Monday, November 29, 2010

Dating

I wish we were still dating. There are a lot of things I miss...

being held. What I'd give to just be held again without knowing that you don't really want to be doing it.

making out. Really. It's either all or nothing and I'd love to just flirt and make out with you sometimes.

you playing with my hair. Once in the last almost-5-years. Why on earth do I have to keep it long if it never gets touched?

talking. Listening.

Laughing. Do we ever laugh any more?

Cuddling.

So here's my advice: date more, be married less. Don't rush marriage, because sometimes all it does is get you married and you lose your boyfriend in the process.

So please, husband, date me again so I can remember.

Monday, May 31, 2010

More than 18-months

My Facebook ticker just told me that I have been "providing mama's milk for 1 year and 7 months" today.

That means that my beautiful girl is 19-months-old now.

I want to weep.

I want to celebrate.

I am so glad that she's mine. I honestly believe God chose me to be the luckiest mother in all of the world. I don't know why he did, but boy, am I glad!

<3

Friday, April 23, 2010

Quick Updates

Monkey is beautiful, seriously. Our ultrasound that I upped to March 19th showed us that. The technician was wonderful and took the time to check all sorts of things, not just look for the stomach. It made me feel a LOT better. Unfortunately, the recording system was still down on the machine so we didn't end up getting a video, but he did do a 3D for us and --wow-- we have a beautiful boy in there. He is so perfect.

At first, the tech couldn't find the stomach and when he did, he said that it wasn't the shape that he'd LIKE to see, but that he didn't see anything else indicating a problem. It wasn't until our appointment with Deb on April 6th that we heard the radiologist cleared everything. Hooray! What a relief to know my pregnancy symptoms are just that, even if they are a little weird.

Monkey moved to be head down on April 1st. You'd think that I was engaged at that point, how low he is. I do think that he is engaged now though, and did so about two weeks ago. I can palpate his head right in my pelvis, and the pressure I feel on my cervix every step I take! It does make me a little nervous knowing that he's so low so soon--this doesn't usually happen with boys or with a 2nd pregnancy until close to when the baby's born. :-\ Part of me is still convinced that there's no way I'll go on my due date let alone any earlier, but...all of these things make me wonder. My younger sister's baby was born 4 weeks early and my older sister who's due 4 weeks ahead of Monkey had her water break about 2 weeks ago...So am I going to follow my own pattern, or will I be following the "boy" pattern in my family?!

Oh, and I've been having contractions. I've had a lot of braxton hicks this entire pregnancy, but I'm pretty much going into them every time I walk since Saturday evening. Only a few have been painful, but I can tell they're pushing him down because when I had a good one last night, I could feel a lot of pressure on my cervix until it was over.

To top off all of my physical things, I'm having drama at work. It's a long story, but I was told that I shouldn't be talking to HR about anything. Yup. That's me, Ms. Trouble Maker because I breastfeed my child and want things to be fair for all employees. Ha. With both of these things plus my regular stress from not being able to keep up on basic houshold chores and such, we're planning on talking to Deb about whether I should continue to work or not when we see her on May 3. I have a lot of emotions about that, but not enough time to write them all down so it will have to be another post.

In short, my pregnancy continues to fly by and my almost-18-month-old daughter continues to become more beautiful every day.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

To Do Lists

I can't seem to keep track of how far along I am, so I try to look at my calendar where every Wednesday's box includes a handwritten number, one digit higher than the previous week's. Even though I see this calendar every day at work, I was still shocked to see a "27" written for this week. And then again when I looked at it this morning because I couldn't remember if I was 26 or 27-weeks along. Yeah, it's definitely 27.

That means if I was to give birth "on time" (which won't happen), I'll be doing so 13 weeks from now. That just doesn't seem possible...I have a ridiculous amount of things to still do before Monkey's arrival and besides, I sense no impending doom or delivery, so...it's easy to ignore (save the fact that I can't reach anything or get off of our couch by myself because my belly's so big and also that I have to cross my legs and pray not to pee every time I cough or sneeze). But he's coming, I tell myself. I know this in my mind.

Frankly, I need to get my butt in gear. I'm exhausted, sick, have a nursing toddler, work full time, and have a house and husband to deal with. This just doesn't leave any time in my schedule for baby-preparation things so I'm left to dream and mentally list what needs to be done instead of actually do it. Too bad my thoughts can't osmotically make their way into my house and accomplish what needs to be done for me. ;-)

I also spend time thinking about the things I want to do someday when I'm able to. These things are more fun and I get a bit more excited thinking about them, so without further ado, here are my want and need "To Do" lists:

Things I want to do
  • Start a Play blog featuring information, ideas, toy reviews, and giveaways written by ME--the Recreation Therapist. :-) Just think of all of the awesome, wholesome toys and educational products I could get my hands on for my own kiddos and to pass on to other people since my house wouldn't be big enough to keep everything. :-)
  • Create and enter recipes into magazine contests every month.
  • Make a baby scrapbook for LoveBug and Monkey.
  • Quilt
  • Landscape my house--bah, it looks so...ugly.
  • Play piano every day
  • Record a lullabye CD for my children
Things I need to do
  • Organize my house (next 10 weeks)
  • Clean my house (next 10 weeks)
  • Finish getting needed items for Baby Monkey (next 12 weeks)
  • Find summer clothes for LoveBug (next 6 weeks, then yard sales after that)
  • Stop gaining weight so fast (immediately). I'm going to be a balloon and have a ton to loose after giving birth if I keep going at the rate I am.
  • Make and freeze more food (next 8 weeks)
Would someone hold back that clock, please, and then just fast-forward my life when I'm ready for it?

Monday, March 22, 2010

To my LoveBug


Dear LoveBug,

I delight in you. Every single time I see you, I am taken back by your beauty, and every time you smile at me, my entire being melts at your love. It's hard to not spend every single second of my day engrossed in you; thinking about you while I'm at work, neglecting the house so we can play, or dancing and tickling the night away when you're supposed to be sleeping.

I don't know how a mommy could possibly love any more than I love you. I have never felt this way before and wasn't able to comprehend the all encompassing power of this sort of agape love until you were born. When we take a nap together, I can't even sleep because I simply can't stop looking at you.

I love it when...

you bring my face to you so that you can kiss my lips
you wrap your hand around my finger and "take" me somewhere
you jibber jabber to me and I can't understand what you're saying, but you let me know that it's very important and you're very serious, so I'd better listen!
you pull up your pant leg in the car so I can hold your leg while we travel
you want to nurse just because it's comforting to you
you dance
you arrange comfey seats for us with pillows and blankets, and then pat the spot next to you for me to sit in
you share your Cheerios and raisins with me
you get so proud when you do something "big" and then clap your hands and flash your smile
you help me around the house--cleaning the floor with a Swiffer, picking up toys, or putting wash cloths in their drawer
your face lights up when you see me after work
I wake up to your kisses and cuddles
you do something silly just so I will laugh

Every day, I think about how I wish I could remember it forever. At night sometimes, I try to remember what you looked like at different times since you've been born. I wish I could remember everything. I wish you could just stay little forever, but then, every day just gets better than the last, so maybe growing up is okay when it's really happening.

You are my girl and I love you like none other. I hope you're having a fun, safe, and happy, happy day right now at your Grandma's house. I'm looking forward to when I get to be the one home with you! I miss you!

Love,
Your Mama

Friday, March 19, 2010

Anticipation

I'm exhausted today. I feel sick. I can't focus or get any work done. I wish I could be home relaxing instead of at work stressing about what we will or won't find on the ultrasound later. I can't decide if I should ask the sonographer to make us a video before or after she looks for Monkey's stomach...if she looks before and doesn't find it, I'll cry and won't be able to enjoy the 3d imaging or video as much. If we wait until after the video making, though, I will be wondering the whole time.

I had a beautiful dream last night of the ultrasound. We went in and right away they saw the stomach. I had them check my amniotic fluid levels as well as the size of the baby and everything was just fine. They made the video after checking everything out, but as I watched the screen, I saw myself holding my son instead of a black and white ultrasound. Music was playing and I was sitting in a rocking chair just after giving birth. Monkey was in my arms, wrapped in a blanket and we were looking at each other. He had lots of hair and it was black like his sister's when she was born. I know he hadn't been bathed yet because it was all spikey like instead of curly. At one point as we loved each other, he lifted his hand up to mine with his fingers open. I placed my open palm against his and we held each other.

After the dream, I woke up. I don't know why I woke up, but Monkey was bumping all around inside of me at that time. I'm taking this dream to be assurance from God and a sign that everything is fine. It was a beautiful vision of my baby and I'm so glad to have that gift to carry with me through today.

I need a nap.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

14 hours...

Ugh, I'm done reading about esophageal atresia and everything else until after our ultrasound tomorrow. I was just reading about polyhydramnois (too much amniotic fluid; a symptom of a fetus with E.A.) and here are the symptoms:

Shortness of breath or the inability to breathe, except when upright

Swelling in the lower extremities, vulva and abdominal wall

Decreased urine production
 
Yup, that's me. I even mentioned the fluid in the feet at my 16-week-appointment because I felt it was waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy to early for that. The SOB, I mentioned at my 20-week appointment. I didn't realize the decreased urine production was anything--I just thought it was nice that I don't have to pee every hour like I did when I was pregnant with LoveBug. I'm only going a normal amount, except I do usually get up once during the night now.
 
*sigh*
 
Too bad I don't work as a paramedic FT anymore. Then I could have had an "illegal" ultrasound and at least give myself peace of mind if my fluid levels look normal and my baby's digestive system is intact. Ugh.
 
14 hours...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Needing Photos

I walked past a mirror today and was shocked at what I saw: a Me but with a belly that's sticking straight out...and it's big! Golly, I didn't even know. We don't have a mirror at home that allows me to see this progression of pregnancy so I'm continually taken back when I see a reflection of myself. Wow, I must look pretty silly having to stop, stare, and touch my belly when walking past a big window on Market Street. ;-)

I told John that we really need to take some photos of me tonight. I don't have a single one yet and this pregnancy is flying by. Before we know it, I'm gonna have two little munchkins in my arms and these bubbly kicks within my womb will be gone!

Monkey is officially 25 weeks along now. If I was to give birth on time (unlikely), that gives us 15 weeks from today. Yikes! I'm still working on getting things ready and am up to a whopping 7 meals in the freezer, a new carseat from Safety 1st and a few other needed baby items on their way to me thanks to my blog, and John's begun tearing our room apart since we found a mold issue last week. Now if only the money to fund our renovation projects and baby preparation would come through, too! Trusting God and thankful that he always provides.

Still need:
double jogging stroller
some diapers & covers
crib and dresser
nursery set (sheets, bumper, curtains, etc.)
rug (optional)
car seat (blog)
swing
boy clothes!
more food stockpiled for the end of my pregnancy and after birth
co-sleeper (Craigslist)
baby bathtub (maybe have from blog?)
nursing shirts (blog)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Waiting for an answer...

I just spent more time reading about Esophageal Atresia. It makes me want to get that next ultrasound right now just so I can know. Does my baby have a problem? If so, will I have enough time to prepare for it after I find out? Would it benefit either of us to know sooner than April 6th when the ultrasound is scheduled?

The prognosis for a baby with just E.A. is pretty good, but he will require a lot of hospitalization time and surgeries. We'll battle things like aspiration, pnemonia, other respiratory infections, GERD, and the list goes on. It'll probably be okay.

But my baby won't be able to nurse, and might even develop an oral aversion so that he will have difficulty eating and swallowing even when he is able to after all of the surgeries. I already have images of a beautiful newborn baby naked on me, squirming his way up to my chest and rooting, begging me to nurse him. Except I won't be able to let him have anything by mouth--including sucking on anything--or I may run the risk of killing him. The thought sucks.

So I'm still holding out that my little guy just happened to pee and didn't have anything in his stomach to show last time. It sure would be nice to know, though. I'm not a worried kind of person, but I am a mother and concern for your child's wellbeing is a given.

Be okay, Timothy. Be fully and completely developed. I know parents don't get choices about these things, but I'm telling you now, I absolutely don't want to be the parent of the baby I take in an ambulance.


-----------------------------------
UPDATE: rescheduled ultrasound for this Friday at 4pm (4/19)--2.5 weeks sooner than I would've had to wait! Here's a link that I found helpful in learning more about E.A.: http://www.kaylapearson.com/.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

24 Week Midwife Appointment

I think Monkey has started investigating a vertical instead of horizontal position within me. Since yesterday, I've been having a lot of pressure and stiffness within my right pelvis that travels up, down, and around. I love this kid and feeling his little bumps and bubbles.

Our 24 (minus one day) appointment was today. Monkey has caught up in size now and measured at 24cm whereas before it seemed he was always 1-2 weeks behind. LoveBug was always about a week behind, too. Heart rate was 142-147--we've seen everything from 123 to 164 with him! He's always jumping around which is interesting to me because LoveBug was always a steady 144 every time.

Deb, our midwife, gave us the ultrasound results from 4 weeks ago when we had our 20 week full scan done. Apparently, they didn't see Monkey's stomach so we get to go again in 4 weeks (so 8 weeks from the inital u/s). I looked this up online and it said that if there's no fluid in the belly (like if Monkey had just peed), then they wouldn't be able to visualize the stomach. There is a thing called Trachea Esophageal Fistual and Esophageal Atresia that can also cause the stomach to not be seen on an u/s. With this disorder of unknown origin that happens during week 4 of a pregnancy, the esophagus has either an abnormal connection or blockage that prohibits things from going down it (i.e. amniotic fluid right now). Basically, if that's the only thing wrong then with surgery the baby has a pretty good outcome. The mother may go into preterm labor and need to get some amniotic fluid drained, though.

Interestingly, shortness of breath and measuring large (all during the second trimester) are symptoms of this. I have been having severe SOB for over a month now and can't link it to anything! It can be bad enough that I start to black out, my heart rate goes over 100, and I can't talk because I'm trying to breathe. Another interesting thing would be the sudden growth spurt of Monkey to where he's now measuring on track as compared to last month when he was 2cm behind. :-\

At this point, I'm definitely not worried and really have a gut feeling that everything is absolutely fine with my baby's development. I definitely do want to keep an eye on this, though, so that I can make sure we get fluid drained and things ready for a pre-term baby if it comes to that. Praying that Monkey had just peed and so they couldn't see his stomach!

The really exciting news is that the video part of the u/s should be working next time we go, so we'll get a regular 2d ultrasound, a 3d view of our handsome little man (didn't get that last time because he was only 20 weeks and they still look a little funny at that point!), and a 4d ultrasound video! *Happy Dance*

We are so thrilled to be having this little one join our family. I am the luckiest mama in the world to have two awesome babies.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I have a son

Dear Timothy,

You are loved. Daddy and I went to the ultrasound today and first got my gallbladder and nearby organs looked at since I was violently ill last night with what we think are gallbladder problems. When the technician got done with that, we were so excited to be able to see you. I asked her to first show us your goods and let us see if we can tell if you're a boy or a girl. Well, she did and we IMMEDIATELY knew without a doubt that you are a boy! We had known anyway, thanks to "mommy intuition," but we were so excited to know.

When we first glimpsed you and realized you were our son, daddy stood there grinning from ear to ear and said "I always do it right! A girl and a boy!" Yeah, okay, dad...you've done it "right" all two times you've done it. ;-) I was so happy that I had to wipe some happy tears away. Of course, if you were a girl instead, I think we would have still both been as pleased as punch.

True to form, you wiggled, kicked, and waved your arms everywhere possible the entire time. You were moving so much that it took extra time to find things on you since the technician would have to first find the location of that part again because you had moved! The only thing you didn't do was roll over so we could see your face. Of course. So the pictures of you are a little goofy looking. :-)

We tried to video tape the whole thing, but the machine wasn't working. We'll hopefully be able to go back soon for another gallbladder scan and then get a video and 3D view of you then! I'm sitting here smiling just thinking about it. Oh man, you are going to be so perfect. I am the luckiest, luckiest mom to have two beautiful, good natured babies. What more could a parent want?!

Your big sister is crazy about you already. I don't know how much she really understands, but she is always oogly-eyed over babies (and puppies and kitties). We tell her that there's a baby brother in my belly, and so she kisses you, sings to you with her mouth pressed against me, rubs my belly, and pats you. Pretty cute. We can't wait to see what she does when she sees you for the first time!

I can't tell you how much we love you and want you...and are so excited about you! I'm even more excited for this pregnancy/birthing/newborn time because after LoveBug, I know how awesome it is. The anticipation is wonderful. You can thank your sister later for that. :-)
So, my dear monkey boy, we know now. We love you. And we cannot wait to meet you.

Love,
Mama (and Daddy and Big Sister, too)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

life sucks and I'm sick of it.

I'm in a pretty bad mood today and I just want to complain and choke people until my heart feels better. If I tell anyone how I feel, though, I'll be complaining about my husband and that's just not something I like to do. In fact, I sometimes even lie to people about things like his lack of helping around the house just so he doesn't look like a male chovenist to them. I guess it's more for me--I don't like it when people tell me negative things about my marriage.

So in an attempt to get some of this off my chest, I'll share some of my heart without too much detail and within the semi-anonymity of cyberspace.

I'm five months pregnant. I work all day at a boring job that I don't like and that doesn't pay me enough. I come home to a disasterous house that only gets worse while I'm gone during the day. I then spend the 2-4 hours I have at home before getting LoveBug and then myself down for bed cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry. I also sneak some nursing and snuggling time in there. :-)

Needless to say, I'm exhausted. I'm achy. I'm in pain. Then, on top of everything else, I have to get up and nurse LoveBug during the night and put her back to sleep if she wakes up. John used to be more helpful with getting her back to sleep during the night as I've explained to him that I can't be the one to get her back to sleep or else she will have to nurse and I can't keep nursing her during the middle of the night...but the last few weeks, he spends about 5 minutes with her before bringing her into our bed. Then I'm up for the next hour nursing her until I can carry her back to her own crib and wait for her to sleep through me opening the door to leave her bedroom.

Last night, when he brought her in at 1:30am, I took her back to her bedroom, kissed her and talked to her, and then left her to "cry it out." It lasted for 15 minutes before John went in to get her, and then about another 10 minutes before he came in asking me where the Tylonal was. She didn't need Tylonal. I ended up with her again, totally fine and happy, and just endured being yelled at about not giving him any warning about choosing tonight to let her cry. Um, yeah...

So I spent the night in her room, getting her back to sleep. I was able to sneak out at 3:30am. I fell asleep on the couch after 4am, and then had to get up again at 6:30am. My life sucks.

I am sick to death of putting up with selfishness, and that's all I can blame this on. I feel like a single mother with a nagging husband who has no compassion or desire to do anything unless it's causing an inconvenience for him. I can not keep up. I have not been able to keep up since going back to work after LoveBug was born. He knows this. He knows I have struggled with depression so badly the first year after coming back to work that I've injured myself and wanted to kill myself. He knows that I get very stressed out by the house being such a mess. He knows that I'm tired, pregnant, and feeling crappy when I have to do all of this. I comunicate my needs very clearly, but none of this matters.

Somehow, I'm supposed to do everything. What's going to happen when I have two babies, a house, and have to still make an income while taking care of these three things? It's obviously not working for us now, so I don't know why it'd start working for us then.

I need to figure out some sort of coping mechanism before going home today, because we'll end up fighting, John will break things, yell and swear at me (yes, in front of LoveBug), won't let me leave until he feels things are resolved somehow, and then everything will be my fault because I caused him to do these things via my attitude. *sigh*. I am so over all of this. It's ridiculous and I'm so sick of it, yet don't know how to make it stop...

So I'll just try to focus on coping. I have 6.5 hours to figure things out before I go home. Lots of time, but not an easy task when your eyes are swollen, you're crying, and your whole body aches from laying awake on a wooden floor for hours during the night.

Ideas:
1) After John comes to bed and wakes me up with his snoring because he's overly tired (but no, that doesn't stop him from staying up until all hours of the night), I will just move to the couch. He'll never know, and I'll get more sleep. And then he can't swear at me when I wake him up during the night to ask if he can move his head so he'll stop snoring.

2) Pray, pray, pray, pray. Although I did that all night while I was awake and it didn't fix anything yet.

3) Don't answer my phone if he calls me today.

...and all of my other ideas are pretty negative, so I probably shouldn't post them. Maybe the best way to deal with this is just to shove it down in my soul with the rest of the crap like this. Who knows.

Oh, and just in case someone does read this and desires to comment, I'll probably just delete all of the comments and definitely if any of them tell me how horrid of a husband I have. I don't want to hear it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Where?

God,

What direction do you have for me? I am unsure, yet filled with hope. I need doors to close, and only the ones you want me to walk through to open. When decisions involve my family and money, it's much more difficult to choose a path less guarunteed than another...but then, is even a "regular" job stable?

Speak to me. I need to know how to proceed, and I feel that I need to start the process of these multiple income streams sooner than later so that I have a river by the time we need it. Open the floodgates for me, Lord. Show me the way.

Rachel

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Boy Name

If you are a boy, your name will be...

Timothy

One who honors God.
After Dad's baby brother

Ethan

Strong. Constancy.
Because you are strong and steadfast.
And because God keeps putting this name in my heart for you.

Joshua

Jehovah is generous. Jehovah saves.
After Mom's baby brother.

Sleepy Survival

I'm exhausted today. LoveBug and I were out late (8pm) and then waited for John to finish working on something so the two could play together for a few minutes before I put her to bed. I didn't get to sleep until around 10pm, which is hours past when I need to go to sleep. LoveBug woke up at 2:30am needing to nurse, so I got back to bed again around 3am. Up again a little after 5am, this time with her in bed with us...meaning she had to be attached to me at all times so as to not have a fit. *sigh*

I just want to drink a ton of cold water and curl up in my bed. All alone. And sleep.

Otherwise, I guess I'm doing fine. My belly seems to be getting bigger every day and I've refused to step on the scale since the weekend--I'm afraid I have probably started edging past my pre-pregnancy weight now. Oh well, it was bound to happen. We're 18-weeks along today. I still don't have the future figured out, nor am I keeping up with the present yet. Just surviving. Sometimes, that's all you can do.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Two Babies

Dear Monkey,

You are such a part of my life already. As I sit here in my boring cubicle, I'm feeling you squirm around inside of me and it makes my day so much brighter. It also made me think about the fact that I won't have to call you "Monkey" for much longer. In 15 days, I'll know your name instead!

In my dreams as of late, your gender wasn't obvious. What has been obvious, though, is the connection between you and your sister. In my dreams, I am holding both of you. We are all snuggled together, whether sitting or walking. Sometimes, I'm holding you and LoveBug wants me to pick her up, too. So I do. I love these dreams, because to me, they affirm that I will be with both of you. They affirm that you two will be close and have that special sibling bond that so many families seem to have a lack of. I love knowing that I will be able to equally and joyously be The Mama to both of my babies.

So, little Monkey, whatever sort of baby you are, I just want you to know that your mama, dad, and big sister are patiently and joyously awaiting for you to join us. We couldn't be complete without you.

Love,
The Mama

Multiple Streams

If Monkey was actually to come on time, I will have 23 weeks and 1 day from now before leaving my current job. Thankfully, I will have a six-week cushion where I'll receive almost full pay (thanks to the sick/personal/vacation time I've been saving), a five-week semi-cushion where I'll receive short term disability (it's like $155.00/week, so not much, but every penny helps!), and a 12-week total cushion where my job will be protected by the FMLA so that I can come back to work here if *gulp* things don't work out for me to be home.

The cushions make me feel a little better, but the fact that I need to figure out a sustainable income from home before the cushion time is up looms in the back of my head every day. I always have 101 ideas of home based businesses that I could run, but each one somehow is shot down either by a lack of funding, lack of time, or other large hurdle that's uncovered in the planning. Lately, I've been hearing a lot about having multiple "streams" of income and how this is a better decision than a traditional job because they all of your eggs aren't in one basket, so to speak. Since this idea keeps popping up everywhere I turn, and I know that I need to be home when this baby arrives, I've decided to change my focus from developing one idea to developing multiple ideas, or "streams."

I'm going to start a list on the side column of this blog to keep track of my ideas and to encourage me in thinking that this dream I have really is possible.

With God, nothing is impossible!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Blessingway

"Just as a tree grows best when anchored firmly in the earth, so can a pregnant mother feel strong and capable when supported by a sisterhood of nurturing friends."
-April Lussier

I think every baby should have a shower. There. I said it. In Upstate, NY, it's not common to have baby showers for any but your first child. Doesn't matter if your subsequent children are a different gender or different time of year. Only if you're lucky (meaning have really close friends or family who think every new baby is worth partying for) will you get a second shower to help you collect your newly needed items.

When I've heard of women having showers for subsequent children, I've also heard complaining on the guests' part. Why does she need another shower? She must already have everything she needs. I gave her a lot last time! These comments make me uncomfortable to think about having a shower for my second child. Good grief, I wouldn't want someone feeling obligated or unhappy to give my child something!

I guess I look at things differently. For one, it's not like you need to give a gift when someone has multiple children. I think a home cooked meal, a nice note of encouragement and support, or a coupon for a free afternoon's worth of house cleaning would THRILL any expectant mother! Secondly, when did our focus for showers move from the coming baby to ourselves and our pocket books? The point of a shower shouldn't be simply to get gifts--instead, it should be to celebrate a new life, a beautiful birthing, and a changed family.

I love the Blessingway model of celebration, and think it's a beautiful compliment or alternative to our standard baby showers. Started by the Navajo Native Americans, a blessingway is like a shower, but it focuses on the mother instead of the baby. While blessingways were ceremonies designated for all sorts of different life passages in the Native American culture, the most common one still held today is for pregnancy/birthing.Women who are close to the expecting mother all come together in the days before her birthing to bless her with encouragement, prayer, support, and love. There may be prayer, singing, foot washing, or special readings at a blessingway, holding firm to the traditional feeling of a ceremony. Belly casting, bead giving, and henna painting are all common activities with the purpose of empowering the mother for birthing and to celebrate her pregnancy.

In my research, I've found that many doulas and a few midwives offer blessingway services. They'll help you organize a blessingway and come run it to ensure smooth flowing from one activity to the next and a positive environment for the participants. Even for people who have never experienced a blessingway before, though, there is plenty of information available on the Internet to help you plan your own celebration.

The basics of a blessingway: http://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/blessingway.html
The blessingway's Navajo history: http://www.hanksville.org/voyage/navajo/BlessingWay.php3
Outline of a blessingway ceremony: http://www.birthbeads.com/Blessingway.html

Unfortuntately, I don't know anyone who has either thrown or been the recipient of a blessingway before. I'd love to hear first hand the effects on a mother-to-be from behind upheld in this very spiritual and joyful way in the days before her birthing!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Baby Wiggles

Lovin' feeling my little Monkey wiggle all around and try to push his (or her) way out of my belly. :-)

This is the best part of pregnancy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Time is ticking...

I haven't been feeling well this week. Naseous, crampy...I even threw up on Monday in the car. The gross thing is that the bucket (with lid) is still sitting on the floor of my car. I just keep forgetting about it when I get home. Yuck. I've got to get on top of things in my life, geesh. There's a lot of stuff going around at work, so I don't know if I have a mild version of something or if this is pregnancy induced.

Amara slept all night from 9:20pm - just before 7:00 am! I haven't had 8 hours of sleep in...I don't even know! It was great and I really need it to happen every night, because I am already feeling totally worn out.

My body has undergone changes lately. For one, I have a belly. I couldn't even button my pants this morning and had to rig up two hair ties to keep the pants in place. I'm trying to get by with two pairs of maternity pants and two pairs of draw string pants, but it's difficult. I also don't have any warm maternity tops, so I'm doing my best to wear bigger shirts with layers. It's working for now, and I'm hoping I can hold out until spring or summer which I have shirts for! Frankly, I want any "extra" money to be spent on paying down debt and buying the things we will need for our babies.

I'm 17 weeks pregnant now, and I'm getting worried that I won't have anything ready for this new kid. I am a failure at maintaining anything but a disasterous home, have no time to make anything for this little one (though I am DETERMINED to either make a quick quilt or some cloth baby shoes!), and just feel so worn out by the time I get home from work and picking up Amara, that even figuring out something for dinner is a huge task (it doesn't help that I can't keep up with the insane amount of dishes, either, nor that the kitchen is ice cold and I don't want Amara out there for long--and I have to wear a coat!).

Okay, so here's my "I'm accomplishing something" list to try to encourage myself:

* Last weekend, I made double batches of cheeseburger pie and an upside down pineapple cake which will go into the freezer. One meal down! My ideal thought is to freeze one meal/week so that I have a decent stockpile before Baby Monkey shows up.

* I have been dilligent at working room by room to get my house organized, even if it's still a disaster. But the bathroom is a lot better, Amara's room is up to date (other than the closet), and I've been faithful in preparing for my Life More Simply blog's "Organize My House!" event.

* I have spent time snuggling and playing with Amara, who will all too soon not want to play with me or who will want to but I can't because I'm taking care of a littler baby. So I consider time with her to be well spent even if it means I wasn't doing something else. I must keep this in perspective!

Yeah, that's it. A measily list of 2 real items. But it's a start, and that's all I can muster up at this point.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gender Dream #2

I found out yesterday at our WIC appointment that Amara's anemic. So now I'm concerned that either 1) she has a poor diet, or 2) she has something bigger going on that's causing the anemia. *sigh* If only mama's always had the answers.

In other news, my other little bugger is awake a LOT. I really would expect this little belly-baby to sleep more, but he is constantly rolling around and poking at me. I love it. :-) I had my second "gender" dream last night: I was in my parent's house in my old bedroom on the second story. The Civil War was going on outside, and instead of my small closet, I had a small stand up shower. I gave birth by myself in the shower, and wrapped the baby in a white cloth when we were done. I think he nursed and we took a nap before I went downstairs to show my family. They wanted to know how long he was and how much he weighed, at which I responded "well, I don't know, but we'd better find out because he's probably already lost weight!" We got out the baby scale, put him on it, and found out he was 2 lbs and some odd ounces heavy.

That was it. I'm the queen of weird pregnant dreams. This one could have been due to my sister recently having a slightly premature son, in which case I'm not convinced we can throw this dream in with the "determining the gender" pile. My sister's son was 7 lbs 1 oz, though, not 2ish lbs. So who knows. In 28 days from today I will know the name of my child and won't have to rely on dreams. :-)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

We are loved

God loves my family. I don't know why, because it seems like all we do is struggle and survive instead of thrive.

We've gotten our selves into some financial strains as of late. John hasn't had any carpentry jobs to help supplement my income, I haven't been working my second job too often (honestly, it's really tough for me to be pregnant, have a toddler, work 40 hours at my desk job and then pick up a 12 hour ambulance shift on the weekend), and then came the Holidays and me being too tired to cook at night when we get home between 4:15-6:00pm. All of these things led to more spending than usual with a lower income than usual, and then more convient-food (Subway, frozen pizza, and the drive-thru) has come about to our table due to my cooking inability and John's cooking refusal. *sigh*

We had planned on receiving the $8,000 first time home buyer's credit a few months ago. Of course, things took 16 weeks instead of 12, and then we were flagged for verification. Even though I sent the paperwork back THE DAY after we received it, here we are, a month later, and still no word. Unforuntately, we have been racking up credit card debt thanks to the financial situation above and then trying to make some needed home improvements. Well, the home improvements have stopped until we get more money, so our house isn't quite put together, and it's now time to start paying the credit cards...we had fully anticipated being able to pay everything off in full before it was even due, using the $8,000. Yeah. That didn't work out. So here we are, like the typical American, having spent more than we have. *sigh*

John called me two days ago and told me that we didn't have enough money to pay our bills this month. This, of course, sent him into an even deeper depression due to his feeling like a personal failure (thank you, economy that won't give him a job!). It breaks my heart to see him suffer like this...but God loves us, and continues to provide even though I feel like if we  were smarter somehow, we wouldn't be in this situation.

The same day that John said we couldn't pay all of our bills, I went home and opened mail from the DDSO only to find out that our HEAP money went through. Hooray! So we don't have to pay our $120.00 gas bill this month. Then, I found a bag of stuff that I still had a receipt for from Wegmans, so I'll take that back and it'll be another $30.00. I listed some things on Craigslist, and have yet to hear from anyone, but who knows?

We're definitely not out of the hole, and I still don't have things worked out to pay our outstanding medical bills, start paying John's school loans back (we're on deferment for the 2nd time), or to pay for this college class and textbook that I need to get my CTRS (I'm enrolled for next semester--am trying to get financial aid to go through (though I'll still initially have to pay...with someone's borrowed money), and I'll try to get the textbook interloaned from the library until I can afford the $66.00 to buy one...hopefully). Let's not also forget the due credit card payments--not sure how we're tackling that, yet.

BUT. The HEAP and returnables help! Also, I have a WIC appointment today, which means we'll be able to get a few groceries to go along with the beans, pasta, and frozen chicken we're surviving on for another 3.5 weeks. I just looked up the food packages we'll be receiving, and I actually got tears in my eyes from how incredibly helpful this will be right now:

For Amara:

Grains

Two 18 ounce boxes iron-fortified cereal;
Two pounds whole wheat bread; or Other whole grain options.


Vegetables and Fruits
Two 64 ounce containers vitamin C-rich juice
$6 cash value voucher for fruits and veggies


Dairy

Four gallons of non-fat (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk (whole milk for 1-2 year olds);
More allowed substitutions.


Protein
One dozen eggs;
One pound dried beans or peas; or Four 15 ounce cans beans or peas; or 18 ounces of peanut butter.


Pregnant Mama:

Grains
 Two 18 ounce boxes iron-fortified cereal;
 One pound whole wheat bread; or Other whole grain options.

Vegetables and Fruits
Three 12 ounce cans frozen vitamin C-rich juice;
$8 cash value voucher for vegetables and fruits

Dairy
5 1/2 gallons of non-fat (skim); or low-fat (1%) milk.
More Allowed Substitutions

Protein
One dozen eggs;
One pound dried beans or peas; Or four 15 ounce cans of beans or peas;
18 ounces of peanut butter.


Thank you, Jesus! I'm so glad that we are loved regardless of our actions, abilities, or attitudes!

16 - 1 day Checkup

We had our almost-16 weeks check up yesterday. I was measuring at 15 cm, am 1lb less than my first weigh-in, and no problems noted. I had just told our MW that I think I've got a pretty active kid inside when I laid down so she could find the heart beat. It took a while to find it because the baby kept kicking the doppler and moving away, which I thought was pretty darn cute; and it just confirmed my belief that I really do have an athlete in there even though his kicks aren't strong yet. I've been feeling pressure changes, lumps, bumps, and nudges since about 14 weeks. The bumps are slowly developing into "pops" now, and I'm expecting those "thud" type kicks any time. :-)

I say "he" because I had my first gender dream last week. This is the first dream I've had where I saw my baby's face and clearly knew the gender. I had two awful miscarriage dreams early on in which I saw the baby's head at least, but I refuse to count death dreams towards figuring out what I'm having. So this was my first gender dream that I'm counting. In it, I was holding a beautiful baby wrapped in a colorful blanket. I went to introduce my son to another person, when the baby opened his mouth and flashed a full set of teeth. Yes, my child was born with all of his teeth.

Maybe we're having a boy? Hopefully a toothless one at that. :-)

Exciting news: February 11th will be our ultrasound!

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