Wednesday, July 27, 2011

never the same again

One of my favorite things is coming home to Shea, making a dinner of random leftovers (first step, check for mold) and watching four episodes of whatever show from two years ago we're watching through Netflix until we fall asleep on the couch.

Or the days we carpool to work, and on the way home we eat dinner at whatever restaurant we drive by that looks appealing.

Or when we get up early to run at the gym together. You know, before the pregnant.

Or Saturday mornings when we sleep in, he brings me pancakes in bed, and we leisurely run errands the rest of the day - just enjoying the Target aisles.

Or when we take trips because we saved up enough points or found a good airline deal, and find the most random, local things to do. Like cave tubing in Belize, pizza-eating in Breckenridge, mountain biking in Arkansas, presidential estate touring in Nashville or sushi-eating in San Francisco.

It was reflecting on the awesomeness of marriage that led to the biggest pregnancy meltdown thus far. Because folks, I really love my marriage. My non-baby, just-us marriage.

This whole baby thing is on purpose, and this boy is going to be loved to the moon and back. And I feel overwhelmingly blessed and lucky to have this little baby coming our way. But his coming also means the closing of yet another chapter. When we got married, I had that knot in my stomach and frequently teared up about the transition from daughter to wife. I read a book about not only the craziness and joy of weddings but the side feelings of grief as a woman transitions into her new identity. 

Transitioning to motherhood has got to be an even bigger switch. They say 80 percent of new mothers experience "baby blues" with 15 percent of those actually diagnosed with postpartum depression. So it's not a transition that just comes easily to all women.

I know that in a few weeks it will seem like we've always been parents. And we won't want to be watching Netflix on the couch but will be staring into a crib in awe of what we created. And I know that I'll love Shea even more because he's the father of my child.

But for at least tonight, I'm going to fall asleep on the couch with my head on Shea's chest. And no matter how many days we have as just the two of us, I'll cherish every single one of them.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

37 weeks

Baby boy,

Congratulations! We can now label you full term, though every day you stay put is more time for your body to prepare for the shock of the outside world. This weekend we thought you might be coming. Mama had contractions for a good 12 hours - not timeable but enough to prompt us to finish packing our hospital bags and realize we needed to actually get that infant car seat. So now we're a bit more ready and way anxious to meet you.

Besides starting to feel contractions and some wicked back aches, your mama is swollen. The never-ending, weeks-long heat warnings are not helping. I can't really bend over and getting out of bed or off the couch is a site to see. I am convinced God made the last weeks of pregnancy uncomfortable and challenging to ensure labor isn't scary but instead, a very welcome event.

You're fully engaged now, and we found out last week we were 50 percent effaced. We'll go again Thursday to find out what progress, if any, we've made this week. Our midwife and your Grandpa are out of town until Friday so stay put at least until then. Daddy guessed your arrival would be July 30 and then seemed shocked to realize that's this Saturday. He just started a brand new job this week and your mother got promoted but is still working both jobs. Our life is changing so fast!

We'll continue impatiently waiting for your arrival. Come out when you're ready... but seriously, you've got three weeks left on your lease.


Monday, July 25, 2011

the final shower

We had our last baby shower last weekend thrown by my "other moms." I'm lucky to have a not-really-related but really awesome extended family that love me, Shea and baby boy so much already.

I got to spend four whole nights at home with my mom and grandma complete with lunching and pedicures.

Saturday morning the shower started with a brunch of tasty scones, fruit slushes, sausage and egg muffins and of course, cupcakes.
The ladies attempted to guess my size using ribbon. Something special for the baby book! We were blessed with so many gifts - lots of adorable clothes and a few extra special handmade items from some talented guests.
The hit of the shower, however, had to be from Jim, our glass blower friend, who made me a breast pump. Jim and Carolyn found an old box in their house with the Wellington breast pump label still attached. Jim then made a replica label and this scarily accurate model of the real thing. After bringing it home, the hubs was temporarily excited that we could save $250 and not buy the real thing.

Saturday was the best I've felt in months. So loved. So beautiful in my whale-like glory. The gifts are nice. The reminders of love and support are even better.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

the great car seat fiasco

We try to be responsible parents. I researched our car seat religiously. Then I researched it all over again when they came out with the new guidelines despite the fact these rules would have meant I would have been in a car seat with a five-point harness through middle school.

Our hospital does free car seat installation and inspection so we went. And it was 115 degrees, maybe hotter in the steaming parking garage. I had a migraine and the baby was punching me in the hip.We forgot to bring the instruction manual.

The first thing the team of FOUR nurses tell us is "stop storing 25 softballs in your backseat." This deteriorated my mood even further as I glared at the hubs for even thinking of putting his softballs in the back of his nine-month pregnant wife's car who is clearly going to get rear ended on the way home and be pelted to death.

Then our seat seems to baffle the nurses even though one of them purchased this seat for her own children. The straps were wrong and twisted. It won't fit in the middle seat. Finally we get it installed, rear-facing, with the help of some swimming noodles. (Please tell me how plastic noodles are allowed but blankets behind his butt are not.) However, the passenger seat has to be so far forward that any passenger, even a midget without legs, would be too close to the air bag to sit.

Hubs: "So, you're basically saying that if we both want to ride in the front seat we should just swaddle him and hold him in our laps?"

Nurse (looking horrified): "No!"

She apparently didn't like our car seat, our softballs or our humor.

I got back to my researching ways this morning and find this is a big problem in all Mazdas. Seriously? We have a normal sedan. Now, despite my absolute aversion to extra stuff we have to get an infant seat. Which, I know will come in handy especially in the winter when I don't want to figure out how to wear the baby with my down coat. And if he's safer, we'll spend anything.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

36 weeks

{Donnert Photography}

Baby boy,

By the end of this week, you'll be considered full-term. You're gaining an ounce per day. PER DAY. You've been moving around less - mostly jabbing your elbows and knees toward the end of the day. Your lungs are continuing to mature but otherwise you are pretty ready.

Your mother is feeling pretty ready, too. We're in a heat wave, and everyday it's reaching upwards of 115 degrees heat index and has been for more than a week with no hope until August. This causes much swelling and general crabbiness. Some days are fabulous and some days my back hurts, and I feel like I'm carrying watermelon between my legs. My body feels run down now, and just tired, tired, tired. If there is a wall to hit at the end of pregnancy, consider mine squarely hit.

We had a fun weekend with people who love you so much already. Our small family is very, very blessed. Now that the baby showers are done, we get to shop for the rest of the items we need before your arrival. We framed your nursery art and Daddy's working on refinishing your toy box which used to be mine. Tonight we're getting your car seat installed and inspected.

We took some fun pictures to remember our time together the last nine months. You weren't too fond of the close up flashes and let me know it with some swift kicks to the ribs. As uncomfortable as pregnancy seems now in these last four weeks, (four, what?!) it's been such a beautiful process, dark-line, swollen fingers, popping belly button and all. We've seen a little preview but we're super excited to see the rest of the photos from our favorite photographers.

Here's to a week that will no doubt be full of sweaty clothes, swollen appendages and fitful sleep but also preparation, excitement and uninterrupted cuddling.

Love you little one.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

perfectly smushed

Face. Frowning at us because he would prefer not to be poked and prodded to wake up.

Smashed face, like if you put your face up to a window and took a pic.

Fat fingers covering right eye. Adorable face.

Profile of his mama's nose and lips. 

The little boy was less cooperative today and absolutely refused to remove his hand from his face to give his parents a good look at his cuteness.

The good news is he has a small head and corresponding small body (about 5 lbs 8 oz) but nothing abnormal. He was sleeping during the whole ultrasound until the tech brought in a sonogram alarm clock which ended up waking me up more than him. He did give us a few yawns and opened and closed his eyes. He has a full head of hair and is definitely still a boy.

All parties including medical professionals agree he's got a lot of his mother's facial features and both parents' super fat fingers. He's super smushed in there, head down and feet up.

I'm not dilated yet and only about 30 percent effaced so no baby probably in the next two weeks, which is good. We prefer our newborns fully cooked. His head is dropped but not engaged which explains the fact that every time I stand up I feel the head falling like a stroke of lightning.

We're looking at a 6 1/2 - 7 lb baby, or so says the completely inaccurate guessing system.

Whatever he looks like or how ever much he weighs, I can tell - he's just perfect.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

35 weeks

Baby boy,

Feeling a bit cramped in there? You're over five pounds now and running out of room. Your kicks seem less frequent, instead your foot bulges out on my side or I feel your arm scrape across my lower region. My stomach routinely looks like a tidal wave. You're pretty much developed now and are just putting on weight so that you can keep yourself warm when you enter the world.

Since discovering you've settled down low in mom's body, I've been up every two hours to pee during the night. It's become a fun game of counting - six times in seven hours is the record.Still getting contractions which are slightly more painful than just pressure. My appetite has really slowed but thankfully no heartburn since you moved downward. I'd take lightning to the crotch any day over the horrific heartburn that we were so blessed to only deal with for a few weeks. Mama's hands are swollen (no doubt because of this 100-plus degree heat wave we're having), and I can't count on wearing my wedding rings everyday.

This week we begin our weekly (invasive) doctor appointments. Pregnancy is a humbling experience. Though we're especially excited for tomorrow's appointment when we get to see your face again! We haven't seen you since week 19 so it's hard to imagine what you'll look like now.

We're making progress on your room. You've got a crib, and many of your clothes and towels are washed. This weekend we'll have our last shower and then go shop for whatever else you need.

Five weeks or less, little man. Your mama has got to get to work!

Love you,

Monday, July 11, 2011

the making of a crib

We finally got around to putting together our crib. Supposedly we have a baby coming in five weeks or less so we figured it might be time. Luckily summer roommate Ashley was around to crawl around on the floor and hold heavy mattress rails while I supervised.

Proud of themselves.

Ashley and I worked on the mobile we got on sale from Pottery Barn Kids.

We still have much to do but I'm totally in love with this room already. At least this corner of it.

Creature underneath crib not included.
Next up: framing our art and stripping and painting the toybox. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

the doctor and the wasp

Today we got two biggies checked off the to-do list.

1. I am fully registered for birthing.
I had to fill out a packet of paperwork for the hospital but then had a 20-minute call with maternity admissions to go over things like if I've ever had polio. (I have not but most definitely giggled when they asked me. No offense to anyone who has had polio, especially Mr. Roosevelt.) They were very supportive of natural birth and noted in my charts that a nurse will be assigned that could help me achieve that goal.They will also help with breastfeeding and even have outpatient help available once I'm home.

Also, valet parking IS available as long as I come in during normal working hours. Hopefully baby heard that.

All I have to do is sign consent forms when I come in and then push a baby out. No problem, right?

2. We have a pediatrician.
The office has both well and sick child waiting rooms and then a teen room. We were told to wait in the teen room which all I could think was people are totally judging us, those damn 16-year-olds getting knocked up.

We met our doctor, who we both felt comfortable with, and answered all of our random questions.

- We need a rectal thermometer despite newborn class teacher saying we don't.
- Swaddling should only be done until baby is four months old. Then, no more.
- They do the kind of circumcision that requires less after care. Every time I think about this happening, I feel like someone is punching me in the gut. I think this might mean I'm becoming a real mother.
- No baby powder. Baby powder is bad.
- The pediatrician will visit us while we're in the hospital everyday and then we'll see her a couple days after being home since we're breastfeeding. Then, the big check-up is after two weeks.

Shea also tested out the doctor's bedside manner by making her look at my wasp sting.
This morning I was taking out the trash in the rain. Then a huge, ugly wasp stung me on my forearm causing me to scream, which made the dog start screaming, which caused me to drop the trash all over the porch. So there I was, sobbing hysterically with wet hair, a huge pregnant belly and chicken juice all over my flip flops. I did the only logical thing and burst into the bathroom where the hubs was taking a shower, and in between sobs/hiccups, told him my sad story. 
The doctor looked at my arm and said to put baking soda paste on it. As we were leaving, she yelled down the hallway, "don't let her take out the trash anymore!"

Hopefully the baby boy doesn't need a lot of medical care. I do worry about his mother.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

at least we can swaddle

Our childbirth class came with a free newborn care class. Because free knowledge is good, we dragged our tired, swollen selves to the hospital. The instructor was the same quirky one from our fear factor childbirth class.

The first hour was a repeat except for some horrific pictures of a newborn getting ointment slathered on his poor little eyeballs after birth. And a description of circumcision. And pictures of different kinds of baby poop. Newborns are so much fun!

The second half of the class, though, shifted to hands-on learning - burping, holding, (disposable) diapering and swaddling. Shea, having the spatial skills in this parenting team, was a successful swaddler of our very large baby with unbendable legs.

He's adopted.
Very proud of himself, Shea demonstrated his skills at home.

Luckily our baby won't be born with a healthy set of claws and incisors.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

34 weeks

Baby boy,

We're down to crunch time..literally. You're the size of a cantaloupe and moving around like a mad man though I have no idea how considering your cramped home. You respond to daddy's voice with kicks and rolls, which is my new favorite thing.

I went to the doctor last week and talked about how things in my belly seem different. LOTS of pressure really low, no more heartburn, more tired, more fluids and stronger Braxton Hicks. So our midwife did a little pushing on my stomach and found your head waaaay down in my pelvis. I'm probably dilated a bit, too, but we decided to wait for the 35-week appointment to check. She thinks we'll be meeting you sooner than our due date, though!

This news made us very excited and frenzied. My only request is that you hang on for at least July 30. Then at least your lungs will be fully cooked and our midwife will be in town for good. Daddy would really like you to come on that day because he'd win $50. Plus, I think his heart might burst if he has to wait any longer to meet you.

Your mother is remarkably more tired (and considerably more forgetful) this week. After running two errands Saturday morning, I slept for three hours. When grocery shopping Sunday, we had to stop multiple times mid-aisle to wait for a stronger practice contraction or groin pain to pass. Sleep is elusive most nights as I either wake up sweating and have to put cold washcloths over my face or my hip joints and legs hurt ache enough to wake me up. It's all good though because each ache is one step closer to meeting you.

We love you,