Monday, April 30, 2007

Pseudocyesis - Wikipedia

Pseudocyesis also known as false pregnancy, can cause many of the signs and symptoms associated with pregnancy, and can resemble the condition in every way except for fetal presence.
Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of pseudocyesis are similar to the symptoms of true pregnancy and are often hard to distinguish from such natural signs as amenorrhoea, morning sickness, tender breasts, and weight gain may all be present. Many health care professionals can be deceived by the symptoms associated with pseudocyesis. Research shows that 18% of women with pseudocyesis were at one time diagnosed as pregnant by medical professionals.

The hallmark sign of pseudocyesis that is common to all cases is that the affected patient is convinced that she is pregnant. Abdominal distension is the most common physical symptom of pseudocyesis (60– 90%). The abdomen expands in the same manner as it does during pregnancy, so that the affected woman looks pregnant. This phenomenon is thought to be caused by buildup of gas, fat, feces, or urine. These symptoms often resolve under general anesthesia and the woman's abdomen returns to its normal size.

The second most common physical sign of pseudocyesis is menstrual irregularity (50–90%). Women are also reported to experience the sensation of fetal movements known as quickening (medical), even though there is no fetus present (50%-75%).Other common signs and symptoms include: gastrointestinal symptoms, breast changes or secretions, labor pains, uterine enlargement, and softening of the cervix. One percent of women eventually experience false labor.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

overdue, more cleaning, and baby birds in a real nest

I never thought I would still be pregnant by now. I feel like I have been pregnant forEVER. Actually I'm feeling better than I was the last few weeks. The minor but annoying cold that I've had for almost 3 months is mostly gone (but may be returning) and I guess the heat from last week was what was making me so swollen and cranky.

Of course, my toddler, who normally sleeps until 8ish is now getting up at 6:30am. Coffee is my friend.

I've been decluttering like a madwoman. Yesterday I did most of the office. I had already done quite a bit but came out with 2 huge trash bags and a huge box of paper for recycling. There are still 2 bookcases but that stuff is mostly Ron's. He can't seem to part with paper or file it either so it just stands in huge piles everywhere, all over the house. I would LOVE to get rid of his magazines. If he won't go through them-- I WILL! Who needs New Yorkers from 5 years ago? Who needs free radiology journals that he never even took out of the plastic (and why do they come in plastic to begin with?)

There is only one more major room to be tackled-- our "junk room" that is filled with toys mostly, but also other things. I've already done a lot of work on it but that means that the stuff that remains is all the stuff that I don't know what to do with. It's a big job but Talia helps me by finding lots of things to play with in there. Now we have a robin's nest in the window with two beautiful eggs but the mama freaks out every time I go in the room. Last year either the eggs didn't make it or she killed them herself because she was so afraid of me. This year I taped a big cardboard in the window so she doesn't see me ALL THE TIME. Hopefully this will help- although I find it so exciting to see when the eggs will hatch. Two years ago I took a video of the new baby birds and they were so alien looking and freaky. Then again, if the mama is so annoyed by me, why build her nest in the same window?

Is it weird that as I'm nesting there is a real bird in a real nest in my window? Symbolism, anyone?

Well, I hope I have this baby soon. Yesterday was my due date, according to my personal calculations. Today is the day according to the midwife. I don't feel like anything is happening (I actually feel like LESS is happening than before). Could I really be pregnant for TWO MORE WEEKS? I remember with T telling my sister that I wasn't feeling ANYTHING and then two hours later starting labor so... keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Impromptu Spring Picnic

It was so nice out yesterday that we had a picnic dinner on the front porch. My goal was to NOT have to clean the kitchen and pick up rice and beans (Talia's favorite) off the floor. That worked-- I just shook out the picnic blanket and swept the rest onto the grass. There still ended up being a lot of dishes though. Oh well. We all had fun and it was a real change of scenery to sit outside with some good friends!

In other news, my new house cleaning plan seems to be working. The house has been picked up and basically clean (the best I've ever managed anyway) for a week so far,with beds made and shades opened each day. My cleaning people are coming today and all I have to do is wash the bath mats and put out new sheets. Most of the surfaces are cleared off already and the 5 hours of picking up is essentially unnecessary at this point. Even my car is clean! Note to all who know me: clean is a relative term. I really only have two (big, cluttered, overwhelming) rooms to clear out for moving plus the basement, which I tackled in January but definitely have to do again with a clearer focus-- do we REALLY need those items? NO! GET RID OF IT is my new theory.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Still no baby

Despite having contractions almost every day, there is still no baby. I'm due Friday and T was born one day early so that still gives me a few days. Each small task I perform is filled with symbolism and hope-- if I finish the quilt he will come. If I finally buy a box of diapers he will come. If I pack a bag for the birth center he will come. When Talia was born we went out for sushi the night before so on Sunday we all went back to our favorite place, Sagami in NJ. Talia LOVES sushi and a nice dinner was had by all but... no baby. The last thing I can think of is to pick out a middle name. The baby naming book fell behind the radiator some time ago. I asked Ron to get it tonight but... he forgot. So it's his fault, I guess.

Friday, April 20, 2007

a special mommy day

In my post this morning I decided to keep T home from school so we could spend a day alone together. We walked all the way to the parking authority (basically to 30th street station, I thought I might die) to get a new parking permit and got ice cream on the way back. I didn't realize that T's was "king sized" and she really ate a LOT of it! Then we played on the playground near our house and now we're going to take a nap. Unless the ice cream high prevents that in some way. Wow am I tired.

End of an era

I dismantled my quilting area. I took down the design wall and put away all the quilting supplies. There's no way I'm making another quilt before we move. I am leaving the sewing machine in the living room hoping that maybe I will be able to do SOMETHING, like make a skirt for T or fix her twirly dress that already has a rip in it from two wearings (thank you Target). I've made a ton of burp cloths for the baby so I'm probably done with that too.

The only quilting I might do is the grandmother's flower garden quilt which is all done by hand and basically fits in a ziplock bag. I definitely enjoy working on it and love that it is so low tech. It should take me years to finish it.

Lastly, a word about my crafting habits. I have a pretty short attention span. I have gone through many crafts-- from mosaics to scrapbooking to knitting to sewing to many other things. I used to have such a passion for mosaics and still have all my tools but can't seem to get excited about it at all now (although if you think about it, it *is* kind of like quilting in some ways). Quilting is very fulfilling and interesting to me for so many reasons so I hope this isn't the end. If it is I'm going to have to explain away a LOT of fabric to my husband who has NO IDEA how much I really have. Hopefully once I get settled in Madison and become comfortable with being a "mother-of-two" and find some time to carve out for myself (when, by fall? by winter? by spring?) I will pick it up again. If not, well, it's been fun.

Newsflash: Second kid gets the shaft!

I finished the quilt my upcoming baby (due a week from today... or tomorrow, depending on who is doing the calculating). I wanted to do a good job. Really. From far away, of course, it looks fine. I did not, however, do my most professional job on this quilt. First of all, if I had really though about it I would've placed the squares a little differently. I mean, there are two yellows (the ONLY two yellows) right next to each other! Plus this quilt was screaming at me for another column-- but that would've meant that it would have been bigger than 45 inches across, meaning I would've had to piece together the backing instead of just using the fabric that I bought. I didn't want to line it/ use batting or anything because I like the weight and flexibility of simple double- sided flannel quilts *but* in this case the design from the backing fabric would have shown through the off-white on the front (who makes an off-white quilt for a BABY anyway?) so I lined it with an extra piece of off0white flannel. This makes the quilt three layers of flannel. And that's fine. One of the great things about flannel quilts is that you basically don't have to baste them. The flannel acts like a kind of velcro and if you're not a perfectionist it all works out ok. Unless you are using three pieces instead of two. So I didn't baste it and it's not as flat/ well put together as it should be. Lastly and this might be most important, the binding. I made binding, but not bias binding-- fine that's not so bad. But I machine sewed it on. Both sides. And I did it before I quilted it, which I just did in the seams of the columns only. It doesn't look great but it's finished, which is good because it means this baby can come any time now.

When Talia was born I had a huge list of things I wanted to accomplish, like move some rooms around, stain the wood for our new railings on that stairs, and fix a mosaic table that had been damaged. The table was the last thing on my list. I remember talking to Ron on the phone saying, "Well, I just finished the table so I guess she can come now" and then going upstairs to relax and having my first contraction within an hour. In some ways I was stalling on the quilt for this reason and in some ways I was stalling because I wanted to do a better job on it, fix some of the problems, add that extra column. But of course now I'm in the middle of clutter clearing for the upcoming move (basically 8 weeks away) and also wanting to spend some more QT with Talia. I knew if I didn't finish it yesterday it wouldn't get done.

So this is my first apology to my new kid. I do promise to make you many quilts in the future. If you look at Talia's first quilt, you will see that I did a pretty shitty job on that too, but only for lack of experience. And I never even finished her second quilt, although I plan to do so someday, probably by the time she has a kid in 20-30 years since the fabric is very baby centered. I also apologize for some of the things I haven't done during this pregnancy, like: have a lot of conversations with you, read any of the pregnancy books to find out what new tricks you can do inside of me, eat well, exercise (not that I did that for your sister either), play you music or read you stories. I do promise to do all of those things after you are born (except exercise-- hopefully but no promises!)

Being the second child myself I am a little worried to find out exactly how much the second kid does get the shaft. Fewer presents, fewer pictures, less excitement in general, no QT, etc. I am pretty happy being a middle child and think I have (the positive aspects of a) middle child personality even though it was almost 8 years before my little brother was born. I don't really remember what life was like as the baby of the family. I have been told that my sister really liked me at first but I think this might be a ruse.

I go back and forth feeling sorry for Talia, whose life is going to be rocked in so many ways (the baby and the move being the major changes), and thinking this is a fantastic gift I get to give her. Up until a few days ago I was on the "fantastic gift" part but right now I'm in the "mourning phase" again. I am mourning the special time that we have always spent together, knowing that from now on it will be much less frequent, more distracted, probably have to be scheduled. I'm thinking of keeping her home from school today. She doesn't want to go anyway, has been really helpful as I clean (ok, not HELPFUL exactly but happy to find new toys and easily entertained while I clean), and I feel like taking an afternoon nap anyway. I don't have too many errands to run-- BJ's for newborn diapers if I make it and a trip to the Parking Authority which would be a nice walk on a day like today if I could walk more than a block without having to take a nap. So resolved-- I will keep her home from school today-- how many more days will we have together? Of course, that means that she will be home for 4 days in a row now but Ron has the weekend off and our plan is to spend some family QT together if possible. Everything I think of doing (Longwood Gardens, the zoo, whatever) involves a lot of walking so I'm not sure what we will end up doing.

Anyway, I guess I should start my day. The coffee is kicking in. Talia wants to take a shower together and the prospect of getting her dressed without tights or leggings (70 degrees today!) is kind of exciting.

Hope you all have a nice day too.

Monday, April 16, 2007


I've been cleaning out the house this past week. I'm really trying to get rid of as much stuff as possible to prepare for the move. Today is garbage day and we put a lot out. I also have about 5 big bags of stuff to go to the Second Mile, our local Goodwill type place. And there is hardly a dent made, of course. I bought an organization magazine last week and it helps to look at it. My sister has been sending me articles from Real Simple etc. about getting rid of clutter too and that is also motivating. It's hard to let go of stuff but feels good and right. Even looking at pictures of my new house is helpful. I'm finally looking at the pictures for more detail-- like, are there light fixtures in the ceiling? If not we should bring all our lame standing lamps but if the rooms have lights then I'd rather leave them here. Of course my pictures don't tell me. There are lots of places in the new house that have display type cabinets. I've never really displayed anything- I'm not sure what to put in them. All my life I've needed every inch of everything for storage only (ok, I may have had one or two small display areas in my last house- before I had kids) and it's not like I have so much nice stuff. I am really impressed by other people's displays, especially some I've seen online recently.

Anyway, it's actually snowing today (April 16th in Philadelphia!) and when it's not snowing there is this nasty rain. T and I didn't leave the house all weekend and I don't think we will today either. She's been really good during all this cleaning. Although she told me she was "sad" when she was playing with a certain toy (Incidentally, it was an empty container for birth control that she thought was a clam. She enjoyed spinning the center part that helps you set the date. Obviously I was cleaning out the bathroom cabinet at the time). She said she was sad because she wanted me to play with her. Generally I can set her up with an activity near me and try to interact while she's playing but it can take me hours to go through stuff and I can get really into it. Plus the mess of whatever activity I set her up with is another thing I have to deal with after. Yesterday she played with her tea set for a while (there are a lot of pieces) and at another time her dollhouse with all the old school Fisher Price people and furniture- there are a TON of pieces for that. I really need to teach her how to clean up after herself. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't so hard for me to bend down, but at 38 weeks pregnant it's quite a chore. And she does clean up after herself really well sometimes but during this cleaning stint I've been pushing her to her limit of self-entertainment and when she's done she's really done. Not that that's an excuse.

Well I guess I better make some coffee if I plan on getting any cleaning done today.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Twirly Dress

The other day I was trying to get Talia dressed and out of the house and we had to go through EVERY SINGLE dress and we simply could not find one "twirly enough" to satisfy her. I decided to try to find some cheap "post-Easter" dresses that would fit the bill. Sadly, there was not a great selection at Target AND they were not on sale but T really liked this one and was very excited to wear it today. Luckily I tried The Children's Place today and everything was on sale for $3.99-- even the Easter dresses that were originally $30. I bought a few. They're not fantastically beautiful and BELIEVE ME I never thought I would be buying this kind of clothing for my kid but I'm DONE fighting with her over what dress she wants to wear. I need my life to be MORE simple these days. The new dresses are twirly and they were certainly cheap enough. Here's something strange though-- she completely SKIPPED size 3T and went to 4 (in dresses and skirts anyway). I don't know if it's just that I don't want her girl stuff hanging out or what but I can't handle how short everything seems. Everything in her drawers is too small these days.


T is really int0 lining up her princess dolls. She has a specific order in her head and seriously-- DO NOT mess with it. Lately when she's been coloring I'll tell her the picture is beautiful and she will say "NOT YET!" because she hasn't finished it. I'm trying to help her understand that something can still be beautiful even if it's not finished yet. There are definite OCD tendencies in my family (Jo, I'm talking about you!). I can get obsessive about stuff too-- (quilting, anyone?) but I don't want Talia to become a perfectionist/ OCD type person.

Monday, April 09, 2007

labor pains, false alarm

Really thought I could be in labor last night. With T, I never thought I was in labor until I actually was and there was no mistaking that feeling. So why do I think every pang in my belly could be it this time? I was actually a little pissed to think I might be in labor-- I didn't have a bag packed, didn't know who would take care of T, Ron is working a lot this week and weekend, my brother is coming for a visit, the house is a wreck, etc. Plus I don't want my son to have the same birthday as me (tomorrow in case anyone is interested). The thing that pissed me off the most was that I started feeling pains at about 10:30 pm and I was REALLY tired. As I lay in bed and pondered whether or not I was really in labor and what I should do next, I tried to fall asleep figuring I would need all the sleep I could get. Finally I woke up in the morning and all was fine. So... false alarm I guess BUT... what the hell WAS that?

The interesting thing is that I seemed to have learned NO LESSONS from this little false alarm. I STILL haven't packed a bag or made any plans for T. Maybe tomorrow. I mean, the baby isn't due for almost 3 weeks, right?

done and done

I finally gave my niece her baby quilt. My sis hung it on the wall near her crib. Very satisfying!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Sweet Pesach

We had two very nice seders-- one with friends and one with family. Here are some of the pictures. Of course, it's the third day of Passover right now and I still haven't cleaned out my kitchen or bought any Pesach food.

Some cute burp cloths

I made a bunch of burp cloths, mostly for my niece Marley

but some for our new baby too. Some have a terry cloth backing, some are just double sided with flannel and some have two different fabrics for front and back. Lots of fun to make and a great procrastination tool.

Too bad for you

I made a quilt for a friend who is pregnant but I like it so much that I'm going to have to keep it. I doubt I'll have time to make another before my own baby comes so if you are reading this blog and are pregnant and think I might be talking about you-- too bad! I'm VERY SORRY but you're getting a store-bought present. And that SUCKS because this quilt is really cute and I made it with you in mind. (Note that in this picture the binding has been sewn on but not turned yet, so it's almost finished!)

What about me?

After cutting out the pieces for the baby quilt, Talia wanted to know when I was going to make another quilt for her. Of course, in going through the fabric she found all the fairy/ ballerina fabric I bought for her last week. I told her I would make her another quilt after I finished the one for the baby. Since we had finished cutting out the pieces she thought we were done. So I quickly put this new quilt together for her. It only took about an hour. I had purchased 1/3 yard of each fabric and coincidentally bought ten pieces so I sewed 5 together in strips for each side and it ended up being 45 X 60 inches. It's heavy flannel so I just sewed it wrong sides together, turned it inside out, topstitched it and followed the seams to finish it off. Easy. Done. We're keeping it downstairs for a couch quilt.

Of course, Talia has picked out about 10 more quilts she wants.

A quiet Saturday spent with fabric

I've been procrastinating. I really want to make a quilt for my upcoming baby (due in 3 1/2 weeks!) but for some reason I haven't been. I've had the pattern picked out for months and I've had the fabric at home for weeks. And yet... I guess I feel like it's the last thing I really have to do before he comes. And if I start it, it WILL be the last thing I do and I won't ever get to quilt again because I'll have to be either taking care of my newborn, my toddler, or getting ready for our move. I'm trying to tell myself that once we get settled in Madison I will be able to quilt again-- maybe even as early as the fall!

On Saturday Ron worked all day and he needed the car so... even though it wasn't particularly cold, T and I stayed in all day. We spent the morning cutting out the fabric for the baby quilt. Talia helped me by taking the "strings" away after I rotary cut the blocks. Then she was really interested in making a tower of the fabric on the floor and then stacking them (perfectly, I might add, which scares me since some people in my family have OCD tendencies) neatly in a pile. I cut out all the patterned squares, which took all morning and isn't even really half of the fabric for the quilt but the rest should go more quickly. The sewing should be rather quick as well. I'm not planning on using batting (the whole thing is a thick flannel which is definitely heavy enough) but may have to put an extra later of flannel inside because a lot of the quilt will be off-white and the backing fabric will likely show through. If I didn't have anything else in my life to do, I would say this quilt would take about 4 days. Of course, I have LOTS of other things in my life to do and may not be able to find 4 days before the baby comes.

Successes and Failures of the Princess Quilt

I finally gave T use of her princess quilt.


I was hand quilting it-- following the hearts from the back of the fabric in a variegated pink thread but... it really wasn't adding to the quilt and taking quite a long time. I decided to just bind it and give it to her. It was already "quilted" by machine with clear monofilament thread in all the seams so it didn't *need* anything else to be functional. I ended up folding the backing fabric over the front to bind it (something I've never done before) and just used a zigzag stich to secure it. It probably was a little hastily done and could have been neater but... done is good.


T and I both love that the backing is flannel and very soft. She sleeps with it every night and usually for naptime at home too.

The thing about this quilt that most frustrated me was that everytime I looked at it I saw such a studied, planned out randomness of the squares that it looked rigid to me instead of the freeform look I was going for. Turns out that was only the way it looked on the wall. On the bed, or rather, on my daughter with all the lumps and bumps of a sleeping child underneathe it *does* look random! See for yourself in the picture!

All in all, a success. I like it more and more each day.