Monday, November 29, 2010

THIS week?!?

Just over 48 hours. Getting extremely nervous. Having twinges of dark thoughts reminiscent of Brody's terrifying entry into this world.

If I don't immediately answer my phone, I get repeat calls until I do to make sure I haven't given birth. (Trust me, when little man arrives, I'm going to put the royal engagement announcement to shame).

Brody is SO excited. J and I.... are excited? Ok, we are .... deer in headlights? In denial? Feeling overwhelmed already? Looking forward to the percoset I get? In disbelief still? I mean, I've been in disbelief for months. But for a few days it seemed like we had caught up with reality. But reality has lapped us once again.

Christmas tree up, 3 stockings up, car seat installed, batteries for swing in place. J asked me which hospital I am giving birth at, and I knew the answer.

So, you know, we are completely on top of it.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010


On the carousel today, he hadn't been on one for a few months, he was squealing and giggling with pure kid glee. Then he said, still laughing, "I can't keep my mowf closed!"

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Hello. My name is Christine. I'm 39 years old. I've been pregnant 7 times in my life. I've given birth to one son, at 33 weeks. He had 14 surgeries before he turned 3 because of Vacterl association. But now he is healthy and very, very happy. I never thought I could carry another baby to viability, let alone term. Today, I'm 39 weeks pregnant with my second son. It does not seem like he has Vacterl or any other anomalies.

I just wrote that because I never thought I would.

Today was my last day at work.

I cleaned out my office, organized my files. Found my obgyn appointment card. You know, the one with the entire pregnancy's list of appointments? I did it. I made all of the appointments.

Had my final appointment Wednesdsay. All is well.

Watched Toy Story 3 with Brody. Became complete sobbing mess at the end. I'm not allowed to watch it anymore.

Started to mourn the loss of just the two of us, Brody and me, and the three of us, Brody, Jeremy and me. Brody sandwiches, with Brody between me and J on our bed watching tv.

Then there is the utter incomprehensibility of meeting the little one inside of me right now. In.6.days. At the latest.

C-section is December 2, at 7am mst. We are at the hospital at 5am, checking in to labor and delivery.

Had some contractions Tuesday night. Nothing much though. They went away and have not returned.

We're putting up the Christmas tree this weekend. I have 4 stockings. Not putting them up until .... next weekend?

I find myself either giggling spontaneously or crying uncontrollably.

What an unfathomable, mystifying week this will be. 

Monday, November 22, 2010


I am huge. I shock people when they haven't seen me in a week or two. I didn't think I was a vain person as far as my appearance, but WOW am I ever these days. Which is so pathetic.

I can barely see the book in front of me when I read to Brody each night. I've given up bending over. I have really sharp pains just trying to move around. I waddle, and people stare at me in public. As in, holy hell, she's still pregnant??

Anyway, two nights ago I was reading to Brody, and I couldn't even stomach (ha!) sitting up to read to him. When we finished the book, I fell back against the sofa, and said more to myeslf than Brody, "One day mommy will be pretty again. And I won't be stinky anymore."
And he replied, "You're pretty even if you ARE stinky."

Shamelessly fishing for more compliments, I said "I am?"

"Yeah," he said, "even when you're stinky you're pretty."
Brody: Will my bruzza be my friend?

Me: Yes, he will. He's going to love you and you're going be his best friend.

Brody: Good.

I love that kid. This little one has some big shoes to fill. Even if he is his own miracle.

Ten days.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

38. Thirty eight!!! Weeks, that is.

14 days.

Two weeks from this moment, I will have a new son to hold (December 2, 2010)

38 week appointment stats: no change in weight from last week.

I have fat face though. And my wedding ring is a smidge tight. No edema elsewhere though.

Blood pressure: 112/72
Non stress test: excellent. Baby doing really well. Having some contractions, the kind I can't feel, but show up on the monitor. But my other parts aren't dilated.

Doc said I do NOT have to be on magnesium sulfate if I never develop pre-eclampsia. That would be lovely. I remember - sort of - mag sulfate. I couldn't sit up (kept tipping over in the bed), I couldn't cool down (had the room down to 50 and was still flushed and sweating), I had no muscle control, I didn't want to move, talk or keep my eyes open. People would talk to me and I'd just pass out in the middle of their sentence. For 24 hours after delivery. Complete blob. But, you know, I lived through pre-eclampsia with no seizures, so win-win.

One more doctor visit before the c-section - next Wednesday. Then I work the day after Thanksgiving, then..... FIVE DAYS OFF before the c-section! Don't tell my husband, but I might act like I'm on mag sulfate for some of those days.

This weekend I have a baby shower to attend - and it's mine! I'm very lucky some friends at work insisted on throwing it for me. I am much more excited about it than I thought I would be.
Baby room. Well, the stuff is in there. Except for the dresser. That's in the garage. Bit of a problem. Baby's clothes are all washed. Sheets are on the crib and changing pad. It's just that my clothes, Brody's clothes, guest bed comforter, and our comforters all need to be washed. And put away. God I hate putting laundry away. What is this nesting thing? I don't have that gene.
Winding down at work. Male coworkers are being really sweet. One coworker, a single man in his 50s with no kids, remarked how much better this pregnancy was going than the other one, and how happy he was about that. It was very sweet not just because of what he said, but because *he* said it. sigh. The HR lady volunteered to calculate how much leave I have and will need (I have enough time for one week of paid leave!) and advised me to apply for the leave bank. More love. The rest of my coworkers are surprised every day when I walk in the door. If I'm late a little bit, they start to worry and I get texts and calls (so far, I'm only late because it takes longer to waddle from the parking lot than to walk).

Then my husband. Sometimes I just catch him looking at my stomach. It's huge, really. He still hasn't felt the bubba moving, but he's felt a stationery head and/or bottom and freaked out over it. I love making him feel the baby's body parts.

Then Brody, sweet Brody. In the freezer aisle at the grocery store, he asked me for a hug, and while I was crouched down to give him one, he said, "The 3 of us are hugging each ozzer."
And every night he asks me to sing the "Brody Love Song," as we call it, this silly little song I made up when he was a little baby and crying and I wanted to soothe him. I've added in the name we think his brother will have:
Daddy loves mommy,
Daddy loves Brody,
Daddy loves [probable name of brother]
Daddy loves the doggies.

We are one big family,
Everybody loves.
We are one big family,
And we like to hug.

Then the next verse switches the names around (and so on) so every one of us is mentioned: Mommy loves daddy, mommy loves Brody, etc etc. Sometimes I have to sing just the parts when he and his brother are the subjects of the sentence (or objects?)


14 days.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brody's choice

I gave the letter talking about Brody's arms to the parents a couple of weeks ago. A few of the moms complimented me on it, and thanked me for it too. Since then, Brody hasnt brought up his arms. Until tonight.

Tonight, just as I was tucking Brody into his bed, he said, out of the blue, "So no one asks me about my arms anymore."

"How do you feel about that?"

"No one know 'bout my arms."

"And how do you feel about that?"

"How long does it take for a checkup?"

"We don't need a checkup, honey. But if you want your arm straight, we can go to the doctor and put a cast on it, and make it straight. If you want."

"Hmmm.... Let me think about dat..." (putting his finger up to his chin like he's contemplating).

"I like your arm just the way it is. But if you want it straight, we can make it straight."

"No, I don't want it straight cause I can still hold stuff wis it."

"Ok, then we don't need a checkup. If you ever want it straight, you just tell mommy or daddy and we can get the cast on. Ok?"


Then we had this "photo shoot" with him hanging off the side of his bed.

I love this person.

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When are you above it all?

I have learned of something recently that I will not get into detail about here. But this bit of information - about someone talking about me in a negative way - bothers me.

I don't know why it bothers me so much. Can I blame the hormones?

But here is my question. When do you rise above personal conflict and "let it go"? And when is the right time to address an issue? Which is which?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I never, ever, EVER thought I'd say this.......

Having been through 5 miscarriages, and then having a baby at 33 weeks, I have, at times, not been.... sympathetic to women's complaints in their last weeks of pregnancy. As in, how dare they complain about the insomnia, discomfort, etc. I *wish* I could be that pregnant. Etc.

So when I say this, this is really something I never, ever, EVER thought I would feel, let alone say: I want the baby to come out now. Safely and healthfully, but my patience is at an end.

I'm not even that uncomfortable, but I just want to meet him already and hold him and kiss him and love on him. What does he look like and sound like and smell like? Plus, I'm a waddling walrus. Also, I want to make our Christmas cards.

Had my 37 week appointment today. BP was 102/78, non stress test was awesome (I think he was actually kicking or punching the monitor on my stomach for a bit), and I do not have gestational diabetes. The nurse informed me when she showed my obgyn the non stress test results that the doc "has huge smiles on her face." I got the DTaP vaccine. Cervix is closed. No contractions whatsoever.
It's like the farther this pregnancy goes, the better I get at being pregnant. Which, if you had told me 8 months ago, I would have laughed at you. I mean, I turn 40 in a month. Look at my history. And yet.... It's strange to learn something about yourself that you thought was so elemental and instrinsic, and turns out, you were wrong. The story in my head was that I was bad at being pregnant, that my body wasn't good at it, didn't like it, and frankly, didn't want it.

But I'm here. And not likely to go anywhere anytime soon.

My coworkers are throwing me a shower on November 21 at one of their houses. Not only do I get better at being pregnant, but good fortune is being thrown at us in waves. . . .

I packed my hospital bag. Turns out, when you're doing a c-section, the majority of things they list in a hospital bag are unnecessary. I have going home clothes and toiletries. I thought about bringing a novel to read, but then I thought someone would laugh at me.

Brody. My sweetness. It seems like we are getting daily deliveries of presents for the baby, left on our front porch or brought over by people. And he gets SO excited about them, thinking they are for him. But when we tell him not ("No, honey, it's a car seat base for your brother") his smile dims for a millisecond and then brightens again and he says "Oh yay! Let's put it togezzer!" We definitely need to give him some quality time in the next couple of weeks. I didn't think I could love him more, but then he does this....

I asked B if he could tell his brother anything right now, what would it be? I was thinking he would start talking about Spiderman, or Buzz Lightyear, or the dogs. But you know what he said? "I'd say I love him." Then he said, "I'm gonna tell him right now," and spoke into my bellybutton, "I love you." And then he kissed my belly.

This is how he looks brushing off my car in the morning.

How does your heart not break from being filled up with this much love?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our village

We moved the futon/couch out of the “guest” room and into Brody’s room. My mom - who I am happy to report insisted on coming as early as possible - is coming on December 7, and she is sleeping on it – with Brody – in his room. (Brody says he and Oma are sleeping on it, and I can sleep in the race car bed).

Now the “guest” room has been transformed back into a baby’s room (it was Brody’s baby room when he was a bubba). I saved the bedding from Brody because I couldn’t stand the thought of giving it up (It's puppy-themed). The crib, changing table, glider, diaper champ, lamp, bouncy seat, boppy,and toys are all in that room. Jeremy and I stood in there on Sunday once we had figured the configuration of the furniture and …. soaked in the surreal moment of silence. How can the same things look so different?

I’m 36 weeks. The doctor said if I go into labor, they won’t stop it. The baby measured 5 lbs, 1 oz two weeks ago. I keep thinking of the phrase, “It takes a village…” Not only have friends completely stepped up and given us 90% of the baby gear we need (stroller, bumbo, boppy, swing, crib, hundreds of pieces of clothes and toys), but I feel the remnants of Brody’s birth experience, too.
For example, a few weeks ago at work a tragedy occurred. The kind of thing that resulted in grief counselors coming to see us. One day in the midst of the aftermath, it was quiet. I mean, eerily quiet, in the normally loud and bustling office. My coworker said, “It hasn’t been this quiet since Brody was born.” I asked her to explain, thinking she meant that I was out on leave. She relayed to me that my coworkers were terrified and heartbroken when he was born because no one knew if he would live or not. (We didn’t know until he was born about his medical issues). For example, a male coworker who is in his late 40s, single, with no kids, apparently was crying, saying "What happened?" And no one talked except in hushed tones to hear the latest test results, silent in their worry for us. I had no idea.

Then there’s our neighborhood. We live on a close knit cul de sac. Half the people are original owners who moved into their houses in the 1960’s, and are now grandparents with children our age, and half the people are our age and younger having children. We wave to each other coming and going, and collect each others’ mail when we’re out of town. I only realized recently the impact of Brody's birth, and his brother's, because so many of them are asking, with sweet and serious upturned brows, “How are you doing? How’s the little one?” And the smiles I get when I say I’m doing well are so oddly genuine..... We’ve had many offers that if we go into labor in the middle of the night, please knock on their door, they’ll come over and watch Brody.…It makes my heart flip flop.
Then there are the doctors. My obgyn’s first name is Honey, and I think she is younger than me, but she is exactly her name. She is lovely and sweet. My non stress test is good, my blood pressure is good, and the labs they run on my blood show that my liver and kidneys are still functioning (symptom of preeclampsia). She grins wider and wider each time she sees me. It's infectious. I still can't wrap my head around our good fortune, and the doctor is beaming at me.

And then there are the moments when Brody spontaneously comes over to me, and wraps his arms around my stomach and says, "I'm hugging my brudder, mommy."

I feel blessed beyond words and beyond measure. Not only do we get to fill that crib once, but twice, and we get to experience the saturation of love from all the parts of our life: family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and doctors.

This weekend I also dug out the red Christmas stocking, the 40 year old stocking that I came home in, the one he’ll come home in.

And it dawned on me that this might be the happiest December of my life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Magic? Miracle?

“Out of difficulties grow miracles.”
~Jean de la Bruyere

The quote above is the quote used by the Vacterl Association. I’ve always loved it. It summarizes perfectly my miscarriages, and Brody, and so many other things I’ve experienced. Like winning a free trip to France. Like the generous angel who has regularly been sending us money to pay for the meds for this pregnancy. Like the fact that this baby is still here, growing, inside my body, my body that at one time was almost a professional miscarriager, despite not doing any kind of immune treatments beforehand.

This latest thing….I do not know how to describe this feeling. Joy. Relief. Humbled.

“That's the thing with magic. You've got to know it's still here, all around us,
or it just stays invisible for you.”
~ Charles de Lint
As you know, we love our daycare: A Child’s View Preschool. Brody has attended for 2 years. They are the ones who insisted that they would pick up Brody from his preschool every day – even though they don’t travel to schools that far away from the daycare for anyone else - instead of letting him go to another daycare.

We informed them that our new son would be attending too. And then did the math. For two full-time tuition, one infant, one pre-K, it’s tight on our budget. Razor thin margin of error. Not unlike many families.

But it was not such an expense that would justify J or me quitting our jobs to go full-time at home (we checked).

Then, yesterday, Tracy, the assistant director, informed me that she and Kim, the executive director, were talking about us (?) and they thought that they could help us out, seeing as how we’d been through so much with Brody. Now, we’re never late on payments, we’ve never discussed finances with the daycare, although they do know that little man is a big surprise.

Nevertheless, Tracy said that once the baby starts going to daycare there (in February) ($205/week including formula), that they will not charge us for Brody’s care. ($170/week).

I made her repeat it a couple of times to make sure I heard her right. This is a business. With employees and people to pay and rent.

But I heard her right.

After drying my eyes and hugging her, I rushed home to tell Jeremy. He questioned me too: Really? Seriously? No way. That’s crazy. Who does that?

Who does that? Not half off, but free. Until he starts kindergarten in late August.

“The universe is full of magical things,
patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”
~Eden Phillpotts

What do you say when "thank you" could never be enough?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

That's enough of that

Brody sleeps in a twin size race car bed, meaning it’s lower to the floor than a regular bed, and one has to pull oneself up to get over the sides of the “car” before exiting.

It is rather difficult to elevate myself into and out of the thing lately. Think of a beetle stuck on its back.

I’m having round ligament pain, which feels like my sides are being ripped apart when I try to use my “ab muscles” for such things like twisting and bending, rising or sneezing. All of this is an excuse for what happens next.

Usually, Brody and I read books in bed, then I turn out the light, and I lay with him. It’s getting almost impossible for me to lever myself out of that bed.

The last couple of nights, we’ve been changing the routine: we read books in the chair, then he climbs into bed, and I stay in the chair and sing to him until he falls asleep.

Reading in the chair really wasn’t working last night. My stomach protrudes, and he is almost falling off my lap, and neither of us is very comfortable.

So after we read the books, he climbs into bed and I turn off the lights. “Stay in da chair and rock, mommy.”


“And sing. Sing twinkle twinkle, itsy bitsy spider, den rock a bye baby.”

“Ok.” So I do. Then I notice that he’s watching me from the bed.

“What are you doing?” I ask with a smile.

“I like watching you rock” he says. Aw hell.

I keep singing. I finish the songs. He’s still watching me, curled up with his hands under his cheek, just watching.
“I like hugging you mommy,” he says, very quietly. Come ON.

I get up to give him a hug. Then climb into bed with him, ligament pain be damned.

I’m having a moment. You know, those parenting/mommy moments where you sort of exhale and think all is Right with our world? We’re cuddled up and reasonably comfortable, despite the beach ball between us. I’m stroking his hair with my hand, watching him fall asleep, relishing these last moments of just me and him.

Right up until he grabs my hand - the one that is stroking his hair - and says “Ok, mommy. Dats enough of dat.”

Moment over.