“Are you ready?”
I never know how to answer that question.
Am I mentally and emotionally ready for the baby to be here?
Yes, most certainly. I really don’t have a sense of nervousness about any of that stuff. I haven’t freaked out about how much our lives are going to change again (though I recognize it’s inevitable), and how much Baby B’s life is going to be changed. Yes, it will be challenging in many ways, but just as we’ve done with Baby B, we’ll figure it out. If others before us can manage it, then so can we.
Are we ready in the sense of “is the baby’s STUFF ready?” — well, we’re not quite there yet. But we’re gradually making progress. The new nursery is completely cleaned out (a big feat in itself), and we spent last weekend painting it. We painted it a light gray (color: Behr’s Sparrow), and I love the color more than I ever thought I could love gray walls! Our next step is to have new carpet installed in the room (we’ll try to go order carpet over Fourth of July weekend), and most other things after that have to wait for the carpet to be installed first. Can’t move in the crib or dresser until the carpet is down. Therefore there’s really no point into getting out the clothes and other baby supplies yet since there’s no place to put them in the room yet.
I’ve managed to happen into an Ergo carrier to borrow, as well as a stroller that will work with our infant seat until we can use our stroller (it’s more of an umbrella stroller that you’re not supposed to use until closer to 8 weeks. We didn’t have much use for the whole seat/stroller system before, but it might be handy to have available for the first couple of months to make it easier to get out with the little one and with Baby B). We will not have a double stroller, as Baby B doesn’t use one anymore. So we’re trying to do things in preparation for having a little one in combination with an older one.
We are currently working on figuring out logistics of care for Baby B while I’m in the hospital and will soon begin on writing out instructions for her care during that time, recognizing that a variety of scenarios could happen when it’s game time. We can’t possibly cover all scenarios, but we can do a good job in prepping for a majority of them.
We have been confirmed for our three-session birth class (three Mondays in July), as well as Baby B’s sibling class (July 10).
Physically I am still doing fine. My lower back — right in the spine — hurts a lot and impedes my walking if I overdo it (like with cleaning or something), and I’m still throwing up even at 32+ weeks. Occasional heartburn has hit, but all of those seem to be minor annoyances at this point. Definitely not worth complaining about and only barely worth mentioning here (though I do because this is my virtual memory).
While I cannot say that actual pregnancy is my absolute favorite thing in the world — it is a means to an end for me — there are so many times during the day where I’ll feel a kick or even an uncomfortable twinge and I stop for a few seconds and really appreciate the fact that I am where I am. That just 11 months ago we thought we were proceeding on this very path only to have it forcefully ripped out from under us. I love knowing that I have this baby with me, I love being reminded of her presence, and I look forward to seeing what she’s like once she arrives. (Note: NOT anytime soon, please. Even though I’m mentally ready, I want her to continue developing and growing as she should, thanks.)
I had my 32-week checkup on Friday, and all looks good. Blood pressure was at 108/70, the baby’s heart rate was in the low 150s, and I measured 30 weeks. I’ve gained a total of ten pounds so far, and somehow managed to gain nothing in the past four weeks (despite dessert being the Best Thing Ever). That’s just extra confirmation that the little one continues to eat my inner organs! I’ve had a few annoyances here and there (lower back pain when I do too much, some minor heartburn, still vomiting), but really nothing I can complain about. Next visit in two weeks (July 8).
The Husband and I were able to do an overnight away last night, and we enjoyed a lovely Italian dinner, uninterrupted reading time before bed, a yummy hotel breakfast, a trip to IKEA, our long-awaited viewing of the Lion King musical, and dinner at a seafood restaurant before returning home to reunite with our not-so-little cub who had a great time in our absence. (Thanks, L and D!) Next up: our final overnight trip as a family of three, coming in three weeks, over our anniversary weekend, actually.
Ever since we brought home Baby B from the hospital, The Dog has been fascinated with her, and the fascination became mutual once Baby B was more aware of her surroundings. They’ve sort of grown up together (The Dog was just over a year old when Baby B was born), and they’ve formed a bond that is unbreakable. She commands him to do things just as we do (and often he listens more to her than to us!). He goes to sleep in her room each night. He doesn’t usually stay in there all night, but he is always eager to greet her sleepy head in the morning. She likes to have him in the bathroom with her when she’s taking a shower or bath. They go out back to play together by themselves. They are inseparable.
Last week we were told that Baby B had been chosen as the “Student of the Week” at school. Basically that meant homework for us — we had to put together a poster of Baby B and the things she loves. Knowing that I have thousands of photos from which to choose — and knowing that I have so many that I love and not much room on the poster board — I was a bit overwhelmed regarding how to approach this project. I thought that maybe I’d go with a theme, and when thinking about the things that Baby B loves, one thing came to mind: The Dog. So I decided we’d put together a poster of “Baby B and The Dog Through the Years.”
I went through our photos and chose the ones to have printed, then The Husband took over and mounted the photos on construction paper frames before putting them on the poster. That turned into an accurate representation of their love and affection for each other through the years. I’m very happy with how this project turned out.
I don’t have any photos of the final poster yet (and it’s displayed at school for the next two weeks), but I do still have all of the photos we used, so that’s what I’ll use for Wordless Wednesday tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Could I eat a whole pie all by myself?
A whole watermelon?
An entire half-gallon of ice cream?
I’ve always had such thoughts through the years, but never took the steps to find out the answer. Recently I was eating some watermelon that tasted particularly yummy and refreshing, and I started wondering again about watermelon. Could I eat a whole watermelon all by myself? Hrmm… I tried putting the thought out of my head, but every time I’d pass the box of watermelons at the grocery store, I’d size them up and really ponder whether I could do it or not.
Seeing as I’ve got a good sense of humor and sense of fun, I decided to use pregnancy as an excuse to give it a try. Because seriously, how funny would that be, years from now, to be able to say that I was able to eat a whole watermelon all by myself. And not just a personal-sized one…a full watermelon.
I was off work on Tuesday, so I decided that was the day. I purchased a watermelon that ended up being 13.8 pounds and 12 inches long. I cut it into wedges, piled them up in a bowl, and sat down at my computer (so I could be entertained while taking on the challenge) to begin eating.
I will admit…it was not easy. About halfway through, I really began to wonder if I would be able to do it, and I did think about giving up a few times. But I pressed on. I had no real time limit other than just finishing it that afternoon, so I just went at my own pace so as not to make myself sick.
So…3.5 hours later I finished the entire watermelon. I weighed the rind, which was 6.4 pounds (with the plastic bowl included), so I consumed 7.4 pounds of watermelon. I felt full, but most of all, I was surprised by how TIRED I was of chewing by the time I finished. I’d weighed myself before and after, and was up 4.8 pounds. But the funny thing? When I weighed myself the next morning, I was 0.2 pounds LESS than my starting weight before eating the watermelon. I certainly don’t recommend it as a long-term weight-loss solution, though. 🙂 I did have to pee quite often for the few hours after I finished, but by about 7 or 8 p.m. I was fine and in fact, I think I woke up only once to pee overnight — when I’m typically averaging about 4 or 5 times a night now (and average about 2-3 times a night when not pregnant).
Now I can say I did it. I ate a whole watermelon all by myself. Yes, I realize I’m completely ridiculous, but at least I had fun with it!!
(For those completely confused, I’ll explain tomorrow!)
I was all prepared late last week to make a post saying that I was feeling pretty good pregnancy-wise at 30 weeks — and I still am (at almost 31 weeks now) — but then I was hit with a bad cold (my second cold in two weeks) that totally knocked me out. Then Baby B got the cold, and once we were on the mend, The Husband got the cold too. Hopefully we can shake this thing for good because we have some great (and busy) weekends coming up!
But a pregnancy update:
*The temps reached the mid-90s last week, and I can definitely tell that my energy is zapped faster in the heat, and I can imagine it’s not going to get much better as we get into actual summer. I’m just trying to do what I can without overdoing it (and drinking plenty of water too).
*I’m at the point where The Baby is high enough that I’m occasionally having trouble hunching over, like if I’m reading something on my desk at work or painting my toenails. I’m also at the point where it’s more effort to bend over and reach stuff on the floor while of course the likelihood that I drop stuff is higher, making it most inconvenient. I pretty much just laugh at myself every time I do that.
*I’m still very much enjoying the fact that my leg hair is growing so slowly now. I wish it were like this all of the time!
*I’m getting the kind of kicks now where you can see my belly move, though it’s interesting because I don’t think she kicks nearly as much as Baby B did. Maybe my memory is just faulty in that area, though (wouldn’t be surprising). It makes me wonder if there will end up being a correlation between the amount of kicking and her personality, as Baby B kicked quite a bit and now it makes total sense, what with her spirited personality and all. Perhaps it’s just projecting those traits onto my pregnancy with her, but I’ll be curious to see how it turns out.
*Sometimes The Baby will shift over completely to my right side, which is something Baby B did quite often too. I guess that side feels more comfy. 🙂
*So far I haven’t really had any Braxton-Hicks contractions. I do, however, get sudden shifting onto my bladder to the point that OMG, I HAVE TO GO PEE RIGHT NOW!!
*My pubic bone pain from before has gone away for now, so I’m enjoying that while I can, as I’m sure it’ll come back before long.
*I have the pleasure of my first-ever hemorrhoid (managed to avoid it with Baby B), which I hope doesn’t last long because I can’t spell the damn word to save my life. At least point it’s just noticeable and not really bothersome, so fingers crossed that it continues.
*Knock on wood, but I’ve been largely heartburn-free pretty much ever since my last mention of it. (There, that should ensure it returns with a vengeance.)
*I still feel like I’ve been pregnant forever, but when I think about how much time is left, sometimes it seems like not that much time, and I’m hoping it’ll pass quickly with all the plans we have over the next couple of months.
*The Husband and I will be getting away for an overnight trip without Baby B in a couple of weeks, and then we’re currently working on a plan to take a final small weekend trip as a family of three in early or mid-July.
Many of Baby B’s personality traits have led me to believe that she might be a good big sister, but in all honesty, we hadn’t really had much tangible proof of that. We do have friends with a daughter two years younger than Baby B who we see at least weekly, but at school her classmates are right around her age (give or take) and even at the park or in the neighborhood, Baby B has always been drawn to the kids who are a few years older than her rather than the younger kids. (And I’m not saying that in an “oh, she’s SO advanced that she needs to be around the older kids” sort of way because she latches on to the older kids. I think it’s mostly because these older kids approach her and help her feel included and at ease, and she just hasn’t taken on that role [yet?] of doing that with kids younger than her.)
Anyway, my point being that she hasn’t really spent that much time with younger kids, especially babies. However, recently we’ve had occasion to be around a couple of babies, and it’s been so much fun seeing Baby B’s eyes just light up around them.
The first was a couple of weeks ago when we got to meet the four-day-old daughter of Baby B’s best friend at school. They came to the preschool graduation program, and as soon as they walked into the room, I’m not sure Baby B left the baby’s side except to go up front for the actual program. Of course newborns don’t particularly do much, but she was completely mesmerized. She wanted to help with her pacifier, help cover her up, and help rock her in her carrier. The dad asked if she wanted to hold the baby (see Wordless Wednesday last week) and actually let Baby B hold the baby all by herself. (I can’t say I would have let my child’s classmate do the same thing, but we’ll see when it’s my own.) She was gentle, she was loving, and she was simply beaming.
This past weekend we met up with some friends who have a 2 1/2-year-old daughter and an 8-month-old daughter. Baby B was good with the older one, but you could tell she was even more fascinated with the baby — who was in turn fascinated with her. Baby B was quite tolerant of the baby as she reached for her hair and pulled on it. They did a little hand-clapping game together, but mostly they just looked at each other and took turns smiling and laughing at each other in between giving big hugs and gentle kisses.
Now, that’s not to say that everything is going to be puppies and rainbows when we bring home our new one. I know it’s not possible for her to be mesmerized all the time, it’ll get old to her after a while, and she’ll have to deal with the baby sometimes competing for attention from mom and dad, which hasn’t been the case in these other situations.
But how can you not love the sparkle in her eyes here and see great things in the future?
I have been mildly concerned about how my work is going to be covered for 12 weeks when I’m on maternity leave. Last time I took a leave, there were several part-timers available to fill in for me, but they have all been laid off or they left and were not replaced, so I have no backup in my absence. Even before I was pregnant, I raised this as a concern, but without the immediate need to take action, nothing ever came of it.
Well, now there’s an impending need, and the clock is ticking.
I said something (yet again) last week, as I don’t look very pregnant and I have a feeling that the last bit of my pregnancy is going to fly by (for them) and they’re going to be caught off-guard when I make the phone call saying that my leave is starting and they’ll be left scrambling to figure out a workable solution.
My supervisor called me into his office yesterday before I left to talk about some options, as he’d discussed the issue with our editor/president shortly after he and I spoke last week.
One of the suggestions that The Editor/President came up with? You’re gonna love this.
Would I want to work from home for the second part of my leave [after my six weeks of disability, during which time I legally am not allowed to work], maybe 20 hours a week or so, coming into the office maybe once a day to pick up stories to read and drop off stories already read at home?
He emphasized to me that he’s not even sure if HR would approve something like that, but they thought it might something that could work and wanted to propose it to me before talking to HR.
I said, “Okay. Can I tell you what I think about it?” He said, “Yes.” I said very clearly, “I have absolutely no interest in doing that.”
I’m simultaneously offended that they would think that’s something I would want to do — but also a little flattered that they seem to have no idea how to cover for me in my absence.
But seriously, I have been saving my vacation time for four YEARS now in order to build up enough time that my final six weeks would be fully paid. Do you really think I want to work part time during that span?
I have put a lot into my job for the past (almost) ten years, but I also put a lot into having this child. This is the last child I plan to have. Do you really think I want to spend half of my bonding time doing work?
Having a young baby at home takes a lot of time and effort. Do you really think I’m going to want to ignore my baby for half the day all because they made staffing decisions that ultimately led to me not having any sort of backup?
The answer to all of those is: HELL NO!
My supervisor backed off the idea immediately and said he wouldn’t move forward with it with HR, though I’m not 100% certain I believe him. I will not be made to feel guilty for choosing to take my full 12 weeks off. I will return to work after that time is up, and I will commit to doing my work during the time I’m there, but don’t give me a hard time about choosing my family in this instance. Is it any wonder so many American workers are unhappy? I actually love my job and I think I’m very good at it, but for a mere 12 weeks, my family will come first.
Last night, The Husband had a business dinner to attend, so we had a lovely Mommy and Baby B night. We had a nice evening together, playing outside some and watering the garden, having dinner together, then her taking a bath before bed. At bedtime, I read her two stories, then I told her I would stay in her room for ten minutes. About halfway through that time, Baby B asked me hopefully, “Can I sing some songs to my baby sister?” “Of course,” I replied.
The first song she chose was, “Happy Birthday.” When she got to the part that says, “Happy birthday, dear ______” and she needed to insert a name, she looked at me expectantly, as though I was going to be tricked into telling her the name. I did not fall for it, however, and told her that saying “baby” was just fine.
The next song she chose was “Five Little Bunnies,” which she sang complete with hand motions (and then asked why her baby sister couldn’t see what she was doing). She thought the baby might be able to peek out through my belly button and see.
After her songs were complete, she settled down some. She quietly asked me, “Can I lay with you and my baby sister?” I knew what she meant, so I said yes. So as I laid on my back, Baby B laid on her stomach with her head resting on my belly. I could feel the baby kicking every once in a while, as I also felt Baby B kicking the bed with her legs, her sign that she’s settling in.
For that five minutes, it was just the three of us — me with my girls…us three girls.
I can’t predict what kind of relationship I’ll have with them when they’re adults, nor can I predict what kind of relationship they’ll have with each other, either as children or as adults. But one thing I know for certain is the kind of relationship I want to have with them now: I want to make sure they have as much fun as possible while they’re kids, and I want to be a part of exposing them to that. I want them to always know how much I love them — even (especially?) during the more difficult times when we inevitably will butt heads. I want them to know that I realize they won’t always want to come for me for comfort or guidance as they grow up, but that I’m always available for those very things. I want them to see me as a good resource while also having the confidence and independence to handle some situations completely on their own, as that ultimately will be one of the ways I know I’ve done a good job raising them. My job is not an easy one — preparing these girls to become women — but I’m laying the foundations now for what hopefully will be a happy ending in my role as a parent.
And sometimes that means just lying in bed, rubbing the head of your first child as she snuggles as close as she can to the sister who has yet to be seen but is already beyond loved.