Friday, December 18, 2009

The Third Period

We're officially in the home stretch: third trimester! Our little girl continues to check out at the midwife's and I'm doing fine too. Everything has been normal -which is exactly what we're wanting. Thanks for the prayers and thoughts.

For those interested in the stats, here's a quick run down: this is week 28, the baby should be about 2 1/2 pounds, I've gained 15 pounds, she should be about 15 inches long (where is putting all of those inches? No wonder I get kicked so often), and I'm still not looking very large - but I feel it.

We stopped off at the hospital this week to get my Rh-globulin shot to be sure that my A- blood doesn't produce any problems for our potentially positive child or any future children. I received my positive first stranger belly comment. The nurse administering the shot said, "oh, what a cute little belly." It was a proud moment. Why this matters? I don't know: things are strange these days. Christmas music makes me cry. All Christmas music. If I were one for going out shopping this would be a problem.

We're about to embark on our Christmas vacation. We're driving to Pittsburgh tonight, flying to El Paso tomorrow and we'll swing through Central Texas around the New Year; because we never do things the easy way. I should be packing and prepping our house for evacuation, but what fun would that be? Besides, we have officially moved the bedroom downstairs, constructed a closet and have created our first official dinning room. This all happened in a matter of hours last Sunday while I was out of the house. I was not prepared for the change, but now it's done and I just have to figure out how to use and decorate the spaces.

I was planning a meal to cook for my parents when I noted to my father that I've very rarely cooked for them. This is odd considering how many of my friends and family I that have eaten with me. I told him, that I figured I needed to get a meal in this Christmas (which is no easy feat in schedule that has so many planned meals that we sometimes have to have a mid-afternoon one just to fit it in). I said, "It's not like it will be easier for me to cook once we start adding kids to the picture." Dad said, "Well, if we're talking that far in the future: it won't be easy, once I loose all my teeth either."

"Um, Dad, you do remember that kid is coming in March? I'm not talking about the very distant future here." I guess some men don't really become grandfathers until they see the grandchild.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm having a person

Lately, I've become so immersed in being pregnant that I tend to forget that I'm not just growing a belly, I'm growing a baby that will grow into an actual person. Perhaps I don't think of this often because it's just too big of a thought. I am only spending a few months carrying her around with me everyday, everywhere and one day this will seem to be an insignificant portion of time compared with the rest of her life.

She will not even consider our time together now as significant enough reason to conform her opinions on politics, food or general coolness to mine. And I don't want her to - but be kind enough not to mention it in that later moment please. She will, God-willling, grow to be someone who is other than me. That seems impossible right now as we share so much together: oxygen, food, pants.

There is so much I hope for her, so much that I would want her to know and be. But we have our day together now. We have Christmas goodies to finish in the kitchen, Christmas music and snow falling outside.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Nest Building: confession of a newfound materialist

I wouldn't consider myself a terribly materially-dependent person. I'm not much of a shopper and I don't really feel a strong need to keep up with the Jones or anyone else. Our furniture consists of family heirlooms (thanks Teleps), antique store finds, curbside specials, and pieces Andrew is building. Exception: our brand-new bed, it took me months of futon sleeping to convince Andrew that new was the way to go. I know I'm not terribly virtuous in this though, there are many of our dear friends who are far more careful than I in this regard (do we just attract this sort of person?). This is all to say that for months, I've been craving and acutely feeling the need to acquire baby things, make purchases and stockpile stuff.

I have felt woefully unprepared for our new child mentally & physically. The physical is easier to remedy. Other expectant mothers did not relieve this anxiety. Who are these mothers having multiple showers before they enter the second trimester? Who are these women that have made all of their major baby purchases before I'd even met my midwife? And why did they have to ask what I had bought yet? Was it just for the purpose of gloating when I replied, "well someone gave me a onesie and bib."

I should say that actual mothers of babies worked to assuage my worries. Children hardly need anything they said. Don't worry, the stuff will come, they said. I was sure that they had genuine points and were telling me the truth. But have I mentioned my neurotic tendencies toward planning? I began to look at the baby stores, online mind you. I soon realized that actual trips to the actual stores could be further damaging to my mental health. How was I to know what to buy or ask for? How was it possible that there are 148 types of cloth diapers? Why when I am least able to choose things am I presented with hundreds of choices that seem to affect my child's well being?

Friends and family to the rescue! My newly-mothering friends graciously replied to emails that reeked of desperation: Help me! I'm drowning in a sea of possibly expensive and certainly varied baby purchases and I don't know what to do. Comfort came in the form of reassurances and recommendations. Kudos to Jordan who provided me with her own notes and spreadsheets on the subject of registering. The woman is always impressive. Her organization and thoroughness brought me to tears.

Then came our Thanksgiving Holiday run. Andrew's mother has mastered grandmothering with all the skill and aplomb of a veteran. Each visit has brought lovely gifts that have been as psychologically comforting as they are practical. Rick & Deb, provided us with a car-full of things that Amos has outgrown of the most useful sort: car seats, bathtubs etc. Liz generously gave her niece some of the unexpected fruits of her nanny job, while providing Andrew & I with some valuable parenting strategies that we hope to employ. Pangela outdid themselves by loading us up with bags of tiny clothes for our little one and a miracle-working pillow. I don't know how I was sleeping without this pillow. It's u-shaped and extends four feet on each side to envelop all of me in pillowy-goodness.

We drove home with our stash and I have continued to marvel over it these many days. Andrew is quickly coming to terms with what was before an apparently unforeseen consequence of baby-having. I casually mentioned that a nook in our entrance way would be a good place for a stroller. His eyes widened with fear as he realized that the actual baby stuff would have to have a place in our house. "It doesn't match my aesthetic," he said. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. This is the same man who, when we moved in together, placed all of my furnishings and belongings in our guest bedroom.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pregnant Driving

"Actually pregnant women don't have to drive cars. They could ride motorcycles sidesaddle, strap their feet to two skateboards, or raise their umbrellas and think Mary Poppins, but the fact remains automobiles are an intricate part of a woman's life and to give them up for six months or so is like going back to nesting in a rocking chair for nine months." - Erma Bombeck

I volunteered to be the designated driver for my friends. Many of you know that this is not a role I would play under any condition resembling normal and since pregnancy is not normal, I really thought people should take advantage of my sobriety. At 2am, after a great night of laughter and wine for the rest, I got behind the wheel. I drove us home in second gear without turning on the lights. My passenger gently pointed these shortcomings out after a while.

I am not one to really struggle with driving and I have a good record (especially if we can begin discounting events before the age of 18 - is that done?). However, I have noticed a few problems with my skills lately.

Apparently, so did the New Hampshire state police, or so I gather since their officer pulled me over to discuss them as we drove to Boston for Thanksgiving. The very nice man said that he noticed I had slightly crossed the white line coming around a bend the in highway. He also noticed a tail light was out - which is very obviously not my fault or pregnancy related. As he collected my license and registration, Andrew, disagreeing with the official description said, "Why did you have to swerve all over the road as we passed a police car?"

I believe he immediately regretted this as I burst into great hiccuping sobs. The policeman said it was only one line and I only slightly crossed it. And I had very good reason. I had been driving for 4 hours and it was midnight and the baby was kicking like it was going out of style and my back was hurting and I just needed to shift my weight off of my aching tailbone and the cop just happened to be there as this happened. And now there we were on the side of the highway, Andrew sheepishly in the passenger seat and me sobbing and explaining to the patrol man that the baby was kicking and I had just tried to stretch.

The man asked whose family we were going to see. "His" I sobbed. Have you been on the road for a long time, he asked. "Yes." I sobbed. I can only assume the man felt sorry for me, in spite of my haughty ridiculously-French-looking driver's license picture. After we cleared our background check and Andrew flicked the rear light making it come back on, we were let off with a warning.

But really, what good was the warning? What could he say? Don't drive pregnant.