Changes Coming!

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photo by quotesgram.com

photo by quotesgram.com

 

Wow.

Okay, so it’s been a while since I’ve done anything here, and I swear to you it’s only a little bit my fault.  Between a crazy almost two-year-old and being pregnant with her brother (due in January), my days have primarily consisted of chasing after her and sleeping when I can.

But wait!  I have good news!  I’m going to be making some changes here and will absolutely be writing again–not just because poor Chad is helping me upkeep a site I haven’t been utilizing, but because I’ve missed it!  I’ll be going through and editing some of my older posts (nothing huge, so you don’t have to go back and re-read unless you just love my stuff that much), and I have new posts coming–along with a new catagory: Notes to My Family.

I’m super excited to get back into writing, and some of you moms out there should probably prepare yourselves, because I’m going to start chasing you down for material!

Expect greatness to return within the next couple weeks!

A Car, an Accident and a Loss

 

Photo credit: wayoftheduck.com

Photo credit: wayoftheduck.com

Nearly every day I load my 11-month-old into the car and drive from point A to point B on some errand, my head filled with lists of what needs to get done on this day or the next and moderate irritation at the idiocy of other drivers on the road.  In the past few days, however, that changed dramatically.  I heard a story from a good friend about a mother she is close to who lost her child in a car accident.

I don’t know the details of the accident aside from the fact that this mother was driving and that her other two children were in the car.  I don’t know who was at fault.  I don’t know why it happened or how.  I only know that her young daughter was killed and that her other children witnessed the tragedy.

When I heard this story, I was at a book club meeting; my friend wasn’t able to stay because she was on her way to console her friend and the family.  It wasn’t until I went to bed that night that I allowed my mind to drift back to the story I had been told and the tears to flow for this poor woman and her surviving children.

The next day, I put my daughter in her car seat and drove to the library with her, and then spent a portion of the day running errands.  My attitude behind the wheel was different.  I put my phone in the diaper bag and left it in the back seat; I turned the radio down; when my baby fussed, I didn’t try to see her or reach back to let her know I was still there.  I found myself being more patient with other drivers, and more mindful and aware of what they were doing as they made their way.  My foot wasn’t heavy on the gas pedal and I was more ready than I’ve ever been with the brakes.

While I wasn’t actively thinking it, I knew that in the back of my mind keeping my baby safe had become a more powerful and intense priority.

Trust me, I know how frustrating it can be when you’re on the road and it feels as if every idiot has decided to leave their house at once and be in your way.  I know how easy it is to succumb to that frustration and let it affect the way you drive, likely becoming more aggressive as you try to get through it.  I understand the distraction of an important call coming through that you’ve been waiting for, or the need to text someone because you can’t find their stupid house for the birthday party you’re late to as your baby, sans nap, is screaming or throwing toys in the back seat.

But please—please, please, please be safe.  Put away your cell phone, and when you need to talk or text, pull over somewhere.  If your child is screaming bloody murder behind you, take a deep breath and pull over or get home.  If you’re feeling irritated at other drivers, pull over and calm yourself down.  Don’t speed—it’s not a race.  Behind the wheel of a car is the one place above all others that you need to have your head on straight and be aware of what’s going on around you.  Be safe.  Keep your babies safe.  Keep other people’s babies safe.

The woman in the story will forever blame herself, whether or not she was at fault, for the death of her child.  Her surviving children will hold the image of their lost sister for the rest of their lives.  It may not have been preventable; it may have been just one of those awful things.  But if her story can influence others to drive safely, shouldn’t we give her that, at least?  She deserves it.

(This piece was also published at Huffington Post.)

To My Daughter’s Mother on Her 18th Birthday

credit: google images

credit: google images

 

It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, leaving her all those years ago. I can only think that it must feel a little like dying, and the only thing that gave me the strength to do so was you.

If it had been anyone else waiting to take her home, I may not have gone through with it, but from the time I met you, you have been understanding, kind and without judgment.  You showed me a love that I hadn’t seen from many in my life at that time; I knew that if you had this kind of love for someone like me, she would have something even better and more powerful—and would never lack for it.

Over the years, you have gone above and beyond what you were asked in our original agreement.  You have sent letters and poems that have left me in tears—not of sadness, but of gratitude.  The gifts that you’ve sent have been so thoughtful, and through the pictures I witnessed such a strong and loving family that I was left speechless.  With every correspondence I grew more joyful and less sorrowful.  It is because of you that I was able to leave the dark place I was in after leaving her and find delight as I watched her grow in your love.

You’ve done an amazing job raising our daughter, my dear friend.  She is beautiful, mature, intelligent, and—most importantly—kind.  She explores her world with a confidence that can only come from the knowledge that you are there for her, and security in the love you share.  While I am proud of her, I am equally proud of you.  I have never in my life seen a better mother, and I hope every day that I can be even half the parent you are as I raise her sister.

I want to thank you for everything you have done.  You took my baby and led her so gently into this incredible life she has, and the wondrous future she has before her.  You never took her from me in the way that I couldn’t still think of her as mine—as ours.  I never felt that I was shut out from your lives and you have always been welcoming toward me.  You allowed me to be a part of her life (of your life as well), and you’ve had a certitude and poise that most mothers simply do not possess in our situation.  I have such immense gratitude toward you, and I want you to know how important you are to me in so many ways.  You aren’t just my daughter’s mother—you are my family and my friend; you are my hero and my example; you are my inspiration as I nurture my own child now.

You have enabled us to give our daughter a gift most young women don’t have as they take their first adult steps into this world—the powerful and unconditional love of two mothers.  I can’t imagine a more well-equipped child as they begin their journey.

I love you very much.  Thank you for being such a wonderful mother.

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An Open Letter to the Dog

Dear Gracie,

You were found wandering the streets of rural New Mexico and at least one litter of yours has been born and lost. You were quite likely horribly abused, though nobody could be sure exactly what you had been through. I don’t want to imagine. You were so afraid of everything, especially other dogs, that the shelter had to put you through a special experimental training course just to make you somewhat adoptable. When your human finally found you, they told him that they didn’t even know how you would react to things like grass and furniture. You were unwanted and high strung, and he knew you were very near being put down. He decided to take a chance on you anyway.

It was a rough start for the two of you, but after several training classes, one destroyed couch, and countless submissive/scared pees later, the two of you were best friends. It wasn’t too long before you would have to deal with your first really big change, when I moved into what had become your home.

You weren’t too sure what to think of me, and you hated my camera, which was (is) almost always out and flashing. As we got to know one another, I think you realized that I wasn’t here to steal your human away from you, but to be a part of both of your lives.  I had wanted a dog for quite some time, and was more than happy to get to know you. We had to get used to one another, though, and it took just a little time for you to warm up for me.  I understood.  The first human you’d really trusted was the one I had fallen in love with.  Fortunately, you decided I was worthy of your human, and it wasn’t long before I was referring to you as my dog as well.

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Through roommates and other dogs you maintained a nervous curiosity. While not unwelcoming to other animals, you have always been more human-centric. Just before we got married we added a second dog to our little family, and while you clearly love him, you’re much more preoccupied with what we’re doing than with him. I haven’t always appreciated your tendency to obsess over the humans because it felt clingy and irritating—until now.

When we brought the baby home, you whined (as your breed is wont to do) for almost two weeks. You stared at her and paced, and I could see you wondering what your place would be now. Soon, your pacing became a patrol. As I sat in bed with my infant daughter, you inspected every room of the house before returning to our side, on a cycle that you were convinced ensured our safety. When we offered for you to come and say hello to her, you were so concerned over the fragility of this tiny human that you would only lick the air near her head, while glancing nervously up at us to be sure you weren’t overstepping your bounds.

You began to get comfortable with the baby, and it wasn’t long before I trusted you enough to lean her against you—this tiny infant who couldn’t even hold her head up, let alone sit up on her own. Your tenderness both surprised me and melted my heart; you were so concerned that you might make a wrong move that you stayed absolutely still. I’ve never seen a dog remain as motionless as you did.

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Now we have our routine. You wait for me every morning to tell you that it’s alright to say hello to the baby; you give her gentle licks up the side of her face, and a few loving sniffs and snorts along the top of her head, and she coos and stares in fascination at you for a while. You never go far–your obsession with humans has carried over and multiplied by a thousand to this tiny one, and you will only move more than three feet from her if commanded to do so. Even then, I’ve caught you waiting for us to be distracted so that you can sneak back over to her. I can already tell that she’s just as mesmerized by you, and it’s only a matter of time before you’re letting her crawl all over you and patiently allowing her to pull on ears and tails.

With Gracie

You’ve come so far, Gracie. You began as one man’s dog, and a rescue that needed a lot of time and patience at that. Now you are the beloved family pet, and we can’t imagine life without you. You even tolerate my camera and its incessant flash, and you’re included in almost daily pictures with the baby—your very special human. Never worry about your place, girl. It will always be at the heart of this family.

(This piece was also published at Huffington Post.)

My First Mother’s Day

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I had a baby 17 years ago, but I’ll be celebrating my very first Mother’s Day on Sunday.

I remember the first (and only) Mother’s Day gift I ever received. It was from my daughter’s adoptive mother: a lovely poem that she’d written for me, included with some pictures of the gorgeous girl I’d given birth to five months earlier. I cried for three days. Don’t get me wrong—it was a beautiful thought; it made me love her even more than I did before I gave her my baby; it confirmed that I should have no regrets because I’d given my child to be raised by someone so considerate. It just made me sad.

Now I have a baby of my own.

I am exhausted.  I’m fat and my skin looks weird.  My hair is always pulled back in a ponytail because the baby has recently learned to pull it.  My back is killing me, and I have trouble trying to keep the house clean.

I’m regularly discussing and debating with my husband about how to get her to sleep, how to best play with her, what kind of school she should go to when she’s older, whether to introduce her to foreign language and when…

I’m making friends with other new mothers. We’re comparing parenting methods and discussing what works for us, arranging play dates, bonding over our trials and errors…

I’m reading everything I can get my hands on about parenting, milestones, what I can expect every week and what to be concerned about.  A day doesn’t go by that I’m not googling something she’s done, some face she’s made or some random question I have about her development.

I worry when she makes a noise I’m unfamiliar with. I watch her while she sleeps just to make sure that she’s still breathing. I wonder all the time if I’m doing the right thing, or if I’m giving her material to take to her therapist later in life. One of my nightmares is that she grows up to hate me.

I observe with unbridled joy every discovery she makes, from realizing she has hands that do things, to the little bears that float above her head on her swing’s mobile. I make faces with her, giggle with her and babble with her. I sing to her and dance with her in my arms.  I struggle to put together playlists that are appropriate but that won’t drive me insane to hear over and over. I read to her. I stay up at night with her when she can’t (or won’t) sleep.

I have discovered that I will fight to the death to protect her. There is no baby cuter, sweeter or more brilliant than mine. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for her, and the first thing I think about with every decision I make is what’s best for her. I gaze at her little face and I wonder what amazing thing she’ll do with her life, and realize at the same time that it doesn’t matter what she does—I love her unconditionally and always will.

I finally get a Mother’s Day, but I’m not a mother.  I’m a mom.

(This piece was also published at Huffington Post.)

Lessons I’ve Learned Being a First-Time Mom

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Like many other expecting and new mothers, I read everything I could get my hands on to help me prepare for the arrival of my sweet little daughter. I judged various methods (“Oh, I will never be a helicopter parent.” “You have got to be kidding me with this co-sleeping thing. No way.”), and I made decisions as to what sort of parent I was determined to be weeks, even months, before she was born.

I was so naïve.

I’ve learned several important lessons the hard way in the three months that my daughter has been in my life.

I may never sleep properly again. I’ve never been someone who functioned well on very little sleep. I need my eight hours, and prefer 10 if I can get it. In three months, I haven’t gotten a night of sleep that was more than six spotty hours (no more than three at a time), and that’s a great night of sleep. I’m only just now starting to get through life not feeling like I’m on drugs.

A pretty typical look for us.  She's adorable, and I'm a wreck.  Also, my arm is numb.

A pretty typical look for us. She’s adorable, and I’m a wreck. Also, my arm is numb.

My husband is lucky to be alive. Nobody ever told me that I would almost daily give serious consideration to murdering him and feeding his corpse to the dogs. Don’t get me wrong—he tries his best to help, but there’s very little he can do.  It does work greatly in his favor that he understands my level of sleep deprivation and subsequent crankiness, but he should probably feel grateful that the death stares I give him at night, when there’s a baby attached to my boob and he’s peacefully snoring away, won’t actually kill him.

I can never expect to get anything productive done. I might get lucky and throw down a quick blog post while she’s napping.  I may get an extra few minutes while she’s occupied with staring at the refrigerator to do some dishes.  I could even find the unicorn—15 to 20 minutes in which she will tolerate her father so that I can take a shower and shave my legs.  However, I can never actually expect any of those things to happen.  More likely, I’ll be lucky if I can get a single blog post out every couple of weeks, my house will look like a disaster and smell like diapers and dirty dogs, my hygiene will be questionable at best and I will look like a dirty, hairy hippie.

The dogs are so neglected that they could probably call a hotline. I knew that there would be a period of adjustment for them and that they would have to deal with a bit less attention than they were previously getting.  I didn’t realize that while their behavior around the baby is impeccable, they are basically ignored.  I feel terrible about it, I really do, but this kid is seriously demanding of my time, and I just don’t have the energy to deal with her and then throw a ball for a few hours or wrestle with them.  Unfortunately, her sulky face trumps theirs, cute as they all are.

I don’t always love being a mom.  Don’t get me wrong—I love my kid. I fall more in love with her with each passing day, and I don’t even know anymore how I would live my life without her.  It’s just that when she’s been fed and changed but won’t stop crying; when she refuses to sleep if I don’t hold her, so that her sweaty little face is pressed up against my neck and my head has what feels like a permanent crick from spending all night in the recliner with her; when her father interrupts my weekly shower (my only bit of “me time”) to tell me she’s having a meltdown because I left the room for more than ten minutes…those aren’t the moments that make me say “God, I love being a mother.”

It’s okay that I don’t always love being a mom. It took me some time to get this one.  There are those moments in which I can’t put her down or leave the room for more than 10 minutes and I can’t help recalling a time that I could actually get things done in my day. There are mornings that follow completely sleepless nights, but she keeps me so busy that I can’t get more than two sips of coffee, and I have fantasies of taking her to the mall and leaving her there. Even though I’ve read several blogs and articles about how natural it is for a mom to have these frustrated moments, the guilt that accompanies them has been immense.  It was only recently that I made this realization:  I’ve only been a mom for three months.  It is natural that I would have moments where I feel like I’m losing my mind, and that those moments would most often occur when she’s losing hers.  It hasn’t been that long; while the things that are frustrating me will get easier, new frustrating things will pop up to take their place—and it will never end.  I will always and forever have moments where I don’t love being a mom, and that’s totally okay.

I’m a sucker. Already I find myself melting with every smile, giggling over every little expression and doing my best to memorize every sound this kid makes. Transitioning her to her crib is making me a panicky mess. Cuddle time is my favorite time of night, and I absolutely cannot handle hearing one uncomfortable or upset sound. She’s just started (inconsistently) crying actual tears, and each one rips away at my heart. My husband has already said several times, “Honey, you’re going to have to learn to let go.” I’ve begun to wonder if this is what it will be like forever, or if I will actually toughen up at some point.

And now you’ll have to excuse me.  She’s making her adorable sleep sounds (snores, really) again, so I have to go and stare at her instead of taking these few precious quiet moments to get anything else done.

 

 

 

 

On Being a First-Time Parent

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I’ve read and heard a plethora of stories from first-time parents regarding how they treat their precious “L.O.” (Little One, a nickname my husband has forbidden because of the over-use of the acronym).  Most of these parents spout judgment in the direction of anyone who isn’t boiling bottles and pacifiers, fully sterilizing toys, rubbing sanitizer on their hands and making everyone who walks into their house do the same each and every time their “L.O.” is picked up, etc.

I don’t do any of those things.  Not one.  As a matter of fact, the running joke in our house is that we treat our first child more like she’s a second or third.

This is what I do (and don’t do):

I use a bottle warmer.  If the bottle comes out too warm, I run it under cool water.

I do breastfeed, but I supplement with formula because I can’t always keep up with the pixie’s eating habits.  No, I’m not driving to the hospital to pick up donor breastmilk to make up for what I lack.  No, I’m not sorry.

I don’t boil bottles or pacifiers.  I put them in the dishwasher and if they look like they’re still dirty, I wash them again.

I will wipe down new toys with a disinfecting wipe, but after that, Pixie can pretty much slobber all over whatever she wants. Play pads get washed when they’re considered “gross.”

I don’t sanitize my hands every single time I handle my child.  I don’t make her grandparents sanitize their hands, and if a friend visits, I don’t make them sanitize either.  I don’t hang out with filthy people, and I trust that they’ll wash their hands if they think they need to.  They haven’t let me down yet.

I follow the schedule that Pixie exhibits.  I don’t hold her to a strictly timed day or force her into what I think (or read) that her schedule should be.  We play when she wants to play.  When she’s tired, she sleeps.

I vaccinate.  As a matter of fact, she’s sleeping off her two-month shots as I write this.  (Granted, this is not an example of treating one’s first child like their second or third, but I felt the need to piss off any anti-vaxxers who might potentially read this.  Anti-vaxxers, you’re all wrong.)

I let her hang out with other babies who spend time in day care, even though she doesn’t.

With my doctor’s go-ahead (nay, his suggestion), I don’t let the pixie go more than three hours at a time without feeding during the day.  At night, I leave her alone and let her sleep.  If she wakes up and wants to eat, I feed her.

I give formula for the bedtime feeding.  It weighs a little heavier in her tummy and helps her sleep a little longer at night, which means Mom and Dad can sleep.  Which means Mom and Dad can maintain their few shreds of sanity.  Which also means no crazed, sleep-deprived, murder-suicides for this family.

If I need to eat, I will absolutely let the pixie cry.  Put your own oxygen mask on first, right?  If I starve to death, so will she.  I will also let her cry if there’s something that must be done, such as a shower (my hygiene is questionable on a good day) or dishes (there’s usually a medium to mountainous pile in the sink).

I do not, under any circumstances call her Little One (or, god forbid, L.O.)  I slipped once, and my husband almost had a heart attack when he heard me.

I joke that I can understand why people shake babies, I tell her at least three times a week that she’s lucky she’s so cute or I’d have thrown her out already, and when she does something gross (such as an apocalyptic diaper, a fountain of barf, or farts that smell like they were made by a 72-year-old man who ate nothing but onions all his life), I tell her she’s gross.  She’s two months old; she has no idea what I’m saying.

I spend lots of time cuddling and loving on her.  There’s no such thing, after all, as spoiling a baby.

I play and dance with her and talk/sing/read to her—not on a schedule, but whenever she wants.

I tell her all the time how much I love her and how beautiful she is.

We go on daily walks (Colorado weather permitting).  She loves them.

Now, maybe to some these things make me a terrible mom.  Or maybe, just maybe, you’re the terrible one for judging me on them.  My girl is healthy (so sayeth her well-respected pediatrician), happy and loved; just because we’re allowing her immune system to develop doesn’t mean we’re injecting her with West Nile virus or dipping her into vats of cooties.  I’m learning, not just from what I’m reading but from my own experience, that there is really no one right way to care for my baby.  As long as her doctor is happy with her development, and as long as we’re comfortable with our chosen methods and—above all—the pixie is happy and loved (and alive), then I think we’re doing A-okay.

 

She’s Still Alive!

 

Photo by Charley's Angels Premier Newborn Hospital Photography

Photo by Charley’s Angels Premier Newborn Hospital Photography

Well, the pixie will be two months old tomorrow, and I’m just getting back to writing—kind of.  Basically, it’s consisting of squeezing in a few minutes, sporadically, as she’ll allow me to put her down.

So far it’s been a weird experience, having a baby, and I mean that in the best and worst possible ways.  I have more love for this tiny person than I knew was possible, but on a daily basis she stresses me right the hell out.  I have never felt more fulfilled than I do as a mom, but I worry regularly about losing myself, my identity or my relationship with Hubs in motherhood.  There have been cuddles and adorably squeaky sleep sounds; recently there have been coos, smiles and even the occasional laugh.  There have also been apocalyptic diapers, sleepless nights and exhausted tears, and our first holiday (Easter) will be one for the record books, and has earned its own place here.

In eight weeks I have ripped through more shows on Netflix than I think is healthy.  By the first month, I’d watched “Friends” in its entirety; in the following week I tore through “How I Met Your Mother,” and in just a couple of days I polished off “Salem” (which is totally not historically accurate and is worse than the two previously mentioned shows, but I just couldn’t stop watching it).  Sprinkle in there a few movies, and the shows that the hubs wants to watch when he’s home (we’re especially loving “Last Man on Earth” and “Better Call Saul”), and I’ve watched more television in this kid’s tiny life than I probably have in my own.  It’s just so easy when breastfeeding to toss something on to help distract, and she’s almost always eating.

Speaking of breastfeeding, I’d love to get my hands on whoever began the rumor/myth that it was an awesome experience.  All I ever heard my whole life was how magical it is, how the bond between mother and child is cemented through the beautiful act of breastfeeding—blah, blah, blah.  As far as I can see, there is absolutely nothing magical about it, and I feel perfectly bonded to Pixie outside of it, especially considering that she’s in a stage where I literally can’t put her down for more than five minutes unless she’s fully unconscious, and if her father tries to hold her she nearly loses her mind.  It was difficult to pick up on at first, my gazillion-year-old lactation consultant at the hospital was nearly useless, I felt helpless and frustrated, I worried that Pixie wasn’t getting enough to eat… It was almost two weeks of tearful hell before a nurse at my pediatrician’s office finally mentioned breast shields, which have been a godsend.  Before the shields, the pain was excruciating due to her powerful latch and refusal to take the entire nipple, and I was very near giving up completely and going with formula—for which, by the way, I would have felt no guilt.  Maybe some women get caught up in the romance of breast feeding, but between the incredibly difficult start, the leaks, the engorgement and the fact that the pixie is almost always attached to one of my boobs, I just don’t buy it.

The romance moments for me are the ones in which she’s sleeping peacefully, curled up against my chest, making sweet baby sighs and squeaks.  When I can stare at her, wondering how on earth I’ve managed to keep her alive for two whole months, pondering how the hospital trusted me to take her home in the first place and contemplating her future—not just in years but in minutes.  And then I smell her little head, realize that this is forever and close my eyes in appreciation of this blissful moment that she’s asleep.

This is my life now.

It’s About To Get Real

 

Image found at old-forge.net

Image found at old-forge.net

Well, we’re down to the final wait.  My due date is February 22nd, but the doctor says she’ll be surprised if I don’t “pop” (so to speak) next week.  Technically, since I’m at 37 weeks, I’m considered full term and could pop at any time

I’m huge.  I’m uncomfortable. I’m not sleeping well. I’m having random contractions.  I’m hooked up to a monitor at my doctor’s office twice a week to make sure everything is all good with the baby.  (Everything is all good with the baby.)

All that said; don’t expect quality writing right now, because I just don’t have it in me to be witty or very creative.  I’m guessing this will be the story for the next…18 years or so.

This is the hardest part, and I didn’t realize that it would be.  I’m waiting, and it feels so soon, but then it feels like forever.  I’m nervous about a million things:  what will labor be like (it’s been a long time), what will she be like, what kind of mom will I be, what kind of dad will my husband be, will everything go smoothly…

I’m excited and scared and tired and I can’t get the house clean enough and I don’t have the energy to clean and I just want to meet this kid.

I want to see the hubs’ face when he holds her for the first time and watch him become a daddy right before my eyes.

I’m having mild nightmares about my water breaking in public or going into labor at inopportune times.  I’m dreaming that the hospital won’t let me leave with the baby because they have deemed that I am not going to be an adequate mother.  I’m dreaming that I get the baby home and immediately drop her on the hard wood floor or that the dogs attack her on sight.

I keep reading that these kinds of things, the nervous anticipation and the terrible dreams that further hinder my already-uncomfortable nights, are totally normal, but it still sucks.  I want to just be excited.

And I am so excited for this moment, to be a mom and meet this child, and deep down I know that I’ll be great at it.  I mean, I have wanted this since I was a child myself—to have a family of my very own that I can take care of.  Maybe the fact that I have never truly felt I had a family before I married Hubs has subtly planted seeds of doubt in my mind that I can’t do it, don’t know how to do it or just don’t deserve it, even though I know better. Maybe being an adopted kid (and a birth mother) made it even more important—and seem even more unattainable or undeserved—to me.

All I know is that it’s going to happen, sooner than later, and I’m feeling all the feels.

 

 

The Last Month

image found on vintagemodernwife.com

image found on vintagemodernwife.com

They say that the last month or so of pregnancy is the most difficult and they are totally not kidding.  I realize now that all my previous complaints over the course of this pregnancy simply made me a big whiner-baby, and that the universe was just waiting for me to hit week 35 so that it could give me a big, “You were saying..?”

For those of you who have never been pregnant, let me paint a picture of what goes on in the last month.

Clothing:  As if it wasn’t bad enough that I have to wear maternity clothes and that I don’t have a lot of variety (or style) at the moment, now I’m finding that even they are getting tight.  I would consider getting more, but why?  Instead, I’ll just sit around in my pajamas all day and wear “real clothes” only when I absolutely must.  (Confession:  I have actually gone on quick errands in my pajamas recently.  Don’t tell Hubs—he’d be mortified.  I, however, have no shame.)

Sitting:  If I’m too long in a seated position, I get crazy backache, and no throw pillow stuffed behind me will help.  This means that watching a movie becomes an actual pain.  Also, my butt goes kind of numb.  I say kind of because right in the center, where you would refer to your “butt bones,” is the only part of my toosh that I can feel—and boy, can I feel it.  It’s like I’m sitting on two rocks, and the pain sort of vibrates up into my hips and lower back.

Standing/walking:  It’s not like this really helps the seated situation;  if I’m forced to stay on my feet or walk around too much for too long, I’m in just as much, albeit a different brand, of pain.  My feet swell and my ankles start looking like overstuffed sausages, and each waddle-step makes each step shoot pain up through my hips and back.  Also, yeah—I waddle.  It’s super attractive.

Sleeping:  I use the word loosely, because I will often lie awake for hours at a time, frustrated to the point of tears, wondering why sleep won’t come and praying that I can just doze off for just a little while.  Climbing into (and out of) bed is uncomfortable and riddled with panting and grunts.  Rolling over feels like a days-long ordeal and typically wakes up Hubs, who doesn’t fail to at least give a small, sleepy whine to let me know that I have hindered his precious slumber (which kind of makes me want to smother him with a pillow).  I’m sweating under the blankets, but if I kick them off of me, I will immediately be freezing.  The body pillow that once (kind of) helped now feels more like cuddling a tree.  Also, I get up at least every two hours having to run to the bathroom, which means that once I struggle back into bed I have to go through the easily hour-long frustration that is trying to re-find a relatively comfortable position.  Did I mention that the baby is most active late at night and early in the morning and that she packs a helluva punch these days?

Cleaning/Cooking:  I have literally zero energy for either one.  Just thinking about them wears me out.  I forced myself to do a bit of organizing a few weeks ago, but as far as actually cleaning the house…I’m just finding ways to deal with the shame and apologizing when anyone comes over.  The hubs has discussed with me that we need to take a week and cook some meals to freeze for when the baby is born (he’s full of it—there is no “we” in this chore), and while I have days and meals set aside in my calendar for meal planning, I am dreading it with every fiber of my being and wondering how necessary it actually is.  I mean…we could just starve…

People:  If one more person tells me to savor this time, or the bad times, or how much I’ll miss the baby moving in my belly I will throw things.  Let me assure you that it’s not that I don’t appreciate the moving life inside me, and I’m sure in six months or so I’ll forget all about how I feel right now and I am savoring just as much as I possibly can. It’s just that I’ve gone from “I’m so excited to meet this little person” to “I am soooo pregnant”—and that’s okay.  Show me a woman who wants to be pregnant (especially this pregnant) forever and I’ll show you a crazy person who needs to be locked up.

There’s more.  There’s so much more.  There’s not being able to eat without acid reflux.  There’s acid reflux for any or no reason at all.  There’s my husband, who I love with all my heart but more often than not want to set on fire lately.  There are the dogs, who are acting out behaviorally because they know something’s up and forcing me to actively and regularly resist the urge to take them to a nice farm somewhere.

The phrase “just a few more weeks” is becoming my mantra.

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