OK. Back now. I hate it when that happens! I get all ready to do something and — boom! — hunger strikes!

Mmm… Wheat Thins… (Homer Simpson drooling sound)

So this morning has been fun. The freaking humidity has given it a rest, already, and although it’s going to be hot today, at least it won’t be steaming. And, of course, since Tim and I are headed to my hometown this weekend, it’s going to be a furnace in Southeastern Missouri. It never fails, we always visit on the hottest weekend of the summer. At least my mom finally got air conditioning. Yay, Mom!

Anyway, about this morning. Had a lovely walk and chat with my mother-in-law, whom I like very much. She has lots of interesting stories about growing up in West Virginia, raising 5 boys, taking care of her ailing mother, teaching and other various topics. She’s a pretty darn amazing woman, actually.

About 10, Tim’s brother Mark and his family dropped by — unannounced (for which they apologized profusely, thank you). Luckily, I was showered and the house was fairly presentable. The dogs were a mess, though, barking and stuff. I had to put the guys away so the kids could feel like they weren’t going to be eaten alive by wiener dogs. Like all kids, they eventually warmed up to them and had to give each one a kiss before they left.

Must put Wheat Thins away now before I finish the box…

I’m looking forward to this weekend very much, as I have two baby showers and a fun family reunion dinner to attend. Plus, my older brother and his family are coming too and that’s always fun.

I am a little anxious about being the center of attention at the showers, though. I always worry about not seeming, I don’t know, thankful enough, you know? But I don’t want to overdo it either. Plus, I just have a hard time being the focus of any one thing (past drunken KCOU events excluded). Especially when I have a huge belly and freaked out skin. And what am I going to wear? Even some of my maternity stuff doesn’t fit anymore!

Oh, and just to let you know, Tim agreed that it seems as though the baby is lower. (Sorry, Ryan, but I think your friend that “felt” her baby drop was one in a million. Neither I nor my panel of pregnancy consultants have ever heard of that before…) Plus, I’ve got that pregnant waddle thing going on, and my back was absolutely killing me by last night. Fun! Don’t you want to get pregnant right now?

And Tim and I are practically famous! It’s not every day that you get mentioned on a site that gets thousands and thousands of hits every day! By the way, I’m sure many of you former MU-types remember Mr. Pettus. His site cracks me up, especially the fact that thousands and thousands of people read it every day. Scary, my friends.

Thanks for the words of encouragement yesterday, guys. You’re the best! (sniff)

This morning was a little disconcerting. After eating breakfast, I sat down at my computer to work and noticed that I felt a little stomach crampy. One problem: my stomach isn’t in the same place anymore and I can only presume that what I was feeling were practice contractions. For you non-gestating types, these are called “Braxton-Hicks” contractions. After the ob who “discovered” them, I would guess. Anyhoo, I had felt similar contractions last night as I tried to fall asleep, but didn’t really think about it.

Suddenly, uh-oh! Bathroom! And so I’m sitting there (in the bathroom) and all of a sudden I’m absolutely terrified that I’m going into labor (because bathroom unpleasantness can also be a symptom of labor). I mean, white-faced terror! Not good! I’m supposed to be ready for this, right? I’ve read all the books, took all the classes, discussed plans with Tim, toured the hospital, gone to every doctor visit, visualized, prayed, dreamed about it… Why am I freaking out? Sure, it’s not good that I’ve got a little over 4 weeks to go until this baby is due — no one wants a premature baby. But I was really disconcerted that just the thought of going into labor was so frightening.

Plus, looking in the mirror, I’m thinking that maybe the baby has dropped, or that “lightening” has occurred. (See? Isn’t my blog fun and informative? Just like biology class!) This means that the baby’s head has engaged in my pelvis by moving down and that I should have more room for my stomach and lungs. Even your heart gets shoved around when you’re pregnant — isn’t that weird? Mom said that it seems a little early for that and it would feel like there was a weight on my bladder. I’m thinking, ‘But it’s felt like that for the past nine months!’ Also, my pregnancy calendars have been talking about lightening for a couple of weeks now. Sounds like it could happen at any time. I need an objective opinion from Tim, though, as to what he thinks.

Anyway, once I got out of the bathroom and called Tim, I was fine (obviously, or I wouldn’t be leisurely writing this entry). Maybe the Braxton-Hicks were just a precursor to the emergency bathroom visit. I called my Mom too (obvious from above). I know this sounds really dumb, but not knowing what a contraction feels like is making me a little nervous. Of course, everyone is like you’ll know. But my mom says that she couldn’t even really feel them until the baby was practically here. She could just feel her uterus getting hard.

I’m sure that it will all work itself out. And I’m glad, I guess, that my body is “practicing” for labor. Go, body!

I guess I’m just a little nervous about my baby showers this weekend back home. My cousin Danni delivered her little boy the weekend of her shower. We never did get to have a shower for her, poor thing.

My mood has taken a definite up-turn today. Despite unresponsive clients and this ever-worsening heartburn/nausea feeling every time I eat, it’s a beautiful day outside. It’s great just hanging out in the backyard with the dogs.

Just thought you might like to know.

OK. That’s it. I, Beth C, respectfully resign my position as pregnant woman. I am officially tired of:

* little weiner dogs who don’t listen to me

* my mother-in-law being a whiny lump

* trying to kneel at church with this huge belly

* August 6 being 5 weeks away

* being so insanely tired all of the time

* nursing bras so big that I can fit them on my whole head

* my crappy collection of maternity shorts

* hot weather that makes me feel even more whale-esque

* this insatiable craving for pancakes

Did I mention that I’m a little cranky?

Did I mention how lucky I am to have the best husband ever to listen to this neverending complaining?

So I just set up my prenatal visit with my doula, Judy for July 17. She said that Tim didn’t have to be there, so we’re going to meet at 11 a.m. She didn’t really say what would go on, so I can only let my imagination run wild. Will she indoctrinate me about what “really” happens during labor and childbirth? Will she read my palm or something? Who knows?

For those of you who haven’t been previously obsessed with pregnancy, a doula is a labor support woman, who, um, will support me (and Tim) during labor. She’s the one who will massage my back if I have tortuous back labor, tell Tim how to rub my feet when the contractions get tough, suggest that I walk around to get gravity going and generally advocate for me and what I want during this baby’s birth. Yay, doula! Ask me how relieved Tim and I are to have someone there who actually knows what she’s doing. Since we’re going to the biggest baby hospital in the area (averaging at least 15 births a day), it will be really great to have someone there with us full-time, since I’m sure everything we learned in the Lamaze classes will be long-gone with the first contraction.

I drove up to 270 today and timed how long it took me to get to the exit for the hospital. With not bad traffic, average speed 65 mph, it took approx. 10 minutes. If we make that drive during the stage of labor that I hope to be at (1-minute contractions 4-5 minutes apart), that means Tim’s life will only be threatened approx. 2 times during the ride. Let’s hope they get that “uneven pavement” thing fixed soon, honey, or it could be worse…

According to doula Judy and my Aunt Angela, the sparkly spots are often a precursor to migraine headaches called an “aura.” Yikes. I haven’t had any of those ever, and lets hope they don’t start now. Judy suggested that perhaps the blood vessels in my brain are doing some adjusting, what with this big ole baby’s increasing blood needs and all.

Did I mention that I’m ready to have my body back? Two people — sure, it’s a miracle and all — is a lot of people to have in one body for 40 weeks.

Sparkly spots happened again last night. Wacky. I wish I knew what was causing them. The bad part was that I was driving at the time, so I tried not to freak out Tim. Once we got to the park (where Tim’s company was having a cook-out dealie), I was going nuts because I couldn’t see peoples’ faces. I kept rubbing my eyes, which of course didn’t help. After about 20 minutes, they went away. I found a good way to describe them, though: you know when your computer monitor gets wet (because you’ve sneezed on it or sprayed it with cleaner or something) and you wipe it and it smears your screen? That’s what I see when the spots are there. Weird shiny pixels. Bizarre.

So right now, I’m working on a newsletter for this Fortune 500 insurance company and none of the people that are supposed to approve articles for me are getting back to me. Do they hate them? Maybe they’re terrible. I can’t write. What was I thinking? The dogs all seemed to like them when I read them out loud! Bookerdog, how could you let me send out this tripe?!

Bookerdog says: Snxxxx…

So the realization just came crashing over me that I’m about to start my last full month of this pregnancy. Wo. While it seems really close in theory, the date “August 6” still sounds pretty far away when you’re still in June. I mean, that’s practically the end of the summer, right? Apparently not.

So here comes July, ready or not.

And here I thought my travails with Dr. Evil Dentist-Man were over! Silly me. I went in for my permanent crown today (which has ended up costing us $280.50 thanks to crappy MetLife dental plan) and the dentist didn’t like the way they finished the porcelain. He was in a much better mood today and I almost felt bad for all of the ire I’ve been carrying around for the past 2 weeks. So I have to go back in 2 weeks again. Yeehaw. I suppose all of this is better than the cracked tooth, right? One would hope.

I’m excited that Tim is trying to work out how we can host this baby on our own server so we can upload some photos and whatnot. Once the baby is here, I’m sure that we’ll have tons of pictures of the little guy to share. Of course, now that our scanner doesn’t work, we may have some problems… Honey?

Doctor’s visit # 291,997 today… I gained another 3 pounds. In 2 weeks. And you know what? I just don’t care anymore. Sure, I probably should not have had that peanut butter cup concrete last night, but dammit, I deserve it! Lugging this baby around is hard work!

I also had the disturbing experience of seeing sparkly spots twice yesterday. My doctor didn’t seem too worried about it, since they weren’t accompanied by headache, facial swelling or abdominal pain, so I guess I won’t worry either.

I was so bad today, though! I left poor Coco outside to fend for herself the entire afternoon! And who is Coco, you ask? Coco is the oldest of our four “miniature” dachshunds. I say “miniature” because they are all over the required mini weight of 11 pounds, but less than the standard weight. As such, they are considered “tweeners.” Cute, huh? Anyway, I got home from the doctor’s visit and Coco was nowhere to be found! Of course, I immediately had, like, 8 heart attacks and went tearing around the house calling, ‘Coco!’ She came bounding up to me, her whole body wagging, and lept into my arms. I then cried tears of joy and fed her many treats for not running away. What kind of mom am I going to be, for God’s sake?

Well, I went and made some changes to the format of the BMPS, we’ll see if Beth likes them or not…

I realized that I haven’t really posted much here about myself, but I’m Beth’s husband, and make my living doing programming for a consulting company. Lately, I’ve been working for a DOD contractor doing lots of HTML, ASP, VB, and Oracle programming. I enjoy what I do for a living, though I know it tends to make other people fall into a dull stupor if I spend more than about 15 seconds talking about what I did at work. It’s an amazing thing really, you see their eyes beginning to glaze over by the time you’ve completed your first sentence. So I probably won’t be talking much about that in here.

I’ve recently turned 30, and am preparing myself for the arrival of our first child. It’s a whole lot of excitement, mixed with a little fear, and an almost unending stream of wonder. We truly are fairly amazing creatures when you get right down to it. The improbability of our means of sentient life evolving out of inorganic atoms, well… It’s pretty cool isn’t it? I’ve been trying to be as supportive of Beth as I can, but the things she’s experienced in the past 8 months are fairly inconcievable.

So meanwhile, I’ve been working hard to get the big projects done around the house that have needed to be done. It’s stuff that I like to do, and like to learn to do. It so nice, when you do most of your work with your mind, to get to work with your hands. Some other time I’ll go into the reasons there is so much work to do on the house. Right now, we’re in the midst of a huge overhaul of a bathroom that has afforded me the opportunity to learn wiring, plumbing, and replacing sections of subflooring. It’s been a daunting process, but thanks to Beth’s dad, the major structural work is done. Now there’s only finishing work remaining, but that still is the major focus of my time for the next week or so.

That should do it for now, of course, many things may or may not come out in the writing of this blog, but you never know, and heck you don’t even really know if any of this is true, do you?