Thursday, May 22, 2008

The results are in ...

Well we had our big ultrasound this morning and were very excited to find that we're having ... A BOY! Woo hoo! Now that we got the important stuff out of the way I'll talk a little about our visit to the Navy Hospital.

Here he is!

I scheduled my appointment for as soon as possible - 7:00am on the first day that Handsome Coastie had off, so in typical J family fashion we arrived and were waiting by 6:30am. We have to laugh when we look at our ultrasound pictures and see 6:41am stamped on them - who gets ultrasounds that early in the morning? I think it was early for our ultrasound tech too because she was lookin' a little groggy. We were forewarned that the "big ultrasound" is really to check your baby's anatomy and not specifically to find out the gender, so we patiently waited until our task-oriented techie was through looking at my uterus, placenta, bladder and ovaries.

This is J with his hand on his head.

We finally got to the exciting part when she began pointing out the head, hands, arms, legs, little belly, and beating heart. Then she got real technical and showed us the brain, liver, kidneys, stomach and spinal cord. It was fascinating to see his little fingers waving about. I couldn't take my eyes of the screen, and then when they started watering I realized how much I had been staring and that I should probably blink them occasionally.

I think he looks like his dad in this one.

It was also really strange to see this little baby moving all around but I still can't feel a thing on the inside! Finally, finally she zoomed in on the "nether regions" and both Jon and I knew before she said anything - it is obviously a boy. But just in case, I asked her how sure she was before I went out and started buying little Coast Guard ball caps and football jerseys. She responded as pleasantly as one does before their morning cup of coffee, "Well, we're not supposed to be 100% sure on these things, but if I could be I'd say it's definitely a boy." That settles it, I'm going shopping this weekend!!

Teeny tiny foot.

And so, mama is happy, daddy is pleased, Marmie and Poppa are excited to take their first grandchild out fishing, and Nonnie and Poppy are looking forward to grandson #6 and finally a little one to carry on the family name. And of course the rest of our family is ecstatic as well. Kudos to Kate for calling us all the way from Israel at 7:30am (while we were still sitting in the ultrasound room) and being the first to know! And a pat on the back to all of you who voted "boy" on my little poll, and to those of you who originally voted girl and then changed your vote after I posted the heartbeat predictor, well half-a-back-pat to you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Name Game

Upon hearing of the impending birth of a child, the average couple would probably start their search for the perfect name. Not so here. When I found out I was pregnant, I simply pulled out my pre-created, sacred list of favorite baby names. For some reason, I have been into baby names ever since I got my first baby doll, and I've been keeping a running list since long before I knew where babies came from. Fifteen-and-some-odd years later, I'm still keeping track of this same list. Of course, many names have long-gotten axed - Tracy, Catelyn, Clayton and Nathan. But amazingly, a number of them have stood the test of time - Leah, Macie, Ethan and Tad. Of course, in those days coming up with a baby name was much easier. At the time, I wasn't considering one very important factor when naming a child - the father.
The following is our list of stipulations in choosing THE name:
1.) It has to sound good with our last name. Marriage truly changes everything. Since getting my new last name, I've had to cross of all the favorite names that end with the "n" sound - Colin, Ethan, Evelyn - simply put, I just can't handle the double "n" suffix when paired with our last name.
2.) It has to be unique enough that their teachers won't have to tack the first letter of their last name to the end of it, but not too crazy that no one can pronounce or spell it. (In my class I always felt bad for the Michaels and Megans, or should I say the Michal B., Michael P., Megan E. and Megan D., at the same time I also felt bad for any Sacagawea's or Melchizadek's).
3.) It should start with a "J." This is NOT my rule, this is my husband's, and I'm not too keen on it. Not only has it greatly reduced my options but I am also having a hard time picturing family Christmas cards and keeping everyone's initials straight.
4.) It should have a good meaning. This one is much harder than I first thought. It seems like all of my favorite names have the strangest meanings. Part of me just wants to say "forget it," but another part of me is forced to acknowledge the importance of a good meaning. As a Communication major in college, I once had to do a presentation on a particular theory entitled "Coordinated Management of Meaning," in short, it was a very long way to say "your words create your reality." I would say this is a fairly Biblical principle as well. In the Bible, your name was your destiny. When someone said your name, they were repeating your destiny, reputation, character, etc. Talk about your speech creating a reality (no pun intended)! You wouldn't call your kid "ugly head" over and over again, but when you name him/her "Kennedy" (a former favorite name) that's essentially what you're doing. To attempt to get around this issue, I've been looking for alternative spellings, different origins, different websites with different meanings, or at the very least, have tried to come up with a unique way to twist a bad meaning into something good.
That said, it should be no surprise then that our list of favorite baby names is quite short - 3 names to be exact, and zero middle names. So you've probably read this far assuming that I would tell you these three names. Well, sorry to disappoint you but you'll just have to wait a little longer. I'd hate to put our ideas out there without them being settled between us, and despite what my husband may say, we are not sure of the name!!
Tomorrow we'll find out if the baby is a boy or girl, which should help narrow down our already skimpy list. Maybe then I can convince Handsome Coastie that my favorite middle name is best.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

To know or not to know

On Thursday, May 22nd at approximately 7:00am, Lord and Baby J willing, Handsome Coastie and I should find out whether we're expecting a boy or a girl this fall. The anticipation is really getting to me!
Those of you who were in on my pre-pregnancy plans may be surprised to hear this, because a few months ago I was dead-set on leaving the sex of my baby a surprise until the day it was born. But my dear husband will have none of it. As a planner, I rarely find myself really, truly, downright surprised. I figure this is my one opportunity. But as a planner who is married to a planner, my husband needs to know what we're having so that he can spend the next 5 months preparing, mentally and physically, for a son or daughter.
Now that we've made the decision to find out, I'm beginning to see the many advantages which include a.) being able to buy baby things before J's arrival in colors other than yellow or cream and b.) being able to get to better know and bond with J prior to the birth-day.
So vote on the poll if you haven't yet because one week from now the secret will be out. And hopefully I can get my surprise baby a few years from now when go for round two!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wild (Charley) Horses

I am now 17 weeks along. Baby J is a whopping 5 1/2 inches and at this point I'm carrying around an extra 5 pounds. Apparently, those few extra pounds have brought on a new phenomenom of the second trimester - Charley Horses. For the past 5 nights I have been waking up in the wee hours of the morning writhing in pain and biting my pillow to keep from waking my husband.
According to, either my legs are tired from carrying around "all that extra weight" or my expanding uterus is putting pressure on the blood vessels that return blood from my legs. Whatever the reason, it kinda hurts!
Ironically, I just finished reading Childbirth Without Fear by Dr. Grantley Dick-Read, in which he explains the "fear tension pain" cycle common in labor. In other words, fear causes tension which creates pain which leads to more fear which in turn creates more tension resulting in additional pain and so on. Sounds simple enough when you read it. But the past few nights have been a "wake up" call, if you will, to what this cycle is really all about. The other night, in the midst of trying to massage away yet another knot in my calf, I couldn't help but think, "If I'm having this much trouble relaxing during a muscle cramp, how in the world am I going to manage labor?" So far, I don't have an answer for that. What I have concluded is that if eating a banana a day isn't going to solve my 3am problems then I'll simply take advantage of this opportunity for the next 5 months to practice relaxation and pain management techniques. Now if only I could convince my husband of this perfect occasion to work on his coaching skills ...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mama takes a hike

This baby mama has been busy! Last week I went to Denver, CO with several of my co-workers for a graduate admissions conference ... and of course some fun times when we weren't conferencing! The first day there it was 73 degres and sunny, the next day was in the 40s and snowing!! We took advantage of the one gorgeous day to do some real Colorado mountain sightseeing. So off we went to Chautauqua Park in Boulder for some hiking. For some reason I had First Landing/Virginia Beach type hiking in my mind, you know, the kind of hiking that takes place on a perfectly mulched path that is completely level with the nearby sea? Not exactly what we came across in Chautauqua. We started out on what seemed like a neat little path the slowly meandered up the hill and quickly ran short of breath (blame it on the elevation!). Little did we know that a slight rise for a not-so-slight period of time is really quite a challenge. It wasn't long before our cute, little hill became a tall, rocky mountain. And our golden-pebbled trail turned into a sharp, rocky ledge. By this point we had lost a co-worker (don't worry, by "lost" I only mean she decided to turn around and head back). The remaining three pressed on, determined not to let go of this amazing opportunity for what promised to be "perfect views" of Denver.

Several wrong turns, and several hours later, we arrived at our destination -or what was to become our destination due to dwindling daylight- the top of the mountain. This of course wasn't enough, so we proceeded to climb up the big rocks at the top of the mountain, so that we could have the most top view of the scenery below. INCREDIBLE! It was well worth the effort and I think Baby J enjoyed all the activity.
The rest of our trip is pretty insignificant compared to this fantastic accomplishment. The only other excitement in the midst of discussions on enrollment management, communication plans and forged transcripts, was our trip to Casa Bonita. A highly-recommended Mexican restaurant with its own live entertainment. If you're ever in Denver, visit Casa Bonita . Since it was recommended that we go there, I feel compelled to pass the "favor" on to the next innocent victim.

Casa Bonita is a pink castle in the middle of a strip mall. Their website says they have "great Mexican food plus over 30 attractions." The attractions part is true, but the only thing I can say about the food is that it resembles Mexican. My favorite "attraction" was the cliff diver. For the duration of our stay, one young man would climb to the top of a fake cliff, and dive down a fake waterfall into the fake lagoon below. Pretty impressive. The mariachi band was also quite talented and even serenaded our Birthday friend. The "monkeys in costume" were actually humans in monkey costumes - close enough. And the flame juggles must have been good but it was tough to see beyond the plastic palm trees. Maybe it was all the excitement, maybe it was the elevation, maybe it was the pregnancy-induced swollen capillaries or maybe it was all the hysterical laughing, but I couldn't stop my nose from bleeding the whole time we were there. I hope the lovely waitstaff didn't take it personally.
That said, I'm glad we got to experience a range of activities, and weather patterns, whilst visiting Denver. But Baby J and I are very happy to be back home in our comfy bed, surrounded by every pillow mama has been able to round up in the house!
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