Saturday, March 19, 2016

Waiting Game

I haven't taken many pictures with my "real camera" lately (although I post a ton on Instagram). But really, I have been very preoccupied with getting ready to be a family of four oh-so-soon!

The modern medicine world insists on due dates here in America, & we all have been conditioned to accept them to a certain point. I like the idea of a due month, & have often told people we are due "mid-to-late March"... but I still knew that date anyway, & passing it increases my anxiousness. I am so ready to bring this new soul earth side! I am excited to welcome this little person & discover if I have another daughter or our first son. I fantasize about Ruby's reaction to meeting this new tiny perfect human being who will come home with us mere hours after birth, to sleep in the waiting bassinet & likely be tucked in with one of big sister's many baybees, too.
I also worry. I am aware of my waning patience as my belly ripens, & how quickly I could turn from the mama with an overflowing heart of love to the stressed out mama with a fuse burned almost to the point of explosion. I find myself apologizing to Rue more than usual, explaining that mama is not always good at handling her emotions, either. We sing a lot of Daniel Tiger & bang a lot of pots & pans together to get our frustrations out. Afterwards, part of me thinks, "you can totally handle this; you just turned that moment into something fun & productive!" while the other half of me thinks, "but when the baby is here, are you really going to be okay with banging pots & pans when the day gets rough? When you want baby to sleep, & Rue wants yet another lollipop, or has peed on the floor yet again, or has knocked over another full glass of water all over the bills? Then what?" I am torn; I want to be the best mama I can be to both my toddler & my newborn.

Toddlerhood, man. This little, beautiful person who surprises me every single day! She learns so much & understands much more deeply today than she did yesterday. She loves so fiercely, it is one of the most awesome things I have ever witnessed. She also expects so much more than I can always give. She wants & needs & doesn't understand yet the difference between the two. Denied "wants" are treated as deprived "needs", & the tears flow. Anger explodes in unbridled displays of whirling limbs & flying tears & deafening wails of torment. The drama is strong with this one. But again, that intense love. Those little arms, when not swinging around in frustration, are so capable of the biggest hugs. Those little lips can open to issue the most horrific screams, but they can also pucker to deliver a rain of kisses all over my face. Toddlers are a ball of energy. They do what they do & they say what they say completely in the moment; there is no calculation or thoughts of consequence. Rarely is there an objective to manipulate, but rather just a real emotional experience to the moment. Not that there are not times when Rue tries to nudge me in her desired direction, because we are rapidly approaching that point. I have to remind myself that she is just exploring her abilities; finding whatever power she may hold in the familial structure. She doesn't operate on malice. But, it is not always easy to step back in the moment & realize that she is just figuring out her place in the world, too.
Newborns! I am so excited to return to that baby moon phase. It will be different this time. There won't be long, sleepy stretches in which I can simply lie there next to my squish, watching all those tiny expressions flit across his or her little face as they explore dreamland. The milk comas, the newborn smell, the constant red-eye shift cycle of life. I relished it the first time (although I did my fair share of complaining like anyone else). I look forward to it again, as someone who remembers a simpler time through the hazy watercolor mistiness of passed time. Everything is pastel & rosy, & the grit & sharp edges of reality have softened with the romanticism of the memories. It won't be like I remember it, but that is okay, too. It's part of the adventure & rediscovery- & new discoveries, because this baby will be a completely unique individual, with new experiences & new reactions & new quirks.

I hope that this baby will love snuggles in our slings. I hope that this baby will love Ruby as much as I am certain she will adore him or her. I hope that I will be able to adjust to the newness of a world in which two lives are completely dependent on me for the majority of the day. I hope that I can contribute to our home economics while staying home all the time again, as I no longer work the office job I had. I hope that I will find a balance in this new normal we are ushering in.
And now, I focus on the birth itself. I focus on breathing deeply & trusting my body; on being open to the sensations of labor & birth. I am both excited & again anxious for this grand entrance of the new normal. It's all transformative & it's all happening so very, very soon. I feel this baby move inside my womb, & I feel my body embrace the baby tightly, shifting him or her into position for ushering this new person earth side. I try to release all my apprehensions & breathe out all the things I have no control over, & just accept the miracle & magic that is this birth & this family I made with my love.
And wait. I wait as patiently as I can for that perfect moment to manifest.
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Monday, November 2, 2015

Uncle David's Visit

My family is wide-spread. We are actually strewn all over the place, but most of us have, somehow, localized in a few areas. Generally, we visit family in one of three areas that isn't the DMV: New York, Michigan, or Arizona.

Still, we have family members in other places. We have family in Florida, Alaska, Colorado, & even Scotland. I would love the financial status to be able to say "& we visit every one of them where they live!", but the truth is, we generally stay put, & when we can make a trip out to visit, we try to plan so that the most family possible is within a 20 miles radius of where we will be staying.
It's a rare treat, then, when one of the family members from one of the places we never get out to has an excuse to come to us. My Uncle David was in the DC area for work, & my family all hopped in the car to join him for dinner. Sneaky guy treated us (we treated him last time, & Ted created a small distraction at our table while I told the waitress it was Uncle David's birthday, & boy was THAT a fun memory!!!), & we caught up & laughed over family stories & what-have-you. Rue was given a balloon by the very thoughtful waiter, & later, we watched while it made its great escape from chubby fingers into the big blue sky, while Ruby cried "oh no! Bah-woon, cohm BAAHHHK! ...Pwease cohm bahk?"
Rue has met Uncle David now two times, both when he has been in town on business. I am so grateful that we have made it out to see him, if only for a couple hours, when he is local! I do hope to head over his way some day, to return the favor!

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Pumpkin Patchin'

We took Rue to the pumpkin patch a couple weeks ago. She is two years old, but this is the first time we have taken her to a pumpkin patch! I feel slightly guilty about that, but I think this was the perfect age. She was old enough to look forward to it, & young enough to not care if we left without an (overpriced) pumpkin (when we had a baggie of mini-pumpkins at home already). He cousins were there & she had a blast reveling with the family!

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Me, You, Rue, & Baby Two!

So I already established that we have another wee one on the way. Yesterday, at 18 weeks, we finally got to hear that elusive heartbeat, & I feel much calmer about everything.

Birth is a funny thing. It happens all the time, but it is still a little mysterious. We know the mechanics of it, but it is still feared. I really want to meet this birth without fear, with calm strength, & with the wisdom of the millions of mamas who gave birth before me.

It's also one of those things that is strangely "owned" by everyone. A pregnant woman gets so many weird comments that would never be said to anyone else. Ever. "You sure there's only one baby in there?" "You look ready to pop!" Gee, thanks.

And inexplicably, everyone tells you their own birthday when they ask about the due date. "When are you due?" "March. Mid-March somewhere." "Oh! My birthday is July 20!" "um... that's nice?"

People show their excitement for your upcoming baby by asking all sorts of questions to display their interest, which is nice, if a little awkward. Most of these questions are about names, gender, & where you plan to have the baby.  I am just going to answer those three common queries now, & explain my stance now, since I will likely be blogging more about our upcoming birth & may as well lay the groundwork for what to expect while I'm expecting.

We have a million name possibilities. We will not know the gender until the baby is in our arms. And we are having this baby at home.

This is where the whole "people try to own your pregnancy" thing comes into play, whether intended or inadvertent. Some people get really upset about not knowing the gender. I have a friend who pokes fun at herself for it, & if you're honest about your own hang-ups, I tend to let it slide (bonus points for not pushing the issue forever or trying to persuade me to change my mind). I get that it is inconvenient for people who want to buy gender-specific things for a baby (incidentally, one of the reasons we do NOT find out is so that we are not drowning in pink or blue!). But I also have had people get so upset, they refuse to speak to me. I don't really understand that, but if I got that upset at people who opted to learn the gender at 20wks, I would spend almost all my adult life pissed off at someone for how they experience their own pregnancy & birth. Which is silly, when I have my own life to live.

Names. People love to offer up names. And some people are camp "it would mean so much to me if you would name your baby after me!" And often times, moms are sitting there thinking, why would I name my kid after a coworker I only know through work?!?! Other times, people see an unusual or unique name & whisper about how a baby will make it through life with "a name like that". Not my business unless it's my kid. Again. And to nip this in the bud, yes, I am a big fan of "hippie names". My kids will always have story names. Names that tell the story of how they came into our family, where they fit in our family, & hopefully, names that will evolve to tell the story of their future lives.  I choose names carefully & consciously with my husband, & I refuse to be apologetic about the names we give our children. Sorry not sorry.

Lastly, I see the look of horror passing through many eyes when I mention we plan a home birth. I often hear "how brave of you!" or the flip-side "but won't you regret not having the epidural?" And all I have to say for myself is this: I have spent almost 5 years researching a home birth in the hopes that I would one day have my own. I have explored the pros & the cons.  I have spoken with mamas who have had a home birth, & I have been open about my experiences, hopes, fears, & worst-case scenarios with trusted professionals. I am not having home birth to win some imaginary "unmedicated mom medal" (it is insulting when people ask that)- I am having home birth because I am comfortable in my house, I am uncomfortable in hospitals, I want my daughter nearby, I like to eat & drink while laboring, I want to labor in a birth pool because water is my happy place, & I am having a home birth because I am a candidate & this birth option should be a safe one for me- & I trust my body to birth my baby. I know that labor is painful & intense, but it is also temporary. I am not entering this blindly. I am going into this enlightened & empowered. And I am, in that way that some mothers can be, excited to experience this.  Please don't try to scare me with horror stories or tell me that hospitals are the only truly safe place for a baby to be born. If there is an emergency situation, we have a plan to transfer me to a hospital, but my midwives really think I am strong & healthy enough to have a successful home birth. We have truly thought this through, & have made informed decisions. Please don't insult us by treating us otherwise.

So, yes, a new little babe will be in our home before the next solstice, & we are feathering our nest & are so excited to welcome this new spirit into our lives! Ruby is in love with our baby already, giving lots of cuddles, singing lots of songs, & generally loving the idea of having a baby in the house. Of course, this may change when the baby is actually here, but she is so maternal, I really wouldn't be surprised if she continued to care for her sibling with empathy & concern. It's definitely an adventure, this family thing!

PS- Special thanks to Patchie Photography for these photos!

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