Monday, November 24, 2008

Week 40+2 - Champagne

To celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday, and the fact that we are B"H now in Week 40, I had a glass of champagne at dinner last night. And it was good. Unfortunately, kosher Champagne pales in comparison to some of the non-kosher kinds I used to drink while a working gal in the Big Apple, but the texture and sweetness really satisfied that craving. I figured I need to get in a glass before the breast feeding P"G begins and I really won't be able to have any alcohol.

So, I've T"G made it to week 40. Sometimes, I really can't believe the end (or should I say the beginning) is almost near! There were moments last week when I thought this was it, with cramps and contractions, but since Thursday night I've felt practically nothing. Last night, we had a great dinner at River on Rabbi Akiva street in town. I ordered the spiciest thing on the menu and tried to eat as much of it as possible until the flames really just got to me. I downed at least 2 bottles of water plus the champage. I was rewarded with literally 1 contraction. And then, we got home, and I enjoyed my buzz and watched some TV with Pidgeon and then passed out. That was the end of the contractions. 

We decided to spend Shabbos with Pidgeon's parents because I just didn't want to cook anymore. And, since Pidgeon's Father decided to spend Shabbat Parshat Chayei Sarah in Chevron, it was a very different vibe in the house. I enjoy spending Shabbos when both parents are around, but it was nice to walk around the house in my PJ pants and not have to worry about wearing a skirt in front of my father-in-law. 

I woke up on Friday flush with energy and thrilled that I didn't have to cook for Shabbos, that freed me up to do other important things. While Pidgeon was moving the suitcases into his parents storage room, I made up the bed in the baby's (P"G) room. Since the decor is black and white, I used black silk sheets and a lush brown comforter on top. The bed looks so inviting now and I just can't wait until the rest of the furniture is in the apartment! That will have to be delayed until P"G after the baby comes.

Once the room was complete, I tackled the refrigerator. Normally, I clean the fridge for Pesach. But, since this year we flew to the States to spend the holiday with my folks, I did minimal cleaning and literally just locked the doors and left town. The filthiness of the interior of the fridge was really getting to me, but I just kept putting it off. And then, Friday, I couldn't take it anymore. The ratatouille stains on the wall, the chocolate bits that were stuck to the sides, and the swath of cardboard from the bottom of a milk carton that somehow got stuck on some nastiness on the top shelf was just too much. I spent 3 hours cleaning out the fridge, washing down shelves and doors, and tossing anything that was past its expiration date or just didn't look good anymore. 

I was exhausted by the time I was done but boy does it look great inside! So much so, that I no longer want to put anything in it because it's so clean. The vegetable bin is my particular pride and joy. There were grapes in there that were so old that they had become raisins (I wish I was kidding). Well, I'm still very proud of my handiwork, although Pidgeon did beg me to put a fruit and vegetable order in because we literally have 3 eggs and some cheese in the house. That's pretty much it, so I acquiesced to do it today but I'm not placing an order on more stuff that will last past the week.

Anyway, after cleaning the fridge, we realized that we had 2 hours left to Shabbos so we got things moving. We rushed through showers and getting dressed, packed up but decided to leave all our hospital bags here (we figured if we needed to get them we would just drive back to pick it up) and went to Pidgeon's parents. We parked as the siren sounded and I was able to light and put on some make up with just enough time. I decided to go to shul on Shabbos since I don't know the next time I'll be able to do that. I'm glad I did, it felt nice to daven Kabbalat Shabbat with everyone. Dinner was also very, very pleasant and I was starving from all the physical excersion so I ate very well.

However, about a few minutes after dinner when we were able to relax, I realized that that baby didn't move that much on Friday. I decided to try to wake the baby up. Nothing doing. I did all the tests they say to do, and about an hour of trying, I didn't feel the baby. Well, that landed us back at Shaarei Zedek on the monitor. 

It was an awful, awful experience that I will only share if someone e-mails me offline. I don't want to write any more here since I plan on logging an official complaint with the hospital. All I know is that I'm now absolutely petrified of going into labor on a Friday night. I also learned a big big lesson. From now on, if I have any problems at all or any concerns at all, the first thing I do is call Dr. Yanai. I didn't want to call her on Shabbos to make her be Mechalel Shabbat if it turned out to be nothing, but at the end of the day she is my Dr. and I shouldn't be doing anything at this point without consulting with her. 

Lesson learned unfortunately the hard way.

By the time we got back to Pidgeon's parents house on Friday night, I was a complete and total wreck. B"H, all was fine with the baby, but what happened there just took a huge toll. I didn't sleep well at night, and Pidgeon later told me that when I did sleep I was moaning in pain. Not good. 

Anyway, since I was pretty much awake, I got up in time to wake Pidgeon for shul. His cousin was naming their baby girl at a minyan in Rechavia, so I decided to go to shul. I haven't been to shul on Shabbos day in a while, and we took the walk slowly and still got there at the beginning of Shacharit. I was exhausted but the davening made me feel a bit better. After shul, we went to Pidgeon's Aunt and Uncle's house and had a quick kiddush and a fun discussion over baby names. 

We walked slowly back to Pidgeon's parents and, after another quick Kiddush, we both fell asleep and basically slept well past lunch time. Originally, we had plans to go out to a movie on Saturday night, but I was so emotionally wrecked from Friday night's experience that we decided to just stay in. I made Pidgeon some whole wheat pancakes to take to work on Sunday and then we watched TV and relaxed. 

The phone rang at exactly 12:17 p.m. Israel time and it was my folks. When I picked up the phone to say hello, there was silence on the other end. And then, my Mom said, "you're still round?!!!" She had had a dream on Friday night that I had given birth to a "fat" baby with loads of dark hair. I told her we're going to have to wait a bit longer to see if that dream comes true, but there is a probability that the baby is gonna be chubby since the baby already weighs in a almost 8 pounds! As far as dark hair is concerned, I have no idea. Pidgeon has dark, dark hair but I was a blonde baby. So, it's up in the air. 

I just can't wait to see what our  baby P"G looks like already! I've been imagining for so long and wondering that I'm getting so excited just thinking about it. I think the Pidgeon is too, and I know he can't wait to P"G hold his child in his arms.

Well, Thanksgiving is practically upon us, and I am really hoping I don't need to break those turkey legs out of the freezer for dinner. That being said, I do plan on ordering some sweet potatoes and will make us a nice sweet potato and/or pumpkin pie is the baby decides to stay in Hotel Uterus for the holiday. Only time will tell!

I'm off to call a reflexologist for an appointment. I've been doing anything I can to help jump start these contractions. But, spicy food for dinner last night, loads of fresh pineapple for dessert on Friday night, lots of walking and resting haven't helped. I'm hoping this reflexologist will be able to do something to get things moving!

Yom Tov from Baka!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Week 39+2 Days - Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cord Blood Banking

Well, it's getting down to the wire now. I am - please g-d - 8 days away from my due date. How insane is that? I try not to think about it too much but it's impossible. Every second I'm not working, I'm thinking about the baby. And not just labor, but breastfeeding and baby clothing and baby gear, etc. 

I was watching an episode of Alias yesterday and Marshall, the quirky little computer geek, saves the World and then comes home to a wife and baby waiting for him by the living room window. It brought me to tears, literally. Just thinking that, P"G, that could be me in a few days! I told Pidgeon about the episode and he got excited too when I told him that I can't wait until P"G "we" will be waiting for him to come home from work. 

Yesterday was extremely busy. Between work and some car drama, I was literally on and off my feet nonstop. By the time the 11:00 p.m. shot rolled around, tears of exhaustion were rolling down my face and I just wanted to get under the covers and go to sleep. I don't remember the last time I passed out before 11:30 p.m. but we both really, really needed the sleep.

This morning, I got up with Pidgeon and packed his lunch and breakfast. After he left the house, I did the dishes that had accumulated overnight and tidied up a bit in the apartment. Afterwards, I decided to try to get some sleep. Unfortunately, my friend had other plans for me and she called about 45 minutes after I went to bed. That got be up and moving, as I had to cook dinner for Pidgeon's cousins. They just had their baby and I promised I would cook for them. So, I made all the fresh stuff this afternoon - spaghetti with olive oil and salt and fresh corn with olive oil margarine and salt. The joins the chicken fingers I fried last week and the batch of sweet and sour meatballs I made a few weeks ago. Since I spent the afternoon yesterday baking my Aunt Irene's (Z"L) chocolate chip cookies, I put the batch into a tin and sealed it up for them.

Feeling very accomplished, I decided to step into the shower before the folks in the States wake up and I have to get to work. As soon as I stepped out, I hear the doorbell ringing. I thought it was a mistake but I made my way to the intercom. Sure enough, it was a package for us and that's when I remembered that the stem cell company was sending us all the stuff we needed.

So, I was really on the fence about cord blood banking for stem cells. It is EXTREMELY expensive to do in Israel. And, our insurance only gives us a 700 shekel discount. Well, we discuss it at length and we fielded phone call after phone call from cord blood banks and then we sat down to talk money. In terms of shekel, we just didn't have it. We didn't have that kind of money in our checking account. We also didn't want to ask our parents, as mine as paying for Dr. Yanai and Pidgeon's parents are basically paying for all the nursery furniture and a night nurse. We felt that they are tapped out and didn't want to ask them for any more since they're already being generous.

And then we decided to invest some of our wedding money. We got a few dollars as wedding presents and, since a lot of our Israeli guests were so generous, we didn't have to invest any of it on things for the apartment. We were able to B"H bank the money in savings and had earmarked it to help us buy a home one day. But then we got to thinking that, if G-d forbid Hot Dog got ill and the cord blood could save the baby's life, we would kick ourselves for not investing the money. So, two days ago, we agreed to do it and today the kit arrived. 

I didn't open the box, as I have no idea if it's sterile or what, and would prefer just handing everything over to the Dr. when I'm in labor. I'm sure the staff at Hadassah Ein Karem are familiar with this and will know what to do. Besides, I didn't want Pidgeon to cut the cord anyway, so it's good to let the Dr. take care of it.

My Mom called this morning all excited. She feels like now everything is really "happening" and she wanted to know how I'm feeling. Well, if you would have called me at 2:30 this morning I would have told you I was in labor. But then, I went back to sleep, and haven't had a contraction since. 

Honestly, I don't know how I'm feeling. Physically, I feel okay. I have constant heartburn that's annoying and when I walk, the baby is really pressing down on my bladder so I feel like I'm going to make all over the floor. But, other than that, I feel just like I felt 2 weeks ago. 

I'm trying very hard not to fear the unknown - or the pain. Yesterday, I burnt myself when I took a batch of cookies out of the oven. I decided to sit with the pain to see how bad it was and whether or not I could withstand it. It wasn't easy but it was a mind game and - after a few minutes of blowing on it and watching the red streak get redder and redder - I decided to just go about my day. Unfortunately, I now have a mark but I was able to handle the pain. 

I'm hoping that I'll be able to use whatever will power or mind games I have at my disposal to withstand the pain of childbirth. Ideally, I'd like to try to avoid any medications they want to try to give me to dull the pain. Unless g-d forbid an emergency C-section needs to be performed, I want to try to do this the natural way. 

May the Lord have mercy on me and let me have an easy delivery!

Well, I'm off to blow dry my hair and then get back to work.

Erev Tov from Baka!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Week 39

Its been a few days since my last post and my only excuse is a good one. It seems like every time I sit down to the computer, I'm working. I've got two big projects I'm focused on right now, one pays by the hour and the other promises to pay in the long run. With baby clock ticking down,  I'm trying to get as much done as I possibly can beforehand. I'd like to think that I'm succeeding!

It's a beautiful Sunday morning and, since Pidgeon's alarm went off at 7:00 a.m., I've already put up a load of laundry, washed all the dishes I had waiting for me in the sink in the kitchen, let in the cleaning lady (who is hard at work in my bathroom!), eaten a quick breakfast, entertained my mother-in-law during a surprise pit stop after she dropped my niece off at Gan in the neighborhood, made Pidgeon his lunch and caught up on overnight e-mails. I'm pretty exhausted and am in the need of a good nap, but since I'm washing all the linens in our bedroom, that ain't gonna happen. Hopefully when our cleaning lady leaves I'll have some time to take a quick cat nap.

So far, week 39 is not all that different from week 38. I was very disheartened after our last Dr. Yanai appointment because, after an internal examination, she told us that I wasn't even 1 centimeter dilated! And here I thought our baby would come early. But, it looks like the baby is really enjoying Hotel Uterus and no matter how many segulot or self-labor stimulation I try, the baby will come out when the baby is good and ready.

That being said, I still broke out the bottle of Etrog liquor for Shabbos kiddush. I figured now was as good a time as any to get my etrog in in my ninth month. The liquor is very, very strong and, since I put in so much sugar, I was surprised that it wasn't sweet. That being said, I did break into the bottle 4 weeks before the fermentation process was complete, so who knows what the end result will look like!

I've been having some on and off contractions, mostly during the days when I'm on my feet a lot. 

Like Wednesday, when we spent 2 hours food shopping at SuperSol in Talpiot. I persuaded Pidgeon to let me purchase 20 chicken bottoms, which I plan P"G on cooking and refreezing in packages of two. This way, after the baby comes, all I have to do is take a package of chicken out of the freezer and cook up a side or make a salad, and voila instant dinner! Pidgeon thinks I'm crazy since we spent over 1300 shekel on provisions, but I'd much rather have him around to enjoy and spend time with his child then to be running around Jerusalem on errands to pick up food or diapers or other stuff. I decided over Shabbos to make 15 of the chicken bottoms and save 5 so I can make chicken salt. We're a big soup family and I'd like to be able to just whip something up on Erev Shabbos without being frustrated that we don't have the right ingredients.

I was bored with my cooking this week, so I decided to try to experiment for Shabbos. I made a french onion soup in the crock pot that was delicious, especially once Pidgeon taste tested it and told me that it needed a lot more salt. I also made a new chicken, which really wasn't so difficult it was just roasted with Montreal chicken spice. And then I decided to make cauliflower mash, as opposed to roast cauliflower or cauliflower kugel. I found a recipe online and sorta followed the directions.

It was disgusting! I rarely turn down food - most of the time I turn away meat if it's not cooked well enough for my taste - but that's usually the extent of it all. This was just vile. Pidgeon couldn't eat it and, even though I tried to force myself, I realized that I couldn't do it either. When I consulted the recipe after Shabbos I realized my big mistake - mustard - and even though Pidgeon would like me to try again, I'm going to hold off a bit. I hate wasting food - especially since it's so expensive - so I'm going to stick to the tried and true for a while. I'll save food experimentation for when the economy P"G gets better.

We had a very quiet and relaxing Shabbos, which was nice. We slept a lot, which is why we both had a hard time falling asleep last night. Right after Shabbos, we got an SMS from Pidgeon's Aunt letting us know that his cousin had a baby girl on Shabbos morning. She weighed in at 3.7 kilo and she was birthed at home (on purpose). B"H, everyone is doing well! I was thrilled for many reasons. One, because Pidgeon's cousin was over a week late and I know she was ready to have the baby about a month ago. Two, because I am cooking dinner for them and I already pre-made the sweet and sour meatballs and the chicken fingers for the kids, and I could really use the freezer space! And three, because I was so nervous I would have the baby first and not be able to cook for them and I promised I would cook for them so I'm happy that I won't have to break that promise.

Pidgeon went over to wish his Aunt and Uncle a Mazal Tov while I stayed home and cleaned up after Shabbos and put up a wash. When he got back, we decided to go to the Mamilla Mall to walk around. It was such a great idea and a beautiful night too! As usual, the Mall restaurants were very crowded but since we weren't that hungry, we just walked past. We went window shopping, which is always a fun activity for me, and just walked up and down for about an hour. It was exactly what I needed to feel good, and I was hoping the gravity would just continue to move the baby down into the "starting" position. I woke up very sore this morning, so I'm hoping that the gravity helped. But, who the heck knows!

Well, I'm off to see how my chickens are defrosting. I want to cook at least 5 more chicken bottoms tonight to add to the freezer, and we have a family dinner at Pidgeon's parents house later so the more I get done early this morning the better.

Yom Tov from Baka!


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Week 38: Segulah Time

Well, I'm thank g-d in my 38th week and it's getting down to the wire. The Dr.'s say that I can have the baby any day now, but only the Lord knows when the baby is going to decide to come. As for me, well, let's just say I'm doing my best to hurry the process along.

Last week was all about the Segulah's for an easy birth combined with "natural" ways to bring about labor. On Thursday, I decided to bake Challot as the Hafrashah on the Challah is a segulah for an easy birth. Now, I had heard that unless you're baking Challah with about 14 cups of flour, you don't make a bracha. And, since the recipe I used called for only 2 cups more than a kilo, I did the hafrashah, burnt it in the oven and didn't say a bracha. I hope that still counted as a segulah for an easy birth. On Wednesday, I finished phase two of the Esrog liquor. I have no idea how my Grandfather Z"L used to make it, but it was a very messy process with the powdered sugar and pouring the liquor out of the bottle with the esrog rind and into two whiskey bottles. It now needs 6 weeks to ferment but I'm thinking, as soon as I get any twinge of real contractions, I'm taking a shot. Figure the alcohol will help relax me while the esrog will hopefully act as a segulah for an easy birth. On Friday, before I lit candles, Pidgeon gave some Tzedakah and then last night, after we had date night and picked up some dinner at Waffle Bar, we came home and ate with Melavah Malka in mind.

Aside from going to the Mikvah, that's pretty much all the Segulot for an easy labor that I know of. As far as natural ways to get things moving, I ate fresh pineapple for dessert on Friday night, I did a lot of walking/standing on my feet and we also made sure to have at least 2 meals last week that had plenty of spice to it.

Nada is going on, I hate to admit. I honestly thought, as soon as I finished Melavah Malka last night, that I would go into labor and the baby would be here. My Dad said that I made such a nice home for the baby, that it's just not ready to interested in coming out.

I don't know about that theory. I mean, when I feel the hiccups that the baby has inside of me at like 3:00 a.m., I'm wondering if the baby really wants to be in there any longer. I mean, doesn't the baby want to be here so that Pidgeon and I can help with those hiccups?

Well, I'm just going to continue to do what I can do to help move things along. In the meantime, it's now once a week appointments with Dr. Yanai to make sure that the uterus is still a good home for the baby and that the baby is still thriving.

I can't help but wonder when it's all going to begin. I spent last night, when I couldn't fall asleep, reading the community boards on the What to Expect When You're Expecting website. I kept reading all these women's personal birth stories and they were fascinating. I realized that every single story was unique and so I have to remind myself that there is just no way to prepare for this. Elizabeth, a friend from high school, is an OBGYN resident in New York and yesterday we e-mailed back and forth on Facebook. I asked her for some advice and she basically said not to come with a birth plan because she sees all these women show up with plans and then end up with C-sections and they get very upset and disappointed.

The only "plan" I have right now is to try to go as long as I possibly can without an epidural. I am thrilled to know that the option to have one is available to me, and I'm praying that my contractions won't be so difficult as to need drugs right away, but I'd ideally like to try to go without it. It's funny, but I'm really not a martyr. I'm the first person to down 6 Advil's a day when I have very bad cramps, and I loved the laughing gas when I got all four wisdom teeth pulled, but when you experience 2 painful and complicated LP's you just don't want to run and have a big needle jabbed into your back. 

So, aside from an extremely relaxing Shabbos with Pidgeon, and a really fun date night that included a movie at Rav Chen and take out from Waffle Bar, today is all about the new cleaning lady. I am not going to say anything more because it looks like I keep jinxing myself with cleaning people. Today's will be my 5th cleaning person in 2 years, and that's just really not a normal turn over rate. I have no idea why they all keep leaving me! I pay well, I'm really nice to them, and I make sure the apartment isn't too much of a wreck. Well, I told my baby bump not to make an appearance until after the apartment is clean. I want to make sure this place is in tip top condition before we bring a baby home! Here's hoping today's cleaning person will take care of all that for me.

I'm hoping that she's so good that, when she P"G comes back next week, I can have her spend time cleaning out the fridge and the stove. I'd really like to do both of those appliances before the baby comes. That being said, if they're not done before baby,  it's not as bad as all the copulating dust bunnies I've got in the apartment.

I was just so excited about the new cleaning person, that I slept fitfully last night. Fortunately, it's Sunday, which means that I can just sit back and relax today. I'm actually hoping to work on one of the thesis stories as I still have 4 more to write and not much time to write them in! I'm ready for this Masters to be over and done with, and since I think Bar Ilan is a backwards and low tech institution, it's time for me to be finished with everything and just move on to the next phase of our lives.

Well, I'm off to go do some writing - or snoozing on the couch - whichever comes first. 

Yom Tov from Baka!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Raspberry Leaf Tea and Vitamin D

I'm tired. It's my own fault though. When I woke up at 5:15 a.m. for my usual bathroom run, I decided to log onto the computer to see how the elections in the States were going. And, of course, with all the speculation about Ohio going to or not going to Obama, it kept me awake and reading the news until 6:00 a.m. I ended up in a very restless sleep, dreaming about ants and the baby. 

Well, now we're both sick. Except, Pidgeon has the first stage of the cold and I'm at the stage where it's a cold mixed in with a secondary infection. I dragged myself to the Medical Center yesterday to see our Dr., who told me that I now have an upper respiratory infection on top of the cold. Yuck! She prescribed amoxycillan but then we discussed whether or not I should even start taking it. I have an appointment today with Dr. Yanai, so I'm going to ask her what she thinks I should do. Either way, I do not want either myself or Pidgeon to be sick when the baby decides to make its debut into this wonderful world!

I've been trying to follow my Dad's cold advice. I've kept my toothbrush next to my side of the bed, so it wouldn't infect Pidgeon's (lot of good that did, ey?), I've been drinking lots and lots of liquids. I've even had a glass of orange juice a day, and have been eating Vitamin C enriched fruits like oranges and mangos. I've been drinking the raspberry leaf tea with some honey, as opposed to sugar, to help sooth the itchy and achy throat and today, I opened up the trissim and the curtains and let the sun just flood the apartment. My Dad's answer to all illness is to sit in and soak up the Vitamin D from the sun.

Well, I'm kinda hot, so I'm not sitting directly in the sun's rays, but the brightness is really nice and I'm hoping I'm getting the benefits of the sunlight even if I'm sitting away from the mirpeset.

Pidgeon is home today and, instead of doing the work he should be doing on his project, he's running errands. First, he went to the garage to assess the damage that the Egged bus #417 did to our car on Saturday night. It's going to cost 1500 shekel for them to fix everything, and now our insurance agency needs to deal with the Egged insurance agency. Regardless, I'm going to take pictures of the damages when Pidgeon gets back home, so we have proof (with the green paint and all) that the bus hit us.

After he got the assessment, Pidgeon went to Bug to buy a birthday present for his younger brother. He's a tech guy, so we decided to get him an 8 GB disk on key. We figured it was a practical gift for him, so he doesn't always have to tot his computer around when he needs files and stuff. I think it's a good gift and I know I, personally, would like another disk on key. Both of mine are full to capacity these days.

One he finishes with Bug, he's going to be off to SuperSol to do some Shabbos food shopping. I'd like to bake Challah for Shabbos tomorrow, and also get a head start on the rest of my weekend cooking. I'm going simple though, because the thought of being in the kitchen for hours just doesn't appeal to me. Besides, I have a ton of work to do for both school and work, and so I just don't have the luxury to fuss. The chicken soup for Friday night is B"H already made and in the freezer, which is one thing off my list. Now, all I have to do is figure out the rest.

So, I've been having contractions lately, and they've varied in terms of intensity and frequency so I've basically just been ignoring them. Last night, I decided since I've been having some contractions, that it was time to pack the hospital bag. We're taking Pidgeon's rolling suitcase, so I had him unpack it and I moved it onto the chair in our Mamad. I was able to put in his shower shoes, my shower shoes, my slippers, a pair of swim trucks for him, two towels, a hot water bottle, a spray bottle, a fan, a sweatshirt, 2 pairs of sweat socks, disposable underwear, feminine hygiene products, 2 toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, eye drops, moisturizer, lip balm, mouthwash, almond oil, an outfit for the baby, a onesie for the baby, a hat for the baby, hand sanitizer, batteries and the camera, a pair of glasses, hairbands, 2 shmatas with bobby pins to cover my hair after delivery and deoderant. What I didn't pack yet is the binder with all my medical information, my cellphone and charger, my iPod and charger, a swaddling blanket, my pillow, the food (that's in a separate bag), a hair brush, an outfit for me to wear from hospital to hotel and my tehillim. It took me 2 hours to pack and, I was so preoccupied, that I forgot about my shot. Fortunately, Pidgeon remembered and I wasn't too late with the injection. 

Next up, I have to pack my bag for Hotel Baby. That bag will mostly have PJ's and toiletries and some of the stuff that I packed in my hospital bag. I also want to pack some stuff for Pidgeon too, so he doesn't have to worry about going back and forth to the apartment to get things he might need during our stay.

I wonder what I'm missing though. I have this nagging feeling that I'm just not ready yet, but I don't quite know what I still need to get done. I have lists and lists and lists all over the apartment, and yet, I feel like I'm just not checking anything off. In fact, I think I just keep adding to the list. 

The next big thing is to find a cleaning person STAT. I just have no energy to really clean anymore, and I'm so exhausted these days that all I want to do is curl up in bed and take lots of long naps.

In fact, I think that's just what I'm going to go do.

Yom Tov from Baka!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ashkelon and Egged

What I wouldn't give for a capful of cherry flavored Nyquil right about now. I am finished up the third day of an absolutely miserable cold and, aside from my nose being all chapped (Pidgeon over Shabbos declared that I looked like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) and I'm dry as a bone, I haven't slept well at all! I hate breathing through my mouth and so, for the past two nights, I kept dozing off only to wake up because I felt like I was suffocating.  

I had planned on cooking for Shabbos Thursday afternoon but, while we were picking up some baby scissors and other toiletries at Mozezim in Talpiot, my mother-in-law called and invited us to Ashkelon for Shabbos. I jumped at the invitation and, Friday afternoon after a short morning interview for work, we were on the road.

I love going to Ashkelon in the fall/winter. It's just beautiful to be on the beach with the balmy weather and the low-humidity. The summer is just too hot to for us in Ashkelon and, while I enjoy the pool, it's much more pleasant for me to be there when it's cooler. Unfortunately, I was pretty miserable with my cold, so I couldn't really take advantage of the scenery. Had I been feeling better, I would have gone with Pidgeon for a nice, long walk on the boardwalk. I was surprised to see some people actually taking a dip in the Ocean over Shabbos, but with the sun out the weather was really nice and warm. 

Since I was feeling so gross, Pidgeon hurried us up after Shabbos so we could hit the road back to Jerusalem early. While we were near Shaar Hagay, there was an accident with two buses and the police blocked one of the three lanes. We were already in the left lane, and Pidgeon was courteous to let cars in the right lane merge into ours so that traffic could flow nicely.

Suddenly, Egged bus #417 decided to speed up and merge into our lane. Pidgeon put on the brakes to let the huge bus go through but the driver wasn't paying attention to his spacing and all of a sudden we hear this huge CRUNCH and the car starts to rock. The freaking BUS hit us! Pidgeon sat on the horn but the bus just kept going and when we drove up to the driver's side window, the driver just put the pedal to the metal and kept going. He didn't even pull over to assess the damage! 

Well, I always carry a pad and pen in my purse so I wrote down the time, bus number, license plate number and we called Egged. The woman told us what numbers to call to report damages and I was just seething.

People, this was my side of the car. This was right outside of my door. This stupid driver was in such a rush to go from Ramat Beit Shemesh to Jerusalem? Seriously, what was the big emergency that he should be so reckless with his driving? Pidgeon was furious and it wasn't until we got home that we could assess the damage. The entire paint on the right side of car, right above the tires, is scatched and almost gone. There is even green paint from the Egged bus now on our car - so calling all CSI's to come by and scrape off proof of the accident.

We are now dealing with our insurance agency and on Wednesday, Pidgeon has to take the car into the garage to see how much damage we have on the car. I am not paying one red cent. And, what's worse, is that I want the driver of bus #417 to be reprimanded and to take responsibility for what he did to our car!

I guess I should look on the bright side. B"H, neither one of us was hurt. But still, how many times do I need to write on this blog how reckless drivers in this country are? And people wonder why I haven't jumped behind the wheel of our car. It's not because I doubt my driving abilities, it's because I don't have faith in anyone elses in this Country.

We could avoid so many accidents and deaths if Israelis would just be more careful with their driving.

Come on people, so many other factors against our survival exists. Why should we do this to ourselves? 

Be careful on the roads everyone!

Layla Tov from Baka!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Things To Do in Your Ninth Month

As if being nine months pregnant isn't hard enough, there is a ton of things that need to get done in the last few weeks before baby. At least, that's what I'm currently facing! This morning, I woke up and decided that today is the day I start doing the things I've been putting off for a while.

That meant that I responded to business e-mails I've put off for a few days, I had to stop ignoring our ant problem, and I put the baby clothing I already have into the wash and made my esrog liquor.

I had read in one of these Jewish women in pregnancy and spirituality books, that if you eat an etrog in your 9th month it's a Segulah for an easy labor. And, since Hot Dog is currently out of breech position and it looks like the baby will be making a natural entrance P"G into this world, I'm doing whatever I can to make it an easy birth. That means drinking my raspberry leaf tea every day, steaming with rosemary, massaging with almond oil and making esrog liquor. 

Since Pidgeon is home today working on his final project, I decided it would be a good time for me to do some of the household errands I need to get done. First, when Pidgeon left the apartment to run some errands and meet with a Professor at school, I washed the dishes and got ready for breakfast. When he returned, I made him a healthy breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese and some cucumber and tomato. After breakfast, I spent about 20 minutes cutting all the tags and labels off of the baby clothing and loading them into the wash. We purchased Tinok Clean powder and Baby liquid fabric softener and I put up the wash. I didn't separate the whites from the colors though, and I'm wondering if all my white onesies and crib sheets will now be tinged pink. Hopefully not!

After the wash was up and I got a quick phone call from Mom, I decided it was time to make the esrog liquor. Since making esrog jam or jelly is too much of a pain in the neck, and I already have 3 bottles of good vodka in my freezer, I went with the liquor route. 

Here's how you make esrog liquor. 

First (see photo above) assemble all of your necessary ingredients. Take an empty bottle of alcohol and wash it out good, especially if it's a bottle of whiskey or something other than vodka. After that's washed and dried, prepare the etrogim. Since I'm only using the peel for the liquor, I washed each etrog well (people have been manhandling these fruits for an entire 7 days, it's wise to at least rinse them). Then, being careful not to get too much of the white part, peel each etrog. I doubled the recipe and so I used 6 etrogim for 4 cups of vodka.

I cut the etrogim on my cutting board and then dropped them - piece by piece - into the empty bottle.  I tried to avoid the white parts but it wasn't that easy. Hopefully, it won't turn the vodka too bitter. 

Because of Kedushat Shviit (etrogim are especially holy since they were grown during a shmita year and therefore, nothing can be thrown out.) I put all the fruit, the top and bottoms of the etrogim and any scraps that didn't go into the whiskey bottle, into a bag. I'm going to leave the bag on the windowsill until is rots enough to be thrown away. Hopefully it will rot quickly, I'd prefer not having them hang out too long in the kitchen!

After I peeled all 6 etrogim and dropped the peel into the whiskey bottle, I measured out 4 cups of good vodka and poured it into the bottle. I'm going to store it in a cool, dark place for about a week. At which point, I'm going to drain the peel from the vodka, add 3 cups of confectioners sugar and another 2 cups of vodka, and put it away to "ferment" for 6 more weeks! 

Hopefully, we'll be able to toast a lechayim during Chanukah this year! I'm excited!!

Well, I'm off to enjoy the rain by baking some blondies for Pidgeon's cousin, whose wife is due P"G next week. I already offered to cook dinner for them and, with meatballs cooked and hanging out in the freezer, I'm hoping to take dessert off of my list. This way, when the baby does come, all I'll have to make will be some chicken, pasta and a vegetable. 

Yom Tov from Baka!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Engaged and out of Breech

Looking back on yesterday's blog entry, I can honestly admit that I was in a funk all morning. I was just so down for the better part of the day, and even the usual "suck it up" speech I got from my Mom didn't really pull me out of it. I ended up cleaning the apartment all freaking day long. Literally, it took me 6+ hours to sponga the floors, clean the bathrooms, tidy all the rooms, do two loads of laundry and leave stuff outside the door for Pidgeon to toss in the garbage. All the while, I tried to cheer myself up so that Pidgeon wouldn't come home to a sullen wife. I was definitely much better by the time he walked through the door, although I wasn't Stepford so he knew something was wrong.

I asked him what he thought of the apartment, and he walked around the place and said what a great job Miriam did. At that point, I was beeched like a whale on the couch, looking and feeling like garbage, and smiling because he thought I'd done a great job. I then told him that I saved us 160 shekel and that I'm the new Miriam. He wasn't happy that I spongaed the floors and cleaned all day, but I think he was happy to see the apartment in nice shape. I know I'm happy when I'm in a clean environment.

So, loads of GREAT things happened last night that completely made up for such a lousy morning!

First - and most importantly - my favorite Cousin Neil is engaged!!! It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. I've been waiting for this day about as long as he has, and just knowing how happy he is makes me so thrilled for him and his fiance. I just hope I get to meet her soon! But, depending on when they're getting married, I might not even get to meet her before she becomes Mrs. Cousin Neil! If they get married before the baby is 3 months old, I won't be able to fly in for the wedding. They don't recommend that babies fly before they're 3 months so we'll just have to wait and see. As much as I would LOVE to dance at Cousin Neil's wedding, I'd much rather he get married when it's good for him than wait until I can fly into the States. I don't want him to be single any minute longer than he has to be - he's waited long enough to be with his soulmate. Of course, the selfish part of me will be very sad if I have to miss it. I only have 5 first cousins and, I'm closest to Cousin Neil, so it would be great if I can be there for it. That being said, I do get to B"H share a lifetime with them so I'm trying to look on the bright side.

And, if Cousin Neil getting engaged last night wasn't enough to pull me out of my funk and onto this high, the news that our baby is out of breech position just sent me soaring! Well, and into a panic too. We waited to see Dr. Yanai for a while and - as always - it was well worth it. When we got into the room, I told her about the hospital visit and showed her the information. Then, I mentioned that the baby was still in breech last week when they did the ultrasound, but that I felt different. I told her that I feel like something has dropped and there is this tremendous pressure on my bladder. It's getting harder to walk too since it feels like I've got something very heavy stuck between my legs. So, she told me to hop up on the table and we'll see where the baby's at. And, when she announced that the baby turned and is no longer in breech and is "head down" Pidgeon and I whooped so loud that we swear the people in the waiting room heard us. We were just so elated that I didn't have to go into the hospital for them to attempt to turn the baby. Of course, that's when I realized HOW the baby is going to be getting out of me. So, I turned to Dr. Yanai and said "wait, I need to actually deliver this baby now?" She was surprised and asked me if I wanted a C-section. I said, not really, I just didn't think about the alternative. 

The baby is also right now 6 pounds and with 4 weeks left to go - could grow about 1-2 more pounds! That's a BIG baby pushing its way through my delicate area. I was so small, I was only 5-11 when my Mom had me. I was kinda hoping this baby would be on the leaner side so that it won't hurt as much. But, what the heck do I know? I've never done this before - but now I'm going to find out!

The Dr. then did my test for GSB (step test) and sealed the tube and handed it to me to bring today to Maccabi. We were just so happy with the news, we practically skipped out of the room. Plus, my blood pressure was looking really great, so all three of us were thrilled. We made an appointment for 10 days from yesterday and then went to celebrate. 

I spent the night on the phone, Skyping with my sister in Cleveland (my  4 year old niece got her ears pierced!) and IMing with my brother in Miami Beach. I could barely contain my excitement and it was hard getting to sleep, but with another 6:45 a.m. wake up call I knew I had to get some shut eye.

My body woke me up this morning about 4 minutes before Pidgeon's alarm went off. He dropped me off at the Maccabi in town and then continued on his way to work. It was almost 8:00 a.m. and I was thinking I would be in and out of there in no time. Unfortunately, when I got upstairs to the blood clinic, they told me that they don't draw blood for my type of tests until 9:30 a.m. I literally had to sit there for an hour and a half with nothing to do. I hadn't anticipated that long of a wait so I didn't have a book or magazine to keep me company. Instead, I watched the people and watched the clock and waited. At 9:25 a.m., I walked into the area and immediately got processed. 7 huge vials of blood later, I went in search of the nurses station for my flu vaccine. They recommend pregnant women get a flu shot and, since I really don't want to get the flu this year NOR do I want the baby to get the flu, I thought it was a good idea. I waited for another 30 minutes before they could administer the shot, and then I was on my way.

I had the cab driver drop me off at the Supermarket near the apartment and picked up some food for tonight's class. I got a big bag of potato chips and some sandwich cookies, and a couple of other odds and ends for the house, and then hauled my three shopping bags back home. It was not easy and not because the bags were particularly heavy but because each step cause the baby to press down on my bladder even more! I was very happy when I got home, collapsed onto the couch and just relaxed.

Well, I'm off to finish my work for the morning. With another Dr.'s appointment slated before our 8:00 p.m. class, I really need to be as efficient as possible!

Yom Tov from Baka!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pathetic Fallacy

Where the hell is Mr. Clean when you need him? 

When I studied Wuthering Heights back in college, my Professor used the literary term Pathetic Fallacy to describe how the weather mimicked the characters mood. Heathcliff is referred to as a very stormy character and, coincidentally, the weather outside the Castle is usually pretty lousy. I've since looked up the term and while it doesn't 100% mean what my Professor said, I'm going to use it today as it's the only way to describe how I'm feeling.

The storm clouds are rolling in outside my window and it's 100% reflective of my current mood. I B"H just started my 9th month and my anxiety levels continue to heighten with every passing moment.

First up:

1) Pidgeon's sister and brother-in-law - this is not a new theme in our lives but I'm finally at my breaking point. Just when I think they're coming towards us, they do something so fundamentally obnoxious and rude that I'm left feeling disappointed and upset. I'm on this constant roller coaster of emotions with them and boy do I want to just get off that ride. After the latest incident involving them, which took place on Thursday night, I decided to just stop caring. So, Friday night when we were at Pidgeon's parents for dinner, I didn't talk to them. Not one word. I wasn't hostile or obviously upset with them, and I acted pleasantly and respectfully to everyone in the room, I just didn't address them. No hello when they arrived, no goodbye when we left. And I think that's just the way I'm going to have to deal with them moving forward. The less I interact with them, the better off I'll be. I'm just so damn tired of having them stress out my marriage, be a constant source of fighting between me and Pidgeon, and be a primary reason why I'm upset in my life. I want to just focus on myself, my husband and P"G our baby and just be happy with what's to come. Now all I need is for my emotions to follow my intellectual reasonings and maybe I'll be able to get out of bed today.

2) The state of our apartment - it's a mess. There are blotches of Lord knows what on our kitchen floor and a layer of dust on every surface of the apartment that needs to be wiped clean. I had waited all morning for our cleaning lady to call and let me know what time she was coming, and she called alright, to tell me that she's no longer cleaning and is accepting another job offer. Now, she is Anglo with 4 children and lives in Maale Adumim. She has a US college degree and was working for a company in the Technology Park that was paying her less than minimum wage, so she started cleaning houses to help make more money. She was a great cleaner, very trustworthy and nice. I was finally getting comfortable with her and then she ups and quits on me with no notice at all. Just a call today to say she was not coming and that the 40 shekel I overpaid her last time will somehow make it back to me. I was pleasant on the phone, wished her well, and then hung up and stewed.  While I 100% understand her situation and would myself probably make the same decision if in her shoes, she royally screwed me. She never gave me any indication that she was looking to find a new job, and she gave me no notice. I'm in my 9th month of pregnancy and would get on my hands and knees and scrub my own floors if I could, but I physically cannot. Rather than just sit here and cry, I started making some calls to people I turned down when Miriam told me she could come work with us. They are no longer available. So, I called Miriam back and basically told her how upset I was with her. I said that, while I am thrilled she secured a good job in this economic environment, I am left with no one to clean my apartment in my 9th month. She apologized and said she didn't know this job offer was coming, that she didn't think it would be a big deal because people post ads all the time on JANGLO looking for cleaners and that she had tried to call me last night but I never picked up my phone. I basically left it at that if she knew someone who could help me out, I would really appreciate it. I hope never to hear from her again. I wish her well, but I certainly don't need her in my face when I have less than 4 weeks to find a replacement before the baby.

3) The state of the economy - it just plain sucks. I have one amazing client and was hoping to at least take 3 weeks off after the baby before I started working with them again. They don't want that. In fact, they really want someone who can continue through March which is their busy season. We need the money, so I need to figure something out. I'm resentful because all other new Mothers get to take at least 3 months off on maternity leave before going back to work, and I don't have that option. Who knows if the client will still be around after 3 months? Chances are, they will move on and hire someone else in the interim. And, what if I can't find a job in 3 months? Then what? My parents aren't helping matters at all. My Mother told me that I need to find a way to work things out, instead of telling me that I should just take the 3 months off and figure things out when I'm ready to get back to work. She keeps saying how lousy the economy is, how terrible the job market is out there, etc. I know everything she says is true, but how the hell am I supposed to juggle a new baby (my first mind you), a household, and a client? Should I just say goodbye to sleep right now? I don't want to be a bad Mother, I don't want my baby or my husband to suffer, and ethically I don't want my client to pay the price either. I'm in a pretty lousy predicament and just pray that I figure something out ASAP.

Well, with all this stress and everything just running through my head, it's no wonder that I didn't sleep last night. I ended up doing work for 2 hours until 4:00 a.m., before I was exhausted enough to get some sleep. I was up with Pidgeon when his alarm went off at 6:45 a.m. and have been awake ever since. The HOT cable guy came at 8:45 a.m. to fix out cable, and then replaced our Magic box with a new one. We had a ton of things taped - never watched - that are now gone. I just shrugged and said Gam Zu Letovah - it's for the best - we will just make do with what we have. I then set to record as many Stargate's as possible since I know how much Pidgeon likes them. Hopefully when he gets home from work today, there will be a number of episodes he can watch. 

I tried to get back to sleep after the cable guy left but to no avail. I just have so much on my mind that, every time I close my eyes, something else crowds in. I have to figure out how the hell I'm going to get everything done before the baby and it's not looking too promising. 

Is having a new baby always this stressful? If so, then what will life be like AFTER the baby?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pidgeon and Ants

Ugh, I hate that I can no longer ignore this problem. But, we have an ant situation in our apartment and it's getting worse the colder the weather gets! At first, we found 1-2 ants in our bathroom. No biggie, right? I mean, we're not afraid of the ants. But then, this morning, Pidgeon woke up and went to wash up and found a swarm of ants all over our toothbrushes. He said he felt like he was in some terrible horror movie about hallucinating but - alas - he wasn't hallucinating. 

A few weeks back, I asked my neighbor if she had an ant problem, and she said she does and that I should avoid calling the exterminator. Now, I was all set to just give them a call and have them come in and take care of the problem. I mean, back in the States, my folks have an exterminator come to the house every month. I know because I usually had to wake up early and open the door for the guy, and then follow him around the house to tell him where to spray. 

But, she recommended that in my current "condition" I should try the more organic route. She said that tea tree oil is a natural insecticide and that I should sprinkle that around the bathroom. I was lazy and didn't do it when we hung up the phone and after this morning's situation, I really wish I had! Pidgeon was not pleased as he tossed our toothbrushes and washed out our washing cup. I directed him towards the tea tree oil I have in the apartment - a very expensive bottle I bought from my facialist in the States since I use tea tree oil after a facial - and he started swinging the bottle at the ants like it was holy water. Fortunately, it worked very well, and the ants all started dying. Unfortunately, there is tea tree oil all over the mirror in the  bathroom and the floors and the smell is not my favorite. But, if this is a natural remedy that will deal with our ant problem and not hurt both me and the baby, I'm all for it. Now all I need to do is buy us a bigger bottle!

Yesterday, I spent 5 hours working and the rest of the time basically just sitting on my big ass. I caught up on all my back episodes of Alias, which made me very happy. Then, when Pidgeon came home, I  helped him take down the Succah. In the morning, I had already removed all the decorations and put them away, so all Pidgeon had to do was -well -the rest! While we were taking the Succah down, we saw and hear a huge noise from the Matnas. Turns out, that's where the Nir Barkat rally for Jerusalem mayor was being held. Coincidentally, we both received our ballots to vote in the election on November 11th. Since the polling "booths" will be set up a few blocks away, we're planning to P"G go and vote for Mayor. It's cool that I'm voting in two different elections in two separate Countries this year. Which reminds me, I really do need to send in my overseas ballot ASAP!

We were supposed to have our final child birth education class yesterday. And, since Pidgeon and I are responsible for bringing half of the food, I put in an order at SuperSol and got a box of cookies, 2 bags of Bisli, 3 chocolate bars, 2 packages of crackers, 2 packages of cheese and 3 bottles of drinks. We split the food with another couple, who were responsible for bringing 3 bottles of drinks, hummus and salatim, cut up vegetables and also a box of cookies. I put all the food on the dining room table for Pidgeon to pack when he got back from work. Our class was called for 8:00 p.m. and I was just really excited for it all to finally be finished! I mean, some people in the class are due this week and next week already! If anyone goes into on time or early labor, they're pretty much finished with the course.

Well, sure enough, my cell phone rings and it's a woman from the class to say that class is cancelled. No date for rescheduling has been set and that we would probably hear from Joanie eventually. I was not surprised by the call - but the caller herself was due 2 days ago! Pidgeon spoke to her and we both wished her well and said that we hoped NOT to see her in the next class. She heartily agreed. 

I'm not sure what's going on with Joanie, class has been cancelled and rescheduled so many times that at this point I honestly don't think we'll have another one before the babies P"G start coming. Either way, I told Pidgeon we'll just pack the food into the hospital bag and take it with us. Although, I already started ordering and preparing food for the hospital, and Pidgeon put that away in the Mamad so I can pack my bag. 

The hospital bag is the next big item on my to do list. I have a huge SuperPharm list ready and waiting but haven't had the opportunity to go pick up what I really need. Since we have our first 9th month appointment P"G on Sunday, we're going to get a better sense of what's going to be with the baby. If the baby is still in breech, I'm going to have to be admitted into the hospital where my Dr. will attempt to turn it. I need to have everything ready in case, while the Dr. is trying to turn the baby, something happens and I go into labor or they have to deliver the baby. Which means, I could have the baby within the next 2 weeks!

So, rather than freak out and go crazy with things, I'm going to wait to see what the Dr. says on Sunday night. After that, I'll freak out and go crazy with things, and hopefully prepare as best I can for what's P"G to come!

Well, it's already 10:00 a.m. and I haven't cooked a thing for Shabbos! Fortunately, the meatloaf and chicken shouldn't take that long to prepare. I just hope Pidgeon returns soon with the new toothbrushes, it would be great if I could freshen up even a little bit!

Shabbat Shalom from Baka!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


They say that if a pregnant woman, in her 9th month, eats an etrog it's a segulah for an easy birth. So, my dining room table is now littered with etrogim from the holiday and I'm getting ready to go out and pick up a couple of bottles of vodka. With plenty of sugar and at least 6 week fermentation, I should have some good etrog liquor. Granted, I'm due well before 6 weeks time, but I can always sneak a few sips here and there in the middle of the fermentation process.

I am so happy that the Chagim are over and, as enjoyable as most of it was, I'm looking forward to moving on with the year. I should be taking down the decorations today but I'm fighting to stay awake to update the blog before I plan on trying to take a quick nap. The second part of Yom Tov was definitely not as fun as the first part.

Shabbat Chol Hamoed started out really, really great. Pidgeon and I had a lot of fun just being the two of us, and I love eating in the Succah over the Chag. It was very, very hot though on Shabbos day and I was sweating a ton in the Succah. We also didn't have the AC on so it was pretty hot in the apartment too. I managed to take a nap though and when I woke up, was feeling anything but refreshed.

The baby suddenly felt very heavy in my stomach. I tried to wake it up by jiggling but nothing. So, I got out of bed and went into the kitchen to cut up some fruit. I made a plate for Pidgeon and together we ate some fruit. I thought the sugar would wake the baby but again, I felt nothing. Concerned, I decided to dig into a huge piece of chocolate tart that I had left over from the first days of Yom Tov. At this point, normally, the baby would be going wild inside of me. And still, nothing. Not even a movement.

That's when I started really freaking out. Shabbos was over in 10 minutes so I put my feet up and waited for Pidgeon to daven before we called his Mom. She told us to go to Shaarei Zedek immediately. So, we got dressed, grabbed all my medical paperwork, and drove to Shaarei Zedek. Pidgeon's Mom met us there and we went to the 9th floor where a midwife took my vitals and told me to try to relax. I was in the middle of a panic attack so relaxing wasn't really going to happy. My blood pressure was very, very high, so she immediately put me in an area and hooked me up to the baby monitor.

I was relieved when we heard the baby heartbeat and the midwife, concerned about my blood pressure, told Pidgeon and his Mom that they had to sit outside so I could have some "Mommy and baby time". She thought that would relax me - it did the complete opposite. I still could NOT feel the baby moving, even though I could hear the heart beat, and my panic attack worsened. I started sweating through everything and I felt like I was going to throw up, but they had closed the curtain and the garbage pail was out of my reach. I started crying, I hated being alone, hated not being able to feel the baby, and all I wanted was Pidgeon to come and help me. About 30 minutes passed and the nausea was getting much worse, until finally a Dr. came in to do an ultrasound. It was amazing to see the baby moving on the ultrasound but still I couldn't feel a thing. 

The Dr. said it was a number of reasons, one being that she moved (although not, unfortunately, out of breech position) and between lack of space, all that amniotic fluid, an anterior placenta and ALL MY FAT (I swear she said that), it was no surprise that I couldn't feel the baby as strongly as I had.


This baby is super active and I have felt it moving and punching and swimming very, very clearly. But, in this new position, there wasn't as much room to manuever so I need now to learn what's normal movement for the baby.

Anyway, they wouldn't let me leave until I was confident that I felt the baby. But, I wanted out of that room, away from all the women in labor and with Pidgeon and his Mom. So, they let me sit outside with them both until I was confident that I felt the baby. We were there for over an hour before I felt 3 swift kicks. At which point, I got my discharge papers and was out the door as fast as I could! I was wiped and emotionally drained. I thought I could just come home, relax and calm down.

Unfortunately, Pidgeon had other plans for me. About an hour after we got home, Pidgeon got sick. I mean, really, really sick. It turns out, he somehow caught a stomach virus, and we were up all night together. At 6:00 a.m., he finally felt well enough to try to get some sleep, and I passed out next to him. I couldn't believe we had all this drama - back to back - in one night.

Sunday, we were supposed to go to a Pideon HaBen in the morning and a family Succah party in Beit Shemesh at night. But, we were at the Dr's office first thing and she diagnosed Pidgeon with a highly contagious stomach virus and made sure that everything was okay with me (i.e. my blood pressure had returned to normal). By the time we finished with the Dr.'s, we were both so exhausted that we just got back home and crashed. But, Pidgeon was finally really hungry and we had an errand to run in town. So, we made the HUGE mistake of going to Cafe Rimon Dairy for something to eat. We had no problem getting a seat and the service was fine, but towards the end of our meal an American family with 2 teenage sons and 3 year old twin daughters sat down at the table next to us. The father decided to park the double stroller right next to my seat, thus blocking the pathway for the waitresss and anyone else that needed to pass. We finished our meal, paid the check, and then got up to leave. I couldn't get out as the stroller was in my path. The man saw me struggling and, rather than just get up and move the stroller out of the way, he said "it's better for you to go around" and pointed around the restaurant. 

Now people, had he moved his stroller, it would have been a straight shot out of the restaurant since we were sitting on the periphery. But, he was indicating that we basically weave our way in the opposite direction until we can get out. Well, I was PISSED off. But, I have a problem with being assertive and, I tend to end up aggressive and since I didn't want to start a fight, I decided to be passive aggressive. 

I started bitching and moaning and saying to Pidgeon "Oh, it's BETTER for me that I should shove my way through these table." Whack, my stomach hits some poor lady in the head. "Oh yeah, it's BETTER for me to hit this nice lady in the head with my stomach". I continued as I tried to squeeze my way between tables. At this point, the guy decides now's a good time to stop being a lazy ass and move the stroller (granted, we're at the other side of the table now). And his WIFE, who has been pregnant at least 3 times, says to him "don't worry, sit down, she'll be fine."

The insensitivity of people! I left feeling very frustrated and pissed off that they had the nerve to be so rude. I vowed to learn the proper way of being assertive without being aggressive so that I'm never in this situation again. As you can imagine, by the time we got home on Sunday, we needed to spend the rest of the day just taking it easy.

Monday was a short whirlwind of a day. Pidgeon went to shul with his Dad for Hoshana Rabah and then we joined his family for a big breakfast in the Succah. Afterward, we ran some errands for them before Simchat Torah and Pidgeon went to Orange to deal with his cell phone problems. I spent an hour waiting for him in the car while he dealt with Orange. It wasn't fun. We got home with barely enough time for me to do some work, shower, pack and get dressed before we moved in with his folks for the Chag.

The second day of Yom Tov was a lot of fun and FULL of family and friends. I made it to shul Simchat Torah night and watched as Pidgeon got his Hakafah. We were in the downstairs Minyan at Chovevei and my Father-in-law brought my nieces and nephews some candy bags. My nephew ripped into his and ate all the stuff he liked right away, and then left us holding the bag so he could run around and dance with the men. There were a lot of Americans at the minyan and pretty soon, some women came into the women's section and moved chairs around so they could dance. I'm not one for dancing on Simchat Torah - and especially not 9 months pregnant - so I stayed in my seat and kept watching. Suddenly, an older Anglo gentleman approached the Mechizah and said "I can't take this anymore" and took my nephew's candy bag. I was pretty shocked and didn't know what to say, until I saw him trying to divy out the candy amongst his grandchildren. This was where my new assertiveness comes in, but I was at a loss for words! 

Fortunately, his daughter/daughter-in-law saw my face (she was in the woman's section) and told him that it wasn't his to take and he had to give it back. He threw is back at me and I told him that I didn't think my nephew would appreciate him stealing his candy. He made a face and then walked away.


I couldn't wait for the Chag to be over, so I could just get back to some sort of routine. We spent the day with family and friends and then, once it was all over, Pidgeon and I decided not to go home. They have Hakafot Shniyot with LOUD music by our apartment, so we decided to stay at his folks another night. We did go to Aldo on Emek Refaim and picked up 2 movies from Videon. We were planning a quiet night watching movies and relaxing at home.

Well, I have NO idea what was in that ice cream, but by the second movie I wasn't feeling so great. Pidgeon was also feeling nasty and we couldn't believe we were sick again. At Midnight, I started throwing up again and it wouldn't stop. Fortunately, Pidgeon's Mom knew what to do and sent him back to our apartment to pick up my Pramin. I was a dishrag by the time he got back with the medication but at least it stopped my throwing up. Then, Pidgeon felt terrible that he ended up in another toilet in the house. We both dragged ourselves to bed at 2:30 a.m. and I said I was done with food.

We spent the day yesterday trying to figure out what the heck happened the night before. Because we were both so weak and exhausted, we left the Succah up and went about our day. We both had appointments out of the area and I practically fell asleep waiting for my hematologist to show up. Fortunately, the meeting was quick, and we were back home and relaxing in no time. I have a ton of backlogged work to catch up on and managed to do some of it while Pidgeon was out. I made us a quick salmon and salad dinner and we were asleep 2 hours earlier than normal.

Today, I'm hoping to still take it a bit easy but don't know how that will pan out. I have a SuperSol delivery coming in the afternoon and the Kablan coming to look at the leak in our bathtub. We also have our last childbirth education class tonight and supposedly it's some birth video. Just what Pidgeon is looking forward to doing tonight!

Well, I'm off to try to take a quick nap before I really have to get my day going. Hope everyone had a wonderful Chag!

Yom Tov from Baka!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sound the Alarm

Good Moed! I'm exhausted but elated with how Yom Tov is going so far. Here's a picture of the new Succah decoration from our Succah this year. (It's hard to see because of the stuff on the Succah walls, but it's really pretty and has pink and lilac doves with little bells hanging from the top). 

It's a Jtownunderground family tradition to purchase a new decoration each year for the Succah. I don't really know when that tradition began, but after 30+ years of building the same Succah back home in Queens, my Mom realized that the decorations weren't as durable as the metal frame. So, a few years back, she decided to start the tradition of buying a new decoration each year. Granted, some of the same decorations will always be put up in their Succah. Namely, the glittered egg carton my brother made when he was in Nursery, the apple windchime and the Ushpezin charts we pin to the Succah walls.  

I'm a bit of a minimalist when it comes to decorations, so we have only about a handful hanging up. I think it's nicer to start small and to build up your decoration arsenal, and since these things tend to break in bad weather or if I pack them incorrectly, it's better to see what wehave each year and then go out and buy new ones if needed. We went to the Mall on Erev Chag to see Pidgeon's exhibition and we passed the table with Succah decoration lights. I ALWAYS wanted to hang Christmas lights in the Succah and so it made me want to buy a whole bunch of lights for our Succah. But, I decided to hold off since we are running low on electrical outlets and they have been predicting a rainy Succot season. 

Erev Yom Tov was very busy in the house, I still can't believe I managed to accomplish all that I did from Sunday - Monday. I decided to designate Sunday as my cooking day, and I made lemon garlic chicken (fantastic new recipe that came out really well!), brown rice, string beans and onion stir fry, cauliflower kugel, a brownie tart and carrot kugel muffins. Monday, I had an early morning Dr.'s appointment and then Pidgeon picked me up and we ran all our errands. We went to Pe'er to pick up Challot for our meal, then we went to Malha mall to check out his exhibit and get breakfast to go from Aroma, we stopped off at Falcon so I could get the ingredients for the sweet and sour meatballs, and finally we headed home so I could finish cooking, do some work and clean a bit. I made the sweet and sour meatballs, grilled the steaks for the steak salad and made the topping for the brownie tart. I spent a lot of time on my feet and was wiped out and afraid I wouldn't make the walk back to our apartment after dinner by Pidgeon's Aunt. We decided to drive them before Yom Tov so that I could rest up before dinner.

Succot night was really nice, and their Succah was bursting with capacity! There were 26 people in all, and with 10+ kids running around all night, I could barely concentrate. I'm also experiencing the inability to eat as much as I'm used to. My mother-in-law the Doula said that it's because I'm towards the end of the pregnancy and my uterus is so big that it's not allowing my stomach to expand as it used to. That sounds good, I just hope it will be accompanied by some weight loss before the birth. I was feeling pretty lousy during dinner and I started getting some braxton hicks contractions, so I had Pidgeon pour me a glass of white wine and started to count the minutes. The wine, combine with my exhaustion, really did a number on me so I ended up on the couch just trying to relax. Pidgeon's nieces and nephews were whirling all around me, his cousins stopping by to chat and keep me company while Pidgeon's oldest niece decided to have a heart-to-heart with me about her little brothers. I managed to gather my strength for the walk home and we headed out by 10:00 p.m. Since my friends Jen and Zvi are in town for the Chag, and staying only 2 blocks away from his Aunt's house, we stopped by to say hello. We ended up standing outside, chatting and catching up for almost an hour, when I realized that I had 15 minutes until my shot and a 45 minute walk home. We said our goodbyes and headed home.

At this point, my feet look like loafs of bread baking out of my Rockport sandals and it's painful to take a step. Since most of the walk was downhill though, I was able to get into Baka without much of an incident. But, at the bottom of Reuven street, I was really starting to feel tired. It was a tremendous effort to just put one foot in front of the other, and I had to hold onto Pidgeon for support. Fortunately, I made it inside the house and literally stripped, had Pidgeon take off my sandals, and began icing in no time. I wasn't too late with the shot, which was good, and as soon as it was over we went to bed.

Pidgeon's alarm went off at 8:00 a.m. yesterday morning and I decided to be a good wife and made sure he was awake so he could go to shul. I didn't join him and instead, spent the morning getting ready for our guests. I put everything for the Succah on the dining room table, made the salad, washed the fruit and cut everything up for dessert, and just generally swept and tidied up for our guests. Pidgeon got home from shul about two hours before lunch and helped me set everything else up. By the time Mandy and Ivan got here, Pidgeon was sacked out on the couch and I was reading the September issue of O magazine with my feet up on the coffee table.

Lunch was really, really nice and a lot of fun. Mandy is due in 2 weeks and we had a great time comparing bellies! She has the cutest little outies and my belly button is still ambivalent, with a piece of the bottom trying hard to jut out while the top just remains inside. Pidgeon thinks I'm gonna pop up like a turkey timer but I think this is going to be the extent of my belly button changing. I'm no longer surprised by what's going on with my body, although my former generous love handles are disappearing rather quickly and that's not good for me. If they recede any further, I'm going to have to find another place to do my shot. And, to be honest, injecting myself in my thigh just isn't something I want to do. I'm going to try my best to work with whatever stomach fat I can still find and, hopefully, that will be okay for the next six weeks!

I never thought I would wish for stomach fat in my entire life, my how things change!

Last night, Pidgeon and I spent the evening cleaning up after our meal. I had a ton of washing to do as I used a lot of serving pieces and, since I was so tired from the past two days, we decided to stay in and just watch TV. Pidgeon had to be up early today for work, so we went to bed fairly early.

At 3:00 a.m., I was awoken by a house alarm blaring nearby. I counted the minutes, waiting for someone to close it off, but nothing happened. I made a quick trip to the bathroom and tried to sleep through the noise. I was able to do that until 5:30 a.m., when the alarm woke me one more time. I couldn't figure out if the house alarm was coming from closer to Emek Refaim or behind us closer to Derech Beit Lechem. Either way, it was very disruptive and extremely annoying. I couldn't believe the alarm had been ringing for at least 2 1/2 hours! Well, was I in for a rude awakening! Would you believe that the alarm rang and rang until 10:00 a.m. this morning! I was so pissed since it kept me up for most of the night, and can't even express how thankful I was when silence finally fell onto this stretch of Baka. Now, you'd think I would have just gone back to sleep at that point, but I was so up and agitated that rest was far from the plan.

I got up with Pidgeon, finished washing any leftover dishes in the sink, put away all the dry dishes and serving pieces and then packed his lunch. Since he works only half days during Chol Hamoed, I didn't pack him a big lunch. Especially since there is no Succah at work, I had to make sure that I didn't send him with anything that was a Mezonot. So, he got a quarter of leftover garlic lemon chicken and a big bottle of lemonade crystal light. 

It was pitch black outside when Pidgeon left and the rain was starting to come down in little drops. The sky was super threatening and I was expecting the heavens to open up and really give us a good dousing. Well, the drenching rain held back and we only got a few drops. Fortunately, Pidgeon brought in our Succah table and chairs last night so that it wouldn't get ruined. And, I'm thrilled that the rain swept in because it brought much cooler temperature. When I finally get up and dressed today, I'm looking forward to putting on a long-sleeve t-shirt and maybe a pair of maternity jeans.

Well, Pidgeon should be home soon and I could use a shower. Wishing everyone who is keeping second day of Yom Tov (and therefore, NOT reading this right now) a Chag Sameach and everyone else a Moed Tov from Baka!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Attention Online Shoppers

I am feeling pretty accomplished right now, and it's only 8:45 a.m.! Believe me, it's a much better feeling than I had late last night, when I was overwhelmed and had no idea how I was going to get everything done in such a short time frame. 

Since we woke up at 6:45 a.m. this morning, I've helped get Pidgeon out the door to work, put in my fruit and vegetable order for Yom Tov at Gil's on Derech Beit Lechem, confirmed my online Supermarket order and paid, put in a call to my Dr. at the Medical Center, ordered Pidgeon some stuff off of Amazon and shipped it to my Grandmother in the States, responded to a work e-mail that required a lot of detail and responded to some personal e-mails that were just languishing in my inbox. 

Now I'm ready for my nap :)

Pidgeon spent the better part of last night working on his final project, which will also be on display at the Malha Mall in Jerusalem throughout Succot. I'm very excited about that, the project is extremely impressive and Pidgeon is very talented (I am NOT biased!) We were hoping to go tonight for the opening of the project, but with company coming to us for Yom Tov lunch, a Succah I still need to decorate, a TON of cooking to do, cleaning the apartment, and another load of laundry that needs to get done on top of Dr. appointments Pidgeon and I both have today and tomorrow, it just didn't seem possible. Initially, I needed tonight to go to the Supermarket to buy all the ingredients I need to cook for Chag. We're only two couples, but since it's Yom Tov, I want to do something special.

On the menu for Tuesday lunch is as follows:

First Course
Grilled steak salad with warm shallot dressing

Main Course
Lemon and Garlic chicken (not sure how I'm making this yet but will find a recipe somewhere)
cauliflower kugel
carrot kugel muffins
sweet and sour meatballs with brown rice
sauteed string beans and onions

Brownie tart
kiwi and grapes

Pidgeon thinks I'm going overboard, but my philosophy is that if I'm going to cook I'd like to do it once. Make plenty. Have enough leftovers to eat during the week. With the way the holiday falls this year, I feel like I'm constantly in the kitchen cooking! It's getting to be a bit much for me, so I'd rather go overboard now and have plenty to eat during Chol Hamoed.

So, Pidgeon suggested I do online shopping, but I had a very bad experience with the City Direct folks and decided not to use them anymore. I think they need some more experience - and to grow more -before I'm ready to try them again. Last time we ordered, they sent us the wrong things, forgot to send us other things, and then never returned our calls when we tried to touch base about the mix ups. At the end of the month, though, they had no problem charging my credit card for the full amount. I ended up eating the cost and paying the bill - eventhough I still have a huge bottle of Sucrazit I'll never use sitting in my cabinet - and just decided to move on.

Someone on Janglo sent me the online site for SuperSol in Jerusalem, and since I am so pressed for time during the next two days, we decided to try it. Unfortunately, the site is 100% in Hebrew and can only be viewed with Internet Explorer. My Hebrew is not so great and my Mac doesn't have Internet Explorer, so I had to wait for Pidgeon to come home. Fortunately, I was all prepared with my list so it didn't take that long to pull together. Unfortunately, the prices were pretty steep and my chicken and meat order was about 1/3 of the entire bill. And, I didn't even order that much of each! But, since I can't easily walk to the Supermarket and card home all my shopping, and Pidgeon is working a 9 hour day today, this was a good option. They have already called twice to confirm delivery time, so I'm hoping there will be no snafus and everything will work out great.

Weekend Update
We had a very enjoyable Shabbos. We went to Pidgeon's parents for dinner Friday night since his brother and family is in for the Chag from London. We were 14 adults and 7 children. It was a madhouse, but it was really a lot of fun. Now, Pidgeon's sister-in-law's parents and brother, sister-in-law and niece were also at the meal. They are really nice people but speak only Hebrew or French, so my conversations with them are very limited. The niece is about 1 1/2 old and she's already walking around, crawling and speaking halting words here and there. Pidgeon's nephew is about the same age and doing the same thing, although he's not walking as well as his cousin.

My mother-in-law's apartment has 2 sets of stone steps. 6 steps upstairs, 7 stairs downstairs.

Stone. Steps.

And, with all the adults eating at the table, and all the children running around and playing, the two children under the age of 2 were unsupervised on the steps. And, would you believe that I was lucky enough to get seated in the chair that has direct line of sight to the steps? 

Well, I watched as the niece walked up the steps and, as she's really unsteady on her feet, teeter precariously numerous times. Now, I am a VERY nervous person to begin with. I know, recipe for disaster for my own child who will have to learn that getting hurt is part of life, blah, blah, blah.

However, I am a BIG fan of putting a gate in front of steps until I know my child is steady enough on their feet to be able to walk up and down without taking a dangerous tumble.

Did I mention that these are STONE STEPS????!!

Well, I gasped a few times as I watch her almost fall, and Pidgeon's sister and brother looked at me like I was crazy. Pidgeon's brother, who is Dad to 4 + 1 on the way, told me that I need to relax. That it's not healthy for me to be so jumpy. Pidgeon's sister, whose heart was racing with my gasping, glared at me like I was some lunatic who was overreacting. 

And, the parents of this little girl, just continued to sip their wine and enjoy their meal.

So, I turned to Pidgeon and said, I'm just not going to look anymore. Because, if the parents don't care, then why should I?

I went back to my meal, went back to my conversations, but couldn't pull my eyes away from the scene.

Five minutes later, the little girl tumbled down the entire flight of stone steps. Of course, I gasped and screamed that she was falling, and this time her Mother got up off her chair and ran to help her. At that point, she was already on the floor, screaming and crying her head off, a red, nasty bump starting to form over her eye.

Her Father, however, kept saying over and over in Hebrew: Zeh Klum. Lo Karah Klum (translation - it's nothing, nothing happened). 

The kid was hysterical for a bit and the bump over her eye will definitely be there for a few days,  but she avoided the steps for the rest of the evening. 

I felt terrible for this kid, and for her parents for being so lax about her safety. I understand teaching children the right way to navigate steps, but don't we have a responsibility to do it in the right manner? Someone should have been at the bottom of the steps to make sure, if she fell, that she would be caught. 

Am I just being over cautious? Will I mess up our kids because I don't want them tumble down stone steps? I mean, she is LUCKY she didn't crack her head open on my mother-in-law's stone floor.

Well, at least my mother-in-law agreed with me at the end of the evening. So did Pidgeon. I'm just going to have to figure out that middle ground where I allow my children to discover life on their own without doing anything too dangerous.

Anyway, I'm off to get something to eat. My body is still trying to regulate after Yom Kippur and I get starving at random hours of the day and I also experience lack of appetite during other times. Weird.

Yom Tov from Baka!