Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Good Morning

Hi Little Man,

I had a really good morning this morning. I didn't expect to, because I barely got any sleep last night. But, surprisingly, it was a really good morning.

Your dad and I got to have some quality time together this morning, so that was a pretty nice start to the day.

Then, we had our 36 week appointment. Everything's looking great! According to my midwife, you have dropped, which is AWESOME! I think you dropped about a week or so ago, so here's hoping that it is true that for first time moms, babies drop about 2-4 weeks before labor begins. That would mean that we only have a few weeks left - which means we're right on time and everything is going exactly as it should!

The midwife did the GBS test, so hopefully that will be negative.

She also did a cervical check and said that I'm about 50% effaced and you are between -2 and -1 position. No dilation so far. But I'm still pleased with the progress :)

After that, I went to Walmart to return something and grab a few last-minute hospital bag things. When I was checking out, the cashier was so sweet! She kept asking me all sorts of questions about when I'm due, if I'm excited, what I'm looking forward to, etc. She didn't try to offer advice. She didn't judge. She didn't overstep her bounds and ask any inappropriate questions. She was just nice, and as I left, she wished me the best of luck. And I couldn't help but smile as I walked out of the store.

Smile, because I know that you are safely tucked inside of me.

Smile, because I know that soon - very soon - I will finally get to meet you. Hold you. Kiss you. Give you a bath. Change your diaper. Rock you to sleep. Snuggle you.

Smile, because you have made my world such a beautiful place.

Smile, because I have a son.

I can hardly believe that in just a few short weeks, you will be in my arms. It's incredible.

I can't wait to meet you.

Just last night, we took the tour of the maternity care center at St. Joseph's, where you are going to enter this world. On our last hospital tour, I was by far the least pregnant woman there. This time, I was the most pregnant woman. So weird.

As we were touring the facility, I could hardly keep myself from tearing up, realizing that I will be in that place in only a few weeks to welcome you into the world, into our family, and into my life.

I can't wait until the next time I get to visit St. Joseph's, because the next time I'm there, it will be to meet you.

I love you, Baby Boy.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

34 weeks

Hi Little One,

In exactly 3 minutes it will be Tuesday. And this Tuesday marks 34 weeks of pregnancy - wow!

That means that we are now officially at the point where my midwife will no longer try to stop the contractions if I go into labor.

That's insane.

It's insane to think that we've reached that milestone.

At this point, whenever I go into labor, you're coming - there's no trying to stop it now.

I certainly don't want you to come yet.

You still need to keep on baking for at least another three weeks. Preferably longer. But at least three more, okay?

Now don't take this the wrong way. I definitely don't want you to come later than six weeks from now! On time or a week or two early would be great in my book.

Just thought you should know what I think, in case you want to pander to my requests.

I'm definitely counting down the days until you arrive, though.

Partially because I can hardly wait to meet this little wiggly character inside of me who has already stolen my heart.

And partially because my back HURTS!

I really don't mean to complain, because I wouldn't trade you for anything.

But I won't lie - I'm looking forward to actually being able to crack my back again once you're born.

Right now, my innards are too crushed with you inside me for me to be able to crack my back. I can barely turn to either side without feeling like my ribs are about to pop out of socket, so I certainly can't turn enough to crack my back.

And my back is really starting to bother me...a lot.

Our bed doesn't help - it's a bit too soft for me, and I usually am sore and stiff by the time I wake up these days.

I honestly am terrified of chiropractors, but I'm so stiff and sore all the time nowadays that I actually have considered facing my fears and making an appointment with one.

Probably the only reason it hasn't happened is because money's very tight right now, and I'm spending any "extra" money we have on preparing for you to arrive!

Speaking of which, I'll be doing LOTS of shopping this week to get all the last minute little things that we need to have before you enter the world (like diaper wipes, for example).

In other news, tomorrow also marks our second birthing class, and I can't wait! I feel like I've just been waiting with bated breath for an entire week for our second class to arrive, so I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow evening.

Your dad is, too.

Every night, he and I read the Bible over you, and the entire time, he rubs my stomach and plays with you and talks to you. Your dad loves you so, so much. He loves to feel you move. He loves to pray over you. He loves to sing to you and talk to you and kiss you and tell you how much he loves you.

He's going to be a great dad. I just know it.

And I love watching him "interact" with you while you're inside me - it makes me all the more excited to see him meet you for the first time!

And it's so nice that he can finally experience a little bit of what I've been experiencing for so long, now that your movements are so strong.

In fact, there are a couple of spots on either side of my ribcage where you like to scrape your foot or knee or some other part of your body across my side, and it really, really, really doesn't feel good. Your dad knows where that spot is, and every time he feels you move there, he looks up at me with an expression that says, "I felt that one! Are you okay? Did it hurt?" It's really a very cute mixed expression - it's partially excited and happy that he felt you move, and partially concerned because he knows that that's a tender spot for me.

Well, Baby, that's about it on this end. Nothing too exciting. Just wanted to update you on our new milestone.

Only a few more milestones to go before you enter this world, and I finally get to meet you!



ps...It might sound silly, but every time I hear Adele's "Crazy for You," I think of you and sing along, serenading you as I think excitedly about the upcoming days where I will get to sing you to sleep. I think that just might be "our" song :) I might be crazy, Baby, but "if I am, I'm crazy for you." I love you so much.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Birthing Class

Hi Little Man,

On Tuesday night of this week, your dad and I went to our first birthing class! It seems like a huge milestone to me, because it's a five-week course and I was exactly 33 weeks on the first night of class...which means on the last night of class, I'll be exactly 37 weeks - full term! I can't believe how fast the full-term mark is's insane!

Technically, if I look back, it seems like it's been a lot longer than 3 weeks since I turned 30 weeks, but still, that full-term mark is fast approaching, and I love, love, love, love, love it!

I was definitely one of the two most-pregnant women in the class. They don't let you take a class that ends when you are more than 37 weeks pregnant, so we really pretty much cut it as close as possible.

As far as I could tell, there was only one other woman in the class due in April - the rest are due in May or June. So weird!

It feels especially funny, because the last time we did anything like this was when we took a tour of the maternity wing of the hospital in Boston (long before we decided to move). At that tour, I was by far the LEAST-pregnant woman. I was about 14 weeks, I think, and everyone else was in the late-20s to 30s. It's weird to be on the opposite end of the spectrum this time around.

I'll admit, it bothers me a little bit that I'm one of the most pregnant women, because (not that it should matter what anyone else thinks), I hate the idea that the other class members (and there are a lot of them!) will think that we just don't care and procrastinated or something. Anyone who knows anything about me would know that I would never procrastinate something like this. In fact, I probably would have been one of the first in line to sign up for this class, had I known about it sooner! But alas, because of the nature of our move being so late in my pregnancy and so last-minute, it caused us to sign up later than I would have hoped for the class. I guess it ultimately doesn't matter, because I should just be grateful that they had an opening in the class and we're able to take it at all, but I feel like I should explain myself to the other mothers so they don't think I'm a slacker!

The class itself was I said, larger than I expected. So far, we haven't really learned anything that I didn't already know from the hours of research and the three books that I've been reading concerning labor and delivery. BUT, the second half of the class was all about practicing relaxation and breathing techniques, and that was AWESOME! Again, not a ton of new information there (in theatre classes, like I've taken in the past, you often use relaxation and breathing techniques similar to those used in birthing classes as a way to calm yourself and focus), but life has been so stressful recently that it was really nice to actually have an hour set aside to actually use some of those techniques. It really did help me to feel more relaxed. Seriously, if they offered a birthing class that ONLY did that sort of stuff, I'd be all about it!

Your dad definitely enjoyed it, too. I'm glad that the class will be addressing the role of support people in labor and delivery, because both your dad and I want him to be actively involved in your birth, but I'm sure, without having been involved in a birth before, it's hard to know how to be as helpful as possible. This class will help him figure out how he can be as helpful and as active as possible.

The only thing about the class that really surprised me had to do with some of the expectations that women have concerning labor. When we first got to the class, the instructor had women share some of the words, images, and thoughts that come to mind when they hear the word "labor." To be honest, the words that come to mind for me are "peace," "calm," "assurance," "trust," "joy," "excitement," etc. When I think of labor, I think of a soothing, dimly-lit environment with calming music on in the background. I think of trusting my body to know what to do and simply allowing it to work in the way that it was designed by God to work. I think of trusting the process of labor, with the assurance that it was designed by a good, loving God who only wants the best for me. And I think of the end result - namely, you, sweet boy - and the joy and excitement that will come with holding you and seeing your face for the first time. This is what I think of.

Well, maybe I'm nuts (or just really lucky, actually), because there were very few positive images and words that were tossed out there by the other women. Most of them were things like "terrified," "nervous," "pain," and "freaked out." Only a couple of positive words made it onto the board, like "adventure," and only one of the positive words ("life") came from a mom. The rest of the positive words came from the dads and other support people in the room.

The words were so different from mine that I was almost embarrassed to even participate, so I didn't. I could just picture saying my word, "calm" or "peace," and having the heads of 30 people whip around to see who the crazy person in the back of the room is and to assess whether she poses any threat of going psycho at some point during the evening. So, I just kept my words to myself, delighted to know that my picture of labor is not one of being terrified and doubled-over in pain and angry and freaked out. No, not at all.

Of course, there's no way to know how I will react when I do actually go into labor, but at least for now, the idea of labor doesn't cause me any stress or fear. Right now, it just causes me excitement and anticipation. And it doesn't get much better than that! I'm so glad that I can look forward to your birth without any negative emotions, fears, or feelings holding me back from experiencing the complete and total anticipation and joy that I want to feel, that I should feel, when thinking about meeting my son for the very first time.

What a blessing!

I thank God with every fiber of my being that he has given me this assurance. I wouldn't have it without him.

I love you, Baby Boy - keep on growing strong!



Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Random Act of Kindness

Hi Baby,

I got to go out to dinner tonight with a dear friend of mine.

When it was time to get our bill, the waitress came up and told us, "The older couple who was sitting across from you has already paid your bill for you, so you're good to go."

And my friend and I just looked at each other. "Really?" we both asked incredulously.

"Yeah," said the waitress, "Do you know them?"



I have never had something like that happen to me before in my life.

It is such a small thing, really. It wasn't like we were at a four star restaurant and our bill was $80. But still. A random couple decided to pay for us.

I have no idea why they would choose to do such a kind thing to us.

Maybe it was because they saw us pray before the meal and, as my friend suggested, it inspired them to do the KTIS Friday challenge - which is apparently where KTIS (a local radio station) challenges its listeners to pay for a strangers bill when they are out to eat or to pay the bill for the person behind them in the drive-thru at a fast food or coffee joint.

Or maybe I was talking way too loudly about some of the trials that are facing me right now, and they felt bad for the obviously pregnant woman who is clearly down on her luck recently.

Or maybe it was for a completely unrelated reason.

But the reason doesn't really matter.

All that matters is that their small act of kindness seriously made my day.

It might sound silly, but I've been feeling like a zombie a lot recently - both from lack of sleep and from general emotional and physical weariness.

But their kindness made me feel like a human being again for once.

And it reminded me that there are kind people out there who are willing to help someone out when they can - even someone they've never met before.

I wish we could've thanked them, but they had already left by the time we found out they paid for our meal. They probably wanted it that way. They probably wanted to remain anonymous. But I sure wish I could hug them and tell them how much their kindness meant to me.

It may seem like I'm taking it way overboard, but I can hardly keep from tearing up as I write this. They made me feel loved, and important, and special, and human again for the first time in quite a while. And I think it made such an impact on me because of the very fact that they were - that they are - complete strangers. Yes, of course, my friends make me feel human and make me feel loved all the time. But sometimes their love and kindness doesn't always get through to my heart because of all of the other difficulties that are going on around me right now. It's easy to not let that love and kindness sink in because they're my friends, so of course they love me and are kind to me!

But when someone I don't even know chooses to go out of their way to show me kindness and love, to make me feel like a human being - well, that's something very, very special. And it is impossible for that not to touch my heart.

It's so easy for us to get caught up in our busy lives, Baby. You won't really understand that for several years, because when you're young, all that matters is your toys and friends and having time to play and explore the world. It's all so wonderful when you're young. But as you get older, you, just like all of the rest of us, will get caught up in the busyness of the world - doing homework, being involved in extracurriculars like sports and playing instruments, spending time with friends, doing chores around the house. And that's normal. It's normal to get caught up in the busyness.

But I hope that in those times, you will not forget that it doesn't take much to make someone else's day a little brighter. It can be as simple as a smile. It can be as easy as helping someone pick up some papers that they dropped. It can be as basic as giving a compliment to someone. It can be as rudimentary as paying for someone else's bill at a drive-thru or restaurant. I hope that I don't forget that either.

Because as basic as these little acts of kindness can be for you, they can be life-altering for the person you do them for.

To the couple who paid for our dinner this evening: Thank you. You have absolutely no idea how much that act of kindness meant to me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I love you, sweet Boy,


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Good Job!

Hi Baby,

Just wanted to tell you how proud I am of you - I had another prenatal appointment today, and it looks like you decided to start making some moves, because it seems that you are no longer breech. Keep up the good work!

You're not quite in position yet, but you have time, and I'm just glad that you're on the move :)

Keep up the good work!

Also, I have a confession to make.

I have gone a bit nuts contacting craigslist people for baby stuff.

I'm really shocked to admit this.

I never thought it would happen to me.

Because I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE craigslist - for very good reasons, too.

But, as it turns out, craigslist is a great place to get some of the more expensive baby items that we absolutely must have when you arrive (an infant car seat, for example...which, by the way, is being picked up by your dad's dad today on his way home from work!) without having to spend an arm and a leg.

And since I am currently more broke than I have ever been in my life (college included), this is a big deal.

A very big deal.

I am buying a Baby K'Tan on Friday from a craigslist person.

The car seat (NEVER BEEN USED, the EXACT type I registered for, and $80 cheaper than purchasing it in store!!!) is coming today - again, a craigslist find.

I am currently working on setting up a meeting time/place to purchase a breast pump from another craigslist ad.

I'm in the process of purchasing a nursing cover from someone else on craigslist - though we're in a bit of a waiting game, because she also has lots of gently used 3-6 month summer baby boy clothes (which should be the perfect fit for you!), and once she sends me pictures, I'll decide which items of clothing, if any, I want to invest in as well before going to pick up the nursing cover.

And I'm still waiting to hear back from the Snap & Go people I emailed about their ads.

The only thing that has fallen through so far is that I contacted someone about a barely used playard (again, the exact one I wanted to get for you in lieu of a bassinet) one day too late, and they had already sold it :(

But, overall, I'm doing pretty well. After all of these purchases (not including the clothing/nursing cover and snap & go, because I'm still waiting on hearing about those options), I will have spent about $300 (which includes the cost of replacing the parts on the breast pump that I need to replace for sanitary reasons) on stuff that would have cost me a total of $550 (not including tax). WOW! Basically half price!

It's not like I'm getting over my aversion to craigslist.

I still hate it.

But even the devil has a role to play in this world, so why shouldn't craigslist :)

Love you lots,