love thursday motherhood

love thursday: new beginnings

In college I killed a cactus. I have long assumed that I am probably lacking in the green thumb department, so I was just as surprised as anyone else when I suddenly had the urge to buy a house plant recently. Initially I was going to buy one of those clever hanging plants to display on my balcony, but my husband (love him) suggested I start with a smaller (read: cheaper) plant with the mind set that it would be wiser to kill an inexpensive plant first than a larger investment plant. It made sense – I took no offense to this idea because it’s true. I love that he knows me well enough to realize that this is both an important step for me, but also one that we should step into lightly, making baby steps. A month from now I may have lost all interest in house plants…

Then again, every time I look at this little plant, which we picked up at our local farmers market for just $3, I like it more and more. I bought it with a small amount of apprehension as I know nothing about plants and didn’t know if this one was “a good one” – or how much of a commitment caring for it would be. I wasn’t even sure it was my style. But I took a chance and I have to say I’m pretty smitten with it. I check in on it a couple times a day to make sure it’s handling this heat wave okay, checking for any dead petals or leaves that could be trimmed away. It’s remarkably easy on some levels, this caring for plants thing seems to involve a bit of common sense. Go figure.

In a lot of ways plants and babies are pretty similar. They require a certain amount of love and attention (though babies admittedly require more of it) to grow, but when you do it right the results are stunning. They are ever so delicate and at the same time, tougher than they look. It’s a balancing act. The care and nurturing of them is both new and daunting but also relatively obvious once you figure it out. Keep them alive and help them to flourish. Show them love and watch them grow. Marriage is similar I suppose. It would seem that I’ve entered yet another new relationship where a certain amount of commitment is required to keep it healthy. If that commitment is genuine and well kept up with, things should go well. I can remember looking at motherhood as it approached, hesitantly wondering if I was cut out for this – not having the slightest idea how to care for something so small. Looking at marriage was similar – would I be any good at this being a wife thing? I hope that my houseplant fares as well as my marriage and son have.

I’ve had a lot of new beginnings in the past few years. Several times now I have made commitments to new people, places and things – new ways of living. It’s been impossible at each point to know for certain that things will work out for the best, but that leap of faith has been rewarded each time. Look how far we’ve come. Wonderful husband, darling son, exciting new chapters in our lives together unfolding as we’ve left the comforts of our upbringings and branched out to this new home, this new place, this new life. Soon we’ll stretch ourselves further and become a family of four. There are apprehensions and fears, of course, but if history has shown anything, I’m thinking it will go well.

I cannot wait to meet the newest member of our family. I cannot wait to witness my heart filling to the brim again – to see her face and know my daughter, to learn the art of parenting a second time as I figure out this whole “mother of two” thing. And I wonder, after this, when I have conquered marriage, motherhood, moving, the mothering of two and the caring of my little flower – what new beginning will we reach for next? What will be the next chapter in our lives that will test us in ways we can’t yet imagine?

family fun

Bump Report: 36 Weeks

I’m now 36 weeks pregnant – I noticed that the little picture timeline on my countdown ticker has now moved over to the final picture on the timeline. Not surprising – because, dudes, it’s almost time. I had an appointment with my OB this past Tuesday and I will now have one appointment a week (already scheduled!) until my scheduled cesarean on July 21st (also already scheduled). Another thing of note from the countdown ticker? Apparently my uterus is now 1000 times it’s original size – that’s rather terrifying.

So at my last appointment my OB gave me the little report from my last ultrasound – there are no pretty pictures or anything worth scanning, but there were two things I noticed while attempting to decipher the doctor jargon in the report. The “history / indications” lists the reason for my ultrasound as being “poor weight gain” which just really had me miffed, even though I know that was a generic statement. Sure if I were a “normal” “healthy” “android” I’d technically be expected to gain some weight in this pregnancy, but last time I tried that I gained like 80 pounds – that to me is “poor weight gain.” They should have an option for “maintained her weight like a rock star” instead of typing things in that make me feel like I’ve done something wrong. I still remember the ultrasound technician about fainting when I told her I hadn’t gained any weight in the pregnancy and I’m like, “Dude you can look at my stomach and TELL that something’s been getting bigger – don’t look at me like I’m an alien – congratulate me!” Whatever.

As if that wasn’t insulting enough, apparently they also consider Baby Blueberry (BB) “not remarkable.” Like they say so several times. Her fetal anatomy is not remarkable. Her fetal spine appears unremarkable. And okay, so those are the only two examples I can find, but honestly, “unremarkable”? My little girl is totally worthy of remark. I bet her fetal anatomy is just stunning, thankyouverymuch. And her spine is probably rocking! I can tell you her kicking strength is nothing resembling unremarkable, but I guess you’ll have to take my word for that.

Yes, I’m telling you all this because apart from that visit this week has been pretty much exactly like the last week, but you know what, it’s all coming soon and I’m trying to just enjoy the normalcy now, even if normal means waddling around like a weeble, sweating like there’s no tomorrow and cowering in pain when my future soccer star starts attacking me for all her worth to the extent that I start wondering if she’s really trying to get my attention and might be screaming something like, “HEY YOU! LET ME OUT OF HERE!” And I’m like, “I wish sweetie.” Although I still have not heard back from Graco so really if I could wait just long enough to somehow aquire an infant car seat to take her home, that’d be swell.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re all like, “Great – but what strange vegetable does think BB resembles now??” so I’ll get on with the statistics…

[BB] is still packing on the pounds — at the rate of about an ounce a day. She now weighs almost 6 pounds (like a crenshaw melonI’m sure you’ve all eaten tons of those and know exactly how big they are) and is more than 18 1/2 inches long. She’s shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered her body as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that covered and protected her skin during her nine-month amniotic bath. [BB] swallows both of these substances, along with other secretions, resulting in a blackish mixture, called meconium, will form the contents of her first bowel movement (I know you all really wanted to know that!).

At the end of this week, [BB] will be considered full-term. (Full-term is 37 to 42 weeks; babies born before 37 weeks are pre-term and those born after 42 are post-term.) Most likely she’s in a head-down position (Actually she’s in the transverse position with her head on the right, but since I’m having a c-section that’s kind of irrelevant). [Otherwise my doctor might] suggest scheduling an “external cephalic version,” which is a fancy way of saying she’ll try to coax [BB] into a head-down position by manipulating her from the outside of [my] belly.

How [my] life’s changing:

Now that [my] baby is taking up so much room, [I] may have trouble eating a normal-size meal. Smaller, more frequent meals are often easier to handle at this point. On the other hand, [I] may have less heartburn and have an easier time breathing when [BB] starts to “drop” down into [my] pelvis. This process — called lightening — often happens a few weeks before labor if this is your first baby. ([Since I’ve] given birth before, it probably won’t happen before labor starts.) If [BB] drops, [I] may also feel increased pressure in [my] lower abdomen, which may make walking increasingly uncomfortable, and [I’ll] probably find that [I] have to pee even more frequently (seriously? Even more?). If [my] baby is very low, [I] may feel lots of vaginal pressure and discomfort as well. Some women say it feels as though they’re carrying a bowling ball between their legs! (Good times.)

Alright before I go, a few other fun things I found on this week:

  • Their Birthday Time Machine tells me the following cool things about July 21st (the day of our scheduled cesarean, BB’s intended birthday): Ernest Hemingway, Cat Stevens and Robin Williams will share BB’s birthday. Her birthstone will be the Ruby and her zodiac sign will be Cancer. On July 21st 1970, Egypy completed the Aswan Dam on the Nile River and in 1931 on the same date, CBS began broadcasting the first regular, seven-days-a-week tv schedule in the US.
  • To compare, MM’s birthday is April 7th. He shares a birthday with Billie Holiday, Jackie Chan and Russell Crowe. His birthstone is the Diamond and his zodiac sign is Aries. In 1927, the first simultaneous telecast of image and sound took place when a speech by President Herbert Hoover in Washington, D.C., is transmitted to New York City  on April 7th. That date in 1948 is when the World Health Organization was founded. On April 7, 2001 NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft takes off on a six-month, 286-million-mile journey to the red planet.
  • What does say about children born under the sign of Cancer? Cancer’s are considered “sensitive souls.” They are most comfortable at home, surrounded by family and pets, and familiar sights, sounds and smells. She might be very dependent on a favorite soft blanket or stuffed animal. Tradition, rituals, and routine are important for Cancer children, so regular family meals and a set bath-and-bedtime routine could be vital for this little one. They are more cautious and sensitive by nature and can easily become overwhelmed in a noisy, chaotic situation. Cancer’s are very nurturing by nature and she just may be naturally blessed with a green thumb and prone to bringing home every stray dog she finds. Cancer children are more emotionally vulnerable than most, and when they feel threatened, they’ll pull into their little shell until life seems safe again.
  • Basically that makes, MM, the Aries a total opposite to his little sister. A natural born leader, Aries children are always pushing ahead of the pack. With an “Are we there yet?” outlook, they are impatient to arrive and get started already! Aries children possess a passionate, creative, and restless nature. They seem to have more energy than other children, with a vitality that’s matched only by their natural bravery. Their “me first” attitude can be a challenge for anyone who has to contend with their high spirits and frequent self-absorption. Legendary for their straightforward honesty, Aries children tell it like they see it. They can overstep boundaries because they’re naturally impulsive and tend not to look before they leap.  Aries children have a hard time keeping their emotions under control and are prone to temper tantrums, but there’s a positive side to this: They don’t hold a grudge. Once the fireworks are over, so is their anger. Any vigorous activity will be an excellent outlet for his energy, and if it’s a competitive sport, so much the better. But be sure he wears a helmet or any other essential safety gear. In their eternal hurry, Aries children tend to be accident-prone.

This honestly sounds exactly like MM so if the same is true for BB… life should be interesting.