09 October 2008

Heart Beat!

I had my first visit with my OB today, Shana Thomas, CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife) at OU Physicians, which is apart of OU Medical Center. Immediately after being called back and meeting her assistant, Iesha, I was so glad that I chose to switch OB's. Iesha was really patient and assuring and she gave me a huge packet of information with a book about pregnancy put together by OUMC, information about health and diet, information numbers to call with questions, samples of different things like diapers, and so on. I met Shana a little while later (I actually didn't have to wait nearly as long as I have for Dr. Martin), and she was really nice. She went over my medical records, which there were some errors in Dr. Martin's records that needed to be corrected, and then a doppler was done.

I got to hear the baby's heart beat for the first time!! It was truly amazing! My mom told me that my heartbeat on doppler sounded like a horse galloping on the beach and I had been wondering what my baby's heartbeat would sound like. It sounded like a heartbeat on a doppler to me. Healthy, strong, maybe 140 BPM, which is a little slow for baby, but still good. Shana didn't seem worried about anything.

She also took the time to answer all of my questions and was very reassuring. I am really glad that I switched practioners now.

And, for the first time, I think the realization that I am really having a LIVE baby has hit me. And I'm excited about it! I think that for the most part I was intellectualizing it, plus in the first trimester I was feeling really sick most of the time, so it was hard to be excited when you're so nauseous.

There really is a tiny little life inside of me, that Mike and I have created. And it's growing everyday!

I'm definitely showing now - I've actually gained almost 2 pounds this week alone and it's all belly. I like that I'm showing. It helps remind me that I'm pregnant, not getting fat.

So far this pregnancy I've gained 5 pounds altogether and I'm 15 weeks and 2 days today.

Mike has been really supportive and puts his ear to my stomach quite often to see if he can hear the baby yet and kisses my belly a lot too. I think he's pretty excited about having a baby.

Of course we're both pretty scared about having a child too, although most of that has to do with financial woes more than being good parents at this point.

The Family Expectations Study that we are apart of has definitely been a God-thing. Tequia, our "counselor" for the study is a Christian and she has been so supportive of us and really helped us out and encouraged us. We start our parent workshop classes next Saturday, so we're both looking forward to that. And we're going to a financial workshop later in the month and Mike is going to a "Dad Boot Camp" class later in the month as well. It's a "for men only class" about being a new Dad. If I hadn't blogged about Family Expectations earlier, it's a study sponsored by the government and to be eligible you have to be over 18 years old and either be expecting or have had a baby within the last three months. Basically the study is trying to prove that two parents raise a baby together than two parents seperately. So they are equipping soon to be parents and new parents with tools that will help them stay together. This are things such as: communication skills, financial management, learning about raising a child or children together, etc etc. And since this month is our anniversary month, they are sending us to a bed and breakfast for a weekend! :) The new parents also receive up to $800 in "crib cash" to spend at "the Crib" which is basically a store with a ton of baby stuff in it. Michelle and Joe got their glider there and I think their high-chair or stroller. The only requirement they have is that both parents come to the office visits and workshops together, if at all possible.

That's it for baby news. I'll have to take some baby bump pics and post them. :)

Stock Market Article

Dow plunges 679 to fall to lowest level in 5 years

By TIM PARADIS, AP Business Writer 20 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Stocks plunged in the final hour of trading Thursday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average down 679 points — more than 7 percent — to its lowest level in five years after a major credit ratings agency said it might cut its rating on General Motors Corp.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index also fell more than 7 percent.

The declines came on the one-year anniversary of the closing highs of the Dow and the S&P. The Dow has lost 5,585 points, or 39.4 percent, since closing at 14,198 on Oct. 9, 2007. The S&P 500, meanwhile, is off 655 points, or 41.9 percent, since recording its high of 1,565.15.

U.S. stock market paper losses totaled $872 billion Thursday and the value of shares overall has tumbled a stunning $8.33 trillion since last year's high. That's based on preliminary figures measured by the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Composite Index, which tracks 5,000 U.S.-based companies' stocks and represents almost all stocks traded in America.

Thursday's sell-off came as Standard & Poor's Ratings Services put GM and its finance affiliate GMAC LLC under review to see if its rating should be cut. GM has been struggling with weak car sales in North America.

The action means there is a 50 percent chance that S&P will lower GM's and GMAC's ratings in the next three months.

S&P also put Ford Motor Co. on credit watch negative. The ratings agency said that GM and Ford have adequate liquidity now, but that could change in 2009.

GM led the Dow lower, falling $2.15, or 31 percent, to $4.76, while Ford fell 58 cents, or 22 percent, to $2.08.

"The story is getting to be like that movie 'Groundhog Day,'" said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. He pointed to the still-frozen credit markets, and Libor, the bank-to-bank lending rate that remains stubbornly high despite interest rate cuts this week by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks.

"Until that starts coming down, you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone getting excited about stocks," Hogan said. "Everything we're seeing is historic. The problem is historic, the solutions are historic, and unfortunately, the sell-off is historic. It's not the kind of history you want to be making."

The Dow ended the day at its lows, finishing down 678.91, or 7.3 percent, at 8,579.19. The blue chips hadn't closed below the 9,000 level since the June 30, 2003.

Broader stock indicators also tumbled. The S&P 500 fell 75.02, or 7.6 percent, to 909.92, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 95.21, or 5.5 percent, to 1,645.12.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 47.37, or 8.7 percent, to 499.20.

A wave of fear about the economy sent stocks lower in the final two hours of trading after a volatile morning in which major indicators like the Dow and the S&P 500 index bobbed up and down. The Nasdaq, with a bevy of tech stocks, spent much of the session higher but eventually declined as the sell-off intensified. Still, its losses were less severe because of the relatively modest drops in names like Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

On the New York Stock Exchange, declining issues came to nearly 3,000, while fewer than 250 advanced.

The sluggishness in the credit markets that triggered much of the heavy selling in markets around the world since mid-September appeared little changed Thursday following days of efforts by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to resuscitate lending.

Libor, the bank lending benchmark, for three-month dollar loans rose to 4.75 percent from 4.52 percent on Wednesday. That signals that banks remain hesitant to make loans for fear they won't be paid back.

The Fed and other leading central banks this week lowered key interest rates to help unclog the credit markets and promote lending to help the global economy. While a rate cut can take up to a year to work its way through the economy, the move was aimed as a boost to investor sentiment.

"We're stuck in a morass and I think it's going to take quite some time to come out of it," said Stephen Carl, principal and head of equity trading at The Williams Capital Group.

Demand remained high for short-term Treasurys, a refuge for investors willing to trade modest returns to protect their money. The yield on the three-month Treasury bill, which moves opposite its price, fell to 0.51 percent from 0.63 percent late Wednesday. Longer-term debt prices fell, with the yield on the 10-year note rising to 3.79 percent from 3.65 percent late Wednesday.

Investors across markets were mulling a plan being considered by the Bush administration to invest in hobbled U.S. banks as a way to stabilize the financial sector. The $700 billion rescue package signed into law last week allows the Treasury Department to inject fresh capital into financial institutions and obtain ownership shares in return.

Britain rolled out a similar plan, though no U.K. bank has received any investments. In Iceland, the government now has control of the country's three major banks as it struggles to contain the troubles there.

Wall Street is also looking for any effects of short selling now that a three-week ban imposed by regulators has expired. Short selling is a technique in which investors borrow shares in a company from a broker and sell them, hoping to buy them back later at a lower price. Essentially, it's a bet that a stock's price will fall. Short sellers can lose money if they have to repurchase the stock after it has risen.

Some analysts believe the unprecedented ban on short selling — an effort to bolster investor confidence — did more harm than good at a time of historic market volatility. They contend that short sellers help the market rally by covering their bets and creating demand for stocks.
"I think the market's way oversold. But I can't stand in the way of this falling knife — I'd get sliced open," said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors. "Investors are just saying, get me out at any price."

He also said that with the short-selling rule back in play, hedge funds might be shorting again to make up for their forced liquidations.

The tech sector saw less selling than other parts of the market after IBM Corp. affirmed its forecast.

IBM fell $1.55, or 1.7 percent, to $89. Meanwhile, Intel fell 65 cents, or 4 percent, to $15.60. Microsoft fell 71 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $22.30.

Energy names were among the biggest decliners as the price of oil fell. Exxon Mobil Corp. fell $9, or 12 percent, to $68, while Chevron Corp. fell $9.10, or 12 percent, to $64.

Light, sweet crude fell $1.81 to settle at $86.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest closing price since October last year.

Trading volume on the NYSE came to 2.04 billion shares.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed down 0.50 percent while the Hang Seng added 3.31 percent. In Europe, Britain's FTSE-100 fell 1.21 percent, Germany's DAX fell 2.53 percent, and France's CAC-40 declined 1.55 percent.