Sunday, December 19, 2010

Newborn Photos

A friend of mine, Katie Ryan, is a FABulous photographer. When I found out I was pregnant, I was really excited to have Katie take pictures of my kid. This morning, Katie came over and took some newborn photos of Hannah, and I'm so glad she did. I love the way they turned out! Even better, I'm glad we have some photos of her when she's so small.

Thanks, Katie!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Three Years Married, Ten Years Together

Today is our wedding anniversary.

"But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take...It is indeed a fearful gamble...Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature. To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take...If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanant; into that love which is not possession, but participation...When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling..."

--From The Irrational Season, by Madeline L'Engle

Friday, December 10, 2010


During my pregnancy, hen I was at my most down and most anxious, I would sing her this song. I would feel her moving inside me and together, we'd sing this song.

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,

and I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it’s all right

It’s all right

~George Harrison

It is all right. And now, she's finally here.
Hannah Grace
December 7th, 2010
6:09 p.m.
7 lbs, 3 oz.
19 3/4 in. long
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Before the Dawn

Dear Hannah,

Your birth day is coming. The day we get to meet you is just about here, and I have to say--no one is more excited to meet you than I am! After feeling you growing and moving inside me for months, I feel like I know you already, but there is so much more I don't know about you. What do you look like? Do you have hair, and if you do what color is it? Did you inheirit my big nose or my big feet? (Sorry about those, by the way.) Will you have my sense of humor or your dad's? Will you love chocolate on the outside as much as you do on the inside? Will you be the most paranoid baby ever thanks to the endless Law & Order: SVU bender I went on during my pregnancy? Most importantly, are you a Sox fan or a Cubs fan?

I had a great time decorating your nursery. I wanted it to be perfect for you. (Just ask your dad! I drove him nuts.) It's still not done--mostly because I procrastinate (and yet I sit here wondering why I'm still pregnant....looks like you inheirited my tendency to be late to everything!), but it's pretty close. Thankfully you won't be sleeping there for a few weeks, so I have time to get it exactly the way I want it for you before you officially move in. We've been spending a lot of time in there, though. I sit in the glider and rock with you, and I've been reading all the books we got for your library, all gifts from people who love you more than you can possibly imagine.

It's been hard for me, the last few days, dealing with all the phone calls, text messages, emails, Facebook messages (don't ask what Facebook'll be dead by the time you're old enough to understand), and family website posts left by our family and friends. In these last few days with you, I just want to enjoy our time together. I've been ignoring my cell phone and not answering texts and messages because they aggrivate me--your dad and I have been waiting to meet you since April, months before anyone else knew we were expecting. It's hard for me to hear how badly everyone else wants to meet you because I really just can't wait to hold you in my arms and look at the little person who's been squirming and stretching around inside me since springtime. I have to keep reminding myself that everyone else already loves you and wants to meet you, not as badly as we do, but pretty close.

It's been a strange few weeks as I approach your birth day. Gradually, you've been growing from my conceptual daughter to my real, live one. Seeing you in an ultrasound and hearing your heartbeat bring us closer and closer to the reality that one day soon you won't be an image on a screen or a pounding echo on a doppler, but a living, breathing, beautiful little girl. Seeing your sweet face in my ultrasound last week was incredible. You haven't always been upfront about showing us your face, though you've never been shy about showing us that you're a girl (a trait that already has your dad worried). But, after some shifting and straining on my part, we were able to get your hands away from your face and your face away from my pelvic bones (HOW is that comfortable???) and we got some great images of your face. Seeing you up close like that just makes me even more excited for the day I get to meet you. I'll get to look into your eyes and hold you and see just how chubby those cheeks of yours really are.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the kind of mom I'm going to be and the kind of mother you're going to get. I know that I'm going to make mistakes and I have to apologize in advance for those. I know that we'll argue and disagree and there are so many things I'm going to not let you do, either because they aren't safe or because I'm going to be a Nervous Nelly, but I promise you that I won't keep you in a bubble. I promise I will let you fall down and bump your head sometimes. I promise that I will let you make mistakes, learn things for yourself, and occassionally eat something questionable-looking off of the floor. I promise you that no matter what, we're going to have fun.

And, I promise you that for every "fun" thing I want to keep you from doing, one of my friends will stand up with 14 photos of me doing ridiculously stupid things, thus rendering my decisions worthless. You, my dear, will have plenty of allies in your Quest To Make Mom Look Like A Moron. Trust me.

Your dad is so excited to meet you. I keep catching him looking at my belly and his eyes are a dead giveaway that he's so thrilled to meet you. When I realized I was pregnant, I was in shock. When your dad heard I was pregnant, he first went into shock and shortly afterwards got excited. He hasn't stopped being excited for your arrival since spring. You two are going to have a lot of fun together.

I haven't always loved being pregnant, but I've loved every kick and stretch you throw my way. Even though my ribs are bruised and you've danced my internal organs to mush, I wouldn't have it any other way. My friends who have had kids all used to tell me how much they missed feeling their babies moving around inside them. I used to think they were nuts. "Don't they love having their bodies back? Don't they enjoy being a normal size again and not as big as a house?" But now, I finally get it. In a few days, I'll have to share you with everyone. You'll be more popular than a Tickle Me Elmo (another ancient piece of technology that will mean nothing to you)! I can already feel myself longing for the days when I had you all to myself and I could feel you dancing away on my ribs, telling me that you liked what I made for dinner or that you approve of the giant chocolate Frosty I just packed away. I'm going to miss that.

Instead, I get to hold you in my arms and do my best to make you laugh and smile. I get to take you shopping and out to the zoo. We'll go on long walks together and I'll introduce you to my favorite books. I'll take you to a carnival and we'll get sick on cotton candy and the Tilt-A-Whirl. Like I said, we're going to have a lot of fun.

No matter what happens, I want you to know that today and always you are loved. You are so loved by everyone in your world. No one has had the chance to meet you yet, but they love you dearly. You are a lucky little girl.

But trust me, baby. No one loves you more than me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Due Date

Well folks, we made it! Happy Due Date to me! I have to say, I'm a little annoyed that I'm still pregnant (mostly because I'm super uncomfortable), but I'm incredibly grateful that my body did exactly what it was supposed to do and has kept my daughter safe and warm for the last 9 months with few surprises.

And to everyone (cough Mom cough) who says I never finish anything I start, all I have to say is.....SEE?!?!

My doctor was surprised to see me at my last appointment--she thought for sure that they'd keep me and induce me after all the tests they did last Saturday. But, we're both thankful I made it to my appointment with a healthy inside baby (even though I was really hoping to have a damn good excuse to skip that appointment).

That being said, it won't be long now. I can definitely feel my body preparing for this baby, and the contractions are coming on stronger and more frequently. Sometimes I barely notice them, and sometimes they hit me hard enough that I need to stop what I'm doing and wait it out. As strange as those are, those are my favorite because they bring me closer and closer to meeting my little one.

Happy St. Nick's, everyone! I hope you found something delightful in your shoes. We didn't, but you never know...the day's still young. :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010


So. One week of maternity leave down, and still no baby. I'm a little frustrated with that, mostly because I didn't want to make it to my due date and it looks like I'm going to. I knew that was a very definite possibility with this being my first pregnancy and all, but I was still hopeful that sometime before Week 40 rolled on in that I'd have a baby in my arms instead of my uterus. Oh well! The longer she bakes, the better.

The thing is, the boredom has officially set in. On one hand, I like having time off work to chill and get ready for the baby--this week I've been able to do a lot of sorting (all from the comfort of my couch) and packing things away, so I feel really good about the progress that's been made. As long as I'm relatively stationary, my blood pressure is great, so the less I push myself, the better. The downside to all this sitting is that I'm not doing much walking so I'm not progressing as fast as I could be with all this laboring business.

Today, for example, I did a lot of online shopping and finished up with most of my/our Christmas shopping. I got all of Graham's presents, and pretty much everything else for our family members. That's a huge load off my mind. The few gifts we need to buy we can get next week, either by one of us going out (and by one of us, I really mean Graham) or by ordering online.

I also got our grocery shopping done--also online. I've fallen pretty hard for Their prices aren't always the greatest, but I tend to shop all the sales and cheaper items anyway, and they still accept coupons like a regular grocery store, the money is just credited back to you later. They also send me coupons pretty often for $2 an order, and I pair those up with their delivery discounts; I can save $2 or $3 sometimes depending on the time frame I choose for my delivery. Today I saved $4, on top of the coupons I'll turn over tomorrow. Normally, I really love grocery shopping. I don't mind it, and I try to go when the stores aren't swamped. The thing is, lately grocery shopping has been a huge pain for me. It's taking me twice as long to get all the shopping done because I'm getting winded in the stores, and because The Holidays are upon us, the stores are even more crowded than usual and my usual parking spots are all taken, so I'm walking further and further just to get into the store. Major dislike! And then, when I get home, I'm getting winded going to and from the car to get all the groceries inside. Peapod delivers to me, so I can shop all week and add things to my cart online, and then I pick my delivery time, check out, and voila! My groceries delivered to me the next day. Sweeeeeeeeeet.

After my online shopping binge, I finished the remaining load of laundry left over from Graham's work yesterday, so all I did was switch over the comforter to the dryer, and then I washed our bedsheets. Come to think of it, the bedsheets are probably still in the dryer.....

I wrote a long manifesto to my friend Jess, then I decided that I had to do something, so I baked some cookies! I sat in the kitchen and found a cookie recipe that I could do based on what I had in my kitchen, and I whipped up a few batches of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. That was great, because I was able to mix everything together and in 15 minutes, I had a batch of cookies in the oven and I just switched them out after 20 minutes. (I also did two loads of dishes today....ssssh! I just couldn't help myself. I needed to. I did dishes yesterday afternoon but we didn't do the dinner dishes yesterday, and we just did a quick rinse because our dinner wasn't very involved anyway. But, after dinner last night, breakfast, my lunch, and the cookies? Yikes! They had to be done.)

Graham came home and he put away the last of the Christmas boxes in the living room. I sat down and played with the cat for a little bit, and he's been really busy since coming home. He took care of the recycling mountain in the mud room, moved a bunch of boxes, set up his Christmas village under the tree, filled the car with gas, and worked on a few small projects while dinner baked in the oven.

Now he's doing the dishes, I'm looking at a Christmas cookie cookbook (in between blogging, of course), and we're thinking about watching one of our rentals or a Christmas movie when he's done. It's going to be a nice, restful weekend here on Natchez. We'll watch the snow fall, drink some cocoa, and wait for the baby to get here. Then again, it is going to snow, and we've got a history with snow, so who knows? Baby could be here this time tomorrow if we're lucky!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Weekly Update: 39 Weeks (Final Edition!) (Hopefully.)

How far along? 39 weeks, 3 days.

How big is baby? Around 6 lbs, hopefully a little heavier than that. 14-15 inches, crown to rump. We'll find out at our growth scan later this week.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: 32-33 lbs. I was down a little after my appointment this morning, which is supposedly normal, according to the nurse.

Next Appointment: Growth scan ultrasound later on this week, and week (unless she chooses to arrive before then. I'm okay with that!)

Maternity Clothes: Obviously, but I've been able to hang out in comfy clothes and pjs for a few days. Those are awesome because they're pre-pregnancy and stretchy, so they "still fit".

Sleep: My mom always told me that someday I'd regret sleeping in so much and wasting away so much of my life. Guess what, Mom? I don't regret it at all! Now that I can't get comfortable or remain comfortable for very long, I miss sleep. In a few days or weeks, once I have a spawn of my very own, I won't be sleeping much then, either, and I'll miss all the sleep I used to get. But not once will I regret it--sleep is good, friends. Sleep is very good.

Best Moment This Week: Getting the Christmas tree up and decorated, getting the house decorated, and gettng at least part of the holiday shopping done. We got gypped on Christmas decorating last year, so it's great being able to decorate our tree in our home and really get a feeling for the holidays.

Annoyance of the Week: I'm still pregnant. I know it's a good thing, but geez....I'm huge and uncomfortable and I want to meet my baby already!
Movement: Still good. Her active periods have changed now that I'm getting more and more contractions and my body is getting ready, but when she's active, look out!

Planning/Preparation: Aside from reading the last few books, I'm as ready as can be for this peanut.

Belly Button In/Out: It's gross. It may never go back in.

Gender: This baby better still be female.

What I Miss: Anything and everything I used to be able to do easily, even a month or two ago. I'd really like to be able to touch my toes again.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Being not pregnant!

Contractions: Yup! We almost went in last night because I was having contractions that were pretty frequent and getting stronger, and then they just stopped. I was PISSED. At least I wasn't that lady who shows up to L&D 4 times before her baby's born! I promised myself that I wouldn't constantly be going back and forth to the hospital unless I was sure I was in labor.

Milestones?: Getting a firm date set for the Baby Relocation Program (a.k.a. induction!) if she doesn't arrive on her own.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Looking Back & Looking Ahead

What I'll Miss Most About Being Pregnant

1. Feeling her kicking around inside me. I love getting to know when she's sleeping and when she's awake. I love knowing if she liked what I had for dinner or if she's enjoying my favorite TV shows by proxy. I haven't always enjoyed being pregnant, but I'll miss her kicks and stretches inside me.

2. Having her all to myself. When she gets here, I'll have to share her with everyone. Having her to myself for so long has been a real luxury.

3. Strangers being especially nice to me. No more seat offers on the bus or in restaurants. Bummer!

4. Being able to sit down "because I'm pregnant." Relaxation based solely on gestation? Yes please!

5. Naps. I mean, really. Naps should be required of everyone during the work day.

6. The special attention I get from the cat. She knows something big is coming. She cuddles with me more and more each day. I'll miss that once Baby gets here.

7. Knowing exactly where she is all the time. Not to sound like one of those helicopter parents, but once I go back to work I'll always be wondering what she's doing and how she's feeling. I'm a closet sap.

What I'm Looking Forward To

1. Meeting her. Seeing what she looks like and knowing that she's okay. Finally getting to see her face. No more anticipation!

2. Sleeping on my stomach again. The last 8 weeks have been rough. Being able to sleep comfortably is something I'll never, ever take for granted!

3. Running. Exercising in general. I can't wait to be able to work up a sweat that isn't the result of turning over in bed or climbing the stairs.

4. Reclaiming sole ownership of my uterus. And ribcage. And pelvis. And stomach. NOT having people at work and perfect strangers coming right up to me and touchin me. Call me selfish! I dare ya!

5. Wine. Beer, champagne, sangria, morning coffee, more wine.....

6. Seeing my feet again. See #3.

7. Peeing less than 140,852 times a day. Self-explanatory.

8. Being able to experience things with my baby. I can't wait to actually see things through her eyes. I know it will be a little while before she can actually look at something and marvel at it, but I can't wait. I can't wait to take her on walks and read her books and take her swimming during the summer. And even better, I get some of those "firsts" a second time! We can take her to the aquarium as a baby and again as a toddler, and t's like a brand new experience for both of us.

9. Not being asked, "How are you feeling?" 36 times a day.'Nuff said.

10. Introducing her to friends and family. There are so many people who want to meet her. I can't wait to introduce her to my best friends.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Maternity Leave, Day 1

Well. Here we are. Just sitting around, waiting for baby to show up. I got what I wanted: one day to sit and do nothing. Nothing has been accomplished, so Baby G can show up anytime now!

I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and couldn't get comfortable and fall back asleep, so I was basically awake for the next 4 hours. I got up, changed (from one set of comfies to another), made some breakfast, and played around online while watching Girl, Interrupted on FX. I napped on the couch a little, then heard my cell phone ding, and surprise! A text from work, asking me to send some stuff and check my work email. ::facepalm:: I swear.....

And before you ride me out on a rail, the only reason I replied to a few of the work emails is that one of them is pretty time-sensitive and involves a grant I wrote months ago; my boss needed to approve the grant proposal before she can sign it and we can get $4,000. When I got that text, my first thoughts weren't exactly Christian thoughts, that's for sure! But, I'm happy to forward documents that can secure the school a little more money (and securing $$$ makes me look a little better, no?), so it's not that big of a deal.

I ate some lunch, sent an email to my friend Jess, and now I'm watching Law & Order: Criminal Intent while waiting for my water to break. I should probably do laundry or clean up the kitchen or something, but I'm tired of moving and having to be on the move after such a long weekend. We decorated the tree last night and the front room still looks like a small child ran through here, and I'm okay with that. My lack of "want to do anything" has a pretty firm hold on me (which probably means no labor today--aren't pregnant women supposed to go a little psycho just before they give birth?) so I'm just going to sit here and watch some crap TV for a while.

The cat is handling our Christmas tree quite well. She likes to sleep underneath it, and so far we have zero ornament casualties. I think it makes her feel safe because she can sit underneath it and still see everything. She likes to lay on the floor where she can see what's going on.

Welp, that's that for now. No news is...good news?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Maternity Pictures

When I first got pregnant, I didn't really want to do a maternity photo shoot. I never really wanted pictures of me looking swollen and super pregnant, and my weekly photos were good enough for me.

During the middle of August, one of my blogger friends--Rachel--held a giveaway on her photo blog where she was giving away a free one hour shoot. I entered and figured that if I won, great! If I didn't, oh well. I'd rather have pictures of my baby anyway! Well, Rachel picked a winner, but she also picked a few 50% off winners, and I ended up being one of them! (See? Everyone else in the world is a better person than I am. I never would have thought to do that!) It took some coordinating to get together for my photo shoot--we wanted it to be a little closer to my due date so I looked pregnant in the photos, but then Rachel and her family were living in Wisconsin for a month while her husband completed a residency rotation, and because there's a lot going on for both of us it just got put on the back burner. Well, this week we decided that we wanted to get it done and Graham and I made the trip up to Niles/Park Ridge (closer to Rachel) for the shoot. Teasers are up on her photo blog if you're interested!

I'm really glad we got the chance to do this. It was cold as hell out there, but it was still really fun. And, in a few years, I'm sure I'll really treasure these photos (especially if this is my only pregnancy).

(And yes, I realize that this is pretty contradictory to what I said in my previous post, but I really do feel weird about attention. I never would have done this on my own had I not won. Rachel's a wizard, though, so I think she made me look a little better than I do most days!)

We're still here!

I made it to my maternity leave, and I'm still cooking this baby! Am I happy about it? ::shrug:: I'm glad I made it to leave with an inside baby, but I'm definitely ready for this kiddo to become an outside human.

On Tuesday we finished our last birthing class, so I'm as prepared as I'm going to be for labor, methinks. At Wednesday's appointment, my doctor sent me upstairs because my blood pressure was still high, but after a few hours laying down while hooked up to the monitors, they sent me home because my bp dropped to a healthy number and leveled off. I had to do a second 24 hour urine collection this weekend, and today we dropped it off but they kept me hooked up to monitors for a while because I was feeling dizzy and I had a headache that wouldn't go away.

Fortunately, everything is looking pretty good for now. Things aren't what I'd call "great", but my bp is good as long as I'm laying down, and my headaches aren't so bad. The proteins in my urine have even gone down, so all in all--not too shabby!

I was sent home with very specific instructions to lay down whenever I can and come in the minute I have any blurred vision or strong headaches that won't go away with Tylenol. I have a feeling that because my vision isn't blurred and my bp isn't bad as long as I remain as active as a slug, I'm going to stay pregnant until at least Wednesday (unless my water breaks before then). My doctor is great, and I know she's watching me closely so that if anything changes, I'll be up in L&D ASAP.

I'm a little bummed we weren't admitted today, but I'd rather things happen naturally or as close to it as possible unless there's a true emergency. I'm bummed only because I'm ready to not be pregnant. I miss my feet. I miss having ankles. I miss being able to sleep comfortably. As much "fun" as labor is, I'm a little bummed I'm not being induced, but I know that my doctor isn't going to make that decision lightly, and I won't be induced just because I'm tired of being preggers.

As far as contractions go, they're coming and going. Much more constant than they have been, and much stronger compared to what they were, but still so sporadic that it's not worth it to go in. I'll have two strong contractions back to back, but then nothing for 4 hours, and then one contractions, followed by nothing worth noting for 2 days. That's almost more annoying than the blood pressure and pre-e; my body is getting ready, but not fast enough!

The holidays were okay. I could have spent Thanksgiving laying on the couch and that would have been fine with me. I'm definitely "over" big parties and gatherings at this point. I love my family, but they're so damn loud and obnoxious that I was in misery by the time we left. I had a headache that wouldn't quit and I was royally pissed off at pretty much half of my family members. My uncle wouldn't put his friggin' camera down and kept taking pictures of me and my belly, even after I asked him nicely to stop. When I get those photos from him, I plan on tearing them up and putting them in the trash right in front of him. Rude? Yes, absolutely. So is continuing to take photos of someone who is the size of a house when she looks and feels like shit and politely asked you to lay the eff off.

I was also especially sensitive to all the comments and nicknames everyone thinks are so cute. If I wasn't 9 months pregnant, I probably wouldn't have minded as much, but being called jumbo, fatty, preggo, etc. by my dad, my cousins, my uncles, my's a little too much. Three months ago, I didn't mind at all. Now that I look at myself and all I can see are stretch marks, swollen ankles, a fat face, and just general bigness, being called "jumbo" isn't exactly something I'm okay with hearing. And because I've got a big mouth, when I go so far as to say that comments like that are offensive and ::gasp:: bother me(!) everyone seems to blow me off and tell me it's the hormones that make me so cranky. That very well may be the truth, but hearing that, after being called "tubby" makes me want to rip your face off. Honestly, it's shit like that which contributes to eating disorders. Please, continue to call me jumbo. Don't friggin' wonder why I have low self-esteem and body image issues in January. I realize I just said I hate being fussed over, but a little sensitivity wouldn't kill you.

After that, someone had the genius idea to take family photos and as I was waddling back from the bathroom for the 80th time that hour, the girl cousins were lining up for a photo. I know that no one really had any idea how bad my head hurt at that time, but 8 women chanting, "Angie! Angie! Angie!" just made my temples throb and if I hadn't been so focused on that, punches may have been thrown.

(And, is it really necessary to continue to take cousin photos at this stage? Am I the only one who thinks it's stupid? The oldest of us is 27. I think we can safely move past the group photos at every holiday party.)

On top of that, my cousin is in med school and decided that after 9 months of pregnancy, I'm still a dumbass and my doctors are clearly clueless, because she spent the entire night trying to educate me on pregnancy. She just finished up a 2 month OB rotation and obviously knows more than I do. ::eye roll:: She had me on the fence when she told me I didn't need to educate myself on breastfeeding because it "should just happen naturally" (even though I have no idea what I'm doing) and spent 20 minutes telling me that epidurals are bad and that if I get one I'm a bad mother. I'm sorry, but when someone who has never felt a contraction in her life tells me that epidurals aren't necessary and labor pains can be controlled with breathing techniques, I tend to get a little skeptical. Gain 35 lbs and swell up everywhere, then tell me that pain meds designed for labor and delivery are the epitome of evil. And maybe this makes me a giant bitch, but I'm a little more inclined to accept the medical advice of someone who's practiced for 10 years, rather than a student who spent 2 months following around a team of doctors. ::shrug::

Maybe I shouldn't be such a bitch about it, but I can't help it. I mean, it could be worse--no one could care! It's a blessing that so many people care and are excited for my baby's arrival. But, I really loathe attention and people fussing over me, so being at the center of attention (seemingly) for the whole damn day really just made my mood worse. When my headache set in, I wasn't in any sort of mood for anything. It's touching that everyone cares, but I'd really just rather be left the hell alone. I don't need constant reminders that I'm pregnant and having a baby--I realize that I'm not nearly as intelligent as my husband and his siblings, but it's pretty hard to forget you're gestating when someone is constantly kicking you in the ribs and you haven't been able to walk without waddling for 2 months! Hearing, "You're pregnant, so YOU eat first!" and "You're pregnant, so eat more pie!" and "You can't sniff that wine, you're pregnant!" and "So, how are you feeling? I'm asking because you're PREGNANT!" gets reeeeeeeeeeally friggin' old.

Anyway, it helped cement my decisions to not attend anymore holiday parties (this year) unless I'm either drunk or stupid. I have zero desire to be fussed over and talk about nothing but "the baby!" I may be days away from officially becoming a mother, but I really do enjoy other topics of conversation outside of my uterus. I'd rather be able to pick and choose visitors and decide who can come over, and when! After ths year, a low-key Christmas is exactly what I need.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Weekly Update: 38 Weeks

How far along? 38 weeks, 3 days.

How big is baby? Around 6 lbs, hopefully a little heavier than that. 14-15 inches, crown to rump.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: 33 lbs.

Next Appointment: Saturday, then next week if I don't have this baby before then (or if she isn't forcibly removed from my womb).

Maternity Clothes: Yes, but I'm totally done with my work maternity clothes. YAHOO!

Sleep: It is what it is. Mostly, it isn't.

Best Moment This Week: Making it to maternity leave and getting the nursery to "mostly done". And, hearing my doctor say, "There's no medical need to keep you pregnant." My blood pressure was up again at my appointment today, so they sent me up to L&D for some blood tests, blood pressure monitoring, and fetal monitoring. If they felt like my bp was too high, I'd be in the hospital right now waiting for this kid to pop on out. How weird is that? But instead, I get to come in on Saturday after doing a 24 hour urine collection, they'll do some more tests, and *maybe* I'll be admitted, maybe they'll send me home. It's literally a day-to-day watch at this point. As much as I want the baby to be safe and healthy, I'm so tired of pregnancy and hugeness that hearing I can have the baby and there's no real need to keep her inside makes me happy.

Annoyance of the Week: Preeclampsia. Major thumbs down! Guess who gets to do another 24 hour urine collection this weekend?
Movement: All over the place, especially last night. After my doctor called and told me about the preeclampsia, she said, "If you feel any decreased fetal movement, come in right away." Right after that, baby started kicking me in my ribs and it didn't stop until hours after our last L&D class last night. I'm fairly certain my ribs are bruised now.

Planning/Preparation: We're done with our birthing classes! We've got some breathing to practice, and a few more things to finish up in the nursery. I need to get a few more chapsticks to have around for labor because I lost the two I kept with me, but my hospital bag is backed and we're basically ready to go.

Belly Button In/Out: So far out it's disgusting.

Gender: This baby better still be female.

What I Miss: Anything and everything I used to be able to do easily, even a month or two ago. I'd really like to be able to touch my toes again.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Being not pregnant! This time next week, I could have a baby. Holy whoa!

Contractions: Sometimes they're a little painful, sometimes I can barely tell they're happening. Much more frequent in the last week, though.

Milestones?: Making it to my maternity leave. I have to say, I was a little worried for a few days.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I can taste the rainbow!

Twenty-four hours from now, I'll be on my maternity leave. EPIC. I can't wait. I'm tired swollen all the time, so not being on my feet all day is gonna be great, even if it's just for a few days.
Last week, my elevated blood pressure and the elevated proteins in my urine left us hanging around, wondering if I would be induced Monday night. Well, I'm watching Mike & Molly on the dvr, and I'm clearly not at the hospital. Woot! I'm pretty thankful for that right now, just because with one more day at work I could really use the time to wrap up the final loose ends and clean up my office. I'm done teaching kids until MARCH, which is weird. Tomorrow is just a professional development day, so it'll be low-key and fairly relaxing. Then I have a meeting after that, and tomorrow night we have our final birthing class (not lamaze) and then we get to sit around and wait for baby, I guess!

Today we got a small sample of cloth diapers in the mail. The liners/pads are disposable, but the diapers are cloth, so it's a little like the best of both worlds right now. We've got a decent supply of disposable diapers right now, but these are great. They'll buy us a little more time between boxes of diapers, and we can flush (or compost, but...ew) the refills. Sweet! And, the refills are available at BRU, just like the diapers we get, so it's not like we need to make a special trip to some north side hippy dippy store to get them. Sweet!

I've been feeling my body prepare for labor all week, and DAMN. I'm tired. I've been feeling a lot of intense pressure in my lower pelvis and it feels like my daughter is trying to make a break for it. Ever had someone try to exit your body via a very small opening? It freaking hurts! I've also been feeling more frequent BH contractions, and I looked in the mirror last night and it looked like my the baby had dropped even further! How is that even possible? It's getting to the point where I'm afraid to stand up too quick because I'm afraid gravity will take over and she'll come shooting out like a baby giraffe or something.

I have a funny feeling I might deliver this week, but I think that's more wishing and hoping than anything else. I'm really tired of being pregnant and I'm ready to move on to the next phase. Motherhood seems pretty scary, but I'm confident I can handle it better than I can handle my 9th month of pregnancy. At least I'll be getting increasing amounts of sleep and I won't wake up every 3 hours because I have to go to the bathroom and my hips are on fire, right? I can breastfeed while lying down; it's a little harder to justify going to the bathroom lying down.

In other news....the nursery is A.L.M.O.S.T. done! We've got to get a few more things (like a rug, and get the curtains up), but for the most part, it's DONE. We'll make a quick BRU run this week to get the few things we do need, but we're pretty much ready to have this kid. WOO-FREAKING-HOO! All the furniture is in and assembled. The books are in the bookcase and the clothes are in the dresser and closet. It's weird looking at that room and knowing that a month ago, it looked completely different. I love it, though. I'm glad we finally have a space for her to call her own.

So, that's where we are these days! As long as I don't go into labor before Monday, we're all good. There's a few more things I'd like to get done this week if I can help it, and ideally I'll be able to go to the mall to get some Christmas shopping done during the day Monday or Tuesday so I can avoid all the crowds (though I'll definitely be getting my Cyber Monday on, too)!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Weeky Update: 37 weeks, 3 days

How far along? 37 weeks, 3 days.

How big is baby? Somewhere between 5 and 6 lbs. and 20-21 inches long. Every website and book is different at this point.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: 32.5 lbs. Just a few more weeks of endless weight gain!

Next Appointment: Next week. It's always next week.

Maternity Clothes: In one more week, I'm relagating myself to comfies nonstop. I can't wait!

Sleep: It's actually gotten a little better. I found a better pillow to stick between my knees so that's helping to keep my hip pain from waking me nonstop.

Best Moment This Week: Getting a crib and bookcase put together and getting most of the baby laundry done, and making it to full term! I guess I really had no reason to think I wouldn't make it to 37 weeks, but it was always a fear I had.

Annoyance of the Week: Having to collect all my urine for 24 hours this weekend. Two swollen feet and a little high blood pressure and now I need to pee into a jar for a day. Yippee! I've been really fortunate to have a pretty decent pregnancy so far, so if a little pre-e scare is the worst I get, I'm okay with that.

(I'm also tired of being swollen from my face to my feet. I have Pregnant Face, Pregnant Feet, and Pregnant Ankles. If all of these body parts were about to birth a human, I'd be cool with that. But since they aren't....)

Movement: Terribly active! It's nice to know that despite my swollenness, she's still doing really well in there. She was moving all over the place during our birthing lass tonight!

Planning/Preparation: Labor & Delivery Class #2 was last night. We had a different nurse than last week, and she was a little....dull. Her voice was really monotoned and she repeated a lot of the information we'd already heard in the video. Thankfully the video we saw wasn't 3D--it was 3D annimation! We learned how to push and use the breathing exercises we learned last week during contractions. I'm still pretty pro-epidural, though, but it's nice to have those exercises in my arsenal in case I can't get an epi or it doesn't work on me completely or something like that.

Belly Button In/Out: So out. Nothing I try keeps it flat. ::sad face::

Gender: On the off chance the baby's a boy, I'm pretty sure he's going to become Kurt Hummel when he grows up. There's lots of pink and purple in her bedroom right now.

What I Miss: Being able to sit comfortably.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Everything!

Contractions: Ongoing. Not consistent, but enough that I'm noticing the ones that are light and the ones that make me stop and go, "Oh, that'" The last day or two I've felt a decent amount of back pain, and that seems to either be a product of a contraction, or where they start. Sometimes, it's hard to tell.

Milestones?: Reaching full term! Squee!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Back to School

Lately, we've been busy! In addition to all the books we've been reading, we signed up for a few classes at the hospital and have been learning how to prepare for labor & delivery.

On Tuesday, we had our first Birthing Basics class. There are only 4 couples enrolled in this month's class, which is meeting every Tuesday for 3 weeks. I actually know one of the other moms in the class--she's the principal at another Catholic school in my neighborhood. It was a pretty low-key class when you think about all the information they gave us, but there were plenty of visual aids! I squirmed a lot when I saw the little poker thingy they use to break your water if it's deemed medically necessary. I can see it now:

Me: "I'm sorry, you're going to stick a what into my where? I don't friggin' think so!"

Next class, we get to watch a video of a baby being born--in 3D! No, really. In 3D. We ran into another couple from the class at Babies R Us the other night, and we had to ask if they had heard the same thing we heard. How that film will work, I don't know. At least I know it won't be a 3D experience like Honey, I Shrunk The Audience at Disney World. Phew!

Today, I went to a breastfeeding class at the hospital. There were 4 or 5 of us signed up, but I was the only one who showed. I've always tried to be an overachiever. ::snort::

It was a really interesting class, and I'm glad I went. I've been reading up and learning about breastfeeding, but attending  class and getting to practice with one of the dolls was much better. I always learn better by doing, and the LCs I met with were great. I'm looking forward to actually talking to them post-delivery and figuring out the whole, "How do I feed my baby?" mess.

We had our hospital tour today, too! That was fun. I'd been up to L&D for checks and all, and we spent time in the ultrasound department, but I hadn't had a good look at the rooms I'll be using. The Labor-Delivery-Recovery room is huge, and I really like that everything is right there, so I'll be about 3 feet away from the baby after she's born and getting checked out. They took us by he NICU, and I felt really fortunate that we could just breeze right by that area. It's good to know that they've got it together and are taking care of the preemies, just in case, but as for right now I'm really glad that we didn't have to deal with all that.

The post-delivery rooms were nice. Because I'm a "Great Expectations" patient, I get a nicer, larger room with a double bed and "guest room" attached. When I found out I was pregnant, my doctor gave us a bunch of information, and I signed up for the Great Expectations program thinking it was something I needed to do or that it was strongly recommended. I learned today that it's totally voluntary and comes with all sorts of crazy perks, like that big ole bed! Score! Note to self: If there's a #2, sign up for that program again! (Supposedly the big rooms can also be picked by just luck of the draw, but I'm glad that I've got one secured. I'm selfish like that.)

Another "perk" of the program is that an L&D nurse has been assigned to me and calls every few weeks to answer my questions, see how things are going, and just generally help get me revved up for birth. I haven't met her yet, and she was actually working today but at the times I was there she was busy. Fancy that! A nurse working in L&D was busy! When I got home, I had a voicemail from my nurse--asking how things were going and making sure that everything's going well. Oh well. I'll call her back next week and hopefully I won't be meeting her for a few more weeks. (Then again, if Baby G wants to show up at 38 or 39 weeks, I won't complain. I'll be happy to have my bladder back!)

We're learning! Now, if only there was a post-baby class we could "How to Bathe Your Baby Without Dropping It" and "What To Do If You Drop Your Baby" and "How To Feed Your Baby and Still Eat a Hot Meal at Dinnertime."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Weekly Update: 36 Weeks

How far along? 36 weeks, 3 days.

How big is baby? Estimated at over 5 lbs, around 20 inches in length.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: 32 lbs. Le sigh. I *know* I'm pregnant and it's normal, but it still doesn't stop me from feeling like a lazy fat ass.

Next Appointment: Next week. I'm at weekly appointments from now until this baby escapes from the womb.

Maternity Clothes: Even my maternity jeans are tired of my fat butt.

Sleep: Ugh. I'd kill for ONE good night's sleep at this point. All I want is one. I'll never get to sleep in one last one too much to ask for?

Best Moment This Week: Feeling like significant progress is being made in pretty much every area of babyness.

Annoyance of the Week: Realizing that sharing the baby's name with everyone was a big mistake. I initially wanted to so no one would "steal" our name. Now I'm annoyed as hell that everyone else calls my baby by her name. All weeked it was "How's Hannah?" and "How's Hannah enjoying herself?" and "Are you taking care of Hannah?" and "Take Hannah out on the dance floor!" OH! And my favorite: "Hannah's first wedding and her first trip to Florida! Yay!" Ahem. ::straps on bitchy pants::

1. Hannah's fine, but her mother is tired, bloated, swollen, and annoyed that you're asking about a human who quite literally doesn't care where I am or what I'm doing, so long as she's fed. No matter what baby's name, she's still considered a fetus. Right now, my fetus has no opinions.

2. Know what baby needs to enjoy herself? She needs me moving and she needs me to eat. The end. She doesn't give a damn about the rest of it.

3. I'm still pregnant, right? So YES I'm taking care of my baby. My mental health, though....

4. Hannah loves this song, but her mother hates it, so no I will NOT be taking her out onto the dance floor. Until she's mobile and walking, she goes where I go. Babies tend to work that way.

5. Once again, unless my baby is actually experiencing and seeing things--with her eyes--for the first time, it's not her first anything. She hasn't taken her first breath of oxygen yet, and you're telling me she's already experienced her first trip to Florida? Right. My birth mom probably went to Homecoming in 1983, but that doesn't mean it was my first high school dance. Use your noggin, people.

::steps off soapbox::
Movement: Still active 3 or 4 times a day. Almost always active shortly after I've eaten something. (Dear God, I hope she's not a fatty like I was. It's a miracle I never had Baby Diabetes.) I realized yesterday I hadn't felt any movement all morning, so I almost went into L&D, but about 30 minutes after I ate lunch, she started kicking my ribs and bouncing on my cervix. She's so thoughtful that way.

Planning/Preparation: We attended our first labor and delivery class last night! It wasn't quite so gross as we thought. We looked at a lot of pictures of pregnancy and labor---the pre-pregnancy pictures made me miss my tiny, fist-sized uterus. Seeing the plastic baby doll slide through the plastic pelvis made me a little nervous. I slide back and forth between, "I can SO do this!" and "Dear God, the baby has to come out of WHERE???????" It was great to sit down with other couples/expectant moms who are all due around the same time I am. We've also got our hospital tour on Saturday and I've got a 2 hour breastfeeding class afterwards. (I'm going to miss having cute, perky boobs. I always thought they were one of my best features.)

Belly Button In/Out: Out. Oh ew. It's so gross. Even those damn internal turkey timers don't pop out this much.

Gender: I hope she likes pink....

What I Miss: Sleeping on my stomach. Sleeping without waking up with shooting pains in my hips. Sleeping in general. Not being hot as hell all the time. (Seriously, I'm ALWAYS hot. I feel like I'm stuck inside an oven. How the hell do women do this all summer?)

What I'm Looking Forward To: A glass of wine wine with my Christmas dinner. (No, Brian--I don't hate everyone who drinks in front of me. I just really want a glass of wine. I'm tired of helping myself to big glasses of whine.)

Contractions: YES. These m-effers HURT. I woke up the other night with a really strong pain in my stomachal area. I felt around and my stomach was rock hard. It lasted only a few minutes, and then it was gone. About 45-50 minutes later, I felt another one. In the morning while I was in the shower I got another one, and then I felt the fourth around 12:30 p.m. That was Monday, and then I felt one overnight/this morning. A total of 5 in three days. Obviously it's a little premature for a trip to L&D, but it was still crazy weird. I'm not at all prepared, but my body has gotten the signal that the hour is nigh. It's crazy how my body just knows. I'm still barely dilated, so my doctor isn't concerned. My cervix is still "really soft", but really...I could walk around like this for another 4 weeks. No dilation and random, super far apart contractions? If I went to L&D they'd send me home before I even got off the elevator.

Milestones?: Feeling a "real" contraction. I chalked them up to BH, but my doctor said that they're real, but nothing to be concerned about yet. That' I mean really. Wow.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thanksgiving... a little more than 2 weeks away.

My due date is December 6th, a little more than 3 weeks away.

We have thus far purchased ONE Christmas gift. ONE.

Oh crap.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Making Progress

In more ways than one!

Last night, I woke up and had one hell of a pain in my hips. I could barely sleep and thanks to that (and some other factors) it was a rough night. Thankfully, Jane slept right next to me all night. She rarely cuddles, so it was a nice tree to have my first baby next to me and keeping me warm.

Today I walked into work and everyone said, "Oh, you've dropped!" It's a little easier for me to breathe, but I've still got some heartburn. I'm not sure if I've actually dropped or not, but if I have that definitely explains the hip pain! Naturally, just in time for another family wedding this weekend. Suuuuuuuuuuuuper! If I didn't love to dance so much I wouldn't worry about it, but dammit! I love to get my groove thing on.

Last night, I finally had enough. I'm annoyed as hell that the nursery isn't done yet--damn room wasn't even started! I decided that enough was enough, especially after my doctor said that I could basically go into labor at any time (though it would be a fast as hell labor considering I'm not dilated at all) and I just started tackling that room. I taped it up and sanded down what I could. I was majorly pissed to realize that there were more cracks and breaks that needed to be spackled than I originally thought, but I was not about to be stopped! I even busted out the toolbox to start putting the crib together. Mama Bear was on a mission!

It wasn't ideal, but it did help light a fire under Graham, and by the end of the night the room was spackled, the walls were cleaned, and the spots on the ceiling that I couldn't sand down were sanded. This is PROGRESS, people! Wahoo! If the priming isn't started tonight, it will be started soon. It's entirely possible that I'll have a purple nursery by Tuesday at the very earliest. Then, we start assembling the glider. That should be fun....

Weekly Update: 35 Weeks

How far along? 35 weeks, 4 days.

How big is baby? Estimated at over 5 lbs, closer to 20 inches in length.

Total Weight Gain/Loss:30 lbs. exactly as of yesterday's appointment. Le sigh. Couch to 5K, I'm coming for you!

Next Appointment: Next week! I've graduated to weeklies now. And from here on out, all appointments will be "pants off." Whoop-dee-freaking-doo!

Maternity Clothes: Blah.

Sleep: Sleep would be nice, yes.

Best Moment This Week: Getting to 35 & 35 on Monday. Holy crap! That's like, major! And finally getting the thank you notes in the mail. They'd been done for over a week; I just needed stamps!

Annoyance of the Week: Where should I begin? Should I start with the nursery that isn't finished/started? Or should I start with the comments and mouth-flapping from family members who should be supportive but aren't? Or should I start with the fact that in-home childcare seems to be completely unheard of in my neighborhood? ARG.

Movement: Still active 3 or 4 times a day. Usually in the morning when she uses my bladder as a bouncy ball, and right after lunch and dinner, too. This is totally my kid because she clearly loves her food.

Planning/Preparation: Getting the light switches installed in both upstairs bedrooms, finally! Registering for a few classes, and purchasing the last of the furniture. Phew!

Belly Button In/Out: Out. I hate it.

Gender: I hope she likes pink....

What I Miss: Seeing my feet. Reaching my feet. Not having heartburn.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Seeing my feet again.

Contractions: Nope. Still not dilated, either. Cervix is still soft and partially effaced, but it's nothing my doctor is worried about, so I won't worry about it either. If I was dilating, then I'd probably be on a ladder painting the nursery right now.

Milestones?: Making it to 35 & 35 and graduating to my weekly appointments.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Questions Answered

I got a few emails and comments re: my last post, so I figured it was best to clarify. I'll start with a timeline.

College: Seasonal Affective Disorder. This pretty much goes undiagnosed for my college years because I figure out a way to live with it. I know that I'm grumpier in the winter and I tend to sleep in more and get lazier, but I found that it was easier to attribute all that to just typical college studentness than to actually deal with it. By the time I graduate from school I'm formally diagnosed with it but I don't want to say it out loud or admit it for a lot of reasons: the acronym sucks, saying it out loud makes me feel weak, it's not worth mentioning because it's only seasonal and there are real, legitimate health concerns in the world, admitting it and sharing the news with my parents would make my mom unbearable....I used every excuse I could find.

December 2008: We land in Hawaii for Liz's awesome wedding. We spent Christmas and New Year's in paradise, and even though we weren't with family for the holidays it's still my favorite Christmas to date.

January 2009: We come home from paradise and land in the middle of a craptastic Midwestern winter. My mind and body definitely did not take this transition well.

February 2009: At this point I am stuck in an all-out war with my S.A.D. but there's not much I can do about it. I spend as much time outside as is possible, but that winter was especially rough and we had daily highs of -30 and wind chills of -50. Outside was definitely not my friend that winter.

Winter/Spring 2009: We had a late, long winter. Spring arrived, but it was cool. Even June was pretty wet and cool. I didn't mind the cooler temps, but they also kept me from breaking free of FunkFest 2009 until May or so.

Late summer 2009: We decide that the time is ripe to buy a house. We start looking and life is happy.

Late October 2009: We realize that our loan officer is a nice guy but his foolproof plan is taking forG--damnever. Combine that with the cooling temperatures and it was practically a perfect storm. I'd also become stressed out and disillusioned by my new responsibilities at work and I started to lose interest--I guess that tends to happen when you share a job description with someone and your Commanding Officer doesn't take charge; Instead, you're told to "figure it out" and the two of you divide your job duties. Not awesome.

November 2009: Target closing date comes and goes. By this point I was pretty gone. I'd dealt with depression before, but not like this. I was miserable and Graham was basically stuck in an apartment that was shrinking by the day thanks to the packing that I had started to feel was pointless with a wife who was essentially useless. By the end of this month he had forced me to see my doctor (PCP) and she put me on antidepressents just to get me through the closing, the move, and the rest of the winter. I'm supposed to stay on them for 6 more months.

December 2009/January 2010: Moving was stressful and I was sick the day before and the day we moved. The holidays, S.A.D., and the stress at home and at work made me pretty useless to all of humankind.

February 2010: Still on the antidepressents but I'd thought I was getting better. I had been feeling better, I was feeling capable and useful at work (the first time I'd felt that way since the start of the year) and even though things were stressful at work I'd somehow managed to make some pivotal allies; things were looking up(ish). I foolishly--really, it was a dumbass move to make--thought that adjusting the dosage of my meds was the right thing to do. I was over it, right? Wrong-o! Call me a big ole hypocrite because I have openly judged friends for choosing to self-medicate, but "this time it's different; it's me! I won't make their mistakes."

Ugh, yeah. Heh...::sheepish grin:: About that....

Wrong move. February to March was a rough transition because I was definitely not well at that point. I made that classic mistake: choosing to forget that it was the medication that was helping me out and making me better and choosing to believe that it was, in fact, ME! I was better all on my own without the help of those happy pills. Bad Angie! Bad Angie! This mistake was corrected and I was back on my meds. I hated that I needed them to feel at least 50% human most days, but I was glad I had them.

March 2010: Sperm meets egg. Game On.

April 2010: Things are going swimmingly. Clearly. This spring was a lot nicer than the previous one and on especially nice, bright days I noticed that I was MUCH happier and peppier. This time I felt that my meds were responsible for the upswing in my moods, but I could also feel things adapting and changing for me emotionally. I was feeling ready to come down off my meds and I was looking forward to my doctor's appointment in May.

April 2010, continued: BFP. Holy whoa. It actually happened.

I dropped my antidepressents like they were stolen goods. I'd figured that I had done enough to my developing fetus at that point and for some reason thought that stopping the drugs cold turkey would somehow fix or undo any potential damage to my baby.

Note to self and all other moms-to-be: Going gold turkey on your happy pills? NOT a good idea. P.S. Don't do your own pregnancy research and for the love of all that is good and holy--STAY AWAY FROM ANYTHING THAT GIVES YOU INFORMATION ABOUT NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS.

"Neural Tube Defects": This phrase has haunted me since the spring. I will most likely not be completely convinced I didn't somehow further damage my child until she's born healthy, receives an APGAR score of 293573, meets all her developmental milestones on time or ahead of time, and gets a scholarship to Harvard.

Spring 2010: I started to get excited about pregnancy and having a baby, even though I was nervous as hell. It was pretty cautious optimism for a while because I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall. I'm never this lucky--something had to give, right?

Summer 2010: I had a lot of free time in which to plan and think about the ways my life was about to change. This was a bad thing. In retrospect, going off the antidepressents was a bad move. My doctors supported that decision, but ultimately it made this summer a long one. I wasn't productive with all the work I needed to do, my hormones were seriously whacked, 20 weeks of morning sickness made me a huge bitch to pretty much everyone, and I found that it was a lot harder than I anticipated to "say goodbye" to a lot of my hopes, dreams, and plans. A lot harder, honestly. I don't know why....I guess part of me wanted to believe that I'd be 20 something forever and that we could deal with my uterine and reproductive issues in my 30s when I was less selfish and more mature. I figured that by 29 or 30 I'd finally be ready to have a child--emotionally speaking, that is--and that I'd be in a good mental state of mind where I could deal with the realities that we were facing. I fully indulged in my selfishness. I had a glass of wine almost every night. I slept late all the time. I made plans to travel and wanted to go to grad school and pay off my student loans before having a baby. And why not? Deep down, I knew that it wouldn't be easy to conceive. Why not be selfish and make plans and live it up? My friend Jess told me earlier this spring, "We're running out of time to be young." I didn't see any reason to not make the most of all that time. The end result was that I started to feel pretty ambivilent, and sometimes even angry about my pregnancy. I spent a lot of time crying.

On top of that I felt (and still feel) tremendous guilt for even being pregnant. Everywhere I went I felt like I needed to apologize to people. Having so many friends who struggled and are struggling to get pregnant really made me feel....unworthy. I was so glad that one of my best friends wasn't around this summer. Much as I would have loved to be with Liz because she's been there and she understood a lot of what I was going through, I was glad that she was thousands of miles away and stuck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean because I couldn't face myself everyday knowing that my just being pregnant was probably causing her (and others) a lot of emotional grief.

I felt--and feel--guilty. I felt like I did when I was 7 and I stole a Snickers bar from a gas station. I felt like I needed to run back and apologize to the guy behind the glass, but I couldn't return the Snickers bar because I'd already eaten it and I couldn't pay for it because I was 7 and didn't have any money. I started to beat myself up emotionally for somehow ending up with a uterus that could carry a baby. Here I was, petty and selfish and pissed off that I couldn't have a daqueri when I wanted one, and all around me are women who would give their left leg to be in my position. That just made it worse. I felt like I'd gotten trapped somehow and in the process I made sure that no one was happy--except for our mothers. I was tired of it. I AM tired of it. All I wanted was one frigging day where I was left alone. I was tired of hearing, "So how's my grandchild?" and "How's the baby?" and "Are you taking care of the baby?" and "Tell me about the baby." All I wanted to do was just start screaming, "LEAVE ME ALONE! I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE BABY!"

Constant vomiting for 20 weeks makes a person cranky. It's hard to stay excited about something that ruins all food for you. I was throwing up so much that I was losing weight and I wasn't able to keep anything down.

At the same time, talking about it kept me from pushing it out of my mind. It sometimes helped to make me excited, but most of what I felt was guilt. I mean, what are you supposed to say when someone asks, "Are you excited?" "No" isn't exactly an answer that inspires confidence. Sure I was excited....kinda. "Terrified" was closer to the truth. Christ on a bike, I can barely dress myself. I forget to shower sometimes. I've been known to eat Oreos for dinner. How in the hell am I supposed to take care of a small, helpless human being when I can't decide if wearing black and brown together is a fashion no-no? While eating chocolate pop tarts for breakfast? All while feeling like I'm still 16 years old?

All of that: the guilt, the hormones, the stress, the non-stop chatter, and of course the morning sickness resulted in a pretty serious case of "Bump on a Log". I was sad all the time, and that just made it worse. Why the hell should I be sad? I have a great life! On top of that, I felt selfish and childish. I felt like my emotions took on the role of a lion that was playing with its prey before it was devoured.

I tried. I tried so hard to get past the crap and get over myself. I tried to be stronger than what was beating me up. I tried to not let the littlest of things get to me. I tried not to beat the shit out of my laundry baskets when I was upset. It didn't work.

Our trip to New York helped a ton. I was still being chased by work while I was there (aside: Summer 2011--you're all mine and no one else's!) but I was 1,000 miles and another time zone away. Oh well! Once I came back it was the same old crap.

I was documenting everything--every episode--and after a long discussion with my doctor (it took me a lot of strength to even bring it up because I felt like the words were getting stuck in my throat and the only thing I could squeeze out was, "I'm fine.") we made the decision for me to see a counselor. All my issues make me a pretty great candidate for post-partum depression, so it makes sense to get me in now while I'm still somewhat mobile and the seasonal depression hasn't set in yet. Part of me just doesn't want to. It makes perfect sense and I need to do it--for me, for my baby, for my husband...but I just don't want to. On the otherhand, part of me is looking forward to it. I'll feel more like a human being again. I'll feel normal. I won't feel quite so stabby when I see someone spell 'postponed' like this: post pond. (It's a work thing.)

I need to do it. I know I need to do it. I'd rather stay in bed. I'd rather spend all day in bed in my pajamas watching SVU on USA. But I need to. I need to. If I don't, then my maternity leave will be a waste and I won't get to know my daughter. I'll be in worse shape than I am now and the end of my academic year will be a waste. As if it wasn't already a countdown to My Last Day, if I don't figure my shit out it'll be a long, long few months.

If we get in soon, I'll maybe even feel completely excited about this for the first time since July. Part of me is still so nervous and hesitant. Maybe it's silly, but I know that things go wrong and I know what can happen. I know a perfectly healthy pregnancy can take a sudden and unfortunate turn. I want to enjoy this, but I'm afraid to give in completely. What if the unthinkable happens? What if that person everyone suddenly feels pity for is me? I love watching Graham get excited and I love seeing everyone happy, but I'm so afraid that something terrible will happen. Depending on the day or the hour, I sometimes find myself pulling back. I'm calling her, "The baby" instead of calling her by her name. I don't refer to her in the present tense (and it pisses me off royally when people refer to "the three of us" as though she were in the room). Even though I'm 35 weeks, I'm still hoping that my next trip to L&D is on December 6th, even a little later. I want to meet her, I just want to meet her a little later rather than sooner.

That being said, I can't wait for her to get here. I want to see her face. I want to know if she looks like me (I'm terrified she'll look nothing like me). I want her to be born a little later because it means I won't have to go out and celebrate the holidays with big groups and I can respectfully ask that people stay away from the house for a while. I can't wait for it to be just the three of us--finally. I can't wait to be able to rock her to sleep and read her books and share things with her.

I walk a really fine line most days. I can't explain it. I just wish I could settle in firmly on one side of the line or the other. This back and forth isn't fair to anyone.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Depression, S.A.D., PPD, oh my!

I really have no right to complain. Sometimes I sit here and get myself down about all the stress I'm under when I'm going through a pregnancy that's been really blessed and healthy so far. Even the things I complain about aren't really worth complaining about--I'm just a big whiner. I was talking to Graham last night, and even though things didn't exactly go according to our plan (which was really my plan, if we're being honest), I think things ended up going the way they were supposed to go.

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."

-Douglas Adams
I found that quote while working on lesson plans a few weeks ago, and it really stuck with me. I've been trying to keep that in perspective as the last few weeks of gestation come to a close. I find myself dealing with my Type-A personality more than ever. I've been working on two manuals for the people who will be taking on my various job duties and leaving exceptionally specific instructions for them, all the with hope they will be followed to the letter. And the rational part of me knows that things happen and things change. Lord knows that with all the development work I do around here and how fast things tend to move that I'll return from maternity leave and find everything has changed. And, with a substitute teacher in the room, things are gonna come up. The kids will test her. Things will break down and things will be crazy, and life will go on. I'll have to resist the urge to pick up the phone and inquire about how things are going because I know that if I get involved, my "leave" will end up being a work-from-home situation--and I sure as hell don't want that. I think the change of seasons is having a slight affect on all this, too. Combined with my pregnancy hormones, I've been slightly less chipper lately and increasingly more sarcastic as the days go by. I really need to focus on finding things to be happy about during the work day because when I don't, I find that my work days and work weeks seem twice as long as they usually do.
And then, there's Graham.
Poor Graham. It's been about a year since I've been normal. All the stress we went through with just trying to buy the damn house sent me into a twisty spiral that put me on antidepressants, and then my doctor kept me on them to get me through the winter because my S.A.D. keeps me in the hap-hap-happiest of moods all season, ::pause for eyeroll:: and then at the end of April I found out I was expecting a baby. I went off the antidepressants (but probably shouldn't have) and dealt with crazy mood swings and depression episodes all summer and well into the fall. Combine that with all the stress I've been under at work and the pregnancy hormones from hell, and I've just been a peach to live with! And naturally I'm giving birth right in the middle of the holiday season! I usually enjoy the holidays and I can deal with the stress, but it's the mess I tend to end up in right after Christmas and New Year's. I hate winter--seriously, I hate it--and I despite pretty much every minute of it. I hate the snow and the slush and the cold--My God! The cold!--and I generally don't deal with it well. I had suspected I was dealing with S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) for a few years, but it hit me really hard after we came back from Liz's wedding in Hawaii. I had spent 10 days in paradise with 85 degree highs and 75 degree lows and loved every moment of it. Then we came home to 18 inches of snow and a high temperature of -4. That winter I was pretty much useless and because the spring was so cool I didn't really "wake up" until May.
Again, poor Graham. I had maybe 4 months of "normal" me before I got crazy. I can't wait to be normal again, I really can't. We've already discussed me S.A.D. with my doctor and OB (Aside: Seriously? S.A.D.? Could there be a worse acronym for any sort of depression? As if I already didn't feel like Eeyore, I now have to walk around saying, "Hey guys, guess what? I am S.A.D.") as well as the high probability I'll have to deal with post-partum depression. That should be a fun little adventure. S.A.D. + PPD? It might just be easier to get my forehead tattooed with, "Seriously, don't even speak to me. I will CUT you." Sends the right message, doncha think?

He's been wonderful, though. I think I'd have ended up in a really bad place were it not for him. He gets me up when I need to get up and he lets me cry when I need to cry. He watches me like a hawk which is great--it's also kind of annoying when I'd much rather be left the hell alone--but ultimately it's a good thing.

I could be speaking prematurely here, but I think not going to work this winter will help me. Part of what I really struggle with is the pressure to be "on" in the middle of January. I have a really hard time dealing with frustrating people and situations in addition to snow and ice and cold and 4 hours of sunlight a day. Even though I'll still need to be "on" for Baby G here, I can be on from the comfort of my own home. We'll be able to take naps when we need them, and I can do it while wearing comfies instead of real clothes. I think Baby G is going to be a huge help for me this winter as long as we can get my other issues under control.

I'm really blessed, like I said. Christ, I have the most wonderful person in the world for a spouse, a home that we're working on owning, a steady job, an adorable cat, a family that loves me and can't freaking wait for our baby, and I'm pregnant. It seems so illogical for me to be so down sometimes when I've got so much going for me. I wish I could figure it out, but that's why I've got some damn good medical professionals to help me out. My doctors are fabulous, and I feel so much better after I leave their offices.

So. That's that.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Five Things Friday

Five Things You Never Wanted To Know About Me

  1. I have two scars just below my bottom lip from sliding headfirst into a toolbox when I was a kid.
  2. Once someone loses my trust, it's gone for good.
  3. I seriously hate the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays. Something about seeing the logo and the team just makes me start snarling and makes my fingers twitch.
  4. I don't really care what people think about me. I wasted a lot of time caring and trying to impress people and it was just that--a huge waste of time. If you don't like me for who I am, I don't want you liking me for something I'm not. Don't like what I have to say? ::shrug::
  5. I don't consider myself "smart". If you asked, I'd say I'm of average intelligence. However, I'm smarter than a lot of people give me credit for. This has worked to my advantage a number of times within the last year--particularly at work!

If I went into labor today,

I'd be seriously screwed. I feel so far behind at work. I really wish one of my coworkers would find the time in her "busy, busy schedule" to sit down with me and go over this manual they had me type up for her. I'd feel a little better, if nothing else.


Oh well. Add that to the List of Things That Are Not My Problem. You don't "have time" to meet with me? No skin off my back. I'm not the one who will be clueless when it comes to doing my job for 12 weeks.

Karma sucks, don't it? :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nesting, Ahoy!

Well folks, I think it's safe to say I've officially entered the nesting phase of pregnancy. Oh, joy! Just what Graham needs! I've gone from being a crazy, hormonal mess who sleeps a lot to a crazy, hormonal mess with a mission. What mission? I'm calling it Operation Clean Up The Crap, or OCUP for short. Greeeeeeat!

I've been so tired lately. I get home from work and I'm ready for a 6 hour nap. After our shower on Saturday I was really tired. Sunday I went to bed obnoxiously early. On Monday, the day we entered Week 34, something inside just clicked. Or snapped. Call it what you wish. Allow me to explain:

Our kitchen's been a bit of a sty lately and it had been bugging me but I was usually too tired or distracted to do anything about it. I wanted to fix it, but I've been exhausted. Growing a human is tough work, people! I'm barely done with #1 and I have to seriously question the sanity of those of you who do this two or three or four times. I can't imagine being this tired with another small person to take care of. Ya'll is crazy!

Anyway, back at the ranch...Monday night was a different story: that kitchen had to get clean and straightened and it had to be done NOW. So, we did a quick rearrangement of the "pantry" and microwave cart, shifted the table outwards, and a frenzied spree of organizing and inventorying what was in the pantry and BAM! I felt better about the kitchen and was able to sit down without my fingers twitching. After that, I dealt with a huge pile of junk mail I'd let build for a week or so and I made about 13 trips from the living room to the recycling bin as I found things to toss out. Jane was following me back and forth--probably hoping I'd feed her--and I think I wore that kitty out because she didn't decide to headbutt me until 6:15 a.m. on Tuesday--a new kitty record!

In new developments, last night I tackled the thank yous for the baby shower. I would have finished completely had we not run out of thank yous--and I swear I'd purchased enough, but we got some gifts we weren't expecting, so that depleted our thank you note stash temporarily. Tonight I'll address and stamp the thank yous and waddle them to the mailbox to get them out of my hair.

My nesting instinct has either triggered the same instinct in Graham, or perhaps he's scared I'll bite him or something; he's definitely kicked it into high gear, too. On Monday he finished the second coat of paint in the dining room--finally!--and made plans to rip out the carpet later this week so we can clean out the nursery for the electrician this weekend and painting next week. I came home yesterday and he'd already started ripping out the carpet in the dining room. A-freaking-men. Adios, ugly blue shag. We hardly knew ye, but we knew we hardly liked ye.

Tonight I'll finally be able to put my china cabinet back together and I won't have to haul my cookies back and forth to the basement to get baking sheets and other things I use often for cooking (but don't really have space for in the kitchen). Once the dining room is "put back together" (meaning: the china cabinet is back in its rightful spot and the closet is full; we don't have anything else to put in the dining room) we/Graham will move stuff in the nursery down to the dining room so we can paint, and then we'll haul it all back up so we can put it all together. Yahoo! This time next week, the nursery will be painted! I'll be well on my way to decorating and making it as close to perfect as it can possibly be. Hallelujah. Amen.

Another thing that's gotta get done this week? Getting the carseat installed in the backseat of the car. ACK. That's gonna be weird. "Okay, gotta change lanes. Lemme just check my rearview mirror and....HOLY CRAP! WHO PUT A CARSEAT BACK THERE?!"

Ah, life with a crazy pregnant chick. It's never dull! Next thing you know I'll have built an addition onto the garage or something ridiculous. I'm a little scared to see where this journey takes me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Weekly Update: 34 Weeks

How far along? 34 weeks, 3 days.

How big is baby? 4 lbs, 15 oz. on Monday morning, so probably tipping the scales at a whopping 5 lbs. today. 17-18 inches long, give or take.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Too much. 25-30, if I had to guess based on my pre-preg weight and my weight at the doc's last week. Enough to be depressing.

Next Appointment: Next week.

Maternity Clothes: Obviously, but I miss my pre-pregnancy clothes. They had buttons and zippers.

Sleep: Eh. Kiddo likes to knock me out around 8:30-9:00, but then I'm waking up between 3 and 4 to go to the bathroom, and again at 5, and again at 6. And please don't tell me this is "preparing me for life with a newborn". That's crap I am not in the mood to hear these days.

Best Moment This Week: Getting to see baby on Monday morning. We didn't get to see her face because she's facing head down and she's pretty far gone already. She's past the point of no return, so the next time I see her face, she'll probably be in my arms. Can I get a "WHOA!" please?

Annoyance of the Week: Seriously. If I keep getting tickled, I will bite your hand off. Don't fuck with me on this one. You've been warned.

Movement: Decreased movement, but her active periods are still active. I just can't feel as much these days because her spacious loft apartment has suddenly gotten a little too small.

Planning/Preparation: Electric work is pretty much completed, so once that's done we can get the nursery painted and her crib assembled. It won't be anywhere close to finished, but it'll be a damn good start. This week I've been washing baby clothes and sorting them, and making a list of things we'll need to get before she gets here--ideally, before she gets here. Somedays, I think she's made up her mind to be fashionably early to the party.

Belly Button In/Out: It's "mostly" out. The bottom is still stubborn and staying put inside--thank you, God! Graham says that I'm "almost done" and that when I'm completely popped, baby is coming no matter what. Apparently my belly button is an indicator like the thermometers on a Thanksgiving turkey.

Gender: I hope she likes pink....

What I Miss: Something that resembles a good night's sleep.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Seeing the nursery completed before she's born. Please God, please God....

Contractions: Nothing major to report. B-H are really starting to be uncomfortable because Baby is so low in my uterus. When one of those hits and she's in the wrong position--YOWZA! I need to shift STAT because they usually trigger some round-ligament pain. Combine that with the middle of the night leg cramps, and I'm basically a big ole whiner from the hips on down.

Milestones?: Knowing that if she were born today--knock on a hell of a lot of wood--that she'd basically be okay as long as she didn't have any other health problems. I'd need some steroid shots to help her lung development, but unless there were other problems, she'd be fine. That definitely helps calm my nerves and keeps me settled. She might need a brief stay in the NICU, but nothing she can't handle.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quick Baby-fied Update

1. Baby shower was Saturday. I had fun, Graham had fun, and it looked like everyone had a decent time. Got some kickass onesies that I will be posting pictures of soon(ish).

2. My sisters kick all kinds of ass. The end.

3. Growth scan and ultrasound this morning because Baby is measuring a little small (and so am I). Baby is head down (Woo! Stay that way!) and we got some pictures of some feet because her head is basically inside my pelvis. Baby girl wants OUT.

4. Basically, we need to prepare for a November baby instead of a December baby. That's fine with me--they we don't need to deal with everyone saying crap like, "Aw, too bad she's not a St. Nick's baby!" (I don't care) and "Aw, she IS a St. Nick's baby! Name her Nicole!" (No) and "Oh man, a Pearl Harbor baby, that sucks" (by the time she's old enough to realize that, she probably won't even care) and my personal favorite, "You should wait to have her until your anniversary! Then you can have one big party!" (Heeeeeell no. If I'm still pregnant by our anniversary, watch out. You will definitely not want to be anywhere near Ms. CrankyPants over here.)

5. Ultrasound was fine. FINE. (Fine, Mom! You hear me? No, you don't hear me because you've already left the computer and have run toward the phone....) We're all good. She's just about 5 lbs. and her head is measuring in the 48th percentile, so not too shabby. Her heartbeat is fine, the placenta is still attached firmly, and there's nothing showing up anywhere that gives me cause for concern. She's resting on my cervix pretty much all the time--not comfortable--so we need to be realistic and prepare for a potential Thanksgiving or earlier delivery. As long as I'm 36-37 weeks, I don't see a problem with that, except that I'm 34 weeks today. If I have a baby in 2-3 weeks, holy shit....wait, Grandma reads this. I, I meant holy shit. Definitely.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Weekly Update: 33 Weeks

How far along? 33 weeks, 3 days.

How big is baby? Closer to 17 inches, if not longer, and 4 lbs, 5 oz. according to last night's ultrasound.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Up 20, roughly. I'm not sure anymore. Enough. Enough is enough, I say!

Next Appointment: Later this week.

Maternity Clothes: I don't know why I'm trying to wear maternity pants anymore. Yoga pants are so much more comfortable.

Sleep: Last night was rough, but generally I'm waking up a few times a night for one reason for another. I guess third trimester really does prepare you for parenthood, eh?

Best Moment This Week: Finding out my placenta did NOT abrupt like the on-call doctor thought. WoO!

Annoyance of the Week: General sameness. This soreness on the left side of my abdomen really freaking sucks because there is literally no position that is comfortable for me for longer than 90 seconds.

Movement: Definitely. She likes attention.

Planning/Preparation: Electrician coming on Saturday so we can get some things looked at and some light switches installed upstairs.

Belly Button In/Out: Definitely out. It's gross to look at.

Gender: "Definitely still a girl" according to the u/s tech last night. That's still a good thing, because otherwise my son would be wearing a lot of dresses.

What I Miss: My favorite fall sweaters.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Eating a full meal again. Someday I will reclaim my digestive tract!

Contractions: Braxton-Hicks are pretty much happening all the time now. Depending on the time and place, they can stir up some round ligament pain. I'm trying not to be a crankypants about it, but when crossing your legs sends shooting paints up your thigh and into your stomach it's really hard not to be a big ole whiner.

Milestones?: First freak-out trip to Labor & Delivery! I'd had some general soreness on my left side for about a week, but I was ignoring it because I thought I did something stupid or twisted funny. I'd take Tylenol and I'd be fine. I was sore on Monday, but fine until Wednesday or so, then sore again, then fine...nothing I was concerned about. All day yesterday I was sore. It hurt to take a breath or switch positions, and it was pretty obvious I was in pain by the end of the day. I called the doctor's office and they sent me to L&D to get checked out. I went in and they hooked me up to some fetal monitors and all that--the second time we've gotten to hang out in L&D like that. Baby looked "great" on the monitor, but I still had these really intense waves of pain shooting through my side from right below my ribcage to roughly my belly button. They did a pelvic exam with a speculum that must have been from the dark ages--I'm no weenie when it comes to those exams and this was by far the worst one I've ever had. According to the on-call doctor, my cervix was "remarkably soft" and I was spotting a little bit (though I am fairly certain the spotting is the result of the Speculum of Doom). I wasn't dilated at all, nor was I contracting, but my cervix has started to efface. Um, yay? I've got a good 4 weeks to go before this kid is ready to come out!
They did some blood work and ran an "abruption panel" to see what was going on. I had an ultrasound and everything looks really great, so we can't quite figure out what was causing all that pain. I haven't been allowed to do anything remotely exhausting or physically engaging for months, and I don't carry or lift heavy boxes at work. I don't remember doing anything that would have caused a muscle spasm or pulled muscle though it definitely feels like I pulled a muscle. Basically, the cramping and pain is the result of me spending so much time on my feet and being under a lot of stress at work. Oh goodie. I need to stay off my feet more at work and at home. It's going to be hard, but it needs to be done. If I'm already starting to efface, it means Hannah-roo could come earlier than expected. I'm not afraid of a 37 week baby, but I'd like her to stay inside until it's safe for her to come out.


Jumping in a big pile of leaves? Heaven.

Pumpkin leaf bags? Awesome.

I really do love Autumn.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

....And so it begins.

The title of this particular post is actually a slight misnomer. We've gotten a number of gifts and donations over the last few months, but getting this in the mail a few weeks ago really left me gobsmacked.

My cousin-in-law, Tracy, can't make it to the baby shower. I knew people wouldn't be able to make it, but I never actually thought that some of them might send gifts instead. I wasn't expecting it because really, I don't think about it. I'm definitely humbled and shocked when someone sends a gift to me--for any reason--and getting this in the mail was a huge attitude booster for the day and generally just made me happy.

After my friend Lisa had her son, I became totally enamored by her plastic booster seat. I thought that it was pretty much one of the greatest inventions since....ever?! I've always been pretty aware of what restaurants have high chairs and which don't, and I always made a mental note of which restaurants have high chairs that look like they could collapse or give someone malaria or some strange thyroid syndrome. When we registered a few months ago, I made sure I popped this baby on the registry so we can keep it in the car for when we eat out or visit friends. I was SO excited to get this in the mail a few weeks ago, and it was even better when I saw the little book she sent with it. I love to read and can't wait to read to the baby, so getting little books like this makes me excited--I can't wait to hunker down with her in January and read this!

When we opened the box, after we ooohed and aaahed, we stopped and looked at each other. Graham looked back at the booster seat and said, "Well that just made it a lot more real!" You said it, buster! It's crazy how much more real it's becoming each day. Wow. I tell you!

Thanks Tracy! You're tops, you.