence*

What in the world do you say to something like that?  "You have a real nice pelvic bone, mam."  Should I have said, "Gee! Thanks!" ???

I realize that I need to prepare myself for a whole lot of more conversations like this one.  I'm guessing that soon enough, these will seem completely normal to me and I won't even think anything of it, but for now, I'm still amazed.  This is going to be an interesting ride!

1/4/2011 - The First Appointment

Written on 1/4/2011
Today I had my first doctor's appointment and DH came with me.  They call this a "confirmation" appointment, just to make sure that everything is looking good and to get a preliminary health history.  It's basically too early to do much else, since there's such a high risk of miscarriage this early on, although there's no reason to expect that that will happen with us.  We're trying to keep a positive attitude about the whole thing. 

But in any case, it's "confirmed!"  And they put my estimated due date at around August 24th.  It's going to be a long, hot summer! Good thing I bought a kiddie pool last summer - I have a feeling I'm going to be spending some time in that thing this summer.  

I made an appointment with the same practice that I had been going to for my annual exams.  I can't see the same doctor that I was seeing before, but that's not a big deal to me.  Today I met with the first of six doctors at the practice, and I will rotate through with all of them to get to know them all since they have a rotating on-call schedule and I could get any of them when I ultimately go into labor.  The guy today was funny and I enjoyed him a great deal.  I hope that I like all of the doctors that much. 

They also sent me to Magee for some lab work, which involved giving up a lot of blood and urine.  I hate giving blood and basically held my breath (not healthy, I know), closed my eyes and turned my head and I did ok.  I once passed out giving blood and ever since then I've been more queasy about it.  When I'm giving blood - like to the blood bank - I'm usually ok after a few minutes in and can look around and have a conversation.  But those moments before, during and immediately after they are inserting the needle are torture to me, and I hate it.

Anyway, I think the most interesting thing that I learned today is that medical professionals no longer recommend that women "need" to gain a lot of weight during pregnancy.  Basically, our doctor said that recent studies show that women can gain as little as 5 pounds and still have a healthy pregnancy AND that it's been shown that it's actually better for the mother.  Basically, he said that the mother can actually lose weight herself in these scenarios since the baby usually weighs at least 7 pounds, but that it's not really a concern since the body will always put the baby first and provide for the baby before me.  It was all really fascinating and I love to hear that, since I hate the "I'm eating for two" mantra that I've heard other women use.  They say all of this to basically let you know that you shouldn't "plan" to gain a ton of weight, and that gaining 50 pounds really isn't healthy if you can avoid it. On average, I should try to keep my weight gain at no more than 25 to 30 pounds.  Since I haven't been throwing up, that may be harder to control for me than it is for others who actually lose weight in the early months. 

So far I've been eating pretty much the same stuff as I was before, feeling great (at least as great as can be expected), and for the most part I am exercising on my normal schedule.  I'm going to continue to do that as much as I can and hopefully will be on the lower end of the weight gain spectrum.  I think that my "goal" is to gain no more than 25 pounds over the course of the next 7-8 months (wow, is it really that soon?).  It sounds like a pipe dream, but we'll see how that goes!!!

1-2-11 - Yogurt and the Case of the Burps

Written on 1/2/2011

In an effort to try to give my unborn child more nutrition food than I usually consume, DH and I have started to eat healthier.  Mostly normal changes, including adding more whole grains and vegetables into our diets.  But for me, in particular, he has long been trying to get me to like yogurt and believed that this pregnancy was going to be time for me to start liking yogurt.

For the record, I HATE yogurt.  I don't think it tastes like pudding or a dessert or anything else tasty that other people might compare it to.  I think it tastes sour, and yes, I am trying the flavored versions.  Still tastes sour to me.

So I tried it again today with some old and some new results.

First of all, EW! Sour! Since I am lactose intolerant I was trying to Silk brand vanilla flavor.  I made DH try it to confirm that it was horrendously sour but he did not agree.

Anyway, then I added some Just Bunches cinnamon granola cereal, since the little yogurt cup recommended adding granola and that's how DH eats his.

Still yuck.  I was actually gagging on it early on and my eyes started watering like crazy and as I tried to force it down my throat I started laughing and seemed totally delirious.  DH desperately wished that he could post on his Facebook status something along the lines of, "My pregnant wife is crying over yogurt."

Then the weirdest thing started happening - I started burping like crazy.  Huge, loud burps that sounded like they should be coming from a large burly man who had just chugged a Bud Light.  I swear I must have burped at least a dozen times, if not more.

I understand that yogurt offers a lot of health benefits that I should be partaking in, but I'm not sure that I can swallow much more of it, especially since it feels like I'm going to throw up every single time I burp.  I still have one little cup of yogurt left in the fridge - blueberry this time - and if it doesn't go better next time then baby Hartman might just need to get his or her yogurt after August.