Monday, July 28, 2014

In the Water

There are a number of pregnant women at the one hospital that I work at. A large majority of the employees are women in their twenty and thirties so this is to be expected I suppose. Now, I am one of them.

Except I'm not.

The comments that I've received have really begun to get under my skin. First, there are the benign comments about "everyone is pregnant," which seem to imply that that this is the trendy thing to be doing right now and we all just decided to jump on the bandwagon together. Yep. I saw all those baby bumps and then decided I needed one of my own so I just went right ahead and got myself knocked up.

Worse, is the comment about people "not drinking the water" because apparently that is how babies are now made. First of all, this is just asinine and ignorant and I can't stand dumb comments from people who should otherwise not be so dumb. More importantly, this comment implies that making a baby really is that easy. Just drink the water. For those still struggling, message me and I'll give you the address to the hospital so you can stop by and have a sip from the tap. This is all it takes. Every time I hear this, it takes every ounce of my being to not scream that I wish I could have gotten pregnant that easy, but unfortunately I have the scars and the missed work and the medical bills to suggest otherwise.

Finally, I am cordial with one of the therapy managers and we both like to complain about how busy we are to one another as we pass by in the hallway. The other day, she decided it was appropriate to complain about all of the people working under her that were going or had gone on maternity leave and how inconvenient this was for her, as the manager, to figure out coverage, and how they should have timed it better. I know the last part was a joke, but I didn't care. It still shows the complete lack of understanding and acknowledgment that having a child is not easy for everybody and that the inconvenience of managing coverage does not even begin to compare with the "inconvenience" of infertility. To put it mildly.

I frequently wish I was more quick-witted. Usually I think of these responses too late for them to be of any use in the situation. One day though... one day someone is going to get an earful.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Something Borrowed

I am extremely fortunate to have fallen in love and married a man with three older sisters. First this was because he is exceptionally understanding of women. I'm sure it's possible to avoid the chauvinism if you weren't raised in a house of females, but I definitely think this helped. Currently, it is because we have three older siblings who are all done with having children and have a lot of mothering advice and a lot of leftover stuff that they are excited to part with. Unfortunately, this last part has resulted in some challenges that I hadn't anticipated.

As C's one sister said this week, "if you don't want to register for anything, you won't need to." This is probably an accurate statement. So far, we've been offered a cradle, crib, jogging stroller, two bedding sets, two cloth diaper sets, a Bumpo seat, a bouncer and "jump-a-roo", two carseats, a Boppy breastfeeding pillow, bottles, and a breast pump. I am probably forgetting things. This is a lot of stuff!

I am so incredibly grateful for all of it and then I simultaneously feel like a stuck-up jerk for not wanting to accept it all and not knowing how to go about turning it down. The issue, that I have a hard time even typing without cringing at how this sounds, is that while all of this stuff is good, it is not necessarily all of the things that C and I would have picked out ourselves. C has been researching strollers and carseats for a while now and has some strong ideas on the brand and type he is interested in, which is not the brand that we are being offered. The crib is a completely different wood and clashes with the other existing furniture in the nursery and the bedding sets are really just not our style.

Plus, there is the fact that we do both have large families and are now having two baby showers and really do need to be able to register for something.

So I'm an asshole and am not accepting every single (free) thing that is being offered by his especially generous family. C and I have both spent many hours talking this out and are, luckily, completely on the same page. We are looking at this in a sort of mathematical, logical sense. We compare the approximate value of something and then weigh that against our style/preference differences, while also taking into account if it would make sense to have more then one of any one thing.

For example, cribs are very expensive and while the wood choice clashes with the other furniture, the cost savings of not having to buy a crib outweighs our style preference. Crib - check! The bedding sets, on the other hand, include a bunch of things that we don't necessarily want or need (bumpers, quilts, etc.) and compared with a few sheet sets and a dust ruffle, our style preference wins out. This way the room will still feel like our own. The jogging stroller is great and while it probably could have been our only stroller, C and I compromised by accepting the jogger but then also registering for an all-purpose stroller with coordinated infant car seat. I'm not sure if the specific cloth diapers or bottles are what we will like, but it probably doesn't hurt to try them out and if we end up preferring different brands then we can always purchase more of those later on.

There are also some complications with who, how, and why things are being offered. C's one sister is completely finished with having children. Their youngest is five and they are content with their three girls. Her offerings are easy to accept. On the other hand, his other sister has four children, with her youngest being three, but would like to have more some day. She is very Catholic and envisions a large family. Unfortunately, her last two pregnancies has also ended in misscarriages. When she has offered things, it has come with an underlying tone of sadness and longing, which results in me feeling guilty.

I have a hard time with saying/doing things that could potentially hurt other people's feelings, even if that means not standing up for my own wants and needs. It's something I need to work on. It has also made some of these conversations very difficult over the past few weeks. Because I am truly grateful for all of the generosity. And because it feels wrong to turn down support of any kind. But also because we need to do what makes us feel comfortable and what is best for our family.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


We are at 24 weeks today. Viability.

Ever since hearing about this, I thought the concept was odd. Yesterday, neonatologists would likely not have provided intensive intervention to save my daughter, but today a vast majority of them will. Yesterday, her chance of surviving outside the womb was less than 50% but today it is now greater then 50%. Of course, those chances are based on receiving extensive medical intervention and she is still likely to suffer long-term complications. The official recommendation is still that "intensive care should be an optional choice for fetuses at 23 and 24 weeks gestation" but should be offered "to every fetus at 25 weeks or more." (citation) So I suppose I should continue to be nervous until I reach the end of this week?

I'm not particularly nervous. Nor do I want her to come quite yet. She still has a lot of maturing to do and we still have a lot of preparing to do.

We still only have one set of receiving blankets as far as supplies go. There are some other items in the works, but I'm saving that for another post. Our registry is growing, but it is still far from complete. The office is still an office and C still has two more full weeks of nursing school before it can be transformed into a nursery. His last classes are turning out to be much more challenging than we were hoping for, so any physical or mental preparation that is not completely necessary is being put off until after this time.

I am definitely in full-swing pregnancy mode. I look pregnant and people call me out on it all the time. I am beginning to have daily conversations with patients about my maternity plans, although right now it is all very tentative and just meant to reassure them that there are options and plans in place. They will not be forgotten or stranded in psychological distress. That is assuming that I make much closer to my due date of course. Just because I'm viable, doesn't mean that any of us are actually ready for this.

My belly is expanding, but I am still not taking any bump pics. It just seems weird to me and I'm not comfortable with it. I think I'm still not completely comfortable with myself. The other day, C and I had a long conversation about if he still found me attractive... dangerous territory, I know. He said that I'm like, "Special Edition Katie" and that I look different but still good.

I am starting to develop stretch marks near my belly button. I also have a few on my right breast, oddly enough. I think my breasts have held steady at two cup sizes larger then normal, but they feel huge. My feet get very swollen at the end of the day, especially with the heat. I bought a pair of shoes, but then returned them for a larger size because I was nervous about the expanding feet situation.

Other symptoms are still the same. My canned remark is still that "I feel good, except for the days that I don't." I get winded easily. I get super tired at times. The heartburn likes to make itself well known every once in a while. My sense of smell still likes to me gag at random, otherwise mundane, scents. Round ligament pain is still present at times, especially when I have the nerve to stretch, and some days my back gets so sore that I swear I walk as if I were 9 months pregnant instead of just six. I have been getting some leg cramps at night, but nothing major. I am starting to get gassier and my bowel habits are much less consistent.

I have gained about 17-18 pounds, which is higher then I am comfortable with. Between Marv, then the week-long vacation, and then Marv again, I have taken a permanent hiatus of eating for health and have instead been eating for comfort. This week I began making an active effort to change that and am trying to set guidelines and limits for myself without being unreasonable to the fact that I am still pregnant.

The baby is much more active than just a few weeks ago. The sensations are still not especially impressive and I swear I can still buy how some women would just mistake them for bowel movements. She doesn't yet have a name, but we have a few top candidates that we're trying out. In the meanwhile, we've jokingly given her a place-holder name of Beuhla, which was one of C's first nursing patients and apparently a very lovely old woman. The humorous part is that sometimes people think we are serious about this name and try to give us a supportive response but it is very clear that they are stretching to say something nice.

All in all, Baby Beuhla seems well and is officially past the imaginary viability threshold, but she and C and I still have a long way to go until we're all really ready for her arrival.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Doctor Visit(s)

Last Monday I had our five month OB visit. Five months. It seems unreal.

At this point, the appointments are fairly mundane. He asks about my symptoms and gives me some advice on how to control them (take the daily anti-heartburn medication) or reassures me that they are nothing to be concerned about (swollen feet comes with the gig and the heat). He checks my blood pressure and ankles for swelling, then measures my belly. Then he gets out the dopplar and listens to the heartbeat. It's typically in the 140s and always pretty cool to hear.

This time he mentioned that I will be getting my gestational diabetes screening test after our next appointment. He then said that I had two options: 1) drink the nasty glucose drink, or 2) eat two full sized candy bars. Seriously. He said that he offers the second option because so many people were avoiding the test completely and/or unable to tolerate the drink if they did attempt the test. He said that die-hard scientists would probably hawk at this, but he figures that it is only a screening measure and that if it comes back positive I'll have to go through the real deal. I like this attitude. Of course I chose the candy bars. Now I have a month to decide which two candy bars I want to eat. C thinks they'll make me sick, but I'm fairly certain he underestimates my capacity for chocolate.

Later on that week I returned for a second appointment, this time to make sure things were still ok after the car accident. This time, the doctor checked my whole body for bruising and asked about the details of the accident in depth. He asked about any concerning symptoms, primarily bleeding or severe cramping, of which there were none. Then he checked the baby's heartbeat - still in the 140s. He said that if I were farther along he would order a non-stress test but that these aren't typically conducted this early in the game. So that was all. Everything looked ok and he will follow me again at my next month test, so long as I don't call earlier with any concerning symptoms.

As of now, I feel fine. Nothing concerning.

However, I do still have a bad habit of forgetting I'm pregnant and over-exerting myself and then paying for it later. It was a nice day yesterday and I had a few cancellations and was actually caught up on my work so I decided to go for a walk. In the heat of the day over my lunch break. With my work shoes, unsupportive ballet flats. I walked out into the city, enjoying the views for about 20-plus minutes. Then I realized a) was really hot, b) I was out of breath, and c) I still had to get back to the office. So after another 20-plus minutes back, my feet were swollen and being cut into by my cute shoes and my back and legs had some odd muscle pains that left me walking like I was already 9 months pregnant or 85 years old. Yeah, I did that to myself. I do not need to report these symptoms, or my stupidity, to the doctor. We'll leave that one between me and the blogging world.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

More Baby Shower Thoughts

I realized in writing this post, that I have some more to say about this whole baby shower thing. Remember how I've said that I'm not one of those girly-girls who gets all googley-eyed with cute things? Maybe I never said this specifically, but I'm not. I was always more of a tom-boy/nerd who cared much more about school and education and my career then boys and parties and frilly things. Babies usually fall into that frilly-cutesy thing category. Whenever people go, "awwwwwwww", I get  nauseous. About anything, really, but babies are really big in bringing out the "aww" in people.

Usually, baby showers make we want to gag. Especially girl baby showers, because they're all pink with bows and ruffles and doilies and crap**. At first, I wanted nothing to do with a baby shower.

So what changed?

Well, first, my mom told me I had to have shower. It wasn't in a forced way, but more of a social expectation, weird if you don't, sort of way. So I started paying attention to other people's reactions, especially now that I am showing more. Turns out, most people get really excited about babies. They love to talk with me about them, giving advice, and share their own experiences. They get excited about cute baby objects and about re-living when they had babies of their own. Maybe it was just the bitter infertile in me, or maybe it was just me, but I hadn't fully realized how much joy this seems to bring to other people. Probably other fertile people, but other people nonetheless.

Secondly, there is the whole party aspect of things. I do like to see my family and friends. I do like to have a good time. If I could do this shower in a way that it was fun, make it more of a party then a stuffy shower, then that would be nice.

Finally, there is the issue of money and baby stuff. Infertility is not cheap. Babies are not cheap. Infertility plus babies are especially pricey. C and I really would like to be able to move out my parent's home someday and I have just recently gotten the courage to re-examine our savings plan that was completely depleted in project "making-of-baby". So if it's completely socially acceptable to host a party for the sole purpose of people buying you necessary stuff, then who am I refuse this.

Since my sisters are largely out of the planning process and my mom is never really the idea person, I decided that if we're doing this, we're doing it on my terms. There will be no pink or purple and no ruffles or hearts. It will be a party with alcohol and music and good times and good food. In the evening so that people stay and have fun. The shower part will be minimized and the party part will be maximized. And if people want to talk with me about baby stuff, that will be just fine. And if people want to avoid talking about baby stuff, it will not be shoved down their throats. I don't like attention anyway.

So here is the plan: It is a northeastern Ohio tradition to host Clam Bakes in the fall. There is clam chowder along with appetizers and then a "bake" includes dozen steamed clams, grilled chicken, fresh picked corn on the cob, a sweet potato, and a roll, all served with melted butter. My parents used to host one yearly, but have gotten away from it the past few years because of weddings and other obligations. It was one of my favorite memories as a child and teen. So we will be hosting a Co-Ed Clam Bake Baby Shower. When people are eating the chowder and appetizers, I will open gifts in one room of the house while football is playing in the other room and music is on outside. Watch me open gifts if you want, or feel free to enjoy the rest of the party. Then after the chowder and gifts, we will serve dinner and the baby stuff will be over and the partying can begin. There will be no obligatory games, although we are throwing around some ideas of optional, play-if you want, sort of activities (e.g. trivia or "guess the baby picture" type of stuff where we can reveal the correct answers later on in the night without stopping the flow of the party).

I am actually sort of excited about this idea. Which is odd for me to get excited about these sorts of things. I think this could be fun. And not make me want to gag. And help us procure some more necessary baby essentials. So hopefully it's a winning idea all around. 

**I should probably apologize for offending people throughout this post... I'm sorry and I do not think less of you if you get mushy for hearts and your favorite color is pink. Also, I do sometimes find myself (internally) saying "awww" at cute pictures or videos of babies and animals. I do have a heart, and I'm sure it will probably become exponentially softer when holding my own baby in my arms. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Joke of a Stress Free Pregnancy

This has been one hell of a month. One month ago today was the day that Marv was attacked by the three neighboring great Danes, sending our world into a tailspin of emotional trauma and possible legalities. I am still sad when I think about him and can't bring myself to remove the screen shot from my computer screen, but always get more sad when I see his puppy-dog eyes staring at me each time I flick open the screen. Last week we met with a lawyer, who said that we had a "decent" case to sue for the neighbors to put up a fence and pay the vet bills and possibly for "emotional trauma", although I'm not how they would put a dollar amount on that. Unfortunately, she did say that the case wasn't solid. Plus, her fees were probably comparable to us just putting up a fence ourselves.

On Monday, this issue took a large step towards resolution. A fence was in place, put there by the neighbors. It seemed like we might finally able to move on and having the baby shower at my parent's home will be a good step in this direction. I want this house to be a place where we feel safe and comfortable. I want it to be filled with joyous memories, not sorry and anger.

This morning, on my way into work, I was in a car accident. It was rush hour and rainy. The cars ahead slammed on their breaks for some unknown reason and so I also broke hard to avoid hitting them. I did avoid them, but the car behind me wasn't as lucky. She is a young girl, twenty at most, and very shaken up. Her SUV seemed relatively unscathed but my sedan had a really large dent and some cracks in the rear bumper. The police were called to file a report, but all cars were drive-able. Luckily she has insurance so hopefully that will not be an issue. It's just one more thing to deal with.

File a police report. Call in late for work. Reschedule my patients for the morning. Call the insurance company. Figure out a time to take the car in to be fixed.

Plus, less not forget, I am 22 weeks pregnant. Call the doctor. He wants to see me right away. I wasn't all that worried, until he wanted to see me. Now there is that.

When I was in undergraduate school, I gave myself my first ever panic attack. It was during a course in Human Sexuality and I was up late studying for an exam in my dorm room. In all fairness, my baseline anxiety was probably high, as this was also the period that I was applying to graduate school. I was reading about pregnancy and there was entire chapter (at least according to my memory), devoted to everything that could potentially go wrong with fetal development. It was horrifying. Then, at the end of this chapter, there were a few sentences discussing how maternal stress can exacerbate these problems and make so many of the issues much more likely. This is what threw me over the edge. There are so many possible horrible situations, and my stress can make it all more likely. Don't be stressed. But be aware of the of horrendous outcomes. But don't be stressed. Right.

I have tried to keep the stress in check, especially when thinking about prenatal development. In general, I feel that I do pretty well with this. But then life happens. And sometimes life just sucks.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Baby Mode turned into Baby Shower Post

Do you ever begin a post thinking you will be writing about one thing, and then realize that the back-story is big enough for entire post itself and end up writing about someone altogether different. I do this a lot...

This past week or two, I have transitioned into full-on baby-prep mode (but I've since realized I will need to talk about this at a later time). I think this was spurred by the invitation to a baby shower of someone who is due a month before me. It was at this moment that I realized that my family/me hasn't even begun thinking about a baby shower and that perhaps this is something that we should begin doing. After talking with my mom and looking at dates, we realized that time is already running out! It's crazy how far away November seems and yet how few available weekends there actually are between now and then.

Let me back up and talk a little about my family. I am the oldest of three sisters. My mother is the oldest with two younger brothers, but she has a very large extended family, most of whom live in the same city. I am very close with my uncles and first consigns. I am also close with most of my second and some of my third cousins on my mother's side. She has over 20 first cousins and have have between 40-50 second cousins that I see on a fairly regular basis. As in at least 2-3 times per year, minimum. Today I will be heading to a graduation party, in two weeks is a wedding, then there are two more graduation parties and another wedding all before Labor Day. All with the one side of family. My father is mostly estranged from his family, which actually works out in this situation as there is more then enough family to go around and they all love him.

This is relevant for two reasons. First, we never have small parties. I had 150 people at my high school graduation, 60 people at my bridal shower, and over 300 people at our wedding. It is nearly impossible to keep things reasonable because once you invite one cousin, then social convention and etiquette dictates that they will all be invited. So the option is to keep it to only immediate family and have five people or open it up to the extended family and have over fifty. My family likes to party, so we usually just open it up. We've gotten good at cooking for the masses. The second reason this is relevant is that, when it comes to choosing dates for occasions, availability goes quickly. There are already two family events booked in later August and September, prime baby-shower times, so choosing a date quickly and making this known to others becomes a more urgent priority.

OK, so there's that. Then there's the whole me being the oldest of three sisters part. We are all very different and at very different points in our life. My youngest sister is still working on growing up, finding her way in life, and prides herself on being unconventional and generally unenthusiastic about most things that others might care about. Not the best candidate for throwing a baby shower, which she will readily admit. My middle sister, on the hand, is all about party-planning, Pinterest, and a goal of 2.5 children with a white picket fence. She coordinated my wedding shower, which went fantastically, and then I, in turn, threw her wedding shower. My mom helped with both but she admits to being very uncreative, so was less about the ideas and more about the execution (that cooking for the masses thing... she's really good at it). It was a good combo for both showers.

However, this is a little different. This time, middle-sister is also in the midst of infertility treatments. Actually, she's "taking a break" from actual treatments, but is definitely not at a place of being content with her current non-baby situation. She also just began a new job that has her working on all weekends. She reported this week that she would not be helping at all with the shower and that we "shouldn't plan on her attending" it either. Maybe I will talk later about my mixed emotions with this stance, given the fact that I've been on both sides of the infertility fence now and understand her position but still feel hurt about her not even trying to attend.

Anyways, the point is that my sister will not be taking the lead in planning. My mom is a good executioner but not good at initiating things. I don't have very close friends that live in town and that I feel comfortable throwing a party for my 60 closest relatives. So this leaves me, along with my mom, to plan for the party.

Within the past week, we've collectively decided on the date and the theme and the location. Most notably, the location is going to be my parent's house and the date will be mid-September, just under two months before the due date and just over two months from now. So now the whole house is in full-on on cleaning, prepping, and registry-deciding mode. Which I will talk about more in another post...

Friday, July 4, 2014

Halfway to Baby

Yesterday marked the 21-week mark, meaning we are officially past the half-way point in this journey. It's really sort of crazy to think about it in this way.

On the one hand, we are absolutely in no way prepared to bring home a baby, physically or mentally. I have gotten a gift of swaddling blankets from my sister and this is the only real baby item we possess. My 90-year-old great aunt also did give us her Burger King Kid's Meal toy, an animal-ears headband, this past week for the baby - very sweet but not entirely practical.

Nineteen weeks ago, we were in the middle of IVF. I was in the hospital from bleeding complications, in severe pain, and worried that this would impact our chances of successful implantation. This is really becoming a distant memory. The emotional pain of these struggles has dulled. I will never forget and it will always be a part of our journey, but it is no longer the first thing I think about when people comment on the pregnancy.

In another nineteen weeks, give or take, we will hopefully be parents to a healthy baby girl. Our lives will be forever changed. I don't feel entirely prepared for this, but then I don't think that anyone can be entirely prepared for this. When you go to a foreign country for the first time, you can read about the history and culture and learn the language, but this won't entirely brace you for the engulfing sights and sounds and smells of this new place that are so different from what you are accustomed to.

When people ask how I've been feeling, I usually answer, "Good, except for the days I'm not." This pretty much sums things up. Most days I feel 90% healthy. I am chronically congested and always sound like I'm getting over a cold, but this doesn't impact me much. I get out of breath a easier than normal and have noticed being less flexible when getting dressed or performing activities that involve touching my toes, but again this hasn't had a huge impact.

Then there are the days that I am incapacitated. There are the days when the heartburn is so bad that I can't talk and it feels like my esophagus is about to catch on fire. On these days I can't sleep or eat much and everything hurts from my chest upwards. Then there are the days that I become so exhausted that I've fallen asleep with my head on my desk, get worried about driving home from work safely, and generally feel like my whole body is weighted down, with sore muscles, and the general feeling that I've been hit by a Mac truck. Luckily, these days are not the norm and generally I don't have much to complain about.

I have also noticed that my feet are starting to swell, which I am still trying to blame on the hot weather, and that I will occasionally have some very mild leaking of colostrum. It's all very sexy. My belly is now very noticeable and I am wearing 90% maternity clothes, especially when leaving the house. I am up about 14 pounds, which is more then I was hoping and on the higher end of what is recommended, but some of this is due to a week-long vacation and all the eating that goes along with that.

There are days when I feel more confident about feeling the baby, but sometimes these feelings are still so similar to bowel/intestinal movements that it's hard to decipher. They're also not very frequent, which doesn't help. Last night, C tried to hear the heartbeat with his stethoscope but was unsuccessful. The websites said that you might be able to hear it with a stethoscope by 20 weeks so we knew it could be too early.

So... halfway between infertility treatments and bringing home baby. Slowly making this mental transition, as my body continues to change and our baby girl continues to grow and develop. Life moves on.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Next Six Weeks

I have thought a lot about how I would like to cope with Marv's death, as I allow time to work its magic in lessening the pain. Logically, putting my focus on our healthy progressing pregnancy ranks high on the list. Unfortunately, this is not the best timing. 

C begins his final six weeks of summer classes before he graduates. He has two more nursing courses to take, both of which are rumored to be a lot of work. In six weeks, he will be graduated and being able to shift gears to prepare for his nursing board exams. I am SO excited for him, and for us. Six more weeks. 

However, in these six weeks, he will be very busy. He will likely be focusing on school and I am likely to fall into my usual support role for him. I help him study when I can, and mostly encourage him to stay focused and stay out of his way. The point here is that when he is in classes I am mostly his support person and he often doesn't have the energy and time to be as supportive of me as during the other times of year. So ideally any coping will need to be solitary. (This is not to imply that he turns into a selfish bastard. He is always supportive, I just try to rely on him less when he has school to contend with.)

I was initially thinking I could focus on nesting activities, but the slight dilemma here is that the future nursery is the current office for C's studying. The timing works out beautifully in that he should be graduated just before I enter the third trimester, but not super helpful for the next six weeks of occupying my time and my brain. 

Researching and buying baby stuff also sounds like a wonderful idea, but having just returned from two vacations and now having to contend with vet bills and possible lawyer fees and/or costs to put in an extremely high and long fence along the property line, money is a little tight. This is especially a shame, because many lovely coping strategies cost money - eating out, massages or pedicures, shopping for baby stuff. Now I sound like a priss. 

I should be putting more effort into exercise, both for my health and the endorphin kick. The problem here is that exercise always feel more like work to me and not especially enjoyable. I could also take more ownership over cooking dinners, but this again feels more like work and responsibility. 

Here is the mission: I am in search of an enjoyable project to occupy myself in the times that I would normally be cuddling with Marv on the couch or going for our nightly walks around the development. It cannot be too expensive (or really cost much of anything at all) and cannot take up much space since we still do not have any designated baby space. It must be something that C does not have to be involved in, so no major decision making and joint endeavors. Any ideas?

I foresee these next six weeks as being the toughest, given the above obstacles and with everything still being so unsettled. If I can make it through these weeks; the immediate pain should have continued to lesson with time, there will hopefully be a high fence up so that I will never have to see our neighbors or their damn dogs again, C will be back to spending more time with me, and we can be fully shifted into transforming office to nursery and preparing for our daughter. Six more weeks...