Thursday, September 30, 2010


I can hardly contain my excitement.  The weekend I've been waiting for for what seems like months now, is finally here!

My in-laws came into town on Sunday:

My sis-in-law is coming into town tomorrow night from Illinois!: 
 My other s-i-l is flying in tomorrow afternoon from Cali:

 And she's bringing my sweet nephew with her!
 Isn't he the cutest!  I haven't seen him in 3 months and have missed him so much.

And my brother is coming too!

And my law school girls will be together again!!!!

So many special people all in the same city.  I'm a lucky girl!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Have I Lost You Yet?

I've been wavering back and forth for a week now about whether or not to post the below post.  I wrote it about 5 days ago and its just been sitting here.  But since I don't have a belly pic to share today, I figure I might as well share this with the world...

I know my blog has no real "theme" and jumps around a lot between pregnancy chatter, religion, home-renovation, travel and my random ramblings.  This flow works for me as it follows my everyday life of disarray.  But lately the focus clearly has been on spirituality/religion/faith and I know some of you probably have no interest in my thoughts on the matter, but as the multiple emails and comments I've received have shown, some do.  And all the feedback has been wonderful and really gotten me thinking.

One friend emailed me and asked me to explain why I don't believe in Hell, which forced me to lay out my thoughts on the matter, something I've never really done before.  She and I then continued a back and forth conversation about the topic and she brought up some thought-provoking points.

So in the continued interest of honesty and keeping my life an open book, I thought I'd share my email to her about Why I don't believe in Hell:

Ah, now you have me thinking! I love that I have such intelligent friends who don't let me just make flippant statements without being able to back them up (Mr. Cob kept prodding me last night). So here's my thing with hell - I really do think that God is this all-loving being. I don't think he's a vengeful God who has put us on this Earth to test us. I just don't know why he would do that. What's the point? To see if we are worthy of being allowed to enter his kingdom? Perhaps. But He has put us on this Earth and while we're here, he's given us free will to choose to live our lives however we please. I can't understand why he would give us free will if he was then going to just turn around and condemn us for choosing to lead out lives in a particular way. Why give us the choice then? Why not just have us act how He wants us to act? Which then leads to the bigger question of why are we here and is the only purpose in life to lead a God-honoring life where we praise Jesus and make every decision in our life based upon what God/Jesus thinks is the right thing? I have no clue. Yet more questions.

So then you raise a good point - what about people who lead evil lives? Hitler, for example? Surely he isn't in Heaven? Well I don't know about that. Who am I to say that what he did is "worse" in the eyes of God than any other sinner? Isn't sin, sin? Are there really degrees of sin? I think there are degrees of evilness, but in the big, Godly picture, is one sin really worse than another? Regardless, I really think God forgives everyone and does not banish anyone to Hell. And to have this view, then yes I do think that truly evil people go to Heaven as well. Which is almost assine to believe, I don't blame you for thinking that I'm crazy in this thought. It just all leads back to not thinking that God is vengeful. And in order to believe he's not vengeful, the only conclusion is that no one, no matter how evil, is "punished" by God.

So where did I get these thought about Hell? I think it stems from the Conversations with God books by Neale Donald Walsch. Basically the thought is that Hell is used to further the fear-based nature of church and religion. It's something that the church created to fear people into behaving the way it thinks God wants us to. I don't think fear should drive any of our beliefs.

I will admit though, that I wonder if I am wrong in this thought. Maybe there is a Hell and I'm going to it? I have no clue. I've done a lot of things in my life that aren't "Godly", but then again, who hasn't? And can we really avoid Hell by just accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior? I don't understand that either? I think I don't know enough about the Christian idea of Hell to be able to really further my argument for thinking it doesn't exist. I think Mr. Cob thinks it exists and would like for me to as well - he has said before that he just wants us to be together after this life and that's hard for him to think will happen if I don't believe what he believes. Does that make sense? Which is one of the reasons I've been struggling with all this, especially with the fact that we're about to have a child.

On another front, I do think there are multiple ways to Heaven. And who are we to say that Christianity/Jesus is the only way? That's for God to decide. As Brian (our minister who married us) told me, he doesn't know if Christianity is the only way, and he would be remiss to preach that it is, but what he does know is that believing in Jesus IS one way that will lead us to Heaven/salvation. He's the first person who had told me that theory and it helped open my thoughts and think that maybe I could be a Christian and reconcile some of my other thoughts on other religions. Like I could never understand how a child born in India and is Hindu would go to Hell simply because of his place of birth and the mere fact the family he was born into wasn't Christian. I couldn't understand how it can be THE ONLY way. I can see how it is definitely a way though.

All this has made me realize that I have all these thoughts/beliefs and I don't always know why I think. Some are just what seems/feels right to me. But its really hard not having the background. And just going to church each week doesn't really give you that knowledge.

I also think that for a long time I've been almost so defensive about the subject and had a hard time even listening to people try to explain why they believe what they believe, because it then brings up the fact that I don't have those beliefs. And what if in the end I'm wrong for not having them? I don't know the answer, but I'd like to try to sort some of it out!

But lets put aside what I think (or what I think I think) about Hell and assume it does exist. Who goes to Hell? (This is an honest question, because I really don't know what the Christian thought is.) Is it people who sin? What about people who sin but then "find God" and repent and accept Jesus into their hearts? Does this act of accepting Jesus wash their sin? What about a death row inmate who killed a family of 5 but finds God in his years awaiting his execution? Does he still go to Hell because of his evil actions on this earth? Or what about the man who has an affair (covets his neighbor's wife)? Does he go to Hell? I guess the ultimate question is, does accepting Jesus as the son of God wash away any sin on Earth? And what do you have to do in order to accept Jesus? (Again, these are all serious questions - I'm not trying to be difficult, I really don't have any clue?)

Post email follow-up:
After sending this to my friend and reading her response and also discussing this with another friend, I'm now questioning my belief on the matter (not yet convinced there is such a thing as "Hell" but feel like my eyes are a little more open to it).  I still don't believe in a hell that is an inferno ruled by the devil and his pitchfork.  However, I'm now thinking there could be some sort of "Hell".  My one friend wrote to me that in her view, Hell is "eternal separation from God".  What that looks like, she doesn't know.  This is the first time I've heard Hell described in this way and after some thought on the matter, I can actually understand this concept of Hell and am now thinking about what that would mean.

So give me your thoughts on the subject.  I told you I was open to having my mind changed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


My good friend L called me Sunday to tell me about the strangest dream she had the night before.  Now L just had a baby girl about 6 weeks ago and did the hypnobirthing classes as well, so she knows what kind of serene labor/delivery I'm hoping to have.  So this was her dream:

I went into labor and Mr. Cob took me to the hospital.  For some reason L and her hubby decided to come visit us at the hospital while I was in labor.  All was going well and I was calm and having a good experience.  And then for some reason, L and her hubs decided that they would just spend the night in the hospital room with us?!  There was an extra bed in our room so they just went to sleep.  Well a few hours later L woke up and looked over and there I was, on all fours about to birth this baby.  I was completely silent and the room was calm.  She said in her dream she felt horrible that they were in the room and was going to say something but she looked at Mr. Cob and he gave her this look that said "If you say a word I will kill you."  So she just kept quiet and I proceeded to have an easy delivery and Lukas was born.

So here's the takeaway:

1.  Super odd that she's dreaming about my birth in this much detail.  BUT:
2.  She must be clairvoyant and so I'm going to have the easy, calm birth I've been imagining.

I asked her if she happened to see a calendar in the dream and could tell me on what date all this was occurring.  Sadly, she didn't.  But I put in a request for her to double check should she have this dream again!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Q and A

How far along are you? 34 weeks and a couple of days, and counting

How big is baby? According to my weekly email from the America Pregnancy Association, Lukas measures between 17 to 18 inches long and weighs 5 ½ to 6 pounds (if he's the average kid).

Maternity clothes? Yes and getting a little tired of wearing the same handful of outfits.

Weight - Loss or Gain? Gain.  I think its probably safe to just assume I keep gaining weight every week - I've yet to have a loss since I became pregnant.  Oh well, my body just feels the need to keep putting on the LBS for the little one.

Stretch marks? A few on the hips and booty (praying these fade after the baby is born...).  None on the belly though.

Sleep? All over the board.  I'm now getting up 1-2 times a night to pee on most nights and finding a comfortable sleeping position is harder and harder each night.

Any movement? Yup, but its changing.  I now feel the hiccups a few times a day and a foot jabbing me under the ribs and hands playing the drums real low, but no big movements anymore.  I think he's getting cramped in there.

Food Cravings? Nothing particular this week.  I've also noticed that I'm not as hungry all the time.

Food Aversions? Nope

Gender? Boy

Belly Button in or out? It is still technically in.  But it looks odd, it just does.

What do you miss? High heel shoes and wine.  I also miss being able to run errands and clean my house without having to stop every 20-30 minutes to take a break!

What are you looking forward to? Seeing some of my favorite people this weekend (especially my nephew!!!!)!  And having my first baby shower on Saturday and then celebrating my friend Katie's engagement that night!  So many wonderful things to celebrate.

What was the BEST part of this week? There were lots of good parts to this past week and I just couldn't pick a "best" - so here's what was great about this week:
  • Visiting my friend C and her baby girl Callan. 
  • Knocking out a few more house projects (hanging the curtains in the dining room that my mom made, accessorizing/beautifying the basement bathroom, hanging some pictures around the house, cleaning the house, and hanging the blackout drapes/room divider in our bedroom to separate the sitting room, where Lukas will sleep the first few months, from our bedroom). 
  • Celebrating Mr. Cob's 29th birthday! 
  • Having Mr. Cob's parents arrive in town for a long visit. 
  • Visiting my grandparents on Saturday.  (My 92 year old grandfather warned me that some women yell at their husbands when they're giving birth!  He does have 7 kids, but I don't think he was in the room for any of their births!  He comes out with some great one liners!)
  • Spending time with my parents while Mr. Cob was away at another wedding. 
  • Having dinner with friends on Friday night who we hadn't seen in a while.
  • Talking about religion/faith/spirituality with friends and family - I really have LOVED all these talks, even if I don't agree with everything that is said, the talks have been thought-provoking and wonderful!
What was the WORST part of this week? Learning that I had a nail in my tire and had to pay for a new tire - I hate spending money on things like this.  Necessary, yes.  But also extremely frustrating.

Weekly Wisdom? If your tire pressure light comes on two days after you've put air in your tires, have them checked for nails.  I know this isn't baby related, but its what I learned this week.  Also, do not use Bravo movers if you live in the Atlanta area.  To say that they have made my brother's move to California "difficult" would be a gross understatement!

Milestones:  In the interest of full disclosure and because I cannot think of anything else milestoney that's happened this week, I will share this "milestone" with you.  As of my doctor's appointment last Tuesday, I was one pound shy of having gained 50 pounds.  There, I said it.  The doctor isn't concerned and so I've decided I'm not going to be either - apparently some people just gain (much) more weight than others during pregnancy.  So all my walking at the beach didn't do anything to slow down the weight gain.  At least it's not showing up in my face yet or my hands/ankles - still no swelling and my wedding rings fit.  However, the phrase Big Booty Ho might be appropriate.  Well, except for the Ho part...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Faith Search Update

So I have a few additional thoughts in follow up to my recent post about Religious choice that I wanted to share.

I know religion is a taboo topic (along the lines of politics), but please feel free to share any thoughts you may have on the subject with me.  I've had two friends email me separately about my post and let me know that they were hesitant to even mention it because they didn't want to come across as pushy or overstep any line.  So I just wanted to make clear that I welcome any and all thoughts on religion and your personal experiences.  I promise to hear all thoughts with a nonjudgemental, open mind.  And if you don't feel like sharing those with the world by commenting, feel free to email me - - and we can have a private dialogue. 

Mr. Cob and I had a long conversation last night about faith and religion and society.  I was first curious to know what he thought about my post and whether there was anything that stuck out to him.  This somehow turned in to a conversation about Jesus and the fact that I know very little about him/Him (do you capitalize the H when referring to Jesus?).  Did I know the speech on the mountain story? Nope.  And all other references/stories Mr. Cob asked me about (aside from the cross and subsequent resurrection story), I have no real knowledge of.  So he pointed out that I really don't know anything when it comes to Jesus, which is a valid conclusion.  So I've decided that a good starting point for me in this whole faith thing, is learning more about Jesus' teachings and life.

Then we talked a lot about the "Golden Rule" and whether most people try to live out this rule and what it really means.  While I wasn't raised with "religion", my parents always, always, stressed that I should "Treat others as you would like to be treated."  And I think I've tried to live my life this way.  Sure, I don't always follow this rule, but I'd like to think I try.  But what does it really mean to treat others as you would like to be treated?  I take the rule to mean you shouldn't judge other people and should come from a place of kindness.  But I also feel that most people don't try to live by this rule, or in any event, fail in trying to implement it.  I then realized that I might see things a little too black and white.  And Mr. Cob pointed out that I have all these thoughts that I really haven't thought through, which is true because they're just sort of floating in my head without having had any outlet or discussion in some time.   So now I'm trying to figure out what The Golden Rule really means and how to apply it in every day life.

Has anyone else noticed that when I have one question, it never gets answered, but rather just leads to ten additional questions?  Hum, funny how that happens.

And finally our talk turned to marriage and why people get married.  This conversation blew me away.  Mr. Cob has some interesting views and thoughts (although part of me wonders if he says things just to keep our conversations going and to get my all riled up and to really think about what I'm saying - you have to remember that the man is a litigator and argues for a living.  Then again, so do I. I have to stop for a moment and point out that I love the fact that my husband and I can have these insane conversations.)

So here's a question for you?  Why do people get married?  Why is marriage a religious ceremony more so than a legal ceremony (or is it)?  What does marriage add to society?

Our talk wound down the road to gay marriage and the reasons people oppose it, but I think that's a conversation for another day.  I'm now very curious to know why certain people get married.  Why did you?  Let me know your thoughts and I'll then fill you in on why I got married and what marriage means to me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Week 34 Pics...from last week

Mr. Cob had an early meeting with the government this morning so we didn't have time to take the week 34 picture.  But mom just sent me some pictures from our beach trip last week, so I thought I'd share those.  Use your imagination by removing the beach background, adding 3 more pounds to me, and putting me in a black work maternity dress and you can picture what I look like today.  These pics are much more exciting...

Before dinner one night.  Looking quite preggo.

My sweet parents

Dad and I at the beach.  I do have a bathing suit on...I just threatened my mom with her life if she were to actually take a picture showing me in said bathing suit. 

The sun rise one morning.

Me on the beach - again, mom took my threats seriously and strategically shot the picture of just my face.

Somehow she caught me with my guard down and I allowed her to take this pic.  I think she'd just told me that I looked very Jackie O with the big black shades and chignon.  Way to go mom - you got your pic!

The first pic from my other side.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Religous choice

Over the past week that I spent with my parents at the beach, we had many conversations over dinner and games of dominoes and Phase Ten (our two games du jour for the week).  I learned about aspects of my father's childhood which I never before had heard (for example, when he was very young, he lived in a large house with his extended family - aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins - think typical Italian family.  How have I not heard this in my 29 years with them?!?).  We also had multiple talks about raising children and what it means to be a parent when you have adult children and how to handle elderly parents, when the child flips into the role of "parent".

The conversation that struck me the most and which I haven't been able to stop thinking about is a lengthy 2-3 hour conversation we had over lunch one afternoon.  I'm not sure how it began exactly, but the conversation was about religion.  At some point, I made the statement that in many ways I think it would've been easier if I'd been brought up believing in one specific religion.  I reasoned that I would then know what to believe and not be battling with the current questions I'm facing about religion and my own spirituality.  I didn't mean this as an insult to the way my parents raised me, nor do I think they took it that way.  But both parents emphatically disagreed with me. 

Well, to be fair, my dad acknowledged how I could think that it would be "easier" for me now had I been raised to believe one specific thing, but he questioned whether it would really in fact have mattered in the end.  As he pointed out, he was "raised" Catholic and went to Catholic school his whole childhood, but after many years he made up his own mind to reject Catholicism because it didn't feel right to him.  (These are my words paraphrasing what he said).  So he reasoned, that they could've raised me to be say a Protestant and I could have read the Bible every day and gone to Sunday school each week, but since I am in intelligent, free-thinking woman (thanks dad), at some point I would probably start questioning Protestantism and have to make up my own mind as to whether I truly believe everything I would've been taught.

I see his point.  But yet I still think that if I'd been raised in some sort of religion, I'd at least have a baseline for where to start now.  Would I still be totally confused?  Probably.  But today, I have no real idea what I believe.  Mr. Cob and I have started reading the Bible a few different times, but ended up stopping for various reasons.  We've also tried a handful of churches, but have yet to find one that "feels right." (at least in my opinion).  And so, at 29 years old, I have been struggling with this for a few years now.  I use the word struggling loosely, because this isn't something that keeps me up at night, or something that I put too much effort in to trying to figure out, but it's enough of an "issue" that I went so far as to begin writing a book about my frustrations the past year (only to abandon it when I became busy with other stuff - as is my way).

As it is, I was not raised to believe in one religion and I can't change that fact.  So whether it would've been "easier" for me to handle my spirituality now or not had I been raised differently is moot.  The more important question is what steps do I take from here?  How do I reconcile these feelings of frustration with an almost complete lack of any one faith?  And while Mr. Cob and I are on this church search, is it really a "church" that I should be searching for?  Or is it a belief?  Do I need a formal church?  What are the positives of finding one?  Do Mr. Cob and I need to believe the same thing?  Will Lukas be "better" off if we do find a church and lead him down one religious path of our choosing or will he do as my father did, and one day decide what he believes on his own regardless of how he is raised spiritually as a child?

Lots of questions.  Yet I have very few answers.

So what do I believe?  Maybe that is the best place to start.

- I believe in a higher being.  I refer to him as God, but I think He goes by many names and means different things to different people.
- I believe that inherently people are good and that treating others with kindness and love should be the basis for all interactions.
- I believe that there have been many amazing spiritual leaders who have walked the Earth and whom we should aspire to emulate in our own lives.
- I believe that the Bible has many wonderful stories that can be used to help teach us morals (though admittedly, I have not "read" the Bible and thus cannot really say much about it).
- I believe there are many paths to Heaven and that one religion cannot possibly trump another.  Each person should have the right to choose their own spiritual path and we should never condemn or judge another for believing something different from ourselves.
- I believe in Heaven, although I couldn't tell you what it looks like or really what I think happens when we die.  I believe in Heaven because it saddens me not to.  I use the word "Heaven" to mean something other than this life.  I hope its a place where my soul will be reunited with loved ones and where this journey will continue. 

And while my list of what I believe is short, I think it's equally, if not more important, to sort out what I do not believe.  And so here is what I do not believe.

- I do not believe in Hell.
- I do not believe in a vengeful God. 
- I do not believe in a God who would give us free-will and then punish us for making choices that are opposite to his desires.
- I do not believe that I was born in "sin".  This does not make sense to me.
- I do not believe in fear-based religion.
- I do not believe that premartial sex is "wrong".  I do not believe that homosexuality is "wrong".
- I do not believe this life is all there is.
- I do not believe that simply going to church every Sunday makes you religious.
- I do not believe that there is only one true path to God.

After making this list, I don't think the problem is necessarily finding a church or religion that coincides with what I do believe.  I think the problem will be with finding one that also adheres to everything I do not believe.

I wrote this post in hopes of sorting out some of my thoughts, but I now feel more confused.  I have more questions than when I started.  I suppose the next step is researching various religions and continuing to try new churches in hopes of finding something that speaks to me.

So here's to a renewed interest in the Church Search.  Which should perhaps be changed to the "Religion Search" or the "Spiritual Search".  Or maybe simply "the Great Search"...

If you need me, I'll be searching.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday survey

How far along are you? 33 weeks

How big is baby? According to my weekly email from the America Pregnancy Association, the babe is somewhere around 17 ½ inches long and weighs around 5 to 5 ½ pounds.

Maternity clothes? This question is getting lame.  Of course I'm still in maternity clothes.  But on a high note, I found some new fun maternity clothes at the outlets in Florida last week - including a pair of jeans!!!  (Maternity jeans shopping has been a nightmare, and I realize I only have like 6 weeks to go and it was probably silly to buy anything else at this point, but tomorrow is the start of Fall and I wanted jeans.  And when I found a pair that finally fit, I bought them.  And they were only $38!  So really, I couldn't not buy them.)

Weight - Loss or Gain? I'll find out tomorrow at my OB appointment, but I'm really not sure on this one.  My stomach is definitely growing, but last week while I was on vacation my mom and I walked between 2 to 4 miles every day and I ate really healthy, so perhaps I didn't gain too much weight.  Or maybe the trend of "it doesn't matter what I eat or do for exercise because I still seriously pack on the pounds" will continue.

Stretch marks? None on the belly!

Sleep? Actually really good.  There are possibly a few reasons for this - I was sleeping alone in a queen bed all last week and was overly tired from relaxing by the beach all day.

Any movement?  Lots.  Lukas must be getting the hiccups at least one or two times a day now.  At first this was very "cute", but now it's getting very distracting. I've read that they don't bother him, but I have to wonder.  I also noticed an uptick in movements whenever I would lay on a raft on my stomach in the pool - I don't think he's used to me being in that position so it would throw off his chi. But I sure enjoyed the weightlessness!

Food Cravings?  Back to craving pimento cheese - luckily my mom came across an easy recipe and I now will be eating pimento cheese sandwiches for lunches all week!

Food Aversions? Nope

Gender? Boy

Belly Button in or out? I'm going to say its still in.  Because most of it is still in, but it's starting to pop out in one spot, so I'm not very confident that I'll keep my innie for much longer.

What do you miss? Blue moon with orange, thanks to watching mom and dad drink them at the beach :)  Also, being able to eat as much seafood as I want - being at the beach and not eating too much seafood was very difficult!  But I did get some amazing crab cakes and shrimp, so I still got my fix!

What are you looking forward to? Mr. Cob's birthday this weekend and his parents coming to visit for at least a week!  And then Mr. Cob's sister is coming to visit for a weekend. And then my brother, sister-in-law and nephew are coming to town the following week.  And then two of my best friends from law school are coming to town too!  I'm so excited to see some of my favorite people!

What was the BEST part of this week? Spending a full week at the beach with just my parents.  It was very relaxing, but I also haven't spent that much time with them in a long time, which was a real treat.  I really enjoyed my walks every morning with my mom and spending that time together.  And the other highlight of the week (because the whole week was really great) was coming home Saturday morning to find that Mr. Cob had put Lukas' crib together!!!

What was the WORST part of this week? Being away from Mr. Cob.

Weekly Wisdom?  The beach is the perfect place to relax and recharge!

Milestones: We hit the 50 day countdown marker last week.  My mom kept asking what the big deal was about 50 days and in reality, its not all that exciting, and its just an arbitrary milestone.  What can I say, I like milestones!

Pictures from Last Week

As mentioned by Mr. Cob in his guest post last week, I was away relaxing at the beach with my parents for the week.  We had a wonderful trip and I feel rested and recharged.  Here are a few pics of me by the seashore...33 weeks pregnant!

Monday, September 13, 2010

GUEST POST: Mild Epiphany in Lake Tahoe

Cob here. Before I start my long rambling series of observations and thoughts that, for whatever reason, some of you appear to enjoy, I need to share some important information. Mrs. Swan is at the beach for the week relaxing, and (I believe) chillaxing,. She had intended to write while doing said –axing activities. Unfortunately, she grabbed her computer and only half of her power cord. So she won’t be able to make any meaningful posts until Saturday at the earliest. In the meantime, I am here in Sacramento’s airport waiting some 6 hours before 10 p.m. flight back to the ATL. So at the lady’s request, and because I have been doing quite a lot of thinking in Lake Tahoe this weekend, I am pinch hitting today.

This weekend one of my good friends from college – Bobby – married the wonderful girl he has been dating the last couple years Sadia. The wedding was in Lake Tahoe. WOW. It was an amazing wedding in an amazing place and it was a reunion of sorts of the “old gang,” that is my 5 best friends from college, together with their wives and girlfriend. (Yes, Mrs. Swan could not make it. She could not fly per doctor’s orders. Neil’s wife Liz – a baby doctor herself could not get away this weekend either. The result is that we missed both of them greatly and that Neil and I got to cuddle)

Anyway, spending time with everyone this weekend was so… comfortable. And amazing. I don’t know how else to describe it. These are the guys that I spent most of my college days with, which was the four years of my life when I made the biggest steps toward discovering myself. When I think about the comfort that I felt, the familiarity of just hanging around with the 4 or 5 people with whom I share so many great memories, my first thoughts on how to describe it is that it was “just like old times.” But you know what – that is not fair. “Just like old times” does not do it justice.

Sure, I drank more this weekend than I have in a long time, and judging by the groans, bloodshot eyes and the smells (god the smells!) I do not think I was alone in that boat. And yes that was “just like old times.” But in between our reminiscing, and sharing old stories with Dan’s new girlfriend, we had great conversations that allowed me to learn and discover more about my dear friends.

I think of it this way. We still had the same group dynamics, but now the characters themselves were a little different and as a result the subject matter was a lot different. True, dicks jokes were still abundant – and excellent by the way. - but, for example, we also had a forty-five minute conversations about childbirth. What? And as a result, the whole experience with my friends was richer and deeper than many of the experiences I remember from our days at Illinois.

Why is this? I think there are two reasons. Firstly, we are more mature and accordingly, our friendship is more mature. Secondly, and more importantly, our friendship is no longer defined by our environment, i.e. the fraternity house. I think this needs some explanation. In college, we were all phi sigs, we all lived together (for the most part), and when we were going to do something, e.g., go to the store, the movies, the bar, play soccer, etc., we included each other and we did these activities together. We all essentially had the same list of things that we could do with our time. So while we pursued different majors and might have come from different places, in the house we all shared a common set of activities and even values from which our actions, decisions, and ultimately our friendships flowed.

Now, being in Chicago, Phoenix, Atlanta, and Omaha, we no longer share the same environment, and instead live wholly independent lives. The “phi-sig-ness” of our friendship is now stripped away. As a result our friendships are no longer a sustained by being fraternity brothers. Instead (and I know this sounds so sappy, but I think it is appropriate) we are now simply brothers. Our friendship is now sustained and flourishes because of the friendships themselves, because of the connections we have made with each other. It is a subtle distinction, but it has resulted in these friendships feeling so much so much deeper, and more precious to me. It just feels purer, if that makes any sense.

All of this culminated this afternoon, as I ate lunch by myself in downtown Sacramento, having just dropped Neil, Dan and Elizabeth off at the airport, when the Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta Feeling” came on the radio playing in the deli. I immediately thought of that first song last night at Bobby’s wedding and all of us dancing together, purely happy and without a single care in the world. From now on, that song will forever choke me up and will have a new meaning for me. Thanks guys. What a weekend.

Damn Proud.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The List Update

We're getting farther down on our list of things to do before Lukas arrives. Our status a month ago.  Here's where we stand today:

1. Organize/clean back part of basement – DONE

2. Replace 2 blinds (killed by Ms. Wrigley and her accomplice Lydia) over basement windows - DONE

3. Clean/organize basement bathroom & take clothes to Goodwill –  DONE

4. Carpet the basement. DONE

5. Move all the existing furniture from the nursery to the basement. DONE

6. Clean out closet in Lukas’ room and find new homes for its inhabitants – 3/4th complete. I still need to move all our winter coats and some other random items into new homes.

7. Have door taken out and drywalled. –DONE!!!!  This was finished last week and looks amazing!

8. Steam-vac carpet in Lukas’ room or re-carpet – need to price carpet. Leaning towards just steam-vac-ing the carpet. DONE!  I opted for just steam cleaning the carpet.  It looks much better.

9. Have built ins bookshelves built. On the agenda for the end of September when Mr. Cob's parents come to visit.  Mr. Cob and his dad will be tackling this project. 

10. Pick out bedding for Lukas’ room. DONE!!! 

11. Paint Lukas’ room. DONE!!!  I went with a light green shade from Sherwin Williams called Limesicle.  It turned out exactly how I'd envisioned.  Thanks to my mom for her hard work helping me get this project done! 

12. Buy crib mattress DONE!  We ended up with a Sealy organic mattress from Target.

13. Put together crib for Lukas.  Up next on the list.  We did at least pick the crib up from my parents house and bring it to the city.

14. Remove current contents of dresser, desk and end table from guest room and find new homes. Half done. I removed all the contents of the dresser and filled it back up with newborn to three month clothes for Lukas thanks to my sister-in-law and cousin who have given me more baby boy clothes than I could have dreamed! I still need to clean the desk draws and end table.

15. Move dresser, desk and end table into nursery. On the agenda for the next week or two.

16. Wash Lukas’ clothes (I have hand-me-downs from Lukas' cousin Stu - lots of clothes!) – STILL NEED TO DO.; Box up clothes 9 mos. and up and store; hang or put away rest of clothes in Lukas’ dresser and closet DONE!

17. Pick up the "new" furniture for guest room.

18. Grandma Sip Sip to recover glider and make window treatments. GLIDER IS DONE!  She covered it in a chocolate brown and beige hounds tooth fabric and it looks amazing!

So that was the Original list.  We have had to add a few more items to the list since I made it.

19.  Paint the new siding on the outside of the house.  DONE!  Mr. Cob finished this this past weekend.  When the door was taken out of Lukas' room, they had to add siding to where the door used to be and since the siding was so old, they couldn't match it.  Instead, they replaced all the siding on the corner of the side of the house where the door was, but didn't paint it.  So Mr. Cob to the rescue!  He did a great job!

20.  Tear out dry wall in pantry.  Repair hole in drain pipe.  (Said hole was made when we drilled screws into the wall to hold up our shelves in the pantry).  Re-dry wall pantry.  Replace shelves.  DONE!  We still need to paint the pantry, but we figure its a more minor project, so it's on hold.

21.  Build work bench in garage.  On the agenda for the next week or so.  Mr. Cob did clean out the garage to make room for the bench.

So we're making progress and have only 8 weeks left to knock everything else off the list.  I think we can do it - we just may need a little help....thankfully Mr. Cob's parents are coming to visit for a week and my mom has been over a lot to help too! 

And I promise to take some pictures soon.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Week 32 Pics

32 weeks down, 8 to go.  Belly steadily increasing in size...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Does Doctor Know Best?

Our final hypnobirthing class was this past Wednesday.  I am so glad we took the class and would recommend it to any woman (and couple if your partner is going to be involved) expecting a baby.

The main "take-away" from the class, for me, was the release of all the fears I had associated with labor and delivery.  I can honestly say that I'm not afraid to go into labor and I feel mentally prepared to handle whatever may happen.  I have a belief that my body knows what it is doing and that birth is natural for a woman.  I also am committed to having a medication-free labor, to the extent neither myself nor Lukas is in any danger.  At the same time, I do not feel that the class has led me to hold unrealistic expectations or ingrained in me that I will somehow have "failed" if I decide to take pain medication during the labor.  I now just feel educated and part of that education was understanding the whys of induction and the various types of intervention.  When its time for Lukas' arrival, I am hopeful that we will be able to stick to my birth plan, but will remain flexible should the need for a different course arise.

I had my monthly (soon to be bi-monthly and then weekly) OB appointment this morning. And it was the first time I've seen my doctor since the hypnobirthing classes went in to full swing, so I had a lot of questions for her.  Up until today, everything I have asked her or expressed a desire for has been well received by my doctor.  And today was mostly the same, except for one major question.

We had already talked about how far past my due date she'd allow me to go.  She's comfortable allowing me to wait 10-14 days (preferring only waiting 10).  Check.

Her practice does not routinely perform episiotomys. Check, check.  (It is shocking to me that some doctors just do them to speed up the process).

Today we talked about whether she waits until the umbilical cord stops pulsating before being cut.  She said yes.  Check.

Are the nurses at Northside supportive of an unmediated birth?  (Our hypnobrithing instructor made it sound like most nurses don't know what to do with a woman wanting to have an unmedicated labor.   I still don't fully understand this because I can't imagine its really that rare, but perhaps I am wrong).  My doc said that the nurses at Northside will be very supportive of whatever labor path I choose.  They just sometimes have a hard time sitting and watching a woman in pain since they are caregivers and feel the need to offer some relief.  I can deal with this.  We'll just make it clear that I do not want to be offered any pain relief medication.  If I decide I need it, I can ask them.

Will the electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) be continuous or intermittent?  As long as the baby looks good when we check in to the hospital, I'll only have to be hooked up to the EFM for about 15 minutes per hour.  Otherwise I'm free to move around, walk, be in the tub, etc.  Check.

Do you routinely give pitocin after the baby is born?  Yes.  WHAT?!?!  This is where our uncomfortable conversation kicked in.  I also flipped my lawyer switch without even realizing it. Our HB instructor had warned us about the routine use of pitocin after labor to help contract the uterus and reduce the risk of hemorrhage.  She said that the birth companion really  needs to watch for this because the nurses often just inject the pitocin into the mother's IV without even really telling you what they are giving you.  And she made the argument that the pitocin at this point is not necessary.  I wasn't even going to ask my doctor about this since I just assumed she wouldn't use it given the "unmedicated' route of labor/delivery that I was choosing.  So when she answered in the exact opposite way I was anticipating, I really didn't know what to say.  And she didn't really know how to answer. (I don't think too many patients, if any, had asked her this question before.  I never would have known to had it not been for the HB class and our teacher cluing us in to this use.)

Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin, which your body naturally produces to help stimulate the contraction of uterine muscle.  So she kept saying that it won't interfere with breastfeeding (my concern is that this foreign medication will get to Lukas through my milk and if I have gone this far without drugs, what's the point now?)  So then the scare tactics began.  She emphasized that its a very diluted amount and its a precaution because women used to die (and still do die) from hemorrhage after child birth.  And if I don't get the pitocin, I could hemorrhage and then they'd have to give me three major medications to stop the hemorrhage, so why not just take the precaution, which in her opinion is not detrimental to the baby.  We went back and forth for a while because I was never really satisfied with her reasoning for giving it, other than that it's routine and everyone does it.  (You can still hemorrhage even with the pitocin).  I understand that hemorrhage is a concern and I, of course, do not want to put myself in unnecessary danger.  But I just am not yet convinced that it's really necessary.  So I have some research to do. 

She did say she doesn't want me to feel forced to get a medication that I feel strongly about not getting.  So she said she thinks she can get comfortable with me waiting as long as I agree to accept the three heavy duty drugs if it becomes necessary.  She also said we could monitor the situation as my labor progresses and make a game-time decision.  Women who birth bigger babies and go through a long labor are more likely to hemorrhage.  So if Luke is average/small and comes quickly, then the risk of me hemorrhaging is reduced and she'd be more comfortable with my not getting the pitocin post-delivery.  I'm sure she felt like she was on trial as I fired questions at her about why it is really needed.  (This lawyer thing comes in handy every now and again!)  In the end its really a risk analysis.  What do I feel is more risky - taking the drug or the possibility of hemorrhage if I don't?  So here's to hoping the trusty internet has some good information for me to make a decision.

Otherwise, we're seeing eye-to-eye on everything and she's really supportive of the hypnobirthing.  I'll meet the other two doctors in her practice over the next few weeks (one of whom used to be my regular GYN, so I know I'm comfortable with her).  It's nice to be in such a small practice where they all have the same views on childbirth.  I am still having a hard time believing Luke will be here in a less than two months.  And that I'll be someone's mom...

Weekly Survey (A Day Late...)

How far along are you? 32 weeks

How big is baby? According to my weekly email from the America Pregnancy Association, baby is a little over 16 inches long and weighs between 4 and 4 ½ pounds.  And according to my OB at my appointment this morning, he's not measuring big - YAY!  (And yes, I specifically asked this...)

Maternity clothes? As if there is anything else.  I am sporting a new pair of black maternity pants that are so comfortable that I might just wear them every day until Lukas arrives.  And maybe everyday thereafter.

Weight - Loss or Gain? Gain.  The scale at the OB's office confirmed it.  The doc says I'm gaining the perfect amount of weight.  She must not subscribe to the recommended 25-35 pound rule.  Apparently, I don't either.

Stretch marks? None on the belly!  A few on the rump...this was a disheartening find this weekend.  Followed by tears.  I blame the hormones.

Sleep? Decent except for the 1-3 trips to the bathroom per night.

Any movement? All the time.  And I was convinced he was breech since I've felt most of the movements in my lower belly, but the doctor told me this morning that he's head down - yay!!!  He still has enough room in there to flip for another two weeks or so, but I'm keeping up with my daily hypnobirthing affirmation that "My baby is moving into the perfect birthing position."  Say it with me now folks!

Food Cravings? I had craved salmon the other night, but other than that nothing specific.  Just hungry in general.

Food Aversions? I love all food.  (See weight gain or loss question above...)

Gender? Still planning for a little baby boy - lets hope that ultrasound tech was right all those weeks ago!

Belly Button in or out? Still in.  Though I'd give it another week or two and I have a feeling we'll be flat.

What do you miss? Martinis.  I might start drinking olive juice in a martini glass.  Don't judge.

What are you looking forward to? A week at the beach next week with my parents!  Wish Mr. Cob could join us, but he has to work.  I cannot wait to float in the pool and the ocean and eat seafood and just lounge!

What was the BEST part of this week? Celebrating my 2 year anniversary with Mr. Cob.  And painting the nursery!!!

What was the WORST part of this week? Shopping for maternity clothes.  There simply is not a pair of maternity jeans out there that fit me and look semi-decent.  So I'm waving my white flag and giving up the search.

Weekly Wisdom? Do not buy too many maternity clothes in your early pregnancy.  They'll stop fitting sometime before you're due and you'll then have to go buy more clothes. 

Milestones: Lukas is due in LESS than TWO MONTHS!!!