Monday, November 30, 2009


We drove up to Whidbey Island for Thanksgiving. Yes, from Berkeley. We drove straight there on Wednesday, which was stupid and something we will not do again. I mean, I am kind of a fan of the crazy all-in-one-shot road trip adventure, but with two dogs in the back of the car and a little kicker in my belly, it was a little more complicated than usual. Still, we mostly enjoyed ourselves, save for four hours of stop-and-go gridlock around Salem, OR.
Once on Whidbey we occupied ourselves with dog walks on the beach, visits with friends and family, and multiple Scrabblings. Oh, and eating, of course. Lots of eating.

In general my bloodsugar behaved itself; there was a low, low bloodsugar on the beach Thanksgiving afternoon, which made my walk back up the staircase and the path kind of jostley and uncomfortably shaky, even with the help of part of a chocolate bar, but overall everything was fine.

I really enjoyed seeing Marylynne and Ron again, who I hadn't seen since the wedding. It was also great to meet Karen, my mother-in-law Linda's college roomie and BFF. She is my new thrift shopping comradess. And of course, it was awesome to spend more time bonding with Linda, Aaron, Otto, Lyne, and Moni. It was a really wonderful holiday.

We got to see Lydia in Seattle on Friday night, and to meet her sis Sara and her hubby and baby Ivy, who nursed at the Greek restaurant happily (something that will likely be in our future as well). I asked Peter if the open-boob policy made him uncomfortable. "Of course not," he said. I should've known. He is the furthest thing from a gynophobe there is. Ivy was adorable, as was her mommy, as was their awesome coordinated Moby wrap/shawl combo. There is nothing cuter, I think, than seeing a baby poking her head out from between the buttons of a hand knitted shawl from her mommy's chest.

We stopped on the Oregon coast on the way back home for a stay at a dog-friendly hotel, with lots of gorgeous walking on the beach post- and pre-daylight. It was so beautiful. I was really glad we took the extra 2 hours to drive there and back.

One of my favorite parts of the Spoerl/Armstrong/etc holidays is the tradition of saying what we are all thankful for. It is really meaningful and wonderful, each time. Ron and Marylynne, who have been married for 27 years (Thanksgiving was their anniversary) talked about how they are more in love now than they have ever been, which is such a wonderful and hopeful thing to hear, as a younger couple. I talked about how I am thankful for renewal, physically (my body getting stronger through this pregnancy), emotionally (with my family, friends, and husband), and spiritually (with my outlook on the world).

What are you thankful for, and how was your holiday?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Diabetic Fun

Yesterday was another of my every-three-weeks appointments. The cute nurse who always takes my vitals ushered me off to fill a cup with urine as soon as I arrived, and amazingly, as soon as I pulled my maternity jeans down, I peeled off my infusion set! Ugh. This has not happened in a long time.

I was pretty mad at myself, because I was having my annual review for work, and this meant that I had to go home (back to North Berkeley) after my appointment to re-do my entire infusion set, which would take another 45 minutes out of my work day, which might make me miss my annual review appointment. In the meantime, there was the issue of my body not getting any insulin whatsover delivered to it. Which was troubling.

Leave it to my awesome team to come up with a solution. Sharon, my insulin pump nurse, and Kimmy, my dietician, brushed off my concerns with a wave of their hands. "Oh, don't worry, we have extra sets." I'd just picked up insulin in the pharmacy, so I was able to borrow the rest of the medical equipment and get my pump working again. I also tried a new infusion set, the Silhouette, which inserts at an angle. This means it's easier to place on the side of my belly, out of the way of bumps.

But it's also meant for "extra lean adults" because its infusion depth is shallower than my standard infusion set. I am not extra lean. I have a giant belly (which is, as I type, shaking from a very kicky young man waking up) and a little more than usual fat on it thanks to the pregnancy. Still, it seems to be working great. And I like that the tool for inserting it was described in looks, by Kimmy, as a "Klingon ship" (we are secret Star Trek soul sisters, methinks).

During the appointment there was some discussion about being careful with not overexerting myself in yoga as far as my abdomen was concerned (no hernias, please), and also whether or not it was okay for me to continue to do upside-down positions (dolphin on the wall, handstands). Dr. Maier seems amused by me and said as long as I am not doing it for longer than the baby can hold its breath comfortably, should something get jostled or squished, then it is fine. I don't even do this very regularly, but it is something I enjoy that gives me an extra adrenalin rush that I crave from class, especially when I can't do things like twisted crow. Oh! And it turns out Sharon has taken class at Namaste with my friend and yoga teacher Kristin (she described Kristin as "that cute blond with the awesome bod"; Sharon is 67; I love that this is how she talks).

In other good news, at least on the ultrasound, it looks as if the baby is growing out of his Spoerl skull shape and into a more normal round Karl-Martin baby head shape. Wheeee! He's quite the cutie.

Oh, and in some really annoying news, apparently I have to go to Kaiser Walnut Creek twice a week starting at 34 weeks to get heartrate monitoring of the baby's reactions to uterine contractions, to make sure he can handle labor. This puts such a major crimp in my day, since it takes 40 minutes each way to get there, and this is time I could be spending yoga-ing, pilates-ing, walking dogs, working, baking, etc. Anything more interesting than non-stress tests. And I just think it's unnecessary. At this point it seems as if I am having a low-risk, easy pregnancy based on anyone's standards, not just those for a diabetic! I'm going to ask some other peeps about this and see what they think, and also see if I can get this reduced to once a week at the most.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Staying Healthy

I'm 24 weeks, which means I have 4 months, more or less, to go in this prenatal adventure. The little guy has been kicking like crazy. Last night we went to see The Swell Season at the Paramount, and while I assumed that the little guy would kick through some of the louder songs, he seemed to really dig the violin solo that the fiddle player from The Frames did, as well as one of the quieter ballads. It was a great show, but I fell asleep through one of the songs, on Peter.

I think I've overdone it a bit. I had yoga Wednesday night, pilates on Thursday, and then another yoga class Friday before the concert. I can't make myself go to prenatal yoga yet; I just find it too slow and unchallenging. I'm sure that's going to change at some point. As it was, in regular class on Friday, I couldn't believe how solid my belly rested on my leg during pigeon pose, or how challenging moving from Warrior 2 to plank pose was. Of course, there's no cobra position at all, so I basically go through a modified upward dog to a downward dog, and modify any abdominal exercises with a kneeling boat pose, squats, or stretches.

Throughout my diabetic life, I've dealt with a series of funny (not ha ha) body immunity issues, and since getting a cold virus a few weeks ago, this cycle has returned. It may also have something to do with my return to acupuncture, since acupuncture works something powerful on me, and always seems to stir up some crap in my immune system on the way to strengthening it.

Anyway, the cycle goes something like this: As a long-term type 1 diabetic, I have a somewhat not-so-awesome immune system to begin with. This is exacerbated by pregnancy, though thus far I have had a mainly awesome and low-risk and very active pregnancy. Still, after getting sick, I went through symptoms of my typical immune system fallout, which usually consists, in no particular order, of cold sore, UTI, and yeast infection.

Luckily, this time, there was no UTI. In the past I've successfully warded them off, usually, with lots of chugging of water and unfiltered, unsweetened cranberry juice, along with horsetail (which contains silica, but is unsafe to take for pregnancy).

That's the thing: with the yeast infection, too, my typical option was eliminated. For years, I've taken boric acid for yeast infections (amazing, cheap, and effective, usually clears it up within a day). However, this is not a good remedy while pregnant, as it can, from what I understand, weaken the lining of the uterus. And I refuse to use OTC meds. So, what I found effective this time was taking all simple carbs out of my diet, eating lots of probiotics, and then rinsing the lady parts (externally) with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and water. It cleared things up within a few days.

Ah, and I did get the cold sore, too. I have it now. I would post pictures for you if it wasn't grossing me out so much. I hate getting cold sores. I feel like they overtake my face completely. Yick. Elly gave me some natural product that seems to be working well on it, and I'm trying to get lots of sleep, up my lysine, and stay healthy.

We start our prenatal classes at Birthways in a week or so, and I'm excited to look forward towards this part of the learning process. I have an eye on the labor experience, and every week nearer makes me more adamant that I do not want to be induced, and wonder how my doctors are going to react to the diabetic refusing medical interventions. I am just working hard to remain strong, active, and centered, and hope that this will help guide me through a natural birth with the little one.

One happy spot this week was a visit from a massage therapist who specializes in prenatal massage. She told me that I have excellent posture for a pregnant woman of 24 weeks, and that I am not arching my back as many women do. I totally contribute this to long walks in the hills, pilates, and yoga practice. My massage therapist, who is a tiny, sinewy, athletic woman, also told me that I am in much better shape than she was before she gave birth, and predicted for me a natural, quick, and easy labor.

I do not want to count on such predictions, but they give me a great feeling of assurance and happiness even so. And I am working hard to make sure that the rest of the pregnancy, the birth, and our life with the little guy, will be one of health, happiness, and discovery.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Baby Showers Rock (When Cool Ladies Like These Frequent Them)!

This is mostly a photo post, but I wanted to simply say that I feel so honored to have so many wonderful women in my life. From my mom and auntie-in-law and mother-in-law and sister who threw this party, to the fabulous 30 or so lady friends who showed up to help craft and celebrate the arrival in February or March of the little boy, I am so lucky and blessed to have such wonderful Bay Area friends in my life. Thank you for coming and sharing the day with me!

Elly cautions Haiko to stay away from the sandos, pre-party.

Mom and Elly. Elly loves to throw parties in cute aprons (cute apron courtesy of Mom).

Mom poses with Linda, my mom-in-law, who's working on the pony head for the little boy's huge collage.

Vickie, Linda, Laurel, and Kristin on the deck.

Michele, Wendy, and Hyland craft in the baby's room. I swear it is not this bright green in person!

The horse's neck, collage in progress, thanks to many ladies' hands.

Jen and Ginger

The second crafting area.

Part of the amazing spread of food that Elly, Linda, Mom, and Vickie put together.

A beautiful day, and a beautiful view from the deck.

More crafting in the dining room.

Even the anti-crafters didn't seem to mind this project too much.

Thank you for the beautiful flowers, Grandma and Aunt Kathy!

I'm going to post after pictures of our craft project soon, either when I hang the entire piece (or, I should say, its eight pieces) up, or when I lay it out again on the floor. Till then, you'll just have to wonder at the finished product!

Friday, November 13, 2009

OMG We Went Out on a Weeknight

Peter picked me up from BART on Wednesday, since, as a city employee, he had Veteran's Day off. He'd taken the pups for a 7-mile ramble, and they were nicely tuckered out for the evening.

"What are we doing tonight?" he asked.

"I was thinking that we go see Kristin's dress rehearsal for the Devil-Ettes show at Cafe Van Kleef," I said.

"And Burma Superstar for dinner!" he said, which was what my thoughts were, too. We high-fived over our gastronomical synchronicity.

And so we went out. On a weeknight. At almost 6 months pregnant. It was fun, and the food at Burma Superstar, especially the fiery beef, was super delicious. I also really enjoyed the housemade lemon mint tea. Which, as I pointed out to Peter, we can make from our backyard garden. But, as Peter pointed out, "cannot replicate the effect given our lack of a cute clear glass teapot."

From there we went to Van Kleef's and I had a delicious pint glass of club soda and fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, and we watched the ladies of the Devil-Ettes bounce and shake and boogie. Since it was such a tight fit in there, they were about six inches from us. Peter didn't mind.

Granted, we left the bar at 9:30, but still, it was a night out! On the way to the car we ran into Adam Hatch and his girlfriend, and it was a total Oakland flashback. When I first moved back to Oakland after grad school I worked for Adam's construction company while waiting to get more freelance writing jobs. That's where I also worked with Pat Spurgeon (a little bit of Oakland indie music trivia). My friend Jen used to go out with Adam at that time (2004), and we were deep in the Oakland arts and music scene, what with Kitchen Sink, LoBot gallery, throwing warehouse parties, and Mama Buzz. It was good times, and I miss them a lot. I especially miss living with Armstead, Carla, Jen, and Elly, and the three dogs, in a big Victorian in West Oakland. Those were tough, penny-pinching, awesome days, and I really cherish them.

And now, for something completely different:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Miss Horses

I've been working on a project that reflects it. You'll find more about it soon, and super soon if you're coming to the baby shower on Sunday!

In the meantime, I think about when I can ride again, and how much I love the work that rescue organizations like The Humane Society and NorCal Equine Rescue are doing. I plan on adopting a horse from NorCal when I can finally get my own pony.

Also, Pat Parelli pretty much rocks.