When in Romaine, Do as the Canary Lettuce Do: Baby Bear's Big Swagged Out Whoopee

In Week 35 of gestation-a-go-go-go, rattles and mortal coils coughed out from a feeble treadmill less (recently) traveled, but final hail mary's promised reprieve. Belly battles against the intransigence of inanimate objects amplified and turned soapy. Honeydew chickens roasted a little less, as the heatwave o'Hades notched it back a few. Expectant parents wrapped themselves in togas and paraded through households with eensy animals to pass the final countdown month, while veteran mommas attired themselves in infantry. The ghosts of babies past reminded mom-to-be of the gigantic blub the lay behind and possibly in store, while men in tights once more tackled the ornery Pyrenees for glory. 

As the months turn to 9 out of 9 (knock on wood), inanimate enemies loom, perched on surfaces and looking for belly bursts. Harmonics are honed in a Midsummer Day's Meeting while maternity matures in a blaze of hisses and hums. Showers of wealth and generosity nearly flood out a happy and harried couple of preparing pre-parents. Canary melons fly over the Cantaloupe towards a final countdown of mucuousy proportions. And competitions heat up on distant mountaintops to ward off the hormonal napalm.

Thuper Duper Throes of Thursday
We're at the penultimate day of the week in the middle week of July. How the heck did that happen? The Ides of July already past in a celebratory blur (yesterday was slated to be the first day of a truly awful trial that implausibly settled a few weeks ago, so yesterday was quite a party day). Gestational weeks ticking by towards the irreversible term! Even tomorrow, another appointment to check on fancy pre-labor words like dilation and whatnot. And nope, I didn't find time on my own time to get my last thyroid test. Whoops. I guess I'll have to sneak out later today.

In a week, my sister and nephews will be arriving in a glorious caravan of craziness. That will also be the beginning of the "term birth" window, a date etched in my brain for months despite the ongoing uncertainty of any particular woman's birthing period.

Good timing, I think! I figure that it would be very instructional for all the little nephews to help out with a live birth. Plus, what would be more "natural" than dropping my solo-litter lovely right in the backyard of my mom's house while little boys play soccer and wrestle about me? 

Birthing Position # 201: Assisted Nephew Squat

Or maybe I'll wait until they take their week up in Canada with Grandpa Ian. I hear kids under 12 aren't allowed in the birthing center anyways (gee, darn!)

In a day, the uber aunties are back for a brief spell before going to that same island in Canada. Basically people come to Bellingham as a jumping off point to accompany Papa T to Canada.

 But this is good. It's a little bit of a "final crunch" weekend and I'm feeling a wee bit overwhelmed with how much is left for the happy-harried couple to do in ratio to how little time there is to do it. 

On the domestic front things go tres bien, inasmuch as our main focus has been pretty exclusively Le Tour de France. It's just moved into the mountains and the real competition is heating up. Literally. It's like 31 degrees celsius there. Which I believe is metric code for 4 gallons? Something like that.

 I meanwhile am cooling down in tank tops and with the a/c blaring, but the weather has offered a more than welcome period of "normal PNW summer" for my delectation. Not supposed to last into the weekend - a weekend threatening yet another hot spell - but I'll take the days on tap with a refreshing smack of my lips and a slightly more human tinge to my rubicund cheeks. Hell, I even managed to leave the a/c off yesterday. It was miraculous! Forget birth. Weather that doesn't kill me: that's the true miracle. 

Of course the domestic guerrilla warfare continues, particularly by the side of the sink. I'm learning to be wary of surfaces and check countertops first before moving too near to them. But I still am ensnared from time to time by these stealth tummy jabbers. 

And yes, since I shared a photo previously of my enormous belly that may have taken advantage of angles to make said belly look as large as it currently feels (roughly the size of Luxembourg), this is what I'm actually rocking right now. 

Basically, yes, I'm one of those creepy looking ladies who can look entirely unpregnant and somewhat lean from a variety of angles, but then turns to reveal an enormous pod extruding from her midsection. I'm all baby belly, baby! Mostly. I hear there's some amniotic fluid and crushed internal organs squishing around somewhere in there as well. And no, no I do not intend to take any artsy black and white nudes of myself with my palms over my udders and a coy turn to the camera... camera selfies are hard enough here. 

And today is the second day of no-trial celebration. Unlike yesterday, we are actually taking appointments today after a wonderful catch up day of semi-open yesterday. We got enough done yesterday that I think we're in good stead to finish the week on par if never quite ahead. 

And very good news (knock on wooden treadmill desk): the supposedly crucial replacement part to my death rattlin' treadmill arrived yesterday. It was rather crucial that such part appear before our "repair appointment" scheduled for "sometime Friday." Hopefully now that there's a part to add to the mix, the guy will actually look at my treadmill and make sure there's nothing else up with it. In the meantime, who doesn't love the chaotic rattle of a rapidly deteriorating hamster wheel in the morning mellow? 

Nobody. Nobody doesn't love these things nohow!

Babylution Numbah Nine: The Final Countdown

Thirty-six weeks for me and the little belly creature. That is, in case we're keeping score "late preterm" and/or "the last week before TERM" And term is code for "holy shizolla, any second now... or several weeks... nature works in mysterious ways, but still... really... have you packed the damned go bag for the hospital yet??" 

Since I actually know several people who gave birth in their 36th week, I'm a little more attuned this week. And my body is starting to get ready. I haven't hit the checklist of "am I in labor" signs, yet. But the body is definitely adjusting. 

Incidentally those signs are: 

1. Losing your mucus plug - Well I'm losing everything else these days, so what else is new. I'm sure it's somewhere very logical. Likely in the freezer next to my long lost kindle, or maybe in some filing cabinet at work. My apologies to anyone who might find that. I don't envy you.  

2. The Lightening! Greased lightnin'! Whooo. That's right, I'm about to drop a baby here folks. And/or the baby will soon be going from squeezing out my lungs and tummy in order to more effectively engage herself in a non-stop onslaught against my beleaguered bladder. With bonus points for quick shots at other pelvic pressure points. Because walking around like a sodden penguin on her walk of shame - and occasionally jumping at some less than sensual "down there" jolting - truly is the miracle of life. 

3. Nesting energy. Whatever. I think this is all placebo and panic. Women go nuts cooking and cleaning and baking because they realize that nobody else is gonna do it once the little beast has burst free. Maybe I'll find that afflatus in the final countdown, but I'm still more inclined to hide out in my roost and squawk. 

4. Discharge. We won't get too descriptive here, but it may soon come in colors and provide a bloody scary show there old chap! Hopefully with a little instructional map to finding that darned misplaced mucus plug. 

5. Stronger better than before 6 million dollar contractions! That come at regular intervals and get worse over time. But before that you'll have several days of ambiguous contractions that may really feel real but aren't really. Not really. 

6. Broken water. And no, not even duct tape can put that water back together once it's burst. Of course with the increased need to urinate every five minutes as the little belly creature's head continues to swell right into it, who can say for sure? I guess some people can. We shall see. 

Anyways, there are probably more signs. Like a baby emerging from between your legs. That's a fairly clear one. 

But I probably do have some time before that occurs. Probably. Maybe. Knock on wood. Regardless of the weird thoughts I have while half asleep and toe-deep in a dream about being in labor. 

But before we go there, oughtn't we check in on the little belly beast herself? 

This week she's apparently either a casaba melon, a canary melon (chirp chirp), or a head of romaine lettuce. 

I've never experienced a canary melon. They are apparently sweet, but tangier than a cantaloupe. And to my knowledge they believe that their reflection is actually another canary melon. Canary melons are also bright yellow, confirming that my baby would likely have mild jaundice if she were born this week. 

In theory she's up to nearly 6 pounds and maybe around 18 inches long. She's going to continue to get fatter for a little while. I apparently may not expect to do so, although I have had such minimal weight gain to this point, a little belated catch up may be in order (and given my increase in size, I'd even warrant likely). 

Where's my weight theoretically going if she's getting heavier? Well, she's shedding lanugo still so that she can instead be covered in waxy vernix. Both of these will kind of mix into her amniotic ambrosia and be major components of the delightful meconium mix on our parental horizons. The fluid she isn't drinking is probably slowly being reabsorbed. Or stocked up for some dramatic "my water just broke!" scene in some madcap and awkward place just rife for comedic hijinks (I have learned from tv that this is always where and how one's water will break). 

Anyways, she's otherwise doing swell. Wait, I'm the one swelling. She's almost fully developed in every relevant way, but with a dodgier digestive system than she might have in a little while. 

And she may be getting cramped in there, but she's plenty happy to keep up her deconstruction work on my remaining abdominals in between her mexican bladder dances (La Cucaracha can no longer walk because if she moves, her non-water- water will burst).

As for me? I'm on my way to yet another exciting (nonstop) OB appointment! I'm kind of excited in a sick way for my very first (cringe boys, cringe in horror at the lady words!) cervical check. Oh and some kind of swabbing of my 'nether decks to check for Strep-B. If I am positive for that, then I need to come in earlier in my labor in order to get a big bag of antibiotics. Harmless to mommy but a problem for little babies I guess. 

And I totally got my "mom-friend" preview on earlier this week. That's right, social butterfly that I'm not (more like battered moth) I met up with some other recent mothers for a lunch at Terra Organica. Facebook, damn you but once again you become a ubiquitous cog in the mechanisms of my active social support network. They all had their babies already sprung, but let me tag along as an honorary "almost there."

While there, I saw many bosoms and baby mouths, was assured that I had no idea what sleep deprivation truly was until the baby is born (but it will be worth it), got the lowdown on the challenges of cloth diapers, and discovered that eating a bag of baby carrots is even better when you steal another mother's extra plate of sushi ginger and wasabi. This mom hadn't eaten all day so she ordered roughly an ocean's worth of sushi which she then could not finish. 

We also began the comparing of notes about activities women with little babies could actually pursue. Next week - should the creature appropriately bide her time - I will be attending my very first "babywearing ballet" class. Technically most of the attendees will be wearing their babies on the outside, but I'm going for the more natural kangaroo approach personally.

Oh and today I'm having coffee (where coffee is code for "some sort of ingestible or potable that serves as an excuse to be in a location with another person for a certain spell of time) with a gal who's right around the same timeframe as I am. Maybe that's why I have no energy for nesting. Socializing is exhausting (if worth it), but I want to start reaching out before the baby is born and I'm too exhausted to do anything but isolate myself in a hermitage with the little creature. 

Not that I could isolate myself. I'll be buried in family soon! First my aunties tonight. Then my sister and her brood next week through the first part of August. Then the (W)rights will be dropping in mid-cruise. And I'm always surrounded by my parents of course. Thank goodness their dogged work ethic means that they tend to instinctively set to work helping out without waiting for so much as a "hi could you possibly..." or asking much of anything in return. I am so spoiled. 

And soon I'll be in a waiting room with baby radar ablaze, waiting several hours in what's likely an overheated lobby with several other preggers waiting for their checkups. Excitement!!

Happy Friday folks! Legs crossed for at least another week for me and fingers crossed for all y'all to be having a wonderful weekend kick-off.

Miniature Monkeys and the Fabulous Weekend of Wanton Generosity

Well, that warm glow I'm feeling spread across my scarlet cheeks might be due to the resurgent heat in our region, but some of it has got to be that ooey gooey gratitude for yet more affirmation of my incredible support network. This was represented in food, of course. And, well, swag. Er, I mean tokens of love and excellent taste. 

Yesterday I became the proud trustee of a genuine+Miniature Monkey Creations infant companion. He is, by the way, roughly the length of my little belly creature. Although I suspect she weighs more at this point. Nonetheless, it may well explain why I suddenly feel quite enormous. Cramming 18-20 inches of sock or belly creature into that abdominal area is quite the venture. Even discounting any remaining internal organs that might be hanging in there. Belly creature also received a luxe and lavish baby blanket, made by hand by people far more talented than me.

And to receive these grand gestures, I got to mostly wait around for +Ann G to brave the various vagaries of I-5's temper tantrums and make it up to Bellingham past an overturned gravel truck and 23 vehicles that had been crushed underneath. Oh, and eat Mexican Food in an appropriately air conditioned eatery. It is so hard being me these days! 

Little belly beast was something of an ingrate and continued her pattern of gaslighting mommy by being stomach-burstingly active every minute that somebody else was not trying to feel her movements, at which time she hides behind the placenta snickering quietly until they stop trying, at which point her made hiccups take over and make mommy's belly ripple like fudge in ice cream. Ah well.

Not to be outshone, the uber-aunties returned this weekend for a Panda Palace dinner, a ridiculous lavishing of baby booties, mommy sockies, and cute Quebecois stuffed animals.

They were in town for the weekend before heading up to Canada with my dad, so we got to see them on Friday night (after they braved a prior spell of heinous traffic - because the I-5 corridor between Seattle and Bellingham is god's punishment to mankind for their many vehicular transgressions) and came by to check out the condo/nursery on Saturday. Maggie is looking to get back into cycling, so she and Andrew mostly disappeared for several hours while Andrew began the process of identifying the absolutely perfect bike for her. After a lengthy consultation and an additional thirteen hours of mulling, he has figured it out. I believe she will find a bonafide email with his perfectly honed recommendation. 

Today the flood of generosity is holding steady with the levees, while Andrew and I attempt to cram in our mundane weekend tasks, a full Tour de France binge, and even some discussion of the looming labor. I made Andrew test drive an assisted seated squat with me yesterday. Basically I kind of hang off his lap with my arms around his neck like a monkey. I like it.

Our book is fun. I'm hoping to get into more of it so I can discover more ways to remind myself that it's the good kind of pain. Like Tour de France finishing uncategorized climb and I'm a breakaway of one with enough of a window to make it to the finish line if I just keep digging, and maybe I'm French on Bastille Day! Or Jens Voit! I'm Jensie and my legs can just shut up! Like that. Except possibly with more blood and fewer crazy fans in costumes tossing urine at me and accusing me of doping my way through natural childbirth. 

Something like that. Today, it's back to tending my always tenuous balance between wanting to get a lot done and avoiding all heat in a big ice-cocoon of air conditioning. What will win out? Only time will tell. 

I'm guessing the cocooning though. Unless our downstairs kitchen suddenly turns into a walk-in cooler. Which would change everything!

Perhaps the Final WCP Meeting Minute Snippets (Definitely before Adella's self-proclaimed maternity leave from her secretarial duties!)

Believe it or not, members attended this Midsummer's Day Dream of a Meeting! Athenian exchange youths stirred up merriments, and turned melancholy forth to the offices where emails snowballed in pomp! A few members had run off into the Athenian woods and fallen in thrall with donkeys and various litigious ensnarements over changeling boys. But those who were present were fully so and ready to collaborate the heck out of that soft summer's afternoon. 

In the spirit of Make New Friends and Keep the Old (mmmm girl scout cookies... yes please to a samoa tagalog sandwich with chips and coleslaw please), members celebrated a summery breezy (thanks to Adella's insistence on bringing portable fans to throw tempests towards her torrid visage) summer session with a halloo to our long term members while also welcoming the new.

Golden Members Present:

24 Karat Gold Members Present:

Honorary Golden Trinkets of the Neonatal Sort: The bizarre flailing creature in Adella (a/k/a the penguin-waddler) Wright's protruding abdomen. After some denials, a swift graduation to the "any day now" nine month period has officially come with enough of a waddle and some actual maternity clothes. Members may now comfortably confirm and allow that she is, in fact, particularly parturient at the moment and we have a new semi-member in our midst.

Belly-creature, also known as "The Fonz" due to her propensity for thumbs up gestures during ultrasounds, enjoys the following activities: head-butting nearby bladders; kicking back amniotic cocktails with her feet up (and poised to strike the diaphragm); going completely still and hiding behind the placenta tittering whenever her daddy attempts to feel her through mommy's stomach;  and bopping to the steady creaky hum of her mother's busted treadmill. Her favorite color is "dark but with various shades of light. And her favorite music is the mix of King FM and her mother's gushing ranting self-talk disguised as "bonding with baby!" Belly-creature already has an extensive vocabulary of archaic obscenities and enjoys hearing her Gramma Pam stage hissing the content of highly charged emails to her fingers just out of volume required for actual comprehension. Her long term plans involve teasing her parents with several false starts to the labor process, squishing her own head into a cone shape, producing a glorious meconium (don't ask), suckling anything nearby, vomiting onto her adorable little onesies, and crying loudly between long naps. 

She looks forward to future Collaborative Cases with Lord Jared and his babysitter. 

II. Visions, Goals, and Difficult Imaginary Conversations.

Ou fearless president charged ahead to our next item of business. Way back in the Wayback Machine, we The Never Bored Board had a dream. And that particular dream did not involve showing up to high-school band practice in nothing but bunny slippers, a Mickey Mouse life jacket, and one pink star earring. No, the dream in reference was a series of visions for the 2015 WCP year. And those visions came with attendant action plans. 

And the group heard them. And the group saw that they were good (albeit lacking the cooshy cozy warmth of those bunny slippers). As the season slips by into the big halftime show (Katie Perry, really?), we began to revisit these goals and reflect on the steps we have taken towards our dreams.

And where better to begin than at the ooey gooey center of vulnerability, trust, and all those delightful things achieved only through a certain modicum of discomfort. 

As our training approaches, the devilish tritone of false harmony resonates with us as a heavy barrier towards our final goal. When working collaboratively, the intention for this year is to really develop relationships of trust and connection within our teams. When the team truly supports itself, the ability to move the people through the process is very different than when there are unspoken issues within the team. 

At our April meeting Laura and Roy demonstrated giving the honest feedback that breaks through false harmony like the People's Elbow through Shane McMahon's office window. The experience was pretty amazing, we all agreed. 

They opened up to each other in front of us. Tackled difficult issues. Made plans for working together in the future. And Roy totally got Laura to admit she was like totally wrong, before doing a happy dance and singing nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah with his thumbs in his ear and fingers pointing in her direction. No wait, I mean, they had a really open and frank conversation that put them in good stead for future collaboration. And nobody died or even cried. Much. ...

... And speaking of the outside world, the iron tongue of  midnight hadst told twelve, our ballgowns turned to rags and our coaches to pumpkins, and we were all thrust back into the offices with all those looming emails and responsibilities. A hungry Jared roared, and the belly creature howled at the moon, whilst the not-so-heavy sitter snored, all with weary task fordone. 

No epilogue, we pray you; for that meeting needs no excuse

But if Collaborative Shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended, that you have but slumbered here, while all these discussions did appear. And this grand collaborative theme, no more yielding than a dream. Gentles do not offend, if bunny slippers can but mend.  And, as we flow with honest pluck, our cases earned with lots of luck. Now to 'scape the litigator's tongue, we will make amends ere long. Else the pluck a liar call; so good day unto you all. Give me your emojis if we be colleagues, and let us restore intrigue!

Preggo Pointy-Things Skirmish: Number 2001 

I'm getting clever now in my ongoing domestic battle of the bulging belly. That belly, mind you, has not a mite of protective blubber on it, but quite a bit of skin stretched to the point of snapping over a spelunking little belly creature who is raring to get out and take on these pointy objects herself. She'll get her chance. Maybe that's why babies and toddlers are always grabbing and throwing things. Maybe it's revenge for the indignities suffered in utero! 

I have avoided the sponge handle several days in a row at this point. Since I tend to grope my way through the house (now that we're finally actually having nights again) in crepuscule, I have previously been vulnerable to such booby traps, but once I reach the kitchen, I am prepared! Light on. Move the sponge! Check the rest of the countertop area. Clear anything remotely near the edge. Begin my day... probably by placing several things near the rim of the counter. But at least I started off on the right foot. And the left foot. Both of my feet, really. That's pretty impressive for me, I'd say!

Of course the physical battles are crisp quinces compared to the hormonal bio-warfare my own body wages on me. This morning, for instance, has been a fairly full scale attack of hoary hormones. No weeping, though I feel that sort of vergingly weepy that precludes the sort of energy required to actually get all emotional. I just feel weary and defeated (damn you sponge!) and completely demotivated at the moment. 

 I'm not too bothered by it, if that makes any sense. I know it's irrational. I'm actually having a great week so far. My treadmill appears to be (knock on wood and make several offerings to mighty Skynet) functioning as normal again. I was very productive yesterday. Today should be a fun day with plenty of opportunities to bail on several social activities. The weather is cooling down again for a spell. I had a very pleasant evening with the hubba-hubby watching a rousing stage of Le Tour...

Maybe that's what it is. Poor Peter Sagan. Peter Sagan is one of my favorite cyclists. He's a bit of a green-jersied fish out of water (on a bicycle). The Tour kind of cycling typically has several categorical areas into which a cyclist falls. There are the general contenders - think Lance Armstrong, but without the river of steroids. They are usually lighter and lankier, and rely on the support of their team members to win the overall. This can be done without ever winning a race, since it's a matter of time over three weeks.

There are the "climbers" (they race for points on the biggest mountains to get a polka dot jersey). There are the sprinters. They are larger, heavier and more powerful. They do their magic on the flatter stages, having to be lugged through the mountain stages. They are explosively fast for short spells, and win stages. There are the support guys - many, many of them - whose strengths are specifically protecting the other members on the team from crash, and providing other support in terms of setting the pace, giving draft, and picking up the food and snacks. 

Then there's Sagan. He's heavier than a climber or a general contender. He's got a little less kick than a pure sprinter. He's one of the best bike handlers in the group, and certainly one of the most broadly talented. He can climb mountains. He can sprint... He can do wheelies and funny little dances when he crosses sprint points. But he's not a pure anything, and he just can't seem to find his niche. He wins a certain sprint jersey every year, because he is strategic and strong enough to get many intermediate points. But he is so well marked that he hasn't won a stage since 2013.

Always second, poor guy. Like yesterday, in which he launched some daring attacks, sped down the side of a mountain in a way that could only be magic. But still seconded. If he weren't being paid an obscene salary and always seeming to have a good time, I'd feel bad for the guy. 

And maybe, deep down, I just really do! But probably it's just the hormonal napalm coursing through my throbbing veins. Like a thick layer of morning fog destined to burn off by afternoon. Then again, I do like the fog. Stay with us little misty moodiness, if that's what it takes to decrease the facial flush!

Happy Tuesday all! Keep a watch on those inanimate objects. They are everywhere. 
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