Thursday, December 29, 2011

Soon, baby

Just have to interrupt the Christmas posts and pictures with some pregnancy stuff, real quick like, I promise.  We’re nearing the end here, and I feel like if I don’t write now, it will surely go unsaid…  And I like the idea of remembering these last few weeks/days before baby number two comes and our life gets flipped right upside down, Fresh Prince of Bell Air style. 

So there I am in all my 37 weeks of pregnancy glorious-ness, last Wednesday at my parents’ house.  The belly is really crazy at this point, and I honestly forgot how big you get at the end.  So many of my maternity shirts no longer cover the bottom of the belly without my constant tugging and readjusting throughout the day, and that is just not practical, especially when I spend so much time picking up my toddler or playing on the floor with him.  So my wardrobe is just getting very limited… I basically wear those long Old Navy or Target maternity tanks under cardigans or button-ups every single day.  I loathe getting dressed in the morning, and really considered buying a few cute new (larger) things to wear over the holidays but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Such a waste of money at this point, and I would rather spend it on new nursing bras and tanks, or cute new outfits for the little one.     
Speaking of spending money, I took the advice of my very lovely friend and relatively recent new mother-of-two (miss you Betsy!) and did some online shopping for some newborn essentials.  I purchased a big old case of size 1 diapers, a 12 pack of new pre-fold cloth diapers to use as burp cloths (as I pulled out, washed, and organized all the old ones from two years ago I decided that there was absolutely no reason to reuse disgusting and old yellow-stained burp cloths that could be replaced for a total of like $12.99), washcloths, some side-snappy undershirts, and a few other things.  Of course, I ended up going a bit crazy and buying some new expensive outfits for the little guy because when packing our bags for the hospital last week I realized that the only “boyish” newborn outfit I had to put new baby in at the hospital was the one Gus came home in.  And while on one hand that seems somewhat sweet, I also just totally want this little guy to have his own look coming home.  How ridiculous is that?  I know.

Well, Dan called me when the package arrived this week and said, “What is wrong with you?  You seriously bought a 0-3 month outfit for $30 from Amazon?”  I really had no comeback, because he’s so right.  I almost didn’t believe him that it was $30, because no way would I have ordered something so extravagant… but the invoice does not lie.  So baby boy has a new organic soy cotton sleeper to wear once he exits the belly, and it is highly likely to be the only organic soy outfit he will ever wear, so I hope he reallllly loves it.     

Anyway, my midwife appointment that I mentioned I had last week went fine, but I was a bit concerned about the fact that the week prior the other midwife that I saw was a bit sketchy about exclaiming the baby’s head down.  She just didn’t seem completely convinced to me, even though she didn’t say anything different… it was just this hesitant vibe I got from her.  Also over the last week I’ve had moments where I couldn’t feel that big lump of a head down there, and I just wasn’t sure.  So at this appointment I mentioned to my main midwife, Katherine, who will be at my birth, the hesitation I sensed from Jessi, and she asked if I minded doing a little check to make sure, to ease both of our minds and thwart any surprise breach/transverse situation.  

So she checked, and strangely enough, in two pregnancies, it was only the second time I’ve been checked “down there”.  The first time was 20 minutes before Gus was born, upon arrival at the hospital after which I was declared to be completely dilated and at +3 station.  I have always declined any cervix checks since it’s not really an indication of, well, anything when you’re not in active labor.  Well sure enough, head is definitely down, WAY down, and behind my pelvis which is why it’s hard to feel from the outside.  I asked if that was something to be concerned with and she said, “No, it just means you’re probably doing a lot of waddling, huh?”  

Yup.  I’ve got the waddle down pat.

And while she was down there, I agreed to my second ever cervix check as well, and I’m 75% effaced and 1.5 cm dilated.  Sweet.  Whatever.  Like I said, doesn’t really tell us anything about when this baby might arrive since a woman could walk around for two months at 1.5 cm, but… there you go.  Pregnant lady TMI for you all, you’re very welcome. 

 And here we are today, baby and me, 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant.  Like I said, long tank + cardigan + jeans/yoga pants = all I can really fit into.  Though I should note that this tank is dangerously too short (I felt wind on my belly after getting out of my car this morning, alerting me to the indecent stretch-mark exposure that was going on) and these maternity jeans are just about on their last leg as far as elasticity goes (I am yanking them up ALL DAY LONG, argh!).

I took a picture from the front to show off the frightening belly button situation that is going on.  That little thing is definitely out and proud, no?  I think it scares people a little, so I like to dress to accentuate it.  Or, not.  It truly is just impossible to hide.   

I am getting really anxious to have all the unknowns of labor & birth out of the way (really just the when and the how and the dealing with the what happens to Gus during all this? situation), and I would like to meet this baby.  Oh yes, I really cannot wait.  I mean we get to be there for the beginning of a life.  As it gets closer, I’m remembering how amazing and humbling it is to be a part of something like that.  We are so incredibly lucky to have this opportunity.  Until then little one… 

A Truly Lovely Holiday (part 1)

Ahhhh Christmas.  I just love it, everything about it, the twinkly lights, the mad mall shopping, the little girls in their twirly church dresses, the gifts wrapped in pretty satin bows, the cookies outrageously decorated with sprinkles and red hots at the hands of excited little children hopped up on sugar, time spent laughing with and enjoying family.

This year it was great, as it always is.

Our Christmas family time schedule was jam-packed, of course, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.  Though now that it’s all over I have to say, oh my goodness, I am SO. TIRED.

Just… it’s a lot.  I say that every year, but this year it feels especially true, since I spent the holiday carrying around what feels like a massive bowling ball in my shirt and chasing after a toddler that just continues to do very naughty things to his cousins when we let down our guard.   

(So frustrating, trying to stay the course… remove him from the situation, give him “time-ins” talk about why we don’t hit or kick or pull the hair of other children, or dogs for that matter… but it just sometimes feels so pointless.  He looks up at you and in the sweetest of sweet voices says, “Gus be nice to Abby!  No hitting!”  Oh goodness.  So we know you can say it, but do you get it?  AT ALL?)

Anyway, the exhaustion didn’t really hit me until it was all over.  The joy of the holiday, the adrenaline, the sheer loveliness of our surroundings, it got me through it, but now with four family Christmas celebrations behind us, it’s like all of a sudden I totally feel 38 weeks pregnant.  This lady is spent, and ready for some quieter days to prepare for her little bundle of sweetness to make his grand entrance.

So Christmas started with my immediate family last Wednesday, it began with brunch at my parents house and then we spent the whole day together, which we don’t often have the chance to do.  It was really great to not be rushing around, to just be and enjoy each others' company. 

Dan had to go in the office for a few hours that morning, and I had an appointment with my midwife at 8:30 AM, so Gus hung out at grandma and grandpa’s in the early morning while they prepared the egg bake and potato pancakes, and baked delicious apple cranberry muffins.

It was really a decadent meal, absolute perfection. 

Gus thoroughly enjoyed his kiddie mimosa in a dinosaur cup, but he did not like bacon.  He spit it out in my hand and made the most disgusted face, declaring it to be "spicy".  Crazy foolish child, who doesn't like bacon?  If I didn't know any better I would have doubts about him actually coming from my loins.

The morning was just, quaint, lovely, relaxing.  Wonderful.  And beautiful, of course, since it was at my parents house.

After the meal we all needed some fresh air, and since it is the brownest of Minnesota Christmases and there is no snow and it is averaging something like 40 freaking degrees these days, we decided to go across the street to the park for a bit.  I really thought long ago that we had said our goodbyes to the swings at the park until springtime.  Minnesota weather has proven me a fool once again. 

Naptime soon followed, and my dad agreed to stay home with a sleeping Gus while the rest of us went and saw a movie.  Awesome.  This is something we’ve always talked about doing on Christmas, but never have done because we’re always running around like maniacs to multiple family gatherings.  Another reason why we were so lucky this year to be able to just set aside a day for our immediate family to celebrate together.  It was just us, and we just had all the time in the world to do whatever we wanted.  Having read the whole Millenium trilogy, I was totally pumped to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, however inappropriate for Christmas its disturbing premise may be.  It did not disappoint. 

After the movie it was back to my parents’ place where Nathan was joining us after work for Chinese food and presents.  We ordered too much of course, from our favorite little hole-in-the-wall down the street, and feasted and lounged and laughed and then opened gifts.  Gus clearly had to help everyone open each gift, and he reveled in the new trains and toys he received.  He’s a very lucky nephew and grandchild, that is for sure.     

And that was just the beginning of the present and sugar mayhem for the little guy, there would be many more gifts and Christmas parties to come…

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Busy Long Weekend

Whew. We had a great weekend. Just, GREAT.

The funny thing is that just as it feels like we’re getting into the groove of, I don’t know, life… Gus is on a pretty good, if unconventional routine, not to mention he’s sleeping (!) and over the last week has finally given up the glorified bottle he has insisted on drinking his milk out of (only involved 2 relatively short-lived tantrums), and I have been on this streak of cooking comfort food and baking and feeling domestic and just really truly content… well, next month this happy little existence of ours is going to be thrown a crazy curveball when we bring a newborn into the mix. A whole new PERSON in our family! It’s so exciting, but also quite scary, if I’m being completely honest.

Even though we are so busy, with so many commitments and so much to get done before Christmas, and then before baby, and it doesn’t seem like I have a moment to relax and really just do nothing, life still has this feeling almost of, well… the calm before the storm.

These last few days have been really fun and festive and laid-back, yet kind of insane at the same time. I’m feeling pretty lucky to have the husband I married and the son I gave birth to. And in addition to my boys at home, I get to be a part of these two amazing and unique families, and am able to celebrate the season, and the upcoming arrival of a new little one, with such a supportive core group of friends. I’m incredibly fortunate.

We had friends over Friday night to celebrate the holidays. I made Crockpot lasagna and it was so simple and perfect for the occasion. The Crockpot (slow cooker?) has to be one of the greatest inventions ever right? Friends brought other delicious goodies, as well as their adorable children and it was a rowdy bunch to say the least. Twelve adults and seven kids will make an old house with small rooms feel even more cramped than it was before. Ahhh well, that’s okay. I really truly do love our house, I would just love it more if some of the walls were not there and it had a little more of an open floor plan. Residential home builders circa the 1930’s, however, obviously did not favor the idea of an open floor plan.

But yes, it was a fun night, and when things got a little bit too unruly with the kids, some of them up past their bedtime I’m sure, we broke out the Christmas crafts! See, another example of my newfound domesticity… me being all organized and planning ahead with CRAFTS to keep children busy and happy. I am definitely learning on the job at this mothering thing… a year ago I would have never thought to have something for the older kids to do.

Oh but I wish Gus would be into crafts, because he so IS NOT. Lisa snapped this photo as proof that he sat down and worked on one of my little prepared projects, but in actuality this lasted for just a few minutes. See that glue stick? He really didn’t want to do anything crafty that didn’t involve licking that glue stick.  

The rest of our weekend was amazingly productive. We spent Saturday finishing up shopping at the mall, and it was of course insanely busy and we were so thankful that we just had a few small things to get. The mall the weekend before Christmas is not quite as horrible when you have a plan, and very little you need to accomplish. Of course Gus had a great time watching the high school band that was playing holiday music outside Macy’s, and it’s always nice to get a change of scenery and help him run off some steam before naptime. After lunch he took a glorious 3 hour nap that allowed us to finish wrapping presents and get ready to go to Dan’s parent’s house for the evening, to welcome them home from their Mexico vacation.

Sunday I had vowed to get all our bags packed for the hospital, and I feel SO MUCH BETTER having checked that off our list. It literally had been keeping me up at night, ridiculous I know, but I pretty much lay in bed overwhelmed with thoughts of all the things I need to do soon-ish so I can feel relaxed and at peace with baby boy making his entrance into the world.

Labor bag, hospital overnight bag, and diaper bag are all ready to go. Suck it swirling brain of stress!

After accomplishing that feat, I went grocery shopping and then baked for two hours while the little boy napped. Yum!

I don’t work Mondays, so along with Fridays, they are my little weekend bookends and I love them. My mom and dad were both off work so we all went down to the Mall of America to take Gus on a few rides and see the mall all decked out for the holidays. I’ve avoided the mall like the plague throughout the holiday season, but we figured it wouldn’t be all that busy on a Monday, and we figured right.

Gus had a total blast, and grandma and grandpa went on a bazillion rides with him.

After a pretzel and smoothie for lunch, Gus took another awesome nap and had to be woken up to go to his very last swimming lesson at the YMCA. So freaking cute. I had never been, because this was something we signed him up to do with daddy, and I worried that I might be a distraction or a nuisance to the whole process, observing from the side of the pool. But with this being the last class, I had to go and take a few pictures and see first-hand Gus in all his “scooping” and kicking and motor-boat singing glory.

And he was such a little pro about the whole thing, so cute to get a glimpse of this little routine Dan and he have had over the last few months of lessons. We all went into the family locker room together and I helped get Gus changed. Oh my goodness, I am so proud of the little boy he’s become, so independent, so smart. He walked me through the whole process, brought me his swim diaper and told me to put it on him, then his plastic diaper cover, then his swimsuit and swim shirt. Finally he showed me how he and daddy have to rinse off in the shower before going to the pool.

Shirtless husband picture ok for the internet?  I hope so.  We'll keep it small. 

This kid is so awesome. Seriously, wasn’t it yesterday I was nursing and rocking you to sleep child?! And now here we are, you showing me how you and daddy get all ready for swim lessons?

Goodness, I was already a pile of mush before he even got in the pool.

Here are a bunch of photos from the lesson, there’s only one other family enrolled in this session and they weren’t there last night, so it was a private session with the sweet-natured teenaged instructor. Dan said Gus was pretty uncooperative last night, compared to all the others. I didn’t notice, because I couldn’t hear a word of what was going on, but he seemed to have thoroughly charmed his instructor, despite his stubbornness, and I wouldn’t have expected any different. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holidays... still pregnant... that kind of update

Goodness gracious I am 36 weeks pregnant, when did that happen?  Like seriously, how are we here already? 

Of course, on the other hand, I am constantly complaining that it feels like I have been pregnant FOREVER, it's that interesting and infuriating dichotomy that I'm sure most women who've been pregnant can remember vividly. 

It's all about perspective this late in the game. 

36 wks

And WHAMMO.  How's that for perspective?  Thats the Belly, with a capital B, for Big, and Beach Ball, and Bodacious, and Baffling, and just flat out Busting out... of many of my maternity tops.

As for how I'm feeling, physically, at 36 weeks pregnant, it's not too bad.  I've had a few instances of swelling over the past week, which was somewhat alarming.  Once was after a two hour choral/orchestral concert for which I was required to sit in a church pew.  Afterwards I stood up and was somewhat horrified to find that my right foot had swelled up over the last hour, to the point where it was difficult to walk and it felt and looked like my shoe didn't fit.  Freaky.  I blame myself, as I crossed my legs for about half the concert, and also hadn't drank nearly enough water as I should have throughout the day.  Lessons learned.

I felt better after hydrating, and walking a bit, but then the next morning woke up to really swollen fingers and ankles.  Not cute.  My rings are now currently hanging on the chain around my neck because I just don't want to take any chances.

Other than that, baby boy is moving around quite a bit in there, even though he seems to be running out of room.  At my midwife appointment yesterday she declared him head-down (whew) and said that he doesn't seem "all that big".  She referenced how big Gus was (9 lb 11 oz) and said she didn't think this little guy would be quite there, she estimated he was about 6 lbs right now.  But who knows... I don't think any of us were expecting Gus to be that big last time, and I can't say I'm all that worried about it.  Clearly I can birth big babies just fine.

Oh and yes, people at work specifically are starting to say really annoying/amusing things.  It's just too funny, the word vomit that is spewed on pregnant women, most of which I know totally comes from the right place, and is not meant to be mean-spirited or insulting.  But seriously people!  Get a handle on it!  Yesterday I was in these two ladies' office asking them a totally work-related question, and they just couldn't seem to make eye contact.  Instead, they preferred to blatantly stare at the belly, and one of them actually asked me if I was sure there was only one baby in there.

Yeah.  I'm sure.  Thanks for that.

One guy last week walked by me, and exclaimed wide-eyed, "Whoa!  That is... whoa.  Must not be much longer now huh?"

It's just really to the point that you can't NOT say something about it, because, well, you saw the belly.  So I totally get it.

But please don't say something to me that implies that I might be having twins and I don't realize it.  Puh-leeeze.  That is really my only request.    

Anyway, here we are.  Things are going just fine, people ask me if I'm all ready and I flat out say NO, and they sort of give me this look like they don't know how to respond.  But really, I am not ready.  I want to meet this baby boy, I am getting SO EXCITED about that part of it, but I just haven't had time to properly prepare.  Bags still need to be packed.  The nursery needs to be organized, tiny diapers need to be bought, pump parts need to be sanitized, maxi pads and stool softeners and breast pads need to be purchased.  The list feels neverending, and that is only because I haven't taken the time to make an actual list.  I think once I do that, I will feel better about things, but I have just been way too focused on the holidays and family and Christmas shopping and making cookies, and it really has been an excellent December.  I just am starting to feel like I probably shouldn't wait until after Christmas to start thinking about things like installing the infant car seat, or throwing towels and plastic bags in each of our cars in case my water breaks in some strange place.  Just.  In.  Case.

We're due January 10th, so I know that most likely there's PLENTY of time for me to take that nesting energy that I've been consumed with (but thus far have dedicated towards cooking and baking for potlucks and wrapping presents and making our house all pretty for the holidays) and put it towards labor/newborn prep.  Hopefully, PLENTY of time.  Really, I just need to calm down, and get to it.

I really really love this time of year though, and have to say I've been so happy to share all the holiday excitement with our little two year old.  We went downtown for the Holidazzle parade a few weeks ago and, goodness, how awesome is it that I now have this little toddler excuse to force Dan to do things that he normally hates, like go to parades downtown in the freezing cold.  Pre-dad Dan would never do that.  I love pre-dad Dan, but actual Dad Dan, yeah he's much more accomodating, and will pretty much do anything to make his kid happy.  Gus and I are pretty lucky to have him.

We've also made sure to get out and enjoy the snow... BOTH times that we've gotten a little dusting.  The amount of snow so far this season has definitely been lame, but really that's ok with me.  I know there's plenty of winter left, and from Gus's reaction to "SNOW!" both of those times, there are definitely good times ahead.  

Friday night we're having friends over for a relatively impromptu holiday dinner get-together, and I am so so excited.  It always ends up being so difficult to get together with friends during this time of the year, we all have so many family/work committments, and it really never seems to work out.  But this year, somehow, it did, and I just can't wait to do Christmas with friends, in a super relaxed, Minnesota hotdish potluck kind of way.  I put together a few crafts to keep the kids busy, Mandy is bringing her DVDs of Frosty and Rudolph, I will be putting on the holiday tunes, and pretty much the only thing that could make the evening better would be if I could partake in finishing off a bottle or two of red.  Oh well... I can wait... only FOUR MORE WEEKS.  (Gracious.)  Maybe I'll splurge and have a few sips from someone's glass.  ;)