Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pregnancy: Week 22

I met with my new OB today and everything about the experience - EVERYTHING - was totally different from my experiences with my former doctor.  I left this doctor's office feeling relaxed, informed, happy, and like this is a person I can trust with my body, my baby, and with the experiences of pregnancy and childbirth.  The new doctor is wonderful!

This week I suddenly feel big - not that I feel fat or that I'm self-conscious - more that my belly just grew big this week.  It's more noticeably out there, more in the way of everyday functions like bending at the waist (you should see me at yoga) or sleeping.  I'm also feeling the baby kick, swish, flutter, and swim all the time these days.  Aaron was able to feel the baby last week and it's now a morning ritual for him to lay with his hand on my belly while we are all three waking up.  The movements are bigger and more definite (and not yet uncomfortable).

And, from the ultrasound this morning, it looks like we are having a GIRL!  (Well, most likely a girl - it could also be a boy whose hiding or whose parts have not yet descended to where they are supposed to be.)

What a day!  How fun to finally feel like I'm enjoying my pregnancy!

Friday, May 23, 2008

That's a Wrap!

Movie-star sightings are a part of living in Los Angeles.  I've seen Eric Estrada at our local grocery store from time to time.  John C. Riley once shopped at the retails store where I used to work.  And, thinking she was reintroducing herself to a former work colleague of her husband's, a friend of mine very warmly exchanged hello's with Minnie Driver at the local coffee shop that we frequent.  Oh, and the El Pollo Loco commercial guy visits our dog park.

They are around, here and there, and pretty much they are normal people.  Grocery shopping, out with the dog or kids, grabbing a cup of coffee.  And generally, they are nice - they'll acknowledge a smile or say hello.

My husband works in the film industry and, because of that, he sees stars much more regularly than I do.  And because he sees them regularly, works with them day in and day out (and when I say work with, I mean they are on the same set), he tends to see them as fairly normal - they are just people.  He also gets to see the range of human behavior and the range of star-behavior, some succumbing to the lure of stardom more than others.  He's met some people that have been really cool, really nice to the crew, and he's met some people that spend 20 minutes trying to decide, with their personal assistant, if they want their milkshake NOW or if they want it later, or if maybe they should get the milkshake now and put it in a cooler so they can have it later, unless of course later it is too melted and soupy and the assistant will then need to go get a new milkshake for them later.  Seriously.  20 minutes.

So we see movie stars as a pretty, normal regular part of life.  I'm sure that I pass more famous people than I realize, purely because I don't always know or recognize those who I should be admiring.   And though we aren't often star struck, it's not to say that I'm completely normal, open, or myself when I do encounter those who are famous.

Last night, we attended a wrap party for the movie that Aaron just finished working on.  The party was at a fantastic club in downtown Los Angeles - The Edison - in what used to be a power plant.   They kept much of the original machinery and inner-workings of the power plant, which is awesome, and the decor and atmosphere were amazing, too.  I don't frequent clubs, but this was a pretty nice place.  We milled about for a while, chatting with some of Aaron's coworkers, some familiar, some new to me.  In general it was a nice evening, with a mix of less-fancy, fancy, and more fancy people.  Loud music, drinks, fun and festive people.

Now, the main actor in this movie was Will Smith, and during the entire shoot, I envisioned Aaron having a conversation with Will that would go something like this:

Aaron: Hey Will!  How's it going?
Will: Great, man.  How are you?
The conversation would continue, would somehow come to the topic of dogs, our dog in particular, and Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer.  In addition, they would touch on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, the song Summertime and it's significance to my high school days, and MIB. And then...
Will: Hey, why don't you and your wife come over to our place for dinner sometime?  And bring the dog!
Aaron: Great!

That didn't happen in all 10 weeks of shooting.  Aaron was apparently really busy and didn't have time to have this conversation.

As we walked into the wrap party last night, I had this conversation tucked in the back of my head, wondering if the opportunity would present itself for ME to have this conversation with Will.  Sure enough, as soon as we walked in to the club Aaron said that Will was here.  Since we were still in the foyer, I wondered what sort of magical powers he had to sense Will's presence.  Aaron looked over his shoulder and nodded towards a man I assumed was a bouncer - "That's his bodyguard."  Strange, wouldn't the bodyguard be NEAR his client?  Aaron corrected himself - "That's one of his bodyguards.  You'll know the other one when you see him."

The evening went on as mentioned above, milling, drinking, talking, laughing, but no Will (we walked through the entire place just to see).  As we were getting ready to leave, Aaron calmly mentioned to me that he spotted Will on the other side of the club.  Here was my chance!  Here was my chance for Will to see what great people Aaron and I are and to invite us over for dinner!  It would be swell!  I would be witty and interesting!  This will be great!

As we snaked our way through the room, we eventually came to a cluster of people laughing and talking and merry-making.  Aaron pointed me directly at the cluster until I realized that I was looking at Will Smith.  Once I saw Will, the question was whether or not I wanted to go say Hello to him.  Despite my brave visions of a witty conversation and an invitation to dinner, I was now very much shy and very not sure of what I - little old me - would have to say to HIM.  Why would he want to meet me?  What do I say?  I really love your work?  I think you are great?  Thanks for not being an asshole on set like other movie stars my husband has had to work with?

It took about ten minutes of moving closer and then moving further away, and then closer and then further away, before I finally decided that I should say Hi, when else would I have this opportunity.  And, it would give me something to blog about.  

So, we did it.  I can't really re-capture the conversation because I can't remember much of it.  I was NOT witty nor interesting, but Will Smith was amazingly nice, friendly, kind, and gracious.  And fun.  He recognized Aaron, was interested to meet me, and was just plain nice.  Did I mention how nice he is?  Because he's nice.  I don't know how he does it - I'm sure he spent the entire evening meeting people he doesn't know, taking photos with them, and all the while doing so with ease, with fun, and as if he's genuinely glad to meet you.

There was no invitation to dinner - my friend Jeanette says it's probably only because his schedule is really busy right now.  But I shook his hand, said hello and a few other non-interesting things.

And he was nice.  So normally, genuinely nice.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Pregnancy: Week 21

That is me.  Gazing at my belly.  The photo was taken a week ago (at 20 weeks) and, I promise, I've grown since then.  I like my growing belly - both Aaron and I are astounded at how quickly my body is growing and changing, right before our eyes.  I'm still amazed, too, that there is a baby inside of me, another human being.  Early this morning, just after Aaron came in to the bedroom to kiss me goodbye, the baby started moving and swimming and fluttering all about.  I lay in bed for awhile, on my side with my hand on my belly, enjoying the confirmation that all is well.  

I'm feeling good and energetic these days, for the most part.  Aaron finishes work the end of this week (the current project he's been on) and we are both looking forward to a respite, more time together, more time to actually connect and to connect with the pregnancy.   I feel somewhat overwhelmed with the large Preparing For Baby To Do List we (I) have created, but also have a sense that we'll get done what we get done when we get it done - and the baby won't really know (or care) if we've organized our files or not.

After a hot, hot weekend, this day is finally cooling off and I enjoy the breeze coming in the window.  My feet and hands are warm and thick from our walk with the dog (which we did well after dark, after the temperature dropped) and I'm ready to go read for a bit and then head to bed.  It's been a good day (well, except for the part where I tried on maternity swimsuits, but I haven't been that covered up in a swimsuit since I moved to Los Angeles - it was unnatural).

Friday, May 9, 2008


Last week was a tough week.  I felt somewhat lost in the doctor-searching-childbirth-method-searching process - not sure what I was looking for nor how to find it.  I went to yoga class in the midst of this, feeling tired, discouraged, and, like I said, a little lost.  Yoga was very quiet and peaceful - I almost fell asleep at least twice - and in the middle of the practice, our teacher had us take a rest in Child's Pose, a rest from the stretching and instruction.  As I rested in that pose, like a small frog with my head resting on a bolster, my arms stretched out in front of me, the teacher encouraged us to relax, to feel our bodies supported by the props, by the mat.  I felt warm tears well up in my eyes as I surrendered my body, as I let it be supported, and I imagined that my whole body, my whole spirit, my whole soul, my new baby were all supported in that moment by the hand of God.

A gift.

Later that week, I devised a plan and compiled a list of midwives that I would begin calling.  I would simply set up introductory meetings, ask questions, and start to see where that led.  But before calling midwives, I had one last friend to call to ask about her birth experience and her doctor. And this is where I began to receive one gift after the next, each moment feeling touched by grace, where I felt held, supported, led.

My friend had an excellent experience - a difficult labor, but an excellent and kind doctor,  one who respects women's wishes to labor as they desire.  I began a mad flurry of phone calls to line up insurance and doctor's offices and, with the help of my kind and knowledgeable HR benefits director, all of the insurance and bureaucratic pieces fell in to place, one right after the other.  Everyone I spoke with on the phone was kind and helpful.  And the more I mentioned this doctor's name to people I knew, the more confirmation I received.

I have found a new doctor, though I've not yet met him.  And while this means delivering in a hospital, I feel comfortable that if my doctor is someone I can trust, that we can work to make the hospital experience as positive as it can be.  A home birth would be the ideal, but I don't have the money for it and I'd be nervous about insurance coverage if I had to transfer to the hospital.

Ultimately, I feel relieved and for the first time, I feel excited and at ease about my pregnancy.  I finally feel like I can relax.

And I truly feel like this was a gift of grace and compassion.