Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Finally Visible Kicks

I'm not sure when it started happening, but about a week ago Mr. Howard and I noticed that the kicks are now visible from outside my belly. Long gone are the days when only I can feel the kicks! I did attempt to put a remote control on my belly to see if we were growing a future soccer player in there, but alas the kicks were not strong enough to move the remote.


I know the photo (25 weeks pregnant) isn't the best quality. I took it in the mirror and I couldn't get the flash to stop washing me out.

My Job (beware: long post)

I have been lackadaisical in posting about my current job situation for a few reasons: (1) It stresses me out to think about it. (2) I didn't want to make any pre-mature posts. (3) Did I mention it stresses me out? But now it has become the blog secret that seems to be keeping me up at night (see this post). I was reading in my pregnancy book how some sleepless nights can be prevented by journaling about whatever is bothering you...so here I go!

About a month ago, my principal came to me to tell me that he had been informed I was on a lay-off list and that I would, in fact, be receiving a pink slip (a teacher's version of a layoff) come March 15th. Initially I was overwhelmed, but very composed. I called Mr. Howard and told him, while discussing options about childcare next year, employment options, mortgage payment, etc. I calmly got off the phone with him and silently dialed my mom's number. As soon as she said hello, I fell apart. I cried hysterically while outlining to her what I had been told and what could happen. I felt better after getting off the phone with her. And that was it...for a while.

About a week passed and I was feeling emotionally distressed and overwhelmed, having since realized that my delivery (with my current benefits provider) might not be covered and that I would have to switch to Mr. Howard's benefits (thereby meaning that I would be switching in my 9th month of pregnancy to a completely different provider and labor and delivery facility). I came home and found an email from my mother-in-law about a company that might be interested in hiring me or at least keeping my resume on file. I was excited, but the reality that I would need to start thinking about employment hit me. I sent my resume off and received notice almost immediately that they were hiring and were interested in speaking with me.

After an initial phone interview, the HR director explained that I would be a good fit and wanted to set me up with a second phone interview (with the woman I would actually be working underneath). They set that up for Friday. I came home a little deterred, thinking that it wasn't the right job for me, as it sounded more like a customer service job (rather than an educator's type job). It was so overwhelming to think about a career switch. I got home and told Mr. Howard I didn't think it was right for me to take the job, but that I'd make a list of questions and interview anyway. He, in his stressed state, told me that I might never find a job in this economy and that I shouldn't let any opportunities pass me by - to which I responded by hysterically and uncontrollably sobbing for an hour (please keep in mind I was over 20 weeks pregnant). In the meantime with all that stress going on, I got sick.

Friday came and I had my second interview. It went great! I felt like I had a good connection with the woman interviewing me, I felt I gave good solid answers, and I felt like this might be the job for me!! I was thrilled, but sat there debating about what I should do in terms of telling them I was pregnant. The moment came and I asked the interviewer how flexible the start date was and went on to explain I was expecting. It was at that point the interview fell apart. She said that she was JUST ABOUT to ask me how firm I was in starting in June, because they were looking to hire in April (super suspicious in my opinion). Well, needless to say, that job went right out the window.

So here we are today. I have officially received my pink slip. I have also unofficially heard that our district will be opting to put 24 students in each primary classroom (up from 20), meaning that each school will lose a few teachers and that 75 curriculum support/instructional assistant positions will be eliminated (thereby pushing out an additional 75 teachers). I will know more come May 15th (when I have to receive a final notice about my status of employment for next year), but it isn't looking promising at all.

The unfortunate thing is that no districts are hiring. So in terms of getting a different teaching position, my chances are slim to none. I have looked at a career switch, but most companies are laying people off. So many people keep telling me (in trying to be helpful), well this is the perfect time! Now you can be a stay at home mommy! Of course, if we could have afforded that, we would have already done that!!! This will not allow me to be a SAHM. In fact, this might make it worse. I might have to take 2 jobs to be able to afford our house, cars, baby, etc.

And not that I'm trying to be boo-hooing for myself, but I am also in a unique predicament BECAUSE of my pregnancy. What company is going to want to hire a 9 month pregnant lady??!! I am sure that the reaction I got from the first company I applied to, is not going to be the last time I am given that response.

So, I am writing this for two reasons: (1) catharsis...getting it off my chest so that I can devote more time to growing a human and less time on stressing about that which I cannot control and (2) prayers and good thoughts. I am a firm believer in that the more people that are praying and thinking of you, the better chance you have for survival. So, please, please think good thoughts for me and all the teachers in California (there are 28,000 of us) and do what you can to help make education in CA a priority.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Insatiable Appetite

I have been starving lately! Not just the normal munchies type of hunger, but an insatiable hunger, one that completely overwhelms me. All the What to Expect When You're Expecting books tell you this will happen in your late second and third trimesters, but wow I was not prepared.

Luckily because I work, I maintain a good healthy diet while I'm at work (bagel and milk for breakfast, fruit for a snack, a weight watchers meal and fruit at lunch, and lots and lots of water) but once I get home, it's a free-for-all. I silently beg Mr. Howard to bring home cookies, ice cream, chips, oreos, and anything else I crave at the moment and simultaneously silently pray that he won't bring it home and in my sight. I know you're allotted an extra 400 calories a day so oftentimes I justify it in that way, but seriously - someone should have warned me. So, I'm now warning all you someday moms. I was a woman who was very in control of what I ate. I had willpower like you wouldn't believe. But pregnancy takes EVERY tiny ounce of ANY self-control you had and throws it out the window, while also whispering loudly in your ear, "it's for the baby! You can't deny that the baby needs food!"

Wow!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Part I Won't Miss

For those of you who have been pregnant, I'm sure you can relate to me on this: THE CRAZY PREGNANT DREAMS!!! Nightly I have several different dreams, ranging from baby dreams (the baby's born sans ears) to nightmares (last night in my dreams someone broke into my house while I was home alone) to dreams that make no sense (talking animals morphing into babies, which then morph into my husband).

Of course, there's a medical explanation for this: the stress combined with increased progesterone, and increased awakenings from dream-filled REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. But, as I've already proven, any husband can tell you it has no medical significance. It's just because pregnant women are crazy!

And since I have already created a forum for some complaining, I would also like to ask God to please spare me in the leg cramp department for the remainder of the pregnancy. While I do enjoy reminders that I am in fact pregnant and that we will be joined by a little one soon, I would rather that those reminders not come in the form of nightly cramps. Thanks!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Now that's a "Good Morning"

In our Early Pregnancy Class, our instructor told us how important it was for us to talk to the baby. While I obviously can't get up close and personal to my belly to have heartfelt conversations, I've always "talked" to my baby inside. When we got home, I asked Mr. Howard to talk to Baby H. We both felt a little silly (he's been singing to my belly for some weeks, but it seems a little different to be having a conversation to a stomach). Nonetheless, we decided we wanted to do it.


Ever since Wednesday he's been having conversations in the morning and at night with my belly...telling Baby H. how much we can't wait to meet him/her, etc. This morning during his "good morning, little one" conversation, the baby kicked. Now, one might think it was coincidence, but I do not. It was almost as soon as he reached down, put his hand on my belly, and said "hello" that the little one gave me such a strong kick that Mr. Howard instantly pulled his hand back and went, "Wow!" I am positive that the baby was moving in response to the noise. What a wonderful memory!! I just had to share!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nursery To-Do List: Assemble Dresser

This evening we picked up the changing table/dresser that my parents had so graciously bought for our nursery. It was probably the easiest assembly of any furniture we've ever brought into the house. We only had to attach the feet. :-) And now the main part of the nursery is complete.

Taken from up high: the dresser and crib!
The Dresser:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I promised

Alright, so I promised not only my husband, but also myself, that no matter what (no matter how much I felt fat or unattractive) that I would not stop posting photos throughout the pregnancy. I'm definitely getting to the point where looking at my pregnant belly is causing slight anxiety. But I keep repeating to myself that this blog is a diary. Of course it's a way to keep in touch with family and friends, but at the end of the day - we're keeping this as a way to remember the good, the bad, and the ugly of our lives and we certainly don't censor our diaries. So, I will continue to post photos of the belly and hopefully in September when I'm skinny and fitting into my regular jeans, I will look back at these photos with a smile and a, "Did I REALLY look THAT big?!"

The thing I would like you all to take from this 23 week photo is the tanktop.
It was 75 degrees today!! YAY!!! Good thing, because I was seriously running out of maternity sweaters or jackets that were long enough!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Nursery To-Do List: Assemble Crib

My wonderful parents surprised us this Friday with a gift for the nursery: a beautiful crib and matching changing table/dresser!!! We spent Sunday assembling the crib!

Below: Just pieces of wood
Below: Mr. Howard assembling the matress springs
Below: The finished crib in it's place (with the Winnie-the-Pooh mobile my sister gave us)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Swaddling

In the Happiest Baby on the Block there is an entire chapter devoted to swaddling and, because some do not know how to swaddle a baby, a very explicit diagram. While I was in the bath, reading to Mr. Howard all about swaddling, he took it upon himself to get a blanket out and practice on Harley. :-)

It was so absolutely precious!!! How lucky I am to have such a wonderful husband who wants to learn and a puppy who is willing to subject himself to Mr. Howard's trials.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Save Our Teachers


Tommorrow is Pink Friday, in honor of all of the Pink Slips teachers across California are receiving. So far 28,000 teachers have been laid off in California and I, unfortunately, am one of them. Please, please wear pink tomorrow to honor teachers and all that they do for our children.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reading: A Luxury I Probably Won't Have Come July!

A friend, Diana, gave me a book called The Happiest Baby on the Block with the disclaimer that she knows I've had a ton of experience with babies, but that the book might be helpful...to which I emphatically replied that I do not think you can ever know TOO MUCH about how to calm a crying baby. :-)

I'm on chapter 5 already (after only 3 bath reading sessions) and I've learned so much already. It's all about how to calm a crying baby, but not just necessarily a baby that cries once in a while - but colicky babies that cry for several hours for no apparent reason. Here's what I've learned so far:

There are 5 ways to calm a crying baby and they are called the 5 s's:
1. Swaddle tight
2. lay baby on side or stomach
3. Shh loudly or use white noise
4. Swing vigorously
5. Suck on pacifier/nipple

For all you moms out there, I'm sure you're thinking, "well, duh!" But the book gives very, very specific directions for how to accomplish the 5 s's and effectively stop a crying baby 100% of the time!!! I completely recommend it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Favorite Things

Pregnancy has mostly been wonderful - absolutely wonderful. It is difficult to explain what feeling your baby inside you is like, but I will never forget it - ever. It's absolutely crazy to be walking to your car and have the baby's head or foot move to a position where you have to actually stop and readjust or keep walking with an enormous amount of pressure in a particular place. I'm finally getting to the point where I can specifically feel the baby move. It is no longer just a, "Wow! There's a kick!" type of feeling anymore; it's a "Ooh! Baby's readjusting...rolling, stretching" type of defined motion, in addition to the actual kicks.

The other thing I have absolutely loved about being pregnant is bathtime. Almost everynight I hop into the bath (warm...not hot), play music, light candles, shut my eyes, touch my belly, and just imagine what being a mommy is going to be like. I know that's a little personal to admit to the world in such a public place, but some day when Baby Howard is old enough, I would love to show him/her this blog. I don't want to forget my favorite moments of being pregnant, because before I know it we'll have a newborn and time will pass and I won't remember what it was like or how happy I was.

Harley and Jake are also starting to sense that something is going on. They want to be on my belly more (maybe they can sense the heat). Perhaps it could be the fact that Mr. Howard is singing to my belly that's clueing them in that there's SOMETHING in there.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Practice Mommy and Daddy-hood

Last weekend, Mr. Howard and I went over to a friend's house to babysit their 10 month old daughter, Sophia. While they thanked us several times for babysitting, it was truly, truly our treat! :-) It both made us so excited for what's to come with our own little one!

She was crawling up a storm and it defititely made us think, what are we going to need to babyproof in about a year?

I'm going to crawl away as quickly as possible!!
Mr. Howard having more fun that Sophia!

Friday, March 6, 2009

So the crazy pregnant lady isn't that crazy afterall...

So, this might be a little too much information but at my 21 week pre-natal, I tested positive for having blood in my urine. My doctor thought it was just a urinary tract infection and so she ordered a culture. Yesterday the results came back and surprisingly I tested negative. Because my doctor didn't contact me to talk about what else it could be, I decided that I wasn't just being a crazy first-time pregnant lady...and that I needed to find out what was going on.

Well, my doctor has determined that I had a kidney stone that I passed. The blood in the urine combined with the stabbing pain in my side are tell-tale signs of a kidney stone (after a UTI is ruled out). It makes me feel better that I wasn't just being a dramatic first time mom. :-)

P.S. Here are pictures of me 21.5 Weeks Pregnant

Sunday, March 1, 2009

20.5 Weeks Pregnant

I'm finally to the point where people have been asking me how far along I am. A girl at a board meeting I went to the other night, turned to her friend and said, "Do you see?? She's [while pointing at me] having a baby!!" Don't ask me why I have my arm behind my back in the photo - odd pose!

I'm also more than half way through the pregnancy!! Can you believe that? I only have 19 weeks left! :-) Baby, here we come!


Look at What 12 Weeks of Baking Can Do:

November 25, 2008
February 25, 2009

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