February 04, 2010

NOT EXACTLY MILHOUSE

I spoke too soon: I will probably not make it a month.

I had an appointment today with my first physical exam.  The baby is head-down, ready to go, and so am I: I'm dilated and effaced like I'm already in labor the baby should arrive any day now.  In fact, the NP said to be ready any day now.

Baby doesn't seem to want to wait for Daddy.

My mother is leaving tonight as fast as she can.  A friend is coming to stay the night with me tonight, just in case.  And I had decided that I just needed to put myself on bed-rest and try to stay calm...

And then the phone rang.

Two soldiers in my husband's company were killed.

On the one hand, that gave me remarkable perspective.  My husband may not make it home in time for the baby's birth, but at least he still may make it home.  This other family is not as fortunate: that soldier won't be coming home to his pregnant wife. 

On the other hand, it just stressed me out even more...

Please, baby, wait two weeks.  Then you can do whatever you want.

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February 03, 2010

ONE MONTH LEFT



One more month.

One more month until this bouncy baby is bouncing in my arms instead of in my belly.  One more month until I am a mother, until I am responsible for someone else's life and well-being.  One more month until I test out all the parenting theories I've pondered for years.

It's been nearly three years to the day that my husband and I started trying to have a baby.  Three years.  One might think that I would be extra-anxious for this last month to fly by.  But I'm not.  I think I've even managed to develop some patience over the past three years; I am trying to enjoy every horrible moment of this pregnancy because there's always the possibility that it could be my only one.  As long as she's not in danger, I'm in no hurry to move faster than nature intended.  No matter how uncomfortable I am.

One more month.

And, with as much certainty as one can guarantee in the Army, my husband should be home in roughly half that time.

Everything's coming up Milhouse.  Finally.

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January 21, 2010

WE SHARE A BODY

For all its annoyances, I have been enjoying being pregnant.

On occasion I find myself impatient, just wanting her to get here already so I can meet her.  But most of the time I'm perfectly happy being right where I'm at.  I like having her inside of me.  I giggle when I rest the laptop on my belly and she starts kicking at it, like "Hey, it's crowded enough in here without you smooshing me!"  I like feeling her wiggle and tickle and move, even when it hurts.

And yet, I have never heard a mother wistfully say that she misses having her child inside of her.  It must be that much more awesome to have them on the outside, because I think I will kinda miss it.

We will never be as close as we are right now, when we share a circulatory system...



(Yep, I finally went and got maternity photos taken.)

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January 18, 2010

PLANNING FOR THE UNPREDICTABLE

A due date is as sketchy as redeployment...

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January 11, 2010

FOR KEEPS

We went to look at the litter of puppies when they were just 11 days old.  Once we had chosen Charlie, we kept visiting him on the weekends until he was finally eight weeks old and we could take him home.  And I always hated to leave him and eagerly awaited the day we could have him for keeps.

I feel the same way every time I get to see my baby.

I had another appointment today.  My mother is also still in town, having gotten stuck here while trying to avoid of all the global warming across the country.  So my favorite ultrasound tech gave grandma a quick peek at baby.

She's growing, especially in the cheeks.  (And since these things are basically rorschach tests, I made a little drawing of her face beside it so you can tell what you're looking at.)



I had been feeling spry up until a few days ago when I hit a major wall, and now I know why: she's getting big, and I have a knee in my ribcage.  I have finally hit that usch part of the end of pregnancy; I'm tired, sore, and chock full of baby.  I ate lunch today and then threw it up in my mouth in Target afterwards.  There's just no room.  When I sit, she's up in my ribs.  When I stand, she's sitting directly on my bladder.  I finally understand what people mean when they say they're really uncomfortable and ready to be done being pregnant.

And I have two months left to go.

Two more months before I can take her home for keeps.  And squeeze those cheeks.

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January 02, 2010

WHICH ANIMAL WILL SHE BE NEXT?

The vivid pregnancy dreams are quite amusing.  Several times I've dreamt that I have a transparent stomach, that I can see inside and see the baby.  I guess that's a high-tech kangaroo pouch!  I'm always dreaming that I get to see her.

But recently I've begun dreaming that she's born, but she's a different species.  About a week ago, she was a kitten.  Last night she hatched from an egg as a chick.  And both times, this has seemed completely normal.

Last night's dream was so vivid and detailed.  My husband made it home from Afghanistan.  A few hours later, I laid an egg, which we watched and held until a little beak broke through the shell.  We helped remove pieces of shell and found a little yellow chick inside.  And it was our baby!  There was nothing odd about it.  We were talking about how we needed to swaddle her tight so her chicken legs don't flail about, and I started crying.  I looked at my husband and said, "We did it.  You made it home and then she was born.  We finally did it."

Right sentiments, wrong species.

But the really funny part of the dream was when I positioned the empty egg shell so that I could take a photo of it to put on my blog for all of you to see...

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December 29, 2009

THANK YOU

Thank you for all your help on the previous post.  I really appreciate the input.  I will head to Babies R Us to try again this week, and hopefully I will be less overwhelmed.

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December 28, 2009

REGISTRY STRESS

Today I went to try to register for baby items.  It was a disaster.

I have read posts where other bloggers ask for help with registering.  The problem is that most people suggest big items: strollers, car seats, etc.  And that's what most people register for.  But I've been working on a baby for three years, and after all that time, I have most of the big stuff.  I feel like, if I'm bringing a child into the world, I ought to be the one to pay for all this crap, not my friends.  So I have been to several garage sales and consignment shops to get what I thought I needed.  I also have wonderful friends who are done having children and have been very generous with their hand-me-downs.  I can't thank them enough for all the stuff they've given to me.  Thus I have all the big items.

What I need help with are the little things.

There are a bazillion different types of pacifiers, bottles, nipples, rattles, sippy cups, and gadgets.  Do babies really want a mirror in the back seat of a car so they can see forward?  Has anyone used the tray on the Bumbo seat and is it worth having?  Do you need those concave holders to put in the crib?  Bottle warmers?  Sun visors for the back windows in the car?  The cloth blankets that go in grocery carts?  I have a Boppy but how many covers do people usually have?

This is all that's left for me to get.  I have the big items: I have two "travel system" strollers, a pack-n-play, a high chair, two bath tubs, a crib, three bouncy seats, etc.  I am more than squared away in that department.  I also have more clothes than this baby will ever be able to wear in her first year, unless we change outfits every two hours and get her picture made at Sears every weekend.  Seriously, I went way overboard this summer.  But I need the boring little accessories.  This is the stuff I don't have, but to me it's the stressful stuff.  For example, I know most babies have a pacifier preference and you just have to figure out what it is...so do you register for one of every kind?  It feels dumb to register for a $2.39 pacifier, but that's really the stuff I need at this point.  I think someone could go in and buy my entire registry for $20 right now.  (Hell, I was tempted to just buy my entire registry today, but that defeats the purpose of a registry.)

What I'd like to know is: What were the little gadgets you thought were the most useful?  What brand did your kid prefer and do you know why?  How many of each thing did you have, like crib sheets, bottles, etc?  I don't want to go overboard, but I also don't want to do laundry and dishes every five minutes either.  Is there something you had but didn't think was worth it?

Help.

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December 24, 2009

TOO BIG TO FAIL

I had a friend take a photo of me for my Christmas cards.  I did this before Thanksgiving so I had plenty of time to get the cards ready (and before I got Charlie's hair cut.)  My husband saw the photo and remarked this morning how big I look.



I said, "That was six weeks ago!  You should see me today."  The dog looks skinnier and I look bigger.

This is me today, in the same shirt, at 30 weeks.



Wife Unit had her baby at 30 weeks.  He was little but he was fine.  I could have her today and probably everything would work out.  She would be fine.

My Christmas joy: I am officially too big to fail...

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MY CHRISTMAS MIRACLE



It's her feet.  It's her feet that have made me love her.

The silver lining to being high risk is that the ultrasound tech is really emotionally invested in this baby.  Which means she sneaks me in for quick ultrasounds whenever she can.  Last week we managed to snap this photo.

I keep pulling it up on the computer and looking at her feet.  At her little piggy toes splayed out and wiggling.

And all of a sudden, she seems real. 

I want to meet her.  And kiss her toes.

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December 18, 2009

NO ONE TO FETCH FOR ME

Yesterday I went to my knitting friend's house to relax and hang out. It was great. Her family wouldn't let me lift a finger and took care of me all day: her husband walked my dog in the cold, her boys fetched me things all day, and she kept refilling my water glass. That last one made me especially happy.

The other night, I decided I was thirsty and that I should get up and go downstairs to get some water. And before I could get up, the baby started "playing." She was being very bouncy and was punching the top of my uterus with her little fist. I started pushing back at her, and she'd punch again. It was like we were playing a game. And I loved sitting there playing with her, but I desperately wanted that glass of water too. I knew that if I stood up and walked downstairs, she'd move positions and the game would be over.

And in that moment, I hated being in this house alone. I just wanted to look over at my husband and ask him to go get me some water and then come back to the sofa and keep playing with us. I wanted to have it both ways, the water and the game, and that's not possible when I'm alone.

I just desperately wanted someone to run grab that water for me. And I had no one.

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November 22, 2009

LIKE A BIG FOAM FINGER

The ultrasound tech decided to start a caption contest this week.  Anyone else want to join in?



I wonder if the tech would just play along if I asked her to type AREA OF CONCERN on one of the photos...

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November 17, 2009

NOTHING GENTLE

A horrifying ad found by Mike Potemra:

Here’s a little something I noticed, while Googling an abortion-related issue. I file it away in a little time capsule for the writers of that 2049 show. An ad for an abortion clinic was headlined “Gentle Abortions 4-24 weeks.” And the ad promised: “No pain. No memory. Abortion $340. Pill $400.”

I am 24 weeks right now. I feel the baby all the time. She wiggles, she kicks, she hops and jumps. And I'm getting big; I look like this:



There would be nothing "gentle" about aborting her now. Nothing at all.

Potemra is right: "the mockery will be deserved."

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November 09, 2009

ONE MORE TRIP

Tomorrow I am headed on another trip, this time to visit my in-laws.  It will be my first time visiting them by myself...at least since 2000 when I moved to my husband's hometown to be near him for the summer and he went to Airborne School for a few weeks.  That was the last time I hung out with his parents without him.  Funny, that seems like so long ago.

Since this will be the first grandchild on both sides of the family, I wanted to let my husband's parents get to be a part of the joys of pregnancy and grandparenthood too.  They deserve to get to feel tummy kicks just like my mom did.

And my husband's grandmother will be a first time great-grandma too.  Exciting milestones for everyone.  It will be a fun trip.

So no blogging for the rest of the week.  But since I'm apparently down to a mere 49 readers -- oy -- I guess it's not that big of a deal.

Have fun without me.

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October 30, 2009

TOO NORMAL FOR OUR OWN GOOD



She looks perfect.  Not a thing wrong with her.  The high-risk doctors "graduated" me to Regular Old Pregnant Lady after today's visit.

Which ends up being an interesting catch-22: We've received word that my husband might not get permission to come home for the birth unless it is a high-risk pregnancy.

Oh the irony...all we've wanted is for a healthy, normal pregnancy, and now that might mean it's not important enough to get my husband home from Afghanistan.

But we're not worrying about that today.  We're just counting fingers and toes.


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October 23, 2009

STICKER BURRS

Tonight I let the dog into the backyard.  I caught sight of him out the window and noticed he was limping.  Another sticker burr, poor fella.  I went to the door and opened it, calling to my Charlie.  He came running right to me, as if to say, "Help me, mommy," and I grabbed his foot, pulled the burr out, kissed his head, and he ran in the house.

And it was such a good feeling, to be needed like that and to be able to be the only one who could help him.  To see the look on his face as he came running to me for help.

I can't wait to be that for my child.

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October 22, 2009

ANIMATED CHARACTER CROCHETING

Despite having very little energy still, I did manage to get some joke crocheting done lately, specifically a Bender bib and an Underpants Gnome.


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October 21, 2009

PREGNANCY ADVICE

There's another pregnant Sara blogger, heh.  Congrats to her.

I started thinking about what advice I would give to another pregnant lady, and I decided to keep it generic: Listen to everyone's advice, but find your own path.

(Because I too like to invoke Chairman Mao while giving unsolicited advice.  In fact, I think he's who I turn to most for inappropriate quotes regarding pregnancy and/or graduation.)

But seriously.  An example:  Everyone I knew told me to buy under-the-belly maternity pants.  They're more modern, they have cuter styles, and they were "more comfortable."  So I did.  And they dug into me and annoyed the tar out of me.  I was always complaining about the elastic.  So one day last week, on a frustrated whim, I tried on a pair of the over-the-belly pants.  Holy cow, I was so much happier.  They don't dig in like the others.  Pants don't make me cry anymore, hooray!

I took everyone else's advice and it didn't work for me.  I'm just bummed it took me seven weeks of uncomfortable pants before I finally threw everyone else's fashion advice out the window.  I figured they knew better than I did, but it turns out they had just done what worked for them.  And apparently I am carrying way low and needed something different.

So listen to everyone and ask lots of questions, but then go with your gut.  If your gut says that you should be wearing grampa pants up to your armpits, then go for it!

And good luck.  The second trimester sucks too.

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October 15, 2009

HALFWAY THERE



I love looking pregnant.  I never want to look normal again.  You can have the aches and pains, but let me keep the tummy.  I take great delight in the fact that I crossed through hell to get here, but at least I make a cute pregnant lady.  I deserve for luck to be on my side for once, right?  I have been amazed that strangers have had the guts to ask me when my baby is due; either they are really brave or I look so obviously pregnant that they feel safe in asking.  I'd like to believe the latter. 

I am halfway there.

Whenever you call the hospital, a recording says that if you are less than 20 weeks pregnant, you should go to the ER in an emergency.  If you are more than 20 weeks, you head straight to Labor and Delivery.

Should something go wrong, I have crossed the threshold from "having a miscarriage" to "delivering a baby."  It's both a daunting and a wonderful milestone.

Most of the time, I don't worry about that.  At least not now that she's started wiggling where I can feel it.  It wasn't as wow as I expected it to be, because I guess I expected a hard kick instead of little stretches and rumbles.  But when I really think about it, it is a fun feeling.  And it's like a secret: I can be doing stuff with my mom and then say, "She's been kicking this whole time," and my mom gets this wonderful look on her face like I told her I was pregnant for the first time all over again.  That's been fun.

Still, the worry is always in the back of my mind.  Every time I buy something, I imagine it sitting in the garage collecting dust like all the other things I've bought over the years.  I bought a crib and mattress this week, and part of me just chalks it up as money wasted because I cannot really see this all working out in the end.  Surely there will never really be a baby in this house.

Sometimes I catch sight of myself in the mirror when I'm getting ready for bed, and I "discover" that I'm pregnant.  It hits me, that I have this belly and that for most people it means that they will be having a baby soon.  But I still kinda think of it as something that happens to "most people," not me.

She has a name, and yet I never use it.  She is only "the baby."

And I don't know when it will feel real.  I should tour Labor and Delivery.  I should take one of the parenting classes.  I should work on a birth plan.  I should consider a doula in case my husband doesn't get home in time.  But I do none of these things because they still seem pointless. 

It's hard to explain, that I am enjoying the pregnancy while simultaneously doubting that it will ever actually result in a living baby.

I've taken a lot of guff for being too ready to have a baby, which is why I find all this so funny: I've been ready for a theoretical baby for ten years but I am still not ready for this real one inside of me.  People get wide-eyed when I say that I bought college-themed onesies way back when my husband and I were just dating, knowing that someday a baby would root for our alma maters.  We bought a mosaic to hang on baby's wall when we were on our cruise in 2005, long before we were ever thinking of having a baby.  And I bought an art print of a mother and baby bird even before I ever met my husband.  I have been ready for this moment for as long as I can remember.  And now we have a nursery, an honest-to-goodness nursery, and all these things are in it.  But still...

When will I stop waiting for the other shoe to drop?  I just want to feel like a normal happy person instead of leaving the tags on everything "just in case."

This post turned out far more morose than I thought it would be...

And while I'm writing this, I realized that I sort of cling to this sorrow.  I think part of me is resisting being a "normal happy person."  I still carry the pain of the three lost babies, but to the stranger on the street, I look like any other pregnant Army wife.  And once I have the baby, I am just like any other mom.  But I don't feel like a regular old first-time mom.  Now that I look like everyone else in the Babies R Us, I feel like I want to wear a sign that says "Trust me, it was much harder to get to this point than you think." 

I haven't figured out yet how to separate the happiness of this baby from the sadness of the others without feeling like I am turning my back on the others and also myself.  I haven't figured out how to get over my past, and most of the time I am not really sure I want to.  I don't want to dwell on it, but I don't want to move on and forget it either.

And maybe that's why I can't cut any tags off.  It's not really that I think this baby will die, because I truthfully don't really think she will.  Or at least I don't have any reason to think she will.  Instead, I think I resist because it means accepting a new identity and shedding the old one, which is proving hard for me.  Now I am just another pregnant Army wife and will soon be just another Army wife dragging a stroller around.  My belly is a sign of great things, but it's also the end of the person I have been for the past three years.  And even though I've hated that person, I don't know how to not be her anymore.

I don't know how to move on and just be happy and just be a mom without constantly feeling like I need to explain everything.  When people ask if this is my first baby, I just need to answer Yes instead of feeling like I need to unload the whole story.  Because right now, the story's still in me and it still feels like a big part of who I am.

And I wonder when it won't...when I'll just feel like this is my baby and we are a regular family like everyone else.

I guess I have 20 more weeks to figure it out.

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October 02, 2009

ALMOST HALFWAY THERE

I had a doctor appointment today.  I thought it was just a regular appointment, but it turns out it was my Type II ultrasound.  Wow, that was the first time that a medical snafu has turned into a fun surprise instead of me wanting to set someone on fire.

I am so used to early ultrasounds, seeing a teeny blob in a big uterus.  My first reaction was how big she was.  My second was how developed she is.

She looks great.



She had the hiccups and was clapping her hands and rubbing her face.
And everything is perfect: normal heart, normal spine, normal piggy toes.

She's jammed in there so snug...why can't I feel her yet?

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