Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A new year

It's New Year's Eve - the last day of 2013.  2012 was a hell of year, but 2013 blew it out of the water, as expected.  Geneva changed everything.  Geneva makes the sun shine every day, even if it's cloudy outside.  She is a miracle, and watching her grow over these last 9 months 3 weeks has been the most amazing experience of my life.  I pray that 2014 will bring as much joy and happiness.  I know life changes in a moment, but I try so hard to stay positive and look forward to the good and to expect the best...as with the chess set story, that can sometimes result in terrible disappointment and heartache.  Living life with fear and dread and full of caution can be just as tiresome and sad, though. 

I hope 2014 finds Geneva continuing to blossom and grow and become the amazing little girl she is.  She's not quite walking yet, but she took two steps on Christmas day.  Her Granny and Papaw gave her one of those wheeled-walking things that they stand behind and push, and she's taken off running with it, so I expect her to abandon it for complete freedom and mobility any day now.  She loves bathtime.  She eats everything you put in front of her (her favorites are bananas, Cheerios, and sweet potatoes).  At her checkup two weeks ago, she weighed in at 19 lbs 11.5 ounces, measured at 28.5 inches long, and is perfect in every way.  We're so incredibly fortunate. 

I hope 2014 finds Jimi and I still growing as parents and as a couple.  This is all such new territory for us, there have been more challenges, short tempers, misdirected frustration between us this year than any other in our 7 year history.  But we've also been more compassionate, more passionate, more considerate, and developed better teamwork than any other year out of our 7 together.  We'll face these challenges head-on, together, and we'll overcome them.  I mean, it's just life, right?  How hard can it be.  :|

I desperately long for a way to quit my job and stay home to be Geneva's Mom full time, but I keep coming up short when it comes to actual ways to make that financially possible.  I'll head into 2014 hoping for a miracle that makes that dream a reality.  A close runner-up would be for Jimi and I to get really fucking brave and for him to dive in and walk away from his position - at least one of us would be home raising our daughter, giving her the baseline knowledge we deem important.  Fucking money, man.  Why does it have to be so important?  And then I realize that if one of us were to quit, we'd still be living well above the poverty line, so why am I bitching and not taking action and finding a way to stay home with my daughter?  Or would that be detrimental to her in the long run, for us to walk away from this comfortable life we have, where we can afford to provide her with just about any little extra thing a little girl can use to help her grow up happy, healthy, and strong? 

When I start typing that out, it seems so selfish, so easy to continue the status quo.  Why am I not willing to simply walk away from my job with the attitude of "we'll make it work, somehow", when I know that we would find a way, and my heart longs so fiercely to spend my days hugging Geneva, and singing her songs, and reading her books, and taking her on adventures to see the world around us?

She's awake. 

Happy New Year.  I hope 2014 is your best yet. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Christmas Story

My Facebook post from Friday:

My morning has been filled with an ACTUAL CHRISTMAS MIRACLE and I'm so excited I can't hardly stand it. I'm bouncing up and down in my chair.

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The story:

A Christmas Story

December 25, 2013 at 9:34 pm

A Christmas Miracle is what I promised. Sometimes, I get so excited about the way I think life should work out, I end up forgetting that reality is usually not so kind.  Still, I live behind these rose colored glasses.

My Daddy, whom I love and adore, way back in 1982, received from my Momma, for his 30th birthday, a wooden chess set.  It was beautiful - the pieces were hand carved and polished, the board was made with love - it was a wonderful board that graced the top of our entertainment center for as long as I can remember.  I spent hours as a girl peeking in on my dad and his friends as they hunched over the set, moving the pieces in mysterious ways, so silent and serious.  It seemed a very boring game to me, but the love my Daddy had for that board made it seem like something grown up and important and something I very much wanted to experience with him - so eventually, I learned the game of chess on that board, taught by a very patient father who tried his best to explain to his precocious daughter why it was okay that the King, which was so very important to the game, could only move in the same limited capacity as a Pawn.  (I still don't get it, I'll be honest with you.  The Queen was totally the boss of that game.)  I haven't played chess in years, and Daddy had taken to favoring the less-bulky convenience of downloaded games on his phone, but the last time I played was on that board, and I know Daddy still occasionally pulled out the set to have a game with his buddy Jim.

Daddy's chess board was such a fixture in our home - like the cabinet that holds the CDs, and the dining room table - you may not use it every day, but it was always there. Until one day it wasn't.

The hows and whys of the board's disappearance aren't tales for this story, but the loss, when it was noticed, was heartbreakingly sad, and it deeply hurt my Daddy that it was gone.  I have a ridiculous sentimental side that comes straight from my Papa - small tokens can carry the value of gold and gems if given by the right person, for the right occasion - and I could see in his eyes when he told me his chess set was gone, and I hurt for him.  We tried to find it, but by the time we tracked it to it's last known location, it was gone again.  Forever, it seemed.

The Friday before Christmas, I was in my boss's office, sharing Christmas shopping woes.  I told him how i wasn't finished shopping for Daddy, but all I wanted to get him for Christmas was a chess set to replace his missing one, but you can't replace handcrafted with mass-produced.  Dan cocked his head to the side, then turned to his computer and typed something in - I came around his desk to look, "Are you on Craigslist?"  The first search for "chess set" returned dozens of listings, but he narrowed it to wooden sets and listings with pictures.  The third listing, from Lexington Craigslist, was my Daddy's chess set.

I called the man with the listing, confirmed he still had the board, made an offer, got his address, and told him I'd see him the next morning.  I looked at the listing for another 5 minutes, heart racing.  Could it really be my dad's set?  Yep, it had the wooden box he used to store the pieces.  I recognized the green felt on the bottom of the pieces.  Dan emailed me the link to the listing, which I forwarded to Momma, followed by a phone call, "That's it, isn't it?"  "Nat, I think it is."  I knew it!  I was beside myself with joy - I wanted to leave work that minute and drive to Lexington and have it safe in my hands, then under my tree, ready to be reunited with my Daddy.

All afternoon, all night, all morning Saturday, I had visions of how I'd give Daddy his gift.  Sneak in and set it up under their christmas tree so it's waiting for him Christmas morning, like a gift from Santa?  Each piece wrapped indiviually and the board as the final present?  A video taking him along on our journey to Lexington and back, with the big reveal at the end?  Regardless, I knew it would be perfect, and he would be so thrilled and excited, and this would be the best Christmas ever, for more reasons than just being Geneva's First.

Jimi and I loaded Geneva into the car in the middle of the cold rain Saturday morning, and headed out to pick up our Christmas Miracle.  It was a jovial trip - I was bubbling with excitement, visions of rooks and pawns and knights and queens dancing in my head.  The seller was waiting for us in his driveway when we pulled up, and I got out of the car with the money in my hand.  He brought me the board...

And I knew immediately it wasn't my Daddy's chess set.  While Daddy had for years left the board assembled, ready for game-play, there was no discoloration on the white squares on his board; this board had little round circles where the color of the wood was changed by years of exposure to light or smoke.  The board was nice, just not as nice as my Daddy's.  The box of pieces was smaller, not as nice as Dad's, and the pieces themselves were 2/3 the size of Dad's pieces, and not nearly as finished and polished.

I hated the chess set being offered to me.  I gave the man $100 and put it in my backseat anyhow, and drove away.  I made it to the stop sign at the end of the street before the tidal wave of tears I'd been holding back broke free, and I sobbed and sobbed, heartbroken for my Daddy's loss all over again, and now for my failure to fix it and make everything better.

My day was ruined.  Sweet Jimi saw me deflating fast and tried to perk me up, but I was allowing myself to sink and wallow- how could i have been so foolish, and so wrong?  And does this mean that Daddy's board really is gone forever, with no hope of ever coming back to us?

By the time we got home, my head was clearing from the shock.  That sounds melodramatic, doesn't it?  That's really what it was, though - I was so completely certain we'd found my Dad's board that I was absolutely blindsided by the fact that it wasn't.  I looked at a Craigslist photo and convinced myself of what I saw and allowed not a moment's thought to the idea that I could be mistaken.  Foolish.  Anyhow, by the time we got home that evening, I was more reasonable.  I took out the board and the little wooden box and examined both closely.  I opened the box and held the pieces in my hands - they're hefty for their size, and while the carvings aren't polished, they're quality.  It's a nice chess set.  Anyone who enjoys the game would be proud to have it.

I wrapped it with love, and gave it to Daddy today.  I couldn't stop myself from crying, or for apologizing for it not being "his" - he cried too, though, and replied "it's mine now".

Christmas was full of the most important things, and not a damned one of them was carved of wood.  Perspective, I has it now.

And then I filled up for $2.98 a gallon on the way home.

Christmas Miracle, indeed.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

2013: The Year of Awesome

I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving day.  It's a charmed life I live.  I try to remember the line from that Ben Harper song - "If you have everything, you have everything to lose." - keeps things in perspective and reminds me to not take any of it for granted.  But of course I take things for granted - practically all of them.  I bitch about my job, my husband, my sweet baby's hatred of sleep - and then remind myself how lucky I am to have every single complaint, because my problems ain't that bad.  I strive constantly to remember not to bitch about my bounty of blessings. 

I'm thankful that I don't have to stretch to find things to be thankful for.  I can hit the big things without blinking - new baby, adoring husband, stable job, robust health, loving parents and extended family, warm home, food in the fridge, money in the bank.  I feel guilty sometimes for having so much - what makes me so special?  Why do I get to have everything, when so many people in the world have nothing? 

I was going to get so much deeper with that line of thought, but Geneva woke up from her nap.  I'm so thankful for that little girl. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Birth of Geneva Aibhilin - The Conclusion...Finally. Sort of.

My beautiful daughter is 8 months and 1 day old.  I've not yet finished telling her birth story, and I'm ashamed of myself.  The details are fading in my memory - they aren't as sharp as they were in the days and weeks that followed.  Everything in my life now feels as if it is coated in a haze - like the glare that seems to always be in pictures taken on a sunny day, yellowish-white fingers that reach into the scenes of your memory and soften the edges and block out a few, just a few, details in the corners and edges of the frame.  It's a happy haze, but a haze nonetheless. 

So I need to finish telling the story of her birth.  For her, and also for me, because, let's face it, that was the best, most challenging, most mind-blowingly amazing thing I'll ever do - probably the only miracle in which I'll actively participate. It's sort of a big deal.

WARNING:  Below contains some pretty yucky graphic descriptions of the real stuff that happens during the birth of a human.  Don't say I didn't warn ya.

When we left off of Part One, I was heading into transition, still riding those waves in the tub, thinking about how I was going to make sure the world knew Jimi called me a manatee while I was trying to birth his baby.  Bless his heart, though - the things he saw that day.  When the nurse checked to see if my water had indeed broken, she released a flood of yuck, so I'm told.  I can only imagine.  I was unaware of said yuck, and had no hindrance when it came to dunking my head and face under the water for relief between waves (contractions).  At one point, I vividly remember leaning my face up to kiss Jimi, and he sort of pulled back and urged me to wait while he wiped something off my forehead with a washcloth.  Eww.  And that was just the beginning.

When I started feeling the urge to push, I was nearing 9 cm dilated, and it was time to get out of the tub. Oh, how I dreaded getting out of the tub.  I just knew the pain would be too much.  My wonderful nurse brought huge heated blankets to wrap around me, and helped Jimi lead me to the bed.  I think I lay on my side for a while, but the waves were so strong, and I just knew that if I could get on all fours, they wouldn't hurt as bad.  So that's what I did, for a long while.  I don't know how long I pushed - time was sort of irrelevant.  I remember shivering through transition, and I heard Jimi ask the nurses and midwives if I was okay, and hearing them reassure him with the answer that I already knew but hadn't fully come to realize was happening to me at that moment - the time was so near!  They told me I could push whenever I felt the need, and I did, there on the bed, on all fours, covered for a while with those now-cold warmed blankets, then with my bare ass shining out for all to see.  I remember looking down and seeing the bloody mucus hanging - oh my goodness, there were four women staring at my ass as I slowly dripped yuck.  And my husband!  He was seeing this too!  In talking with Jimi later, I think he missed a lot of that because he was up with me, at my head, reminding me to breathe, and release, and relax.  He was calm and gentle and strong and wonderful, and at one point my audience, comprised of two nurses, my midwife, and her student midwife, was heard to whisper - "His voice is so soothing, I feel like I could go to sleep."  I can hear you!-I thought.  A good chuckle was had by all. 

I pushed for a good long time, but nothing was really happening, at least not that I could tell.  So I turned around and used the bar at the foot of the bed to support myself as I squatted and pushed.  Jimi just reminded me the midwives kept saying "good sounds, good sounds", as I moaned and aaahhed my way through my waves.  If I hadn't been so otherwise engaged, I would've had a hard time controlling my giggles and the peacenik hippie images they brought to mind - I saw myself in the same position in the center of a green field, surrounded by women in long skirts and flower wreaths circling their heads atop long flowing manes of blonde hair.

The squatting wasn't working, and I was becoming less and less concerned about my naked ass in front of these women, and more and more concerned with the fact that Geneva hadn't arrived after a couple of good pushes.  It felt like nothing was happening. 

So back on all fours I went, again, for another good long while.  (All told, I think we've pieced together that all of these good long whiles lasted a total of probably 2 hours, maybe slightly longer.  They seemed an eternity at the time.)  Progress was slow, and I was tiring quickly.  My midwife could tell, and encouraged me twice to lie on my side, which I refused, fearing it would make the pain so much worse.  Finally, she insisted we try it, and I was so tired, so desperate for this to be over, I relented and flopped over, allowing the student midwife, Jimi, and the nurse to prop various parts of me with pillows before the next wave came on.

It was the right thing - the next wave was intense and I could feel Geneva moving down inside my body.  I felt very full in my hips - I guess now her head hung out there between my pubic bones for a while, as I pushed good and hard a couple times, but stopped short at the last second because (I thought) I could feel myself pooping.  Despite everything else these people had seen of me in the few hours we'd been acquainted, I was concerned enough about my dignity that I did not want them to see poop come out of my butt.  The third time, though, the phrase "fuck it" when through my mind, and I pushed and didn't pull back, I followed through.  I still don't know if I pooped - I think I did, and Jimi says he couldn't say for sure, that if I did, they had me cleaned up immediately so no one could've noticed.  He says that because he loves me.  It seems so ridiculous now, knowing what came next.

So, after the poop push, Geneva was right there, you could almost see her head.  I pushed again, but I could feel myself stretching, at the top of my vagina, and I was so afraid I was going to tear, so again, I held back at the last second.  Poor Geneva. They said her head was RIGHT THERE, and asked if I wanted a mirror to see - "No!  I just want her out of me!!"  I was so poetic that night.  I wasn't going to be able to hold back again - it was time for her to be born, and this thing was going to have to happen. With the next wave, I pushed with everything I had, and when I felt myself start to tear, I again thought "fuck it", and pushed harder -

And she was here.  She slid out of me like a slippery fish and was flopped onto my naked belly.  I was so dazed at first - I looked at her and she was purple and so small and she has hair and she's SO BEAUTIFUL.  Oh my goodness, my daughter was bruised and scuffed and had bloody rings around her irises for days because of the cord that was around her neck once and the time she spent in the birth canal as I tried not to poop or tear my vag - but she was the most beautiful creature I've ever seen.

I shamefully remember thinking "My daughter is so small and petite! I have a petite daughter!  Holy crap, Jimi and I made a petite daughter! How did that happen?"  I say I remember that shamefully because I absolutely do not want my daughter to equate her self worth with the size of her jeans.  I do not care if she is a size 2 or a size 20, so long as she is healthy and happy with herself.  But our society values small sizes, and a lifetime of indoctrination that slim = good overcame me in that moment.  But seriously, how did Jimi and I make a small baby? 

I'd sought an all-natural childbirth for several reasons, but one was that I'd heard an awful lot about that high that hits you once your child is born - I was totally trying to get high on life.  I read about waves of euphoria washing over you once you see your child's face, the immediate endorphin rush that makes all of the unpleasant things that immediately follow birth - delivering the placenta, getting stitched back up - not quite so bad, or even noticeable, really.  I think the women who tell those stories might be liars, but i'm not sure.  As I stared at my beautiful daughter, thoughts of "I thought it was supposed to stop hurting now" and "Oh my god, my vag stings so bad!" kept crowding in on my awe and adoration of Geneva.  Her umbilical cord was stretched taught, it felt like, and its path from me to her lie directly in the tear she'd made on her way out.  It stung like a sonofabitch.  Finally I couldn't take it anymore and I reached down to move it - "No No No!" The midwives stopped me immediately.  "But it stings!" I complained.  Moments later, it was time to cut the cord - I'd decided


I wrote all of that LAST Tuesday night.  It's Tuesday again, and Geneva is another week older, and her birth story still isn't posted.  Shame, Mother, Shame.  Anyhow...

So I'd decided to let the cord stop pulsing before it was cut, a decision I thought wise and well thought-out pre-birth.  We'll come back to that - it was time to cut the cord, and Jimi couldn't do it.  He'd told me in prior discussions that he wasn't sure if he'd be able to handle the, um, texture of it.  I totally understand what he means - the way I can't handle killing any bug that crunches.  So someone asks Jimi "Dad, do you want to cut the cord?" and he hesitates, but finally he calls it and declines - saying "I just can't do it."  "I'll do it!" I piped up, "I don't give a shit!"  SO Eloquent, Geneva's mother is. And so with my new daughter on my belly, I reached around and below her and took the scissors they handed me, and aimed where they pointed me, and I severed the physical connection I'd nurtured for so long. 

My daughter was born.


I started this effing blog entry 4 weeks ago.  Four!  It's the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and next week Geneva will be 9 months old. 

There's more to tell to this story - the people who were there before and after, a 24-hour stint in the nursery for observation because of G's "thick" blood, our extra night in the hospital that was on the house - but for now, this will do. 

And there you have it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My little girl is growing up.

She is getting so big, so fast.

Her first tooth popped through today.  I felt as if I'd won a prize.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Awesome and exhausting, motherhood is

Blog titles since Geneva's birth have been her age in weeks/days - it's been long enough since my last post that I've lost track of exactly how old she is.  28 weeks?  Something like that.  I'm an awesome mom.

Life is busy.  There's not much time these days for much more than what has to be done, and blogging hasn't fallen on that list in quite some time.  My carefree days full of hours of nothing to do and no plans has become a life so full that sometime I feel like I need to add "shower" and "make coffee" to my daily to-do lists so I can make sure I find a way to work those important things into the day.  (Plus, I really like checking stuff off on my to-do lists, so I find adding simple things like "shower" and "make coffee" gives me a boost, because I know I'm going to get those things done.  Fuck cleaning the floors, but momma needs her coffee.)

Geneva is amazing and I'm going to regret terribly the fact that I've not recorded every moment of her life here, so I can go back and read it all later.  I already miss the tiny bundle she was while I was home on maternity leave - she's changing so fast every day!  I spend her awake hours playing, singing, dancing with her, between the feeding and the changing and the bathing.  When she's asleep, there's laundry and dishes and dinner and maybe 20 minutes for yoga and 10 minutes for Facebook.  The day is over before I know it, even when it starts well before dawn. 

She's still my little milk baby and I don't even have the words to describe how proud I am of her little fat rolls on her legs, ankles, and wrists.  At her 6 month check-up, she weighed in at 16 pounds 10 ounces and was 26.5 inches long, and I was sort of disappointed they didn't throw me a party or at least offer me a sucker - I mean, I've been growing this little lady for well over a year now, and look at what a great job my body has done sustaining her!  I'm in awe of my body - I'm in awe of her, and the fact that she came from me, and that I'm able to keep her strong and healthy.  What an amazing experience motherhood is. 

I love breastfeeding, and I'm so glad we've been successful at it.  I hate pumping.  I tip my hat to mothers who pump exclusively - that's some dedication I don't know if I possess, and I'm grateful I didn't have to find out.  Because the awkwardness and discomfort aren't enough, it also is time-consuming and has made my job so much more difficult.  I'm less productive because of the interruption two to three times a day, and my co-workers are resentful because of my unavailability during those times.  I also suspect they secretly believe I'm kicked back with my feet on the desk, taking a short siesta while my milk flows - in reality, I'm hunched over with an elastic band strapped tightly across my chest, chapped nipples peeking through holes in the fabric to be fed into plastic cups that pinch and pull at the delicate skin, bare back covered in goose bumps as the AC blasts and my shirt lies wadded on the corner of the desk while I try to sort my pile of billing without moving too much (don't want to spill anything from the bottles dangling from my tits), hoping to accomplish something during this 20 minute torture session so I don't get further behind and have to stay late or take work home.  And then, when it's over and I emerge from my cave with my bag of milk and nearly-obscene bottle/flange contraptions coated with milk droplets, I'm greeted with "It's about time!" and "Finally!" and "Oh, she just came out, hold please and I'll get her on the line."  Pumping is a fucking party, let me tell ya.

Nearly seven months in, I've managed to keep up with her demand pretty well, but I have next-to-no stash of extra milk.  Patricia (a friend I've known forever and Geneva's Other Mother/Babysitter during the workweek) has maybe two days' worth in her freezer, and I have four bags in mine.  So yeah, not much milk stored up.  It's a constant worry for me, and I'm stingy with that expressed milk the way Scrooge was tight with a penny.  But we're making it, and we're going to keep getting by. 

She's just starting to learn solids.  I don't know what in the hell I'm doing or how to feed her - she's trying a bit of this and a little that, a mix between jarred babyfood I swore I wasn't going to give her and chunks of things we have around - like banana, avocado, peaches, lemons.  She really loves the purees and happily takes the spoon into her own hand and guides the food into her mouth on her own.  The chunky foods seem to be more for holding and squeezing than actually eating.  When the chunks do make it to her mouth, she never seems glad they got there.  She still hasn't had cereal of any sort, and I've got no plans to change that any time soon. 

She sleeps pretty well these days - nursing to sleep around 8, then up again for a nightcap at 9, then one more meal in the middle of the night, around 4:30.  She'll sleep on her own until 7, and if it's not a workday, she'll go back down until 9:30 or so.  (That's why I've found the time to write this morning.)  On weekends she takes two good naps, about 2 hours each, but I think she has a hard time staying asleep that long during the week.  (Other children - and shiny things - are incredibly distracting, and she doesn't want to miss anything.) 

She is so sweet.  She's so good.  She laughs and coos all the time.  Her smile is radiant.  Her eyes are such a magnificent blue, and so wide and deep.  You can see her brilliance.  Her hair is starting to come in more fully, but we still can't tell what color it will be.  Strawberry blonde seems the most likely contender here lately. 

She sits up and plays quietly with her fabric vegetables and fruit, or will bang wildly on her little baby piano.  She's not quite crawling, but she can get anywhere she wants to be by throwing her hands forward and pulling herself, using her feet to push forward.  She'll get up on her hands and knees, but hasn't figured out yet that putting them one in front of the other will move her more quickly.  Last night, she started pulling herself up onto her knees using the edge of her crib - time to lower the mattress, methinks.  Bath time is still her favorite - she loves to splash! 

She loves everyone she meets, and most often has a beautiful gummy smile to share.  (No teeth yet.)  She recently started testing us, seeing how we react to certain screams and demands.  I think we're still winning, so far, but she is a clever girl, and we're going to have to stay on our toes with this one.  It's going to be hard to not spoil her - I want to give her the world. 

Jimi and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary.  He's a great husband, and an amazing father.  Geneva and I sure lucked out.  A woman told me once that if I wanted children, I should hurry up and have them, but not to expect any help from Jimi, because he's lazy and wouldn't be there for me.  Sometimes I wonder if he's so involved because he knows that accusation was made.  Mostly I think that woman just didn't know Jimi and was running her mouth because she was a sad lonely person who didn't know how to say anything good about anyone. 

I can feel my free time running short, and I really need to heat up my coffee - I've had less than half a cup and let it go cold.  I miss you, bloggy world - I want to say that I'll try harder to come back and do this more often, but we've all heard that before and know that it's probably not true.  It sounds nice, though.    

Monday, August 26, 2013

25 weeks

I can go from a seated, cross-legged position to standing with a sleeping baby in my arms and not drop or wake her.  (lying her in her bed without waking her is another thing entirely.)

She has fat rolls. On her ankles and wrists and in the middle of he little fat thighs. I did that. I made her that way. Awesome.

This is the best adventure in the world. I think raising this girl is the purpose of my existence, why I'm here. I'm so lucky.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

21 weeks 6 days, or The Best Five Months Of My Life

She's a wiggle worm at diaper-change time. 
She sits up, sometimes even on her own. 
She stopped sleeping through the night weeks ago.
She is happy almost all the time.
She pinches and squeezes and bites while she's eating.  That's fun.
She has the sweetest smile. 
She is amazing. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

20 weeks 3 days - The time, it flies!

This parenting gig is no joke, y'all.  We're just breezing along, enjoying every day with our beautiful daughter, doing the best we can, hoping we're doing enough and doing the right things in the right time.  I imagine all parents do that - just do the best they can, with the information available to them.  Why, then, are been there/done that parents so quick to criticise those of us who are new to this game?  Why are people so willing to tell me I'm doing it wrong?

It started at work a few weeks back - in my afternoon production meeting, my coworkers asked if Geneva is eating cereal yet, and when I told them no, they promptly told me that I'm starving my child, that I should've been giving her solids for months now.  That my girl won't know how to eat food because I'm denying her.  They brow-beat me, made me question decisions I'd made after lots of research - so I went out and bought her some cereal. 

The cereal is still seal in the unopened box in my pantry, though.  I've decided, again, not to give it to her.  Not yet.  Maybe not ever.

Mom has been sort of on my case since day one about the breastfeeding - "it'll free up a lot of your time if you just give her some formula"; "your aunt breastfed her babies and says she didn't have to feed them constantly"; and (my personal favorite) "you're DENYING me!  i want time with her when she's this age, but you always say you don't have enough milk - let me just give her a little formula."  I don't know what her deal is - it's almost as if she feels I'm questioning her parenting decisions by making choices that are different from hers, as if I'm somehow implying, by breastfeeding my child, that she did wrong by hers by giving us formula. 

Anyhow, so I was talking to Mom last night, and she asked me if we'd started Geneva on the cereal yet.  I told her we hadn't, and that I've decided we probably won't.  I'm going to breastfeed for her first six months.  After that, when I feel she's ready, we'll start her out on real food - specifically, avocados.   You'd have thought I'd told my mom we were going to feed that baby poison. 

I'll be honest - I'm over it.  I'm tired of feeling like I have to be apologetic about the way I'm feeding my baby.  ESPECIALLY when I feel like the choices I'm making are best for her.  ESPECIALLY when all the research says I'm making the choices that are best for Geneva.  I'm not giving my baby formula if breastmilk is an option.  I will not feed her empty calories to fill her belly so she sleeps more.  My job as a mother is not to make the decisions that are easier for me - i have to do what is best for my baby.  And doing what I'm doing is not all that difficult - this is our new normal, so telling me how much better my life will be if i give her formula and cereal is not a selling point.  Breastmilk is free, readily available, and not messy; and it's the best thing for her.  That last part?  Ends the discussion.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

18 weeks 5 days

She's rubbing her little blue eyes with her left hand, her right hand tucked in behind her right ear, elbow pointed out, like a little diva.  Diva Geneva, Kristina called her today.  She's fighting sleep as she rocks back and forth in her swing, tucked under a fuzzy pink blanket, her paci near her feet.  She's not making any sound beyond the occasional audible breath - her nose is a little stuffy.  Her left eye itch satisfied, she tucks her hand in behind her left ear - now she looks like she's sunbathing - all laid back.  Her eyes drift closed and her left hand drifts down into her lap - the right stays tucked behind that little ear. 

She's perfect and beautiful and miraculous in oh so many ways.  I'm so lucky I get to be her mom. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

13 weeks 2 days - The sleepy dance

Nurse, poop cleanup, bath time, nurse, swaddle, swing to Bluegrass music on the Pandora - this is our routine tonight.  The poop and bath are options, appearing every other night or so, but the rest is becoming somewhat normal for us.  We're figuring it out.  She's usually asleep by midnight, but because I just wrote that, she'll be up until 1 tonight.  She's usually good to sleep for a solid 7 hours, but because I just wrote that, she'll be up every 2 hours tonight.  (Please let me be wrong about that.)  Once she's asleep in the swing, we'll move her to her bed, turn on the monitor, tiptoe out the door, and breathe a sigh of...something.  The feel of the house changes when she's down for the night.  It's not relief, though it sort of is.  I miss her when she's asleep, but when that door latch softly clicks into place as I leave her room, I feel like I used to when I worked the late shift at the liquor store and I'd finally turn off that neon "OPEN" sign. Like I'm able to take off the Responsible Mom hat I wear, if only for the few minutes between her bedtime and my own. 

I've got new stretch marks on my breasts, and this realization hit me kind of hard, mostly because I know it's my fault for not wearing a good supportive bra at night...or on those days I'd rather just wear a nursing tank.  I hate every piece of clothing I own.  Every. Single. One.  I feel frumpy and unattractive and tired and like a hot mess.  I need to take better care of myself - shave my legs, take the time to lotion my skin, blow-dry my hair - but who has the time?  I could make the time, I guess, but then it seems like so much work...

Jimi is an awesome babydaddy.  He packs her diaper bag every morning, while I'm nursing her.  He washes bottles, he folds baby laundry, he stuffs pocket diapers, he makes the solution for the flannel wipes.  He sings to her and plays songs for her on the ukulele and gets her dressed for bed after bath time.  He sprays out every single poopy diaper...that right there should earn him blowjobs for life.  Don't tell him I said that.  He brings me water and snacks and the Kindle and has only snapped at me once for bossing him around.  He's been amazing, and I couldn't have made a better choice for a life partner and co-parent. 

I can't believe how lucky I am that this is my reality. 
Life is so fucking beautiful. 

She's asleep - time for the swing to crib transfer.  Wish me luck. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

12 weeks 6 days - My life is upside down.

There are pacifiers on my nightstand, on the floor in the living room, in her bed, in her carseat, in the diaper bag.  The kid doesn't like pacifiers, yet they've multiplied and made themselves at home in every corner of my home.  There's a rattle under my dining room chair, a play mat - the sort with crisscrossed padded poles attached to each corner, so you can dangle toys above baby for them to swat at - hangs over the mirror, hooked on by a corner, in an effort just to get it up off the floor.  Not that it matters - a stroller takes up all the floor space underneath.

Baby socks hide between the couch cushions, receiving blankets litter every sitting space.  "Hippos Go Berserk" and "Heroes for My Daughter" are the books found on end tables.  Cloth diapers and flannel wipes are constantly being washed or folded or both at the same time.  Baby washcloths and baby shampoo hang out on the edge of my bathtub. 

She's a breastfed baby, but I have to work, so there are still bottles to wash every day, and pump parts to clean and reassemble.  And I only bathe her every other day, but somehow last week we found ourselves without a single clean baby towel in the house.  (She seemed to enjoy the grown-up towel better, though - not one tear after tub time was over.) 

I love it. 

I love every single little part of it.  Every bottle to wash, every toy to step over or pick up.  Every time I hang up those little cloth diapers, stringing them on the line to dry, I remember the way I felt the first time I washed and hung them, getting them ready for her arrival, as she moved and kicked inside me; I was so excited to use them on a real live baby of my very own.  And now I am!  She pees in them every day! 

I have hampers full of baby laundry - clothes actually worn by MY baby.  She spits up on them, or her diaper leaks, or she just needed to be changed into something cuter - lots of baby laundry around these parts.  I love it. 

And I have to wash bottles and pump parts every day, so the sinks are clean all the time - they have to be.  And we're spending so much time in there cleaning bottles and pump parts, we might as well keep the rest of the kitchen clean too.  And we take baths together all the time, so the bathtub is super clean.  And we have to wipe down the entire bathroom with Lysol after every poopy diaper (because the poop-water gets sprayed in the process of spraying the poop off the poopy diaper), so the bathroom is pretty clean every other day or so, too.  (She's not an every day pooper.) 

And we can't go out to a restaurant at the drop of a hat anymore, so we're eating at home more often, which means we're saving money and eating healthier.  And our relationship, which has almost always been so easy, is being strained and tested in ways we've never experienced before, and we're coming out on top of each challenge, stronger and better than ever. 

This little girl is the most amazing thing that's ever happened in my life.  She's changed everything.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

12 weeks 2 days

My baby girl, she's growing so fast.  And every day, my to do list grows, and blogging gets pushed further and further from the top.  I'll regret that one day; hell, I regret it already. 

So many changes, happening so very quickly.  I dropped her for the first time the day she turned 7 weeks.  She was in her Moby wrap, there was a dog that attacked Finn - somehow in the commotion, she fell out of the wrap and face-first into the grass.  I looked down and saw her little pink body spread-eagle in the sea of green and nearly died.  I scooped her up, her little face red from the screaming - but she was fine.  A few small surface scratches on her cheeks from the blades of grass, but otherwise none the worse for wear.  I still spent the next 3 hours staring at her, wondering if that vein on the side of her head was so visible before, or if she was maybe bleeding in her brain.  Eventually I accepted that she was fine, thanking my lucky stars that we're THOSE neighbors who never mow the grass timely, and so allowing her to have a nice soft cushion for her landing. 

And I make sure the Moby is plenty tight now.

She rolls over from her belly to her back.  Sometimes.  She loves...

She's awake.  Dinner time!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

5 weeks 2 days...

4 weeks 6 days - Hiku Baby:
Have I told you that's what we call her?  Hiku - (hee-coo).  Our little hiku hiku baby.  She gets the hiccups pretty regularly (totally normal, per Dr. Google), and she makes the most adorable sounds when she hiccups, a little "hee-coo" sound.  Oh, she's so precious.

The week feels like a settling-in; I'm starting to notice a pattern in her sleeping and waking and eating.  She's slept through the night - 7 hour stretches! - for the last 4 nights, allowing mommy and daddy a good night's sleep, so we all wake rested and ready to face our day.  She's been a little fussy during the days, but then, she didn't poop for over a week, so probably I would've been fussy too.  She seems more content today - she finally pooped yesterday, after getting half a glycerin suppository.  She pooped in her diaper, and twice on the changing table.  Lots and lots of poop. 

5 weeks 2 days:
I started this entry on Sunday.  It's now Wednesday.  I suck at blogging these days.  At least I have an excuse now - babies take a lot of time.  And when she's not taking up my time, there are dishes and laundry and showers and meals to pick up her slack.  There's just not time for the internet, or rather, I've not yet managed to make it a priority.  Talk about a lifestyle change! 

I've had an urge to tie one on and smoke cigarettes.  I'd like to drink about 6 beers in a row, while sitting on my front porch with a friend and a pack of cigarettes and a warm Spring evening.  It's been 10 months since my last cigarette, and I thought I was over the cravings.  I guess that monkey is still hanging out on my back every now and then - I'll just keep knocking it off.  Not giving in.  And I'm not willing to pump and dump, so looks like I'll be staying sober for now, too.  Babies change everything.

My pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome has not gone away with the end of the pregnancy.  My wrists hurt all the time, most especially when I'm picking Evie up - something about the angle exacerbates the pain.  I guess I need to see my doctor - looks like I'll end up needing cortisone shots.  I'm thrilled.  :|

I'm eating oatmeal every day to help with my milk production, and taking fenugreek pills 3 times a day.  I'm trying to drink plenty of water.  I'm trying to pump twice a day, but most days I only manage to do it once.  I need to step it up; she's going to need something to eat when I go back to work. Stacy says she didn't really even start pumping until right before she went back, though, so I've got faith that we're going to make this transition just fine, at least from the feeding the baby perspective.

As for my mental state regarding going back to work, well...I'm not happy about it.  I don't want to leave my baby with someone else, not even someone I know and love and trust.  She's my baby; she should be with me and I should be the one taking care of her.  Unfortunately, becoming a one-income household isn't an option for us.  I foresee a conversation/negotiation with my boss in my near future - one that results in a pack-n-play at the end of my desk.  I've mentioned it a few times as a joke - Momma ain't jokin' no more.  She's so tiny and little and she needs me. 

Her one-month appointment was put off a week because our doctor was on vacation, but we got in there yesterday and got her updated stats - she's weighing in at 8 pounds 9.5 ounces (15.5 ounces more than three weeks ago!) and measures 21.5 inches in length (an inch longer than her 1-week appointment).  She's perfect and growing strong and that makes me so very happy.

Monday, April 1, 2013

4 weeks - Babies are hard, but awesome.

One of these days, I really will finish her birth story.  I keep waiting for it to be the weekend...and then I realize, again, that there is no weekends off from this new job.  Full time means FULL TIME.  All the time.  Always.  24/7. 

Except for Friday afternoon, when Jimi came home early from work.  I'd just finished feeding Evie, and she was happy and content - we were having a good day.  Jimi told me he was taking baby duty for the afternoon and that I should get out and enjoy the beautiful afternoon.  It was beautiful outside - I hadn't noticed.  I've not paid much attention to the weather for the last 4 weeks, and have left the house only a handful of times.  I was so overwhelmed at the idea of not being in charge of a little baby, I didn't know what to do with my newfound freedom.  Where would I go?  I'm sure I could've found someone to meet me somewhere for a drink or something, but that seemed like a wild idea, too wild, so instead, I did laundry, vacuumed Evie's room, cleaned up the kitchen, and went grocery shopping for an hour.  (I really do love grocery shopping, so that was a real treat.) 

She hasn't pooped in nearly a week, and apparently that's normal.  I'm obsessed with her bodily functions. She farts all the time, mostly upon waking and stretching.  They stink and are loud like her Daddy's and are absolutely hilarious and adorable and the best things ever.  Her doctor is on vacation this week, so we won't get her weight and length updates until next week - but I can tell how much she's growing.  Her little legs and cheeks are starting to fill out and plump up, and she's got the beginnings of a double chin.  Her legs are getting longer and are so strong - she kicks and kicks and tries to stand and uses her legs to launch herself off your chest.  Her little neck is strong, too - she holds her head up and bobbles it around, trying to see it all.  She loves bath time, cooing and watching everything going on around her...until bath time is over, at which point she gets cold and gets pissed off.  Much screaming oft ensues, though she can be calmed a bit by a full-body coconut oil massage.  Is there anything better in the world than a little naked baby?  She's so soft and little and sweet and adorable.  And she smells so good; I love smelling her little head when I hold her close, her fine little hairs tickling my nose. 

She got her first bottle late last week, and my nipples rejoiced from the respite.  Suddenly we've got the makings of something that could be a schedule (though I don't want to say that too loudly, lest I tempt fate) - Momma's gotten lots of good sleep in the last few days.  Of course, Daddy taking the middle-of-the-night shifts over the weekend was a huge factor in that.  I love that he can feed her now, and he really loves it too.  He's over the moon for her - it's a beautiful thing to watch. 

We went to the mall Friday night to buy her an Easter dress.  Not that we were going anywhere, just to my Mom & Dad's, but we wanted to have something pretty to put her in, and something that fit - all of her clothes are too big, sized 0-3 months, and she really needs to be wearing newborn right now.  We'd been through Macy's and Dillard's, found nothing, and were headed to JC Penny.  I was admiring the Vera Bradley diaper bags by the exit, and it hit me - "Jimi, did you bring the diaper bag?"  No, he didn't.  We'd come to the mall with an infant with just a carseat and a moby wrap as accoutrement.  Not a single diaper or wipe or change of clothes.  We laughed a nervous laugh and shrugged our shoulders.  Oh well.  Cross our fingers and hope for the best.  She slept the entire time, nearly 3 hours, waking only because I dared move her from the warm moby into the cold carseat - and then she screamed the entire way home because there wasn't a boob in her mouth.  Sweet baby. 

 I really love being her mom.  She's so neat. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

3 weeks 2 days - Babies are hard.

We were getting along swimmingly, and then I think she gave my nipples the thrush.  Suddenly my right nipple felt like it was being pierced when she ate - I've cried a lot in the last few days.  And then her latch got lazy - she only wants the top half, thank you very much, you can keep that bottom part.  Except that's excruciating.  So we're relearning our nursing manners.  I've cried a lot in the last few days. 

It's overwhelming that I'm the only one who can feed her.  I feel like I'm with her every second of every day and that I never get a break.  I remind myself that a baby is what I wanted, and that this is part of what it means to have a baby.  I look into her sweet face and count my blessings again - but I'm so tired.  Two of the last three nights have been really rough (have I mentioned how much I've cried?).  Thankfully, she seems to know right when I've hit my limit, and she magically goes to sleep - for 3 or 4 hours.  So she's working me.  I get that now.  She's training me.  It's rough training, man.

Jimi tries to help, but I understand why he says he feels helpless, useless - there's just not a lot he can do.  I think he's sick of fetching me water and snacks, and I feel guilty every time I ask for another favor, but I'm stuck where I am, you know?  I try to get him to change as many diapers as possible, not to pass off the task, but so he can get some face time in with his daughter - of course, she hates having her diaper changed, so in his mind she's starting to associate him with horrible things, like a cold hooha.  And some nights nothing will console her but a nipple, and his don't fit the bill - and I get jealous as hell watching him over on the couch, able to get up and move around all nimbly pimbly whenever he likes.  I squash down my feelings of resentment - it's not his fault he can't feed her. 

I wonder how we'll ever get on enough of a schedule for me to go back to work in 4 weeks.  I wonder how I'll ever manage to leave her in the care of someone else for 9 hours a day.  This mom shit is serious bidness, yo. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

2 weeks 5 days - Love like this...

Oh, I love her so much. 

Geneva is nearly 3 weeks old.  I still haven't finished writing her birth story.  I don't have a lot of time where she's not in my arms, and when I do, I find myself spending it showering, cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, eating, and sleeping.  There's so precious little time for those things - I haven't picked up the computer for more than 10 minutes in at least 2 weeks. My entire life has changed, my priorities have shifted, my world is a new place full of uncharted territory.  Anything for her.  I miss her when she's sleeping, and find myself wanting to snuggle up with her the way a child cuddles with a favorite stuffed animal.  She's so small and soft and warm.  I wonder how I've lived my whole life without knowing her?  And she's a stranger I'm getting to know, but at the same time, I feel like I know her intimately, like we're part of the same soul...does that sound crazy?  Probably.  I'm tired.  I love this little baby. 

She hiccups all the time - most especially after a meal.  She makes the most adorable little noises.  We're calling her Hiku - our little HikuHiku baby. 

Sometimes it just washes over me - I have a daughter.  A child.  A baby girl named Geneva.  I wondered for so long if this day would ever arrive.  Here I am, here we are.  Happiness defined. 

She's snoring a little.  I wonder if it is something I should worry about, or do all babies snore?  She's so pretty and sweet and wonderful.  I love her so much.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

41.5 - Happy Birthday Geneva!

Our beautiful daughter, Geneva Aibhilin, was welcomed into the world on Monday March 4, 2013, at 11:34 p.m..  She weighed in at 7 pound 8.7 ounces, measured 20 inches long, and is absolutely the most beautiful thing I've ever laid eyes on. 

I was 41 weeks, 5 days, and had been at 3 cm, 60% effaced for the previous two weeks and was frustrated and facing a very-much-not-wanted induction on 3/5.  I was scared of pitocin - I was afraid it would make the contractions more than I could stand, and scared it would lead to an epidural or c-section.  Fortunately, Geneva decided to arrive on her own terms, and I felt my first contraction around 2:30 in the morning.  I remember thinking "that's probably what a contraction feels like" - I'd been wondering how I'd know, but what other women had told me held true - you can tell.  To me, it felt like a strong, though brief, menstrual cramp.  I made note of the time, and then went back to sleep.  I felt several more as the time passed, and when my husband got up for a restroom visit at 4:30, I mentioned to him how I'd been contracting for a couple hours.  That was all she wrote for our sleep for the night - I'd spoken the magic words, and they officially woke us up.  I started timing - we stayed in bed until around 6, and with the contractions around 7 minutes apart, I realized this was probably the real thing, so I got up and took a shower.  Jimi made us oatmeal for breakfast, and I made a pan of brownies for the nursing staff.  When my midwife's office opened at 8 a.m., I called and gave them the scoop - because I'm group b strep positive, they told me to head on to the hospital.  This was it! 

Check-in went quickly, and because I was so overdue already, I was put directly into a room - they reassured me that I wouldn't be leaving the hospital without my baby.  I was told to change into a hospital gown, was strapped to the monitors, and an IV for antibiotics was started.  In other words - things were starting off in exactly the way I hadn't wanted to labor.  I felt like a sick person, but I wasn't sick!  I was just in labor!    When the nurse checked me, I was still only at a 3 - I assured her I hadn't been making up the contractions.  She smiled at me and told me she knew, and not to worry because if things didn't speed up on their own, there were things that could be done to make things happen.  That was the closest anyone came to offering me medications, and it wasn't an explicit offer by any means. 

After my first round of antibiotics was complete, my midwife came in and unhooked the monitors and IV so I could change into my own clothes rather than the gown - I felt much more human and less sick wearing my black maternity dress.  When they checked me again and still there'd been no progress, they brought me a breast pump to use to try to stimulate more contractions, and boy did it work.  When we started, I was able to breathe easily through each wave, rocking on the birth ball or leaning over the side of the bed.  After one 15-minute session with the pump, I was needing to get down on all fours to rock myself through the waves.  I spent the next 3 to 4 hours pacing my room and and getting down on the floor or up into the bed onto my hands and knees each time a wave hit.  I did manage to lie down and nap briefly in that time, maybe for 30 minutes. 

My midwife came in after office hours and we discussed my options - did I want to be checked?  What were my options if I hadn't progressed?  She mentioned a balloon catheter, maybe more pumping...I decided I wanted to be checked - i needed to know if things were moving along.  She did, and they were - now I was between 5 and 6 cm.  Thank goodness!  I was so relieved to know things were happening, that the last few hours hadn't been for naught.  I continued my rocking for another hour or so, then asked to move to the tub.  Jimi ran me a warm bath, and I climbed in.  The water didn't offer the complete pain relief for which I'd been hoping, but it did make the waves more tolerable, more bearable. 

I'm not sure of the timeline that followed after - at one point, I felt what was almost a pop inside my belly, followed by a whoosh between my legs.  I was pretty sure that was my water breaking, but I was submerged in water, so I couldn't be sure.  Jimi was sitting on the edge of the tub, reminding me with each wave to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, to "Relax" (a cue from Hypnobabies reminding me to let my body go limp).  At one point I asked him to sing to me; he sang "Sweet Baby James" and "Raspberry Beret".  He also called me "Momma Manatee" as I flopped from side to belly to side in the water - in another time and place I would've laughed, but in the moment I could only think incredulously, "He just called me a fucking manatee."  I was starting to get vocal, too,  Ooohing and Aaahing through each wave, remembering what I'd read, that relaxing the jaw and vocalizing can help with pain control.  I don't know if it made anything feel better, but it did make me feel better to let out some sign of what I was feeling.  The waves started at the middle of my belly and radiated out across my waist and around to my back, almost like a wide belt of strong menstrual cramps, but much deeper and more intense and stronger than anything I'd ever felt before.  I began to lose myself - I didn't have much interest or concern for anything outside of my body, I was just following the cues, doing what felt right and offered the most relief. 

This will have to be a Part 1 - there's so much more to tell, and my sleeping baby time is so short...

But here's a hint - the story ends with a beautiful little girl safely in my arms.  It's the most beautiful ending beginning. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

41.3 and still pregnant

This baby is getting close to being served an eviction notice.  We've got a deadline, actually - if she's not here by Monday, they're going to induce Tuesday night.  *sigh*  I really want to avoid induction.  My midwife did explain to me how their use of Pitocin differs from your typical OB's office, but still...do not want. 

After having irregular contractions all day Thursday, I went to the midwife yesterday to attempt to have my membranes stripped, but it was for naught.  Baby is facing my left side.  She needs to turn and face my back in order to drop low enough to get down in there and sit her little head on my cervix just right and get things started.  I was sent out with an aching lower abdomen (cervical checks are NOT comfortable) and mounting frustration - I've been at 3 cm for nearly 2 weeks now, and nothing is changing.  I was told to spend lots of time leaning forward, doing pelvic rocks and squats, and trying to make my belly as hammock-like as possible to encourage baby to turn correctly.  I'm following those instructions very carefully, which means I'm sitting UBER-ladylike  at all times, with my legs spread wide, elbows on my knees as I lean forward.  I don't give a shit what anyone thinks - I'm going to get this baby out of me, dammit.  As of this morning, I think she has turned - she feels more centered to me, at least.  Her little back and butt have been along my right side for months, and now she seems to be more in the middle.  Oh, I hope this works!

My house is clean.  I've done our taxes.  The laundry is caught up. I'm making a list in my head of the little things that need to happen if she decides to show up this weekend.  I'm ready.

The longer this process drags on, the more nervous I get.  I just want to get it over with - let's get this show on the road, already! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

39.6 - The end is near...

Tomorrow.  February 20, 2013.  I've been anxiously awaiting this day since June 13, 2012 - since that second pink line appeared as an answer to years of hoping and dreaming and wishing and wanting. 

Baby Girl is going to be here any day.  Probably not tomorrow, but tomorrow feels like the finish line. 

I can't believe we're here.  I have a house full of baby things -  I'm sitting next to a box of a dozen new cloth diapers, with my hypnobabies book in front of me, my arm resting across my swollen belly that shifts and moves every few minutes - I still can't believe this is my life, my reality, that I'm going to be a mom any day now.  Some time within the next 2 weeks, Jimi and I will be parents to a real live baby that is going to sleep in the bassinet that's currently positioned next to our bed. 

I just can't believe this dream is coming true.  I'm so happy, I'm so excited, I'm so scared.

At my appointment yesterday, the nurse asked if I wanted to be checked.  I'd previously said I wasn't going to do that - I know it's no guarantee of anything - but when the option presented itself, I answered with a sheepish "Yeah, kinda".  I wanted to know if there's any progress, if my body is doing anything to get ready to get this baby out of me.  When the midwife announced I was 2.5 - 3 cm, I was over the moon with excitement - my cervix works!  It's doing what it's supposed to do!  Hurray! 

So of course now, I'm horribly impatient and I just want her to show up NOW.  I'm ready.  Well, as ready as I can be, having never done this before and having no real idea of what in the fuck I'm actually in for. 

I'm scared.  I'm afraid of the pain that I'll be in after I come home.  I'm afraid that something may go wrong with all my best-laid plans - for a natural birth, for breastfeeding, for not being a horrible mother.  I'm afraid of the lack of sleep, and the demands of a newborn.  I'm afraid there's something we've not done, that something will come up we're not prepared for.  I'm afraid my hormones will take over and change the person I am.  I'm afraid that I'll be mean to Jimi.  I'm afraid the stress of having a new baby will change US.  I'm afraid my daughter won't be perfect, that something will have been missed, that something will be wrong.  I'm afraid that feeling that last part makes me a horrible person.  I'm afraid of how I'll react if that fear became reality.  I'm afraid of something terrible happening, some freak horrible thing that hurts my daughter. 

I tell myself over and over that these fears are all normal, and nothing to actually worry about, because everything is going to be perfect and fine and nothing will go wrong and she IS perfect and every little thing is gonna be alright so I shouldn't worry about a thing.  It's all going to be wonderful. 

I think it'd be really neat if she was born tomorrow.  Right on time.  Very punctual. 

I just want her to be here.  I'm ready for her.  I'm ready to start the next stage in our journey as a family - a family of three.  Three is a magic number.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

38.6 and still going strong.

I'm to the point where people are starting to expect me to give birth any day.  We're near the end, but it doesn't feel like it yet - not to me.  The women in my birth club on babycenter are all having their babies and talking about how they want nothing more than to just get their babies out of them - I don't feel that way yet.  I've enjoyed being pregnant, and I'm not in any hurry for it to be over.  I'm anxious to meet our daughter, of course, but not to the point where I'm wishing desperately to feel those first birthing waves.  I'm uncomfortable - it's getting a little harder every day to get up from a seated position, to get out of bed, to walk across the parking lot to my work meetings, to get out of the car, to bend over to pick something up - but I'm far from the miserable that's described by the women who are at a similar point in their pregnancies.  Maybe I'm just incredibly lucky.  I'm willing to accept that as fact.

We spent a million dollars this past weekend.  Okay, not a million, but it sort of felt like it.  It was a lot.  Stroller, play yard, diaper bag, diaper pail and liners, more cloth diapers, diaper sprayer, a rug for the nursery - all sorts of odds and ends we needed.  I also picked up some new nursing bras and tanks.  I finally feel confident that we have the things we need, that we're ready to bring a baby home.  I still have a bit of laundry to do, and I haven't yet packed my hospital bag, but somehow that doesn't worry me - I feel like we're ready. 

I've checked out mentally at work.  I just have a hard time giving a shit about what's going on there when I'm so consumed by what's going on here, inside my head.  I guess that's to be expected.  It's hard to focus on anything other than baby at this point.  I'm ate up with baby. 

Have I mentioned I'm having my placenta encapsulated?  I'm having my placenta encapsulated, in an effort to avoid postpartum depression, and to help boost my milk supply.  Jimi sort of thinks I'm crazy, but he's agreed to pay half the fee and not make faces about it, so long as I don't mention the details too much.  My Granny suffered from some pretty serious PPD, and Stacy had issues last year after Addy Rose was born - I'd really like to avoid the emotional crazies as much as possible.  If that means eating part of myself, well, bon appetit.  Jimi mentioned the other day how awesome this pregnancy has been for me in terms of my mood and my level of happy - and he's right, I've been on a big fat bouncy cloud of happy for months and months and months.  Mood swings, hormonal rages - none of that has been my pregnancy experience.  He's a little scared of what may happen after delivery - I think that also helped get him on board with the placenta-eating.  Do what you've got to do, ya know? 

I'm guessing baby girl will show up this weekend - I'm saying labor will start Friday night and she'll be here Saturday morning.  This past Sunday, Jimi said I still have 16 more days, putting her arrival at February 25th or so.  I don't think it'll take that long.  We'll see which of us is right.  I'm probably so ridiculously wrong.  But maybe not. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

37.6 - Entering the home stretch

We've reached "full term", and now it's just a matter of when she decides to make her appearance.    Her nursery is nearly complete, she has teeny tiny onesies and socks folded and matched and put away into dresser drawers, we have diapers that will fit her teeny tiny newborn bottom.  I have a pretty good idea of what's going into my hospital bag, but I've not packed it yet; maybe I should get on that, eh?  (I have the important stuff set aside and ready - stool softeners.  Post-birth poo is no joke, from what I hear.) 

We had two baby showers this past weekend - one Friday night thrown by Jimi's co-workers, and another Saturday afternoon hosted by my family.  Both were lovely and netted us some awesome gifts to help welcome our new arrival.  Maggie came down for the family shower and brought the burp cloths she made after the shower she hosted for us a few weeks back - looking through the messages and pictures from our friends made me teary-eyed all over again. 

I feel very loved right now.  I feel like I'm caught up in a net of love and happy and warm and cozy and safe and good.  I've had a life full of happy and love, but I don't remember ever feeling quite so filled to the brim with good things.  It's a great place to be, my world is these days, and knowing it's only going to get better with this baby's arrival is more than I can comprehend. 

I was very disappointed at my midwife appointment yesterday to learn that I've tested positive for Group B Strep.  I'd really hoped to avoid that, and learning that I'm a carrier has bummed me out.  My midwife was very good about explaining it all to me in detail, since I'd not bothered to do any previous research on it (hoping it wouldn't apply to me), and basically this means I've got to get to the hospital within 4 hours of my water breaking or when contractions (pressure waves) are 6-7 minutes apart rather than 3-5 minutes apart so I can have at least two rounds of IV antibiotics before baby girl is born.  I'd hoped to spend most of my early labor at home, but now we'll be heading out quite a bit sooner than I'd planned.  Fortunately, I was reassured that I can still move around and get in the tub, etc. while hooked to the IV, so I won't be strapped to a bed.  It's all going to be fine, just a bit of a change in my gameplan.  Whatever - I'd even take being strapped to a bed if it meant getting my daughter here safely. 

Perhaps it was psychosomatic, but within an hour of leaving the midwife's office, I started to feel sickly.  It got worse as the night progressed, with my throat getting more and more sore each time I woke for my hourly bathroom trip/flip to the other side.  I called my doctor's office before 9 a.m., hoping he'd be able to prescribe something to head off whatever it was trying to take hold of my body.  I'm usually a "wait three days and see" before calling the doctor sort of gal, but being within 2 weeks of my due date was enough catalyst to get my butt in gear immediately this time.  They were able to fit me into a slot that'd been reserved for a patient who'd done a no-show, but when the strep culture came back negative, the doc was sort of stuck on what to do for me.  In the end, I came home with a $50 Tamiflu script, just in case it's the flu.  I've since decided it's most likely a sinus infection, but I'm taking the Tamiflu anyhow - just in case, and because I paid $50 for it.  I went back to work after my visit, but came home around 1 and slept until it was time to pick up Jimi from work.  It's 8:30 now, and I'll probably be in bed in the next 30 minutes or so - I want as much rest as possible, to give my body a chance to fight this off quickly.  I don't want to be nine and a half months pregnant and sick.  I especially don't want to be in labor and sick.  Immune system, don't fail me now!

There are a million other words to say.  I'll get to them all eventually.  For now, though, Momma's tired. 


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