Sunday, September 28, 2008


My due date has come and gone, and I haven't had a single contraction. Nope... not a one. I spent yesterday feeling sorry for myself. I am so ready to not be pregnant. I allowed myself 24 hours to just feel blah. I wasn't thinking about the fact that I haven't met the little person growing inside of me or the fact that I still don't know if it is a boy or girl. Instead I spent yesterday dwelling on all the things I want to do as a non-pregnant person. For instance, I'd like to bend over, get up from sitting on the floor without assistance, drink a full glass of wine (or two or three), go out for a run, wear pants without elastic around the waste, see my feet, and paint my toenails, to name a few activities.

Today I forced myself out of my selfish funk and am trying to go with the flow. I'm eating spicy foods and taking brisk walks. I tried drinking raspberry tea. It didn't work, and the taste was so unappealing that I've given it up. Tonight we are going to try acupressure... I found a web site that lists pressure points that are supposed to send you into labor. It's worth a try. The reality is: baby D will come when he or she is ready or I'll be induced next week. I can survive another eight to ten days pregnant, right?

Hopefully I can survive. My blood pressure is a little high these days and the swelling/puffiness in my ankles/feet and hands, as seen below is unsightly.

The line on my ankles caused by my socks occurred during church this morning. I had on what I thought were a loose-fitting pair of cotton socks. It looks like they were cutting off my circulation. My toes do look like little sausages. I have three pairs of shoes (including the ugly green Birkenstocks pictured here) that fit. I can't wait to wear my other shoes again. And I haven't worn my wedding or engagement ring in ages. As you can see I can barely get it past the nail on my ring finger. The puffiness in my fingers has spread to my hands and wrists. I had to loosen by watchband last night because my watch was cutting off circulation to my hand. Hopefully I won't have to remove it permanently.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Last night I met David at the doctor's office. NO... not my doctor's office, but his. D has been fighting an infected toe for nearly two months now. What started as a little redness around his big toenail before he left for Taiwan ended up as a full-blown infection a couple of weeks ago. He's been through three rounds of antibiotics and nothing has helped the toe infection go away. So his doctor decided that part of the toenail needed to be removed to take the pressure off the infection and allow it to heal. The operation took place last night.

D did great. My moral support probably wasn't necessary, but I'm glad I was there to hold his hand. After the procedure, the doctor bandaged him up, we went to the CVS to get some painkillers (just in case), and then we went home. The bandages the doctor applied are not supposed to be removed until tomorrow morning. In the meanwhile, he was to shower without getting his foot wet, and he had to find a pair of shoes that would accommodate all the bandaging around his toe.

This was the solution to the shoe situation...

D cut the toe-box of his old running shoes with a knife and allowed his toe to pop through. Great idea! His toe and the bandaging have all the room they need and his foot is protected and well supported. Tomorrow when we re-bandage his toe, he probably won't use as much gaze as the doctor and his normal shoes will probably fit. He goes back to the doctor next week to be sure everything is healing correctly.

Now onto my eyes... Since we still don't know if Baby D is a boy or a girl, I've been getting all sorts of guesses/predictions from people (some I know and some I don't) about whether we're having a boy or girl. Some people think you can tell the sex of the baby by how the mother is carrying, how she looks, what she's craving, etc... Several nights ago, my aunt and uncle from Texas called with a new method for predicting a baby's sex. They instructed D to look into my LEFT eye. He was supposed to see whether or not there was a distinct 'Y' shape in the blood vessels of my eye.

As you can see, I do have said 'Y' (although it is perpendicular to the correct positioning of a Y). According to my aunt, having the y-shaped blood vessels in your left eye means you are having a girl. My aunt learned this prediction technique from one of her elderly patients, who claims this is a sure-fire way to determine the sex of a baby. We'll see...

Speaking of seeing Baby D... I'm due tomorrow, but not planning to have the baby any time soon. I visited my doctor yesterday and there is little evidence that I'm going to go into labor any time soon. They are going to run some tests next week to make sure me and the baby are doing ok. I'll probably be scheduled for an induction the following week. In short, I could be pregnant for another two weeks.

Be prepared to hear from one frustrated, grumpy pregnant woman during that time...

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Dialing #311 in DC connects you to the Mayor's non-emergency hotline. The saying here goes: "Burning house - dial 911. Burning question - dial 311."

I've called 911 several times - for gunshots, illegal fireworks, a reckless driver on our street, and the fire under the street. Prior to this week I haven't had a reason to call 311... that changed several days after our scheduled recycling pick-up failed to occur.

Irritated by over-flowing recycling bins in the street, bottles and cans laying outside said bins, and passers-by using my recycling bin as a public garbage can, I decided to call 311 and complain.

My 311 operator was extremely nice and sympathetic (she made a comment about the need to clean up city trash/recycling to prevent vermin - rats, mice, opossums, and raccoons - from taking over the city). She took my name and address and ensured me that the city would collect our recycling within 48 hours. Not bad.

I was so excited yesterday morning when I heard the big city recycling truck coming down the street. I went to the window to watch and the nice man picking up my recycling waved and saluted me. I was touched. Then they just drove away. Seriously. All of my neighbors had recycling bins sitting street-side waiting for pick-up and these guys just drove past them. One of my neighbors also saw what was happening and he ran after the recycling truck. This neighbor was able to the truck drivers to make one more pass down our street and about half of my neighbors had their recyclables picked up.

The whole situation left me a little ticked off... was I not clear when I called 311 that I wanted ALL of the recycling in our neighborhood picked up? or were these city employees SO lazy that they only picked up from the crazy, complaining lady?

Do I call 311 again and complain?

Monday, September 22, 2008


Health insurance is complicated and confusing. And I'm not talking about whether we need a universal healthcare coverage plan in this country (I'm not going there; at least not today). I'm talking about my personal health insurance plan. It is CRAZY what I can and cannot do under my current insurance plan. For instance, I can get prescriptions from my PCP (that's insurance speak for 'primary care physician') filled at the school's pharmacy. But prescriptions from a doctor outside that school's medical system cannot be filled there; they have to go to a partner pharmacy that the insurance company accepts. Additionally, all of my lab tests have to be preformed by one lab and analyzed them. No exceptions.

The particular laboratory I'm required to go to by my insurance has been hounding me for weeks for unpaid bills. This blows my mind. I go the lab they recommend, I check (before going to said lab) to be sure they'll cover the cost of the test, and then I follow through at the specified lab. What more can I do? Why does the lab call me saying that I have thousands of dollars worth of unpaid bills?

My most recent message from the laboratory said that they will start refusing to provide services for me (and the baby when he/she arrives) if I don't pay my outstanding bills. Obviously this caught my attention...

I called the lab this morning to see what the problem was (and was even ready to set up a payment plan if in fact my insurance wouldn't cover my prenatal blood glucose test or blood work). Much to my surprise (and DELIGHT) the laboratory had entered my insurance information into their system incorrectly. They made the correction to my insurance policy number and, BAM, I owed only $12 for nine months worth of laboratory work.

As grateful as I am for my insurance, I am curious what people without insurance do? Just visiting a doctor is expensive. I've had the most uncomplicated pregnancy known to mankind (knock on wood) and still the bills (co-pays) have been more than I expected. And the costs for the actual procedures, which are mostly covered by insurance, are outrageous. What is one to do if they don't have insurance? The answer is beyond me...


Baked today: lemon bread (using leftover lemons from David's catering venture last weekend) and marinated tofu.

Currently: at the library taking a break from studying statistics. One more chapter to read before Wednesday's study group.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


You know you've lived in the city for awhile (and are overly cautious/concerned about crime) when you assume that balloons popping at a child's birthday party across the street are gunshots.

Seriously, my neighbors are hosting what appears to be a wonderful birthday party for a child, complete with streamers and balloons. One by one, the balloons on the outside of the house are popping - some by children who find joy in popping balloons and some by the wind blowing the balloons into the railing or brick wall. I've heard about four or five pop in the past hour and each time my initial thought has been, "GUNFIRE."

Am I a pessimist or a cautious city dweller????


Tonight: I'm home right now reading a statistics book. David is out celebrating the completion of his triathlon with his guy friends. We're going to meet up later and have dessert together.

Health: My heartburn is unbelievably bad tonight. I've had two cups of ginger tea and have no relief. Baby, it time for you to drop and come out. I cannot take the heartburn much longer.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I haven't thought much about the pelvis, pictured below, since my 12th grade anatomy class. There just hasn't been a need to think of the bony structure that holds my hips in place and allows me to function like a normal human being. That is until NOW...

About a week ago, I felt like I had injured the left side of my pelvic region (possibly my ilium). I thought maybe I had walked into something and bruised myself or maybe my barely-fitting maternity pants were rubbing in the wrong spot and I was chaffing. After some physical investigating (which is hard when your belly is BIG), I determined that there was no evidence of bruising or chaffing. What I did notice was that the pain was spreading across my pelvic region. The epicenter of my pelvic pain was right in the center, on the public symphysis.

In the days following the spread of the pain, my discomfort has grown. Walking hurts, getting out of bed is hard work, and bumping into the dishwasher door or the bathroom sink can bring tears to my eyes. Not knowing what was going on, I talked to my doctor about all my pain. Her response, naturally, was this kind of pain is normal. My body is just preparing itself for the baby to drop and come out. Supposedly, there are ligaments and tendons down there, too, that are stretching and getting ready for the big baby drop and exit. People in the OB/GYN field call this round ligament pain; I call it a pain in the ass.

Apparently there is nothing to do to make the pain stop. I just grunt a lot and try to remind myself that this is what my body was designed to do. WHATEVER...


Updates: for the girl who has had the easiest unplanned pregnancy known to man, it's been a rough week. I also developed a nasty skin infection on my upper-tummy/rib-cage. I'm medicating topically, washing my clothes separately from David's, using my own towels, and washing my hands frequently (we don't need the nastiness to spread). Who knew you could get yeast infections on your skin?

School: I'm spending a lot of time studying for my comps these days. Working my way through introductions to biostats and epidemiology. I'm hoping to finish another two stats chapters and the rest of epi this weekend.

Dinner tonight: (if David ever gets home) cod wrapped in lettuce and poached in a butter-wine sauce, rice, and sugar-snap peas. We're also having vanilla-strawberry parfaits for dessert.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I set out to do our weekly grocery shopping today around 1pm. After stops at three local grocery stores, I arrived home around 3pm. I just made my last stop at the local market to pick up a gallon of milk. Making today my first ever FOUR grocery store day.

Usually, I'm a two grocery store shopper. I get most of my pantry items, eggs, milk, personal hygiene products, and household cleaners at Target. You just cannot beat their prices (but it should be noted that the price of eggs went up by 40 cents this past week; still they have the best prices around). I then go to the nicer grocery store to get produce and other items that are not sold at Target (such as hummos). Today I made an extra trip to the organic market to purchase some bulk items to make homemade granola. That makes three grocery stores.

I had to go to the fourth store to get the milk (and laundry detergent that was on sale) because I purchased too much at Target (including a new bathmat and towels for our newly finished second bathroom) and the other stores. The thought of walking home with a backpack full of food and bathroom accessories and FOUR bags of groceries PLUS a gallon of milk was more than I could handle. My swollen ankles/feet just couldn't take it. So I opted to delay purchasing the milk until this evening. Having just arrived home with my milk, I realized it was my fourth grocery store stop of the day. Amazing what I will do (and the lengths I will walk) to get the products that I want at the cheapest prices.

My biggest complaint: At each of the stores, I used my own reusable grocery bags (and a backpack at Target). And not one of the store employees helped me pack my bags. It's like store employees are afraid of the reusable bag or maybe during their training they were not taught how to properly put food items into them. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? The will double and even triple bag a gallon of milk for the woman behind me, but they'll make me (the VERY pregnant lady) bag all of my groceries. It really ticks me off. I expect the same service as any other customers. Just because I say, "I brought my own bags," it does not mean I don't want any help bagging my groceries. In fact, I'd like some help; right now, I need the help. Next time, I think I'm going to just ask for it. Or I'm going to start complaining...


Basement: our construction project is finished (minus a fresh coat of paint). I love the new bathroom and my functional laundry room is a dream come true.

What I did today: other than grocery stopping, I made a veggie lasagna and several pounds of granola. Does anyone know if granola can be frozen? I also was able to serve as a proxy for David in a Census survey on employment and volunteer activities (I love participating in surveys).

Tomorrow: off to school to meet with my comps study group. We're growing through one-third of a semester's worth of biostats in an hour.

Monday, September 15, 2008


David was a rock star this past weekend.

On Saturday, he and a co-worker catered their company picnic. This involved preparing and serving food for more than 60 people. The picnic menu included: pumpkin, almond, blue cheese empanadas; spinach, ricotta, pine nut empanadas; spinach, goat cheese, craisin, orange salad with lime-based dressing; pasta salad; grilled veggies for sandwiches; and blueberry/lemon and rasberry/vanilla fruit tarts. Oh... and he also made a fresh watermellon drink with sprite. It was a delicious meal and a successful catering venture for D.

On Sunday, he got up at 4am and was downtown before 5:30 in order to participate in the 3rd Annual Nations Triathlon. He and two of his chums have been training all summer for the race. All three of them did wonderfully and finished with smiles on their faces. It was a brutally hot day (77 degrees with a lot of humidity before the sun even came up), but that didn't stop D from swimming, biking and running his heart out. I'm so proud!

For the first time since we've been dating, I didn't participate in the race with David. The thought of participating in a three hour endurance event while 20 pounds heavier than normal and with a nearly full-sized infant in my belly makes me a little sick to my stomach; I can barely climb the stairs to the second floor these days. Since I wasn't participating, I was the dutiful race wife. I got up at 4am with David, drove him to the race, showed up at the staging area to take before pictures, and cheered at each of the transition areas. Unfortunately David didn't see me at all along the route. He was worried, after missing me at a point early in the bike, that I had gone into labor and a big surprise would be awaiting him after he finished. I didn't go into labor, but I did get some great pictures. Watching all the swimmers making their way north in the Potomac as the sun began to rise was beautiful. As much as I enjoyed watching/spectating, I wish I could have participated.

Pictured here is DC's Mayor, Adrian Fenty, welcoming the triathletes. The Mayor, who is a kick-butt runner and biker, participated in the triathlon. (Note: my swim time from the triathlon I did several years ago was about six minutes faster than the Mayor's swim time yesterday. Yeah me!)

And here is a picture of David's swim heat getting ready to take off. Unfortunately, I missed David jumping off the platform into the water. So I'm not sure where he is in the mix of green-capped men. Rest assured... he is there!

David has recovered nicely from the race. After a good night of sleep, he was feeling fine this morning. And he was actually talking yesterday about doing another triathlon. Right now we're considering doing an Olympic distance tri in Pittsburgh next July and then running the NYC marathon in November. Should be fun - and a great way to burn off all the weight I've gained during my pregnancy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I voted yesterday. By the end of this year, I will have participated in two primaries and one regular election - a lot from a girl living in a jurisdiction where her vote doesn't count for much. Yesterday was the DC primary; not to be confused with the Presidential primary, which was held in March. The "elections people" in DC (whoever they might be) thought it would be a good idea to schedule two primaries. That way they can spend more money, cause voters more headaches, and confuse all voters as to what is going to be on the ballot when.

As you can imagine voter turn-out was not particularly high yesterday with only local candidates and positions on the ballot. Only three of DCs eight wards had Council members up for elections and several other at-large Council seats were up for grabs.

The Council member representing the ward I live in was up for re-election. This was the main reason I went out to vote yesterday.

Voting in DC leaves much to be desired. Not only do we District residents not have a say/representative in Congress, but our one Electoral College vote doesn't really draw residents to the polls. Additionally, the District's voting process leaves much to be desired. Here are two of the unpleasantries I experienced while voting yesterday:

1. As I approached the site where I was to vote, I was pleasantly surprised that I passed into the "no campaigning beyond this point"-zone without being bombarded by various campaign staffers handing out fliers and begging for last minute votes. However, as I got closer to the voting location, a woman approached me and asked me to vote for her "friend" and gave me a packet of literature. Are you kidding me? It is illegal for you to campaign in the no-campaign zone. And this woman was camped out there - with her table, chair and desk of literature. Out of spite, I voted against this woman's friend. Respect the law, lady, and my boundaries.

2. Once inside, I went to the appropriate table to check-in. I was greeted by a woman who asked me to spell my last name. I spelled it twice and after I realized that she did not know that 'A' comes before 'E' in the alphabet, I told her my name was a few pages back in her book. After asking me to respell my name again, she finally found me. She confirmed my address, made me sign her book, and sent me to the next table. She NEVER checked my photo ID. Are you kidding me? As I was moving on to the next table, I realized she was talking on her cell phone through a blue-tooth device while she was checking me in. How rude!

My overall voting experience left little to be desired. The staff was grumpy and obviously had better things to do, like talking on their cell phones. All of this, and I didn't even have to wait in line. Just imagine what happens when you go and have to deal with the crowds.

With little incentive to vote in DC and the unpleasantries of the voting process, no wonder only 13 percent of registered Democrats and 17 percent of registered Republicans turned out to vote yesterday.

The big news, on the voting front, is that a four-term Republican Council member lost her re-election bid to an up-and-coming 33 year old. Unfortunately, as a registered Democrat, I didn't get to participate in this vote due to DC's closed primary rules.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


There are a handful of things (and then some) about being pregnant I don't want to forget. Most are the annoyances and discomforts I put up with day-in and day-out. There are, however, a few pleasantries that should not be forgotten.

Things not to be forgotten:

1. Everyone wants to talk to you when you are pregnant. Specifically, they want to know: when you are due, if it is a boy or girl, and how you are doing. Since I'm not working or going to school regularly, I usually like the human contact.

2. People are shocked that I don't know if Baby Dawson is a boy or girl. It's as if I'm a neglectful parent or something. I'm looking forward to the SURPRISE.

3. People make/buy wonderful gifts for a new baby. Last night I received a homemade quilt for Baby Dawson. It is beautiful.

4. Some people do think that being pregnant is equivalent to being permanently ill or disabled. If I hear one more time that I shouldn't be carrying my backpack or I should sit while waiting for a train or bus I might scream.

5. My 98.6 degrees of body temperature + the baby's 98.6 = 197.2 degrees and this heat concentrates itself in my feet. Being hot ALL THE TIME sucks.

6. Having visible ankles is over-rated... swelling does occur, especially when it's 90 degrees outside. Ankles disappear, toes start to look like little sausages, rings no longer fit, and most shoes are too small.

7. Without my wedding ring on, people don't know if I'm married or not. On a recent meet-and-greet with a potential pediatrician, I was the only woman in the room without rings on or a husband present. I think a lot of people were curious about my situation, especially the pediatrician who asked if I had plenty of help for when the baby comes. When I told her that my husband wasn't with me because he was flying home from Taiwan a look of relief swept over her face.

8. I'm tired, but cannot sleep. I'm uncomfortable, hot, and annoyed nearly every night after 10pm. On most nights I'm annoyed by the neighborhood cat that is in heat or the sirens ringing throughout the city.

9. The baby has taken over my body. My breathing is short, my stomach is small, the heartburn is constant, and trips to the bathroom are increasing in number.

10. You can outgrow maternity clothes, especially pants.

11. You AND THE BABY can out-weigh your husband, especially while he's training hard-core for a triathlon.

12. The list of irrational fears about labor and delivery grows each day.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I tend to be a good saver of money. I find security (right or wrong) in knowing that I have money in the bank. Being a saver of money has been hard for me during the past year. My graduate stipend in about a third of what I was making while I was working, and if you consider the 12 percent of my salary my former employer was putting into my 403 account, I'm making considerably less these days. Wanting to live within my budget and still save some money, I am always looking for ways to save.

This past summer I have spent countless hours in different grocery stores trying to determine where we can get the cheapest food. For instance, eggs, nuts, bread, and veggie burgers are cheapest at Target. Salsa is cheapest at Safeway; soy "deli" meats are best bought at Whole Foods; and cereal is only cheap when bought on sale. I'm proud that I have figured out a way to save money on food (and still not have to drive out to the 'burbs).

This morning, however, I feel like my penny pinching could have gone a bit too far. I went to school this morning, but didn't need to be there until mid-morning. That being the case, I decided to metro to the end of the Green Line, take the bus to BWI airport, and then take the light rail into Baltimore. Yes, it sounds like a miserable commute, but if you time it well and have a good book on hand it isn't bad at all (and only 15 minutes longer than taking the Marc Train directly into Camden Yards). Additionally, this route provides me with a lot of flexibility in terms of when I leave home/school as the Marc trains only run back and forth during rush hour.

In order to get the 10am bus to BWI, I left my house around 9:20am (just to be sure I was on time). I got to the metro station by our house and realized that the higher/morning rush hour metro rates were still in effect. Wanting to save LESS THAN A DOLLAR I stood at the entrance to the station willing the arriving train to arrive just a few seconds late so the clock would change to 9:31am and I could get the discounted rate.

Unfortunately, the train wasn't running late. I had a choice to make... I could either wait eight more minutes and take the next train (probably missing the 10am bus) to save 85 cents, or I could spend the money and make my connections as planned and arrive to school on time. Surprisingly, this was a tough decision for me to make. I was really set on getting the cheaper rate and actually thought about screwing with my pre-planned schedule and possibly being late for a meeting.


In the end, I forked over the money for the rush-hour rate and made it to school on time, as planned. And I believe this was the right decision.

But, seriously, how far am I willing to go to save a few dollars? Am I too reliant on money for security? too much of a penny pincher? completely out of my mind?

How far is too far when it comes to saving money?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Well, it has been confirmed. There is a mouse in my house. I first spied the little bugger this morning. He was ducking under our refrigerator. Part of me wanted to believe that I was seeing things; another part of me knew there was a mouse. I saw him again an hour later as he crept across the floor in our living room. (Yes, it is GROSS.) Upon seeing him again, I went looking for our cat only to find him sound asleep under our bed upstairs. Chai is definitely not earning his keep around here! There has not been a mouse siting since and the cat knows something is up... he's spent considerable time sitting in front of the refrigerator. Hopefully he'll be successful in killing the mouse.

Tomorrow I will go out and buy some traps.

The good news is: (1) it is just a mouse (it could be a rat, which would be much worse), and (2) I suspect that he snuck into our house through the basement door this past weekend while David was working to finish our bathroom and laundry room construction. I don't think our house is infested or over-run with mice.

I'm sure there will be at least one more post about our mouse and how we caught him. So stay tuned...


... for football. Last Thursday David and I marked the beginning of football season by attending a Washington Redskins game.

Our outing to FedEx Field marked many firsts:

1. David's first in-person NFL game
2. My first non-Steelers in-person NFL game
3. Baby Dawson's first football game
4. My first pro-football game where there were cheerleaders.

We had great seats for the game and the weather (until the rain started to fall in the third quarter) was perfect. The Redskins lost (miserably). Attending a game in DC was much different than attending a game in Pittsburgh. Very few fans dressed in Redskins apparel (unlike in Pittsburgh where everyone knows to wear their black and gold). Additionally, the fans just lacked the energy and passion that is oh-so apparent in Pittsburgh.

Prior to the game, I thought long and hard about what I should wear. My choices: cute pregnancy cloths or my Steelers t-shirt. I opted for the cute pregnancy clothes (namely because my Steelers t-shirt looked a little too tight with my ever-expanding belly). Once I got to the game, however, I wish I had worn my Steelers' t-shirt!

During the game, I had my first (and hopefully last) opportunity to watch the Redskins' cheerleaders. In my opinion, they are not so much cheerleaders as they are scandalously dressed women who spend too much time on their hair and make-up and little to no time on their cheer/dance routines. I was appalled by the too short shorts and cleavage-showing tops these women wore. Not only that, but they were white (so you can only imagine what happened when the rain started to fall). They paid little attention to the game and never rallied the fans to cheer. When the music came over the loud speakers at the stadium, they did do some dances. But their routines were simple and boring (more of a showcase of their asses than a display of skills). And to top that off, they failed to point their toes when doing kicks.

I hate cheerleaders. Always have. (Don't get me started about the cheerleaders at my high school who actually won varsity letters for cheering.) Watching the Redskins cheerleaders perform last week only furthered my hatred. Baby Dawson, under no circumstances, will become a cheerleader.

As much as I hate cheerleaders, I love football, specifically Steelers football. And I LOVE the fact that the Steelers don't feel the need to have slutty cheerleaders performing each week on the sidelines. It's about the GAME, people.