my friends call me Bloody McGraw...

I invite you to do the same.
Bleeding Gums Murphy's got nothing on me. Not only do I have a weird chappy spot inside my top lip that bleeds randomly, but now I am bleeding profusely from the gums around my left canine tooth. My sink looked like a crime scene this morning after I accidently nicked the roof of my mouth with my straw while drinking my mandatory once-a-day Carnation Instant Breakfast. At first I thought the milk had gone bad, but then I realized I was a little ill-ish from swallowing what must have been a pint of my own blood. It happened again later today while I was talking to Dave, and by talking, surely I mean whining about something. I have been known to make people's ears bleed with the endless chatter, but that is another problem.
This issue is actually common, and is known as "pink toothbrush" in the preg books. It is caused by inflamed mucus membranes and increased blood volume, but it is the kind of thing that I thought would never happen to my own mouth, in the safety and privacy of my own home, especially during the holidays.
{Update- several hours later, and now my nose is bleeding, running both out my nostrils and down my throat. This is SO pleasant, I wish I could have a baby inside me forever. It is truly a miracle.}


27 december 2005

Well, Christmas has passed and yesterday marked my favorite time of the holiday season- when we can just say Happy New Year instead of making the arduous choice to say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. I am a Happy Holidays girl, not because I am trying to piss anyone off or make anyone happy- simply because since we are now required by the Hallmark Police to start saying it at Halloween I include everything that falls between Thanksgiving and New Years in the wish, and those are multiple HOLIDAYS people.

Christmas came and went flawlessly, I am beginning my seventh month which means the final trimester, and now I am beat. On top of all the holiday crap I had to do, I went through another growth spurt, which always proves to be exhausting and painful, both emotionally and physically. I feel like I finally have what can officially be called a big pregnant belly, although it doesn't stick out much further than before, it is definitely rounder and fuller on the sides. My belly button is still an innie, and no stretch marks, but that could change at any moment. I feel fat, especially when I try to roll over in bed or get up from my soul-eating couch. I had a bit of trouble tying my shoes this morning, and I even bought two pairs of maternity pants in a size medium. As you can see in the picture, this is mainly because my butt has officially become a booty. I know this because a black guy at the gym said "what's up sis?" and proceeded to stare at my behind while I walked away. I feel so accomplished!! I am looking forward to this weeks weigh-in at the gym tonight, I am almost certain that I gained more than the recommended one pound. I'll update later. {Update- three pounds. Note to self~ next time I skip a week at the gym, be sure it is not during the eatin'-est holiday of the year. Pre-preg Lora would have lost it in two days on a diet of salad and Bud Light. Preg Lora will maintain it for two weeks with veggie dinners (leftover yamallow is still a veggie, right?) and the regular healthy baby diet she has been on during the rest of the day. Boo.}
I spent yesterday morning registering at Target, only to find out via internet and Target tech support today that it most likely did not get entered into the giant Target system in the sky- totally the fault of Eunice, the customer service clerk who only had to push a button on the registry scanner. She was super nice though so she is totally forgiven. Guess what I'll be doing on Friday. Oh well, any excuse to go to Target is good enough for me. {Update- the registry has been found and uploaded to the web. Now I need a new excuse to go to Target on Friday. Thank you Patti and Jerome in Minneapolis for helping me out.}

I also chose a new bedding set, as the frog one I had chosen earlier is no longer sold in separate pieces, and you have to shell out about $350 for a bunch of junk I won't be using, like a giant over the door diaper holder, toy hammock, and a bumper, among other garbage they package together in there. There are no great pictures of the new set, but here is a general overview. This stuff is on the target registry, so if you are so inclined you can check it out up close. I really only want the duvet, a couple lampshades (now that there is no overhead light in the baby's room), bedskirt, and some sheets. Everything else is just extra junk that kicks around and poses a choking hazard. And you all know how I can't keep things away from my mouth and nostrils.
This week marks the beginning of the 3rd trimester, which is a big step for you and the baby! Around this time the baby begins opening and closing its eyes which were fused shut for much of the pregnancy.
Other changes that are happening:
The baby's lungs are growing rapidly.
The baby's brain wave patterns are similar to a newborn at birth.
You should feel at least ten kicks within a two hour period (7-10pm is a very active period).
Baby's Size (head to rump) this week: 9.7 inches
15.25 inches (head to toes)
Weight: a little more than 2 lbs
The baby's size is about the length of a standard kitchen spatula.


How ya feelin'???

Hot. Hot. Hot.
As I type this, I realize this is my second Buster Poindexter reference in this blog. He should be so lucky in the mass media.
I have been given the gift of hot flashes for Christmas. They are a beautiful thing, after the initial sweating, heart palpatations, and dizziness pass. It is the only way I can stay warm at work where we do not have heat for some reason. I have it down to a science now; every time I start to feel a little dizzy, I drink a glass (oh sure, it is an office standard styrofoam cup, but that doesn't sound as classy) of cold water with a sugar packet dumped in, and then I go into the bathroom and sit with my head between my knees in a stall. I don't know how long I will be able to get my head all the way down there, but it is working well for now. I feel a little funny getting up and leaving meetings suddenly, but I'm sure everyone understands. I feel more than a little funny sitting on a toilet with my pants pulled up. It isn't something that we as a society get to experience nearly as much as we should be.


20 December 2005

I had my glucose test yesterday to test for Gestational Diabetes. It was tons of fun, and I had to drink 10oz of glucose solution. It was a special treat for Jake, who isn't usually allowed candy (mostly because his Mom is missing a sweet tooth- they must have pulled it when they were yanking teeth before I got braces). It was actually pretty embarrassing to sit in the waiting room and have people stare at the acrobatic show in my belly. A little girl playing with a toy John Deere came up to me and put the tractor on my belly to "mow away the bumping". Ahh, kids- so not cute. The doctor always gets a good laugh about how spazzy the baby is, and the doppler stethoscope, with the help of the jelly they use on your belly, was actually being kicked off my stomach.
After seeing some other pregnant girls this weekend, I realized that maybe I am a bit smallish, and asked the doctor about it. He said I am actually measuring perfectly, if not a little big, and some girls have bellies that are more than just baby. So there nay-sayers!! I am growing right on schedule, and not carrying any extra baggage. Well, physically at least.
My blood pressure was up a lot this morning, but I attribute it to the sugar, the coffee I drank in the morning, and the intense fear of the impending needle. I asked a nurse at work to take it a few minutes ago, and it was actually lower than it normally is. Maybe I will switch to half-caf, and nix the A.M. glass of syrup. The other time my pressure was way up at the doctor, I was awaiting my myriad of blood tests. Thoroughly convinced that I had the spina bifida and cystic fibrosis gene and somehow contracted something dirty and had a crazy staph infection or something else nasty, every toilet seat I ever sat on and crack house I ever stepped foot in ravished through my head like a rabid raccoon wielding its frothy fangs at every rational thought. Turns out I was clean as the pure driven snow, nothing to worry about.
Your baby is putting on more weight at this time. Recall that you can expect to gain about a pound per week this month as both you and the baby grow. (Recall? How could I forget? I am up one more pound, for a grand total of six) This week marks a special time as the baby's brain wave activity begins for the visual and auditory systems. It will be some time, however, until the baby comprehends what it is sensing.
Other changes that are happening:
With the nostrils now open, the baby will now make breathing movements to prepare for taking in air at birth.
Your baby's lungs secrete surfactant to keep the lung tissue from sticking together.
At this point the baby has completed two-thirds of its stay in your womb.
Baby's Size (head to rump) About 9.25 inches
Weight: Approximately 2 lbs


growth spurt

I had a huge jump in size over the last week, and although I was going to wait to take a picture until the beginning of my third trimester, I took a couple yesterday before the big M Holiday Extravaganza, which went off without a hitch.
I took one picture from the side and one from the front so that you could really see how much wider I am getting, which is making up for the total lack of belly enormosity. Notice the intensity required to take a self portrait. I didn't think to look into the mirror and smile. I was way to concentrated on the task at hand. And savor the thoroughly classy black bra and wife beater. I didn't wear that all day, I swear. Thank goodness for poor camera quality or it would look really sleazy.
I have bruises all over my newly acquired saddlebags as a result of bumping into things that I usually just breeze past, but since I am not used to my new size, I run into corners and tables all day long. I am a wall and object hugger when I walk, and it is really becoming a painful burden. My thighs look like Courtney Love's after a weekend binge. If I knew how to link a photo to a word, I would find the most unflattering picture of Courtney in a mini-skirt, with her trademark black and blue limbs that would pop up when you clicked her name. I'm sure you could easily google one yourself, so I don't feel so bad.
On a totally unrelated note, after making 23 dozen cookies on Friday I did not have a trace of a belly ache, which is usually the bane of the holidays for me. I couldn't figure it out at first, but then I realized I didn't eat a pound of raw dough washed down with beer this year. Makes a HUGE difference.


13 December 2005

We attended our second 2005 holiday party on Saturday, and once again I had one cookie (star shaped with red sugar) and three glasses of water before retiring for the evening. The old Lora is somewhere laughing.
The holidays are officially in full swing, and everyone is trying to feed the preggo chick. People love watching the belly grow, and it isn't happening very fast, much to the chagrin of many. But every day I get bigger (up one more pound this week!), and it is almost time for round two of maternity clothes. Just as I waited until the second trimester to wear maternity, I am holding out until the third trimester to buy new ones, so if you see me in the same thing two days in a row, just take pity and smile. I am starting to retain a little water, which is so comfortable. There is nothing more attractive than spider veins and cellulite on pasty holiday-fed thighs. To combat the swelling, I stay in the shower until my fingers prune up. I truly believe in the power of osmosis. I have never been one for long showers, but there are so many things to do in there that you just can't do anywhere else, like milk yourself (that is a fun new trick) and wash your more delicate clothing items. I realize that soon I will have to share my precious Johnson & Johnson's Baby Shampoo that I use solely to wash cashmere and lingerie. And is it okay to wash your baby with your underwear soap? Will it send mixed messages to Dave when his baby smells like panties? Should I start using Woolite like normal people? Are they interchangeable? Is Woolite safe to use on the baby? What if he is hairy like Dave? Is it preferred to wash a furry baby with Woolite? I am starting to have a ton of questions about this whole baby thing. There is so much that mom doesn't tell you.
There are many interesting developments going on with the baby right now. The tiniest blood vessels, capillaries, are developing under the baby's skin and turning the color of the baby from a transparent to a pinkish appearance. The baby's nostrils begin to open and the buds for the baby's permanent teeth form.
Other changes that are happening:
The baby will develop a very strong grip this month.
Nails are continuing to grow from the nail bed and will cover the nail as well.
Blood vessels are forming in the lungs.
Baby's Size (head to rump) this week: About 8.75 inches
Weight: Approximately 1.5 lbs
Your baby this week is about the size of a household telephone.


jack frost totally screwed dave today

First of all, isn't our dead tree magically transformed into a thing of beauty by the first real snow?
Poor Dave was supposed to drive to Scranton for a hearing (he was playing the lawyer, not the defendant. This time. And it was cancelled before he made it too far North) and the roads were terrible this morning. I was upset that he has to drive a couple hundred miles and just know he is going to spin off Mount Pocono and I will have to be a single mom, and he is pissed that he has to clean off the car and then make the long journey into the great expanse of Pennsylvania. Because we are totally unprepared for life in general, we wouldn't think to have an ice scraper, so Dave took a kitchen spatula to brave the driving ice-snow and get the windows clear. Fast forward 15 minutes, he tries to get in the car, and of course the lock is frozen. We don't have any anti-freeze or a lock de-icer, but we do have a small Bic lighter with a beach scene on it. Try as he might to melt it, the lock would not open. But, as the sun rose and the flame shone, the inside of the car gradually became illuminated. What to Dave's wondering eyes should appear? A neighbor's car. Damn you old man winter. Damn you.


6 December 2005

In case you were worried, Bailey is over her cold, and we can now get some sleep when she is around. She was having a difficult time letting herself go to sleep here because of all the avian activity in the tree outside the window. Here's a picture of Tyler too, just because she hasn't been getting a lot of press time here since the onesie pic and she is just so cute when she sleeps. She is one of my favorite things in the whole world. If not for Dave to keep me grounded, I'd be the crazy cat lady on my block. The nice thing about South Philly is that it takes A LOT to be the crazy lady on the block. Our craziest lady, Mary, moved out a few months ago. She used to walk around with garden shears and cut stray branches off people's trees. Then, she would put the twigs in her hair to pay homage to the spirit of the tree. I obtained this information when I was trying to be nice and told her there were some twigs in her hair. I saw a war movie once where a guy had a necklace made of human ears. I think this is a similar gesture. I don't know who took her place as the crazy lady, but there is no way it can be me. Yet.
We are getting ready for the holidays, delegating responsibility to our friends and families for the big parties. Let's see how well I do this year without alcohol (the old holiday spirits, if you will). I'd like to send out apologies now for anyone who is subject to my holiday wrath. You know, the whole hormonal anger issue. The good news is, I'll have my brother here, who also hates Christmas, so we can duke it out together, just like the good old days.
The anger is subsiding, slightly. So is the heart rate problem. I added the extra day of cardio at the gym, and began lifting weights again to make good use of the extra testosterone rushing through my veins. It is helping, and I was getting pretty lazy about strength training so it was time to get back into a routine. I am also drinking coffee a few days per week. Boy, did I miss that rush. I chose one cup of coffee over a glass of wine. One glass of wine just makes me sleepy, one cup of coffee gives me the strength to help me through my day.

Every day I am getting bigger, and since this week marks the middle of my 6th month, I posted a picture for you guys to point at and laugh. I have finally hit 140 pounds, which was my goal weight for Halloween. I am such a slow developer. People are finally noticing that I am pregnant, not just chubby. Yesterday at the gym some lady said to me "oh, you're pregnant. I certainly hope you don't have any, um, accidents", and then walked away. What? Isn't that what gangsters say to one another?
Your baby is steadily growing and it is likely that each day you are becoming more aware of the baby's movements. You can expect to gain about a pound per week this month as both you and the baby grow!
Other changes that are happening:
The baby's skin is very wrinkled right now but will smooth out when more fat is deposited and muscles further develop.
The baby's skin is very transparent at this time, if you could see the baby you could see the bones and organs through the skin.
At this time, you may be able to have someone put an ear to your abdomen and hear the baby's heartbeat without the aid of a stethoscope.
Baby's Size (head to rump) this week: About 8.5 inches
Weight: Approximately 1.25 lbs
Your baby is about the same size as the width of a standard size sheet of paper!


tis the season

I think I figured out what the baby listens to all day. Last night I was doing what I do when I can't sleep in the middle of the night- using my cats as pillows. I love to listen to thier tiny hearts beating and their little lungs breathing, and Tyler is so reliably fat that she always has something digesting in there. Plus, she talks in her sleep. I think she dreams about yogurt and houseflies. It is so soothing to listen to, and I'd imagine the inside of me sounds pretty nice too, if you are a six month old fetus and don't know any better. Bailey has a cold, and has been snoring like a lumberjack. Not good pillow material. Plus, she manages to purr during her sleep, which would be cute if it was the fine tuned engine rumble that most cats have. Bailey's sleepy motor sounds like a rusty tin can with some marbles inside. It is really erratic and raspy.
While my cats were dreaming of sugarplums, I was wide awake thinking of all the holiday sights and smells that Philadelphia offers this time of year. City Hall has a new (Parisian) lighting scheme, and the pastry shop Miel around the corner has all sorts of goodies and the smell of the ovens is amazing. The streetlights are festooned with angels and snowflakes, and the world's biggest indoor tree is up at Liberty Place. The cold weather really cleans up the city, sending the people who live on the benches and parks to shelters and trains in an attempt to stay warm. My Snyder Avenue subway stop becomes a haven each winter for our resident homeless guys, who I have named Boozy McStink and his comrade Fecal Joe the Hobo. They live up to thier monikers, never disappointing us by taking a Christmas bath nor jumping on Santa's wagon for a few days.
A stroll down Passyunk Avenue invites us to behold leopard print Mrs. Clause lingerie, crystalline everything, and oh- those golden lame (that's lah-may, not lame like a cripple, although these things+booze=crippling) slippers that no South Philly woman would be without on New Years Eve. Mine are on hiatus this year- no heels for the clumsy preggo girl. It is also the season for the tell-tale spray paint outlines on the streets of the New Years Day Golden Slippers- usually an old pair of McGregor sneaks that have seen better days, made new and shiny and gilded and waiting to be puked on. Suburban men relinquish theirs to lawn mowing shoes. Philly guys paint them gold, put on a dress, and walk down Broad Street. The holiday music is pumped into the streets from several different stores, all tuned to the same song. The smells from the Italian restaurants and bakeries warms you, and doors are always open to invite you in for a glass of wine or a warm plate of goodness. And the amazing window displays all good little housewives spend hundreds of dollars to decorate make the season bright.
My time spent on Wyoming Avenue in the Badlands of Philly yesterday allowed me to experience the warm gassy smells of people using thier ovens as heaters, cheaply scented candles burning in the homes of those without electricity, and the windows decorated with garbage bags, bed sheets, and dollar store tinsel. Having reached my destination, I stepped into a house with all the windows and doors open despite the grey 38 degree afternoon, only to have the lady who I was there to meet say she is "just airing out the house because it smells like eggs". Or your 2.30pm crack fix. White girls aren't all stupid, and I understand that things are really tough in this neighborhood during this time of year and you need something to get you through. Needless to say, I hightailed it out of there, knowing I probably wasn't the first pregnant girl to step inside that crack house, and probably wouldn't be the last. I sure could have used a drink once I got out of there. I settled for milk, bought at the corner of 8th and Indiana, paid for in cash, not stamps. It is easy to forget how much poverty actually exists a few short blocks from our comfortable homes.
I finally fell asleep this morning, a few hours before I had to wake up, safe and warm in my bed, with the cats snuggled nearby, the roar of the heater kicking on, and the reflection of the neighbors' Christmas lights in my windows.