Tuesday, March 8, 2016

My Year of Pregnancy

Hello Again!

Nine months ago, I wrote a post the day before my planned c-section. Today, my beautiful baby is taking a blissfully long nap, so I thought this would be a good time to reconnect with you.

I'd like to start by talking in very real terms about my journey to motherhood. This may be a bad idea. I am currently looking for work, and the statistics on hiring chances and wage disparity for mothers in the USA are not good. But I have decided to take an optimistic approach.  So if you're reading this because you are considering hiring me: Hi. This is the real me. I hope you still want to work together.


Ok. Now that's out of the way, let's jump into the past. [TRIGGER WARNING: This is not all happy.]

Way back in the spring of 2007, my now husband and I went grocery shopping together for our third "date". In the bus shelter on the way home, surrounded by plastic bags of food, we talked about having kids. I was excited to learn that we were both very much in favor of the idea! For the next seven years we pined for children, but felt we were not able to provide proper financial support to a dependent. Sometime in early 2014, that changed. After lots of deep soul-searching I decided two things: I no longer wanted to work in office administration, and I wanted to be a mom. Being rather typical millennials, we were (and are) still not super financially secure; but it was time. Again, my husband agreed.

We did not have to try for long before those two joyful pink lines appeared on a home test. We called the precious zygote "Sugar-Pea". After a 7-week confirmation ultrasound, blood tests to check hormone levels, and 10 weeks of pseudo-secrecy, we shared our good news with our extended families. In the very early morning 3 days later, I went to the emergency room hemorrhaging blood. They operated that day: a D&C. It took a little over a month for my body to recover from the blood-loss. For both me and my husband, it was the worst day of our lives so far.

The announcement photo we never sent out
I mourned by hiding the baby things away, and doing research. Depending on who you ask, something like 1 in 3 pregnancies end in miscarriage. It's hard to pin a number down, because most of these end before the woman even knows she was pregnant, or very soon after. The chances of two miscarriages in a row are much lower, and if you conceive again in the first 6 months after a miscarriage they are lower still. With that in mind, we set out to try again as soon as my body was healed. I don't know how ready we really were mentally and emotionally, but we are apparently fertile people. Just a month and a half after Sugar Pea left us, our "Pototo" took root inside me.

Haakon (pronounced HAWK-un) was born on the day the doctor chose for him. To my deep sadness, he was taken to the NICU before I even had a chance to see his face. He was breathing too quickly; a common issue for c-section babies. I met him as soon as I could, and held him later that day. His papa stayed with him almost every waking minute while he was under intensive care.

Right now, he's a very big and healthy boy. And he's still sleeping! Lately, Haakon hasn't been taking long naps like this often. Maybe he's working on his 5th tooth. I love to watch his belly move with his breath knowing that he is safe and peaceful; probably dreaming about yesterday's trip to the park. It was our third visit ever. He's still not sure what to make of the swing, but thinks the slide is great! His favorite thing to do was watching the bigger kids play.

I look forward to sharing more of our adventures with you. It's been a difficult two years, but I would gladly do it all again for my smiley little man. I'll leave you with a happy little song he likes to "sing" with me:

Thanks for reading. Hope to see you again soon!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Son'll Come Out Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the big day! First thing in the morning, my little boy will be surgically removed from my abdomen. This is both terrifying and exhilarating.

I have been taken over by my belly.

I think we're as ready as we can be. We've got a going-home outfit, and a car seat here in my room. I've finished all of my classwork. (One more CLEP test, and I'll have my associates degree!) I've paid every bill forward, and emptied my inbox.

Of course, the apartment may be a mess. We had no warning before I was admitted to the hospital 17 days ago. But Shane has gone home a few times to take care of things. He's been incredible, really. And my parents will come help us out this weekend.

Now, we just have to focus on the baby. Shane will have two weeks of vacation starting tomorrow. (Which is better than some dads get. Thanks 'merca...) I plan to spend the next two weeks exclusively focused on healing and learning to breastfeed. And of course, Shane and I will both be devoting lots of time to oogling our new treasure!

Wish us luck!

Monday, May 4, 2015

You're Where!? For How Long?

I'm in a hospital bed right now. It's OK! Don't worry! This is just another adventure.

I came in last weekend to be monitored. I'm fine and baby is great, but I do have a rare condition which will cause major trouble if I go into labor. The doctors want me to be close by so they can help me right away if, heaven forbid, that would happen. This means I'm stuck here. If all goes well, I'll have a planned c-section sometime next week. I guess my June-bug is now a May-flower.

My cousin, Quincy was visiting from Seattle when I got the call telling me to come to the hospital. He was super awesome and helpful. Quincy has since moved on to the next destination on his cross-country road trip, and I'm sorry this drama interrupted his stay. At least he has a good story to tell!

Shane has been with me nearly constantly. It was tough for him to go off to work today. But it is usually rather boring here. I'm glad he can save his time off for after the baby arrives. Plus, while he's gone, I get the computer all to myself! If anything does go wrong, friends and co-workers have volunteered to rush him back to me.

As for me, I'm pretty comfortable with this situation now. When I arrived, my feelings were a lot more confused and panicked. This is not how I wanted the birth of my child to go! To add difficulty to an upsetting situation, I wasn't allowed to eat solid food or leave my bed except for bathroom trips at first. But as of today, I am allowed to stroll around this floor of the hospital; and yesterday they started feeding me solid food. My first plate of mediocre cafeteria breakfast tasted like manna from heaven! Now, staying here is almost like a vacation.

By the time this is all over, I will have been here for two weeks, at least. That's a little tough for me to imagine right now. But I will do whatever it takes to keep my baby and myself healthy.

In the meantime, It's finals week for my online courses too. That should keep me busy!

By the way, I welcome any company you want to give, friends! I've been awake during the day all day while I've been here, so go ahead and call or email if you like. If you're nearby and you'd like to visit, that's cool too! (Call/text for directions. This building is a labyrinth.) Or you could see if Shane needs any help taking care of business for us outside of the hospital. Most of all, please keep our tiny family in your thoughts/prayers.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Baby Shower

A diaper and a wrapped gift

Yesterday, we had our baby shower. It's so strange to be nearing the end of this pregnancy.

Me showing off my belly next to my husband
I am HUGE though

The location was an outdoor park pavilion, and the day was cold and cloudy, but we made the most of it. Our amazing friend, Beth organized the whole thing. And she made sure there was coffee, warm food, and space heaters. I owe a huge thanks to her and to all the people who came out to brave the cold with us.

I insisted on a family-style shower. It seems silly to me to only invite women. So everyone was welcome, and we had an informal potluck set-up.

I was also opposed to the usual shower games. I know... I'm a pain. We were not without activities though. Our friend Michelle worked with Beth to coordinate a baby-clothing decorating table. I think it was a big hit!

3 people at a picnic table painting baby clothes

I can't wait to dress our wee one in these bespoke puff-paint masterpieces!

One tradition I guess I couldn't get out of was opening gifts in front of everyone. I told our guests they didn't all have to drop everything and watch, but they did anyway. God bless our friends!

my husband and I opening gifts

One of the first times I ever felt like an 'adult' was when I got really excited about buying a vacuum cleaner. I guess I'm starting to dip my toes into parenthood now, because I got really excited about diapers and disposable milk bags!

My husband and I ended the day feeling very well loved and supported. I know welcoming a new life into the world is tough, but we sure aren't doing it alone!

my husband and I posing for a picture

Saturday, April 18, 2015

On Being Pregnant

Now that I've been "in the family way" for a while, I figure an update/reflection is in order. Here's a list of things which have surprised me so far.

"How are you feeling?"
This has become the first question anyone asks me. At first, it really threw me. I thought, do all of my friends really want a list of side-effects? If so, I haven't much to report. My symptoms are pretty much just mild-ish versions of what is typical: nausea at first, back/hip pain as I near the end, and the persistent urge to pee. I've started referring to myself as the 'Hulk-of-pee'. He's always angry; I can always benefit from a trip to the loo.

photo of pregnant lady painted green and posing as the hulk
"Pregnant Hulk Smash...
 toilet-paper supply"

Lately, I've started looking at this question differently. I make an effort to talk about my emotional state (generally excited/nervous). And then I get to turn it around and ask my friend how they are. It's weird how often people seem surprised to be asked. Maybe we should all append 'feeling' to the end of our "how are you"s more often.

"Top 10 Worst..."
In person, everyone is very excited about this kid. They congratulate us, and ask caring questions. On the internet, however, pregnancy seems to be good for one thing: griping.
I turned to mommy-blogs early because I want to learn everything I can about this parenting thing before I dive in head first. I have been surprised to find a general lack of positivity. The straight-forward sources are alright, though everything comes with a warning ("call your doctor if..."). And the more personal blogs are full of reasons to never, ever have a kid. Lists of "Fun grown-up stuff you'll never do again", "Irritating things strangers will say", and "Trials all parents must survive" are all over the place. I know it's good to be told you're not alone when times are tough, but I hope these articles are mostly exaggerations. Who knows, maybe in short time I'll be posting here with an "I love my kid, but..." diatribe too.

Screen capture of mommy blog article with a banner ad for a Lizzie Borden TV program
Another surprise: banner ads take on new meanings
"Be fun or else!"

"How does your husband feel about this?"
I do have one gripe of my own, and it's regarding this question. For the record, he's just as excited as I am, if not more. We talked about having kids on our third date. But lots of people have warily asked this question. Strangely, no one has asked me if I'm excited... Anyway, it's 2015 folks. Let's stop thinking this way. We are smart adults in a loving, committed relationship and with full access to birth control. My husband is on-board.

Photo of my husband giving a toddler a ride on his back
Shane and his niece 5.5 years ago
The guy likes kids.

Community Support
One of the best surprises has come from folks like you! I'm a hard-core introvert. So, while I love my friends and family, connecting with them doesn't always come easily to me. Even so, in the last few months we've been inundated with kind advice, and shared enthusiasm. Especially, my parents and I have become closer since I became pregnant. If there is anyone more excited to meet this baby than Shane and I are, it is my mother.
An amazing friend has agreed to be our doula; to guide us through the birth process. We have four (maybe five) family members planning to travel long distances to care for us while we adjust to life with our new little one. And I can honestly say I am excited about the baby shower being thrown for us soon. (I am not a typical shower-loving kind of gal.)

Thanks for being awesome, guys.

There are only about two months left before my life suddenly and dramatically changes forever. Bring it on!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Big thanks to my mom for sending this super-cute Easter gift our way.

Actual conversation with my husband:
Me: Oh, look at the cute little bunny for the baby!
Shane: You'll have to feed it to him.
Me: I'm not sure how long we'll have to keep it before he's allowed to eat chocolate...
Shane: No, by eating it yourself!
I love how that man's brain works.
May all of you be blessed with chocolate this weekend!
(or next week when it goes on clearance!)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Announcing our most ambitious DIY project yet:

A Baby!! We plan to welcome the wee one in mid-June 2015.
A few FAQs:

  • I'm feeling great! We are both so super excited, we often find ourselves smiling for no reason.
  • No, we don't know the gender yet
  • Yes, we probably will find out with the ultrasound. But we don't actually care.
  • Yes, we do have names picked out! They are awesome.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!!