Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On Breastfeeding

*I actually wrote this earlier this evening before heading out, and didn't have time to edit it before getting home.  Once home I noticed the announcement about the Target nurse-ins going on across the country tomorrow and address my thoughts in this in the end.  

Breastfeeding was the one thing I dreamed about doing, of holding a baby in my arms and cuddling with them while they nursed, that hurt the most when I thought we were unable to have children.  Yes, I could adopt a child and do most of the things you do with a child you give birth to, but breastfeeding is nearly impossible in that situation.  So it was the one thing I have absolutely been determined to do with Nora.  When one doctor made the suggestion that we might need to supplement with formula at the end of each feeding to help her jaundice I got steely, and was grateful when the doctors at Johns Hopkins all told me that we weren't at a point where that would be a suggestion yet.

I had heard horror stories from so many people about the nipple pain, about engorgement, about leaking and trouble making enough milk.  And I'm not sure if it's I just got lucky or if I planned so well for anything and made sure I read up to know what I was doing, but I haven't really experienced any of that.  My nipples get a little tender when I'm full and they're hard, almost as if they're having to strain to keep everything in.  And I've had soaked breast pads, and one shirt that had a nice circle on it because I got overly full.  But I took a breastfeeding class, I bought the book that is considered the most comprehensive, I got a nursing pad set that has thin ones for day and thick cushy ones for night, and I've never had trouble making enough, even for my chunky monkey.

We struggled in the beginning to find the right positions for us.  A wonderful nurse helped me figure it out, and gave me suggestions for sites she'd found helpful with her own breastfeeding (http://kellymom.com).  And since then we've been great.  The position of lying down that worked best when we were learning is still my favorite, but I now find I can hold her in one arm and walk around the house getting things done without much trouble at all.  She's gotten to the point where she knows how to keep herself on the breast.  And the best part has to be that she can be having a holy fit because she's hungry, but as soon as we get her in a position she's used to, or if she sees a breast at all, she goes instantly silent, her eyes widen and she waits patiently.  It's pretty funny.

Yesterday we had just sat down at the cafe at Barnes and Noble, when Nora awoke.  It was quickly evident she was starving and ready to cry if she didn't get fed.  I got nervous.  Normally we'd leave and I'd feed her in the back of the car before we drove off, but it was the day after Christmas and cars were full of cranky people who would be pissed if we got in our car and didn't pull out immediately.  And while I had a nursing cover, the last time I tried it, it was a fail. Still, I decided to give it a whirl, and it worked perfectly so I sat there feeding her while we enjoyed our coffee and conversation.

I know not everyone has an easy time of nursing.  I know women with soreness that I've recommended things to.  But I look at this thing, this bonding I get with her, the savings (and apparent safety) of not having to buy formula, and I don't understand why the majority of women don't breastfeed.  It's a well known fact that breastmilk is the perfect food for a baby, which is why Johns Hopkins advocates for it so much.  And it's very much more common throughout the world.  I just wish more women here would not just give it a go, but make sure they have the resources in case it's not going well.  It's not supposed to hurt, though it will feel weird, and maybe uncomfortable at first.  If you don't have someone telling you that and making suggestions I could see how it would be easy to give up.  But it's been one of the most amazing experiences, so I'm writing this all down for Miss Nora to read later.

As for the nurse-in.  I know some people think it's attention seeking, and honestly I didn't give it much thought, and don't have plans to go.  However, it is about attention...attention that is greatly needed.  Breasts are for feeding a baby.  It is their biological purpose.  The reason men are attracted to them, is because biologically men are searching for women who they can procreate with, and who can feed their children well.  I do not think women should have to be covered, and in most states that is a right protected by the law. 

I have now nursed at IKEA too.  I used a cover because I'm new to nursing and have an easily distracted baby.  However, I know as handsy as she is that the time will soon come when she will pull the cover off, because she's annoyed or gets hot (the thing does raise my body temp, somewhat uncomfortably).  At which point I have every intention of continuing to nurse in public, with my breast out...and by out I mean, baby attached, whereas even at her young age, nothing shows.  G has laughed and said "God help the person who tries to tell you to cover up."  I may be a new mom, but I am not easily intimidated.  It is my right to nurse, covered or uncovered in public, any place I am legally allowed to be. 

I have heard the argument that it is immodest, or that the person speaking doesn't want their son to see it.  To that I say you need to get over it.  It is only immodest if you have become the twisted sort who only sees breasts as a sexual organ.  And quite frankly, I think more boys and men need to be exposed to breasts as a tool for feeding a baby.  It would be seen as more "normal" if we as a society had not overly sexualized so much about women. 

The nurse-in is to advocate for a baby's right to eat in public, and to not have a person harassed for doing so (though I agree she should not have been sitting in an aisle...that's just dangerous with the way people shop at Target, never looking where they're going).  It is also to continue to educate the public about breastfeeding, and to help it stop being so taboo.  And to that I add my applause. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Almost a month old.  I can't believe it.  I want time to freeze, for your sweet serene way of being to just keep going.  You smile often now, your eyes lighting up.  And your daddy finally caught you laughing the way your Gigi does in her sleep.  He delights in all the new things you seem to do daily.

You're getting better about finding your binky when it falls out.  When you can't, though, watch out!  You get frantic, your head shaking back and forth and your hands flying.  You get angry at that quite easily. 

Tonight we took a bath.  I sat there and submerged you up to your armpits and you were content, the first bath that wasn't a screamfest.  I think we're going to get you a special sort of baby bath that allows you to sit up like that, comfy. 

I am constantly in awe of you.  I love to talk to you, mainly because for some reason you've decided I'm your favorite person in the world, and will look at me and calm down.  You're very alert (when you're awake) and seem to enjoy having us chat with you. 

I hope you always know how much of a wonderment you are to us.  How much you have changed our life together for the better. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12 Days Old

I want you to be able to read this someday, to know what you were like when you were super little.  So here goes.  At 12 days old:

* You are a breastfeeding champ.  You will make it very known when you have decided you would like to eat, but not in a screaming way.  You root around like no other and will mouth the nearest body part or piece of clothing. 

* You don't really mind diaper changes any more (probably because thanks to the hospital you've had so many).  In fact, if you're asleep enough, we can manage to change you without waking you. 

* You love, love, love kisses.  If we make noises as we come closer and then give you a smackeroo on the lips you seem to delight in it and will turn more towards us.  I just recorded a video of you and your daddy for you later.

* You prefer to sleep on my chest during the day, and in the nook of my arm at night.  At first it terrified me and was accidental.  But now we've got a simple set up that makes us rolling onto you or you moving much impossible.  And we all seem to wake more well rested than when you were startling every few minutes all night and waking just enough to wake us. 

I feel super blessed because honestly it feels like it's been too easy.  The breastfeeding had a slight learning curve, but it's otherwise been easy and painless.  The diaper changes go quickly, like machine work.  You're happy 99% of the time and rarely fuss for more than a few seconds (and you self soothe most of the time).  Basically Daddy and I are thinking we must be super lucky. 

Which is nice, since we've decided you're our favorite thing ever. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I love this man who sits before me. Who walks with you for 45 minutes while I get some doctor ordered, desperately needed sleep. This man who gave me you and all the joy that comes from being the three musketeers.

Your daddy is in awe of you. He nuzzles into you declaring that he loves the scent of you. He loves the softness of your skin and the scrunchiness of your face. He holds you close and says he's trying to make sure his scent is calming to you.

I found God's grace in the failings of our relationship. Where forgiveness was given even when undeserved. He had a plan. Even if at the time it felt like fire burning us we were instead being crafted into better people.

I found God's love when He gave us the biggest surprise...you. When all my broken dreams were made whole again. When I was made unbroken. He took 6 months of us being apart and remolded my heart to fit better above you and gave it an extra dose of peace. To prepare me to see this man I love and know Him better.

I love this man because he loves you and because He loves us enough to have made us 3 a family. I hope you know how loved you are. And that someday you too find all of this joy.
I am overwhelmed with love for you.  Absolutely punch drunk in love.  I keep saying, "I love her." and "She's ours." as I look at your daddy.  Who whispers, "I know, isn't she perfect?" 

And you are.  You are everything good and joyful in this world.  Even in the hospital you were easy, sometimes sleeping through the heel pricks if I'd fed you right before hand.

You are an enthusiastic eater, sometimes emptying one side, and then within minutes demanding more.  And you drink until you are what we call "milk drunk" dozing off into a dreamland I can only imagine.  You smile in your sleep, and the dimple on your right side is so deep I just want to smother you with kisses. 

Christmas is coming, and you are every gift I've ever wanted.  You are more than enough for every Christmas past and present and I am delighted to be your mama.  I love you. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Is It Your Birthday?

We ask you this every morning.  Technically my due date isn't for a little over a week, but we've always thought they were about a week off (your daddy's deployment leaves only certain days as possibilities!).  So any day now.  I've even tried bribing you by promising to make a cupcake for you to celebrate (not that you can eat it). 

Your daddy is a bundle of nerves and is finding it hard to get things done.  I'm left with a healthy fear of laughing too hard or sneezing because I don't want my water to break everywhere.  But we're both so eager to meet you we can hardly stand it! 

I keep dreaming about having you.  Sometimes it's the actual birth.  Sometimes it's later, with you as a toddler.  I think it's my brain's way of telling me that you're coming.  It's funny because we're so careful to not say your name around anyone else, but in the dreams I've gotten to hear what it sounds like when I'm exasperated and want you to come to me or stop doing something.  We usually call you by a nickname, but it's your full name when you're being disciplined!

I've got a million and one things running through my mind.  This was not in our plans for right now, and yet it seems to have worked out to be the most perfect time.  God certainly knows what He's doing.  I'm about as in love with you as I could possibly be, and you're not even here yet.  But I talk to your daddy about nursing you and how excited I am to have an excuse to hold you all the time!

So if today is your birthday, great.  If not, we'll just wait it out.  You're my little turkey and you'll be done when you're done.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dear Little Miss E,

You're almost here.  Your daddy is in a tizzy, he's like a kid excited for Christmas!  Your monitor is up and running and he likes to check it...often.  Soon the pack n play will be next to the bed just waiting for your first night's sleep. 

I am so excited to be finally getting to meet you.  I try and imagine what you will be like.  If you'll get our dimples.  If you'll be as ornery and spunky as me (your daddy thinks so).  If you'll be a snuggler or like your own space.  All these questions I can't wait to see answered.

I'm calm as I await you.  I strangely have no fears, not stressing about your arrival.  Right now you're dancing around in there, preparing for your nightly bedtime story I'm sure.  So until you're here for a story to be read to your new self,

We Love You,
Mama and Daddy

Monday, October 31, 2011

Our bags are packed and we're ready to go...

Well, not really.  I still have a small list of items I really need to pick up tomorrow since we're on baby watch 2011.  Little Miss could be here any day within the next few weeks.  And I need things like a cheap sports bra (to wear in the birthing tub), a nursing tank (to wear home...I'm pretty much sticking to the one nursing bra I won a while back until I can figure out what size I'll need), and a few medical items.  Other than that, the diaper bag has everything needed in it from tiny little cloth diapers and her going home sleeper to a couple burp cloths and a swaddle blanket. 

She's going to be here so soon, and G's eyes light up all the time now.  He's so excited for her to get here, it's like a child waiting for Christmas (this is so not an exaggeration, I can picture him as a little boy after this experience).  And I'm loving it.  She's rolling about right now, and I try and imagine what sort of baby she'll be like.  Will she like tight spaces and being wrapped up tightly like her daddy and I do?  Will she make funny faces in her sleep? 

It's hard to imagine this whole "becoming parents" thing. G used that term last night and I freaked out a little because it sound so serious...and this was as we were shaking our rears around the kitchen making apple pie.  I laughed because I think that if someone saw us acting so goofy and like little kids they would surely never give us a child.  And as I was thinking that G says, "I just hope she realizes how lucky she is to have us as parents."  He's right.  We're silly and playful and love on each other constantly...not a bad thing to see growing up. 

So we wait.  My stomach tightens even more than normal (if that's even possible at this point) with Braxton-Hicks contractions.  My body is changing.  I am getting a waist slowly but surely as she eases downward, while other bits of me seem to be filling out more.  Jen comments yesterday that you still can't tell I'm pregnant from behind.  But from the front it's a definite "whoa."  Women in check-outs (grandmotherly types) fawn over me and remind me to get plenty of rest.  And I'm trying to.  I'm trying to slow down and just get a bit more sleep, but I've never been one for much of that. 

She could be here tomorrow or Black Friday.  The photographer has been booked for the week after Thanksgiving, so I'm hoping for sooner rather than later, since with the holidays re-scheduling is such a pain.  I want to capture her in all her little bits of beauty that belong to newborns.  I want to remember these moments and be able to look back at what has been a most wonderful time. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Personal Choices

I've been getting formula from Enfamil this whole last trimester.  So far I have 3 small cans of their newborn formula and 1 of their gentlease (for upset tummies I think).  And while we've kept them, just sort of stockpiling them, I kind of want them out of our home.  I firmly believe that it is my job to provide her with nutrients (and honestly, eating the way I tend to, it is the best option for a variety of vitamins and nutrients). 

I don't preach to others.  If you don't want to breastfeed, I say stockpile that formula as best you can and good luck.  For myself, the expense seems ridiculous, but for others they don't want to do it for whatever reason.  And then there are people who can't or have difficulties.  I know the statistics for that, and while some rabid women will argue them until they are blue in the face, the reality is that it's a personal choice, and even if a mother is lying to herself or others, it's probably because she doesn't want any crap.  So just leave her alone.

But then, I've also felt the pressure to sort of have back-up plans for everything.  From feeding, to diapering, even to birth.  Today G and I were discussing what to do if I say I want drugs while in labor.  I've told him to go so far as to lie about it being too late, though really his job is to simply encourage me that I can do it.  So today he asked at what point should he stop encouraging and get me the drugs.  I laughed and said, "Once it's too late."  The reality is, he knows me better than anyone and will be able to tell if I'm simply in momentary pain and that's what's talking or if I really am at the point where I just can't do it anymore. 

I'm the same about cloth diapering.  We've been researching for 4 years while we planned our family.  We have a variety of types to try, and we've educated ourselves about using them, washing them, etc, etc.  We simply donate the diapers we're given because I don't want a backup plan.  For breastfeeding I don't want the possibility of getting to the end of my rope and simply going and fixing a bottle.  It's just how I personally work.  I don't like to give myself options if I'm determined to do it one way. 

And some people see that as sanctimonious or that I think I am better/stronger/whatever than them.  It isn't.  I just know myself and know that if given the option, I will often cave and take (what I see as) the easy way out.  It's the same way when I cook.  If I am wanting to make bread from scratch, even if I haven't made the time and am desperately wanting grilled cheese I will absolutely not buy bread.  It forces me to find the time (a.k.a. not be lazy) and make bread.  Same for pancakes and waffles.  We don't use mixes, I make them from scratch and my motivation when I'm doing it is to stockpile so we can simply reheat some in the oven or toaster (waffles in the toaster work beautifully).

I do think breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and a natural birth is best.  I've come to those decisions for myself after years (yes, honestly years) of studying, researching and debating.  But they may not be the decision someone else makes, and that's fine by me.  I was bottle fed, disposable diapered and my mother had a phenomenal epidural (and 32 hours of labor...) and I came out more than fine.

I just wish women would learn that personal decisions are that...personal.  I may not agree with yours and you may think I'm idealistic.  But in the end, my decisions shouldn't affect yours or make you feel less than.   
Little Miss E,

You have a room.  With a crib.  No crib mattress because it has been super difficult picking one, but we finally decided and will be ordering that tonight.  But still, a little nursery to finish up.

I've bought the paint to paint the dresser, and will have that done soon.  I want it to look good, so I'm going to take my sweet time.  I'm still debating your bedding.  I suppose it's a good thing that in reality you won't be really sleeping in there for the first 3-4 months. 

I've been so active, moving about, and it seems to have rubbed off on you.  You spent nearly all day yesterday bumping about, and even now seem to be gently prodding me to get up and do something.  Perhaps I'll go down to the nursery and grab a book to read to you. 

And today more nursing items arrived along with a monitor so we can keep an eye on you.  I'm already not looking forward to nap times because it means you'll be away from me.  Perhaps if I'm smart and take naps then too, it'll be easier since you'll be next to me!

So soon, my sweet one. 

Love,
Mama

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tick, Tick, Tick

Our iPad app informs me that we have 41 days.  Yeah, sure.  I so don't believe it and am guessing a month at best.  Which is a little surreal.  And random...totally had a dream where my skin was practically translucent and I could see her little hands with little nails pushed up against my skin, and she was turned wrong and I just sort of manipulated her into being head down again (she's been in the ready position for the last month, with her head whoa down). 

G and I are rushing to try and get a gazillion and one things done.  We're in the process of getting new bedroom furniture but there are things that have to happen before then, so it may not be ordered until right before she gets here.  Add in needing new carpet in our bedroom (thanks to Max ripping up the edge by the door), and we're simply moving on along.

And diapers!  Holy moly!  We've got covers and all-in-ones and pockets.  Allie from Wardrobe Oxygen is mailing out the fitteds and pre-folds that I'm buying from her on Monday.  We've got snappis (used instead of pins) and wet bags and cloth wipes and a friend is even sewing me some flannel ones too.  The diaper sprayer is in the bathroom waiting until it needs to be installed.  And I won some Angel Baby Bottom Balm a while back, so that's ready to go to.  Still need to pick up the disposable liners (to be used in conjunction with the cream if needed), but otherwise I think we're pretty much set for her whole diapering life.

There is very little left on my list of things to get. We finally hunted down some mitts so she won't scratch herself, picked up a comb and brush (because the sonogram is showing a nice head of hair already), we have a thermometer and nail clippers and I'm ordering a nosefrida aspirator.  I have burt's bees baby oil and at a baby thing I went to the gift bags had a full size of the Weleda Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash.  I've got a breastpump (that turns out is reimbursable by my insurance, so yay!), glass bottles (so G can feed her sometimes and I can drink martinis on occasion), and nursing covers.  Still need to get a couple more nursing tops and pads. 

Our car seat has been in our car for a couple weeks (though we still need to figure out the latch system and get it actually installed correctly).  Our stroller is ready to go for walks.  And I have a sleepy wrap, a freehand mei tai, a linen sakura bloom (I bought when a store was closing down recently), a rockin' baby sling (we got on sale when they were switching owners), a slingling pouch sling (for when she's really little...found at a consignment store), and a Beco Gemini I won last fall at my conference.  Basically we're good to go for transportation. 

So now it's just finishing up organizing the whole home, stocking the freezer, and cleaning.  The diaper bag is getting packed with items to take to the birth center, my bag will be packed soon, and we're ready for whenever she decides she is.  Thank goodness the hypnobabies package should be here this week.  It seems just the other day I was sitting shocked that a baby we never expected to get to have was in fact already growing, and now with weeks to go, I'm just antsy to meet her little self. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Little Miss E,

I look forward to the day when you can read these letters.  I hope that even when you're a teenager, and the world seems topsy turvy and like no one understands how you feel that you will know you are deeply loved.

We essentially spent the whole weekend continuing to prepare for you.  I finally hunted down a few items still needed to check off the list for you.  We cleaned out most of the office and built bookcases almost all the way to the ceiling (and if your daddy gets his way they might go all the way up!).  We plan to spend a lot of time in there curled up watching movies and reading books with you.  And we're even planning to get a basket for some special toys to make having to be in there while we're working (writing) a little more special for you later.
Diapers out the wazoo!
We also did quite a bit of your laundry. Diapers, bibs, little socks, onesies and dresses galore.  We haven't even looked for the totes of clothes in the basement that are filled to the brim with baby clothes we've been collecting for years.  Strangely most of it is girl stuff.  I like to remind myself that our laundry loads will be substantially more frequent once you're here and that this is nothing.  
Your coming home sleeper is way off in the back!
And we spent time just enjoying the time of "just us two."  Except there is always 3 and you indignantly like to make your presence known.  Your daddy is almost done reading you Charlotte's Web.  And today we start really counting down the last month or so of quiet mornings we'll have.  I say that as you flip about in my belly.  So, relatively quiet.

It seems insane.  The idea that in just a little over a month you will be here, that our world will be topsy turvy for a bit.  Neither of us can fathom it (it being a brand new experience after all), but we think it will be quite lovely to finally meet you.  I think your Daddy is excited that you'll be so little in the winter when we normally spend a lot of time in the kitchen and curled up in bed together anyway.  Your first few months will be very cozy.  Lots of snuggles and just being.

But please, no hurry.  I'm just fine with you right where you are.  Safe, warm, and seemingly happy.  Take your sweet time little one, we'll be here waiting.

Love,
Mama

Friday, October 7, 2011

 Little Miss,

I remind myself every day that I am super blessed by your daddy.  That I have never seen a man so in awe and so in love with you already.  Where he is genuinely delighted by shopping for baby things, and his eyes tear up as we un-stuff diapers to wash.  I'll be the one getting up with you in the night during the week, and he's actually a bit jealous... even though he knows he has to sleep to be able to function at work. 

Your daddy has wanted a baby for a long, long time.  Yes, we like our little life, and yes you were a surprise.  But from the moment we found out we've dreamed of you and your life with us.  From trips to the park to dance classes to playing hide and seek, we look forward to all those little moments with you.  After a ton of cuddling you when you're little of course!

He saw you on the screen for the first time the other day.  You have hair!  And when I say we'll need bows, he wholeheartedly agrees.  Some men can't see past having a son, and yet he has embraced the joy that having a giggly little girl in dresses will bring.

You are incredibly loved, little one.

Love,
Mama

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

We get to see you today. Your daddy is so excited it seems he can't keep it in. It will be the first time he gets to see you on screen live. He keeps whispering to you to smile big for the camera.

I'm nervous. Trying not to be. We have to get a picture of your heart but I'm not worried about that, it's just standard (and you wouldn't turn right 10 weeks ago for them) and your heartbeat is always perfectly strong and steady. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed and saying prayers that the placenta is in the right place. Because I really don't want abdominal surgery. I just want to meet you and cuddle with you and then go home.

You'll be here next month. No matter how many times I say that aloud it never gets any less weird. We're so excited to meet you!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Little Miss,

Oh, you, my dear, are my light and you're not even here yet.  I get so uncomfortable sometimes, with this body of mine staying the same as you get bigger so everything seems off balance.  I laughed yesterday calling your daddy a skinny minny and myself a roly poly and we giggled and walked on, arm and arm through the rain.  But you are worth every single second of awkwardness.

Your daddy has been reading Charlotte's Web to you and the voices he does cracks me up.  Last night he held up the book for you to see the picture, and I said, "We've discussed this." (implying that you do not have x-ray vision through my belly) and he responded that "Yes, we have" and gave me a withering look like I was hopeless, when you clearly had super powers.  You like hearing his voice it seems and he gets close and whispers to you and kisses where we think your head is and he pats the other side and says "baby butt!" He's enthralled with you, and you're not even here yet!

You seem to have forgiven him for being away so long, and the two of you share special hours in the morning while I sleep where you hop about for him.  But the afternoons are all mine, when I wake from what is becoming a daily late morning/early afternoon nap and you hop and flip about, causing my stomach to look like the ocean in a storm.  And I daydream about what our afternoons this winter will be like, huddled in a blanket reading, taking in the rare sun of the days.  Curled up, singing and listening to music.  Napping.  Definitely napping.

We whisper to you all the things you will see once you're here, all the places we will go.  We sit at a cafe and I imagine ordering you a hot cocoa with whipped cream and you getting a mustache.  We dream of each holding one of your hands and swinging you as we walk around the Smithsonian grounds, of watching those flying kites, of picnics in the grass. 

But we've still got a while.  And I'm perfectly fine with that.  You stay there where it is warm and safe and just enjoy little one.

Love,
Mama

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I asked G the date today and when he said the 25th, I smirked at him.  He stared, wondering why I seemed so smug.  I then informed him that we had less than 2 months now until her guess date.  He just stared at me, with a look of "holy cow" upon his face.

The stroller, carseat and swing are in boxes in our kitchen.  The crib arrives in about a week (it wasn't supposed to arrive for another month or three).  There is a pack n play in our office, along with the diaper bag and the cloth diapers I've stocked up on.  Baby clothes are all throughout the house as we round up what's new and what we've been collecting for years.  And we have both a boppy and a my brest friend in our living room. 

It's becoming quite clear that she'll be here in no time.  Children's books are strewn about as G has been reading to her often.  I see my midwife every 2 weeks now, and am getting ready to schedule one last sonogram to check my placenta and make sure a normal delivery is going to work.  And we took classes on cloth diapering and baby wearing today. 

It's both scary and exciting.  I sat next to a woman with a 5 week old little girl today and said to G, "Little Miss will be that age around Christmas."  She was so cute and tiny and G's pretty sure he's going to break our daughter because "she'll be so little."  But then I saw him put on a ring sling and a mei tai and he seemed so natural. 

We're still in awe that this is our life.  This thing we never thought would be ours.  This experience we weren't even sure we wanted any time soon. And yet he likes to wrap up around me in the mornings while I doze and feel her kick against him.  He likes to whisper plans for the future to her.  We sat eating grilled cheese with apple slices and glasses of milk tonight and he said, "Just wait til you're old enough for solid foods."  We finished it off with chocolate pudding and he said, "You won't understand how lucky you are for a while to have a mama who cooks like this." 

I just want time to slow.  For her childhood to drag on.  For all the little giggly moments to never cease.  And yet I want her here, to hold.  To teach how to bake cookies and build forts and dance on her daddy's toes.  Not too slow, but not too fast either. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dear Escargot,

Your daddy is here!  He's been so excited to be able to feel you.  (He kind of tears up a bit.)  His hand is on my belly a lot because for the last couple of days you've been hopping like crazy! 

We've talked a lot about you.  We discuss names, playing with nicknames.  We look at baby stuff and he's fascinated by how little you're going to be.  I think he's nervous about breaking you.

You are a very loved little girl.

Love,
Mama

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Meeting a Midwife

I had my first appointment at the MidWifery today.  Got to meet another midwife there (met another when I toured), who was absolutely lovely.  She was relaxed, and got excited about G coming home.  I'm so glad I've switched.  Even if we have to pay some out of pocket (we're still waiting to find out how much our insurance will cover), it is totally worth it.

One of the reasons I'm glad that we've switched have to do with their way of handling me.  They answer questions easily, and they listen to me.  My OB didn't want to hear about why I didn't need a huge shot because G is Rh- as well, because without him home to "prove" it, they told me that doctors would be wary of treating me.  Um, my husband's military, his blood type is a huge thing and we happened to get lucky and have the same type (which is a more rare type). The midwife seemed to think this was b.s. and would love to help me avoid that painful shot.

I am really hoping that it works out and I don't end up needing a c-section.  But if I do... 4 of the 5 midwives are actually licensed in a way where they would be in there helping with the surgery, so I'd have someone I trusted.  And if I'm lucky and don't need one, I'll be able to spend time laboring in a nice whirlpool with G and me just relaxing with music.

And then there are the more quirky things.  Once her head is out, G will be allowed to catch her.  He's whoa thrilled about this.  My only stipulation is that he allows me to take my sweet time getting her shoulders out and just simply catches her as she slides into his arms.  I would like to avoid tearing, thankyouverymuch.  Afterward, if everything checks out, we'll be out of there within about 5 hours.  Just enough time to feed her, feed myself, and maybe have the 3 of us curl up in the big real bed to nap.  (They encourage you to bring snacks for during and a meal to heat up for after so I'm not ravenous!)

Now we just need to hunt down a pediatrician and I feel like we're closer to her being here.  Still need to prep our house, put a deposit down for newborn photos, and test carseats in our car.  But overall, I'd say we're moving right along.

* Oh, and I gained almost a whole pound these last 4 weeks. Ha!  I'm beginning to get a little worried about my clothes being too big after she gets here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Prep School

I'm so excited for G to be home soon.  September is going to be a whirlwind though, as we continue prepping for this little girl.  Between readying the house, taking classes, hopefully doing the hypnobabies, and gathering up items we'll need... it's going to be exhausting!

I ordered a deluxe boppy a couple weeks ago on a super discount sale, getting it for $26 instead of the $50 it normally would have cost me.  Then this weekend I saw someone on freecycle was offering a barely used deluxe my brest friend pillow.  I had been wanting to try one of those too (they are the most recommended by lactation consultants), but at $50 I couldn't justify it just as a way to see which worked best for me.  But I picked it up tonight and it looks like she might have tried it and decided it wasn't for her, because it's in perfect condition!  So excited!

G is totally in support of breastfeeding.  It's the best nutrition-wise, and though I expect that it might be rough and a little painful to start, it's something I really want to do.  It doesn't hurt that it will save us a ton of money on formula and later milk.  I'm hoping to at least pump for her until she's 2. 

We will be attempting after a couple months to get her to take a bottle of breastmilk as well.  That way mama can have nights out with daddy staying in for some daddy-daughter time.  It will also make date nights a bit easier later on.  We've got a ton of 4 oz. bottles and plan to pick up some 8 oz. ones later (we're going with the old fashioned evenflo glass ones after seeing how easy they are to hook up to the pumps). 

The best thing I can think to do for breastfeeding is to make friends with moms who can help me keep my sanity if I'm wanting to quit.  I'll be heading to La Leche League meetings before she's here, taking classes, and I've already made friends with other moms who have breastfed before (or are right now).  Between that and G willing to do whatever I need to get through the first 6 weeks (that I've heard are the hardest), hopefully we'll be a-okay. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Active Duty

I thought the title apt as your daddy will be re-enlisting quite soon, thereby staying on active duty, and you little miss couldn't be kicking more if you were trying to impress FIFA (soccer reference).  I like to feel you move about, imagining you twirling and dancing.  You seem to sleep like me, always trying to find a comfy new position.  I was hoping you slept more like your daddy.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

Last night you did this thing where you must have been stretching rather than flipping because it was a firm and slower push against my arm.  But mostly you were causing my belly to do the wave.  Daddy couldn't really see it on skype and has since said he plans to keep his hands on my belly as often as possible just in case you move.  Please feel free to move often when we're sitting or lying.  I think us walking around attached like that might look funny and cause us to trip!

In a couple of days it will be exactly 3 months until you're "supposed" to be here.  Guesswork, all of it.  Feel free to drop out at any time around then.  If you're late then we'll just say you're fashionably late and we can discuss promptness when you're a bit older.  As long as you're here before Christmas (which is 4 months away!), we'll be fine.  Wouldn't want you to miss the lights and your mama fighting her exhaustion to bake, now would we?

You will be the best little gift this year.  And other than the little things I have in mind for your daddy (shhh... I'd tell you, but I fully expect you'd tell him), we're not doing gifts this year.  You are more than enough, my little one.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Baby, I like it when you dance around.  How you flip about as your daddy and I talk about our big dreams of getting out of the city and moving to some place where the wind blows the ancient trees.  Where we sit on the porch drinking sweet tea by candlelight while you ride your tricycle up and down the length of it.  Curling up in a window seat with coffee and watching snowflakes fall.  Plenty of room for sleigh rides and snow men and memories.

Who would have ever guessed my heart would change?  That I'd love the cafes and the noise of the city but dream of a tiny town where our family can grow wild like the garden I desire?  Where we walk to fish and pick wild berries.  Where Christmas means church and a big Christmas party with candles in every window and fresh wreaths on all the doors. And blazing fires in all the hearths.

We keep that in our minds, our dream oasis for the 3 of us.  We'll get there.  And you seem just as excited as we are. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One of our favorite poems in this home is by e.e. cummings and is called "i carry your heart."  We often sign off e-mails or letters with those sentiments.  So it struck me that perhaps that explains little miss's behavior.

You see, she seems to wake up usually when I'm speaking with G on skype.  Well enough that he's actually been able to see my stomach hop as she bumps around in there.  And since I carry him in my heart and carry her beneath my heart, perhaps she's getting to know him better than we imagine!

I hope so.  I hope to raise a daughter who admires her father, a true daddy's girl.  I hope that she and I are close, but I hope that by things like daddy daughter dates and time for just the two of them, to instill in her a special relationship with him.

I carry your heart G, and your daughter as well!  May you have an amazing relationship all your lives.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Annoyances and Worries

I'm supposed to call and schedule another ultrasound.  The reason is stupid and I don't really want to.  Basically, though the technician put that everything looked perfectly fine, because she couldn't take a clear picture of escargot's heart before (due to her screwy positioning), they want me to go back in.  Part of me feels like telling them it's not going to happen.  The heart sounds fine, it's looked fine, and I have to have ultrasounds later, so I'd prefer to postpone it until then.  If there is a heart problem there isn't anything we can do about it until she's here, so why not wait until she's a little bigger?

I have to go for another ultrasound near the end of my pregnancy because before my placenta was looking low.  G and I have been saying lots of prayers, because if it doesn't pull up, we'll be having a c-section, which is something I absolutely don't want unless it's 100% necessary.  However, if it's too low lying, it could kill me (hemorrhaging out) as well as put lil miss at risk, neither of which I want to do.

I've had such an easy pregnancy that this worry is so small.  I keep telling myself there is nothing I can do to change things if it doesn't turn out how I want.  It makes me sad, because once you've had this issue once, it's probably going to happen the next time.  I want to birth naturally and go home soon after, and because of this issue that may never happen.  It's frustrating, but once again, what can you do? :)

The most important things are: I live and lil miss comes out okay.  All the other stuff really won't matter as much.  But I'm praying and keeping my fingers crossed anyway!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dear Little Miss,

I whisper to you the names we're considering, seeing how they sound.  I test out songs with nicknames and imagine what you'll look like.  Only a little over 3 months to go, which sometimes shocks me.  Seems like it was just the other day I was at church and it hit me that I needed to get a test because I was suddenly positive I was pregnant.  Your daddy still thinks you're this little miracle, this laughing sprite from God. 

I pray over my belly.  I pray about the future, about the difficult years I know all parents go through, trying to balance love with lessons.  Your daddy and I talk about how to show you God, how to teach you the lessons we feel are important.  We talk about family prayer times and patience and love.  Mostly love.

Today we sat and discussed books to read to you.  I imagine read the "Anne of Green Gables" series, and planning a family vacation to Prince Edward Island.  Your dad talks of "Are You My Mother?" and "Where The Wild Things Are."  He wants to read you "Little Women" but doesn't want to step on my toes (he fell in love with it this last year, reading it for the first time).  I laugh and remind him it's long, and perhaps we'll all read it together, taking turns. 

I'm sitting here drinking coffee, waiting for you to wake up in an hour and a half or so.  It's your normal time, something I've gotten used to.  If I'm up later, such as at 4 a.m. that's another favorite time I can count on.  It's worrisome, because I know it's possible this will be a consistent thing once you're born, but luckily I'm a night owl and don't mind... we'll just try and be quiet so daddy can sleep.  Although, I'll warn you ahead of time, don't be offended if your crying doesn't stir him... he sleeps like a log. 

I'm in no hurry for you to arrive most of the time.  I like this time of preparation, this time to dream.  But when it gets closer I imagine I'll get antsy, wanting you to get here so we can finally see your little face. 

Love,
Mama

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Girly Girl

"She's gonna be a girly girl, " G says smiling.  And my heart melts.  This man loves "his girls" and can't imagine life differently.  "Hello Rose Marie!" he says, glimpsing my stomach.

She may indeed be a girly girl, but one thing is for sure: she's gonna be a daddy's girl.  I can already see her scrambling into his lap for stories and whispering secrets.  Butterfly kisses and twirling.  Tiny pearls and flowers in her hair.

We didn't care what you were gonna be, because we knew that who you would be is an amazing child.  But I think your daddy is thrilled at the idea of a little girl.  After all, he's expecting you to take after me, and we already know how much he adores me.  You're gonna have him wrapped around your tiny pinky in no time.

Who am I kidding, he already admits he is. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Marriage Proposal

G has been so goofy lately.  He's excited to come home to "his girls" and has been a little loopy.  Frequently he says, "Will you marry me and have my babies?"

Yes, always.

And even if I said no... isn't it a bit late? :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dear Petit Escargot,

Your mama is going to promise you something:  I will never, ever put you in a damn beauty pageant.  Take your pic and enter you in a beautiful baby contest? A possibility.  But "glitz" you up, spray tan you as an infant/toddler and put fake lashes and hair on you?  Um, not a cold chance in hell.

I am sure I will think you are the most beautiful thing in the world.  But that beauty will have a lot to do with your innocence, something these pageants seem to rob.  We'll have fun playing dress up, and I'll always let you try my chapstick or lip gloss.  But I want you to enjoy your childhood. 

I love you bunches. 

Love,
Mama

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sometimes I Get Sad Remembering The Sweet Things In Life

I remember... gardening in the backyard, taking flowers started in the basement and putting them out to grow in the sun.  Finding snails.  Discovering that the smell of peonies and hyacinth would eventually become like crack to me.  The sunlight filtering in through the huge tree.

I remember... sneaking quietly into her bedroom, opening jewelry boxes, her personal one that I wasn't quite free to rifle through, trying everything on, trying to put it back just right.  Sampling lipstick that smelled like a cosmetic in a way modern ones don't really anymore.  Trying her nail polishes.  Slipping into satin nightgowns and acting like I was a princess from someplace far away.

I remember... waking up to the smell of bacon and pancakes and knowing she made them especially for me.  I'd usually drink milk and sneak drinks of her black coffee. 

I remember... black and white films and windmill cookies and lazying the day about.  Learning to sew on plastic cross stitch things with yarn.  Watching her work her needle with her patterns. 

I remember... driving down to the lake early, ahead of the rest of my family.  Stopping to pick up turtles.  Sneaking in antiquing and ice cream cones with tiny plastic monkeys on top. 

My grandmama is 83 and it has begun to hit me that she may not live as long as my great-grandmother.  I don't handle the thought well.  G and I sit quietly, both of us crying, both of us having loved this woman.  I thank God for giving me more time, for not taking her a couple years ago. 

It is hard to realize that your daughter may never really know her.  The thing that used to keep me up at night now haunts my days.  I whisper to her about this woman.  I recognize that who I am has a lot to do with having wanted to be like her, in finding that our tastes are similar.  I hope to pass that on to this child. 

My heart is a bit broken today.  I keep reminding myself she's still here, and that we don't know the future.  But I just want to pause.  When I head back to see everyone in September I plan to spend quite a bit of time with her, trying to take in as much as I can.  My daughter may not get to know her by herself, but she will through me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

About 23 Weeks

I'm technically 22 weeks and 5 days I think.  Had a fall today, I'm going to have a huge bruise on my side, but so far so good.  She's flipping about as normal. 

This is a normal tank from Old Navy, I just ordered it in a L instead of a Medium, and it looks like I'll have plenty of room to grow with it!


I LOVE this new tank because the lines allow you to see the bump from the front, where my normal shirts don't!
I snapped these pics because I got my Gap order today of Maternity jeans and was so excited I snapped pics before realizing my hair was still a mess from sleeping.  But I mean, who cares?  I'm loving this belly!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Missing Your Daddy Today

You, lil miss, were kicking up a storm this morning.  I placed my hand on my belly and it was strong enough to cause my hand to jump.  At the same time I was listening to "L is for the way you look at me..." and trying hard to hold it together.  I miss your daddy.  I've made it thus far quite alright, but this last stretch has been a bit harder for both of us.  We each have woken up sad, having dreamt of the other.  And I feel bad for everything he's missing right now.  I console myself that you'll probably be even more forceful once he's back.

And on top of the kicking I finally realized what my sore esophagus was... heartburn!  I've never really had it before other than 1 time in college, and I felt stupid once I figured it out.  I don't mind it in the last, in fact I was excited.  Heartburn is scientifically linked to your chances of being born with a head of hair, so I hope it continues. 

You are the greatest thing I've done thus far in my young-ish life.  It's nice to just lie back and enjoy the ride, taking frequent naps, enjoying walks in the sun.  It's an amazingly fun time.  It'll be even better once your daddy is home.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Middle Names

G and I aren't choosing a first name until she's arrived and we kind of see what we think.  However, we decided long ago that each of our children would have 2 middle names.  For a girl this meant one of them would be Marie (which is mine, plus a lot of women in my family including my niece and my grandma).  Garret really liked Rose, so we decided rather than keep it in the pool for a first name to put it in the middle.  We like old fashioned names and the ones we've narrowed it down to we realized that Rose Marie as her two middle names would work for all.

So, he's now got her listed on his iPad app as Escargot Rose Marie.  It's stuck.  I'm hoping she likes it!
Little Miss Escargot R.M.,

I find myself wanting to always write little notes to you on here.  Notes for you to read later.  Maybe when you're a teenager and think the world is unfair and that I clearly am out to ruin your life.  (I do hope it never comes to that, but me planning to be a mother not a friend means it's quite possible.)

I watched a couple movies tonight and in them there were dads with daughters.  Your mama has been a crying mess all night.  Your daddy and I spend most of our time talking about you, picturing you and he on the beach next summer, watching the waves lap at your feet, flying through the air like a seagull.  I have never known a better man than your daddy, and he already thinks the world of us both. 

I'll write it here to keep for posterity: you seem to know when I'm talking to him.  Lately any time he and I talk you suddenly seem to fidget and move about right then.  No really kicking, just lots of movement.  Your daddy is convinced it's because you know he's "there."  I don't argue. 

I can promise that life will not always be rainbows and buttercups, but that you will be loved beyond measure.  We have waited for you for a very long time.

Love,
Mama

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Keeping Healthy

I did the math and realized I wasn't eating enough protein for my "delicate" condition.  Like, majorly not eating enough.  I've been drinking plenty of whole milk, eating butter, and whatnot, but still not getting enough with my lack of meat and beans (or even a bunch of eggs).

So I picked up some good full fat greek yogurt, some bacon, and some hamburger.  I'd love nothing more than a steak, but I eat them moo-ing, so it's a no go.  So I made hamburgers for dinner Friday night, ate it with portobello mushroom and provolone ravioli.  Those lasted through Saturday.  I've also been eating quite a bit of yogurt with some dried cranberries and pecan granola. 

This morning I had more yogurt, and then realizing that I'm off schedule (so, honestly have yet to sleep yet) and will be up for a while, I also fixed some mushrooms with a couple eggs.  I need to run to the store for more milk (they were out of the half gallons of my grass fed milk last time I went and the quart lasted a couple days), eggs for a quiche, and perhaps a roast for later in the week.

Besides protein I've been trying to really drink more water and I picked up some pressed (not from concentrate) cranberry juice.  I know I need to stay super hydrated for the fluids this little girl needs, so I'm pushing the fluids even more than normal. 

I wrote on my other blog that this child has kind of saved me from myself, and she definitely has.  I think in terms of what she needs rather than any sort of guilt associated with food.  I'm actually attempting to make sure I don't lose too much weight, because while she's apparently growing just fine, my energy levels have been low, and G has been pointing out that it's because she's getting all the nutrients and I'm not getting enough.  (so yes, in essence she's a beautiful parasite!)

I still have been eating plenty of fruit, coupled with a variety of veggies, but perhaps not enough veggies.  I'm still left with little appetite as a general rule, and eating more than just a little of anything seems to be nausea inducing.  So I graze.  Not habits that I like, but habits that seem necessary at this point.  I pushed it with the eggs this morning and am now having to sit still and hope they don't make an appearance.

I love keeping this blog.  I can't wait to look back on it later, to share it with our daughter, to tell her about all the things I was thinking at this time.  And to point out the necessity for good nutrition and plenty of rest!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sing Sweet Lullabies

I've spent the majority of this pregnancy thinking a lot, but saying little to this little child I carry.  Maybe people think it's odd, or cold, but we seemed to have an understanding (particularly because her little ears couldn't really hear until just recently).  So I might murmur to her occasionally, but overall I would use thoughts and touch. 

Well, now I've started talking to her quietly about her daddy, God, life, foods I can't wait until she can taste herself (a year from now).  I've found myself singing some of my childhood favorites like Somewhere Over The Rainbow aloud in the car, or making up little tunes as I walk about the house.  When I feel her getting restless and perhaps a little uncomfortable, I'll apologize, and turn over until I find a spot that seems to suit us both.

And G loves talking to the belly through skype.  He's in awe that I'm carrying a daughter.  We talk about rocking her and singing songs together as a family.  He talks about dancing with her in the kitchen while I cook, of the 3 of us dancing together, singing rock n' roll.

I'm over halfway there.  I'm at 21 weeks, measuring a bit bigger, and these next several months should be interesting (as she seems content to work her way back down to nestling in my pelvis... which for the record hurts).  But it's a sweet time, a time for just us two before she becomes a raging daddy's girl.  So I'll sing her lullabies as long as she wants. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dear Little Mlle. Escargot,

Your daddy is so in trouble.  I think he's more excited about a girl than I've ever seen any other man in my life!  We've already picked out a swimsuit for you for next summer for our trip to South Carolina.  It's yellow, and polka dotted and your daddy is super excited because it's got ruffles.  (I do hope you are able to meet his expectations as a girlie girl... with me as your mama I'm not really thinking this will be an issue.)  At 9 months next summer I am sure you'll have a blast watching daddy entertain you with waves and sandcastles.

We would have been thrilled no matter what, but we've both a little ecstatic about all the fun stuff girls have (boys sadly don't have as many accessories!).  Ruffles, tutus, hair flowers, little shoes... *sigh*.  Your daddy is already excited about the tea party factor (though who are we kidding, our boys will have tea parties too!).

You have definitely made my heart sing.  Our cup runneth over.

Love,
Mama and Daddy

Little White Lies

To insure that people (ahem, my mother) didn't hound me about the baby anymore, I sort of said we were done with trying to figure out the sex.  But I knew that I was going back this week to look one last time to see if I could find out for Garret.

I opened the envelope with G on skype, where he actually saw it first.  And then we were both crying and laughing because this woman is having a little girl!!!

I had sort of thought it would be a boy and so figured that I needed to get over wanting to put a baby in a tutu.  We didn't really care what it was, but let's be honest, girls just have more fun things!  So I'll be sewing little mary janes and making flower headbands and little dresses!  (although honestly, with my niece, I seriously have PLENTY of girls clothes!)

She's been very active today, I think from the excitement of us finally knowing it's a her!  Garret is hoping she looks just like her mama, and I'm excited to have a little daddy's girl.  Bring on the ribbons and pearls!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dear Sanctimommies,

I know, I know... you've had a child and you totally know what you're talking about.  However, this is my pregnancy and while I might ask your advice I don't want it unwarranted on things that are quite frankly none of your business.

First, coffee.  Why yes, I do drink it.  In fact, I might even have coffee or tea every day on a good week.  But I'm also these two things called well read and educated.  I know how much coffee (not just in cups, but in mg of caffeine) I should be able to have a day.  I don't tend to exceed that.  My kid seems to like caffeine and will probably be drinking it from an early age (mostly milk) just like I did.  No, it clearly didn't stunt the growth of myself or my siblings.  And hey, I'm even taking extra folic acid to insure even my small caffeine use doesn't hurt my child's development.  So back. the. hell. off.

Wine.  Oh yes, the one thing that will get your dirty looks quicker than you can finish ordering a glass.  This is a debatable topic, but I don't feel like debating you.  Suffice to say, I feel comfortable having a small glass every blue moon.  I abstained entirely my first tri-mester (when the beautiful brain is really forming), and have since hitting my second trimester had a few small glasses.  My husband and I plan to celebrate his homecoming with a glass of very nice champagne.  Just be glad that I'm not drinking the grey goose in the freezer!  I would just about kill for a bloody mary right about now, and am trying to figure out the best way to make a virgin version of mine.

If all goes well, I plan to have a natural birth, and be headed home in less than 6 hours after doing so.  I'm glad you loved your epidural.  But if you'd like to avoid a lecture on drugs and why they aren't a good thing I suggest you stop suggesting that I'm going to want them.  I may indeed, but I'm stubborn, and it's highly doubtful I'll actually asked to be transferred to a hospital to get them.

I think what I love most is that you guys come at me from both sides.  The crunchy ones are glad I'm planning to cloth diaper, breastfeed, stay home, and babywear, but holy hell, why am I not co-sleeping until they're 10?!?  The modern ones are thrilled I'm standing up for my rights as a mother, but holy hell how can I possibly give up my life and independence and not work and am I insane not birthing in a hospital?!?

I respect your right to parent as you see fit within the boundaries of the law.  If you ask my opinion I'll give it, but otherwise, to each their own.  So please grant me that same courtesy unless you'd like me to quit extending it as well. 

Love,
Moi

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thumpity Thump Thump

For a while I thought perhaps you only moved on screen because I hear that dang sonogram thing is loud.  Everyone kept asking me if I had felt you.  When I would respond no, they would tell me what it was supposed to feel like, as if I hadn't read it a billion times anxiously awaiting it.  I knew what it was supposed to feel like, and I simply felt nothing. 

I know my body well.  I take care of it, and I know it's sounds and gurgles and movement.  So last night (really 4:35 a.m.) when I felt like something had tapped my stomach from the inside I paused.  I moved the computer so it wasn't in the way, and I waited.  And then you did it again. 

It was delightful.  You had apparently chosen to skip the simple butterfly/little fishy type movements.  I was getting poked at, repeatedly.  When you quieted down later, I gently pressed in where you had been, massaging what had earlier been an excruciatingly painful abdomen muscle.  And as soon as I quit you began poking at me again, readjusting, settling in for the night.  I told your Daddy that you were either a very early bird or more of a night owl like your mama.  He's decided that you're probably a night owl... particularly because we do like our afternoon coffee, don't we?

Tonight you've poked and prodded a bit, and now I'm getting the gentle flipping/swimming movements I wasn't before.  It's nice to know you're in there.  It's weird to know I can feel when you're up and moving.  Just another 4 1/2 months Escargot, and you'll be here. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

20 Weeks

My body is changing bit by bit.  Fuller breasts, less defined waist, a little belly.  And then the next day I'll be less swollen.  In jeans I usually don't look pregnant at all (though my last pair is nearly done and I need to buy some maternity), but in dresses or skirts... whoa!  I hope I look pregnant because otherwise I just look like I've put on weight!  I need to get some form fitting tees to really start taking these picks more often that show it off!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It feels like it's happening all over again.  I sat in the bathroom today at the doctor's office just crying and crying until my face was ruddy.  All because this stubborn child has decided that they would prefer to be a yogi and sit cross legged with their feet up in their crotch the whole time.  They were moving a lot... just without uncrossing their legs enough to get a good look.

And the thing is I don't really care.  I wasn't sure I wanted to know anyway, and if G were here, he would have found out and I would have been in the dark.  But because he's gone, I'm finding out for him... or not.  Because I don't want to do anymore of these.  It feels like trying to get pregnant all over again.

When we were ttc before, it was hell.  If we told anyone, suddenly we were being asked all the time if we were (and this was after previously being hounded about when we were going to try for kids... horrific when you secretly are and it isn't working out).  I'm super cautious to not do that to friends because I know how painful it can be to smile and say "not yet" even though it's like a knife.  The well intentioned advice that stings.  The calls you send to voicemail.  The people who insinuate something might be wrong, when you really don't need to hear that.

So that's kind of how it is now.  People want to know.  But we won't.  Baby has clearly decided to keep us all guessing.  And seeing as how today almost had me in a puddle in the bathroom because I didn't want to have to tell anyone, I think it's for the best. 

Momentarily Giggling

So, if you're reading this, I expect you understand that at times things will be either awkward or TMI.  So, let's talk breasts.  Three things I did not know/understand before this pregnancy:

* Your breasts will hurt off and on the whole time.  If my nipples get hard (which for me happens with any coldness at all, and I'm cold often) they are tender enough I think G will get slapped if he touches them.  Why does no one mention they're like instant turn offs?

* Your areolas (the colored part) will get huge like saucers.  I have been calling them African tribe breasts for over a month now.  I'm going to go ahead and assume it's so that part sticks out so your near blind baby can find the spot.

* My boobs haven't gotten bigger so much as they've gotten fuller.  Imagine basically them becoming less soft and womanly and more round like someone with implants.

Which is what has me laughing.  I mean, who knew that all these women are walking around with what is essentially pregnant boobs they paid for?  Because they're aiming for youthful, but no youth is this full!  It made me giggle for quite a while.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dear Little One,

You sit low in me, probably asleep.  I'm watching Far and Away and finishing up your baby blanket.  It's now got a border on it and is nearly done.  Thank goodness I turned out to be a quick knitter... I've only really worked on this blanket a total of maybe 3 days.
I love watching this movie, even though most of it doesn't take place in Ireland.  It makes me dream of the day you and your siblings will be able to dig in dark earth and discover what it means to watch something you planted grow big and tall and feed you.  Your daddy and I each long for some land, to work it, to make it rich so that it feeds us well.
We talk about moving to a small village in the county Cork, but I'd be satisfied with being able to recreate that here.  Some horses, a cow or two, goats, chickens, ducks.  And a couple acres to plant things on.  Your mama was cutting down watermelon tonight because I'm pickling the rind.  Never having had it, I'm interested to see how it tastes.  I want these sorts of memories for you.  Us in the kitchen baking and canning.  Homemade jam on your homemade bread. 
I dream of a simpler life for us.  I hope you will appreciate the childhood we'll be trying to give you.  We already love you so much.

Love,
Mama

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Stubborn

Dear Petit Escargot,

Your mama and her tech spent about an hour today trying to get you to move and flash us your bits.  At first, you seemed to be curled up asleep.  Later, you might move an arm or a leg, but stayed curled into a ball.  Even getting a mild case of the hiccups seemed to not faze you in the least.  But I did get to see your heartbeat and though you firmly refused to give us a profile shot of your head, I did get one of you staring us straight on. 

And really, I'm okay.  I'd like to know for sure so I can start stocking up on diapers and swaddling blankets.  But it doesn't really matter.  For the beginning you'll wear a lot of white onesies.  And I have no problem putting you in either pink or blue regardless of gender (though your Daddy is leaning more towards a dark purple). 

However, whether you would like to stay in a ball or not, can you please come out of my pelvis?  That explains why my lower bit aches so much.  I'd appreciate you realizing your mama has a long torso with plenty of room for you to stretch out in. 

So, tomorrow, remember to smile pretty for the camera and do a little dance.

Love,
Mama

Friday, June 24, 2011

Click Clack

My fingers bend back and forth, knitting one stitch at a time.  I stare off, listening to a television show and am amazed at how quickly this blanket is coming together.  At this rate I could have several knitted before you ever arrive.

And I have a list as long as my arm of little baby things I'm planning to make you.  Little mitts so you don't scratch yourself, little socks and booties and cardigans I'm going to knit, babylegs I'll make from fun striped socks, baby blankets and sheets and mats I plan to sew, and a little cashmere bunny made from an old sweater I used to wear.  It feels natural, to make you things, to prepare for you with my own hands. 

We've bought you elephants, little lovies for you to grasp with tiny hands.  But it's the idea of painting a little elephant, a snail, a bunny to amuse you that pleases me most. 

This week is what everyone has been waiting for except me.  I already know you.  I can't feel you yet, and still we have the most delightful conversations about the adventures we will have.  I look for parks for us to run in.  I look for places that your daddy and I will show you as we help you get to know this big world. 

But for now the click clack of the needles is enough.  I'm in no hurry.  I already have you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hey You, In There

I tend to jokingly complain a lot about pregnancy stuff.  Not because I'm not excited but I don't want to be one of those holier-than-thou, glowy, aren't-I-amazing-doing-something-so-miraculous women.  Those types drive me nuts.  I always want to scream that women have been doing this since the dawn of time... I'm pretty sure you're not doing something you're gonna get much credit for.  Sure, we're growing humans (in a freaky mad scientist sort of way when you think about it), and it is miraculous... but it's nothing new.

However, you, yes, you, in there.  I kind of am in love with you already.  When no one else is around and I put my hands on my belly urging your insane dancing to finally make it's way to where I can feel it.  When we have our little talks about behaviour and food choices.  All those moments are just ours for now. 

Your daddy reads these posts and tears up.  So I'm certain that when he gets back he'll have his hands poking and pushing against your kicks and swirls.  He'll lean down close and tell you stories (don't believe the insane one about getting lost in the woods and nearly dying... he tends to exaggerate... a LOT...you'll probably inherit that) and sing to you and read you great words that men and women long ago wrote. 

We're both excited to just take our time with this.  I mean, sure, I'm more than a little excited about pushing you out and getting to kiss your little head.  But I'm in no hurry.  You just take your sweet time in there.  We'll be here when you come out.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dear Escargot,

Your Aunt Theresa visited this weekend.  She showed up on Friday to your mama having a flat stomach, and by the wee hours of Sunday morning there you were, apparently wanting to introduce yourself before she left.  Suddenly the bump is round and firm and higher up above my navel.

I'm just fascinated by you.  Not having a sister or close friend whose had a child makes me feel a little lost sometimes.  I was worried I was still so flat and not pregnant looking.  And now I just stare at my belly, and the way it come forward right in the middle, hard as if to say you're here to stay. 

We've still got quite a while, you and me... about 23-25 weeks unless you're early.  A lifetime!  But no worries, you just stay in there all you want.  I'm in no hurry to evict you yet.  As long as you play nice and don't jam me in the ribs too often as I fall asleep.

Love,
Mama

Monday, June 13, 2011

Opinions On Fertility

So, if you've followed along I've explained why the doctors I've spoken with have agreed that my cyst probably had quite a bit to do with us getting pregnant in a one shot fashion when other times it seemed hopeless.  G and I call it God's little fertility drug, and are actually glad we know about it.  Because it seems that perhaps there is a correlation between my body needing progesterone and getting pregnant.  Most people who have baseball sized cysts know about them (because apparently they hurt, mine didn't), and they usually are more of an issue rather than just quietly going away. 

That being said, this may be our only biological child.  I told G upfront that we'd go on a case by case basis, but I was only promising him 1.  We both want to adopt the world other children so it doesn't affect us being parents to a large brood, if we so choose.  However, it's good to know that if we do want another biological child, and we have fertility issues again, that then would be the time to discuss with the doctor progesterone shots. 

We were not planning to do anything medically about our fertility issues.  I've spoken to G about my feelings on it, and he agrees with me.  I feel that for some people there is a reason that their bodies can't seem to make it work, and I feel that with adoption as an option for us, that it isn't worth the risk to both my body and the child to try anything further than hormone shots.  IVF was not something I was willing to even consider.  The largest study on babies born through IVF (I believe done in Sweden) found a higher rate of birth defects and cancer rates.  I'm not willing to risk a higher rate of health problems for my child because of my desire to carry one.

Now, many people can say, "But you can say that because you're pregnant."  No, I have said this for the last 4 years, discussing it with G every time my cycle came, or every time we had what can be described as an very early term miscarriage.  I said these things even as I was trying to accept that I may never give birth to a child.  Perhaps I'm more accepting of life and my own limitations, but I was able to think about it rationally, and was lucky because I have an incredibly supportive husband.

Yes, we're happy that we now are having a child, and we may be lucky enough to have another some day.  But I'm also okay with the idea that this may be our one shot.  I will love all my children, no matter how God sees fit to give them to me. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Dear Escargot,

I cannot wait for you to meet your daddy!  He's one of the funniest people I know, in a goofy fun way.  I can already picture the two of you giggling together, playing tricks on your mama.  This morning he was waking up and said he didn't want to get up, and so he was going to hide in his room because he had an invisibility cloak (his blanket) and proceeded to hide under the covers.  He does this in a little kid way and it cracks me up every time. 

You're incredibly lucky, kid.  Forts and hide and seek and tickle wars are all in your future.  I've never met a man so loving before, and he is gonna be wrapped up right around your little finger.  I'm sure people will ask immediately when we're having a second, but I'm pretty sure between the two of you I'm gonna have my hands full!

One of the reasons I knew your daddy was it for me was how big his heart is.  He just loves me unconditionally and I wanted a man like that to have a family with.  So all the mess from indoor water fights and bubble bath splashing and playing airplane and having things get broken will be worth it.  The two of you will be happy and giggly and that is all a woman can ask for.

Love,
Mama

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Practice Makes For Lessened Fears

Okay, so, um... yeah.  I've been wondering lately what on earth God was thinking making me a mother.  I mean, I'm kind of selfish.  Not in the "needs to grow up" way, but in the "I like my own time and money to spend on myself" sort of way that many adults I know do.  And I'm that non-mother who totally judges other parents in public.  For the record I am that person who kids flock to, and I generally find them adorable.  But if your kid is tearing apart a store or restaurant while you ignore it (and the child) completely I reserve the right to judge and stare.  Don't even get me started on parents who I see verbally abusing a small child...that calls for me weighing the option of prisons.  And I worried that a baby screaming, either upset or in joy, would make me jump out of my skin.

But yesterday I spent the afternoon at my friend's in-home daycare (that's the most professional in-home daycare I've ever seen...it's upper age is run more like an awesome pre-school...no wonder the parents don't seem to want their kids to age out).  I spent my time in the baby room with 4 babies all under 1.  I was in freakin' heaven!  I played with the babies.  I changed the babies (including one with snap cloth diapers).  I fed a baby who is at the stage where she doesn't want to take the bottle, but I got her to drink over 3/4 of it.  At one point I had one baby in my arms and I reached down and scooped up another who spent the afternoon playing "escape artist." 

And there was screaming.  One in particular did not like being woken up, so she clung close and just bawled.  And then when I went to change her she just cried harder.  But, we got it done and suddenly she was all about smiling at me every time she saw me.  And there was plenty of joyful screaming as well.  Not a bit fazed me in the least.  I told my friend, "I think this is reassuring me I won't suck as a mom."  She just laughed and asked why on earth I had been thinking that... she's seen me with her 2 year old who thinks I'm the best thing since sliced bread. 

I'm learning that I don't have to be super mom to be a good mom.  I'm not a bad pregnant woman simply because I've chosen this period to spend a bit of money and time on myself.  And I still have doubts.  I've not gained much weight and I realized today that my pants are once again a bit loose so I'm panicking a bit.  And I've already realized the guilt after a sip of wine as my once very scientific mind begins to worry I've screwed my kid up even though I know it's not really possible no matter what the mommy-police like to say.  But overall I think, "I can do this.  I'm going to rock as a mama." 

Monday, May 30, 2011

In Stitches

I think it's normal... this need to create something for your child.  To make it more real.  So yesterday afternoon at a little after 3:30 I began to knit a baby blanket.  Throughout the evening I've knit and knit and knit, and now, 12 hours later I have almost exactly 12 inches of blanket.  I set a goal to finish it by the end of June.  Something tells me by then I'll have a blanket and a little sweater and socks and booties.  I've found knitting to be very calming, easy to focus on... until my hands start to hurt, which is why after 12 hours I'm taking a break (not that I knit for 12 hours straight, I did have driving and eating in there as well!). 

Maybe it's early nesting?  Because I also have begun writing down all the things I want to sew beforehand too.  Blankets, burp cloths, crib sheets, hooded towel, the list just goes on and on and on.  I've always felt best when I'm creating and I'm finding this time it's more than true.  My brain is constantly on go, trying to think of things to do.  And as soon as my energy level get a bit higher, maybe I'll succeed! 

For the blanket I learned to knit in the round on attached needles.  Turns out so simple, and I've also already learned the stitches I'll need in order to make socks and such.  If I can get it all done ahead of time that will give me plenty of time in the end to rest.  Right? 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fears and Fury

My biggest fear is having this child and something happening to me or Garret.  We've had to talk about wills and who we would want to raise our children and it's this huge complicated thing.  Because I would never leave my child willingly, so the idea of having no choice is terrifying.

It makes me so angry at people who walk away from their kids for selfish reasons.  I just don't get it.  And if you're gonna walk away, then walk the hell away and don't complicate their lives by trying to have a part with no responsibility.  That sort of person is so low in my eyes. 

So much swirling in my head right now.  I started this blog to keep G up with the baby as well as eventually to print it out for our child to have.  I know that we'll have little failures in our parenting, but we're both planning to strive to really truly raise a child who knows without a doubt that they are loved, valued, and that we care about their feelings and opinions.  Parisienne Farmgirl wrote such an excellent post on listening to your children that I read it aloud to G over skype.  And we discuss things like the morals and qualities we hope to instill in our children, how hard it will be, but how very important it is to raise that sort of child.

Preparing for all of this has put me in a different state of mind.  G feels the same.  Suddenly poor parenting decisions stand out even more to us.  And when I see a parent out in public parenting well I want to applaud them.  It won't be easy, but seeing children who behave well and are kind makes me think that it's worth the strife. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dear Escargot,

Your mama and you need to have a talk.  Clearly you got my point about spicy food as we've been enjoying salsa galore as well as Indian curries.  However, may I please state that China and India are both Asian countries your mama likes to sample the wares of?  Because you seem to hate Chinese food with a vengeance.  And whether or not you like broccoli, little one, you will be eating it.  Don't even think about arguing. 

Also, what on earth is up with an excellent first trimester with at most a couple of weeks of "morning sickness," followed now by nausea in the second.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I understand hormone fluctuations and that this is probably a good sign of you health.  But for real?

How about we make a deal?  I'll get more sleep (because clearly I need to), and you keep that nausea to yourself?  Ok?

Love,
Mama

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dear Little Escargot,

Wow!  We made it to the second trimester.  And I finally feel like eating again, though I'm still grazing mainly on fruits and carbs.  You did really seem to like the scrambled eggs with crimini mushrooms and asparagus, so I've picked up more things for that.  And of course, spicy salsa seems to not cause any issues at all, thank goodness!

Daddy says his program says you're about 3 inches long.  Uber tiny.  I can't wait to see you next week, dancing around, and maybe finally hear that heart of yours! 

It's true Daddy and I are worried about the changes you'll bring.  We want to be the best parents for you, and that is going to require making sure we make time for us.  Luckily I think we'll get good at bringing you along for dinner, and a bit later we have friends who are just dying to watch you for an evening.  (They're a wee bit excited for you to get here!) 

I'm amazed that suddenly you're little home in me is starting to push out a bit.  Mama and jeans are an interesting combination.  Some fit, some don't, some are still loose.  But it's okay.  It's dress season!  And I really, I don't mind you growing one bit.

You are an amazing thing, kid.

Love,
Mama

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mon Petit Escargot,

I truly hope that God grants you the virtue of patience in a larger dose than he granted me.  In fact, it is definitely one I hope to instill in you, and I'll soon be looking up ways to do so.  Because your mama is the most impatient person of all....which highly contradicts with her desire to make things last as long as possible.

I cannot wait to smell your sweet skin.  I even can't wait to change diapers.  I can't wait until they place you in my arms and I feel this weight in my arms that is love overflowing.

But, in keeping with my impatient nature I can't wait until the coming years either.  The first time you "cook" me something in your play kitchen.  The first thing you color me that I display proudly.  The first time we play hide and seek when you're still young enough to not know that sometimes mamas prolong the seeking part.  The first time I hear you read part of your bedtime story.

I'm looking down that road and I am thrilled beyond anything I can even comprehend.  This journey can take as long as it needs to, with as many twists and turns.  In the end, no matter what, you will be perfection personified. 

Love,
Mama

Friday, May 13, 2011

Less Caffeine

I have not given up caffeine altogether (believe me, you would not like the blogger I would be if that were the case).  Instead I know that technically I'm allowed 2-3 cups of coffee a day.  So instead, I opt for a chai tea latte (has less caffeine than a cup of coffee, even at the largest size), or a half decaf half regular cup.

And tonight was the real test.  I headed to Starbucks to get out of the house and read some more of Jane Eyre and I had a free drink postcard from them because of my birthday (and because I'm a gold card member who rocks.....In the last month I've had another free drink as well as a free treat....mmmmm caramel bar).  I looked at the menu.  I thought, "I should get a chai."  But I wanted something different.  So I calmly ordered a half decaf mocha, the largest size.  I figure that means no more than half of it was reg. which is no more than I'm allowed.  And it was delicious and gave me the energy boost I needed.

Because without some caffeine I wouldn't be functioning these days.  There is a reason most of my get togethers with friends involves caffeine....I'd be asleep otherwise!  For instance, I'll wake up at 12:30 p.m., do nothing much,  be tired by 2/2:30, but thinking "this is ridiculous" and refuse to nap, maybe make it to 7, take a nap for a few hours, then be up until 1:30/2 a.m. and repeat.  Add that up:  that makes me up for about 10 hours a day, versus the normal person's 16-18.  But I know it's important to get sleep to grow this little snail, so I do it, but within reason.  Because there is a damn good reason my house always seems to be messy lately.  I do one task and am ready for a nap!

Still, caffeine can cause problems, so I cut back.  I add water and juice to help dilute it in the baby's system.  But for a coffee and tea lover, to ask me to quit would be insane.  And from what I've read, wholly unnecessary.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why Glee Makes Me Cry

Glee is such an over the top show.  They are trying to fit a million stereotypes into a series, and hey, whatever.  The thing is I was that girl in high school who pretty much got along with everyone.  Sure, we had disagreements, but I was never bullied, and I sure as hell wasn't the one torturing someone else.  But I've seen friends who had nasty things said about them, and friends who were the ones saying the horrible things.

Tonight's episode, Prom, was really interesting to me.  I never saw that much drama in my own high school experience, but I know it goes on.  And it makes me worry for this child of mine.  Will I raise them well?  Will they stand up for those who are being bullied?  Will they stand tall if something is said about them?  Will they know that high school is just a bull shit phase of life, and that only the most sad people look back on it and think it was the best days of their lives?

I've told my brothers that life after high school only gets better.  When you step out into the real world you don't have to conform as much to your peers, that you get to choose who you are with less repercussions.  Sure, workplace rules are something else.  But whether you secretly harbor a love of cheesy pop music generally doesn't matter to anyone.  And whom you love, to those who matter, is only up to how they treat you rather than who they are.

I was a theatre and choir kid, and my husband was a band geek (he played drums, for those interested), and no, not until our final semester did we really hang out.  We did do Science Knowledge Bowl together.  We are both kinda wicked smart.  But you know what?  Those things really have nothing to do with our lives anymore.  I chose to walk away from acting for what I consider a more "normal" life, and G has not yet been permitted to start a band that practices in our basement.  I've looked back on photos of us from high school and it just makes me laugh.....like a good wine, we've both gotten much better with age.

I want this child to know that.  To know that no one defines who you are.  That sometimes the place you're in can feel restricting, but if you just take a leap of faith and move on, you can move into a place where you are who you are without caring what others think.  I worry about the kids these days.  I worry that no one is telling them that.  That they rock, and if the place they're in can't recognize that in them, then they can roll right along to a place that does.  Life is too short to try and fit into a box that isn't you.