Fearing the Unknown

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Here we are, almost 2 weeks before the due date that the doctors set for me (I still think my actual due date is May 7th) and I know less now than I did the first time around. Trust me, I was no expert then either. This post may get slightly graffic in places (I’m talking to you, Dad), so anyone squeamish or who doesn’t want to hear about my lady parts, I understand if you don’t read this post. I promise, no pictures. Lol.

At my April 7th appointment, I had my first vaginal exam in months and found out that I was already 3cm dilated and the baby was in position. This was a month before my due date and well before I had hit my financial freedom goal for taking the summer off. It was also a week and a half before my baby shower. I was NOT prepared for this baby. Not even a little bit. I was terrified. The following Monday, I went to the hospital for an ultrasound to check on the baby’s size because he/she was measuring a little larger than he/she should have been. At that appointment, they told me the baby was approximately 7lbs 3oz and that he/she was breech. For those of you that don’t know what that means, the baby’s head was up by my rib cage instead of head-down like it was supposed to be. While there are methods that can be tried to coax the baby into the proper head-down position, my doctor does not practice any of these methods. According to her, a breech baby means having a planned c-section.

Just for a little back story here, I am a very small woman. I’m 5’1″, 115-120lbs when I’m not pregnant. I’m built very much like my mother, who had 3 children, all via c-section. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was convinced she would also come out by way of a c-section. It just made sense to me. When she was born naturally, I was amazed and very proud that my body was able to deliver her without surgery. This time around, just as naively, I didn’t even consider a c-section because everything went so smoothly last time around. So, this news caught me off guard. I’ve gone a wonderful 34 years without any kind of surgery. I’d like to not start now, if possible.

I didn’t find out about the c-section until the appointment with my regular OB-GYN on April 13th. We talked over the possibilities, scheduled another ultrasound for the end of the month, and set a tentative c-section date of May 4th if the baby still hadn’t turned by the next ultrasound. I’ve been stressing about it all since. Having a c-section means a longer recovery time, not being able to drive for up to 6 weeks, needing to be more careful picking my baby up and putting him/her down. It means a longer time of not being able to run around outside with my daughter, who is already so starved for Mommy’s attention because I’m so tired all of the time. It means my guts will be outside my body and I have to trust that the doctors will put everything back where it is supposed to go. I know that thought doesn’t show much faith in my practitioners, and that’s not how I mean it. I’m just terrified of doctors in general. The idea of surgery is not relieving that fear.

Last Wednesday, I went back for my weekly appointment. This time I saw the male doctor in our group. I brought up my concerns about the baby being breech. He pressed down on my lower abdomen, in the exact location where 2 weeks before the other doctor in the group had told me the head was down, and tried to convince me that the baby had turned and was, in fact, in position. I tried to hide my doubt. He still wants me to go for the ultrasound this Wednesday, but not because he thinks the baby is breech. Apparently, my monster baby is in the 92nd percentile and he’s worried about the baby getting too large. Not so large, however, that they will induce me early and let this pregnancy come to an end. No. They plan to wait until May 18th, one week after their approximated due date. Most babies gain 1/2 a pound per week in the last month of pregnancy. That means 2 1/2 more pounds. On top of the 7lbs 3oz they were calling on April 11th. That’s almost a 10 pound baby. Again, I am a very small woman.

So, damned if you do and damned if you don’t. While I’m scared to death of having surgery, even if it is scheduled and routine, I’m also terrified of giving birth to a toddler. And yes, I know that I’m exaggerating. I also know that this is all going to happen exactly how it is supposed to happen. I’m still allowed to be nervous. And if the c-section is going to happen either way, whether it’s because the baby is breech or because it is far too large for my body, I’d rather have the May 4th baby. I’m over being pregnant. I’m over being unable to sleep at night because of the heartburn and the body aches. I’m ready for my wonderful husband to share the joy of the last few months and wake up in the middle of the night instead of me. “Your turn, babe,” sounds like music to my ears at this point. And, funny as it sounds, my inner geek would like my equally geeky husband to have his Star Wars baby. “May the 4th be with you!” 🙂

Thank you

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I know it’s sappy, but with this pregnancy drawing to a close I want to take this post and thank all of the people that have dealt with me over the past few months. I know there have been times when I have been down right intolerable and to the best of my knowledge I haven’t lost any friends permanently over it. So let’s start there.

To my friends, thank you for dealing with the fact that I had zero motivation to do anything during trimesters one and three. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to hang out with you. It was simply that I could not leave the comfort of my pajamas, my couch, and Netflix. Getting dressed and putting in effort to look half decent were not on my to do list for those long months. And even though I kept the house half-decent (you’re welcome, my loving, obsessive-compulsive husband), the thought of entertaining anyone at our house made me want to take a nap. Otherwise I would have invited you over to sit and watch Netflix with me. Thank you all for realizing that this was just a phase and not thinking I was abandoning you forever. I hope I was still there for you in some way if and when you needed me. Co-workers, thank you for dealing with my unbridled rage towards people in general and letting me vent my work frustrations on you. And thank you for telling me how good I still looked, even when I felt like my body resembled E.T. (which I still believe, by the way).

To my family, thank you for tolerating my mood swings and crying fits (those of you who saw them). I was far more emotional during this pregnancy than my last one. Granted, there were far more life-changing events this time around too. I married the love of my life and I lost one of the most important people in the world to me, my grandfather, along with a few other ups and downs. And while I’m so grateful I had my mom, stepdad, brother, and sister nearby this time around, it was definitely hard being away from all of my New Jersey family. There was definitely more reason to be emotional this pregnancy.

To my in-laws, thank you for welcoming me and my daughter into your family so completely, for trusting me with your son/brother’s heart, and for making us feel like we were completing the puzzle of his life. Thank you for helping out and babysitting on the days where our schedules overlapped and neither of us could switch shifts. Thank you for helping to organize our wedding and baby shower. We could not have gotten through the past few months without you.

To my mother… I could not have gotten through the past few months (who am I kidding? past few years is more accurate) without your help and guidance. You’ve supported me through motherhood, through my relationship with T and all the insecurities about taking the giant leap to move out of your home and in with him, through my wedding, and now through this pregnancy. You’ve watched my Peanut almost every weekend so that I could work and help support my family. You’ve been understanding when I worked through the night, which made me sleep all day and left me barely able to make it to your house on a Saturday to spend time with her. Not to mention the days when I felt like I had been hit by a truck and really couldn’t make the drive up. Never once did you make me feel like I was burdening you or like I was a terrible mother, even though I felt like one.

To my daughter, it’s been a rough couple of months for you, little one. I went from playing in the yard with you and running around like a maniac to having no energy at all. You’re taking on the role of big sister soon and there will be so many changes in your life. The one on one time hasn’t ended, I promise. It will just have to be planned better now. Thank you for understanding on the days where you’ve had to play by yourself in the playroom because I physically just couldn’t move. Thank you for falling asleep next to me on the couch instead of tearing the house apart when I’ve fallen asleep at 7:30 and you’re still awake. We’ve had some hiccups here and there, but we’ve talked through them and I think we’re going to be okay. I know you’re going to be the best big sister ever. Even if you can’t have your “bunk-crib” invention. Trust me, you’re going to enjoy having your own room once the baby is here and up at all hours of the night. Most of all, I’m sorry that you’ve had to bear the brunt of my mood swings and impatience. Thank you for being so understanding beyond your years. I don’t know what I did to be lucky enough to call you mine, but I’m happy I did it.

Finally, to my husband… I don’t even know where to start. You had no idea what you were getting into when we agreed to start trying for a baby. Neither of us expected for it to happen so quickly. But I wouldn’t change a thing. You have supported me through every up and down from this pregnancy. You’ve cooked when I had no appetite for anything; you’ve cleaned when all I wanted to do was lay on the couch. You’ve calmed me after my weekly emotional meltdowns and you stood by me when, early on, I started spotting and was convinced we were losing the baby. You’ve dealt with my nonexistent libido, the way I can go from happy to crying to irate in seconds, the way I always have a story to tell you right as you’re walking out the door… and you’ve done all of it in the most loving manner possible. You are my rock. And while I wouldn’t be in this position without you, I couldn’t have gotten through it without you either. Last time, I went through all of it alone. And while I knew it would have been easier to have someone who loved me by my side, I didn’t realize how much of a difference it made. I can’t wait to see your face when you look into our baby’s eyes for the first time. I can’t wait for all of the firsts that we get to share together. Most of all, I can’t wait to see you just be a dad. You’ve already done it with Peanut, but this time you get to start from the beginning and learn with the baby. I can’t wait to see what a great dad you’ll be and I have no doubt you’re going to put everything you have into being just that.

I don’t know if we’ll have another baby after this one. That discussion is still on the back burner for now. But I’m grateful to have this experience and to go through it with so many loving and supportive people by my side. It’s definitely been a trip so far. And I can’t wait for the next leg of the journey.

Gardening 3.0

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This year is my third summer in our home and my third attempt at having a garden. While previous years have been successful, I’ve learned a little more each time about gardening dos and don’ts. The first year, I planted way too many vine plants and did not have enough room for everything in our 10’x5′ raised garden bed. The zucchini and cucumbers killed off the pumpkins. I didn’t have a vertical apparatus for the vines to climb up so the leaves developed some kind of grossness I’d rather not think about. I also planted all of the herbs in with the vegetables. Let me just tell you… Spearmint will ruin your life. I’m still finding it in the garden bed 2 years later. I can’t get rid of the stuff.

Last year, I bought separate containers for the herbs, I planted less and spaced everything out more, I put together a PVC pipe contraption with twine strings for the cucumbers to grow up. I had tomato cages and rubber padded wire. I was set. Except, the cucumbers grew out of control and that’s pretty much the only real crop we got. Cucumbers, cucumbers, and more cucumbers. I made about 20 jars of pickles, which came out amazing, but some of which are still in my refrigerator. They need to go. I also had an overabundance of basil. Which was great the first time I made my own pesto. But how much pesto can you use? Especially when your loving daughter won’t eat the stuff because it’s green. Guess what I didn’t have. Dill for all of those pickles I was making. That I had to buy at the grocery store. The great thing was that with all of those cucumbers, not once did I have to worry about the salmonella scare that was sweeping the nation because not once last summer did I purchase a cucumber. Eh, you live and you learn, right?

This year, I bought a $6 pod container. I planted all of my seeds in it so that the transplant process wouldn’t be as traumatic on the roots. I was good to go. Everything was sprouting, the beans were going crazy. Then winter hit. In April. Mother Nature, you SOB. Now the seedlings are outgrowing their pods and things are starting to wilt. But I’m stubborn. I’m going to make it work.

While we’ve been trying to prepare for baby #2, I’ve been making my list of the things that need to be done before he/she gets here. Plant the garden has been on the top of that list because my ability to bend down and get back up is becoming more and more of a feat in itself. Also, I know that my time to plant after the baby arrives is limited and I’d like to preserve as many of this year’s crops as possible so that by the end of the summer when Baby is starting his/her first foods they are foods that I made myself. From my garden. Where I know that no pesticides were used. Problem was, I had to wait until we got to a point where we didn’t have below freezing temperatures at night. That didn’t happen until this weekend.

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon plugging away at the garden. I had tilled and added more soil a few weeks ago, sprinkled Epsom salt  earlier in the week, and then tilled it again before planting anything yesterday. I started planting, trying to remember what I could about companion planting from my first year’s attempt. Also, I tried to give the cucumbers enough space that they wouldn’t invade every other vegetable in the garden. The almost end result is pictured above in my crude little drawing and random photo. I say almost because today I got the bright idea to recheck my companion planting sites. Of course I got some of the info wrong and have to move a couple of things. Broccoli and peppers are apparently not friends, and neither are beans and onions. So, with a gentle swap and a few other minor adjustments, we should be all set. Again. Good thing they’re in those pods, right? Then I just have to keep watering everything and cross my fingers that the pods work.

Planting the garden every year is one of those things that keeps me sane. I feel productive. I feel like I’m contributing something back. I save money on produce. My daughter gets to see where her food comes from and appreciate what it takes to make it go from just a seedling to something edible. This year’s produce will hopefully contribute substantially to our new addition’s diet and the first foods that he/she eats will be preservative free and pesticide free. It also gives me somewhere to go when I need a break from being a wife, a mom, etc. I go in the back of the house, pick the vegetables that are ready, weed the garden, vent my frustrations, and come back a slightly more normal version of myself.

It’s funny because I can’t keep a houseplant alive for anything. We have a withering old aloe plant on a counter in the kitchen that’s been alive since before I moved in with T. The only reason it’s still alive is because it is right next to the laptop where I write this blog.  I sit down to write, see that it’s looking a little dead, and throw some ice cubes in the pot. (This was a trick I learned on how to water orchids. Orchids that died.) Somehow, though, this garden is my own little sanctuary and I put a lot more effort into keeping it going. Maybe because it actually yields something? I mean, flowers and plants are great, but I’ve got a short attention span and these are things the new baby is just going to try and eat at some point in his/her mobile future.

Anyway, today those few veggies will get transplanted to their permanent summer homes and hopefully in the next couple of months we will have something worth eating. I will keep you updated. Please let me know your garden stories if you have any. I love being able to discuss what works and what doesn’t.

Nesting and Prepping

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Well, folks, I can officially say that I’ve entered into the nesting phase of this pregnancy. Maybe it’s the fact that my due date is less than 4 weeks away. Maybe it has something to do with trying to get my Spring cleaning done (even though we’ve had more days with snow this “spring” than we did through all of winter). Maybe it has to do with the fact that I went to the doctor last week and I’m already dilated 3cm. But time is definitely running out and I still have a long To Do list before I’m ready for this baby.

My seeds have all sprouted and are ready for the garden. Mother Nature, however, has other plans. Hopefully the weather breaks soon and I can plant them. Especially since it’s looking like I’ll be out of commission sooner rather than later. I planted a lot of different types of seeds this year because I wasn’t sure how the pod planter that I bought would work out, but so far it seems to be a very good investment for this year’s produce. There are carrots, Brussels sprouts, lemon balm, dill, parsley, chives, spearmint, basil, oregano, 3 types of tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, cauliflower, etc. If the garden yields anything like what it did the past couple of summers we will be all set this year. I’m looking forward to making homemade baby food this fall. If only it would stop snowing at night so I could actually plant everything. Which reminds me, I also have to build a vertical apparatus for the cucumbers this year to save space in the garden. More on that in a future post.

I’ve set up the bassinet and washed the gender neutral, hand me down baby clothes that I have. There’s a tiny little sock monkey baby outfit that I think will be perfect for the hospital pictures. I’m still hunting for the right dresser/changing table, though. I don’t know about you, but I get a picture in my head of how something should look and I cannot be stopped until I find that exact thing. I’m willing to compromise a little, but not nearly as much as I should. The hospital bag is packed and ready to go. I’m going to research hospital bag checklists, however, so I can make sure I’ve really packed everything we’ll need. I know there has to be something that I’m forgetting.

Friday night I was on a mission to clean up the clutter counter we have in our kitchen. That got done, I replenished the cabinets from the downstairs stock shelves, and I wrote out my list of what I’ll need to buy to replenish the backup stock. I also need to plan out some more freezer meals so that we’re ready to go for the next month or so. I’ve been focusing mostly on dinners, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to look up some good breakfast recipes as well so we’re not living off of cereal. Yesterday was a day of very little sleep and lots of running around, so I didn’t get anything done around the house, but T started on the laundry so that was a big help. Today, I attacked the bathroom with full force. Didn’t get to the tub, but I organized the closet in there, took inventory of what bathroom essentials I need to stock up on, and scrubbed everything else. Like, Clorox wiped the baseboards and scrubbed the tile walls and floors kind of cleaned. No one else will notice, but I’m happy with the end results and that’s all that matters right now.

Tomorrow, we have an ultrasound at 7:30am (yuck- at the time and the fact that T can’t make it. I’m excited to see how much the baby has grown, though) and then I plan on heading to the store for all the items on my list. I hope to replenish all of that so we are prepared for another 30 Day No Spend Challenge in May. With me being out of work it would help to save as much as possible and will make up for some of what I couldn’t save for my maternity leave. I’m also going to pick up the necessities to start my freezer meals, order the 1/4 cow that we’ve been waiting for, drop off some clothes and other items for donation, and tackle another room in the house. I should probably go with our bedroom since we’re going to be adding a roommate shortly.

I figure if I go room by room I will be set by the time the little one arrives. Maybe. Probably not. But here’s to wishful thinking!

 

You Are Not a Special Snowflake… And Other Lessons to My Children

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Okay, so I know what you’re thinking. I’m a mean mom. But hear me out on this one. The millennial generation is one of the most entitled generations to date. And yes, the baby boomers set them all up in part for that one. But that doesn’t make it okay for me to raise a total pansy. It doesn’t. And the only way out of it is teaching my kids that.

I love my daughter more than life itself. I think (I hope) that I’ve made that evident. She is an amazing little person and the fact that my body created her still amazes me to this day. However, she’s been an only child for 6 1/2 years. She has had A LOT of one on one time with me, my husband, her father, all of her grandparents, her cousins, etc. Because of all this time around adults (and almost adults) she has developed this attitude that is not at all cute on a 6-year old. It’s damn right infuriating. Even worse is that she gives you this attitude in the right context. This is both a proud moment for my inner bitch and a disheartening one for the rest of me.

All of this one on one time, however, has made her feel like she’s the most special little snowflake in all the land. Her dad reinforces that, as do his parents, and my own. Our baby shower is next week. I’ve had multiple people tell me they’re going to bring a present for her. Please don’t. I appreciate the sentiment. I really do. And our growing family will be a very difficult transition for her. I get that. That’s why we’ve sat down together and talked about it multiple times. That’s why I leave the lines of communication open so that she can talk to me about any future concerns she may have. And while a “Big Sister” tee shirt would be cute, there are only so many of those that we need (one, and I’ve already purchased it) and this shower is about the baby. She’s gonna have to get over herself and realize that it’s not always about her and it never will be again.

See, I look at it this way… It’s not my job to be my kids’ friend. It’s my job to make them into decent people that I would be willing to be friends with in adulthood. I have no intention of raising self-entitled little assholes because I wouldn’t want to hang out with those people later in life, let alone admit they came from me. It’s also my job to get them ready for the real world. And the real world doesn’t care that you just had a major life transition. The real world gives you a brief period of time to put your life back in order and then it’s all, “Suck it up, buttercup. Life goes on.”

Now, before you go reporting me to Child Services, please realize that my daughter knows how special she is in our home. There is no one that could ever replace her and I would be lost without her. What I teach her is that everyone feels like that in their own home. But then you go to school (or soccer or gymnastics) and not everyone can be the special snowflake all at once. You have to take turns. I’ve already threatened to remove her from any and all activities in later years where you receive a “participation award.” Those things are crap. What I teach her is that she needs to learn how to handle situations on her own because, excluding small exceptions, she’s gonna be the one there and I’m not the mom that’s gonna call the school to say, “So-and-so was picking on my Peanut.”

A perfect example… She is currently obsessed with Shopkins. In case you don’t know what they are, they are tiny little choking hazards in the shapes of food, shoes, household appliances, etc that have cutsy names like Dakota Dogbone. I don’t even know if that’s a real example. I just made it up. Anyway, she’s allowed to bring a toy for recess. She frequently decides to bring some of her Shopkins because it’s a status thing in 1st grade. I get it. For back story, please know that I have been telling her since she started Kindergarten that she is not allowed to accept daily “gifts” from other kids in her class or on the bus because these kids will just as quickly change their minds, turn around, and say that she stole it from them, she wasn’t supposed to keep it, whatever excuse they can to get the object back. She knows this. She has been forced, by me, multiple times, to give items back to other kids because I refuse to be known as “The Klepto’s Mom.” It’s just not a title I want, okay? Yesterday she came home complaining that she and another girl in her class had traded Shopkins and she wanted hers back now. She even gave the girl back her original Shopkins, but the girl won’t bring hers back. She also informed me that it’s my job to call that girl’s mother and make her bring them in.

Know what I said? “Looks like you’re beat, kid. And technically, you’re beat twice because you already gave back her Shopkins.” I know. I know. I’m terrible. I’m a horrible, no good human being. However, I’m pretty sure she learned the lesson that I’ve been trying to teach her for the past 2 years. And I doubt she’ll be as eager to “trade” in the future. Now, this is just my wishful thinking. She is my kid and I’m very good at holding a grudge. I still get angry when I visit my grandmother and pass by Liz Velchik’s old house because that little girl would make me late for my mother to stay and clean up Barbies but would run out the door while my house was a mess if she had to go home. But, I digress. I hope she learned this lesson, even if she did have to do it the hard way, because it’s bigger than a toy. It’s learning who to trust, standing up for yourself, anticipating what’s to come. These are things I’m trying to teach her now because they are lessons that are so much harder to learn later in life.

That, and that everyone is special in their own way. But one snowflake doesn’t usually stand out in a blizzard.