Sunday, September 28, 2008

IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!

Avery Jane arrived on Thursday, September 25 at 5:13pm after 19 hours of labor. She weighed in at 7lbs 11oz and was 21 inches long. She is perfect and healthy in every way -- the tiny little miracle we had all been waiting for. And she was so worth the wait!!

For more on Avery click on the link to the right. 

avery's birth story

Labor started at about 10:00 on Wednesday night. By 11:30 I knew this was it! I told my husband to get some sleep and I went downstairs and wrote my letter to Avery, stopping every 10 minutes to get on my hands and knees during the contractions. By 3:00am the contractions were getting more intense and I woke my husband because I couldn't breathe through them on my own anymore. We stayed home until 11:30 the next morning. He rubbed my back during ever contraction and reminded me every single time that it wouldn't last forever. I called my midwife in the early morning and she encouraged me to labor at home as long as I could. My husband set up a makeshift bed for me on the floor so that I could try to rest in between the contractions and just flip over when each contraction hit.

By 11:30 the contractions were coming 3-4 minutes apart and were getting really intense. We packed up, got in the car and headed to the hospital. We live about 40 minutes from the hospital and that car ride was not fun!! I had 9 contractions on the way and I couldn't sit upright during them. The people on the highway must have thought I was crazy by the way I was straddling the passenger seat.

By the time we got to the hospital I was crying and getting a little bit hysterical. They checked us in within seconds and my midwife checked me. I was 4cm and 95% effaced. This was good progress considering I was totally closed and 0% effaced just 2 days earlier. My midwife was AMAZING! I told her I was still intending to have a natural birth and that I wanted her to encourage me to keep going even if I asked for the epidural. She had such a calming presence and suggested all sorts of different positions during the contractions. I was so happy to finally be in an environment meant for laboring and with a professional who knew exactly how to help me. 

I labored in the tub for a while, which I LOVED in between the contractions. It was so relaxing and calming. We shut off the lights and my husband sprayed warm water over my belly. During the contractions, however, it was excruciating -- although I guess any and every position was excruciating at that point. At least in the tub I was really able to relax in between.

By 3:30 the contractions were coming right on top of each other and I could no longer focus enough to breathe through them. All I could do was scream. My midwife and husband kept encouraging me and reminding me how to breathe. They were incredible. My midwife checked me again and I was 8cm. I knew I was in transition and I knew this was going to be the hardest part. And it was! The pain was more intense than I ever imagined possible. I don't think I even opened my eyes again after that point. I was completely in a different state of being. I had no thoughts, just pain. I started to doubt if I could make it. I just wanted it to be over already.

Here is where I started to beg. I wanted the drugs and I wanted them NOW! I was screaming and crying and yelling for someone to PLEASE HELP ME!! My husband told me later he thought it was funny because here they both were trying desperately to help me and here I was acting like they were trying to kill me. Other things I remember hearing come out of my mouth were "I CAN'T DO THIS!" and "I AM GOING TO DIE!" and of course "GIVE ME THE EPIDURAL!" My midwife was amazing. She never said I couldn't have it, but she knew it wasn't what I really wanted. She just kept telling me over and over again that I was almost there and that I could do this. My husband kept telling me the same thing. He was so calm the whole time. Around 4:00 she checked me again and I was fully dilated and ready to push. I was so happy to get this baby OUT!!

I had heard that the pushing was the best part and a huge relief. I would have to disagree. My friend once compared it to pooping out a basketball. That sounds more like it to me. A very large basketball. I did not see how I was going to be able to get the baby out. But at this point I knew it was too late for drugs so I stopped begging. I didn't stop screaming though. My husband used the word "primal" to describe the sounds coming out of me. They were loud -- loud enough that I lost my voice, loud enough that I probably scared every other woman in labor in the hallway. But all I cared about at that point was getting the baby out as soon as possible. I wanted this to be over!! I kept asking how many more pushes, how many more minutes. My midwife never gave me an answer. She just kept saying, "You're almost there. You can do this. You are doing this!"

Finally after an hour or so she told me that I would have my baby with the next push. I've never wanted anything so much in all my life. I pushed with every ounce of strength I had left. I can't even begin to describe the pain. When her head finally came out it was an unbelievable feeling of relief. The rest of her slid right out and the next thing I knew, my baby was on my chest and I was holding her! She cried right away and was so pink and had this full head of hair! I was too exhausted and too in shock to cry or think. I just kept saying, "Oh my god, Oh my god. Oh my god." I couldn't believe I actually did it. I couldn't believe my baby was actually here.

My midwife lifted her up and told daddy to call it. He cried out, "It's a girl!" That was the best moment of my entire life. She was a girl and she was ours.

She was so alert and perfect and healthy in every way. I fed her soon after that and she latched on right away. I won't get into the gory details of my personal post-birth experience. We'll just say there was a lot of blood and it was a little scary. But all that mattered was that she was healthy. And she was!

Having a natural birth experience was something I always wanted to do. It was more intense and traumatic than I even had the capacity to understand before-hand. And I can't say I want to do it again anytime soon. But I am so thankful for the experience. It has changed me forever. And I am damn proud of myself for following through. I know that if I got through that I can get through anything.

And looking at my beautiful daughter right now I know it was worth every ounce of pain, every scream, every push and every overdue day of waiting. 

I am completely in love.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

i think this is it

6 days overdue

Dear Baby,

It is the wee hours of September 25 and I think this might turn out to be your birthday. I am writing this in between contractions as Daddy tries to get some sleep upstairs. I might be interrupted a lot, but I don't think I'll be sleeping tonight and I need a project to pass the time while I'm not on the floor trying to breathe. So writing you this letter it is.

I want you to know about this night -- this magical night that you decided was the right one to come out and meet us. We planned on pork chops for dinner. Daddy always grills the meat and I always do the extras. Tonight it was steamed carrots and warm biscuits. I asked Daddy if maybe he could make the pork chops a little spicy to help give you a boost. Daddy liked that idea. He warned me before our first bite that he might have overdone it. Boy was he right! We both started coughing and turning red right away. It was the hottest thing I've ever tasted. Ever!! And then all we could do was laugh and laugh and laugh. Daddy kept apologizing for ruining dinner but I told him he didn't ruin it at all. He made it one I won't ever forget.

After dinner we decided to take a ride on Rocky Road. This is a dirt road through the woods at the end of our street. Some day it will probably be developed into a beautiful neighborhood. You might not ever remember it as dirt road. But for now it's a special secret path that Daddy and I discovered a few nights ago. It's really really bumpy! It's a little scary too. But it's special. Because we drive down it just for you -- to help give you a boost. And I think you like it. I love having silly adventures like that with your daddy. And I love that you get to have them with us now too.

After Rocky Road we came home and started to watch "The Office." This is Daddy's all-time favorite show. Mine too. But you started letting us know you were getting ready to come out. And Daddy and I are so excited to meet you that we decided to give you one more boost. Daddy and I love to take walks together but we usually walk during the day and it's really dark out at night around here! So we decided to just walk up and down our driveway. We did 24 laps. If the neighbors saw us, I bet they thought we looked really funny!

Then we changed our minds and decided the dark wasn't going to stop us. We put on our sneakers and headed out to the neighborhood. It's a whole other world in the dark. And I loved it. There are so many stars out tonight and Daddy and I both made a wish. Daddy's wish was quick and mine was long. He made fun of me for that but I didn't care. I have a lot to wish for. And I think maybe you heard me.

It's very late now but I don't think I'll be sleeping tonight at all and that's ok with me. I want to spend the whole night with you. I want to tell you how proud I am of you. We are in this labor thing together, ok? And I promise you I'll take care of you through it. I'll take care of you through your whole life. I promise.

So don't be scared, sweet baby. Mommy's not scared either. We'll get through this together, and at the end of it Daddy and I will be waiting for you. The whole world will be waiting for you. 

Happy Birth Day. I love you.


Monday, September 22, 2008

who are you and who will you be

3 days overdue

Who are you and who will you be?
A man like your daddy or a lady like me?
Will you like fairies and flowers,
Or train tracks and cars?
Will you run and chase butterflies
Will you be wowed by the stars? 

Do you know that I dream about you?
Do you know that I pray
For you, sweet little baby
Every single day?

Who are you and who will you be?
A comedian like your daddy or a giggler like me?
What will you look like?
What will you love?
Will you know that you are the sweetest gift from above?

Will you know how you've made your daddy a man?
Will you know that you've changed him?
Will you understand?

Will you know what you've taught me?
Will you know what I've learned?
Will you know that the road I was on
Has forever been turned?

Who are you and who will you be?
An athlete like Daddy or a writer like me?
What will you smell like?
How will you sound?
Will you know of the joy me and Daddy have found?

Do you know Mommy's voice?
Can you feel my touch?
Do you know you are loved?
Do you know just how much?

Do you know Daddy's kisses?
Can you hear his sweet song?
Do you know we've been waiting
For you for so long?

Who are you and who will you be?

And what are you waiting for,
Sweet little baby?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

date day

1 day overdue

My husband and I get restless yesterday and decide to venture out on an all day date. We go to our favorite bagel place for breakfast and then to Borderland State Park for an hour and a half walk. It is a beautiful fall day, much like the day at Borderland three years ago when I first knew he was "the one." 

The first picture is from three years ago and the second one is from yesterday. I find it funny that I am pretty much wearing the same sweatshirt, only this time I have another person hiding under it! A lot has changed (and grown) in three years. 

There's one thing that hasn't changed, though. He's still the one.

After going home for a long nap and a hot shower, we finish off our date walking around Faneuil Hall in Boston and then to the North End to our first date restaurant. It is a wonderful meal and a wonderful day. I consciously make a point to cherish these "just us" moments because I know days like this one are numbered. I also recommit to being patient waiting for our little late one to arrive, which is much easier said than done.

Truthfully, I'm still working on that one.

Friday, September 19, 2008

happy due date

40 weeks

Yes, it's my due date, and no, the baby is not here yet. It might be my due date, but I guess the baby has other plans. This is not easy for me. June 17 (my first due date) came and went without a baby and I kept telling myself that by September 19 I would be holding my sweet baby in my arms. I've stared at that date on the calendar for a long time. And now September 19 might just come and go too. Of course I know my baby is coming and he/she is coming soon. I realize that rationally. But emotionally, I feel like a 6-year-old on Christmas morning waking up to a giftless tree still waiting for Santa to arrive. (Yes, I know I grew up Jewish but we can all imagine what that would feel like.)

I realize my thought process and emotions are completely childish. I know how lucky I am. I know I have so much to be thankful for and excited for. And I am. But I'm being totally honest here and I'm telling you like it is. I want my baby OUT!!!!!

It doesn't help that my friends and family are calling and emailing by the dozens to ask if I'm still pregnant. I know they all mean well but do you really think my mother is going to somehow miss the big announcement?!?!?! Um, last time I checked, yes, still pregnant. Pregnant enough that some man last night walked by me, looked at my belly and just said, "WOW!" I am past the point of cute pregnant girl. I am obnoxiously huge, stop-and-stare pregnant girl. It really isn't that fun anymore. 

Nobody tells you in the beginning that the AVERAGE for first time moms is 41 1/2 weeks. And nobody seems to accept that either (and certainly not my mother!) They think of your due date as your cut-off -- that if the baby isn't here by that date, there is something seriously wrong with you. I should have told people I was due in the beginning of October instead. I should have told myself that too. I've had to actually switch my daily walking route to avoid a well-meaning neighbor who comes outside every day just to say to me, "You're still here?!?!?!"

Ultimately my baby gets to choose the due date. And I do sort of like the idea that it gets to choose its very own birthday. No matter what I do (and trust me, I have tried EVERYTHING) this baby is going to come on its own time. And my job is to sit back, trust mother nature, have confidence in my body and accept that my child is neither habitually early like its father or always right on time like its mother.

I guess someone in the family has to be late. 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

why are you having a baby?

I am asked this question by a two-year-old this morning. My husband and I are out for breakfast, and a little girl at the booth next to us takes an immediate interest in my giant belly. I explain to her that there's a baby in there, and her mother apologizes and tells me with a sigh that she is amidst her terrible twos.

Later, after my scrambled eggs and toast (and three unmistakeable contractions!) the little girls turns to me again and asks:

Why are you having a baby?

As simple and innocent as it is, it's a question I haven't been asked before. I giggle and tell her:

Because babies are cute!

But I know this is not the right answer. The only other answer that pops into my mind is why not? But I know that isn't the right answer either. "Why not" is passive and it lacks power. And it's not a good enough reason for me.

So why? It's harder to answer than I would have guessed. Back in February I wrote about why I wanted this baby, which is a slightly different question than why am I having one. Yes, I am having one because ultimately I wanted to have one. My husband and I chose to create this baby. We made a decision to extend our partnership to include a new life. We made the choice to grow ourselves into a family. 

But there's more to it. I know that there are plenty of women (and men) who want babies desperately, and for reasons I will never understand, they don't get them. I've seen it first-hand and it's horribly unfair and it breaks my heart. 

My husband and I have been given this life. A gift from God. And there is no gift more precious. It is one that we get to give and receive all at the same time. Our first baby was a gift from God too. We accepted that gift with grace. We acknowledged its fragility and held it close to our hearts. We still do. We gave her tiny life meaning. And we haven't forgotten.

So when I think about why we are having this baby, the answer is quite simple. 

Because we have been blessed. 

Friday, September 12, 2008

bring on the pain

39 weeks

I wake up every morning wondering Is today the day??? I wonder if my body will ever do what it's supposed to do and actually go into labor. I pray that every strange tightening and every little cramp gets stronger. I pray for my water to break so at least I'll know. I pray for the pain. I've never wanted anything so bad in my life. BRING IT ON!!!

I take back everything I said in my last post. This waiting is for the birds. It's funny to think back to a year ago when all I wanted was to be pregnant and stay pregnant. Well guess what -- I've now been pregnant for an entire year (minus one month) and I don't want to be pregnant anymore for another day! I want this baby OUT!!!!

Just for fun -- and because I am feeling the need to complain a little bit -- here is a list of things I will not miss about being pregnant:
*a squished bladder
*peeing my pants
*bending over
*weighing almost as much as my husband
*national geographic boobs
*trying to roll over in bed
*round ligament pain
*difficulty breathing
*pregnancy brain
*waiting, waiting, waiting

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

let it be

37 1/2 weeks

I've been lazy about writing lately. I don't know why. I've had things I've wanted to write about, I just haven't felt like sitting down and doing it. Not that I've been doing much of anything else. I'm actually bored out of my mind and I'm counting the minutes until I can meet my baby. 

Here's the problem, though. I don't know how many minutes to count. I am officially full-term now. Which means the baby could come tomorrow -- or four weeks from tomorrow. There is no real way of knowing. And let me tell you, that is one looooooooonnngg window. 

I haven't worked in over two months now so I've had plenty of time on my hands. Today is the first day of school, in fact, and I am not there. Ten years of first days. But this time I am home watching "The Price is Right" while the rest of the world is moving right along without me. It's weird. And let's face it, I am beyond bored out of my mind.

The nursery is complete. Every bootie and cap is washed and put away. Every diaper is in its basket. The toys are put together. The car seat is installed. The hospital bag is packed. The house is clean. The fridge is stocked. Even the toilets are scrubbed. When I tell you I'm ready, I mean I am really really ready. The only thing left to do is wait. And as I've mentioned before, I really don't like waiting.

If one more person tells me to catch up on sleep now while I can, I am going to stuff a pillow down their throat!! Do people really think I am pulling all-nighters or something?? I am sleeping as much as any other 9-month pregnant woman can sleep. I have a zillion pillows in the bed and none of them really help anything. It takes me a full 60 seconds just to roll over and I make at least six visits to the bathroom every night. So please don't tell me to sleep more. I am doing the best I can.

The other word of advice I've been getting is to take some time for myself. I sure have plenty of it. So last week I go to the beach to visit my grandma. I've gone to the beach lots of times this summer but I realize then that this is the first time I've gone solo. Every other visit has been with my nephews or my friends and their kids. And let me tell you, it is nice to be alone.

I am reading my book and enjoying the cool ocean breeze and the soft warm sand under my toes. My grandma's friend's grandson is also visiting. He is about 15 and is somewhere wavering between boy and man. He has brought his guitar along and is practicing with his friend. The song is "Let it Be."

The boy's grandma starts singing along quietly and my grandma and her other friends join in one by one. Before I know it, I am humming along too. It's kind of a funny scene if you think about it -- four old ladies in their 80's knitting their blankets, an extremely pregnant 30-something squished into a beach chair and two teenage boys all coming together for a very mediocre version of the classic Beatles song. But something about it is really really nice.

Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

I think about how much I want to meet my baby and how eager I am to know if it's a boy or a girl and whether it has dark hair or blonde or none at all. I want to hold it and smell it and kiss it and cuddle it up in my arms. It's so close I can taste it. And some days I just want to scream I can't wait anymore!!!!!!

But something in the music clicks for me. I need to let it be. My baby will come to me when it's good and ready. And it's not up to me. It's not even about me. I am bringing another human being onto this earth. Yes, I am its mother and I created it and have carried it for the last nine months. But this being has a mind and an agenda all of its own. If it needs more time to cook, then there is probably a reason for it. And I need to let that be. What right do I have to rush it?

Later, I take a long walk on the beach and I really spend some time with myself. I take in the salty air and the crashing waves and the warm end-of-summer sun. I realize this may be my last solo walk on the beach for a very very long time. I enjoy it fully.

I'm still really eager and anxious and will jump for joy if my baby decides to show up tomorrow. But if it doesn't (and statistics say it probably won't) I will cherish these last moments of solo-time and allow my baby to take all the time that he/she needs. 

I'm not saying this is easy for me. It isn't. I'm a control freak, and letting go of it is actually quite difficult. But I don't really have much of a choice here, do I? 

Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

Monday, August 18, 2008

a wedding adventure

35 weeks

My college roommate (and friend of 10+ years) got married this weekend!! 

The wedding is eventful to say the least, and includes a trip to the ER. No, the emergency isn't for me (although I think people are wondering when they see the size of my belly!) But I win the prize of being the only one sober enough to drive -- oh the joys of being the pregnant girl. I think someone at the wedding actually uses the term "severely pregnant." I actually kind of like that.

It is quite the scene getting to the hospital. Picture a "severely" pregnant woman (who forgets her glasses and can't see and has no idea where she is going) behind the wheel next to her very drunk friend with a sprained ankle and their two 6+ feet tall husbands squeezed in the backseat with a freshly installed car seat stuck between them. I wish I got a photo of that!

Somehow we make it back to the wedding in time to hit the dance floor before it the night is over. I think our baby loves to boogie! 

The next day my husband and I head out for a family day at the beach. Can I get any bigger???

Friday, August 15, 2008

bad news

I hate having to write about bad news. But sometimes...well...sometimes news just is bad.  So here goes. My friend who lost her baby due to a placental abruption in March (she was 32 weeks) just lost another baby yesterday to Trisomy 13. She was 12 weeks this time. 

I can't stand it. I want to tell you that she doesn't deserve it. But who does deserve that? Nobody. So what gives? How does this happen??? She's already paid her dues. And then some!! She's been through more than most people ever go through. How is it possible that when you hit rick bottom you can still fall further??? Doesn't the universe have limits?

I don't have any answers. I'm just disgusted by the unfairness of life. 

And I pray for her.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

my mirror moment

A woman I've never met tells me today that I will be a horrible mother. A comment like this to a woman who has already lost a baby and who couldn't be more in love with the one growing inside of her is not something you can just pass off. 

Naturally, I defend myself as best I can and then walk away from the situation. It's not until a few hours later that I have my mirror moment. I take a good long hard look at myself and for the first time, I really question myself.

What if I'm not a good mother????
What if I can't provide enough milk?
What if I can't soothe him/her?
What if I don't know what to do?
What if I do the wrong thing?

My husband can't understand my tears. I've been pretty confident about motherhood throughout my pregnancy and throughout my whole life really. I am a nurturer by nature. I've been teaching young children for 10 years. I have a degree in child development. I've been waiting my whole life to be a mother. 

As it turns out, though, none of that matters. I'm petrified.

Since the moment I discovered this baby inside of me, I've tried to give it everything. I've stayed away from caffeine, alcohol, deli meat and even my poor old grandmother's cooking (as well-intending as she is I did once find a band-aid in her fruit salad.) I've walked and swam consistently and gone to my pre-natal yoga class every week. I've eaten my fruits and vegetables. I've rested, put my feet up and taken all stress out of my life. I've read a million books, researched all the best products, and taken a class on infant care and CPR.

I've chosen a partner in life who is gentle and kind and who loves his child more than I've ever seen a man love anything. 

I don't have the answers to the questions above. And no, I don't really know what it takes to be a good mother. As much as I've tried to prepare myself, I'm still going into this whole thing as blind as everyone else. 

But here's what I do know. I love my baby. 

And I didn't have to read anything or take judgement from anyone to learn how to do that. 

Monday, August 4, 2008

baby shower!

It was such a beautiful day of celebration. My mom, mother-in-law and sister-in-law (20 weeks pregnant herself!) planned a wonderful party and I loved every minute of it. And now I am having so much fun playing with all of my new toys. Ok, I know the gifts are not exactly for me but it sure was fun opening all of them! The only gift that has yet to arrive is the little guest of honor. And what a welcome it's already received.

 I feel so blessed in so many ways.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

watkins glenn falls

We spent the weekend in Central New York visiting my husband's family. Here are some photos from a beautiful spot called Watkins Glenn. I loved it there!! (especially because we got a ride to the top and only had to climb the 800 steps down the falls!)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

tough don't rub off

My husband and I have a discussion the other day. Why does childbirth hurt so much? Why is it so painful? There must be a reason. And no, we don't think it has anything to do with Eve and an apple. 

When I look back at my life and think about the experiences that have been most painful, I realize it is these moments that have shaped me. Pain has given me strength. Pride. Perspective. Character. So if this is going to be the most painful experience of them all, just think about how much I'll gain from it. And I'm not even talking about the baby. I'm just talking about the experience of childbirth itself.

And the most painful of pain followed by the most joyful of joy?!?! What a ride. No roller coaster could beat that. 

Maybe the pain's purpose is to fully invest me. How could I endure all of that pain and then not love and care for that miracle more than I've ever loved or cared for anything before in my life. The pain makes sense to me. And I'm not scared of it. Don't get me wrong. I do respect that it's not for everybody. But believe it or not, I am actually looking forward to it.

A few years back I did a mountaineering trip in the High Sierra with Outward Bound. It was 22 days long and it was hard-core. We hiked over 100 miles and most of that was climbing straight up or climbing straight down. Everything about that trip was intense. I cried every day -- multiple times a day. The trip was a whole series of intense moments but there is one that has stuck with me all these years. 

We had been climbing a 13,000-footer and were close to reaching the summit. The last part of the climb was technical and we needed to be roped in. We basically had to climb the face of a cliff to reach the top of the mountain. And I got stuck. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, I just couldn't make my leg reach the next hold. It just wasn't possible. And every time I slipped, all of my weight would be caught in my left shoulder, which was the only part of me that felt securely connected to the mountain. The rest of me was a dangling useless mess. After 10 or 12 tries, my shoulder was completely pulled out of its socket. And there I was hanging off the top of a cliff -- exhausted beyond belief, pulsating with pain, crying my eyes out -- the final goal within my sight but out of my reach. I couldn't stand it. The instructor asked if I wanted to be let down. I remember that moment clearly. Do or die. Sink or swim. Now or never. 

To this day I don't know how it happened. But I made it to the summit of that mountain. I broke down sobbing and hugged the ground under me. I did it. I survived. 

Was I strong enough to achieve the impossible? Yes. I was. And what was my reward? An incredible view? The wind blowing in my face on the top of the world? A lunch of trail mix and crackers? A chunk of chocolate? 

Yes. But there was more. I took away with me a strength I never knew I had. I learned to trust myself -- the deepest part of my being -- even when my body appeared to be failing. And I discovered that pain is temporary. And what lies just on the other side is always worth it. 

We had a saying on that trip -- "tough don't rub off." It's a mantra I've spoken to myself a million times since. The pain goes away but the strength is yours to keep and use forever.

How does this relate to childbirth? Well, I don't know because I haven't experienced it yet. But I just have a feeling it might be like reaching the summit of that mountain. Only better.

more birth thoughts

You know when you have one of those moments when you just know you've made the right decision? When your gut has been struggling through something and you come to a place where it suddenly just screams YES! I am in that place. I've decided to switch from my OB practice to a midwife.

If you asked me 8 months ago if I even knew the difference, I would have laughed it off. I had absolutely no interest in this topic whatsoever. As long as she can get this thing out of me, what do I care? 

Turns out I care a lot. Because although a healthy baby is still the top priority and the ultimate goal here (and I have full confidence my OB could have delivered that) there really is a lot more to consider -- like being treated with warmth and respect and being given a voice during this process, and most importantly being given a voice during my labor and delivery. 

It's only going to be the most important day of my life, right? Shouldn't I have a voice?

Anyway I could go on and on and give you all the details of this decision process but you get the idea. I've made the right choice and I'm happy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

32 and 32

Yesterday was my birthday! For once I feel right on track for my age. I spent most of my 20's feeling so far behind but somehow I've caught up. Thirty-two feels like the perfect age for motherhood. 

me = 32 years
baby = 32 weeks

Yayyyyy for 32!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

thoughts on birth

31 weeks

In the beginning of this pregnancy, I was so focused on just staying pregnant. Terrified of enduring another miscarriage, I crawled along one day at a time, one appointment at a time, breathing a sigh of relief with every passing milestone. But I never actually considered the end result. BIRTH. 

I find it funny that it never really crossed my mind. It seemed so far off, so irrelevant at the time. September seemed forever away, like maybe it would never really come. 

But it's coming. I am in the last leg of my pregnancy and this thing is really in me. I can see it and feel it and I know that it is very much alive. And I'm just beginning to realize that I have to get it out!!!

There are so many childbirth stories and books and documentaries and shows on TLC. I've been spending my time studying diligently, my nose in a book or my eyes glued to the TV, as if this were the hugest final exam of my life. I suppose it is. Some of the stories scare me to death and other ones leave me feeling empowered and excited. But mostly I just feel confused and overwhelmed and unprepared. 

Because how can I prepare for something I've never experienced? I can learn the facts but I can't ever know the experience until I have it for myself. It's like preparing for sex when you're a virgin. You can't. The only thing you can do is know that it will be different than anything you've ever experienced before. 

So this I am open to. And what I do know is that I want to feel it. I want this experience. And I want it fully. Even with its pain, I want it. I want to feel what millions of women before me have also felt. I want to understand it on a level deeper than reading it or watching it. It is a rite of passage and I feel blessed that I have been given this opportunity to reach it. Completely blessed.

In my whole however many years of life, this may just be my biggest moment. And I don't want to miss it. Not any of it.

I knew a woman in grad school who had three grown children. She was not a particularly gorgeous woman, nor was she very outgoing or extraordinary really in any way. Simon Cowell may have called her "forgettable." But she was strong. And she had an inner confidence and beauty that struck me and stuck with me. She had delivered each of her children with no drugs or medical interventions. I remember her telling me (as I shook my head in awe and swore that she was crazy) that no pain could ever match that. She knew if she could get through the birth of her children, she could get through ANYTHING.  

I don't know if I want a doula or a birthing ball or a labor tub. 

But I know I want this. 

Sunday, July 13, 2008

more nursery pics

Our nursery is coming along!! The shelf is a project I know my husband cares never to repeat again. As he puts it, "It sure was a project alright!"
But it was made 
with love and that's all
that matters. 

The photo frames are another project that take on a life of its own. I can't wait to fill that third frame!! Will this little one have Daddy's straight blonde locks or a black mop like mine? I guess we will have to wait and see!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of july babymoon

Well, it's our last vacation as a family of two. We spend 4th of July weekend up in Burlington, VT, where I lived for 9 years before meeting my husband. It is a wonderful trip and we relish in the luxuries of our deluxe suite with its killer view, our daily naps, catching up with old friends, incredible sunsets, fireworks on the water, great food, frozen cocktails (virgin for me) and of course Ben & Jerry's ice cream! We even spend one morning hiking -- yes, 7 months pregnant and still hiking!! I should have written across my belly, "This baby climbed Mt. Philo!" Because even though it is our last official trip as a two-some, we very much feel the presence of our beautiful #3.

Monday, June 30, 2008

June 30

My husband and I got married one year ago today. Funny how much can happen in one year. We created a life, celebrated a life, lost a life, mourned a life, created another life and celebrated once again. And we held onto each other through all of it. Living our vows.

My body has literally grown another person inside of it. As I look down at my belly, I laugh at the thought of fitting into my wedding gown. Or any of the cute dresses and lingerie I brought along on our honeymoon last summer. I remember climbing the mountains in Switzerland and drinking glass after glass of red wine in the villages. We were young and innocent, and we didn't have a care in the world.  

Those days are behind us now, leaving only a faded trail of the sweet memory. We've grown (and not just my belly.) We've learned. We've experienced.

I tell my husband yesterday that we are no longer newlyweds. He agrees. We've lost that title. 

But we are about to take on a new title. Young parents. Mommy. Daddy. Family. I've never been more excited. And I've never felt more blessed than to share this incredible adventure with the man I said "I do" to. 

Because I still do. 

Even more than I did then.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

scrabble name game

My husband and I decide to play Scrabble the other night. We joke that names are allowed this time, as long as they are baby names. This is funny because my husband likes to come up with pretty creative (completely made-up and ridiculous) baby names. 

I get to go first and don't have the greatest letters to start. I am about to place the word "bent" on the board. I am getting ready to put down the last letter and I gasp. There on the board is "ben", one of our top boy names. Coincidence? Or a sign that this little booger is a boy??? 

Other words follow like "boy" and "toy" and "oreos." I am beginning to think the whole game is an outline of our future son's life. It is like a cross between a game of Scrabble and a session with a Quija board. A message from above. But then there are words that pop up like "gin" and "crap" and others I choose not to discuss ever again, including some female anatomy descriptors not suitable for young readers. Let's just say there's a reason this photo only shows a small part of the board.

Anyway it was an interesting game, and at the very least, I think we've decided on our boy name!! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2008