Friday, August 22, 2008

Maxwell Joseph

Maxwell Joseph was born on June 6, 2008 at 11:29 a.m. He weighed 8 pounds 6 ounces and was 21 inches long. He is a happy and healthy baby. More pictures and the story of his birth to come. I haven't had time to breathe much less blog!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The last month

Thirty days reads the Countdown-to-baby Clock. I had a regularly scheduled appointment with my OB today for which I was tested for Group B strep. I also scheduled the remainder of my appointments until the conclusion of my pregnancy, which signals to me that the end is near. The baby is head down, my weight is within reasonable margins, my blood pressure is stable - all systems are GO! Other than the fact that my throat is swollen almost shut and I wince when I swallow. See, yesterday I was tested for Group A strep - the kind that lives in your throat. Yeah, I thought it was a fine time to come down with an energy-zapping, voice-stealing cold. I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but I'm sick of ice cream. I've had about 4 bowls of it since yesterday when this strep throat kicked in. Forgive me if this post is lacking any of my usual wit and side splitting comedy (this is called sarcasm) but I can't swallow the creative juices that typically flow so freely.

Anyhoo... I figured since I have exactly one month until I become a parent for the second time, I would go through Max's clothes. Today I broke out the Dreft and started the tiny laundry that I love doing. I can't wait to dress my little one. I always loved dressing Sam, even if it took me 20 minutes to align all those pesky snaps.

We also had Max's "Birth" day party this weekend. It was a huge success and it seemed that everyone had a great time. To everyone who attended, I say to you once again, "Mamahaka Lugi." Thanks for all the diapers. We got enough to fill a landfill of our very own!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The road to labor is paved with false contractions

Last night I was kept awake from annoying and ineffective contractions. I lost count after 19 of them, having gotten up to pee four times. The contractions seemed to keep Max up as well. He is such an active little guy. It makes me wonder what I have in store when he is born. Here is a small clip of my abdominal morphing from the Bebe in me bele.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Why at the Y

Last week I had to get in the pool during swim lessons for Sam. Essentially, the instructor shows me how to do what she does so that I don't swim with Sam and un-do what he has learned. I plopped my pregnant self in the pool and we had a great lesson. At the end, I lifted Sam up out of the pool and was about to attempt climbing out of the side myself when I realized that I am 8 1/2 months pregnant. Yeah, that's not happening. So I climbed up the metal ladder and it literally creaked under my weight. I was feeling extremely self conscious as my suit clung to my belly, showcasing my new outie belly button. We quickly made our way to the locker room where I changed Sam into dry clothes. There were a few other women changing as well, so I was trying to be as discreet as possible. I peeled my wet suit off when Sam exclaimed, "Mommy! Look at your huge boobies!"

Laughter erupted in the locker room and a few heads even turned. Thanks to some ill-placed mirrors, my swollen pregnant-boobs were on display for all to see.

"Yep. Look at 'em. Mommy is pregnant, Honey. They get big like that."

When I slipped out of my bottoms, I was just waiting for Sam to yell out, "Mommy! Look at your huge ass!"


A friend of mine teaches spin classes at the local YMCA where Sam goes for swim lessons. One day we waited outside the spin room so we could say hi. The students trickled out and we walked in for our greeting. My friend is also pregnant and we see the same obstetrician. During our short conversation, I mentioned our doctor's name and a straggling student immediately spoke up, "You need to get rid of him right away. He is awful."

"Really?" I replied. "I love him!"

"Yeah, you love him at first. He seems great. But then he Baker Acted me for no good reason at all!" She retorted.

What does one possibly say to a comment like that?

Hilarious. Simply hilarious.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Service check

I had an ultrasound yesterday to have my "fluids checked." At the end of my pregnancy with Sam, my amniotic fluid ran a bit low so the doctor wanted to check things out. I guess I was due for a service anyway, and I'm very thankful that I didn't need a radiator flush. Come to think of it, I don't think they even do that before giving birth these days. The docs let the whole fam damily in to watch and let women shit all over themselves whilst pushing like a damn cow.

Butt, I digress. Ahem.

I bared my gleaming white belly for the ultrasound tech and she lubed me up with warm jelly before she got to work. I watched with subdued excitement as I saw Max's profile appear on the screen. Content in my quiet reverie, the tech blurts out, "Wow! That's a big head!" She continues taking measurements of Max when she asks, "Do you have gestational diabetes?"

"No," I reply.

She laughed and shook her head, "You don't even want me to tell you how big your baby is measuring right now."

I lifted my head and gave her a look that said a thousand words, some of which were, "What the hell!? Don't laugh at me and freaking tell me the size of this kid!"

She said, "He is measuring between 6 1/2 and 7 pounds. That puts him at 37 weeks."

"I'm only 33 weeks."

"Yeah, I know. You're going to have a huge baby."

She did the measurements three more times to ensure the accuracy before printing off the pictures and softening her tone a bit, "I'll fax these over to the doctor right away."

Ok, I'm not the best at math but I did some quick addition in my head and I am looking at a 10-pounder by the time my c-section rolls around. Yes, c-section. I've never been happier about having major abdominal surgery. My babies come out of the sunroof! Whee!

I spoke with the nurse today at my OB's office and she said, "The doctor said there is no reason for alarm. You have a c-section planned already so we'll stay on that course. Again, there is no reason for alarm."

Pfft. Easy for him to say. He doesn't have to carry this thing. I've already gone pee three times in the 20 minutes it has taken me to type this post. My belly button is already popped out and I'm still having Braxton-Hicks contractions every hour on the hour. (No, I am not at risk for pre-term labor - I've been checked recently. I just have an over-achiever for a uterus, which will be robbed of the grand finale and doesn't even know it.)

I did have a dream early in my pregnancy that Max will weigh 9 pounds 3 ounces at birth. Granted, my motherly instinct thus far is crap. My pregnancy intuition has been dead wrong at every turn, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Anyone care to venture a guess at his size when he is born? The winner gets an all-expense paid trip to Aruba and 10K in spending money! Kidding! Guess anyway!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Motherhood: A healthy dose of guilt sprinkled with some insecurity

There are days, more often than not recently, that I feel like I’m falling apart as a mother. I look around and realize that I’m not living up to the insane expectations I set for myself when I became pregnant with Sam. Now that I’m pregnant with Max, I have a whole new set of expectation that go along with that and I’m sinking while trying to stay afloat in the sea of motherhood. I have 7 weeks until Max is born and I have such a vast spectrum of emotions that I can’t decide which I feel strongest. Lately, I’ve felt that I can’t wait to get this pregnancy over with so I can move on from the extreme mood swings, the bone-crushing exhaustion and get back to being the (more) patient and (more) put-together mom I was last year. It is only then that I realize that the culmination of this pregnancy ends with a squirming and needy infant, whom I know nothing about but, naturally, have formed expectations for in addition to the ones I have made for myself.

And for Sam.

I’m thinking that Max will be like his brother in most ways, or completely opposite. Sam will either be the loving, doting big brother – anxious to help me with the baby and be patient and understanding when he has to come second for a short while or he’ll be jealous of Max and act out in defiance at this new intruder. As for me? I’ll be more confident and knowledgeable and much more calm because I’ve done this before, right?

Wrong. It is all wrong.

I really have no idea what the hell is about to happen. I just know that I’m so overwhelmed with choices and judgements and expectations that, on the really bad days, I border on apathy toward the whole fucking thing, this… Motherhood.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my family. I love them with every fiber of my being. I love being a mom. I just can’t stand the work. The uncertainty and the second-guessing is awful. Since I became pregnant with Sam, the choices and judgments started:

· You went to an infertility clinic to get pregnant? Couldn’t you just relax enough to conceive? Stress can cause infertility, you know.
· How much weight have you gained?
· Do you know that drink has caffeine?
· Are you going breastfeed?
· You had a c-section. I’ve heard that is easier than natural childbirth.
· You had a hotdog for lunch?
· You need to take it easy.
· You need to exercise.
· You took medicine for that migraine? I didn’t take anything when I was pregnant; it wasn’t worth the risk for me.
· You had a glass of wine?!

And on it goes. And it hasn’t stopped since. Sam is two and a half and I’m up to my ears in the shit:

· Is Sam potty trained yet?
· Does he participate in any extra-curricular activities like gym or story time?
· Does he still use a pacifier?
· Do you let him watch TV while he eats his meals?
· He goes to preschool? Isn’t he young for that?
· Does he know his ABCs and count to 20?
· Why is he so shy and what are you doing to foster more self-confidence in him?
· Do you ever spank your child?

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard from mothers of grown children, “We didn’t have that when we were raising our kids! You moms have it so easy these days!” This comment can reference things ranging from video monitors to temporal thermometers, travel systems and preschool for 2 year olds. There are SO many choices today that I can’t make up my mind about a damn one and I end up standing with thumb up my ass wondering if I’m some how screwing up my kid because he watches TV (something I didn’t want until he was age 5. How laughable that seems to me now.) Our generation is so hell bent on raising kids that are better, faster, smarter than those that came before them that all cartoons have to be educational, babies in diapers are starting “school” and moms have to be well-balanced super women (working or stay-at-home) and do it all with a smile.

Well, I call bullshit.

Fact is, I haven’t washed my hair since Saturday. My carpet hasn’t been vacuumed in at least a month and we’re having frozen pizza for dinner tonight. I am EXHAUSTED with the number of choices I have to make in a day and the guilt that follows ANY choice I make because the latest research suggests otherwise, no matter what you choose. I do want to stay at home full time to raise my kids, but I don’t love every minute of it. I look at my son and think of what a blessed miracle he is but I often feel like a failure as a mother, mainly because I’m not overflowing with happiness and glee every minute of every day. I resent the sacrifices that I’ve had to make only because society thinks I should be automatically happy because being a “Mom” makes me so. There are days that I wake up and wonder what my day will bring, not because I haven’t planned it out, but because my toddler and his moods often dictate the kind of day we’ll have. There are days when I look at Sam and think he is made of pure sugar and I could just eat him up. And then there are days that I wonder, “What the hell happened to me?”

Does anyone else feel this way? Am I alone with these feelings? Is anyone else on this ride with me - feeling the ups and downs and wanting to get off only to stand in line and ride again?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sneak preview

We saw Maxwell today in 3D. Does that make him an I-Max? (rimshot!) For the first part of the ultrasound, he had his arms crossed over his face and his legs up in front of his arms. After some deft maneuvering and LOTS of prodding by the ultrasound tech, he moved and gave us a small glimpse of his adorable face. I absolutely can't wait to meet this little man. Makes 10 weeks seem like an eternity.

Enjoy the pictures of our sweet baby boy!


Long fingers!

Look at those cheeks!

Such a sweet face.

Gulping down some delicious amniotic fluid.

Rubbing his eye.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My preschooler

Sam's first day of preschool was last week, but because of this, I haven't gotten around to posting about it yet.

He looks like such a big boy. He didn't even cry as I left.

He was even smiling.

As for me, I balled once I hit the car. And I headed here directly after I left.

Pedicures do wonders.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

[Titleless from sleeplessness]

Twenty one weeks I've suffered from this insufferable rib pain. Twenty one weeks since I could lay on my left side. Twenty one weeks since I've had decent sleep or worn an under wire bra. Twenty one pillows on the floor and twenty one used tissues from the nights I spend crying because I just want to fucking sleep.

I'm feel broken. My house is a mess and I hired a maid today.

Amusing irony? The book on the right of my nightstand is titled "Falling Awake."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Samuel's Baptism

Samuel was baptized on March 9th. It was a beautiful ceremony and the weather couldn't be better. He was so good during the ceremony and he did great when the Priest poured the chilly water on his head. We had prepped him for that part and when you asked him what happens when he gets baptized, he would say, "Splash!" and wipe his hands down his head. Here are some pictures from our special day!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Reality. Check.

Sometimes I have a difficult time grasping my reality. I have a hard time believing that I’m almost 33 years old, a wife and a mother. I signed Sam up for preschool for which he starts on Tuesday. I can’t believe I have a kid who is going to go to preschool. I feel as though I’m “breaking the seal” on his stay-at-home status. I am now going to drop him off at a place and trust the care of strangers for 6 hours a week. I will not be privy to each look, nuance of his moods or new discoveries during those 6 hours. I will pick him up each day, wanting a complete play-by-play from his teachers, but I know I won’t get it. Even if they tried, they won’t pay attention to him the way I do. They won’t revel in his amazing-ness and quietly smile when they see him interact with other kids. They won’t overflow with pride when he uses his manners or listens to the teachers. I am giving up a certain amount of control during his day and there will now be parts of his life that I’ll miss, because I won’t be there. I know this school will be good for him, and for me. It just seems to have happened so fast. This brings me back to my sobering reality that I’m not 25 anymore. Between then and now, life has happened, and it seems I’ve been so busy watching with shocked bewilderment, mouth gaping wide and eyes unblinking, that the time has flown by at record speeds.

In my teens and twenties, I always had a “vision” of what my life would be. I would get married at age X, have kids at age Y. I’d have job ABC and live a life contrived from what I thought was ideal.

My life is really nothing like I had fantasized it would be.

As I got older, people around me started getting married and having kids. I’d watch from a distance and in my mind, my contrived life would become even more set in my mind. I’d pick and choose from what I observed what I wanted for my life, and what I swore I wouldn’t become. I never wanted to become a “mom” with the rounded features and the mini-van. I wanted to maintain some semblance of cool. I was so afraid of losing myself. I wanted to always have opinions and a sharp mind and not get lost in laundry and grocery lists. I wanted to thoroughly enjoy my pregnancies and “revel in the miracle that grows inside me.” I wanted to keep an ordered house, volunteer in the community and be balanced and put-together.

And now here I am. I’m in my thirties, I’m married and I’m a mother. I of course have learned that it doesn’t matter what you “think” your life to be; it is what it is. I’m not saying that we don’t have control or a say in the way we shape our own lives, but the fairy tale is just that. I’ve learned that the things that I thought mattered when I was a kid really don’t. I did become a “mom” in every sense of the word; rounded features and all. I have lost a part of myself in my son, and he will carry that part of me with him forever. I still have opinions, but they are about different things. I don’t really enjoy my pregnancies, as they are difficult and not at all what I imagined them to be (it is the outcome that I look forward to!). I have succumbed to the toys and the household disarray that is having kids. I don’t have time to shave my legs, much less volunteer in the community, and I rarely feel balanced and put together. I am still in awe that I will have two boys and no girls. I always imagined having a daughter of my own. Sometimes I nag my husband (something I swore I’d never do) and even though I thought my thirties would bring clarity and confidence that my twenties lacked, I still sometimes feel lost and directionless.

Despite the enormous differences in what I imagined and what is, I am beyond happy. Whenever I pictured my future self, the feeling of happiness and balance was so surface. My legs might not be smooth, but my kid makes me laugh and my husband loves me. I am thrilled at the idea of having soccer games in the back yard with my sons. I might have a little extra padding on me but I’ve realized what is really important in life, and most of the things on my list from when I was young don’t really matter.

Time is flying by at alarming rates. I occasionally want to stop standing on the sideline of life. I’ll close my gaping mouth, blink a few times, take a deep breath and get in the game.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Give anxiety its due

One of my many pregnancy mantras this go-round has been, "I don't remember being this emotional when I was pregnant with Sam." Another, less kind one is, "I'm a fucking wreck."

Yesterday when I woke up and looked at the birth countdown clock, and it read 93 days, my heart pounded a little harder. It seems that the closer I get to delivery, the more anxious I get. I couldn't figure out for the life of me why, until the answer that is so glaringly obvious slapped me upside the face:

When I delivered Sam I had 37 hours of labor followed by an emergency c-section followed by preeclampisa followed by a relapse of preeclampsia. All of this netted me 8 days in the hospital and what Rob and I lovingly call "post-traumatic birth disorder." (I'm big on the disorder-talk these days, huh?)

So it is only natural that I'm a bit nervous of having a repeat performance.

I don't know why it has taken 7 months of pregnancy for this revelation. This whole time I've been beating myself up for being so anxiety-ridden and short tempered. I've not understood why I've been freaking out at every test; holding my breath until the results come back. See, a c-section wasn't even on my radar screen last time. Preeclampsia wasn't even in the realm of possibility for me seeing as how I have such naturally low blood pressure. And since both of those possibilities, remote as they seemed, came to fruition I subconsciously adopted the philosophy, "Hope for the best but prepare for the worst." This, coupled with the infertility shit that kick started this whole mess, has led to nail-biting, gut-wrenching anxiety.

I just want this baby born. On time and healthy.

That being said, my glucose tolerance screening test results came back normal. (Sigh of relief.)

92 days to go.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Pregnant misfit

Attention Deficit Disorder. Social Anxiety Disorder. Bi-polar Disorder. Eating Disorder.

These are all symptoms of pregnancy that the books don't tell you about. I am suffering from each one; sometimes all at once. I can't seem to focus on one task long enough to finish it or have one complete thought come out of my mouth (or on paper). I am constantly out of breath these days. It has nothing to do with the sheer size of my belly, or pregnancy-induced asthma. No! It is the actual speed at which my brain is working that is revving up my breathing and causing smoke to literally puff from my ears. I have so damn much to say but I can't get it all out!

Sample dialogue in my head:

"Max is coming in 94 days."
"Did you remember to switch the laundry to the dryer?"
"My God, I'm hungry."
"What was that noise? Where is Sam?"
"Should I make a cheese tray for Sam's baptism party"
"What should I wear to the baptism party?"
"Could I use the same outfit for Colleen's wedding? Will I even want to go considering I'll be 6 days away from delivering and will likely take up two seats and that is head-count for her people and that means more money!"
"When is it dinner time?"
"Is my face swollen?"
"I wonder if my blood pressure is rising. Please don't let me get preeclampsia again."
"I have to go through Max's clothes."
"Have I said I'm hungry?"

Please, let me stop there. Mind you, these thoughts all happen in a span of, say, 5 seconds. I could really go on forever with this kind of nonsense.

The social anxiety disorder is heightened in me as well. I'm not normally a person who embarrasses easily. Hell, with my dry sense of humor and often ill-timed jokes, I can't afford to be! But once my uterus swells, I turn 40 shades of crimson at the smallest mishaps. Sam seems to be fascinated with deepening cleavage and while I hold him, he finds it amusing to stretch the collar of my shirt 12 inches from my chest while he plunges his chubby fist in between my boobs. This happened to me the other day in the grocery store line and I was mortified beyond belief. Especially when Sam followed it up with a jubilant "Boobies!"

The Bi-polar disorder goes without saying. I'm sure Rob would gladly attest to my severe mood swings, but I probably threatened to cut him if he complains about me, all while lovingly holding his hand while he drives the car.

Eating disorder? Hell yeah! First I start off hating everything but mashed potatoes and now I can't shove food in my mouth fast enough. Where is the chocolate? Salami sandwich, anyone? Oooh, peanut butter! Diet coke?

See, this is where the ADD kicks in again and I have no idea where I was going with this post. I can't wrap up smoothly to save my life. Oh well, it's snack time anyway.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

For shame and laziness

Hi. Remember me? I'm the girl who constantly whines about people not reading my blog and leaving delicious comments and who doesn't post for, oh 4 months or so. I've been busy. My computer has been on the fritz and we've had a leaky roof. My son has recently learned how to speak 7 different languages and I've been trying to translate Swahili.

Ok, so none of this is true. Fact is, I've been lazy and too shamed to come back and write that I'm entering my third trimester when the last time I blogged my unborn baby was the size of a grain of rice and is now kicking me so hard I yelp out and run to the bathroom before I pee my pants. It is like when you haven't been to the gym in a month and you can't possibly show your face in there again because the front desk staff will tsk-tsk at you, so you just avoid and cower behind your gym bag.

Please don't tsk tsk me. Well, ok. If you must.

So! We are having a BOY! I'd love to share the glorious ultrasound pictures with you, but since my ultrasound in December, we've dismantled our old computer set up and our scanner is now ... where is the scanner anyway? Hm. In any case, there is no doubt of the boy-ness growing inside me. We have named our new son Maxwell Joseph and anxiously await his arrival in 99 days. We're down to double digits already! My c-section is tentatively planned for June 6th, 2008. Unless Max makes an early arrival, which based on my history with Sam won't happen (these might be my famous last words), we'll have him on that date.

We're still working on Max's nursery. It is taking so much longer because we had a room full of crap to dispose of/move to make room for the obscene amounts of baby stuff we have left over from Sam.

In nearly 4 years of marriage, Rob and I have reached our first brick wall. We have a home gym that I purchased for Rob 4 years ago which he hasn't used once. With the arrival of our new son, we have no room for this home gym and I have decided to get rid of it. Rob is dead-set against my decision and we've been playing argument tug-of-war for 6 months. Last weekend, he finally disassembled it and moved it from Max's room to another room, in pieces mind you, so it isn't usable where it is now. The fucking home gym is the Bain of my existence and if I could lift the damn thing I would have thrown it out with the trash months ago. That is if I didn't have that thing for my husband... what is it called? Oh yeah, respect for his feelings. Shit. I hate being a good person.

Sam is now sleeping in a big-boy bed. We purchased him a bedroom set with a full-size bed, which seems to swallow him whole. Seeing him sleep in it reminds me how little he still is, and how it seems like last week we were taking him home for the first time. He is nearly 2 1/2 now and will be a big brother in 99 days!

This post is as scattered as my brain is these days. My brain that just went blank and sent me off to think about dinner for tonight and organizing baby clothes and painting the nursery and...who are you? I think pregnancy sends women into a state of temporary (or not so temporary) ADD.

I'll try my best to post again before Max is born. I can't promise anything because the days are growing short before his arrival and we have so much to do!

Anyone want a home gym?