These days

Thank you for the condolences; Grandma’s funeral was as nice as a funeral could be.  It was good seeing my family and spending one last gathering at my grandparents’ house, which will unfortunately be sold shortly.   We were all able to go through the house and take anything we wanted to inherit, the best of which was my grandma’s artwork.  She had a big cabinet chock full of her paintings, sketches, and art class projects which we sort of auctioned off to everyone.  There was so much!  I got my hands on several – a couple of watercolors, a BIG framed landscape oil painting, and my favorite – a charcoal sketch of my mom when she was in her teens or early twenties.  It was the first time any of us had gone through her work and it was pretty amazing to see the variety and volume she produced!  There was definitely more than one something for everyone, and having some of her creations helps to soften the good-bye a bit.
So now, moving forward as we all must...
I can’t believe it’s already the end of October and the holidays are nearly upon us once again.  The Grinch side of me is like, “Shiz, it’s seriously gonna suck carting a cranky baby all over town on Thanksgiving and Christmas, cuz Lord knows she won’t nap with all that activity...” But my inner Grinch is being overridden by my excitement to see Cady’s reaction to the lights and trees and decorations and presents for the first time. So, I’m actually looking forward to the holidays this year.  A Christmas miracle indeed!  My baby girl has made my heart grow three times its size.
Well of course she has; Cady is pretty perfect I must say.  She’ll be six months old tomorrow and is growing way too quickly.  It really is going by so fast.  She sprung her first tooth a few weeks ago and its next-door neighbor just started peeking through yesterday, so teething has been a ton of fun.  She’s been sampling a few different foods, mostly fruit, and mostly frozen out of her mesh feeder since I never seem to have time to make the mushy food like I planned to.  Oh well.  She’ll learn how to eat out of a spoon eventually!
Besides her eating habits and teeth, Cady is doing great.  She is just dying to crawl, but in the meantime gets around wherever she wants by army-crawling and rolling, and only once has that meant crawling right off the bed.  Uhhh... oops.  At least it was a soft landing on the wadded up comforter!  She loves the cats and they mostly love her back.  Scout lets her grab her hair and ears over and over without getting annoyed.  Atticus has always been skittish around kids, but he’s been very good and is starting to warm up to Cady too.  She is a ridiculously happy baby who has never met a stranger and smiles at everyone and everything.  Not sure where she got that, it certainly doesn’t come from me.
I myself am still enjoying my job, although I keep toying with the idea of getting back on the hunt for something with benefits that pays a little more.  It is just so easy to stay where I am, with a great team and a simple but enjoyable workload.  But I would like to feel a little more challenged and get paid time off, or at least be closer to home.  Hubs’s job seems to be improving and he’s actually up for a promotion!  Keep your fingers crossed that it goes through like it should; I’m always wary when they make promises to him, but this time I’m pretty hopeful.  The accompanying raise will really help us get in a better position to move to a bigger house in the next year or so and the bungalow is feeling a tad crowded these days!
Speaking of which, work has stalled on our front yard makeover, but should be picking up again now that we have our finances in order.  That reminds me I need to take a “before” picture so I can WOW everyone with the improvements once it’s done!  I’m still hoping it will at least be close to finished by Thanksgiving, but at this point I’ll settle for Christmas.  It will be a very nice Christmas present for the whole fam. J
Okay I should probably at least pretend to be working.  I’m honing my excel skills by creating a game for my coworkers.  That’s like work, right?



Stuff is hitting me hard right now.  I’m incredibly grateful for all the good in my life – Cady, Hubs, my family, my friends, my job and coworkers, my home... There is so much to be grateful for.  And I don’t know if it’s still hormones or just parenthood itself, but everything, the good and the bad, feels so much more vivid now.  It’s a good thing, but it is hard to keep it together sometimes, and to let things go other times.
The biggest thing on my mind is that I lost my maternal grandmother this week.  It was expected, she was pretty old and had been on hospice for a few weeks, and before that she’d been bedridden for months.  Of course it’s still hard to lose a loved one regardless of how “prepared” you are. 
She’s my namesake and I look more like her than any of my siblings or cousins do.  I sometimes catch glimpses of myself in the mirror or see one of us in a photograph and notice how similar our gestures and body types are.  I love that.  I hope I’m like her in other ways.  She was so real, down to earth, funny, witty, genuine, strong... It also took her five years to get pregnant, but once she did she went on to have 9 children.  She used to call my grandpa Babe, “because,” she told me, “when he was younger, he really was a babe.”  She told me how marriage was hard and that there were times she wanted to throw in the towel, but she stuck with my grandpa because she told the preacher she would.  She was a gifted painter, a woman of faith, independent and loving, and always had the good gossip on everyone in the family.  I know my grandpa is excited to have her with him again, and I’m sure she is so happy to see him as well after the last few years of being apart.  It’s comforting to think that he was there waiting for her when she passed away.
She met Cady a couple of times, and I am so glad for that.  We went to visit her a couple of weeks ago and she was still lucid, and clearly happy to see the baby.  I was also able to see her one last time the day she passed.  Unfortunately she wasn’t conscious, and her labored breathing made it pretty clear she didn’t have much time left.  Her caretaker told me she hadn’t been really awake (her eyes would open occasionally but it was more of a “blank slate” she said) in 6 days.  But I believe she heard me when I told her I loved her and that I would miss her.  I felt much better having gone, and then that night when we were all in bed, I woke up feeling very strongly that there was a female ‘presence’ in my room.  I frequently think I feel spirits and have never really been sure I believed they were real or that I’m just paranoid, but the next morning I saw that I missed a call from my mom at 11:30 p.m. with a message saying my grandmother had passed away.  And now I believe it wasn’t a coincidence, she was stopping by to check on us.
I decided a few years ago that when my grandma passed away I was going to change the spelling of my name to match hers.  I was named after her, but for some reason my parents gave me the traditional spelling of Mary, and hers is spelled Mari.  I talked to my parents a few months ago to make sure they were okay with it, and my mom said, “I don’t know why I didn’t spell it that way to begin with!” So now it’s time.  I am pretty excited, and hopefully it’s not too much of a pain to do.  The funeral is next Thursday.  Is it wrong to look forward to it?  I just want to be near her one more time I guess, and to talk to my family members about her, hear their memories of her, be in her house...
Lately I’ve been philosophizing a bit about immortality... We’re each made up of all of the people who came before us, so we’re a little piece of immortality and timelessness as we carry that DNA (if we’re related by blood) and/or memories and knowledge (if we’re not).  So I guess, my grandma isn’t really gone, because I carry part of her with me.  I like that.


#2 (Not THAT #2)

Last month hubs and I had a moment of carelessness after enjoying some sake bombs on his birthday.  Cady was with her grandparents for the afternoon and we might have gone just a LITTLE crazy with our temporary freedom.  Of course as soon as I sobered up I did a total facepalm because in no way do I want to get pregnant again right now, and yeah, I stopped taking the pill like two weeks after I started it because it was counteracting my antidepressant.  Supposedly breastfeeding is decent birth control; even if you’re pumping half the time like I am it’s supposed to be like 95% effective for the first 6 months.  Plus with my history it’s not like getting pregnant again should be that easy.  Still, it feels like when Hubs and I were dating and I was constantly paranoid my birth control was going to fail me.
On top of that, I keep having these feelings like, “Aww, now that I know how to take care of a baby I wouldn’t mind doing it again.” And, “A second kid would really complete our family.”  HORMONES - they’ll get you, and they don’t care if you can afford another baby or even have room in your home for another baby.  Cady is barely five months old and I’m already daydreaming about #2.  And DREAMING about it too!  I haven’t had pregnancy dreams in YEARS, even when I was pregnant, but lately I’ve had several.  Last night was a particularly vivid one where I was somehow six months along and just finding out because I was showing (since I haven’t had a period in over a year, which, P.S. is the best thing EVER).
So yes.  I’m pretty sure I want one more, but NOT RIGHT NOW.  Maybe we’ll start trying next summer, after Cady turns one.  And then I am NOT trying for more than a year, and for my 35th birthday (the summer after next) Hubs is getting a vasectomy whether we have a second kid or not.
But maybe I should pee on a stick tonight.  You know, just to be sure.


My new life

I thought I had a clue what life as a parent was going to be like.  I mean, I know lots of parents, and I used to be a kid, and it’s a pretty basic function of society, what’s so mysterious about it?  In a lot of ways, I was right.  Sort of.  I knew it would be expensive, time-consuming, exhausting, adorable, and joyful.  I just didn’t know the degree to which it would be all those things and more.
When people said, “Having a baby changes everything,” they were absolutely right in ways I couldn’t imagine before having one.  I sort of figured my life would be somewhat similar to the way it was pre-baby, and it is to a degree, but I guess I didn’t know that having a baby would change ME as well.  The best way I can describe it is like this:  I love love LOVE Cadence, and it’s sort of like when you first fall in love with your significant other.  You want to be with them all the time and do anything you can for them.  Only, add in the fact that they depend on you for literally everything, so you also HAVE to do everything for them.  And it’s absolutely exhausting.  But you don’t mind (most of the time), because you’re in love.  And nothing else matters nearly as much as being with that baby and taking care of it.  That’s what has hit me the most about being a parent.  It didn’t hit me right away like it apparently does for some people, it came on gradually and got stronger and stronger. 
Because Cadence has become my favorite and most mandatory #1 priority above all else except my Hubster, lots of things have gotten pushed down my list.  Things that maybe other people think should be higher up than they currently are.  Sometimes this pisses people off.  I know the Hubs in particular gets pretty ticked when I don’t help out around the house.  I swear our roles are so reversed in this way, but a messy house doesn’t bother me as much as it bothers him, so he’s quicker to get things done while I could leave the laundry or the dishes for a couple of days before the mess starts getting to me.  Instead, I take care of the baby and get in some snuggle time. 
My blog followers may be ticked that I never post anymore.  Well, I will have you know that I’ve written several posts that have gone unpublished over the past few months.  I write them (sometimes at work), email them to myself or save them with the intent to review and publish them, and then... I forget as soon as I get home.  That’s another thing about having a kid – they make you forgetful.  It’s not a hormonal thing because Hubs is the same way.  For the life of us things just don’t stick like they used to, there’s just so much else taking the place of whatever we used to do!
And my friends may be annoyed or even hurt that I frequently forget to return their messages, sometimes until days (or even, I am sorry to say, WEEKS) later.  Although I always have the best intentions to respond within minutes of reading a text or email, half the time other things just come up.  I stop reading (or writing) in the middle of a sentence because Cady is crying or needs to be changed or fed or picked up off her play mat or is about to eat a fistful of cat hair or roll off the couch.  I never intentionally fail to respond to a message timely, but I’m sure that sometimes it comes across that way.  I have definitely turned into kind of a flake!  But at least after reading this, I hope you can see why, and maybe even cut me some slack for it.
Because you know what?  I’m not sure if I will ever go back to being the old me.  I hope one day soon I can figure out a kind of balance that lets me fulfill my motherly duties and desires, my wifely duties and desires, and have plenty of time leftover for myself and my friends.  That day hasn’t come yet!  And until it does I am very happy that after so many years of wishing and waiting, I can enjoy my new life and my new (and frankly friggin’ adorable) number one priority.


April 24, 2013

Yes, baby Cadence Jane is here!  Sorry for my absence, whenever she is sleeping she's usually on me and that makes it hard to type.  I've been working on this post for weeks!

Cady is a happy, healthy, and of course exceedingly adorable baby who will be six weeks old tomorrow.  She's super alert and smiles a ton, and I think she's even starting to try to laugh.  She's a great sleeper at night - we usually get about 4 hours in a row, followed by a couple of two hour stints between feedings.  Sometimes we'll get up to 6 hours straight!  Sadly she's already outgrown all of her newborn clothes, but at least she can fit into some of her super cute 3 month outfits now.

Hubs and I have been doing pretty well all thing considered (ya know, like having our lives completely flipped upside-down).  We get out of the house as often as possible and have people over whenever they request to see the baby, whether the house is clean or not.  Usually it's not.  Breast feeding was a HUGE challenge at first and Cady actually lost quite a bit of weight that first week because we were just not getting it.  I even thought I wasn't producing enough for a while and spent a week supplementing with formula.  After a couple visits with the lactation consultant though, we finally got it figured out, and except for working on getting a good latch more consistently we've pretty much mastered it.  So much for breast feeding being the most natural thing in the world!

So, birth story: 

I went into labor on a Tuesday night, not knowing what hit me. Was it real contractions, more Braxton Hicks, or just the enchiladas I had for dinner? Turned out it was real contractions. We made it to the hospital at about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday and powered through a few more hours before my mom joined us. I have to say I had an amazing team between Hubs, mom, my midwife, and the nurses.

Anyway, my labor was fairly long - 23 hours altogether, 20+ of which I made it through without any drugs, fully intending to go the distance... But that was before my midwife came in to check me and inform me that in 6 hours I'd only progressed from 6 cm to 8 cm.  Also my contractions never got closer together than 5 minutes, and they were irregular.  About every other contraction I'd have a nice strong one, followed up a minute later with a weaker one.  It was exhausting.  So after that I couldn't deal with the pain on my own anymore, and the thought of pushing that baby out made me seriously consider asking for a c-section. The midwife was suggesting Pitocin, which completely freaked me out because it makes contractions more intense and I was pretty much maxed out on intensity.  Finally I opted for the pitocin plus an epidural.  GREAT decision, by the way.  I was able to nap for about an hour without any pain until it was time to push, and pushing only took me about 20 minutes.   Four contractions and she was out, screaming her head off and already looking around trying to figure out what the hell just happened.

Weight: Cadence was 8 pounds even when she was born, now she is just over 9 pounds.
Length: 19.5 inches at birth, today she's about 22.5 inches long.
Hair: Yep, lots of brown hair that sticks straight up, just like her dad's!  Nope, I didn't have heartburn when I was pregnant.
Eyes: The usual dark grayish-blue at birth, today they're a little lighter but basically the same color.  (Hubs has blue eyes and mine are hazel, so I'm hoping she gets a cool eye color.)

As for me, recovery hasn't been so bad.  The first couple weeks were brutal, not being able to sit down without pain.  I had 4 stitches... inside... that was interesting!  But otherwise it's been pretty status quo.  I'm up two sizes but I don't think I look that much bigger than before I got pregnant.  I did have some pretty gnarly post partum depression for those first two weeks too. Luckily I'd already started taking my meds again so it was blessedly short lived. 

So there you have it!  I'm on maternity leave for another 4 (maybe 5) weeks.  I can't believe how fast it's going by!  Hopefully I'll be able to post more before I go back to work.  Until then, here's the cutest picture I have of CJ so far:



Today I went in for my weekly OB appointment, at 40 weeks 1 day. Baby is doing fine, ultrasound showed plenty of fluid so there was no need for any serious induction talk just yet. I was still only 1 cm ("A nice, loose one," the midwife said. To which Hubs replied, "That's what I said when I met her!" Wah-wah...) so she wound up stripping my membranes. OH MY GOOD GOD was that unpleasant. Apparently this procedure is supposed to get the prostoglandins going and help start labor, and combined with the sexin' we did this morning maybe something will actually work. So far I just feel crampy and extra uncomfortable. If she holds out another week we go back next Monday for another ultrasound and more fingers in my hoo-hah.

I've been getting plenty of sleep this weekend and today, as folks are always advising me to do before the kid arrives, and I still feel tired and grumpy. Hubs got the afternoon off today, and is also off tomorrow, so lucky he will get to experience my moodiness to the utmost. He handled it pretty well today and got me a tub full of hot water for a nice peppermint foot soak to help relax me. Smart hubby! 

I decided to risk the migraines for the past week or so and start eating all the crap I want again, and what do you know, I got a migraine yesterday. So now I'm back to getting to have no fun at all limiting my sugar intake. Dammit. I'm planning to stock up on frozen fruit tomorrow so I can at least make some smoothies and pretend they're ice cream.

So the wait continues, as do my bland posts. Hopefully I'll be able to share some excitement soon.


Leaving and waiting

I wish I could say this with more energy and enthusiasm, but I'm on leave!  WOOHoooooooooo... 

Yeah I didn't get much sleep last night and I am about ready for a nap.  Baby girl has been head-butting the ol' cervix which is a very uncomfortable and shocking sensation.  Ouch.  Oh, and she's positioned a little farther back than is ideal, so reclining for any length of time eventually results in a similarly shocking sensation to the ol' poop chute.  On top of that, not only are my hips sore from spreading and side-sleeping, but my shoulders are getting sore at night too.  There is just no comfortable position anymore.  So I guess it was the perfect timing to go on leave!  I just wish I had better hopes for getting some rest before the big day arrives.

Tomorrow is my EDD.  I can't believe it.  And now that it's almost time, I'm starting to get scared about pooping this baby out!  I don't feel prepared.  I've been, shall we say, less than diligent about performing the exercises I learned in my birthing class, and I'm really starting to regret not doing the perineum massages they recommended.  Especially after hearing about my SIL's EIGHT stitches following the birth of her first.  What can I do, though?  I will practice my meditation techniques and keep reminding myself that the epidural is there if I want it!

My boss asked me what I'm going to do while I'm at home waiting for the baby.  Personally I think it will be a thrilling time of cleaning the house, napping, eating, watching crappy daytime TV, and putting the finishing touches on the baby's room.  (That's a lot!  I am going to be extremely busy.)  I spent last weekend working on a little art project for baby VonD - a somewhat creepy owl made out of cut-out pieces of scrapbook paper.  Hopefully it doesn't give her nightmares.  It's the eyes, they are giant and I think the paper I used for the pupils was a little too busy.  I'm hoping to soften it up a little by making a couple little woodland creature friends to go along with him - maybe a squirrel and a snail.  I figure I can't possibly screw up such innocuous animals enough to freak out an infant, right?  Let's hope.

Also this weekend is going to be particularly action-packed!  Today I'm getting a pedicure and having lunch with my friend T, and tomorrow I'm having coffee with my friend J, and then picking up my sister's rocking chair to borrow for the kid's room.  Monday I go back to the doctor to get felt up again AND get an ultrasound, and then Hubs actually has Tuesday off so that will be nice for us to get to hang out.

All assuming no baby of course! :)


A whole centimeter

Went to the doc today and found out I'm dilated one whole centimeter. I was all excited about it until I googled it later and saw nothing but a bunch of bitches bitching about being only a cm at 39 weeks. Well fine. So now I'm impatient too, thankyouverymuch, internet bitches.

So now comes the time where I try anything to get this baby out. Hubs and I did some sex yesterday; who knows, maybe that's what got me to the 1 cm point today! Either way, it's supposed to be the best natural way to get labor going so I'm gonna try that again. I'll also be having a spicy dinner tonight (if nothing else maybe it will get some other things moving if you catch my drift (you're welcome)), and going for a nice long walk tomorrow. Oh and bouncing on my yoga ball, but just cuz that's a generally good time.

I somehow managed to get it into my head a few weeks ago that I'll beat my due date by a couple of days. No reason for it, just a hunch, and I'm still hopeful that it will happen. But I'm also realistic enough to be afraid of having to get induced. It's hard to keep neutral and positive as the end draws near! I'm more like swinging from one extreme thought to another, with my moods following closely behind. Hubs keeps me in check most of the time though. Truly, what's a couple more weeks of waiting in the scheme of things, especially after years of waiting?

I have more or less decided this is going to be my last week at work. This weekend was brutal - I'm not sleeping well and I only got about 5 hours on Saturday night. (Don't judge me, I need a solid 8-9 hours when I'm not pregnant!) Then Sunday was really busy and by 5:00 p.m. my entire body was aching all over, and I was ready for bed before 8:00. (By the way this product: Hot Cherry Therapeutic Pillow gave me immediate relief for my super achey legs; I highly recommend it!) If I make it through the rest of this week, I just know it has to be my last at work. I'm spent! And really, it's probably not the smartest thing to continue working if I do go past my due date. I'm not really keen on the idea of soiling my office chair with amniotic fluid...

Time for my spicy dinner! If you see me back here I didn't go into labor. Probably. Unless it's a really slow labor, then I might come back and post just to pass the time.


Just a little update

The countdown is on!  I just wish I knew how long that countdown was going to be.  My EDD is in 10 days, but of course we know that doesn't mean much.  I could go into labor tonight or I could be waiting for another 3+ weeks!  Well, we know that, but everyone else seems to think they know better.  I've had people tell me I'll definitely be going into labor early (judging by how far I've dropped I guess), and others tell me to sit tight because I'm going to be late (judging by the fact that my mom went past her EDD with all 4 of hers, and that this is my first).  Ah, science!  It's amazing how many people turn into medical professionals when there's a pregnant lady in their midst.

I've been spending a lot of time overanalyzing every little twinge and hoping it means labor is nigh.  In reality, though, I have no signs of impending labor.  At my doctor's appointment on Monday they'll check me for dilation for the first time, woo!  Here's hoping for some progress!

Nothing much else has been going on; I am the epitome of boring.  I'm still working but not doing a whole lot other than that.  There's still a few things left to do baby-wise, number one on the list being to pack my hospital bag!  Yeah, yeah, the procrastination never ends with me.  But her room is more or less ready and we have everything we need to start raising a baby human.  Including some super cute new outfits that I couldn't resist buying last week!  I already had enough clothes for the first few months, but I hadn't picked any of them out myself with the exception of her coming home outfit.  So I just had to buy a few things and put my own touch on her wardrobe, and I'm so glad I did.  It was really fun.

So yep, that's about it!  Keep your fingers crossed for a delivery that's sooner rather than later, and I'll keep you posted. :)



Happy Easter to me - today I'm 37 weeks and officially full term!  Things are going fine except for the occasional migraine, which have gotten fewer and farther between over the past week or so.  I haven't had any Braxton Hicks or anything like that; just waiting for the little bambina to decide to make her appearance.  Which, for the record, I'd be totally okay with being any day now.  Yep, aaaaaany day she feels like she's ready.  Seriously.  Whenever would be fine.

Not that I'm getting impatient or anything, I'm just a little... okay I'm impatient.  I do feel pretty good, I'm still working and I'm trying to hold out for another two weeks before I take my leave.  I just have this feeling she's going to be late and I'd rather spend my time off work with my baby than sitting around the house for weeks waiting for my baby.  And it's not that I haven't enjoyed being pregnant, overall anyway.  But I'm dying to meet my kid and it does get a little old not being able to do fun stuff like roll over in bed, or fit into my maternity jeans anymore, or tie my own shoes, or for the love of all that is holy take a poop...  So yeah, I could be happy being done with all that at any point...

Her room is just about ready now.  It is super dang cute and once it's all together I'll post pictures!  I still need to find or make some artwork for the walls, install the closet organizer and finish putting all her gear away (which is currently taking up quality real estate in the middle of my living room).  But hey, at least we have everything now, and the office is no more, and she has a place to live!  That is serious progress.

Last week we had what I think is our last ultrasound and got a sorta decent picture of her face, which is as adorable as a shadowy gray and black image can be!  She's such a punk though, the tech tried again to get us a 3D image but as soon as she put the wand on my belly the baby turned her back to it and we didn't get a chance to see her face again.  Also I asked for confirmation of her girliness, but she was too scrunched up in there to see anything.  So I'm just hoping she's "still" a girl, only because I really don't want to paint over the big flowery tree my friend J and I spent all last Sunday creating on her wall!  And people have been trying to freak me out me all week saying stuff like, "You never know, techs have been known to be wrong!" and "Cousin J thought she was having a girl until little N was born!"  And then a couple of random strangers have "informed" me that I'm having a boy.  But it's not like I can worry about that now, we just have to wait and see at this point!

In other sorta related news, my new niece was born on Thursday!  Hubs's brother and his wife had their third (and last) little girl, and she is just adorable.  It was a scheduled c-section but she actually went into labor that morning so the timing couldn't have been more perfect.  They are all back home today and doing great!  I can't wait until the little cousins get to meet in person :)

Hope everyone had a happy Easter!


Day off

I've got my neurologist appointment today, and I'm taking the day off from work.  So here I am in my fluffy robe, surrounded by sleeping kitties, thinking about what else I should do with my day. 

It's more for practicality's sake that I'm staying home from work, since even I agree I probably shouldn't be driving for any extended period of time while I have the potential to go blind at any moment.  And with the appointment in the middle of the day Hubs can't leave work to cart me all over god's creation.  So rather than drive myself 30 minutes to work and back for my appointment, I'll only have to drive 5 or 10 minutes to and from the doctor's office.  I've convinced myself migraines are the culprit so I'm not too worried about what the doctor will say, and I actually haven't had an "episode" since Friday.  Hopefully cutting back on sugar has done the trick!  I still get annoying headaches pretty regularly but no scary blindness for a few days now (knock on wood).

Now.  What to do with the rest of my day?  I have an office full of baby swag beckoning to me and I really want to make some progress on that nursery.  Ooh, I feel a tangent coming on...  Holy crap we got a lot of stuff at the shower!  Which, by the way, was an awesome party; my friends really pulled out all the stops!  When I told them about my preferences I just had a vague idea of what I wanted, and they literally made EVERYTHING I suggested (even just in passing) happen.  And it all fit together PERFECTLY.  I don't know how they did it!  We had a s'mores bar, a candy bar, and a popcorn bar, plus alllll kinds of yummy food and cupcakes.  There was the photo booth, and a bunch of little game stations throughout the house which no one was pressured into playing but a lot of people did.  Everything was so casual and fun for the guests - guys drank beer and did their thing, ladies drank cosmos (or in my case iced tea) and talked lady stuff; some people drove in from out of town and hung out all day, and some stopped by for half an hour before heading off somewhere else.  We had at least 50 guests (not including kids) show up, so it was hoppin' but not too crowded with people coming and going.  It was just absolutely perfect and I loved it!  As soon as I have some pictures I will post them for you.

So yeah.  Roomful of baby swag now, which is still in gift bags and tucked neatly into the one empty closet in the house, while the bigger items are in boxes in the middle of the office.  I'm thinking I ought to go buy paint for the dressers and the tree I want to paint on the wall.  Yes, paint should be priority #1.  And if I buy it today, there's a good chance that Hubs might actually do the painting tomorrow on his day off!  Look at me, I'm a genius.  Alrighty then, time to get stuff done!


Too excited

Today is like Christmas, only better because it only happens like ONCE EVER, and I NEVER thought it was going to happen for me.  Today is SHOWER DAY!!  Woooooo!!!

I woke up without a headache too!  Double WOOOO!  I've been trying to figure out what's triggering these things (I'm pretty convinced they're migraines) and I have a feeling it might be at least partially due to the massive amounts of sugar I've been ingesting for the past month or so.  So I've been cutting back and the past 2 days have seemed a little better.  I did have one episode yesterday but it was very short-lived compared to the others.  Hopefully the neurologist will agree that my brain is unlikely to explode.

So.  Breakfast, shower (as in bathing myself), mani-pedi, then PARTY TIME!  I can't waaaaaaaiiiit!



I guess this pregnancy has just been going too smoothly!  Now all of a sudden I've been getting these weird headaches for the past several days.  The best way I can describe them is like mini migraines: First my eyes start going and I can't focus on what's right in front of me.  Then I start seeing halos or auras that gradually expand and move from the center of my vision to the periphery until it eventually fades away.  Meanwhile the headache kicks in on one side of my head (usually the side opposite to where the halo moves), then my eyes feel really tired, like there's pressure on them, and I feel like I just want to lie down.  It all usually goes away after an hour or two and the headache doesn't get nearly as severe as a regular migraine, but I've gotten them every day this week and it's getting a little worrisome.

So today I went to my OB who confirmed it is not preeclampsia, referred me to a neurologist and gave me a note to miss work and basically be on modified bed rest "until further notice."  Well, I can't really afford to miss work since I'm temp and if I don't work I don't get paid!  But I'm taking today off, and assuming I don't feel any worse tomorrow I'm planning on going in.  Hubs and I carpool, so I figure as long as I'm not driving I'm safe enough at work, and that way he's only a couple blocks away instead of on the other side of the county like he would be if I were at home.  The baby is fine, wiggling around like crazy and has a nice strong heartbeat, so I don't think there's anything to worry about there.  My neurologist appointment is on Tuesday, and with any luck they'll tell me it's just migraines and not tumors or that my brain is going to explode.  I felt a little better after talking to my mom today; she told me a similar thing happened to her when she was 4 or 5 months pregnant with my brother and it turned out to be migraines.  She took a few days off work and was fine.  Migraines run in the family big time, and although I usually only get them every few years, pregnancy can do weird things to you.

In happier news my shower is this weekend and I'm pretty excited about that!  Hard to believe it is already just around the corner.

Okay I think I'm gonna take a cue from the cats (who are currently curled up on either side of me) and take myself a little nap right now!


Put a label on it

I am still following Resolve on FB, do many of you follow them?

Now, maybe I'm just not that observant (okay, I know I'm not all that observant) but have the comments on Resolve's FB posts always been so judgy and divisive?  This morning they posted an article about childfree living being a fulfilling alternative to infertility, something I thought sounded nice enough, but the comments really bothered me.  Most were along the lines of "The term 'childfree' is offensive to infertiles."  

So, I get that some infertiles don't like the term "childfree" because they don't feel it's appropriately descriptive of their feelings about their status.  They don't feel that they are "free" of children, and they are still grieving the children they might have had.  But there are also infertiles who have or are or want to move on from their grief and embrace being "childfree." They don't feel like they're lacking anything, so "childless" would be the more offensive term to them.

Whether you are childless or childfree or nonparents or furparents or aunties or unattached-fuck-buddies or whatever else you want to call yourself is entirely personal and specific to your situation.  And there is never going to be a single term that everyone agrees is appropriate for everybody.  So why are people getting their panties in a bunch over a word?

Moreover, I'd go so far to say that even trying to come up with generalized, so-called appropriate terms that satisfy everyone's needs is kind of offensive.  Doing so strips us of our individuality and creates barriers between us.  Why do we feel the need to be compartmentalized?  I feel the same way about describing my race on government forms - for one, the choices are usually entirely inaccurate given the mix of races in the U.S. today, and two, who the F cares what my nationality and/or skin color is???  Marking the "white" box might be somewhat descriptive but it doesn't say a thing about me.

Okay, that was a bit of a tangent, sorry.  What I mean to say is, all of our situations are different.  I know sometimes we like to group ourselves together because we want to feel less alone, particularly when it comes to something difficult like infertility.  But even then there is no one who's been through exactly what you have.  And it bothers me when I notice that the focus of a "support group" strays from supporting one another in their necessarily individual struggles, hopes, goals and accomplishments, and instead zones in on trivial things that not only push themselves further away from the "outside" world, but build walls between their own members as well.  


32 weeks

32 Weeks today and holy shit.  I still have moments where I look at Hubs and say, "I can't believe we're going to have a kid."  (I know, I should say "child" like my MIL prefers, but I don't, hehe.)  It's so surreal to be pregnant and it's hard picturing life as a parent!

I have a feeling once we really get going on her room it'll become more real.  So far not much has changed around the house.  We managed to get her closet and built-in cabinets and drawers cleaned out to start making room, but the office is still an office otherwise.  Everything is planned though!  It's going to be really cute and colorful and fun, so I'm excited; I'm just a procrastinator.  Story of my life.

My shower is only three weeks away!  Another thing I procrastinated on - making a guest list and getting addresses together for my friends who are planning it.  Finally got them all today though, it's not TOO too late, right?  Oh well.  After deciding to do an open-house, co-ed shindig at my in-laws' house, and then writing out our initial guest list and coming up with over 100 people, I was really stressing.  That was just way too many people, and I couldn't decide who to cut... especially since I'd already told a bunch of people about it and let them know they'd be invited.  Oops!  So I talked to my mom who made me feel better about cutting out some family members who live hours away.  Then I talked to my MIL who told me to just invite everyone and not worry about it.  It's open-house so as long as the invitations are clear about it being a "stop by at your own convenience" kind of thing everyone won't be there all at once.  So that's what I did.  Yep.  We're inviting well over 100 people and damn the consequences!  It's gonna be a regular rager.

Now, because I'm hormonal and everything annoys me these days, I need to vent.  As I mentioned I totally slacked on getting the guest list out to my friends.  Well, the other day I messaged a bunch of the invitees on FB requesting their addresses so I could do so.  One of these people was my aunt, who in her reply made sure to "ask" that her DIL also be invited.  Ahem.  First of all, yes, she is invited.  She and my cousin live with my aunt and uncle, so even if I didn't want to invite them (which for the record was not the case, even when I thought I had to shorten the list) I kind of have to.  Second, don't tell me who to invite.  Third, don't insinuate that I intended to be rude and not including the cousins who live closest to me of all my cousins.  Okay so that ticked me off and I didn't reply, just figured she'll be happy when they all get their invitations this week and no one was forgotten.  So then today I get another message from her.  Seems my aunt spoke with her other son's wife and that DIL hadn't heard anything about the shower, so could I make sure to include her too.  Ahem again.  She is already on the GD list.  I included said second cousin himself on the original message (not his wife because I see him post stuff on FB but rarely her).  Quit looking for nonexistant drama, people!  I replied as non-irritatedly as I could that yes, everyone is invited, guys too (since she was only apparently concerned about the ladies I figured she missed the whole "co-ed" thing), and that the invitations will be going out this week.  Sigh...  Maybe I shouldn't be annoyed.  Maybe I should just be really, incredibly flattered that my aunt thinks our shower is going to be such a major event that her DILs would be devastated if they didn't make the guest list.  Well, everyone can rest easy tonight knowing that they can all bask in my glowing presence soon enough.

So yeah, aside from the mood swings I'm feeling pretty good these days!  Sure, there are the hot flashes and leg cramps and constipation and utter forgetfulness and exhaustion and the boobs that won't stop growing and the sore ass and shortness of breath just from rolling over in bed, but it could really be so much worse.  I'm honestly very grateful that I'm as comfortable as I am, and that baby girl is healthy and active.  So no complaints here!  Except the ones about people who annoy me of course.  Which are numerous.


This week thus far

Poor little Scout got fixed yesterday.  Is it weird that I felt a little twinge of guilt about that decision?  I'm sure she doesn't care one way or the other, but I just felt a tiny bit wrong taking away her ability to procreate.  Just writing that makes me want to laugh, it's so silly, right?  She is a cat, after all.  And I do agree with Bob Barker's famous sign-off to control the pet population!  Plus I really don't want every stray cat in the neighborhood spraying my house when she goes into heat.  Anyway, she's doing fine.  Poor thing was so swollen yesterday, but she was still dying to play even though she couldn't move around as well as usual and Atticus refused to have anything to do with her since she came home from the vet apparently smelling funky.  Today she seems to have forgotten all about her surgery and for the life of me I can't get her to take it easy and quit jumping and climbing on everything.  I guess that's a good sign though! 

Yesterday I also had a good doctor's appointment.  The results of my glucose screen came back fine, so I can continue giving in to my insane sugar cravings... Cookies and ice cream and candy... Mmmmm...  Got my rhogam shot too, wee.  Also Hubs and I got a lot of questions answered.  You already know I'm leaning on the hippie side of wanting a natural birth - no induction, try anything to prevent a c-section, and (GULP) going to try to avoid an epidural.  Well Hubs and I were even starting to consider going to a birth center instead of the hospital, but we both really like our doctor's office and didn't want to have to switch.  Luckily, we got acceptable answers to all our questions, so we're sticking with our decision to give birth at the hospital, with a midwife rather than one of the doctors.  It is so weird to be thinking about these kinds of things and making these decisions now.  It's like when I was first learning about infertility, taking in all the information I could, and deciding what path to take toward family-building.  And at the same time, it sort of feels like the culmination of all that combined knowledge...  If that makes any sense...

Today I felt the baby get the hiccups for the first time.  It was pretty cute.  She's moving like crazy lately, hopefully into a nice, comfortable head-down position.

So what I meant to do tonight was make a plan and set goals for turning the office into the baby's room, but instead I went on Pinterest and then spent way too much time writing this post.  And now it's time for bed.  So the nursery waits another day... or week... or whatever.  Good night.


Stress, fertility, and happiness

A friend asked me the other day if I thought that having less stress in my life contributed to me getting pregnant.  Now before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, know that the last thing she meant was to be rude, and she certainly is not ignorant about infertility.  I've shared my journey quite openly with her from the start, and she knows that the whole "relaxation = pregnancy" thing gets on my nerves like nobody's business.  But, given my particular situation I have to admit it's something I've thought about myself, and something that I still don't have a straight answer for.

For one, I never had a real strong diagnosis for my infertility.  If you're someone who has blocked fallopian tubes, problems ovulating, poor sperm count/quality, or any of the host of other physical issues that can cause infertility, it's a fair assertion that your emotional state has no bearing on your fertility.  But for me, even though I absolutely hated it (er, still do) when people would come anywhere near suggesting that "relaxing" might help, I always wondered if there might be a shred of truth to it.  I mean, severe and chronic stress can cause physical symptoms, and I saw that firsthand in my own health on more than one occasion.

So, before my lap, Hubs and I both passed all our fertility tests with flying colors.  Which of course did nothing but frustrate me more.  And although my lap came back showing I had stage II endo, I still sort of considered myself "unexplained" because having a handful of spots here and there (and no real damage) on my guts just didn't seem severe enough to keep me from conceiving for so long.  Yes, we did conceive about 7 months later (which I still believe acupuncture helped facilitate), but it wasn't until another two years after that that we achieved a successful pregnancy (knock on wood; 11 weeks to go!).  They say if you don't conceive within two years of removing the endo that the lap probably didn't help, and I was definitely past the 2 year mark.  Though I will also say that doctors can be and often are wrong about these things!  Hell, one told me I had a 1 in 1,000 chance of getting pregnant naturally and I showed him a thing or two.

On the other hand, we started TTC at the exact same time I started my job at the 7th Circle of Hell, and I felt noticeably more anxious on a daily basis starting from week one.  Perhaps also notably, I was on antidepressants for a few years before starting TTC (and that job), and I stopped taking them when we started trying.  Fast forward three years and I was totally burned out, a good 15 pounds lighter,  spending several mornings a week crying and having dry heaves as I got ready for work, and of course seriously considering taking a leave of absence.

Still, my last day in Hell was over a year since my miscarriage, and we'd stopped TTC many months prior.  I was definitely not contemplating the possibilities of pregnancy, and even less so was I thinking about it 6 months later when I decided to go back on antidepressants.  All I cared about was that I still wasn't feeling like myself and I was tired of being sad and anxious all the time.  I started Wellbutrin and a couple months later I was noticeably happier... after a few more months I found myself quite unexpectedly expecting.

I'm still torn between thinking that the existence of this little wiggly life in me was a total fluke and that my improved mental state might have had a hand in it.  If nothing else it was certainly serendipitous to have regained some sense of contentment just before getting pregnant.  Pregnancy is challenging physically, mentally, and emotionally, and any little bit of preparedness helps.  I can't say for sure how or why it happened when it did (or at all!), but I do have a feeling that all of the good things that have happened for me over the past couple of years are a kind of tangled up circle of causes and effects of each other and my own efforts to stay positive and open to new possibilities.  It might be possible that a healthy mind and an open, positive outlook have an effect on fertility, but I've found that more importantly those things definitely have an effect on happiness.


The bullet points

  • Today I start my third trimester.  The past six - almost seven - months have simultaneously been the longest and shortest of my life.  How can it feel like last August was years ago and weeks ago at the same time?  I can't explain it but it does.  And the 12-13 weeks that loom ahead feel similarly like they'll never end and will be over in an instant.  I'm trying to embrace every moment because it may just be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  (And if I'm being totally honest I don't know how sad I'd be if that turns out to be the case.  We'll see how I feel about it in a year or so.)
  • I hate unsolicited advice.  I'm no stranger to it of course, and I'm sure you aren't either, but I think it's only going to get worse now that I'm about to be a first time mom.  Everyone who already has a kid will be coming out of the woodwork to tell me the "right" way to do things, and it has already started.  You make one innocuous comment about how cute baby shoes are and someone has to chime in with what brand you should buy because otherwise you will destroy your kid's feet.  I get it, they're probably just trying to be helpful, and maybe it was something they didn't know until they had kids.  But I hate the general school of thought that just because someone doesn't have kids means they know nothing about them.
  • I think I mentioned that Hubs and I are doing the Bradley method for our birth class.  We've been going for a few weeks now and I like it, except that it's kinda boring.  If you don't know anything about Bradley, basically its focus is on natural childbirth, understanding how to work with your body during labor and birth, and learning relaxation methods to help you through the pain (similar to the meditation methods I've been practicing for the past couple years).  As you might expect, my class is half-filled with hippie granola types who are planning home births.  I'm not planning a home birth, although after being in the class for a few weeks I can definitely see the appeal, so more power to them.  I'm with the other half of the group planning regular ol' hospital births; just hoping I can make it through without pitocin or an epidural or (god help me) a C-section.  I don't have strong feelings about how women in general "should" give birth, but I feel that for me, if at all possible, I'd like to experience it as it is, and I believe that my body will be able to handle it (or be handled by it).
  • My job is still going really well, still learning a lot, still like my coworkers and my boss.  Actually my boss is pretty freaking amazing.  She keeps offering me hand-me-downs, which I will gladly take off her hands.  Plus, the other day she told me that if my schedule (9:30-6:30) isn't convenient after the baby is born that she's okay with me switching to earlier hours.  Ummm... freaking amazing!  I didn't even have to ask, but I had been thinking about it.  After three years of torture at my last job, I didn't believe that places like this (and bosses like her) even existed anymore.  
  • I'm still working weekends with the DJ too, and it is exhausting!  It's bridal show season so that's what I've been doing most Sundays for the past month.  I don't mind so much, except that it's sales, sales, sales, and I am just not a salesperson.  I'm an introvert.  I don't like striking up conversations with random people, I get flustered when I feel like I'm trying to sell someone something, and for the life of me I can't close a sale, which at these shows just means getting a potential client to book an appointment.  (Which you would think would be easy because why else are these brides there except to find vendors for their weddings?  But a surprising amount of them act like they don't want anyone to talk to them.)  It's starting to stress me out.  But they pay me whether or not I book any appointments and it's only for another month and we really need the money, sooo...  I will suck it up and try to make the best of it.
  • Baby shower planning mode is on, and we've decided on a casual, co-ed, open house style shindig instead of a traditional shower.  I'm excited!  We can invite lots of people this way and it won't be weird for the guys because the games are all set up to be optional with no timeline, and I won't be opening gifts.  
  • Okay that's all I can think of for now unless you want to hear about how Atticus has been using the (lid-less) litter box we got for Scout, missing the litter and peeing all over my walls and floors from inside the box.  Never a dull moment...


Lots of stuff about baby

We found out we're having a girl!  Now someone please help me come up with names because we're seriously struggling.  We've been talking about boy names for weeks and now we have to switch gears, and nothing sounds good.  I don't want anything too trendy or too bland, I like old-fashioned but not fuddy-duddy, and uncommon but not made-up sounding.  So far the only name that's securely on our list is Mari Joy, and we'd call her Joy.  (Mari is pronounced the same as Mary, but it's the spelling of my grandmother's name.  And see?  That's already too complicated because everyone is going to pronounce it "MAH-ree" when they read it, and being "Kitty, not Katie" and answering "How did you get Kitty from Mary?" my whole life makes me want to avoid any names requiring explanation.)  Okay, so... GO!

I told my new employer early this week that I'm expecting, and they were extremely cool about it.  RELIEF!  The job is going well.  It's just enough of a challenge that I'm not bored, I'm learning a lot of new things which is great, and I really like everyone in my little department (there are four of us).  Emotionally I'm feeling a lot better these days too and the job is a big part of that.  I feel like I'm contributing to the household again (which makes sense because I am), not feeling nearly as anxious all the time, and I have a bit of confidence back.  Thank goodness!

As for baby bump pics, I've been really bad about taking them.  I think the last one we took was around 15 weeks, and now I'm at 26.  I'm just lazy!  So much for creating a flip book of my burgeoining belly.  (Just kidding, I wasn't really going to make a flip book.)  But I suppose I can take a second to provide you with a shot, just because you're so nice.

You're probably wondering how my boss didn't already know I'm pregnant!  Well, basically I wore as concealing of clothing as possible for a couple of days and avoided giving anyone a profile view.  Like I said before, I'm sure she suspected.  Plus I swear I popped out a little bit more just over the past few days.

I'm almost in the third trimester and it still feels weird to have a belly sticking out in front of me.  Also, really weird to have something moving around inside said belly.  She's still feet-down, and I get a lot of shots to the cervix which is definitely the weirdest.  Last night I was almost asleep when all of a sudden I got hit there with what felt like both feet and I jumped!  Ugh.  I'm definitely going to start doing the exercises my doctor gave me to try to get her to turn.  As she gets bigger the kicks are obviously more intense and uncomfortable, plus I really, really, REALLY want to do whatever I possibly can to try to avoid a c-section just in case she has no intentions of turning herself.

So three months to go and I haven't begun to start working on the baby's room, which is now the office.  And what a tornado of an office it is.  And that's why I'm procrastinating - it is such a daunting clean-up project.  I already decided I'm not painting any walls.  They're a nice sandy color that will go with just about anything and painting sucks.  I did find some crib bedding I like - ladybugs!  So we're going with a red color scheme.  But I can't do any of the fun stuff until the room is clean... I'll get to it eventually.

Okay lots to do today and I'm procrastinating again, as usual.  So peace out!


New year, new news

So I got me a job.  It's temp but with an open-ended contract so it's potentially long-term and could lead to full-time.  My that's a lot of hyphens for one sentence!  It happened really fast - I had an interview on Thursday morning, they offered me the job that afternoon, and I started working on Friday.  It's with a vendor for B of A, basically working in Excel all day long.  But it seems pretty low-pressure, the environment is business casual (I actually get to wear jeans to work!  That alone is worth the huge pay cut), plus it's just a hop and skip away from where Hubs works and I have the exact same hours as he does so we'll be able to commute together.  I haven't told them yet that I'm pregnant, I figure I will sometime next week.  I think it's pretty obvious and I'd be surprised if they didn't suspect, but I wore some loose-fitting tops both days I was there so they might be totally clueless.  At any rate I don't want them to think I'm trying to pull something over on them, plus I'm about out of tops that camouflage my belly (however poorly), so I figure honesty is best.

In the meantime, the wedding business is booming.  Well, in a manner of speaking anyway.  I have three weddings booked for this year so far, and the organizer of the same bridal show I went to over the summer offered me free table space in exchange for some balloons at their January show next week.  I am so getting the sweet end of that deal!  I'm still working weekends with the DJ too, so I think life is about to get ridiculously busy.  I'm trying not to worry about how everything is going to work out this summer with a baby, a business, and a full time job.  It's hard to think too far past my due date anyway though; one thing at a time!

The pregnancy is still going smoothly, knock on wood.  I'm 25 weeks along now.  We have our second chance to find out the baby's sex on Monday.  On the one hand I'm excited to know what it is, but on the other I'm pretty used to not knowing so it won't be the end of the world if he/she decides to be difficult again.  I do think knowing would help us finally decide on some names at least, though!  I should have figured someone as indecisive as I am would have a particularly hard time picking out a name for my kid.  Next week we also start our birth classes, which I'm kind of excited about.  We're doing the Bradley Method.  Like so many women before me I'm hoping for a natural childbirth, but I'm not going to kid myself about how tough I am - my miscarriage was pretty excruciating and that was only 8 weeks along; I'm sure childbirth will be exponentially worse.  If it's more than I can handle I'm not going to hesitate to ask for the juice and no one is going to make me feel guilty about it.

Hubs has demanded that I talk more about how great he is on my blog.  I told him he's worse than me about fishing for compliments.  But I will close with this: He's been such an amazing provider while I've been unemployed these past many, many months.  On top of that, he never put pressure on me to find a job and has been super supportive of my starting a business that doesn't make much money.  I always knew he'd be an amazing dad, and he's always been an awesome husband, but he's been so impressive during this most recent struggle of ours that I'm finally learning to accept that I don't have to worry so much, and that no matter what happens we'll be okay.  So, thanks my love.  You're a better husband than I would've even thought to ask for!