Monday, December 31, 2012

2012, A Year In Review

What a year it's been.  Wow.  My Notie Kari said this would be my year - I hoped she was right, but I doubted her.  Sometimes it seemed like too much to hope for, the idea that all my hopes and wishes would come to fruition.  But she was right.  2012 was my year.  My best so far. 

It started off with me in a funk.  I was sad and depressed - there'd been no proposal from Jimi at Christmas, and I wasn't pregnant.  I didn't see either scenario changing any time in the near future, and I sank into a quagmire of feeling sorry for myself.  My body was broken and my sweetheart wasn't in any hurry to make me his wife.  Woe was me.

Winter wasn't all bad, though.  Stacy had a baby in January, and watching her grow has been amazing. We babysat her when she was just over six months old and starting to move around, and in a true dumbass moment, we left her alone on our bed - and she rolled off of it onto the floor. *facepalm* She survived without damage, though. Thank goodness. A few weeks ago, I got to be the first to hold her one Saturday morning, and she wrapped her little arms around my neck and hugged me so tight - my heart melted all over the floor. If it felt that amazing to get that love from my niece, I can't imagine how it'll feel to get the same from my own child.

In February, I spent a weekend in Nashville with Kim, Tracey, and Angela.  It was the first time I've done a girls' weekend, and it was a total blast.

I don't know exactly when my mood started to lift, but when I look back on the year, it feels like the sun came up at my birthday.  Jimi knocked it out of the park - a great gift (Kindle Fire) that was completely unexpected, and a surprise overnight trip to Indianapolis to stay at a swanky adults-only hotel specifically designed with lovin' in mind.  (Sybaris - if there's one near you, GO!  I can't encourage it enough.  It's amazing.)  It was only one night, but it's amazing what one full night of concentrating on nothing but your partner can do for a relationship - it felt like we reconnected.  I think my mind reset itself, and remembered to focus on the awesome that we have together every day, rather than the idea of how I'd come to believe it had to be in order for complete happiness to exist.  I felt the stress fall away, the pressure fade, and I fell in love all over. 

During the winter and spring, I attended boot camp classes, the last round with Melinda, and as I saw my body changing, I started to gain some self-confidence.  If I couldn't get pregnant, I could at least get a rockin' hot body.  I was becoming comfortable in my own skin, moreso than I'd ever been in my life, and I felt good.  I felt strong. 

In May, we went to the Kentucky Derby with my Daddy, and I cashed my first-ever winning ticket.  I was saddened by the state of my Daddy's health - I hadn't realized before then how hard it is for him to breathe well - but we had a good day and I enjoyed it very much. 

At the beginning of June, we went on our first (of two) canoe outing of the year - a six-mile float down the Elkhorn River.  I'd sworn the previous year I'd never canoe the Elkhorn again, and I should've followed my first impression - the water level was terribly low and we probably carried our boat 3 miles out of the six.  It was a long, exhausting day, but I was strong from boot camp and felt like a badass hauling that boat around the rocky dry river.

Days after our canoe trip, I got the shock of a lifetime.  The night before I expected my usually-regular period to arrive, I put my hand on my lower belly and thought about how much I would love to find out I was pregnant, and I felt something.  It wasn't a physical movement or anything, but more like a mini-explosion inside the spot where my hand lay.  I don't know how to describe it.  If you could imagine the way it'd feel to be touched with a magic wand, maybe that's what it'd be like.  I fell asleep thinking maybe this month would be it, but I didn't dare allow myself to get hopeful.  When I woke the next morning, Jimi was in the shower downstairs.  I couldn't resist - I took one of the pregnancy tests I kept on hand out of the bathroom closet and went to the upstairs bathroom to do my monthly pee-on-a-stick routine, not expecting results to be any different than they'd been each month for the previous year.  When that second faint line showed up, I couldn't believe it.  No Fucking Way!  I kept staring at it, waiting for my vision to clear and my eyes to right themselves and show me that my wishful thinking was causing me to imagine things, but that second line stayed.  My stomach turning and heart racing, I made my way to the downstairs bathroom, where Jimi was still in the shower.  "Baby?" I said as I opened the shower curtain and held out the stick, "I think maybe I'm pregnant."  He wiped the water out of his eyes to look at what I was showing him.  I think we were both afraid to get too excited - we'd been through this before and it had ended in heartbreak.  But this was different.  This time wasn't that time.  I'm sitting here typing this with aching wrists and numb fingers caused by pregnancy-induced Carpal Tunnel, occasionally patting or rubbing my swollen belly where I'm growing our baby girl, and I'm reminded just how very different things are this time. 

The next few months passed in blur - I spent longer than I should have terrified of miscarriage, so I stopped working out (I didn't want to take any chances, and sitting on my ass seemed like the best way to not shake her lose from my womb) and tried my best to make the right choices for the child I was desperately hoping to carry to term.  I thought of our baby as a conditional maybe, not a sure thing.  That mind set started to shift once we saw her heartbeat on ultrasound at 9 weeks, July 19, 2012.  She already had arms and legs, and Jimi swears she did the cabbage patch while on camera.  At 18 weeks, in the middle of September, we saw her profile, her heart and brain, and learned, to my surprise, that she's a girl.  Getting a clean bill of health that day, and learning that all of her pieces and parts were accounted for and working properly gave me permission to stop thinking of her arrival as a possibility and instead start focusing on the fact that I'm finally going to be a Mom, and I'm still blown away by the fact of it. 

My pregnancy has been a dream.  I had no morning sickness, and until the last few weeks, I hadn't experienced any negative side effects at all.  I had a few weeks early on where I was an emotional wreck at work - I spent some time each day out in our parking lot, crying amongst the trailers - but after that passed, my disposition mellowed and I've been happy and content.  Jimi even joked with his sister once that I've been so happy and pleasant since becoming pregnant, maybe he'd just have to keep me knocked up all the time.  It's the relief, though, that's made my mood better.  I'm not broken.  My body works the way it's supposed to - I can get pregnant and make a person!  The weight of not knowing that fact was so heavy, it tainted every part of my personality, and altered my normally-cheerful disposition so subtlely, yet so completely, it was like night and day when the weight was finally gone. 

Finding out we're expecting was the only the first of two awesome, life-changing events that happened in 2012, though.  Knowing we were about to become parents, of course the topic of marriage came up again.  One night in August, I asked Jimi about his intentions - "I thought you said you wanted to wait until after the baby?" he replied.  "You obviously misheard me, then.  I want to get married before this baby comes - I want us to all have the same name.  It's very important to me."  We set a date, made some quick plans, ordered some custom bands, and in the middle of September headed off to a cabin in the woods of Gatlinburg, TN for a week of rest and relaxation - and got married on our first full day of vacation.  We were married by a preacher, in a gazebo in his backyard, at his house in the mountains, with our dog at our side, and raindrops falling at a steady pace all around us.  Finn desperately wanted to check out the woods and strained at his lead the entire time; his back end is all you see of him in the few pictures the preacher took with the camera we borrowed from Stacy.  Our vows were not traditional, but covered all of the bases, and we were given a copy and told to re-read them to each other each year on our anniversary, so that we don't forget the promises we've made to one another.  The rest of our vacation/honeymoon was terribly relaxing and exactly what we needed.   We spent lots of time in the hot tub, enjoying the contrast of the warm water and the cold raindrops.  We shopped at the outlet malls and spent a full day driving in the mountains, exclaiming over and over again at the breathtaking views.  We shared an apple dumpling on the main drag in town, and explored the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum.  We visited Alewine Pottery, where Jimi bought me a cookie jar, and stopped in Berea, KY on our way home, where I bought him a thumb piano; these were our wedding gifts to each other. 

What more is there?  There's plenty more, really.  I've forgotten most of it, or it passed in a blur and I didn't take the time to notice it when it happened.  2012 will always be a year I remember with a smile.  All my dreams have come true. I'm married to the man I love, and we've made a baby together.  After that, there wasn't much left for the year to accomplish. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

32.3 - Still in awe, and now also a little embarrassed

Less than 8 weeks before baby girl's estimated arrival date.  Wow.  Every milestone we've reached has been amazing to me, and now that we're in the home stretch, I'm no less awed or shocked by this miracle that is happening inside my body.  I can feel her little feet and knees, her little back and butt, just by touching my belly.  There's a baby inside me!  Eight months I've been growing her, and I still can't get over the fact that this is finally happening to me, to us, that we've made a whole new human. 

I'm just starting to daydream about how she'll look - I'm convinced she'll have red hair, but I wonder if it'll be curly like her daddy's or straight like mine?  We saw her profile on ultrasound at 18 weeks, and she's got the cutest little nose; I can't wait to kiss it.  I want to hold her little feet in my hands, and stroke her little arms and legs.  I want to rub her sweet little back and smell her head.  Just two months to go, and I'll get to hold her close and snuggle her all I want - it seems like a dream.

Maggie mailed baby shower invitations two days ago - the shower is two weeks from today.  Time is flying. 

The nursery will be painted this weekend.  Come hell or high water, the nursery will be painted this weekend.  There's no time left for procrastination.  None.  It has to happen, and it has to happen now.

A few hours later, and Jimi's working on the nursery.  I've got dinner in the crock pot and I'm trying to get my arms around our laundry situation.  I'd love to have everything organized and sorted and folded and hung and put away before baby girl shows up.  I'd love to have our house in perfect order before she arrives.  Time to get on the ball, I guess. 
My hips hurt.  The yoga still really really helps, and I've been back on the almost-daily wagon in an effort to make the pain go away.  The fingers on my right hand have been numb for weeks and now there's never any change, they're just always numb.  I finally bought a wrist brace and it helps for a few hours, but it's not a solution for complete relief.  I guess I need to resign myself to the fact that this is the way it's going to be until she's born - but I think I'm going to check out an acupuncturist, just in case there is relief to be found.  My fingers on both hands are getting puffy - not that I've ever had slender fingers (I wear a size 8 ring), but I can feel and see the change and it annoys me.  The ridges on my ankles at the end of the day, left by the bands of my socks as my lower legs swell, those annoy me too. 
Want to hear a great story?  Baby girl is doing her best to slow my bodily processes down, and my normally-like-clockwork system hasn't been so regular these days.  The juice we've been making is supposed to help with that, but after two days of no results, I was beginning to doubt all the stories I'd heard.  Yesterday, though, Kim and Jordan had to leave the office for a couple hours, leaving me alone with our salesman to catch the phones and help customers.  Of course, juice kicked in.  After a brief "Can I hold it?" hesitation, I decided the answer was no, and told Jeff he'd have to fend for himself for a few minutes, but that I'd hurry back.  Everything went swimmingly...until I flushed.  Everything went down, except the water level - it just kept creeping higher and higher.  Shit.  This has never happened to me before; at least, never at work.  I grabbed the plunger and worked it a few times, and heard what I thought was the sound of clear pipes.  Thinking I'd fixed the problem, I flushed again, and that was my downfall - instead of going down, the water rose dangerously, and then, to my horror, spilled over the edge of the toilet.  I watched helplessly, urging it to stop flowing up and over, but it ignored my pleas and continued its journey to the floor.  By the time it stopped, half the bathroom floor was flooded, and all I could do was stare at it incredulously, cursing loudly in my head, wondering how in the fuck I was going to fix this problem without announcing to our salesman that I had just flooded the damned bathroom. 
I looked at the roll of paper towels and considered them for a moment before deciding this job was much bigger than some cheap roll of generic paper could handle.  I sighed, resigned myself to the inevitable, left the bathroom and walked the few feet to the closet where the industrial-sized mop and bucket live.  Fate was smiling on me, Jeff was on the phone.  I rolled the loud-ass bucket out of the closet, down the hall, and into the bathroom and began the tedious process of trying to sop up the toilet water covering the floor.  It took forever.  I stopped two or three times to come out and check on Jeff, even taking the time to show him how to set up a price matrix for a new customer, and then going back to my task.  I'm sure he was wondering what in the fuck was going on, or knew very well what in the fuck was going on, but he was too much of a gentleman to ask any questions, thank goodness.  To save myself some dignity, I left the bucket in the bathroom, planning to roll the loud contraption back to the closet later, when no one was around to hear it and ask questions about why it'd been in the bathroom.  When Kimmie and Jordan returned from their errand, Jeff was out of the office on an errand of his own, so I brought the girls up to speed on my tale - because now it was funny, and these are girls I consider friends, so I wasn't embarrassed to tell them what had happened.  They laughed at me good-naturedly, and we continued on with our day.  Why I didn't move the bucket to the closet then is beyond me - I guess I just didn't think about it. 
I'd planned to work only until noon, but status quo dictates that if I plan to leave at noon, I may get out by 2.  At 2:30, Kimmie said she couldn't wait for me to leave so she could tell my story to Jeff and our boss - I threatened her with bodily harm.  At 3, Jordan's day was ending, and she made a trip to the potty before heading out - when she was finished, she rolled the bucket out of the bathroom and down the hall to it's closet home.  My boss was at his desk at the end of the hall - "What's that doing in there?"  He wasn't in the best of moods - it was year-end inventory and nothing was going his way.  "Natalie had it in there," was Jordan's non-committal reply.  "Why?"  He wasn't going to let it go!  Kimmie came out of her office, laughing her ass off, "I was going to wait until she left before I told you the story!"  Fuck.  Some friend she is.  I tucked my tail, went to the end of the hall, and told my tale to my boss, expecting a hearty laugh.  He wasn't nearly as amused as Kim and Jordan - I didn't even get a smirk!  I blame inventory. 
So yeah.  There you have it.  Proof that pregnancy eliminates all pride. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

31.5 - Orange you glad I'm updating?

Baby Center says I'm fat.  F you, Baby Center!  Okay, it didn't really say that.  It does say that with a weight gain of 20+ pounds already, I'm outside the ideal range of weight gain for this pregnancy.  "What are you going to do about it?" Jimi asked.  "Eat some more cake," I replied.  I just don't care.  I've not gained excessively, and I feel like I still look pretty damned good for a woman who's nearly 8 months pregnant, so I'm not going to stress over a few pounds.  There will be plenty of time for boot camp and calorie counting once baby girl is here. 

Baby girl is over 16 inches long and weighs over 3 pounds now (the size of several oranges, according to Baby Center).  At my midwife appointment last week, my belly measured right on target, her heart rate was in the 130s, and she is already head down, because she loves me and wants our birth experience to be as perfect as I'm hoping it'll be.  With just a light touch on my belly, I can feel her little feet or knees at the top of my uterus, and if she's laying just right, a butt or a back.  It's crazy to remember those first little flutters back in September - movements and kicks now make my whole belly jump. 

I've been listening to my Hypnobabies tracks.  Well, I'm trying to.  I can only get comfortable enough to stay still and relax for the required 30 minutes if I'm lying down, and so I tend to fall asleep while listening.  Something about it makes me drool; I'll wake up with my mouth open and a wet spot on my pillow and chin.  They say that you're still getting the info you need even if you're sleeping, though, so hopefully my subconscious is better at paying attention than my conscious mind. 

I still feel good.  Not quite as good as I felt pre-pregnancy; I have limitations now and that's a difficult adjustment.  I can't stand or walk around for more than an hour without facing repercussions - achy, swollen feet, sore legs, serious exhaustion.  The fingers on my right hand are in a state of semi-numbness just about all the time, and at night I have to constantly reposition myself or both hands will go completely numb.  Of course, I have to reposition constantly because of my hips, too, so at least I'm killing two birds with one stone.  As of a few days ago, my wedding band is too tight to be worn comfortably, and that's a bummer. At least I still have the garnet ring he gave me years ago - it's been way too big for my ring finger for probably 2 years (I continued to wear it anyhow), but now it fits just right.  I've not been doing my yoga like I should, but I'm getting back on the bandwagon - I have a lot of aches that seem to be aleviated when I'm doing it regularly, plus I need to stay on it to keep up with my flexibility; I'll regret it at birthing time if I don't. 

The nursery isn't any closer to completion than it was the last time I updated.  BUT.  Karen is coming over Wednesday to paint - she claims to enjoy painting, and says she wants to do it as her gift to us.  I'm all for it - Jimi and I are great at making plans to do things, not so great at the follow-through.  Once the painting is finished, I think things will start to come together rather quickly.  We've got a new light fixture to install, and the dresser/changing table should be ready by next weekend.  I need to find some comfortable cushions for the rocker, since it looks like a new glider or recliner isn't going to happen.  Mom & Dad are buying the crib - I don't know when, but at least the room will be ready for it when it arrives.  We've got the bassinet and bouncer and swing upstairs ready to be moved into place.  My first baby shower is scheduled for January 12th, the second for the first weekend in February, and I anticipate those events will provide the finishing touches. 

Time is flying by and she's going to be here before we know it. 

The anniversary of the birth of my sweetheart - a review.

Yesterday was Jimi's birthday.  I wanted to write something to record how special and important he is to me, but I never made it here to do so.  A day late, as usual. 

I bought him a juicer for his birthday.  I wasn't sure what to get him - he really wanted a shotgun, but who's got an extra $700 sitting around for firearm purchases this holiday season?  Not this pregnant girl. If I had that sort of cash to spend, I would've bought a recliner and claimed it was for him while secretly plotting to use it each and every day of my maternity leave.  Instead, I scoured his Amazon Wish List and kept coming back to the juicer he picked out months ago.  Lately, whenever we're browsing in Target or Walmart, he beelines to the housewares section and checks out their juicing offerings, specifically, the Ninja.  The Ninja is not what was in his Wish List, though, so I hope he wasn't secretly pining for one of those.  I don't remember the name of the one he ended up with, and it's in the kitchen and I'm too lazy to get up to go look, but if it turns out to be super awesome, I may come back and talk about it more later.  In anticipation of a night of juicing excitement, I went to the Kroger today and stocked up on produce: kale, spinach, carrots, oranges, apples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, peaches.  JUICE FOR DAYS!!!  And once all of this produce is gone, I've got five bucks that says we never use the damned thing again, but I could be wrong.  This one makes pasta and nut butters and baby food too, so we'll see.  It could have a longer usable life than I anticipate. 

We had breakfast at the Cracker Barrel (his choice) and sat at a two-top table in front of the fireplace, enjoying the warmth while we played checkers and sipped our coffee, waiting for our meal.  He was really happy about the fire, and the checkerboard table; his bright eyes and sweet smile warmed my heart more than the crackling logs.  After breakfast, he worked on cleaning out his garage to make room for the dresser we're refinishing and turning into a changing table/dresser combo.  (See how thrifty we are?  Saving money left and right, yo!)  While he worked, I baked him a from-scratch devil's food cake.  I used a can of cherry pie filling between the layers, and we frosted it last night with homemade cherry icing - I'll let you know tomorrow how it tastes; somehow we managed to have a cake in the house and not get around to eating any of it.  I'm just as shocked as you. 

His brother stopped by with Christmas gifts for us both, and Momma brought him a card.  Mom was just getting up to leave when Daddy walked in, so she sat back down and we all visited for a while.  Unfortunately, our topic of conversation was awful and heartbreaking (but this is not the post where I can talk about that in detail).  After they left, I tried to maintain the happy-go-lucky mood I'd been in all day, but the sadness was overwhelming, and eventually Jimi said, "Honey, maybe you should just go ahead and cry and let it out," so I did.  I curled up with Finn on the bed and bawled, and Jimi came in and held me, and after a few minutes, I felt better.  I hated to be so down on his day, but I guess sometimes life just works out that way.   

We finished our night with pizza and a zombie movie, in true Nat/Jimi fashion.  I think it was a good day, though I wish I would have done more to make his day extra special.  Of course, he says I did more than enough, but he always says that.  I just want to show him how much he means to me, how much I adore and appreciate him, and I feel like I always fall short of the standard I set in my head for doing that. 

He says I talk him up too much, that I put him on a pedastal and hold him to a standard much higher than that to which I hold others.  He feels like I brag about him here and when in conversation with others.  He says he's not that good, not that special, that he's just a man.  He is just a man.  But he's the man who changed my world; who makes my life complete and full.  He is the man who returns every bit of the love I give to him, without question and without condition.  He comforts me and supports me and encourages me in all things, in all ways.  He makes me feel safe and protected;  I no longer fear the judgment of others, because they don't matter - Jimi loves me, all of me, and that's all that matters.  He's shown me how to be compassionate when I want to be scornful.  He's shown me how to forgive when I want to hold a grudge.  He's just a man, but he's the man who helps to make me a better woman.  And, of course, he's made me a mother.  I didn't think my love for him could grow any more, but these last few months have made my heart grow way more than the Grinch's heart grew on Christmas morning. 

I'm awfully lucky. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

30.5 - A Nightmare

My second appointment with the midwives.  The nurse drew some blood and gave me a long stick with a brush to *ahem* insert, for a culture.  She had me pee on a stick - it looked like a pregnancy test, but tested my beta/hcg numbers.  I watched the numbers go up to 1000, then back down to zero, and I knew something was wrong.  She gave me a pregnancy test to pee on, a square with a little circle in the corner that I was supposed to aim for.  I peed on it and waited for the plus sign to come up in the middle - instead I got a weird line that looked like it may have been a plus sign one time, but the horizontal line was broken and misplaced.  I was starting to panic.  I went to the lobby and got my Mom - "Something's wrong, please come sit with me."  The midwife came in with a doppler and put it to my belly and there was silence.  "Are you sure you're pregnant?" she asked doubtfully.  "Yes!  I'm 30 weeks!" The tears started to fall, and suddenly I was having a hard time drawing breath.  As the midwife readied the probe to do a vaginal ultrasound, I looked at my mom and started to cry.  "The baby's dead, Momma.  Oh Fuck.  How could this happen?  She's been moving!  She was fine!"  I was becoming hysterical.  My world, my life, it was in shambles.

When I woke up, I knew it was just a dream.  Still, it took every ounce of restraint not to panic and become as hysterical as I'd been in my nightmare.  I put my hand to my belly and felt the lump that is my daughter.  I pushed on it, then again on the other side, trying to wake her up, urging her with every ounce of my being to move, just a little kick, sweetheart.  She complied nearly immediately, and relief flooded through me.  I lay there for a moment, trying to slow my racing heart, then got up for another trip to the restroom.  When I made it back to bed, I tried to push the dream out of my mind - "It was just a nightmare, it's not real, she's fine," but I was too shaken to let it go that easily.  I reached over and touched Jimi's shoulder, hoping that he'd already be awake.  He wasn't.  I considered leaving him be, but in the end I couldn't comfort myself.  I spoke softly, "I had a really bad dream."  He was awake immediately, and rolled over to me, asking if I was okay.  I told him that the baby had died in my dream, and he shushed me, told me it was just a dream and it wasn't real and everything is okay.  He pulled me to him as closely as my nest of pillows would allow, and kept his arm around me, kissing my head and whispering sweet words to make the tears go away.  I was asleep again within minutes, onto another dream that was much less emotional and horrid. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

29.4 - A lovely Sunday

We started off straightening and cleaning the house, rearranging living room furniture, making the house liveable again.  Then his brother came over, followed shortly by Momma and Daddy.  The men-folk headed off for an afternoon showing of "Lincoln", leaving Momma and I behind to make a couple of batches of peanut brittle and a few hours of conversation.  It was wonderful to spend the afternoon with her - I don't spend nearly enough time with my Momma, and lately I have a nagging sense of guilt over that fact.  She lives so close, I have no excuse for not making time with her more of a priority.  Lately I feel a sense of urgency, like I NEED to be in her presence more often.  Impending motherhood is to blame, I imagine, and the realization that she's not going to be here forever and I sure as hell better appreciate her while she is. 

After the candy-making, we sorted through a couple boxes of baby clothes passed down to me from Stacy - we oohed and aahed over the tiny pastel outfits, sorting by size and saying over and over again how no one needs to buy us any more, we've got plenty to get us through at least the first six months. 

In between the candy-making and clothes-sorting, I picked apart the beef roast I'd been simmering in the crock-pot all day and turned it into veggie beef soup - it's finishing its cooking on the stove now while I'm lying back on the new chaise and Jimi watches the latest Batman flick. 

It's been a perfect day; I'm happy and content.  Life is good.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

29.1 - Nesting with new furniture

I bought a couch this past weekend, and it was delivered today.  This is the first time I've ever purchased a couch - all couches I've had in my homes in my adult life have been hand-me-downs.  (The exception is the one Jimi came with when we moved in together, but we broke it a few months after he bought it and it was never the same after that.  Yes, we broke it exactly how you think we did.)  We got rid of the broken one years ago and have lived without since well before we bought this house.  For the last three years, we've made due with a variety of chairs whose comfort levels range from semi-acceptable to "eh". 

I love our new sitting space.  LOVE.  It's dark brown leather, long enough for Jimi to stretch out on, with low arms that work as excellent pillows and an extra-wide chaise that fits my legs and a curled-up Finnegan.  It's perfect.  I can see myself happily existing here while nursing our little girl for the six to eight weeks I'll be home on leave - good thing, too, since that was my motivating factor in making this purchase.   

If Kimmie still read my blog, she'd read this post and say, with an extra dose of sarcasm, "Wow.  What a great story, Natalie."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

29 is a good number.

29 weeks today - baby girl is two and a half pounds and just over 15 inches long.  She's flipping and flopping and kicking up a storm.  I can't believe she's going to be here in less than 3 months - it's happening so fast! 

I've switched medical providers.  At 29 weeks.  Whoa.  Here's the story:

At my last OB appointment, I attempted to have a conversation with my doctor about my desire for a natural unmedicated birth.  She cut me off and said, "That's great.  I'm going to put down that you would prefer a natural delivery but you're open to an epidural."  Um, that's not what I said.  I tried to correct her, but she wouldn't let me get my words out, instead telling me how if I want to deliver naturally, I need to make sure I don't gain too much weight, because she'd wanted natural childbirth but gained 50 pounds and ended up begging for an epidural at 3 cm.  My efforts to steer the discussion back to me, to my birth preferences, were futile, and she breezed out of the exam room when I was still mid-sentence.  I left feeling extremely uncomfortable and very nervous about my chances of labor and delivery going the way I want.  I'd already had reservations about this particular doctor and practice, so this treatment was a tipping point for me.  I'd heard of a group of doctors and midwives across the river, and decided to look into my options.  Imagine my surprise and excitement when I learned they're considered "in network" through my insurance!  I called their office, and the phone was answered by a live person, rather than an answering machine.  Yes, they're accepting new patients.  Yes, they'll take a new patient at 28 weeks pregnant - there's an appointment available on December 5th, would I like to schedule?  Yes.  Yes I would. 

I picked up my medical records from the old OB and cancelled my future appointments with their office, and today I had my first appointment with a licensed nurse midwife.  My impression after the first visit is this:  I feel like I've made the best medical decision I've ever made for myself, and I'm thrilled.  The intake staff, the nurse who weighed me and checked my blood pressure, the midwife herself - they all made me feel so incredibly comfortable and at ease.  They gave me a welcome bag full of healthy pregnancy literature and prenatal vitamin samples and information on the hospital where I'll deliver.  They have signs all over their office encouraging patients to file a birth plan with the office by 36 weeks, and provided a form for mothers-to-be who may need a little help figuring out what info should be included in a birth plan.  They strongly encourage allowing labor to begin on its own and for women to be active during labor.  They encourage women to make the birth experience their own and promise to do everything possible to support each woman's requests when it comes to pain managment and delivery.  In other words, they are exactly what I'd hoped I'd be able to have in a medical team during labor and delivery.  Reading their birth plan form, I was so overwhelmed with relief, I started to cry; sitting in the exam room, waiting for the midwife, crying tears of happiness that I will be able to have the birth experience I'd hoped for without having to beg and fight for it.  The hospital where I'll deliver has an excellent record for non-intervention, and the nurses are very familiar and comfortable with unmedicated deliveries.  They have garden tubs to soak in during labor (can't deliver in the tub, but I can live with that). I can't explain how thrilled I am. 

Assuming I don't get a partial refund of the money I've paid to my former OB's office, I'm looking at this switch costing me an extra $40 over what I'd planned to spend.  $40.  Best money I've ever spent. 

Today, I feel more confident than I have in weeks.  I feel like I've made a choice that will guarantee I've done everything in my power to get this baby here in a natural way - it still may not end up that way, but I can rest assured knowing if interventions become necessary, it won't be because I didn't make the right choice when it came to my medical providers.  I can move forward without fear of regret.  I'm so relieved.  I'm so happy. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Because I can't say what I want to say, but I have to say something...

I've had a rough day.  I'm still fighting this sick - my doctor's office called today to say my white blood count is elevated and that I probably need an antibiotic.  Yay.  Work was hard, and I'm behind on a million things that should've been done days ago.  I'm overwhelmed by the number of things needing to be done in the next 12 weeks and I don't know how we're going to get them all done because I don't seem to have the energy for anything more challenging than reading the internet once I get home from work each evening. 

I have about a thousand other words to write about how I'm feeling tonight, but they can't be written here.  Maybe one day, but not today. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I need some cheese to go with my whine.

I'm sick and it sucks.  I've usually got a rockstar immune system, but this pregnancy is cramping my style - this is the second time in the last 6 months that I've been ill, and I'm not digging it.  This time it's sinus related, which is better than the 24-hour puking binge from last time, but only marginally.  Not being able to breathe is for the birds, and now I'm developing a cough and body aches to go with it, so I guess I'll be headed for the doctor's office tomorrow.  I really don't want to be pumped full of meds, but I don't want to be miserable, either.

Sleeping is becoming quite the challenge.  I'm waking up every hour to pee, which is sort of convenient, because I usually need to roll over to my other side by then, anyhow, thanks to my aching hips.  Oh goodness, I've got another 3 months of this.  Which means it's probably going to get tougher to sleep.  I'm going to be a zombie.  It seems really unfair that we soon-to-be moms lose our ability to sleep right before we have a baby who takes away our ability to sleep.  Doesn't it seem more reasonable that we'd be able to sleep wonderfully right up until the child is born, and then dive head-first and well-rested into the first weeks of parenthood? 

All I've got are complaints. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I'm back, baby!

I've finally purchased a new laptop - I can blog at home again!  YAY!  I'm pretty excited about this purchase - it's a great computer, and it was extremely affordable.  It'll be nice to have a working computer in the house again - my Kindle has done a great job keeping me connected to the internet, but it doesn't replace a laptop. 

Thanksgiving was wonderful and exhausting all at once.  We spent the day getting ready and making a sweet potato casserole (why can I never remember that sweet potatoes leak?  You have to put something under them, Natalie, or they'll spooge all over your oven!), then headed for his cousin's house around 3.  They had an amazing, delicious spread, and I ate until my little heart was content.  (And then Laura Jo and I went for a walk, because I was going to die if I didn't get some of that food settled.)  I missed out on eating pie because I was too full, but Tracy was kind enough to send some home with us - a piece of apple and pecan.  Two days later, it's still in the kitchen waiting for me, but today may just be the day. 

Our evening was spent over at my Aunt Melissa's, where we played cards and perused Black Friday ads until one in the morning, at which point I was completely wiped out and finished and told Jimi, "We have to leave NOW."  Pam said I was getting grouchy - I wasn't grouchy, I was just done.  I'd socialized as much as I was physically able to socialize, and I needed my bed. 

I feel as though I've officially been welcomed into the world of Motherhood.  Jimi's cousins' wived descended upon me as soon as we arrived and started asking questions about my pregnancy and birth plans, and regaled me for hours with their birth stories and experienced mom-talk.  My aunts did the same.  It was a noticeable change - usually we all exchange pleasantries and catch up, then I flit around from group to group, mostly following Jimi around and talking to the menfolk.  Not this year - I was stuck to my seat as my birth preferences were questioned and doubted and poo-poo'd, as horrible scary NICU stories were told, as tales of mastitis and clogged ducts were shared.  If I never hear "Just wait and see - you'll change your mind" again, it'll be too soon.  I heard that on every subject - especially when I made the mistake of admitting I'm aiming for an unmedicated childbirth.  (Cloth diapering got its fair share of laughs, too.)  Why do we (women) do that to each other?  Experienced moms should know better than anyone how scary this time can be for a new mother.  I'm looking for support and encouragement and advice, and instead I get a snicker and a pat on the head as if I'm a fool for thinking I can do this any way other than on my back with a needle in my spine. 

I don't mean to bitch, I know their intentions are just to share their experiences.  I reminded myself over and over again that my pregnancy bares no resemblance to theirs - no scares, no bed rest, no complications for me, so far.  (Fingers crossed it stays that way.)  As I told them, this has been the easiest, most uncomplicated thing I've ever done, and that's completely contrary to what I expected.  If my body can handle pregnancy this well, I'm inclined to trust that birth is something it can handle well, also.  I trust my body, and I honestly feel that an unmedicated birth is the way it's supposed to happen, and that if I let it, my body can do this on its own.  I am not crazy for thinking this way, dammit!  Women birthed babies this way for thousands of years before doctors started strapping them to tables on their backs.  I can do this, and not because I'm a martyr or tough or want bragging rights, but because it's the way nature intended and I don't see any reason to fix what ain't broke. 

Okay, I'm off my soapbox. 

We're going shopping today for fabric and paint for baby girl's room, and planning to start her room transformation tomorrow.  I need drawer pulls and switch plates and a colorful rug.  I can't wait to watch this room come together; I can't wait to fill it with diapers and onsies and soft things for my daughter. 

My daughter.  If I think on those words just a second longer than it takes to say them, my eyes get misty.  I love her so much already.  It still fills me with a sense of disbelief that this is all happening to ME!  I have a big ol' round belly full of baby.  I can feel her flip and flop and kick and punch.  I've dreamed of and imagined this for so long, and now it is my reality, and that just blows my mind.  I'll never stop being in awe of this miracle we've created. 

Speaking of my big ol' round belly full of baby, clothing options are becoming more and more limited by the day.  It's still not awful - one day last week I wore and outfit comprised completely of pre-pregnancy clothes; proof that Jimi and Kim may be onto something when they say I buy my clothes in too-large sizes.  I'm still wearing two pair of pre-pregnancy pants, but they hardly count, as they're designed to be stretchy, what with their elastic waistbands and and polyester blends.  I have two pre-pregnancy sweaters that I wish I could wear every day, but the rest are too short now and don't fully cover my belly.  I've got a great flowy red shirt that's not maternity but totally could've been, so it's worked into the rotation regularly.  I had a couple of button-ups that still fit two weeks ago, but I fear that will not be the case the next time I try them on - the buttons were a bit strained last time I wore them.  Momma's bought me two maternity shirts (but I hate one - don't tell her - it is too low-cut and doesn't completely cover my dumb ol' bras) and I am now the proud owner of one pair of big-front-stretchy-panel jeans (that are actually really cute so long as you're not checking out the stretchy panel) and two pair of maternity yoga pants, which are going on the list of "Things That Prove God Loves Us".  I'm going to have to break down and buy some more long-sleeved warm shirts, but I think I'm going to be able to make my britches situation work until the very end.  I don't know what I'm going to do about a coat - mine still zipped last week, but that won't last much longer.  I'm not buying a new one, so I guess I'll just have to  hold it closed and hurry from the car to the office. 

Baby showers are being planned - looks like we're having two back-to-back in January, one hosted by the infamously sweet Maggie, the other by my Aunts.  (Stay put, little girl - no early appearances, okay?  I'd hate to miss a party thrown in our honor!)  Momma & Daddy are buying the crib (sort of a family tradition - Granny and Papaw bought the cribs for nearly all of their grandbabies), and Stacy and Jessie are passing down to us tons of baby things, so we won't have to register for a lot of big items.  (That hasn't stopped my wonderful research-driven husband from registering us for a $300+ stroller, though.  I fully expect we'll be purchasing that one on our own.)  I've been told we should start registries EVERYWHERE, as apparently there are tons of freebies and goodies given out for doing so, and plus, using that little scanner gun is fun.  I guess we need to get going on that pretty soon. 

It's all happening so very fast.  That second pink line showed up in June and it felt like it'd be forever before I had a symptom or a sign that it was real.  Now all I can think is "how will we get this all done in only 12.5 weeks?!" 

My left leg is starting to ache.  I think it's the way I'm sitting in this chair; I should probably get up and do some yoga stretches.  My hips hurt all the time - and what's up with the sore knees?  I sound like an old woman trying to get up or down into a seat, and getting out of bed the half-dozen times now required each night is an acrobatic feat.  Poor Jimi - he's sleeping on a sliver of mattress, pushed all the way to the edge by my belly and its accompanying island of pillows.  He's said that he'll need to break out the camping mattress any day now - his plan is to sleep there, with it pushed up next to our bed, so I can have the space I need to be comfortable.  I hate the idea of him being exiled from his bed, but I love him for understanding that drastic measures may be required some time in the next couple months. 

He's just the best man in the whole world.  I can't express enough how good and sweet he is, how loved and adored and appreciated and special he makes me feel.  We've been carpooling for the last two months or so because his truck is down, and when we get home each evening, I head for the heating pad while he stops in the kitchen and begins making dinner.  He's pulling more than his weight when it comes to household chores and cleaning, and encourages me to rest and take breaks when we're working on projects together.  He's a dream partner in this pregnancy, and I feel so fortunate that I have have him by my side. 

(Sometimes I find myself shuddering inside, imagining how my ex-husband would've compared, had we managed to get pregnant in those months that we tried.  I really dodged a bullet, man.) 

Okay, gotta go, it's shopping time.

(I'm so glad I made this purchase - it's good to be back to my blah blah blahing.  I want to have a record of this experience - I mean, it's only the neatest thing I've ever done.  Ever.)

Be Back Soon...

Monday, November 19, 2012

26.5 - Nearly 2 pounds and 14 inches long. INSIDE ME

I hope my inability to keep up with my blog is no reflection on what sort of mother I'll be.  That's ridiculous, of course - blogging and baby care are not the same.  Besides, the baby will cry when I ignore it, whereas my blog just languishes here unloved and un-updated.  At least I haven't forgotten it completely.

Actually, I'm in process of shopping for a new laptop, which will get me back in the blogging swing of things.  I've put it off for so long because we have so many more things we need to spend money on, but if I'm honest with myself, I know that buying a new computer will save my sanity when I'm home with a newborn come late February.  (And have the added benefit of giving me the ability to work from home, which I don't plan on doing while I'm on leave, but I may need to do once I "return" to work - i have a feeling there will need to be an adjustment period there.)  So bear with me, dear readers - I'm coming back, slowly but surely.

I'm trying to remember the milestones I've not recorded in the last 2 weeks:

-  Baby girl received her first stuffed-animal gift, a classic Pooh from a co-worker who'd visited Disney World. 
-  I got a swift kick the other night just above and to the left of my belly button, and I happened to be touching that exact spot when she let the kick fly -  I don't know exactly how to describe it, but it was like I was touching her for the first time, a part of her that was very obviously something solid, maybe a knee or elbow or foot.  It's only happened a time or two since, and it's just as amazing as that first time.  My girl is growing!
-  We've finally chosen her name.  I'm not ready to share it here yet - but I can't keep a secret, so I'm sure I'll spill it before long.  It took some compromise and weeks of back-and-forth between Jimi and I to arrive here, but it was worth it - when we settled, I was overcome with happy and relief and it just feels right.  I cried.  Jimi just took it in stride, same as he always does when my overly emotional side comes out. 
-  Momma came over yesterday and helped keep us focused so we could clear out the junk room that's now going to be a nursery. 
-   Stacy and Jessie brought over the bassinet, swing, bouncer, and various other baby goods they're lending us - there's baby stuff in my house!  Crazy.
-  I've started to panic a little about the amount of stuff that needs to be done, the amount of money that needs to be spent, and the small amount of time left before she arrives.  Jimi says he's been there for a while and welcomed me now that I've finally caught up with him. 
-  Jimi felt her kick again last night, for the first time in weeks.  Her kicks are so much more solid now, I think it freaked him out a little - he took his hand away and didn't put it back.  Last time he felt her they were just little flutters - again, our girl is growing!
-  Sleeping is becoming an adventure.  I still dream every night, but I don't know how - I'm up every 2 hours, either to pee or readjust because my arm is asleep or my hips ache...usually a combination of all three.  I'm tired.
-  I've realized that I've got some physical limitations on how much I can do - two hours of being on my feet/walking is enough to put me out for the rest of the day.  Yesterday we worked on the baby room, then went to the fabric store for nearly 2 hours, searching for the right fabric for her curtains and bedding - by the time we got back in the car, I realized I'd really overdone it.  I got home and sat on my heating pad and let Jimi tend to my every need for the rest of the night.  My hips still ache today. 
-  I bought the Hypnobabies home study course, but have yet to listen to it.  Tonight is the night. 
-  I have my one-hour glucose test tomorrow, and I'm hoping like hell I don't fail.  Little girl, please don't make me go through the holidays without the ability to eat cookies and pie. 

I'm sure I've forgotten a million things.  Which I why i should blog regularly, rather than in spurts.  Oh well.  Doing the best I can. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

24.2 - Viability

We hit 24 weeks gestation on Wednesday - what is now considered the point of viability to pre-term babies, so long as they have significant medical intervention, of course.  I'm using all of my brain power and good vibes to convince this little girl she wants to hang out inside for AT LEAST another 16 weeks, but I can't pretend it's not reassuring to know that if something crazy were to happen, she's at least got a good fighting chance. 

Five months ago this point seemed so far off, and too fragile a dream to hope for.  But we're here.  We've made it this far.  And all signs point to this pregnancy continuing on just as it has so far, uneventful and completely normal.  Thank God.  I've never been so happy to be "normal". 

Baby girl weighs just over a pound and is about twelve inches long, or about the length of an ear of corn.  Her movements are more pronounced and I love to feel her dancing, flipping, poking - whatever it is that she's doing in there.  I just like to feel her move.  It reassures me and comforts me and makes my heart happy.  The evenings, when I get home and can finally sit back and relax, those are her most active times.  We poke back and forth at each other - it's like she's celebrating with me the fact that I'm home from work. 

I followed along with a prenatal yoga video from YouTube last night.  It wasn't bad at all, though I can tell I need to continue to work on these stretches, because man, I've lost a lot of my limber by not working out the last five months.  It'll get better, though.  I got this.

Monday, October 29, 2012

23.5 - Life is so pretty.

I love everything.  All of it is wonderful. 

My house is clean and dinner is cooking in the crockpot while I work.  My husband is a dream come true.  My dog hasn't pooped in the floor or torn up anything in weeks.  The cat hasn't thrown up in the hallway in at least a week.  My baby girl is growing and kicking and I get more excited every day about getting to meet her. 

I am starting to develop a few pregnancy-related complaints, though.  Like how my hips start to hurt/ache half-way through each day.  A heating pad helps a little, and so does a hot bath, but neither are guaranteed to bring lasting results.  I'm trying hard not to complain, though - the women in my birth club on were discussing their hemmorhoids yesterday, and so long as I'm not in that club, I'll shut the hell up and enjoy my sore hips, thankyouverymuch.  (I've added a tablespoon of milk of magnesia to my evening ritual, just to help my odds of staying out of that club.)  Other minor not-important-enough-to-bitch-about complaints include my right arm falling asleep if I sleep on my right side, and my feet/heels falling asleep regardless of on which side I lie.  In other words, I have nothing to complain about and feel like the most fortunate girl in the world - this has been so much easier than I'd dreamed it'd be. 

Two of the women in my birth club had micro-premies in the last week, one at 23 weeks 3 days, the other at 25 weeks 2 days.  Heartbreaking and terrifying, but so far, both babies are holding their own and making it.  My heart goes out to the parents and families of those little ones - I can't imagine their fear. 

Have I mentioned how much I love my husband?  He told me nothing would change if/when we finally married, and mostly that's been true, but I swear it feels like there's more love in our home these days.  He laughed when i said this and quoted his expectant father book, "Apparently, i'm experiencing some hormonal changes of my own - they're supposed to make me more loving and attentive to you and baby, to help me prepare."  Whatever the reason, I'll take it.  If you're my Facebook friend, I'm sorry for the sap overload, I just can't help it.  Imagine how disgusting it is in our house these days!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

23 - A large Mango

Jimi sang to her last night, and she danced in response.  My heart melted, his eyes got misty - oh, this is such an amazing thing we're doing. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

22.1 - This week I learn to love spaghetti squash

11 inches long and weighing in at a pound, our baby is the size of a spaghetti squash this week.  I can't believe something so large is inside me - it's mind-blowing to think about.  I like going to the grocery and holding the fruit/vegetable she's being compared to against my belly, and just imagining.  It was awesome when she was the size of a blueberry, and now she's as big as a squash.  Crazy!

The saga of the raccoon has ended.  Jimi killed it dead, and yesterday its remains were removed from my attic and now we're going to live happily ever after without wildlife in our upstairs.  I'm thrilled. 

I think my nesting is kicking in - I cleaned the kitchen for 2 hours on Sunday, and I've kept it spotless since.  I know it doesn't sound like much, but for me, it's quite the accomplishment.  I'm ready to tackle the rest of the house now - I want things neat and organized and de-furred.  My aunts are throwing us a wedding celebration on Saturday - having to get the place ready for that is an excellent motivator and excuse to clean everything. 

Jimi was on the phone a few nights back with his cousin Laura, and when she asked about me and how the pregnancy is going, I listened to my husband explain how well it's gone for me the last few months, and then he said, "She seems so much happier - I may just have to keep her pregnant!"  I laughed.  He's right, though.  I am happier, and thinking on his words, in that moment I realized that the burden I've carried fro the last two years, it's gone.  Just like that, I suddenly felt so much lighter.  That is what this happiness, this unbridled giddiness I've been feeling, that's where it's come from - I'm not terrified anymore.  I don't have the fear of infertility anymore.  I don't feel broken.  I feel strong and like this is what I was meant to do, like I was made for this.  My body was made to make this little girl, and look!  We're doing it!  I tried to explain this to Jimi, and he asked, "Was that weighing on you so heavily, Nat?"  "Oh, God, yes.  It was with me every day, every moment.  It was my burden to bear, and I've just realized it's gone and I'm free again." 

No wonder the sun shines brighter, the grass is greener, the trees more vibrant shades of yellow red and orange.  This little girl is changing my world view already, shifting my reality.  I love her so much, and I'm so grateful to get to be her mom. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

21.6 - Carrot top

Driving to the hardware store last night to pick up a part to repair our dripping kitchen faucet, I felt several little *bump bump bump*s in my lower abdomen.  I put my fingers there and tapped back - bump bump bump - and then rested my hand over the spot.  Seconds later *bump bump bump* came the reply.  I giggled, and did it again.  She did too.  Five or six times we went back and forth that way, me and my daughter, playing together, saying hello.  I'm teary-eyed just typing this - I want to remember that moment forever, it was one of the neatest things I've ever experienced.

I've been feeling her flutters for weeks, and maybe a dozen times I've felt her kicks from the outside, with my hand on my belly.  Jimi's gotten maybe one bump, but there will be plenty to come, I'm certain. 

We spent our evening last night, after the sink was repaired, checking out our options for free "A BABY IS COMING!" classes.  And researching Hypnobabies - (anyone have a home-study course they want to lend to or sell me?) - and prenatal yoga classes.  I practiced the positions taught in my Active Birth book - and slept well last night and woke this morning without hip pain.  Coincidence?  I hope not. 

Things are getting real up in here.  I have a baby belly that can't be denied, and I love it tremendously.  I've gained 10 pounds and that puts me right on track where I should be.  I feel great.  I'm happier than I've ever been.  Life is Beautiful. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

19.3 - My little (big) Heirloom Tomato

(I started writing this days ago, and never finished it.  Dear Baby, I'm sorry I suck at blogging about you and this pregnancy.  I'll work on it.  I hope.) 

When I first started falling off the blogging bandwagon a while back, I blamed my normal, run-of-the-mill, every-day-is-the-same-as-the-one-before life - you know, lack of blogging fodder.  I figured if I ever got pregnant, I'd be blogging like crazy, back to posting an entry every day, or twice a day. 

Here I am, pregnant, newly married, planning a wedding reception, and with crazy changes happening in my world every day, and I still can't seem to bang out more than one post a week - and I'm doing good to blog that often.  Obviously, I'm just lazy.  (The lack of a fully-functioning computer at home doesn't help, either.)

We had our big baby-doctor appointment this past Tuesday - the much-anticipated anatomy scan ultrasound.  Leading up to the appointment, I was becoming a nervous wreck - what if there's something wrong?  Will all the pieces and parts be there and functioning properly?  The tech put the wand on my belly and exclaimed "Oh Goody!  I didn't miss anyone - there's still only one in there!"  And there was my baby, in profile.  The little nose, mouth, forehead.  The tech moved the wand around some more and we saw little arms, little legs, little feet.  We watched our child yawn, and it was the sweetest, most endearing, most adorable yawn in the history of yawns everywhere. 

The tech took measurements and explained to us what we were seeing - kidneys, stomach, umbilical cord, cervix, brain.  We listened to the heartbeat and watched the four chambers pump.  Our baby is healthy.  *insert huge sigh of relief here*

"Are we finding out the sex of this little one," Tech asks.  "Yes, please, if we can," Mom & Dad answer.  (OMG - Mom & Dad!   That's us!)  She had me turn on my side and pushed around on my belly, moving the baby so the legs would be in the correct position.  I rolled back over on my back, she put the wand to my stomach, and there on the screen was the money shot - I gasped in shock -

"We have a girl," I said.  The awe and surprise was audible in my voice.  "Yes, you do - a little girl," the tech confirmed.  She showed Jimi what we were looking at - the lack of a penis - and took some more pictures.  I kept saying, "I just can't believe it.  I KNEW we were having a boy!  All my dreams have been about little boys."

Now we have to save for college and a wedding.  And a prom dress.  And I have to learn how to fix a little girl's hair, and teach her how to shave her legs.  And some boy is going to break her heart one day and make her cry - how will I not kill him?

Oh, but little girl clothes are so much cuter.  And she and Addy Rose will be just the very best friends - Natalie & Stacy, v2.0!

And Jimi - oh, Jimi will be the best daddy.  Our daughter is so lucky to have him as her father.  Can you imagine?! 

Hi.  It's me again.  This is the new stuff, not the stuff I wrote days ago.  The post should read "20 - Banana Baby".  Maybe I'll use that later this week.  If I don't continue to suck at documenting this miracle.  That's right - twenty weeks.  Today, we're at what's considered the half-way mark.  Holy shitballs, I can't believe we've made it here.  I mean, I can - this has been the easiest thing in the world; a breeze, really.  I'm just overwhelmed at the awesomeness of it all, and I feel so fortunate and lucky and blessed and smiled-upon.  I must've been a very good person in a past life.  I'm so thankful for my husband.  I'm so thankful for our little family.  I'm so thankful for my health, and for the health of our daughter.   I'm thankful for our employment, for our home, for our fun dog and fat cat.  Life is so beautiful.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happily Ever After...

I have a new last name.  I'm still getting used to it - Jimi asked me if I'd been practicing my new signature, and surprisingly, no, I haven't.  I was just as shocked as you are.  Sure, I've scrawled my new name on a notebook cover or two in the last few years, but leading up to the actual gettin'-married day, I didn't.  Not even once.  I haven't had a chance to sign it yet, or been called "Mrs. Fowler" by anyone other than teasing family/friends.  It'll hit me eventually. 

I've been waiting for days now to feel different, to feel some shift in this dynamic between myself and my new husband.  (I do love using that word.)  It's all the same.  Everything feels just as it did this time last week.  I guess that's how it goes when you "date" your intended for nearly 6 years.  We've spent years building this love, this safe place for our hearts - of course a legal document won't change that.   

I love watching Jimi play with his wedding band.  I catch him twisting it on his finger, or just looking at it and smiling.  He's never worn a ring - I'm glad that mine is the one that finally found a home on his hand. 

Vacation/Honeymoon was fantabulous and wonderful and peaceful and centering and gave us a chance to focus on each other without the distractions of the rest of the world.  (I get lost in the internet, he gets lost in the television - it was nice to spend a week mostly without those time-suckers.)

I've got every intention of writing a more-detailed post about our trip...for now I just wanted to record my happy.  I love that man with every fiber of my being, and becoming his wife has made me the happiest girl in the whole wide world.  How fucking lucky am I?!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

16.1 - Avocado dreams

Oh my goodness, I swear I didn't fall off the face of the Earth.  My computer may as well have, though - it came down with the blue screen of death and I just haven't made it a priority yet to figure out if it can be saved, so it's living in the closet and my brain is too fast for the bullshit "keyboard" on the Kindle.  Sorry. 

Everything's awesome.  Baby is now 4.5 inches long (or about the size of an avocado).  There's other stuff, too, but I don't remember right now.  (I'm at work.  Trying to take a lunch, but failing miserably because apparently when I say "I don't want to take any phone calls for the next 15 minutes" it sends a signal to my drivers to begin calling me back to back. GRR!)  But yeah, baby's good.  I haven't felt anything that is obviously movement, but I've felt things that were probably baby movement, like a gas bubble that never led to a fart. 

Jimi and I have our wedding bands ordered - they're being custom made and should be here in a week.  (we ordered them a week ago.)  Momma and I went shopping this past weekend and I found a dress that doesn't make me feel fat - which is quite the accomplishment, as I look today very much like I did before I started on my boot camp kick.  I'm not obviously pregnant, I look like I've had a bit too much cake.  Which I probably have.  Oh well, there will be more boot camp after the baby comes. For now, I like eating. 

I've paid money for two birth-prep books, made out of real paper and everything.  (As opposed to the electronic sort that I can borrow for free on my Kindle.)  This is a sign, folks - a sign that this thing is really going to happen.  I'm so excited!

I've had it in my head that if I could just get to 16 weeks, it would all really be real.  It's really real.  It's happening.  Whoa.  I'm just as mind-blown as the day that stick first showed two lines. 

I have so much more to say, but no more time for now.  Soon, promise. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

13.4 - Shrimpy

It was an eventful week.

We hit 13 weeks, last week of the first trimester.  Baby is now 3 inches long and has fingerprints.  BabyCenter compares baby's size to a shrimp, to which Jimi replied:

At 13 weeks my Baby is the size of a large shrimp, So sayeth the!

Yeeech, whomever comes up with these comparatives needs to try harder. Nobody wants to associate shellfish with their wife's Baby machine, fun factory or any of the local geography hidden by bikini bottoms.

BLEH! and again i say, fllllpppttt. You wanna get Daddies on board?
  • My Lil buddy is now the size of a .50 round.
  • My child is roughly the size of 3/4 inch deep well socket.
  • My princess has grown to be about the same size as one of her mommy's lip stick tubes. (yeah, we know what they look like.)
  • Lil' Jedi's size is now comparative to a Vintage Kenner r2d2. (Star Wars nerds have kids too.)
  • Kid's the size of one o them Bic lighters. (and so do rednecks.)
  • (For the foodies) Your popover has grown to the size of a medium sized jalapeno.
  • (And the Hippies) Tiny Garcia's totally the size of a 2oh fatty.
  • (You have to be the most hipster of the hip to get this one... or a bike repair specialist) Wheelz is about the size of a star-fangled nut. (All the hipsters that dig this are now thinking, "Man, i ain't no Hipster. I just like my bike... I hate hipsters.")
Okay, i think i get my point across by now. BabyCenter, up your game.

They say I will start feeling him/her kick any day now.  Thursday was my second doctor appointment - heartbeat was in the 160s and they said my labs looked good.  Big sigh of relief hearing that heartbeat on the doppler - she couldn't find it at first and I was starting to panic a little, "I'm starting to freak out just a little bit, Doc," answered with "No need to freak out, sometimes they just hide."  And then there it was, behind an artery thumping with my own heavy loud rhythm, beating away with a fast low "whomp whomp whomp whomp".  Baby's fine.  Baby's great.  Nat's happy.

We go back on September 25th for the anatomy scan.  We're going to learn the sex, if baby cooperates, but I don't know yet if we'll find out in the doctor's office or if we'll have them write it down for us so we can do some sort of special reveal later.  Is the new gender reveal trend lame, or adorable and sweet?  I can't decide, but I'm leaning toward adorable and sweet.  I like the idea of there being a picture of our faces the moment we learn which we're having.  I like the idea of being surrounded by our family and them learning along with us. But is it as big a deal to anyone but us?  Will anyone else even care beyond "Oh, that's nice"?  I'm bad about forgetting that the world doesn't revolve around me - I don't want to get so swept up that I think everyone's going to treat my child like a new gravitational force.

We're getting married.  I'm going to write that again.  WE'RE GETTING MARRIED!!!!  In about a month, either just before or while we're on vacation.  We're just going to run off and do it.  We talked about having it here, at home, and renting a tent for the front yard, catering, having a nice casual gathering where our family and friends could celebrate with us, but we have a lot of money to spend in the next 6 months, and the cost of a wedding, even a small casual at-home wedding, falls into the "It'd be nice, but there are more important things" category.  Wedding bands, vacation, a couch, new rugs to cover our newly-revealed hardwood floors - those are all in the "I want this more than a big one-day party" category.  Plus, I think the idea of running away together, just the two of us, is kinda romantic.  (And I started to have a minor panic attack when we were throwing around party ideas - there's a reason that last time I got married at a plans-it-all-for-you chapel and turned the entire reception over to my Mother-In-Law.) 

So yeah, an eventful week.  I feel like all the awesome in the world is aligning to smile on me - what I've done to deserve this much happy, I don't know, but I'm going to soak it up and enjoy the hell out of it. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

12 - Limey!

8 weeks ago today, the focal point of my world shifted.  Against all odds, a second line appeared and told us that our lives were about to change.  I went to my calendar that evening, and counted out the days - "August 8th, Jimi, that's when we can start to breathe."  12 weeks. Of course, I didn't realize yet that they don't actually consider your first trimester over and the second begun until week 13, but still - it's a milestone I set in my mind, and so it must be acknowledged now that it's arrived.  "If I can just get to twelve weeks," I told myself regularly thereafter, "I'll feel much better and know that everything's going to be okay." 

I'm here!  12 weeks today, and Baby Trogdor is over two inches long, or about the size of a lime, according to Baby Center.  Did you hear that woosh of air this morning, about 7 a.m.?  I was waking up and realizing the day, the date, and that was my huge sigh of relief.

Of course I know there are still threats and troubles we could face.  There are no guarantees here.  I'm going to pretend, though, okay?  I'm going to just go with the assumption that everything is perfect and life is awesome and this little miracle is the awesomest part ever.  I spent the first month or so convinced this was temporary, so let me enjoy the flip side, please.

I've been sick, like morning-throw-up sick, for the past two days.  It almost caught me last night too, but I was able to thwart it with cake and red raspberry leaf tea.  Mmm, cake. 

I'm hungry all the time, but my appetite really seems to take off right when I'm home from work.  The letting-go of the workday stresses seems to signal game-on to my belly.  In fact, I asked Jimi to start dinner like thirty minutes ago and he's still sitting here...

Okay, now he's on his way to the kitchen, like the good man he is.  ;)  (Sometimes I'm glad he doesn't read my blog.) 

I feel good.  I'm so fucking happy.  I can't imagine life getting any better, but it will.  It's going to get better, and that woosh right there was the sound of my mind being blown. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

11.3 - God loves Figs

Eleven weeks, three days.  I'm feeling settled and confident. 

The last week's been sort of emotional.  There was a huge brewhaha over some chicken and civil rights, and people came out in droves to declare their support for either side.  I was heartbroken to see the numbers that represented the other side, the dark side, the people whose opinions are wrong.  I don't say that to start a fight - I say it because that's how I see it and this is my blog and I can say what I want.  If you don't believe in equal civil rights for all Americans, you're wrong.  It's really that simple, in my world.  Anyhow, I spent a good part of the week trying to avoid reading too much about the controversy that shouldn't be, because it makes me so fucking sad to consider how many people still want to limit the rights of others.  Life just shouldn't be so damned unfair. 

There was happy this week too, though, and plenty of it.  Jimi's reading his "Daddy Books", and is monitoring my diet even more closely, making sure that I'm eating the right foods and getting plenty of the good stuff.  Maggie made me cry yesterday when she told me she'd like to throw a baby shower for me - it's the first time anyone's mentioned it, and it feels surreal that there would be a party organized to give me baby stuff.  Crazy!  I can't wait.  I bought a cross-stitch kit today, so I can make a little something to hang in the baby's room. 

My pants are getting tight.  My belly pooch is much more noticeable (to me, at least), and is firmer now, rather than squishy.  I look like I never went to boot camp, and then maybe ate some ice cream to celebrate.  I'm still 2 pounds lighter than I was 7 weeks, though, despite my much-increased appetite.  I'm proud of myself for getting so far into the first trimester without gaining weight - and I'm probably patting myself on the back way too early. 

My dreams are crazy and cool and weird and awesome, and I really should start recording them.  I always heard you dream more during pregnancy, and I'm so glad I get to experience that part.  I love dreaming, I love watching/participating in the stories my unconscious mind creates. 

Pregnancy is a-okay in my book so far.  I feel mostly normal, just with bigger/sorer boobs and an ability to better-metabolize all the food.  I do feel a little sick to my stomach most nights, especially after eating.  It's like I can't decide if I'm hungry again, or if I shouldn't have eaten in the first place. 

Work was hard this week, as usual, but it was much more tolerable and pleasant than it has been in months.  I blame my readjusted attitude, and I'm thankful for it.  I didn't need the extra stress my frustration was creating, and I don't like living that way.  I like my life happy-go-lucky, thank you very much, and I prefer to keep it that way.  I'm incredibly grateful for my fortunate circumstances, and I'm reminding myself of that regularly. 

I've decided against the NT scan.  I don't want the extra stress.  I'm operating under the assumption that everything is going to be just fine, and God help me if I'm making the wrong choice.  I'm going to think this baby here, healthy and whole, with my good vibes and positive attitude.  If it's meant to be it will be.  I feel like this is meant to be. 

I think it's a boy.  Everyone says girl, I feel boy.  Time will tell.  We'll love either with equal fervor. 

I keep meaning to start a letter to this little one.  I started to type "I don't know why i haven't yet...", but I do know.  I think I'm nearly past that, though.  Almost. 

I can't believe that we made a whole another person.  I can't believe my body is doing this.  What a miraculous thing. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Puppies and skittles and unicorns and glitter.

Life feels like sunshine and kittens right now. 

Jimi is everything I could have ever dreamed up, but so much better than what my limited imagination could've come up with.  He asked me a few days ago to find him a few dad-to-be books, and when I placed the order tonight and told him they'll be here Wednesday, he exclaimed, "Daddy books?!  Yay!" with genuine glee in his voice.  He's pampering me in just the right ways, and forgiving with extra swiftness my crazy mood shifts.  He laughs at my cravings as he goes along with my every meal suggestion.  He tells me even more than usual how much he loves me, and how special I am in his heart.  I feel so fucking safe.  I feel so incredibly loved. 

Daily, a moment will flick a switch in my mind, and I'm instantly reminded of how amazingly fortunate I am to be right here, at this exact place in time, with this exact set of circumstances.  I don't know why I get to be the recipient of all of this, why I am wallowing in plenty when so many struggle just to have enough. 

My life is a dream I couldn't have dreamed better if I'd dreamed it myself.  If I'm sleeping, never wake me. 

I had another baby dream Friday night.  A fussy little boy wrapped up in yellow and bright blue, trying to suckle at my breast, being passed from my Mom to my Aunts and back around again.  I still didn't get a good look at his face, but I could tell he was way cute. 

Momma brought us our first baby gift today - a book to record milestones, from pregnancy through 5 years.  "You probably won't fill it out, but maybe you will," she said as she handed it to me.  (Neither Brother nor I has a baby book from our formative years - she started one for each of us, but didn't get far.)  I'm going to make an effort.  We'll see how far I get.

I did not mean to stay up this late.  Time for sleeps.  Sweet dreams!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

10.3 - What's a kumquat? (and other blah blah blah)

"Did you poop?"  "Yep!"  "Oh, good!"
These are the conversations pregnancy brings to our lives.  I've heard that modesty goes out the window, I just didn't realize it would begin so soon.

We're 10 weeks and 3 days along, and life is good.  I told some of my extended family on Tuesday, after Grandma's funeral.  My Aunt Cill passed my cell phone ultrasound photo around to anyone she could get to stand still - she was so in awe of our little gummy bear.  Jimi broke the news on Facebook Wednesday, and we were overwhelmed by all the love and well-wishes that poured in.  People love babies, I guess.  And us too, it would appear. 

I have some nausea in the mornings, usually right after I get out of the shower, and again in the evenings starting around 8 p.m.  It's not bad at all, though - more of a discomfort, maybe the way you feel an hour after a meal where you probably should've stopped before dessert but didn't.  I can't believe I'm so lucky - I figured I'd for sure be puking my guts out for the first three months.


I wrote that yesterday before work.  I don't feel like starting a new post, so I'm just adding on.

I got a raise yesterday.  The one I asked for 5 months ago.  I asked for 50%, then 25% - I got 12%.  I decided on my way home last night, and again this morning, that this means I need to spend the weekend readjusting my attitude toward my job.  I'm damn lucky to be where I am.  I have a job, that pays me a good wage, where I have a very promising future ahead of me.  I've more than doubled my salary in five years.  Holy fuckballs, I've fucking doubled my salary in five years, during which time the country has suffered one financial crisis after another and unemployment has almost hit 10%, and I, without a college education, have doubled my salary in five years.  Yeah.  I need to get my head in the right place and be glad to have what I've got and not take the work so damn personally.  

After breakfast today, we pulled up the carpet in the living room, pulled tacks out of the hardwood underneath, vacuumed a million times, washed it down with Murphy's Oil Soap - and now we have a hardwood floor in our living room.  YAY!  This is the first of many pre-baby projects we've got planned - all of which need to happen sooner rather than later.  I'm very much encouraged by our success today - i was terrified of this project being more than we'd planned for.  I was afraid I'd have an unusable living room for weeks and weeks.  It's not perfect, but it's perfectly livable, and now I'm really looking forward to tackling the carpet-pulling in other rooms, along with the painting that's scheduled to follow.  And the decorating, of course.  I'm shopping for a rug and a couch - watch out world when i start shopping for the nursery.  Oh, I just can't wait!  

I'm tired and I wish we had some ice cream.    


Saturday, July 21, 2012

In Loving Memory...

Sally Mae Edwards
May 31, 1912 - July 21, 2012

I want to tell you stories about this woman,
my Great-Grandmother. 
I'm going to hold off, though.
I'm going to wait until after I've gathered with my family,
and heard all the old stories again.
I'll come back when they're fresh,
when I've gotten some facts straight.

just know she was an amazing woman,
who brought a lot of love to this world.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

They say this happiness is just the beginning...

Oh my goodness.  That was breath-taking. 

There's a heartbeat!  and little legs and little arms and a funny-looking head and a heart that beats and beats and beats!  One hundred and sixty-seven times a minute, that little heart was beating!  Baby Trogdor (that's what we're calling him for now, Trogdor the Burninator - don't ask why because i don't know the answer, it's just what we've claimed for four years that we're naming our first born) is measuring exactly on target, at 9 weeks and 1 day, with a due date of February 20, 2013.  

I'm so overwhelmed.  I'm so full of love and happy that I feel like I'm going to explode.  I can't stop tearing up.  I'm so relieved.

I took the day off work, but Bossman changed the game plan last night and asked me to come in for 2 hours, because he and our Ops manager were going to be offsite - he gets nervous about leaving the place "unattended".  So I worked for two hours this morning, which was probably a blessing in disguise, because I was an absolute nervous wreck, and can't imagine the shape I would've worked myself into had I not had other things to focus on.  (I didn't sleep well at all last night, and was so nervous this morning that my stomach and chest were both hurting.)  Ten o'clock finally came, and off to the doctor I headed.  I had just enough time to get to the office and be maybe 10 minutes early for my appointment - so of course I drove past my exit.  And of course, because I was panicked about missing my exit, I chose to take the next one, which was another highway, which meant I had to drive an extra 2 miles before I came to the first exit where I could turn around - and of course that exit was one of the busiest in the city, so of course it took all of my wiggle-room time to get turned around and back on target.  But I got to the hospital, and I got into the parking garage, and the little old lady in front of me, of course, came to a complete stop at every turn in the garage.  And of course, she also took the last available spot in the entire garage.  So I made my own parking place, on the roof, in front of two other people who'd had the same desperate idea.  I was pissed off and fuming and frankly didn't give a flying fuck if they towed my car - I had to get into that office for my appointment!

I was right on time.  Well, if on time means walking into the lobby at the time my appointment was scheduled.  Close enough, right?

Jimi was already there, and we didn't have to wait long before they called us back.  Thank goodness, they did the ultrasound first - she explained, "I'm going to take some measurements and then I'll turn the screen so you can see, but first I'll tell you what you're waiting to know - there's only one baby in there and it has a strong heartbeat."  Whooosh! - There went all my pent up fears and worry and nervousness I've been harboring for the last 5 weeks.  Those few words took the scared away.  And then she turned the screen, and I saw my baby wiggle.  She hit a button, and suddenly the room was filled with the sound of my baby's heartbeat, and then came the tears.  I gasped - I'd been imagining this moment for weeks, when I'd let my mind go down that path - but it was really happening.  I'm growing a whole another person, and he has a heartbeat! 

The rest of the almost-3-hour visit is a blur of questions and congratulations and tests and blood draws.  My doctor has prescribed progesterone suppositories and a daily baby aspirin for the next four weeks to further reduce any risk of miscarriage.  I would've submitted to anything, I already had all the information I came to get.  I was walking on air, and they could've forgotten me in the lobby between call-backs and I wouldn't have cared because I'm growing a baby and he has a heartbeat. 

They gave us three ultrasound photos to take home - I texted one to family and a few friends and my phone proceeded to blow up.  My Daddy - I think maybe he's more excited than Jimi and I are.  When Momma learned she was pregnant with Brother, I remember listening to Daddy call everyone in our phone book to share the news.  He did a repeat of that today, I think.  He loves babies, and he's so excited for his first grandbaby to finally be on the way. 

I guess I can start to think of this all as being really real, huh?  I guess now I can start to get excited? 

This is one of the happiest days of my life.  It feels surreal.  I'm so fucking happy, I could just pee. 

Wanna see a picture?  Baby Trogdor's first close-up:

Ain't that just the cutest little baby-to-be you ever did see?
Gosh, my heart is just so full. 

9.1 - Grape

Today's the day.  Give me 5 hours, and I'll have a much better idea of how the next 8 months are going to play out. 

I'm scared.  I'm nervous.  I'm excited.  I'm eager with anticipation.  I'm scared. 

Send some good vibes our way today, could you?  What will be will be, and already is, but I could still use the extra support. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My First Baby Dream

I had my baby last night, in my dreams.

A little boy. 

I don't know what we named him, or what he looked like - all I saw was his little penis.

They circumsized him, against my wishes and without my permission, and the entire dream was me yelling at the doctors for mutilating my child. 

That's all.  I just wanted to record it for posterity. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

8, or There's a Kidney Bean in my Belly

Whoa.  This shit is starting to get real. 

8 weeks.  Baby is the size of a kidney bean and is developing hands, feet, eyelids, a brain, breathing passages - holy crap there's a baby in my belly!  I was reading ahead last night (which they tell you not to do, but it was only like 12 hours ahead, so I'm sure it's okay) and it started to come over me - this is really happening.  There's a floating person-to-be inside me that's growing at a ridiculous pace and will be ready to come out and meet us all in just a few more months.  Wow.  I've been so focused on not getting too emotionally attached, not getting my hopes up...this is wild.

Guys?  I'm gonna be a Momma! 

Of course, I have to follow that with a disclaimer - I haven't seen a doctor yet.  I don't know that everything is fine and dandy.  I'm assuming.  I'm speaking from a place of hope.  Fingers crossed I won't have to print any retractions, you feel me?

Eight weeks.  Two months down, seven and a half (ish) to go. 

Of course, the 8 week update on Baby Center has to bring up screenings and testings - all the different ways medical science can scare the shit out of you about what could possibly go wrong and result in you not having a healthy happy baby in your arms at the end of the journey.  My knee-jerk reaction is to ignore it all, skip it all, and just let nature take its course and see how things end up.  Surely everything will be fine, right?  I asked Jimi how he feels - he's pretty terrified of the idea of having a baby that isn't "perfect".  Having a Down Syndrome baby is something he worries about and doesn't want to have to face.  He views screenings and tests as a way to arm ourselves with all the necessary information so we can be prepared if something is wrong.  I worry about the stress that would be caused from false/real positives.  I am afraid of learning something is wrong and having to discuss things like "quality of life" or "viability".  I don't want to do anything that could lead to a doctor advising me to terminate my pregnancy.  I don't want to experience any of that as my reality. 

If you've got any advice, this is me, as a first-time-almost-Momma, asking for advice from women who've walked this road before. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A sign.

I spent the day in Evansville, IN with my Momma and my Aunt Pam at a cousin's wedding.  Mom's told Pam the news, and we talked a lot of baby talk.  Pam said she feels good about this one and she'll say lots of prayers for us.  Good.  We'll take them all.

When I decided I was ready to head home, my front tire was flat. 

I wanted to cry. 

I was tired and hungry and hot and I just wanted to go home. 

But.  I had a can of Fix-A-Flat in my trunk, and that inflated the tire enough for me to get down the road to a Pep Boys, which was still open at 6:30 on a Saturday night and had a tire to sell me for just under $100. It was just under an hour from the time I discovered the flat until we were pulling out of the Pep Boys parking lot. 

Mom stayed with me the whole time.  She kept me from losing my shit.  I love my Momma so much. 

It felt lucky, that flat tire.  At least in retrospect.  It didn't blow in the middle of Nowhere, Indiana, on a desolate stretch of I-64, when Momma and I would've had to sit in the sweltering heat on the side of the road probably for over an hour waiting for AAA to show up.  It didn't blow on my way home, when I was alone in the dark on that same empty stretch of highway.  Instead, it was flat, outside the church.  And I had Fix-A-Flat.  And Pep Boys was open.  And I had enough money in the bank to pay for a new tire without blinking.  (All that beer and cigarette money I've saved over the last few weeks, perhaps?)  A lucky girl, I am.

I decided to go back to the reception for a while longer, danced (poorly) with my cousins and my aunt, then hit the road for home around 10 o'clock. 

I spent most of the drive in silence, watching the white lines lead the way.  I thought about the latest Momastery article I'd read while waiting for my tire to be replaced.  I thought about how scared I am for our first appointment in less than 2 weeks.  I imagined what it could be like - lying in a dark room and hearing that sound I dream of, the sound of a heartbeat that Jimi and I made together.  I thought about Jimi, and his concern that his age could negatively impact our ability to have a healthy "normal" child.  How would we react if something was wrong?  What if our baby has an extra chromosome? 

I think we're going to be okay.  I started to let myself think that maybe we're going to be just fine. 

And then a car drove by, an SUV, with a vanity plate that read  OK PUSH. 

I'm taking it as a sign.  A doctor's gonna say that to me next February, and everything's going to be just fine. 

Every little thing, gonna be alright.


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