Saturday, August 28, 2010

body image

i've been feeling a lot like this lately...

when i looked in the mirror recently, i couldn't help but notice a resemblance... i've told ben he can just start calling me "fatty gorilla" - okay, so maybe i'm not quite as hairy, but everything else feels about right. i'm okay with it though. it's not a depressing "fatty gorilla" feeling, but more so being able to poke fun at myself. i'm sure i'll probably regret encouraging this new nick-name, but for now we'll go with it. i have warned ben, though, that if he calls me "fatty gorilla" during delivery, i will probably fling pooh at him in true gorilla style.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

ben's guts

ben informed me last night that his gut feeling tells him this baby is gonna come early.

"oh? how early?" i asked a little nervously. who knows, it could be nothing, or it could be God trying to prepare us? only time will tell, but his response was, "2 weeks, so you'd be 38 weeks."


so if ben's guts are right, we'll have a baby girl (another gut feeling of his) in our arms on or around october 2nd. which gives us two weeks to settle in to the owatonna house (assuming it will in fact be ready by mid-september).

something to think about, that's for sure.

speaking of gut feelings on whether this baby is a girl or a boy, i suppose i should mention all the other "gut feelings" and predictors we've heard. (for the record, i put no stock in these whatsoever; we're either going to have a boy or a girl, and so far the only foolproof way to figure that one out is to check between the legs.)

anyhow, here's what we've found though - most point to us having a boy:

first, the chinese gender chart - using how old the mother is at the time of conception and the month the baby was conceived, found 700 years ago in some cave? supposedly, it's said to be over 90% correct. the funny thing is, i've seen charts that vary... but of the various ones i've looked at, all have said "boy" for 26 in january.

then there's the wedding ring test - dangle the mother's wedding ring on a thread or strand of hair over her belly while she lays down, if it swings back and forth, like a pendulum, the baby is a boy, but if it swings in a circle, the baby is a girl. the first time i picked up the ring, it went back and forth immediately. i tried it a few more times, and sometimes it'd start out in slight circular motions, or the ring would be twisting around, but it would always end up pendulum. i'm guessing the laws of physics have more to do with this one than my child's anatomy.

next, the knife/scissors test - someone puts a knife (we did this at my baby shower, and don't worry, they used a butter knife) under a pillow and a pair of scissors under another pillow while the mother is in another room. they have her come back and decided which pillow to sit down on. if she sits on the one with the knife (which i did), then she's having a boy; scissors for a girl.

and according to this questionnaire, i have a 54% chance of having a boy and a 46% chance of having a girl. might as well call it what it really is at this point - 50/50! :P

last but not least, there was the very "courteous" older gentleman that came in for a tasting when i worked at the wine shop back in wyoming.

as i was pouring him a glass of wine, he told me i was having a girl, and that his method has only been wrong once or twice (he failed to mention how many times he'd been right... or how many time he'd been throat-punched by not-so-patient pregnant women as myself). i curiously asked his method (as i'd heard so many), and he replied "well, when a woman is pregnant with a boy, she is beautiful and radiant, because the two compliment each other. but when she is having a girl, she (and this is when i could tell he was starting to eat his words, but i kept smiling and nodding anyhow), well, she looks more worn down and tired, and you look tired. it's because you and your little girl offset each other."

"oh, okay, that makes sense." i really didn't know what else to say. i think we made more small talk, and then he paid and left.

but really, mister, even if she's the love child of quasimotto's twin sister and frankenstein's monster, you never - even inadvertently - tell a pregnant woman that she's not glowingly radiant or gloriously beautiful. that's just not good manners, and definitely not safe for your health (especially if you run into us on our highly emotional, completely sleep-deprived, overly agitated and feeling aggressively angry sort of days). just sayin...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

new ideas for the nursery!

after talking to ben about it, i've decided that i'm going to paint a border in the nursery... i'm thinking woodland themed. or maybe just owls. (i've become increasingly obsessed with owls lately.)

i have yet to fully decide, as i'd love to do a pink border for if we have a girl, but that means waiting until after the baby is born to paint it, which i'm not sure is such a realistic idea. or i could just do brown (which i would plan to do anyway if we have a boy). ooh! OR i can do brown for the main silhouette of each creature, and then either pink or green for the details!!! prefect. :D and i'm thinking not along the ceiling, but maybe halfway up the wall or so? nothing too huge or overwhelming. i've already started sketching out ideas, and can't wait to start nesting that nursery! :P

i've also decided that instead of bugs or flowers for the small painting series i want to do for the nursery, i will definitely be doing owls. which leads me to think that a woodland themed border - owls and bunnies and frogs and foxes and hedgehogs and whatever else i can think of that resides in the woods - would be better suited for the nursery, since we already have beatrix potter curtains (and sheets) and a woodland themed crib skirt - and that way, it wouldn't feel too owl-themed.

all i want to do right now is get in that house and start putting things away, organizing, setting up, and getting everything ready before this baby arrives. i think my brain has gone into full-on-nesting-hyper-mode, but the house (while it does now belong to ben's parents) is far from ready for us to move in.

maybe this will be a good lesson on patience and how to wait quietly...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

mayo clinic

so i realized i haven't really written much about mayo yet - just that we're going there now (instead of the 1000 mile commute it would take to stay with the practice in wyoming, harty-har).

anyhow, today was our first baby check-up appointment with our new doctor. she was great; very friendly and i liked her a lot. but with the fact that when it comes time to deliver, i just get whoever is on call - which could be a male OB - i decided to switch to the certified-nurse-midwives. nothing against male doctors, and when it comes to pediatricians/family practice, i could care less, male or female. but when it comes to this delicate matter, i'd rather have someone else who understands the female body just a little more personally...

that being said, i'll be meeting with someone new at our next appointment on september 10th, and i'm actually really happy to be with the midwife staff (same as with the OB staff, who delivers my baby simply depends on who's on call at the time, but in going with midwives, they're all women, so no worries there about some random man's hands up my hoo-ha).

the only bummer was that we didn't get an ultrasound today - i was really hoping with this being our first time with a new hospital/doctor/etc that they'd want to see the baby too, but i guess a heartbeat is good enough as far as they're concerned. baby is currently head down though - let's hope he/she stays that way!

and i got a bunch of fun free informational literature for the remainder of this pregnancy - this starting all over again is really kind of exciting. as i was looking at the chart they gave me for what happens in each trimester, and looking back to the start date and where i was when we found out, i started to get the same thrilling rush i did when i first saw those two pink lines... it's still a little daunting and nerve wracking, but to be out of transition in at least one area is quite the relief.

also, at one of our baby classes, we got to tour the current labor and delivery rooms. i have to say, they weren't as warm and inviting as i would have liked or have seen from looking at the other hospitals i was possibly going to give birth in, but i suppose when i'm trying to breathe my way through a contraction, i won't really care if there are paintings on the wall or if the wall paper is a drab shade of boring. also, there's the high possibility - depending on when baby decides to make his/her entrance into the world - that i'll be giving birth in the new labor and delivery center, which is currently scheduled to open october 15th (and i'm due the 16th)... thankfully it's only the next floor up, so we still know where to go if we are in the new unit. i haven't seen it yet, but i have high hopes.

eeek.... it's becoming more and more real, and i'm both very much at peace with it all and yet at somehow at the same time, going crazy with anticipation.

only 1 month and 22 days to go!

Monday, August 23, 2010

forget "love" - the song *should* be: "SLEEP is a battlefield"

i think it's getting to the point where i should pretty much give up any hope of getting a full-night's rest until well after this child has been born (i'm guessing about 6 months from that exciting day, maybe he/she will be successfully sleeping through the night?)

considering i don't have to work, it's not so bad - i try to get up with ben (at about 6 a.m.) and eat breakfast with him before he does his daily 45 minute commute to work, and after he leaves, if the dog (ben's parents', not ours, we still only have the cat) hasn't been walked yet, i try to remember to do that, too, but then usually i go back to sleep and don't wake up till 9:30-ish or so...

yesterday night i was wide awake until about 1 a.m. - it didn't help that it's been muggy and hot, and we can either keep our bedroom door closed so that the cat doesn't get in, but then the air conditioning doesn't flow through to keep the room cooler, or we open the door to get the air flow, and have to keep kicking the cat off the bed all night. oy.

and last night, i couldn't fall asleep because for the life of me, i couldn't remember the name of the jewish director with those overly-sized dark rimmed glasses, who's famous for his quirky movies and married the adopted daughter of his previous wife. and it was driving me nuts - you know the feeling, when you know you know something (a name, date, place, etc.), but it's escaped you, and all you can remember is everything about it, but not that one little detail that is the thing itself - it's so entirely aggravating. so after half an hour? an hour? of trying to remember his name, and then trying to ignore the aggravation of not being able to come up with it, i finally tip-toed over to ben's side of the bed to get the computer and look it up. woody allen. duh! now i could finally put my thoughts at ease and fall asleep.

until a few hours later when i woke up feeling like i was in, wait, strike that, feeling like i was a sauna located at the center of a volcano - i've stopped even using sheets or blankets, i'm just so warm all the time - but i was sweltering so intensely that i thought i was going to be ill and that i might have to go for a ride on the porcelain bus. so at about 2 a.m. i took a cold shower, and thankfully, that did the trick. i was cool as a cucumber, and not one bit nauseous.

even when katrina feels my belly, she always comments how warm it is. i'm starting to actually believe that i might be a furnace. can anyone find my thermostat? i'd like to be turned down, please.

so simply being overly hot and without much to remedy the situation keeps me tossing and turning.

but then there's this huge bulge attached to my abdomen where there's this little person forming inside who, most nights, likes to become most active when i'm trying to be least active - in all manners, not just physically, but mentally, consciously, etc... plus it gets in the way. i used to be an expert belly sleeper. i can still find a decently comfortable position from time to time, kind of angled up and surrounded by pillows. however it usually doesn't take long before one of my arms or legs starts to feel tingly and cut off, or my back starts to ache, or my side is no longer comfortable from the weight, and i need to flip over to the other side. which - no joke - takes a good minute or two to get resituated, what with all the pillows and beach-ball-belly to contend with.

and there's also the fact that my bladder's reserve space is becoming more and more restricted. a small glass of water before i go to bed will easily have me up at least twice at some inconvenient hour in the middle of the night - and that's in addition to the three or four other times i get up for whatever liquids i consumed prior to that goodnight-glass of water...

so i've started taking my fish oil and prenatal vitamins around dinner time, and i try not to drink anything past 7 (which will usually still have me waking up once or twice in the middle of the night), but then i get so very thirsty, and sometimes that parched pucker will keep me more awake than the brimming bladder. it's a delicate dance, to be sure.

i also haven't been exercising like i was back in wyoming - we had a membership to the local rec center, and i would try to get there a couple of times a week and between my warm up/cool down on the track and the half-hour i spent on the elliptical, i'd get in about 3 miles each time i went. i had heard that exercise - aside from being really good for me and baby - could also help me sleep better at night. i'm not sure if it did, but i'd like to think it did. however, with how hot and muggy it's been here lately, and with my feet morphing into full-time puffer-fish, the idea of walking three miles in heavy sneakers that barely even fit (i think the laces are about as extended as the shoe will allow) has no appeal to me whatsoever, and i haven't even bothered to think about what it would take to muster up the discipline to do so.

but even if i did start getting in 3 miles a day a couple of times a week, i'm not sure that it would help the sleeping. (i should get back with this, simply for the health benefits, but we'll see how it goes - maybe i'll try on ben's tennis shoes, and go from there...)

i didn't get up with ben this morning, although i was awake, but between two in a row of really horrible unable-to-sleep nights, the thought of getting out of bed and climbing up those stairs and sitting in a chair felt comparable to climbing mount kilimanjaro.

but of course, all i did was toss and turn, and i figured i might as well stay awake and start the day (although by this time, ben had already left, and the dog has probably been walked - so here i am, not complaining, mind you, just documenting the pilgrimage of pregnancy), and i'm hoping maybe, just maybe, i'll be so tired tonight that i'll only wake up maybe once to visit my potty-friend for our late-night rendezvous, and other than that, "sleep like a baby?"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

comforts and discomforts...

so as (i think?) i've mentioned before - ben's parents put an offer in on a house in owatonna that we'll be renting from them once it's ready. at first they were told that the closing wouldn't be until september 6th (or possibly sooner, but as they'd requested a sooner closing date with one of their counter-offers, and the bank refused the date but accepted the offer, we figured the bank was going to be obnoxious about it and make us wait till september. oy!)

comfort: well, turns out, they'll close this tuesday - hallelujah! which means barry and the boys (you'd think they're a rock band, but they're not) will be able to get in that much sooner and start doing all that needs to be done. which is SUCH a relief that we'll actually most likely be in by mid-september (and not beginning of october!)

(i was freaking out about that a little bit as evidenced in my last post.)

discomfort: it didn't help that one of the couples in our birthing class just gave birth to their little girl this past week - she was 2 months early. i have less than 2 months to go. i know i'm not a high-risk pregnancy, i don't smoke, i no longer live in high elevation (which i've heard is another factor towards premature delivery), but learning of this other couple's early delivery made me start to feel like a ticking time-bomb, only i have no clock to tell me exactly how much time we have left. sure, i'll probably make it to 40 weeks (give or take about a week), but at 37 weeks, i'm considered full term, and really, this baby could decide to be done baking at any time, and that he/she is ready to pop out of the oven, regardless of our readiness.

that makes me a little nervous still. but now that things are about to start really moving forward on the house, i've decided to focus my attention there by picking out paint colors, imagining furniture arrangements, and dreaming up how wonderful it will be to have color on our walls again.

currently 32 weeks, only 8 weeks to go and 5 weeks until this baby is considered full-term. and again, only more evidence that i'm getting closer and closer to motherhood, and i don't feel nearly as ready as when we first found out we'd be having a baby. funny how that works. (i take solace in the notion that no one is ever fully ready...)

i've started to be able to actually feel baby's various body parts. not that i can distinguish between hand, foot, butt or head, but i'm getting more than just kicks and movements - actual jabbing appendages that linger, which makes it easier to say, "hey ben, put your hand here. i'm not sure what it is exactly, but it's some part of the baby." and then we poke and prod, and the baby must not appreciate it too greatly, because before long, the baby will move. but still, it's easier to picture a real baby in there when i can actually feel with my hand what might be an arm (or leg, or back, or some other various portion of this baby).

Monday, August 16, 2010

"denial ain't just a river in egypt"

today is exactly 2 months away from this baby's due date.

(and we're 2 months out from mine and ben's 3rd wedding anniversary. at one point, i believe i calculated that if this baby is born "on time" ben and i will have been married for exactly 3 years and 3 months. turns out preggo brain has taken a serious toll on my math skills, as it will actually be four months, not three. whoops. also, after finding out that a friend is due mid-december, i exclaimed, "we're only one month apart!" - i guess november is no longer a month in my book... so much for thanksgiving!)

but anyhow, back to this baby... i think i'm in denial. i can feel movement, and sure, that's something. my belly feels more and more ginormous every day, and that's unavoidable. i have to get up several times in the night to use the potty because my bladder must be getting more and more squished, and that's just obnoxious. my feet get swollen to the point where they feel like they're about to pop, but ben was sweet enough to try and rub them last night in efforts to reduce the swelling. i'm not sure that it worked, but my googley eyes certainly enjoyed it.

but suddenly - despite all these constant reminders of our baby's impending arrival - i still can't believe that in 2 months, we'll have a baby in our arms. there'll be feedings and diapers to change and spit-up to clean up and crying to soothe and coos to cherish. really? really?!?!

i mean, i cant wait, and i'm still so super excited, but really? this is really going to happen?

i just can't wrap my head around it...

we're still staying with ben's parents, living in ben's brother's room, while we wait for them to close on the house that they'll be renting out to us, and subsequently fixing up before we're able to move in.

so i'm guessing the fact that we're completely unsettled, the fact that there isn't even a room available for me to start getting ready (again) for this baby, the fact that even after the house is closed on, it still needs several weeks' worth of work (fresh paint, new carpeting, kitchen remodel, and i'm sure there are other issues that need to be addressed which i can't remember at this point) before we can move all our stuff in and start the whole process of unpacking and reorganizing, that all of these factors have played a significant role with this baby-reality suddenly going AWOL on me. it all makes me very anxious...

and there's a zit on my belly, just above my newly acquired, unretractable snooze button (which ben has discovered that if you push it just right, it clicks), and it is very difficult to pop.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

mermaid envy...

yesterday ben and i went swimming at a nearby lake. it was uber funsies; the weather has been humid and muggy, and it was another hot day, but the sky was a little overcast, so it wasn't too sunny, and the water was the perfect temperature - not too cold but still refreshing.

and i remembered how much i love swimming, but i love it even more now that i'm so bulbous and awkward. where i waddle on land, i glide in the water. where my maneuvering is clumsy around solid objects, i can leap, prance and twirl with such grace when surrounded by that all supporting yet ever moving atmosphere. on solid ground, bound by gravity, i am limited, strained and rigid; simple movements require great effort. but elevated and lifted up within that realm of fluidity, i am a ballerina butterfly.

i even told ben this, that i was inventing a new form of dance - aquatic ballet. he in turn partnered me wonderfully with twirls and dips and lifts and such.

i would live in the water for these last two months of pregnancy, if i could. and thus i have mermaid envy. i bet pregnancy is very easy on mermaids. ariel wanted nothing more than to live on land. i would like to be under the sea, at least while i'm with child.

in baby news today, i am exactly 31 weeks along, and baby is still the size of a squash. i have 2 months and 2 days to go, which means that in 3 days, i'll officially be in my 8th month of pregnancy. and only 10 more days until my next appointment with the new doctor.

i'm also learning that what i thought were braxton hicks contractions (ie - fake contractions that are basically practice for the real deal later on) have actually just been the baby jamming his/her head/butt/arm/what-have-you into various different organs of my own. (i would feel pressure in different areas of my torso, and assumed it was the fake-tractions, until i learned that the braxton hicks variety - and its real-deal counterpart - are felt across the entire span of the abdomen, and sometimes even radiating to the back, so not just pressure here and there as i was feeling it.) so that's been pretty fun to realize that i'm feeling this baby move a lot more than i thought i was, and that i can feel the baby when he/she has decided to lodge him/herself into the various corners among my ribs, stomach, bladder, etc...

it's getting more and more real each day, and yet it's still so hard to believe there's a baby in there. all i can imagine is some 3D style cartoon-ish figure, like the ones in all the pictures of "what your baby looks like at x number of weeks."

but the closer we get to the due date, the more anxious i am to get into our own space and have it settled and ready for this little one... only a month to go (hopefully).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ode to wyoming! a tale taller than me, but entirely true.

i feel it's important to note that our move to wyoming played a crucial role in this baby's life - or rather, start of life. so in efforts of self-preservation, this is our story as it pertains to wyoming. (i'll try my best to keep this as concise as possible, yet i can pretty much guarantee that it will still be lengthy, as "succinct" is not my strong suit, but rambling is.)

last summer, july 4th, ben applied for the assistant manager position at a new sherwin williams (S.W.) store being opened in cody, wyoming. there were several major reasons for him to apply:
  1. he was getting plenty of hours during the summer at the S.W. in red wing, but come fall, business would slow down, and between my full-time hours and his hours at the store, we wouldn't have been making enough to make the payments on our house. he would either need to find a new job that was full-time, or get another part-time job.
  2. originally, when we bought the house (the summer of 2008), ben was in the process of completing his teaching certification and only had one year to go. had he completed the program, the plan was for him to find a (hopefully nearby) teaching job, and that plus my earnings would certainly have been enough to make our house payments. but in january of 2009, after starting the student-teaching portion of the certification, it became very clear that ben was not meant to be a teacher - he could do it, but it was like watching him wither away before my very eyes. it was a very difficult decision for him, and i know that dropping the program after one and a half years of tuition and classes and hard work felt so counter-productive to him. however, it made less sense to continue and pay for another full semester when he knew he wasn't going to pursue teaching. so he dropped the program and started taking on more hours with S.W.; a lot of the draw to this new job prospect in wyoming was that it was a fresh start in a new place after what i believe he felt was a very disappointing decision - even if it was the right one.
  3. another major reason were the benefits. as an assistant manager for S.W., he'd be getting great benefits: really good health, dental and eye insurance. at the time, it was my current job that would be getting us insurance - although i was still in the "new hire" waiting period, and we had been without insurance for quite some time. if ben's job was the one providing our insurance, it meant we would be one step closer to having kids - something we'd both been wanting for awhile.
with those reasons in mind, and after discussing all the factors and praying over it, he applied. we asked God to close the doors if we weren't meant to be there, and to open them if we were. it was a long shot, but he got it.

so near the end of july, the 23rd or 24th? we drove ben out in his little blue truck so he could start the job and we could both get to see the place we'd be living. i was optimistic and hopeful, but looking back, i realize most of my excitement was simply an echo of ben's excitement for this new adventure.

i went back to red wing a few days after to pack up the house, get it ready to either sell or rent (we ended up renting it out), and tie up loose ends before meeting up with ben in chicago for a U2 concert in september, then heading back to MN to pick up all our stuff in red wing, and making the complete move to wyoming in mid september.

i think my trouble with wyoming started when i got back to red wing. i had an entire month to get everything done, but i struggled. living without ben (sure, we talked every day, but it's just not the same) and then being surrounded by so many things that i really loved and realized i would be leaving behind: my job at the cafe, the people i worked with, the youth group i helped out with, the church we attended, my friends, our house that we fixed up and put so much of ourselves into, the bluffs and parks that surrounded it that i enjoyed frequently, the accessibility to ben's family in MN and my friends and family back in chicago... it wore me down, and by september, i had no desire to move.

but it was too late, ben accepted the job, was already out there, and it was time for me to be supportive and encouraging and to let go of my frustrations. while i was no longer happy or excited to be moving all the way out to this foreign land of mountains and sagebrush, i felt it was selfish to be honest about my change of heart. i tried to keep it to myself, which only made it worse, but i was keeping the pebble in my shoe.

it definitely took me a long time to adjust, and poor cody, wyoming, there was no way it could ever live up to everything i had held so dearly; it was clouded by my veil of bitterness over all that i was missing back in red wing.

with time, we finally found a church that we connected with, and i was able to find a job that i enjoyed. we started making friends, and becoming a part of the community. and because, as reason #3 stated, we now had insurance, i had gone off birth control when my last pill pack ran out in september. it was something new to look forward to, something to be excited and hopeful for.

as for the pebble in my shoe, because i'd struggled so horribly with adjusting to this new move, ben highly encouraged me to pursue counseling so i would have someone to talk out these frustrations with, as i still felt i shouldn't even be feeling so bitter, let alone talking about it. the fact of the matter was that my approach in this manner was not helping, but i refused to let it go, so i agreed and started meeting with a lady once a week to air out all these pent-up aggravations that i had felt so obligated to try and hide.

in meeting with her i was able to realize that it was okay to mourn for what we had left, that it was okay to be upset, and learn how to move out of that mourning. i realized things about myself that had been invisible hinderances to the person that i desire to be but struggled so much to embody, and learned how to remove the hinderances. i was able to remove the pebble from my shoe.

so with all that, and then getting pregnant and knowing that we have this baby developing inside of me to prepare for and be excited about, i finally got to see wyoming for what it was, and not through the resentment that i had for it when we first got there. it is definitely a different culture than what we're used to, and the topographical climate is not my favorite: mostly varied shades of brown and grey, very rocky, not a lot of green or color in the vegetation.

i truly loved (and still do) the friends that we made there. and wyoming is a pretty neat place, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. however, i was able to find contentment - and i know that had a lot to do with how much we enjoyed the friendships we had out there.

had i not gotten pregnant, ben wouldn't have pursued a relocation with S.W., and we would have stayed longer. and had he not gotten that relocation that moved us back to MN, we would have still been content to stay there. but moving out so far away from family, we realized how much we valued having them around. being stripped of our comfort zone and safety net, i, for one, was able to see myself more clearly and adjust the things i wasn't happy with.

and the position ben applied for out here was another long shot. once again, we asked God to bless it if it was within His will for us, and to close the doors if we were supposed to stay in wyoming. but just as before, long shots aren't a problem for God, and here we are.

if i could go back and change things to work out so that we never had to go, so that we could have stayed in our house in red wing and still get our own family going, i admit it would be slightly tempting, but i still wouldn't do it.

looking back on our time there, it was certainly difficult at first, but it was full of growth. i may have hated it in the beginning, but i'm so glad we went. i don't look back on wyoming still feeling like i did in the beginning. i look back with gratitude, with cherished memories of the people whose lives we got to be a part of, and with appreciation for what we were able to learn about ourselves while we were there.

ultimately, i look back on our time there with this fact in mind: i love that it's now a part of our story, that we moved to wyoming to start a family, to have this baby (even if this baby won't be born there), and we got so much more along with it.

this thing called life is such an adventure, and a great one at that.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


i'm 30 weeks today. only 10 weeks to go! (this is nuts! i mean, wasn't it just yesterday that i was staring down that faint second little pink line to make sure it was really there?)

Your Pregnancy: Week 30

Your massive belly and nighttime heartburn might be making sleep difficult to come by. If you are able to drift off, you're probably having some strange and vivid dreams -- your subconscious is no less anxious than your waking mind.

Baby's now the size of a squash! As baby's skin smoothes out, her brain just keeps getting more wrinkled. All those grooves and indentations increase surface area, meaning more room for that oh-so-essential brain tissue. She's also adding some brawn -- her grip is now strong enough to grasp a finger.

and in less than a month (a month from yesterday, really) i'll be turning 27. i still remember being about 4, having just kissed a boy, and freaking out that i'd wake up any day with beachball stomach and have to explain to my parents that, yes, i was k-i-s-s-i-n-g, and now i was p-r-e-g-n-a-n-t. (i doubt i could actually spell pregnant at the time, but i was always so embarrassed by the word. especially since i was convinced that kissing led to babies, and here i'd kissed a boy anyhow.)

on monday i find out whether or not any of the artwork i submitted for my college's triennial alumni art show will be accepted, and in 20-some days i'll be back visiting friends and family in chicago :)

plus our now weekly birthing classes on thursday nights for the next 5 weeks, and a check-up appointment on the 24th.

in about a month and ten days (or so), we'll be able to move into the house we'll be renting from ben's parents in owatonna, and about a month after that, this baby will be making a change of address as well - from helga, my ever-protective viking uterus, to the outside world, cold and bright and loud and confusing, but oh so wonderful, and much more thrilling than a cramped, fluid filled organ.

with all these things to look forward to, mid-october is gonna get here way too fast. (and still not soon enough...)

Friday, August 6, 2010

a brief intermission...

from my ridiculously long-winded accounts of moving from and living in what i am convinced is the windiest place on earth... i have matters fitting for a baby update - although i can make no guarantee that this one won't also be ridiculously long-winded, but here goes:

last night ben and i started a six week perinatal education course at the mayo clinic. it's very informative, and i'm entirely excited for these courses. i want to be as prepared as i can possibly be for squirting out this kid, and we all know that knowledge is power, so there ya go.

it was fun to meet other couples expecting around the same time, and two of them are going to the same doctor that i'll be seeing at the end of august, so i was able to relieve my worries there by finding out a little bit more about this new stranger who will be so thoroughly involved with the inner-workings of my body. here's what i found out: she's easy to get along with, has a great sense of humor, and snorts when she laughs. this is highly encouraging to me, as i know i will need someone upbeat and cheery when i'm screaming from the ends of my hair follicles right down through to the tips of my toes.

(not that i anticipate being that vocal during delivery, but having never done this before, i'm really not sure just how i'll react, and as i said before, i want to be prepared for everything. maybe this is my calling to be a den mother for boy scouts - isn't that their motto, "always prepared" - or something to that effect?)

meanwhile, i'm noticing more and more movement from little mushroom. mostly i think because i'm not as active as i was back in wyoming - i'm not working, and there's not a lot that needs to be done around here (unlike the moving/cleaning/etc. i was up to my nose in right before we moved).

ben and i have come to the conclusion that when i'm moving around, the baby is probably comforted, like a rocking or swaying sensation, and thus content to curl up and rest. but when i'm sitting/laying down and not moving much at all, that's when i feel baby the most, so he or she is probably bored and moving around for funsies?

it's nice to feel baby more, but i still have a hard time feeling pregnant, or honestly believing that there really is a baby in there...

i think part of my disbelief is i still fear that something will go horribly wrong, and so until i have this baby in my arms, i'm afraid to fully believe it. when ben and i were getting married, i was able to dive head first into excitement, because i knew he was/is a man of his word, that he loves me, and that he wasn't going to back out at the last minute. i knew that even if all the details didn't go as planned, it wouldn't stop us from getting married. sure, something beyond mine or ben's control could have happened to him (or me) that would have drastically affected our ability to get married (like some horribly fatal accident), but i was able to not worry and trust that come june 16th, 2007, i would become mrs. ben's wife. and i did. (much to my continued joy and excitement.)

but with this baby, i feel like there's more opportunity for something to go horribly, drastically, fatally wrong. i could do everything right, but if my body is physically flawed, or i get into an accident, or who knows, and we could lose this baby. that terrifies me. i'm having a much harder time trusting. i do okay at not thinking about it for most of the time, but that nagging little fear is prowling in the back of my mind, and it's hard to let go. i'm afraid if i let it off the leash to try to send it away, it'll just take over, running rampant through all my thoughts instead of just some of them.

i think that's why i've been having dreams about ben leaving. just last night i dreamt that he left me because of the stress of some spy job we were on, and he felt that i was just using him. and i've had similar dreams before of him leaving or dying or just not being there... i wake up feeling anxious and distressed. these dreams are so devastating to me, and they leave me feeling clingy and needy, wanting to call to ben, drive to his work and visit him the moment i wake up, just so i can see him and know that these dreams are completely insubstantial.

and that's how i feel with this growing little offspring still inside of me. except i have no track record to comfort me. with ben and these dreams, i'm able to look back at our life together, at what reality has proven, and know that these dreams are entirely untrue. but with this baby, i know i need to have complete faith that everything will work out how it's supposed to, how God intends it too. and i guess that's what faith really is, right? believing something for the best even though you have no concrete evidence to support it.

time to put on some george michael's "gotta have faith" and totally ignore the amorous overtones and lyrical subject matter? why not.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

on the road again, a nightmare and a blessing

i figured i should probably recount the move back from wyoming to minnesota, as it was quite the adventure:

while ben was pursuing the job opening in owatonna, we had been pretty attentive to organizing, downsizing and packing what we could in preparation. so the getting everything packed was kind of a breeze really - even to the end of it when i was still packing those last remaining odds and ends while the truck was being loaded. i think the only issue there was that i kept running out of boxes, so we had to keep scavenging for more.

the nightmare part of moving was the *ahem* minor(?) fender-bender that i managed to pull off just two days before we were supposed to leave. the details are embarrassing, but let me just say this: a parked car was hit (at a very low speed), and mine was not the parked car. i was completely fine, i called my doctor to see if i needed to come in to check on little baby mushroom, and was told that "the baby is so deep down in that pelvic girdle, there's nothing to worry about."

so okay, his car had a bit of a gash in the back bumper. my car? the hood crumpled like a piece of tinfoil, the wheel-well was torn up and troubled, the front right headlight - while still working - was now smashed in, making my car shine a little lazy-eyed, and the right blinker was obliterated. they sure don't make cars like they used to. but the tow-truck guy said that they could "rough it out" and i'd be able to drive it just fine. i called the next day to check the status on the "roughing" and was told "this car is not drivable whatsoever."

insert total sobbing freak-out.

if we couldn't drive my car, that meant we would have to drive ben's truck, which is a stick shift, which i can't drive. (thankfully - one of the many blessings of the trip, one of our friends and ben's former college roommate, chris, came out to help us move and drove the whole way back so i didn't have to. he could drive stick, so at least it was an option.)

but ben's truck, while sturdy and (most of the time) reliable, is not a creature of comfort. the fabric on the roof is sagging and sits on your head unless you're short or scootch down in your seat. the air conditioning and radio are no longer functioning, and while the cd player does work, there's only one cd he has in the car, and it's some country mix he made way-back-when. the seats definitely don't recline, and leg space is also limited.

we drove this car out last summer when bringing ben to wyoming, and it wasn't the most luxurious ride, but i did fine. i also wasn't 6.5 months pregnant at the time, i was much more flexible and compactable, and lacking the body temperature of a furnace.

i did not want to ride in ben's truck for 18 hours, and the u-haul, while having AC, didn't look much more promising in terms of comfortability, plus it would have meant chris having to drive the entire trip by himself in ben's truck, which i wouldn't have been a joy-ride for him, and i'd have felt badly for it.

i had called my mom at one point for some moral support, but that didn't really help matters... (although i can definitely laugh about it now, so no harm done?) i was explaining the situation to her, i was tense, and her being the mother bear always looking out for her cubs, started to go in defense mode, worrying about my safety in all of this. apparently, u-haul's "jiggle your insides too much" (her exact words), and i shouldn't be riding in one. (sometimes she can be a little over-protective, but i always know she means well.)

more stressed-out sobbing ensued. i'm pregnant and hormonal, it's to be expected.

then, when the insurance lady called to get the scoop on the accident, i started bawling as i'm telling her all the details, and she gives me a glimmer of hope: "whether or not the car is street legal doesn't concern us as your insurance providers. it's a risk you have to decide whether or not you're willing to take, but it's your right to make that decision. as for whether or not it's drivable, get it checked out by another place, and see what they have to say about it."

so we did. i was informed that my airbag-trigger was within inches of being set-off, that got me a little paranoid for a day, but ever so grateful that it didn't go off (another blessing). also, my tires needed to be realigned, which they did. that was it. as far as they could see and tell, my car would make it to minnesota (probably the most relieving blessing of all).

so with the help of some fabulous friends, ben and chris finished getting the u-haul loaded up. we got ben's truck on the trailer, and my car macgyvered with a wire-screen type barrier to keep the cat in the back trunk area of my subaru forester. cats are not good travelers, they do horribly with any change to their living environments, and mine could be the poster child for said attributes. she twice managed to finagle herself around the makeshift fence, and proceeded to secure herself under the driver's seat. we finally forced her out, and chris found the winning set-up to keep the wire screen in place and the cat at bay.

the drive itself wasn't bad at all. we left by about 8:30 a.m., though ben left earlier, and we didn't meet up with him again until our resting stop for the evening in chamberlain, south dakota, which - due to the hour and a half we spent over lunch and multiple stops along the way - chris and i finally reached at about 9-ish. my legs would start to cramp a little from sitting so much, and my feet were imagining themselves to be puffer-fish, minus the spikes, but again, it was so much better than if we'd had to ride in ben's truck the whole way. the next morning we left chamberlain by 8; once again, ben left earlier, so we didn't see him till we reached albert lea at about 1:30/2 p.m.

chris and ben and ben's dad unloaded the u-haul into the storage unit that we reserved while we wait for housing to go through (more on that another time), and then we drove up to red wing that evening so we could get chris to the train station the next morning so he could get back to chicago.

by sunday evening we were back in albert lea and finally getting settled into ben's parents' house. (we've taken over his brother jonathan's room for the time being. with jon working at camp most of the summer and then going back to college after that, it works out pretty well.)

so now, here we are. everyone is working but me - and seeing as i only have a short time left that i'll be able to work, it's pretty pointless for me to look for anything right now. i'm okay with that.

[next in my series of baby-blog novellas: "ode to wyoming!"]

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

a quick update that isn't really an update...

there's so much i've been meaning to write about, plus i need to take more pictures - at 29 weeks and 3 days, baby has moved up another fruit size, and i'm sure the difference is noticeable :P

but for now, let me just say this:

i keep getting zits on the inside of my ears, and they're driving me nuts. how am i supposed to pop a zit i can neither see nor reach?

my feet are constantly swollen, even when i put them up. i wake up with puffy feet, and i go to bed with even puffier feet. but as i told ben this morning, i'd rather have swollen feet than stretch marks. (which i've been able to get away with only a slight few, and none on my belly. if they do show up, so be it, but i'll gladly do without if i can.)

moving is a lot more exhausting during pregnancy than i would have expected. granted, it was nice not to have to lift a single thing into or out of that u-haul truck (and to all our friends who helped, we really can't thank you enough!!!) but sheesh, i am zonked! i guess i figured since all i had to do was pack up our stuff and ride in a car, i wouldn't be so worn out by the time we got here.

i was thinking i'd take monday to catch up on energy and then be back to normal (whatever "normal" is at 6.5 months pregnant...)

but ben's mom said i'd need a few days.

she's definitely right. i need a nap.

i honestly have a hard time understanding how growing a baby could take so much effort that what little i did to get us moved out here would knock me out so easily. it's still so frustrating to feel so limited. (bending over now involves impersonating the elderly.)

that being said, this pooped little preggo is headed back to snoozeville for a little nap time.