Sunday, January 31, 2010

36 Weeks

We're in the last month! I can't believe how fast January went. I start my leave IN FOUR DAYS. Ahhhh!!!!! I'm physically ready to take a break from work, but I'm not ready to leave my classrooms and caseloads behind!
As you can see...I'm getting bigger and bigger every day, which is making it difficult to make it through the work day (and sleep comfortably...)
My list of things to do before Baby Walsh gets here:
Get a massage
Get a facial
Get a manicure/pedicure
Take long, slow walks with the dogs

Monday, January 18, 2010

34 Weeks

Only six more weeks until Baby Walsh is due! Things are going well. Our midwife says the heartbeat is strong and baby is still active alllll the time. My heartburn has returned, enough so that I feel nauseous most of the evening. I'm definitely waking up more at night, even if it's just to turn over (it takes so much more effort to turn over!) My Braxton-Hicks contractions have almost completely disappeared. Our midwife explained that I could have been having them because of dehydration. She suggested that I up my water intake or drink a glass of water whenever I start to have the B-H cont. It worked! I thought that I was drinking a lot of water before, but apparently I needed to drink more.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I received this email a few days ago and can't stop thinking about it, probably because I'm on the verge of bringing my own child into this world. One of my oldest friends, Sarah Paskin and her husband Mike, are friends with another young couple that have a beautiful daughter named Gwendolyn. I have watched Gwendolyn grow over the last few years via Sarah's blog, and am compelled to pass along this amazing fundraising opportunity. I've cut and paste Sarah's original posting because, as you can tell, she wrote it from the heart and as a result, it hits you in the heart. Please take a moment to do this simple act to promote funding for Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Dear Friends and Family,

My daughter's best friend, Gwendolyn Strong, is the same age as Reese, and has a terminal illness called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Children with SMA lack a gene in their DNA that keeps the motor neurons thriving: Gwendolyn's body is completely paralyzed, she breathes from a machine, and eats from a tube. Her mind, however, is completely normal and she's actually quite a spunky little gal. She loves to play with Reese and has an affinity for princess items :) Researchers at UC Irvine are really REALLY close to a cure for SMA, but they need funding to push it towards FDA approval. It is so exciting (yet frustrating) to know how close it is!

JP Morgan Chase Bank has committed to donating $5 million dollars to non-profit organizations, $1 million of which was already distributed in December. Through a Facebook voting system, the top 100 non-profits were awarded $25,000 in cash. The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation was one of these winners (yippeee!), and 100% of the funds were sent directly to UC Irvine's SMA research team. Next up is the final round of voting for the BIG prize: $1,000,000. One million!! This voting is all done through Facebook, and it starts tomorrow: Friday, January 15th, 2010.

This video sums it up: Gwendolyn Strong Video

Imagine this: $1,000,000 towards SMA research could actually end this disease. Not "get the ball rolling" on research, not "hope for a cure," but actually end it. And, most importantly in my eyes, it could save Gwendolyn's life. The research that is sooooo close to FDA approval is one that could affect babies who already have SMA (like Gwendolyn), and could completely remove them from symptoms. Can you imagine Gwendolyn running into our playgroup and giving the kids high-fives and hugs without a breathing machine? I CAN!!!!!!!

Here are some facts:
Dr. Kierstad (UC Irvine) has dedicated his life to spinal cord injuries. He has already successfully performed a lab experiment on mice that allowed the previously-paralyzed animals to literally get up and walk. He is now focusing on SMA research, which is closely related to spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophies, ALS/Lou Gehrig's, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. It is his belief that a groundbreaking surgery (so close to FDA approval!) could allow the body to re-build the proteins that are missing in children with SMA. That means Gwendolyn has the potential to be symptom free! Forever!
Money is holding back a cure. Other diseases, such as breast cancer and AIDS, have massive amounts of funding and research behind them, but "cures" are still unknown. The "cure" for SMA is just around the corner, but nothing can be done until the funds are there to continue the research.
SMA is the #1 genetic killer of children under two years of age, and 1 in 40 adults (unknowingly) carry the gene to pass it on.

I really dislike forwards and spam emails, but I am going to send out an email, Facebook posting, and blog entry EVERY single day while the voting is open (Jan 15 - Jan 22). It's really simple, just three easy steps (I'll list them in tomorrow's email once the voting is open). In turn, I ask that you do the it on your Facebook accounts (or heck, create a FB account if you don't have one already!), your blogs, your email contacts, etc. This is an effort sheerly driven by people voting: the GSF needs every single vote it can get.

Reese wakes up each morning and asks to play with Gwendolyn. She loves to hold her hand and help wipe her mouth when it is wet. I'm looking forward to explaining to Reese why Gwendolyn doesn't have to wear a breathing machine anymore ("she's cured!") instead of giving her the opposite devastating news. So, please, please, please, PLEASE vote and spread the word to every person you know. Don't ignore me...I'll be stalking you all week :)

Voting has started! Here's how you do it:

If you're already a member of Facebook:
1) Click Here (you might need to log in if you've not already)
2) Click on "Vote for Charity"
That's it! It'll give you the option of posting on your status that you voted (do it!! with a message to your friends!!). How easy is that?!

If you're not a member of Facebook yet:
1) Click Here and sign up for a (free) account. 
2) Click on "Vote for Charity"
A box will appear that allows you to show your friends that you have voted. Even if you don't have any friends (yet), follow the instructions so your future friends will know!

It's so easy, it's so quick, and it's so important.
Sarah Paskin

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January 2010

Every year I spend most of January crossing out the just-written incorrect date on my documents and I did it again today, twice in the span of 2 minutes. Yes...TWO minutes. I looked at the clock because I couldn't get over the fact I had just corrected myself from 2009 to 2010 and then I repeated the mistake (it's kinder to say habit, right?). Then I stopped and thought about the fact that it's 2010. 2010! That's just crazy. How are you going to say it? Two thousand ten or twenty ten? I've been trying out both and haven't decided which one I like better.
Anyway, as I was scheduling my 34-week appointment with the midwife (34 WEEKS!!!!) I took stock of the momentous year it's going to be. It's a new decade, I'm turning 30, Travis is turning 35, and we're having a baby. 2010 is already a blessed year, if you ask me :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

32 Weeks

Okay, I'm back from vacation. Tomorrow I start work again, which means I'll be running around like crazy again for at least 4 weeks. I'm aiming to work for another 6 weeks, but we'll see what the midwife says. I'm sure not going to argue with her if she tells me it's time to hang up the towel (or more appropriately, put up my feet).

The last two weeks have been wonderful. We spent the first week of vacation gearing up for Christmas, celebrating Linda's birthday, and recovering from Christmas. This last week I did a whole lot of nothing (and it was WONDERFUL!) I slept late, ate a lot (as seen in this weeks photo), finished a knit project, and watched a lot of movies.
On a side note, one of the movies I watched was "The Grapes of Wrath." Oh man, it was intense. I vaguely remember the book from high school, although I don't think we read it in my English class...If I remember correctly, only the Honors English kids read it (why is that?!) But two of my good friends were in that class and they must have discussed it in my presence, because I have memories of it's storyline (maybe they even did one of their famous newscasts on it? Hil, Sarah, does that ring a bell?) ANYWAY...the entire time I was watching it, I thought of my mom's parents. Both of their families made the trek to California during the Dust Bowl Era, one from Missouri and one from Arizona via Oklahoma. My grandma was just about the same age as the little girl in the movie, 12 or so, and she had the same experiences the movie depicted. Her family's farm dried up, I believe the bank took it, and they packed their belongings and moved west. They lived in a tent for quite some time in Hughson, on a relatives' property, until both parents were able to find work in the fields and factories. I've always respected my family's American Story. They really did "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" and make something of themselves. My grandfather was a respected local merchant (True Value Hardware in Turlock) and my grandmother went to college while her kids were growing up and became valedictorian of her graduating class at CSUS. She was the first female CPA in all of Stanislaus County. They completed their lives living and farming a beautiful piece of property on the river in Hughson, a place I think of and miss often. How lucky are we that our elders put in the hard work to help us to where we are today. I know they made my life easier than it could have been.
Well that was a long side note.
Back to the original topic, week 32. I can't believe we only have 8 more weeks before Baby Walsh arrives (give or take a week, right?) I've been having Braxton-Hicks contractions all week, and they're only mildly uncomfortable. I still get a kick (no pun intended!) out of watching my belly move around when the baby moves. Space must really be limited, because the whole thing will shift from one side to the other and then I'm lopsided for a while! It's hysterical to see. I'm still waking up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night, but I'm getting use to it. I'm starting to enjoy the quite time alone with my moving baby. I have never felt anything remotely close to the hand/elbow/knee/foot that pushes back on my hand. How exciting that we only have 8 more weeks!