December 23, 2008

37 weeks

Had my 37 week appt today.

  • I am still just 1cm dilated. Which is pretty much right on schedule. I really *felt* like things were changing, and expected a bit more, but we're ok with 1cm. I want Poblano to come when he is good and ready. Even though I am dying to meet him - I can be patient!
  • I am negative for GBS - yay!
  • My blood pressure (90/60) is great.
  • We did another NST and Poblano is doing perfectly.
  • I am having mild contractions and "cramping".
  • My Dr. looked over my "birth plan" (we're calling it Birth Wishes though) and approved everything.
Other than that, I am pretty wiped out most of the time - my huge surge of energy over the last couple weeks seems to be conspicuously missing. My brain is literally the size of a marble right now - I am really foggy and forgetful and lack normal reflexes. I am kind of scared to drive, feels like I am high on something.

It is also a really bizarre Christmas for me. Mr. Spicy and I decided to devote our time, energy, and finances this year to just laying low and prepping for Poblano's arrival - which is surprisingly a lot of work! So, no major crafting or baking sprees for me, and we aren't even really doing gifts except for kids in our family and maybe a few other family members. I feel sort of lame. It seemed like a good idea, a relief, when we made the decision. But now I am sort of missing all the holiday hullabaloo. I actually *love* buying and making gifts for others at Christmas. And now I feel all scroogy and weird because we haven't done that this year. Bah humbug!

But, we have carved out some time to honor our usual Christmas Eve traditions and to make some space for quiet spiritual reflection which is really the most important part of the season for me. So I am really looking forward to that.

And in case I sound grumpy and whiny - I assure you I am not. Just wishing I had more to give on all fronts: time, energy, gifts, attention.... I feel like we have begun the retreat into our cave to prepare for the life changing event to come, and I am having a hard time not being as available or as giving to the people we love as my heart would like to be.

But I am thrilled our little one is doing so well, grateful that I am doing so well, and looking forward to some time with my hubby over his holiday "break". It feels like we are awaiting the biggest Christmas gift of our lives and we aren't quite sure when it (he) will get here. Talk about joyful anticipation!

I hope everyone has a really special and meaningful time with people they love this holiday season - whatever that looks like for each of you. May you all be blessed with peace, love, and joy.

December 20, 2008

36 weeks (a little late)

Time is whipping by and I have been uber-busy getting ready for this little pepper to make his debut. But here is the quick update:

  • I am 1cm dilated as of this past Tuesday. I don't know about effacement or any of the other details. My Dr. doesn't usually check dilation at 36 weeks but she did for me because I am so anxious to know EVERYTHING! Also? lots of bleeding after the check, and spotting for 2 days afterwards. I know this can be normal - but it kinda freaked me out.
  • They tested me for GBS (Gram B Strep) on Tuesday as well. I will find out this following Tuesday the results. (Crossing my fingers for a negative!)
  • On Tuesday night I woke up with a really strong contraction. On Wednesday my doula looked at me and asked if I was breathing better. I suddenly realized I could take a full deep breath for the first time in ages. She said it looked like I had "dropped" or at least begun to. She suspected that the big contraction was Poblano moving himself down into my pelvis. I am breathing much easier and have much much less acid reflux.....so maybe she's right?
  • Speaking of our doula and her fabulousness, we had a long meeting with her on Wednesday night and it was really wonderful. We discovered some things about the ways that I feel encouraged and how I cope with stress or pain that will help us during the birth and we worked on our "Birth Preferences" (aka Birth Plan) and she taught me some exercises for optimal fetal positioning (OFP). Supposedly all the women she has taught this to, and all the women taught this by the doula who trained her in it, never have had longer than 10 hour labors!!! So, I am faithfully practicing every night. I mean, 10 hours? That would be nice.
  • Other than my OFP exercises, I have been walking this week with a dear friend. We hop on the treadmills and start gabbing and suddenly I have walked an entire hour! I wish exercising always felt this easy! Of course afterwards I am waddling like a duck and sore as hell! But it feels good to be doing it.
  • Because of Mr. Spicy's new job and our new insurance I can go back to my chiropractor for only $20, AND I can get a full 1 hour massage for $20. So - I did both this week, and it was heaven! I had my massage yesterday and I slept soundly last night for the first time in a really really long time. I am planning on getting adjusted and massaged each week till Poblano comes. It is supposed to really help the baby get into position for birth and relieve a lot of the back pain. I just feel so fortunate that our insurance makes this so affordable to do.
  • I have been seeing my acupuncturist once a month through pregnancy. I went to see her this week for possibly my last appointment. But we scheduled another appointment first thing in the morning on the 30th (38 weeks). If he is not here by then, she will begin activating some of the more "aggressive" points. So, Mr. Spicy may get his wish for a 2008 baby after all. Of course, none of this will do anything if Poblano isn't ready to come, so I feel fairly secure in knowing that we are opening the way and encouraging him, but still allowing him to get here when he is fully ready to.
  • Sleep. Sleep? I miss sleeping. I miss it so much! It has gotten to where I dread going to bed at night because I know I will either a) be unable to fall asleep, b) wake up in 2-3 hours and be unable to fall back asleep, or c) wake up in 2-3 hours and spend the whole night sleeping in 20 minute increments as I toss and turn trying to get comfortable, or breathe, or stop throwing up (acid reflux). The breathing and the acid reflux has been better since Tuesday, so there is that. And the massage yesterday REALLY helped. So there is that too. I can handle it if at least every second or third night I get 6+ hours or so, but for a while there I was getting 2-3 hours of sleep for 3-4 nights in a row and it was killing me! I would spend all day an exhausted zombie on the verge of tears and then at night I would lay awake with adrenaline surging through my veins. It got pretty miserable. BUT - I am crossing my fingers that we may have turned a corner and that next week may be better. It just has to be. I don't expect to sleep solidly through the night. It is impossible with my now pea-sized bladder. But to be able to sleep for the majority of the night would be amazing. Was amazing (last night).
  • Otherwise, all is pretty normal here in preggo-ville. I am losing brain cells daily, possibly hourly. I can't remember anything unless I write it down, and even then..... I am frantically trying to get all our baby-prep done as well as keeping up on normal day-to-day stuff like dishes, and trying to squeeze in a few last visits with friends before I am out of commission for awhile in baby-ville. I feel very "ready" for our Poblano to come and just can't wait to meet him! There is still a lot to be done, but emotionally I am just ready - I want to see him, to hold him, to nibble on his cheeks and toes. I pull out his clothes and sigh over them. It has been15 weeks since we saw him in that last grainy ultrasound image. I am jonesing. I want to see my son's face. It is all I think about. I am totally obsessed.
  • Last but not least, here are my 36 week (actually 361/2 week) belly shots. I don't know if I look terribly different than 2 weeks ago - you tell me. But I do know it is the first time since I was 14 that my boobs have actually not looked enormous! I am wearing a 38H right now (usually I'm somewhere around a 34F) - but my belly makes them look normal-sized. Ok, enough talk about my breasts, they'll be plenty of that later when breast-feeding comes along.


December 09, 2008

35 weeks.....really. wow.

Warning! Half naked belly pics below!

So. I am 35 weeks pregnant today. Holy cow.

Everyone keeps asking "Are you excited?" and "Are you ready?"

The answer to the former is, Yes of course I am, but I am also a bit terrified and overwhelmed at the BIG change about to come into our lives. And honestly, I am grieving being so close to the end as well. I almost burst into tears at my last OB appt. This time has literally flown by and there are still so many things I *meant* to do to commemorate it. And although it has been a hard time in some ways, and certainly a time of reflection and growth and assessment - it has been really, truly, sweet. I love my pregnant body. I love the way my husband looks at my giant growing belly and smiles. I love dreaming about our child together. I love feeling him move and knowing he is safe and sound. I love the feeling of strength and beauty I have knowing I am carrying this life inside of me. And no, I won't miss not sleeping, or having massive acid reflux every night, or feeling like someone kicked me in my vagina - but I will miss pregnancy as a whole. I know, I know, ask me again in 3 weeks and see how I feel, right?

The answer to the latter question is pretty much, "Hell no" - we are so far from "ready" (whatever that means). My "to do" list is more than a page long and I will have to accomplish more than one thing on it per day to ensure we are all set for our Poblano. I have washed some of the baby clothes and erected the co-sleeper (it still needs bedding washed and to be attached to the bed) - I have ordered diapers (cloth) and some other items we are missing - but other than that? Yeah, total slacker. Which is no surprise really. I am a renowned procrastinator. I am the queen of getting things done at the last possible hour. I think I actually work better under that stress some times. But in this case, I am working against a really vague deadline. He could come weeks early, or weeks late, or anywhere in between. Doesn't give me a whole lot to work with there. We aren't setting up a nursery right away though, which saves me some work. He will be staying in our room with us for probably the first 6 months or so. We have a dresser for him and a co-sleeper. There's a changing table in our bathroom and we have a couple swings, bouncy seats, etc. that will reside upstairs and downstairs. So, shouldn't be too difficult, right?

Why does everything seem to take so much more time and effort than I could have imagined though? Take our search for a doula for example. We went to a "Meet the Doulas" night. It was good. Lots of good info. Met 4 doulas. No one really jumped out at us. We interviewed another doula at our home. She was really experienced and knowledgeable and would have done a great job, I am sure - but we just didn't "click" with her the way we hoped to. Then, I spent day after day emailing or calling doulas, only to get no response or to find out they aren't practicing any more or are already booked. FINALLY, this weekend we interviewed another doula and she really rocked. She isn't as experienced as some of the others we've looked at, but she has so many qualities that are such a good fit for us and she seems very knowledgeable and supportive. We connected right away and I felt really safe with her discussing some of my concerns and issues around the birth and preparing for it on a spiritual, psychological, emotional, and physical level. She also has a decade of experience as a counselor working with pregnant and postpartum women and is very familiar with post-partum depression. So, she will be very comfortable supporting me in assessing where I am at and getting the resources I will need if that becomes an issue for me. So, that is finally resolved - which is a huge relief - but gosh it seemed to take forever! Now I need to find a pediatrician. Yeah. I am not looking forward to that so much at all. But I have to have one by the time our Poblano arrives - so I better get on it.

Lots has happened in the last few weeks.

  • We finished with our birthing classes. We took the Birthing From Within classes. It was a really great series. We met in the instructor's home, with only 2 other couples. It was small and intimate, and creative, and informative, and empowering. It gave us so much to work with - practical aspects like pain management practices and information about birth, emotional aspects like facing our fears and looking at our attitudes and beliefs about birth and about family, and spiritual aspects like making symbols and birth art, and thinking about how we want to welcome our child into the world.
  • I had my baby shower this weekend. Two friends of mine hosted a sweet, intimate, meaningful, and fun shower for me. About 12 other women attended. We had great food (all of it was gluten-free, which is a sure-fire way to tell me you love me!) and each of the women said a blessing or wish for this new season coming upon us, or for our birth. And then there was the present opening. I could not have asked for a better shower. I felt so loved and cared for. But it was also really hard having all that attention on me in such an intense way. I had to literally keep coaching myself to stay calm and to keep my ears and my heart open to receive it all. By the end I was full, and completely exhausted.
  • I met with my OB at 34 weeks and addressed with her my concerns about her maybe not being available for the birth and also about my wishes and hopes for our birth. It was an incredible conversation. I have sometimes been hesitant to advocate for myself so obviously - so it felt really good to speak up. She took lots of time with me and was really reassuring about everything. It would take volumes to report back all that we talked about and all that she said. But suffice to say I felt really heard and empowered and supported by the time I left her office and I feel so much more confident that our birth is something we will be active, educated participants in. Dr. Honey has been really consistent in addressing my concerns, fears, and questions with respect and compassion and without making me feel rushed or like the worry-wart I sometimes feel that I am. I pretty much adore her for that. In fact, this visit I again mentioned my worry that Poblano isn't moving quite as much as I would expect and without skipping a beat both she and the medical assistant offered to do another NST just to ease my worries. Of course he was just fine, and he did somersaults the entire testing time just to reassure me - but both of them just continued to tell me not to feel weird or embarrassed about asking to come in for this any time I might be afraid. After talking with others who have had to fight with their Dr.s to even be seen at times - I feel really fortunate to have ended up where I have.
So, I will see Dr. Honey again in a week and they will do my first internal exam and test me for Group B Strep (please let me dodge that bullet!) - I will get to see what if anything is happening in my nether regions to get ready for birth (it sure FEELS like something is happening!). I will also begin weekly visits. And wow, we are really here, aren't we?

And last but not least......I did manage to take a 34 week belly photo, although I am posting it a week late - here is my belly in all its glory! (sorry about the lack of clothing - I can't stand wearing clothes right now any more than I have to)

34 weeks:



December 01, 2008

Monday is for Music (2nd edition)

You know when you suddenly remember a band you used to listen to a decade ago and you go and find their music again and wow, it takes you right back to that time in your life - and surprisingly you still really like it?

This last week I was thinking of this group I used to listen to called Digable Planets. I first heard them in 1993, when I was introduced to them by my secret boyfriend and fellow theater major in college. He was a secret because I also had a boyfriend back in the town where I went to high school who I was trying to figure out how to break up with. (I was 18, my skills were lacking) So college boyfriend and I had these crazy adventures all over town made even more adventurous by our "secret status" and he was always introducing me to music I had never heard of as we would jam out and dance our butts off in my dorm room.

Then I ran off, after one year at college and moved to Denver, where my father was living. I had broken it off with high school boyfriend and college boyfriend and I were on the way out as well. I fell in with this group of hipster hippy funky friends who also listened to the Digable Planets and formed all new memories of dancing and laughing with this new group and of course, getting high. I felt so cool and free and the music seemed to match this new season of my life.

But after a year in Denver I took off yet again and drove across the country to move to Chicago. I had never been there, never met anyone there, and had only a few hundred bucks to my name. But within a very short time I was settled in and again had fallen in with an eclectic and diverse bunch of friends who embodied the full energy and creativity of the city. Some of these friends were poets, as was I. And we would ride the train up and down through the city and sit in dark smoky coffeehouses, coming up with new works for our spoken word performances and slam poetry competitions. Some wrote rap-inspired rhymes, others wrote free flowing verses, but no matter what, when you took to the stage you had to have rhythm. There too, I heard the sounds of Digable Planets and other rap/jazz/funk/ hip hop infused music. I heard it in my friends' apartments, I heard it wafting up from basement dance clubs along the street, heard it in dusty coffee houses, heard it spilling out of car windows as I walked past.

So, this week I pulled up some DPs on Pandora Radio and on You Tube and I was simultaneously taken through all three seasons in my life where they played a part in the soundtrack. I remembered dancing awkwardly in a dorm room in Albuquerque, sitting around at a house party in Denver, swaying to the beat, and walking into dark underground jazz clubs in Chicago to dance the night away and afterward run home and transform it all into something I would read later that week on stage, borrowing from the rhythms of the music I was enveloped in nights before.

There is a certain energy in their music, in their rhymes, that is indescribable. They are poetry, they are hip hop, they are life being lived, they are cool, smooth, and hip. They are real.

I am including a You Tube video here for one of their most popular songs - so you have likely heard this before. The setting of the video itself reminds me a lot of being at the famous Greenmill in Chicago every Sunday to perform spoken word and compete in slam poetry, it reminds me of the women's spoken word group I helped form and performed in at coffeehouses and bars throughout the city, and it also reminds me of the funk band I was briefly a part of in Chicago and the small stages and clubs we would perform at - the band's funky bass-laden rhythms laying down under my voice as I sang or spoke my words at the mic. But I could never really hope to be as cool as these three - even now, more than a decade later I watch this video in awe ...... check it out:

( and also? Poblano seems to LOVE this music!)



Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)

(Butterfly)
we like the breeze floats straight out of our lids
them they got moved by these hard rock brooklyn kids
us floor rush when the dj’s boomin classics
you dig the crew on the fattest hip hop record
he touch the kinks and sinks into the sounds
she frequents the fatter joints called undergrounds
our funk zooms like you hit the mary jane
they flock to booms man boogie had to change
who freaks the clips with mad amount percussion
where kinky hair goes to unthought of dimensions
why’s it so fly cause hip hop kept some drama
when butterfly rock the light blue suede pumas
what by the cut we push it off the corner
how was the buzz entire hip hop era
was fresh and fat since they started sayin outtie
cause funks made fat from right beneath my hoodie
the puba of the styles like miles and shit
like sixties funky worms wit waves and perms
just sendin chunky rhythms right down your block
we be to rap what key be to lock

but i’m cool like dat
i’m cool like dat
i’m cool like dat
i’m cool like dat
i’m cool like dat
i’m cool like dat
i’m cool like dat
i’m cool

(Ladybug)
we be the chocolates taps on my raps
she innovates at the sweeter cat naps
he at the funk club with the vibrate
them they be crazy down with the five nate
it can kick a plan then a crowst burst
me i be diggin it with the bug verse
us we be freakin till dawn beats and i
he yes a stranger smile so i say hi (wassup)
who understood, yeah, understood the plans?
him heard a beat and put it to his hands
what i just flip let borders get loose
how to consume all the beats just like juice
if its the shit we’ll lift it off the plastic
the babe’ll go spastic
hip hop gains a classic
pimp player shark it don’t matter i’m fatter
ask butter how i zone

(Butterfly)
man, cleopatra jones

(Ladybug)
and i’m chill like dat
i’m chill like dat
i’m chill like dat
i’m chill like dat
i’m chill like dat
i’m chill like dat
i’m chill like dat
i’m chill (chill)

(All)
blink, blink, blink, blink, blink
think, think, think, think, think

(Doodlebug)
we get you free cause the clips be fat boss
them dug the jams that commence to goin off
she sweats the beats and ask me could she puff it
me i got crew kid, seven and a crescent
us cause a buzz when the nickel bags a dealt
him that’s my man with the asteroid belt
they catch a fizz from the mr. doodlebig
he rocks a tee from the crooklyn nine pigs
rebirth of slick like my gangster stroll
the lyrics just like loot come in stacks and rolls
you used to find the bug in a box with fade
now he boogies up your stage plaits twist the braids

and i’m peace like that
i’m peace like that
i’m peace like that
i’m peace like that
i’m peace like that
i’m peace like that
i’m peace like that
i’m pace

(Butterfly)
check it out, man i groove like that
i’m smooth like that
i jive like that
i roll like that

(Ladybug)
yeah, i’m thick like that
i stack like that
i’m down like that
i’m black like that

(Doodlebug)
well yo, i funk like that
i’m fat like that
i’m in like that
cause i swing like that

(Butterfly)
we jazz like that
we freak like that
we zoom like that
we out (we out)

November 26, 2008

And the "mommy guilt" begins......

So, I lied. Or I forgot. Or both.

Last week at the end of my "32 week" post I said I would take my 32 week belly pic and post it later. Now, it hasn't been all that uncommon for me to slack off and not post a belly pic in a timely fashion. And this time I had some good excuses as our internet went down, we prepared for company, company arrived, etc. etc. But this time?

I completely spaced taking the picture. I have no 32 week belly shot. And it appears I am well into forgetting to take one at 33 weeks as well, since that landmark is passing me by as we speak.

No big deal right? Except I haven't been consistent on writing letters to our Pepper either and I feel like he will one day look through what I wrote and collected during this pregnancy and wonder why there was an entire month between photos and much more than that between journal entries or letters to or about him.

And I know he may not even care, but I also know that he might. I recently acquired my own baby book from my mother and I was surprised at the intensity with which I poured over every written detail and photo. From who attended my mother's baby shower, to pictures of me with the family cat. I wanted clues to this period of time, this time I cannot and will never remember, I wanted to know how my parents felt about me, how I affected their lives, what my life was like in those early days and weeks and years.

So, I feel like something as small as forgetting to document my 32nd week of pregnancy with an appropriate photo could leave a hole in the narrative I have to offer my son. And I realize already that there are so many holes, so many days and weeks undocumented. So many moments when I look down at my growing belly with absolute awe, and feel him move and whisper, "I love you" - that I have never ever written down. And I worry he might never know just how in love I am with him already at this moment, how in love I am with being pregnant, how this is truly the greatest and most amazing time of my entire life and that in many ways it is all because of him.

So here it is. Written down. In case I forget to tell him.

Little man, you are so deeply wanted and loved. I am so honored and happy to be your mama and to have the priviledge to carry you, nourish you, and bring you into this world. I will forget many things, I already have. But I will never ever forget to love you.

November 18, 2008

32 weeks and all's well

Had my 32 week appt today. Nothing too exciting. My uterus is measuring just a tad big, like just under a week ahead. Blood pressure is nice and low, baby's heartrate was great and he seems to be vertex (head down). All is well.

I came in a bit tearful though. I had been noticing the Poblano didn't seem to be moving as regularly over the last week or so, and this morning he was really abnormally quiet. So, I got myself all worried and worked up even though I know when I've done official "kick counts" I've gotten good results. But sometimes I still can't stop my mind from wandering into "worst case scenario" territory.

So. The nurse very kindly ordered a NST (non-stress test) for me. And as soon as I leaned back into the cushy recliner with the monitors strapped acros my belly and the "kick counter" firmly in hand - our little Poblano decided to put on quite a show. I laughed as he rolled and kicked and pushed almost constantly throughout the entire 20 minutes. Maybe he just needed an audience?

Regardless, he is doing just fine. His heartrate showed a great pattern and he obviously is moving well and I didn't have any contractions - so all is well on the uterine front. Whew!

The only sort of bad news is that my doctor is out of town the entire week of my due date. She also was out of town this week and will be out of town for the week of my 38 week appt - dang! I don't fault her for going on vacation, or whatever she might be doing, but is it too much to ask that she postpone these trips for a few more months?

Anyhow, I am beyond happy that Poblano is growing and moving and getting ready to come out and join us soon. I will post a 32 week belly pic later tonight.

November 17, 2008

Monday is for Music

I am not really musically talented in any way. I took violin lessons in elementary school for a year (I think) and really liked it. (Although, I was really into country music at that time and tried to play it with furious speed like a fiddle, in my closet) But that was really my only "formal" music education.

I did land a spot as lead singer in a funky band in Chicago when I was 20 and it was totally a dream come true. But, honestly? I am not a particularly gifted singer either.

But I love music. I loooooovvvvvveeee it. Not necessarily in the same way a musically educated person would appreciate it. No, I think it's the poet in me - but I love music that reaches something deep inside of me and either gives it a voice or speaks to it. I love when a song can catch my breath and cause tears to well up in my eyes. Or, when music makes my whole body want to move and dance. There is a soul language in music that I am drawn to.

Because of this, there are certain artists or groups that I become very devoted to. They become like close friends, confessors, prophets, teachers.....and I go back to them again and again.

Last night, as Mr. Spicy and I sat in our car outside of our birthing class, one of these groups - a group that we have both been devoted to for years, a group that has for us separately and together, acted as a soundtrack through many many important seasons in our lives - U2, came on the radio. Without even speaking, Mr. Spicy reached over and turned up the radio. We sat in silence and as the song began, first I began singing, then he began singing, until we were both singing at the top of our lungs and tears were being wiped from our eyes as we sang along, "I'm wide awake....." - offering these words up to something bigger, as a prayer, as a gratitude, as a realization that we are here in this moment, this is our lives, this is our world, this is really happening - the good, the bad, all of it. We are not sleeping.

And that, for me, was like attending a church - inhabiting a sacred space, praying, crying out, and being ministered to all at once.

I have experiences like this fairly often and thought maybe I would start sharing what song has moved me that week, right here. I am not promising to do it weekly, as consistency isn't always my strong suit. But - eh, here's the first installment. And hey, if you want to - why don't you join in and post an important song for you on your blog and put the link in my comments? Then I will add you to a list on my blog and we can have our own little Monday music party. Even if you don't blog about it, I would love to hear what music is moving you right now, and why?

This week's song was "Bad" by U2. I am embedding the video for it and the lyrics will follow.

I am madly, insanely, without remorse, in love with Bono. I know he is a flawed human being like the rest of us. I know his wife probably rolls her eyes at him from time to time, just like I do to Mr. Spicy. But wow. When he sings? I honestly feel he is channeling the divine. I am completely certain he is a prophet, speaking to the hearts, the minds, the suffering, and the glory of our time.

So many of U2's songs hold immense meaning and power. They feel like prayers, like challenges, like places of comfort and hope and lament. And depending what is happening with me at any given time, what speaks to me in any particular song of theirs can dramatically shift. It is like reading a sacred text. It feels alive and able to bring different meanings depending on when and by whom it is heard. Their understanding of the human condition, of suffering, of the heart, their passion for social justice and change - and their ability to communicate that...wow.

So, without further ado.....here it is:



Bad - U2
If you twist and turn away
If you tear yourself in two again
If I could, yes I would
If I could, I would
Let it go
Surrender
Dislocate

If I could throw this
Lifeless lifeline to the wind
Leave this heart of clay
See you walk, walk away
Into the night
And through the rain
Into the half-light
And through the flame

If I could through myself
Set your spirit free
I'd lead your heart away
See you break, break away
Into the light
And to the day

To let it go
And so to fade away
To let it go
And so fade away

I'm wide awake
I'm wide awake
Wide awake
I'm not sleeping
Oh, no, no, no

If you should ask then maybe they'd
Tell you what I would say
True colors fly in blue and black
Blue silken sky and burning flag
Colors crash, collide in blood shot eyes

If I could, you know I would
If I could, I would
Let it go...

This desperation
Dislocation
Separation
Condemnation
Revelation
In temptation
Isolation
Desolation
Let it go

And so fade away
To let it go
And so fade away
To let it go
And so to fade away

I'm wide awake
I'm wide awake
Wide awake
I'm not sleeping
Oh, no, no, no

November 09, 2008

Bizarre Dreams

this morning I awoke from a bizarre but somewhat obvious dream:

I had given birth to twins (unexpectedly). A girl and a boy. The girl was born a full day and a half before the boy. So, somehow I found myself leaving the hospital with the little boy, strapped into his car seat, which was placed on the floor on the front passenger side of the car (of all places), and driving to pick up my little girl from wherever she had been for the last day or so.

After picking her up and placing her into the same precarious car seat configuration - I headed, not home, but to someone's house. There were tons of people there, for some sort of gathering, led by an older man who is a counselor. Two of the people there were people who don't like me very much IRL and they stared and snickered at me from across the room, judging how poorly I was mothering my little ones.

Which was not an unfair judgment since I began by leaving them in a hot car for several hours by accident before remembering to go out and retrieve them, and upon retrieving them realized neither had been fed yet - ever. So I fumbled about with breastfeeding in this crowded house, all by myself. I was not too good at it. I managed to do it successfully for a few minutes but worried my babies were starving.

Despite my negligent care, they were both pretty good and quiet babies. But maybe too quiet. Once I got them home, I kept forgetting things, like changing them, feeding them, or where I layed them down. I would put one down and forget all about him/her for hours.

Finally, I walked into the "nursery" to find my little boy levitating several feet off of the ground. I was obviously concerned by this - but more concerned with the fact that he was busy chewing on a ball point pen and I worried he might choke himself. I rushed across the room, and he said very calmly to me, "Sorry! I guess I already like pens!" and he threw the pen to the ground. As he did this, whatever spell was keeping him floating weightlessly in the air was broken and he fell to the ground with a thud.

I picked him up, and he was fine except that he was suddenly much bigger, with a full head of curly red hair.

Then - I woke up.

I think as I look toward the final weeks of pregnancy, I am facing my fears of my own ability to mother well. It is no longer an abstract concept. I will be caring for an infant soon. Everything I thought I knew, everything I thought I had to offer - none of it feels certain. How do you prepare for this?

November 06, 2008

Backlog of belly pics

I am so far behind on posting these....geez! But for all of you who may still be interested - here are the much-delayed belly pics of weeks 24-30. Enjoy!


Week 24:




Week 26:




Week 28:





and Week 30 complete with my big pink Obama shirt, which turns out to be quite accurate!:

November 04, 2008

On the front lines of hope

I have a 30 week belly pic I need to post later tonight - complete with my ex-large PINK Obama t-shirt. ( I also have 24, 26, 28 week belly pics I plan to post.....)

BUT - we are having computer issues and I am thoroughly exhausted at the moment.

I have been so fortunate to be working the front lines, volunteering for the Obama campaign for several days. I've done canvassing, phone banking, and today my neighbor and I spent 10+ hours working as "Section captains" managing the drivers volunteering for our district and working with poll workers to relay information and deal with all sorts of voter issues and conflicts. And it has been incredible.

The one disappointment has been learning how uneducated I have been and really so many others have been about voting procedures, especially around things like mail-in ballots and provisional ballots. So many of the issues cropping up at the polls today were with people not voting in their precinct, or voting via provisional ballots because they did not use the mail-in ballot sent to them - both situations mean that their votes aren't counted right away, have to go through a really complicated process of verification and may not even be counted unless there is a dispute. Add to that the blatant instances of those trying to interfere with or deliberately mislead voters showing up at the polls in our predominantly democratic district - and it can be a bit discouraging.


A really surprising and positive thing today was visiting polling places throughout the day and never seeing very long lines or waits as there have been in years past. It is obvious that a huge amount of voters voted early this year and that is exciting for so many reasons. It means people were voting with intention, purpose, and pre-planning rather than waiting until the last minute. It means people were more involved and excited about getting out to vote and making their voices heard. And it means that whatever issues are cropping up at the polls today - they are affecting a far smaller percentage of voters than they would have otherwise.

Being involved in this campaign has been an experience I will carry with me for my lifetime and one I cannot wait to share with my son, who kicked and rolled around inside of me today, seeming to share in my excitement and emotions. The group of people we worked with was one of the most diverse, passionate, kind, intelligent, wonderful groups I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. As exhausting and overwhelming as today has been for me, I cannot imagine how so many of these people who have traveled across the country to be here, leaving families and jobs behind, to be here every single day - I cannot imagine how these people have kept up their energy and their passion for months now. It is so good to be reminded of the strength and deep goodness in people all over this country, all over the world. People willing to work together, to collaborate, to cooperate, to make sacrifices, to affect change - to bring positive movement in a world, in a nation that has held much disapointment recently for so many. I am so proud to be part of them, even in my own small way.

Every day I showed up there was such an overwhelming swath of volunteers cramming themselves into the campaign office that those running the efforts were frequently completely caught off guard with how to best mobilize such an unexpectedly huge amount of people showing up and wanting simply to help. This is an amazing problem to have and one I have rarely heard of plaguing other volunteer-driven organizations. I know some of this is probably due to the sensational nature of this candidate and the election as a whole. But in a nation where so many are suffering, so many are experiencing loss of jobs, it still really amazes me that so many showed up to give. To give of their time, their resources, their energy.

I want Obama to win, I want democrats to win. For numerous reasons, personal and political. But today I also desperately want Obama to win so that all these volunteers, these millions who have shown up in so many ways, for so many months - these people who choose to hope, choose to believe that their efforts will make a difference - so that all of these people will be rewarded, will be proven right - their efforts will work, their work will affect change, and maybe it will carry forth into future issues. Maybe it will restore more people's faith that they can make a difference, they can become involved for issues they care about, and their involvement can matter. And maybe all of us will live a little differently - live just a tiny bit more with intention and willingness to give to bring about the changes we are hungry for. Not just for ourselves, but for all of us - together.

I have been reluctant to celebrate my nationality, hesitant to engage in any form of patriotism, for at least 8 years now. I have felt disenfranchised by our politicians and administration. I have had a difficult time being "proud" to be an American. I have grieved at baseball and soccer games when the national anthem was played. I have had dreams of leaving the country.

Today, this week - I am reminded that this IS my country too. I do have a place and a voice here, and I am proud to engage in it and be a part of it. I am proud of my fellow residents of the U.S.. I am proud and I am hopeful.

And gosh, it feels so good to let go of some of my cynicism, my anger, and to hope - with realistic expectations - but nevertheless to hope.

(now I have to rush off to a big party downtown for all the volunteers - I am dead tired, but I am not ready for today to be over yet - so I am going to go mingle with thousands of others and hopefully CELEBRATE!!!!!)

October 30, 2008

Showing my cards....

I generally have been steering away from commenting on all things political lately, at least online - which is strange because I am pretty out spoken in my "real life". I think I have seen so many political online "conversations" become complete shit storms that I have just not wanted to invite that upon myself.

But....I can no longer hold out. I am so excited and had to share that in one hour I will begin my volunteer work for the campaign of this man:

Probably the first person my husband and I have had a major crush on simultaneously. ( I sound like I am 12 now, don't I?)

And, yes, I have plenty of reasons for supporting him besides the fact I get all googly-eyed whenever I hear him speak. I do, really. In fact, I was a bit of a skeptic for awhile. I originally leaned more towards Hillary in the primaries. Not Mr. Spicy though, he's been an Obama man all the way.

And just a side note, if you like reading memoirs, his book, Dreams From My Father, is really a great read. Really. And it ends before he even goes to Harvard, so if you aren't a supporter of him politically, you won't have to read anything about his political career there at all. It's just a phenomenal book. (apparently there is a big controversy over whether he had a ghost writer to help him with this book and who that might have been - eh, whatever, like I said - still a really great read)

So, I hope my little volunteering stint in this last few days before the election will somehow make some small difference. I am excited to be a part in what is truly an historic election. I am finding myself as excited and passionate as I was back in 1992, the first election I could vote in. I was 18 and completely ga-ga over Bill Clinton. I even got to shake his hand. And even though Clinton didn't exactly turn out to be the messiah or anything, I am still proud of how involved I was back then. And truly, this is the first election since that I have felt this hopeful and involved. And I see so many others feeling the same way - and that for me is really inspiring. So, while I hope my efforts will contribute to getting my candidate elected - I hope even more that by being involved I will somehow be a part of getting even more people involved in the political process. People who might not otherwise have come out to vote. Because at the end of the day that is part of what has been most hopeful for me about all of this: being reminded that this is my country, and that I have a right and a responsibility to make my voice heard and to be involved in it.

Now, remembering to hold onto that energy even when the BIG election is over, and the smaller processes are taking place on a city, county, and state level - that is where the real battle will be for me long term. But, one day at a time, right?

How are you feeling about the election? Are you excited? hopeful? Pissed off? Over it? bored? cynical?

------------------------------

And completely unrelated....I am in complete denial that I am now over 29 weeks pregnant!!!!! I cannot believe it. But I will be posting updates and belly pics soon - promise!

October 16, 2008

The perspective of the rain...

Three years ago we took a trip to Costa Rica, our first there together. We backpacked through the country, catching buses, staying in cheap hotels....it was magical.

Midway through the journey we arrived in a mountain town, high in the cloud forest, called Monteverde. We arrived by way of a rickety old bus driven precariously through the mountain roads. We got into town around noon or so and quickly found rustic and affordable lodging. We unpacked a bit and prepared to explore the area in the afternoon.

I don't remember exactly where we were when it began raining that day. Had we already left the room? Had we made it into "town"? I honestly can't say. But I do remember that it began to rain with such force and fury at 2pm in the afternoon that it felt as if the whole sky might indeed fall in upon us. The air was replaced by sheets and sheets of torrential rain released out of some invisible faucet above. It seemed that there could not possibly be that much water in the entire world.

People retreated from the streets, the bright afternoon darkened. It felt oppressive. And we wondered how long it would continue. But then, about 4pm, like clockwork, the faucet was turned off, the sun came out again, although muted by the clouds that area is known for, and it was all over.

We found out quickly through locals that in May this was pretty much standard for Monteverde, every day there would be these short intense rains beginning around 2pm. We just needed to plan accordingly. So, the next day we planned around the rain, had a fabulous morning, and by the time the rain hit we were happily enjoying Costa Rican coffee in a coffee shop and marveling at the beauty and power of nature.

It's all in the perspective isn't it?

A week and a half ago we were holed up in a luxurious hotel room, enjoying a blissful, romantic babymoon. (ironically, payed for almost entirely with rewards from our credit card, the one we used for many of our IVF expenses) We were well fed, well rested, thoroughly romanced and our internal emotional buckets were full for the first time in a long time. We laughed at our usual worries and talked about the things to come with a sense of peace. We were happy and content.

Then we returned home and within days the first rumblings of thunder began.

Mr. Spicy had decided to accept an offer at another company and after returning from our babymoon, gave notice to the team of people he had helped build and lead for six years. And a whole host of complications surrounding that decision came up like the first drops of impending rain - that we were not expecting.

The tension continued to build around his job stuff, our finances, future concerns we had been able to laugh at only days before.

And then, we decided (well, Mr. Spicy decided) to take in a cat. Seems harmless enough right? She had been crying and crying at our back door for a couple of days, she wanted in, she wanted petting, she wanted food. She was obviously not just another neighborhood alleycat. She had been with people before. Mr. Spicy began bringing her tuna on the deck, and before too long she had moved in - complete with a litterbox and premium cat food. I checked everywhere for someone who might be looking for her, but had no luck. We decided to keep her "for now" and talk about maybe trying to find her a good home after we had vaccinated and spayed her. The best laid plans....as they say.

Well, a few nights ago she began having diarrhea, and it got all over her back end. Mr. Spicy, trying to be helpful, grabbed a spray bottle of dog/cat cleaner and another spray bottle of what he assumed to be water to clean her up. He got her all clean, things seemed well, we went to bed. When we awoke the next morning we found the kitty curled up in a ball on our couch, growling in pain, we couldn't touch her without her yowling. I then noticed the cleaning supplies from the night before and realized that Mr. Spicy had sprayed the kitty, not with water, but with a solution I had mixed up for cleaning our kitchen. It was water, vinegar, and multiple essential oils. The essential oils I used were precisely the kind that are toxic to cats if ingested in large amounts. We feared we had accidentally poisoned our kitty.

We rushed her to the vet hospital for two days of IV fluids, multiple medications, much hand wringing on our part, and literally hundreds of dollars spent. In the hospital she spiked extremely high fevers and it became clear that we may not have had a role in her sudden illness at all. She may have simply had a severe infection. Regardless, we have now bought and paid for a cat - full on. We felt sick at the thought that we may have accidentally harmed her, we felt worried and sad for the little kitty who had so sweetly chosen our home to invade, and we felt anxious and ambivalent about all the money we were spending - money we really didn't have to spare - for a kitty we had only known for a week. We never regretted taking her in, doing the right thing for her - but those two days really took their toll on us.

During that same 48 hours, the truck that Mr. Spicy drives to work, the 19 year old monster of a truck with a broken door lock, the truck we knew we would need to replace in the next year - well, it sort of died. In reality, a major component of the truck died, and it is simply not worth it to put the money into it to replace it. But, if you can imagine - we were dealing with uber-expensive sick kitty in the hospital and the thought of needing to replace a vehicle, basically all at once.

And the rain came pouring down.

It felt very much like that oppressive rain storm our first day in Monteverde, I couldn't catch my breath, there were too many things happening at once - and too much we simply didn't have a buffer for, financially or otherwise. I sunk quickly into feeling sorry for myself, for us. Why was all this happening at once? How could we possibly take on more debt just as everything was changing? Soon, Mr. Spicy would start his new job, soon we will have a new baby - now we have to buy a car, pay vet bills, and we still have to pay for baby stuff and a doula, and Christmas....and and.....anxiety ensues. And the torrential downpour just gets louder.

But then? Then we remembered some "emergency" money we had stashed away. Not enough to fully cover the vet bills, but enough to make a big dent. And, probably more importantly, we remembered we were not alone. I called my dad who has an extra car he doesn't use regularly and asked if we could borrow it for a little while to give us time to buy a car. Not only did he gladly and generously offer it to us, but he made it clear we could borrow it for as long as we need to save up for a good car, a car that will be safe and dependable and actually fit our needs. Which was such a huge relief that I began to cry.

It is such a typically "American" and an extremely indulgent problem to have: the need to buy a car. I mean really. I wish I was someone who was able to simply figure out how to do without one. But for now, with Mr. Spicy working so far away and needing to be able to travel to different offices throughout the day, and with my nanny work - we aren't able to creatively work out another option just yet . And yes, how ridiculous to cry over a car, over maybe having to purchase an old, high mileage vehicle because that is all we could could afford right now - "Oh noes!" I know, I know - it could be so so much worse. And I feel sufficiently ridiculous about it. But knowing we can wait, wait till Mr. Spicy is comfortably settled into his new job, wait till our little Poblano makes his appearance, wait till we have a bit more saved from bonuses and tax returns to make this large purchase more reasonable and less rushed - well, it was like the rain just suddenly stopped pouring. And the sun came out. And I could take a full breath again.

And now? I look back over the past week and feel a bit silly and embarrassed. Somehow, I let this strange and admittedly stressful sequence of circumstances send me into a dark and fearful place. I am not surprised I ended up there, not surprised I possibly became WAY more stressed out than was necessary, not surprised that I allowed these events to invade my psyche and convince me once again that I could not rest, I am not safe, the world is dangerous and unpredictable, and we are all alone in it. I am not surprised. I am dismayed. I don't deny that we had a stressful cocktail of events all at once - I don't blame us for letting those effect us. But now that it has stopped raining, or at least for the most part - Now that our new kitty (her name is Tallulah by the way) is home safe and sound and just as sweet and loving as ever - Now that my dad and stepmom have reached out to us in this generous and loving way........

Well, now I can see that it wasn't the rainstorm meant to drown us, or ruin us - it was simply a short and powerful storm that has cleared up relatively quickly. We weren't drowned, we didn't lose much more than money and an old truck that was on its way out anyhow - we are ok. Sure, as Mr. Spicy makes this next big transition, it will be hard - we will both grieve the people he is leaving, the people he has known for 6 years, we will both feel anxious about the new expectations and new environment for him. He will be under some stress as he navigates his way into this new world. But we are ok. He is ok. Our kitty is ok. We are all ok.

I know part of my heightened reaction is due to pregnancy. And even if it isn't - that's my excuse and I am sticking to it! But I also know that some of it is just me, just us - and how we respond when things go off track for us. We have friends who face enormously stressful situations with so much more grace and so much more ability to simply shrug and move forward, doing what needs to be done. We get there eventually - but not without much gnashing of teeth, inner-soul-searching, and moaning and rolling on the floor. Ok, maybe not rolling on the floor...but you get my drift.

I just wish sometimes we could remember the perspective of that second day in Monteverde, the knowing that the rain would not last forever, was not going to harm us - that we would be ok. I wish we could find ourselves in a cafe, sipping coffee, waiting out the rain, and not losing sight of the beauty and power all around us in the midst of it. I wish we more regularly were the ones helping others out of the rain rather than needing that help so much for ourselves.

I am grateful that the rain was as short as it was. I am grateful for the lessons we have learned even in that short time. I am grateful for the perspective I have this morning, and that it didn't take me longer to get here. I am grateful we are fortunate enough that these were our worries.

Maybe next time I will not be so frightened when it begins to rain. Maybe next time I will remember.....

October 04, 2008

Babymoon

When we first became pregnant we dreamed of a vacation on a beach somewhere as our last getaway before the third trimester hit and before we became new parents. We were going to spend long days lounging on the beach, drinking cold fruity drinks, frolicking in the surf and reading good books. Ha!

That was obviously before we realized all the costs involved with baby-having. Not that we're broke, but my working temp jobs here and there, our house projects, prepping for parenthood, etc...well they have left us a bit more realistic.

So, we are headed to a hotel downtown for the weekend. A hotel with a heated pool, a large bathtub in our room, room service, movies, and a really comfy bed. I. cannot. wait. To me, these amenities just about make up for the lack of an ocean view.

I am bringing books, supplies for facials (don't tell anyone I told you this, but Mr. Spicy likes the facials as much as I do!), sexy pj's, a swimsuit, a dress (for if we manage to actually leave the room), and not a whole lot else.

There are a lot of moments I hope will unfold this weekend for us, I hope it is romantic and reinvigorating and restful. But also?

I hope I get to eat a big giant ice cream sundae, that I didn't have to make, while sitting in a hot bathtub. And then? I want to read trashy gossip mags in a bed I won't have to make either.

I am aiming high here people!

So....are any of you pregnant ladies planning a "babymoon" of your own? (and don't you think the title of "babymoon" is a bit silly when you actually say it out loud?) What are you planning?
Or any moms out there have good babymoon stories to share?

October 03, 2008

Haunted....

When we were in the throws of trying desperately to get pregnant and facing our infertility, the lack of control, the heartache, the desperation I felt seemed to remind me constantly on a deep emotional level of a time when I was younger, more helpless and felt similarly out of control and stuck and desperate for something to change. It was as if the pain created a bridge in time between the two and I was constantly traveling back and forth between them. I ended up feeling lost and traumatized in the present by memories and emotions I had long ago left behind. I felt haunted. It was difficult to distinguish where my feelings were coming from - was I suicidally depressed just because our final IUI didn't work, or was it also tapping into pain I felt when I was so much smaller?

Anyone who has dealt with or is dealing with trauma can probably identify with this. It is not that uncommon.

So now, I am pregnant. When we first found out we were pregnant I wondered if this trauma response in me would rear its ugly head again, I wondered if I would truly be able to cherish and enjoy this pregnancy the way I longed to. Thankfully, for the most part, I have been able to. I had some depression early on, and more recently have dealt with anxiety - but thank G.od it has been nothing like what I feared. In fact, I am already grieving how fast it is passing me by because I want more time to really soak in the miracle and wonder that having this little one inside of me truly is.

But it has not been easy.

Being pregnant touches on my control issues in a whole different way than infertility did. With infertility I felt stuck. I felt as if all the effort in the world might not move me from the spot I had found myself in. I remember one day, meditating on a large boulder in the middle of a fast moving stream, thinking how I felt like that boulder, stuck in the middle of life with everything around me moving past me, leaving me behind - and I wept. In that meditation though, I also received a sense of peacefulness, if just for a moment, about being still like that - about letting the events in my life shape me, about being powerless but strong. I learned a lot during those weeks, months, years - the experience was not wasted on me.

Powerlessness in pregnancy has a whole different feel to it. I no longer feel stuck. If anything I feel as though I am being swept up in a fast moving current. I am moving, life is moving. But it is happening so fast, and it feels still so far beyond my power to control very much about it. I can swim, I can float, I can laugh or scream or cry - but in it all I will still be moving swiftly through these currents. At times this has been a peaceful thought for me. Something I could surrender to. The thought that maybe it wasn't all up to me, the idea that there is something or Someone bigger at work here, a force of life much stronger than me. I have been comforted by the thought that the growth of this baby, the course of this pregnancy, the life that has formed and is developing - none of it depends upon me fully. There is no way to "do it perfectly" or "get it right". I simply have to let go, surrender, trust.

Ah....but there's the rub! Surrender, trust.....let go.... Sounds an awful lot like the advice given to me when we were struggling so hard to become parents. And that's where this comes full circle.

Lately, I find myself thinking a lot. a lot. about our journey with infertility. I find myself grieving for the parts of myself I left behind in that battle, for the ways I was stripped bare and wounded. I find myself reminded of that pain, that longing, all the choices we had to make that we never thought we'd make. The great cost of the journey and those choices on our lives, our hearts, our relationships. I am reminded of how alone I felt - how completely alone. I was not alone, but it was such a lonely and deeply personal process, one that not even my partner, who was in it with me and experiencing his own loss and frustration, could ever truly enter into fully with me, as much as he tried (and vice versa).

The good side of being reminded of all of this is that it does make every little kick, every stirring in my womb feel that much more of a miracle. I cannot stop saying "Thank you" for this new little boy growing inside of me.

The down side is - well, it's hard. I am not one of those women who continually identifies herself as someone who became "pregnant after infertility". And as selfish as it sounds, as soon as I became pregnant I felt a strong urge to leave the world of infertility behind me once and for all. I was sick of living there. I know the p.c. thing, the other-centered thing, the human thing, would have been to want to stay in it for the sake of others, to be there for them - to share my story, my hope, my resources, my support. And for a few women, I have. But for the most part, I just wanted to come up for air. I wanted to be free, I wanted to feel "normal" again. But of course there is no feeling totally "normal" when you finally become pregnant after years of trying, after failed treatments, after IVF. At least for me there wasn't. I still worry constantly that my body won't know what to do, that I am "broken" or "deficient" in some way. I worry this little boy will be taken from me. I am overly aware of the fragility of life, of our bodies, of what is at stake here. And I probably always will be, in some way.

It is, in many ways, very much like the bridge in time that was formed during my journey with infertility. Instead, now the lack of control, the fear, the being swept away by it all - it draws me back to my experiences just a year ago, or two years ago. In a way I feel a bit haunted again.

And yet, just as with infertility, and the memories it brought up for me - I feel some sense of purpose in this haunting, this remembering. I know I cannot run from it. I cannot pretend I got here any other way. So when I need to grieve it, I grieve. When I need to just stop and remember, I try to stop and let myself remember. Remember, that a year ago I was bordering on suicidal. Remember, that a year ago I was losing hope that I would ever ever be where I am at today. Remember, that while I am so incredibly blessed and fortunate to be here - it took a lot out of me to make it this far, and I am still healing - still picking up the pieces, still finding myself in the rubble of it all.

Sometimes this is more difficult because the current I am being swept up in is moving so very fast, and constantly, constantly, it feels there are more things thrown into that current with me - more changes, more of life just being washed away, or transported to something completely new. It is like whitewater rafting without a raft.

I was determined when I was that rock in the middle of the gushing waters - I was determined to learn from it, to heal, to find my strength, to practice being still and letting go. And now as I face a very different place of powerlessness I know I will need that same determination to learn to let go, to swim when I need to, and to let the waters carry me when I don't.

September 21, 2008

Update, Observations, and Peace....

Just wanted to pop in and give a little update of sorts.

- I was out of town this weekend with friends at their cabin and it was so good to be with people who know us, get us, and love us - even when none of us have showered for two days.

- I have had the nastiest cold all week. Every time I think I am getting better it creeps back up on me. Being sick while pregnant is a whole new kind of torture. (Especially if you are like me and a tad bit paranoid about taking meds, even when your Dr. tells you they are safe. Not that there's a whole lot you can take anyway.)

- I am also experiencing insomnia off and on. I am not used to this at all. I am usually a world champion sleeper. Having to be really deliberate and conscious about my sleeping and my before-bed-routine is a challenge for me. I miss sleeping for more than 4 hours at a time.

- Acid reflux. Holy hell. I have spent at least two nights sleeping upright. I am finding myself capable of things I never knew possible.

- I finished up my first temporary nanny gig on Friday. It was such a perfect job for me and I feel so lucky that I had this opportunity. The last five weeks with these girls have been such a gift. The family I worked for are close friends of ours so it was an added bonus to have this time to develop a closer relationship with their two incredible little girls. I loved it. The one caveat would be that the nasty killer cold came from the girls - but that can't be helped. :)

- I should start the second temporary nanny-gig in a couple weeks when the other family's nanny leaves to have her little boy. I don't really know this family, so it will be a really different experience and truthfully I am a little worried about it since I am getting increasingly exhausted and worn down as the weeks progress and I don't really know these two girls at all. But I am trying to remain hopeful that this too will be a great experience and a great opportunity to make some income while hanging out with some cool kiddos.

- I got my first "You are huge!" comment this week as well. An eighty-two year old woman (with some loss of impulse control) asked when I was due. When I told her, she remarked that I looked as if I was about to give birth any day now and asked if I was sure it wasn't twins. I politely answered her and made a quick exit. The thing is, I am definitely a bit bigger than I expected to be at this point, but I haven't gained a ton of weight, in fact I am pretty textbook right now. I just am carrying everything all out front. Regardless, I am loving my pregnant body right now. Although it still shocks me on a regular basis to look in the mirror and see this big basketball protruding from my abdomen, I feel sexy and beautiful in a way I maybe never have before. I feel womanly. And I like it. (And so does Mr. Spicy....)

- Poblano is moving a lot more and Mr. Spicy was finally able to feel a kick from the outside this week which is it's own special brand of amazingness. But now I freak if he (Poblano) moves a little less from one day or one hour to the next. The doppler still gets a little work out from me once or twice a week.

- We had our re-check ultrasound last week and there is lots of fluid around our little guy, which was a relief. Everything looked great and it was incredible to see how much he has developed in just 3 weeks. He looks like a baby! And we could even tell he has his daddy's lips!

- At our re-check appt my doctor suggested that I might be having anxiety attacks. I have been having sporadic periods of heart-racing and breathlessness but was attributing them to hormones. Turns out, they might be actual anxiety. So I was instructed to get a good measure of my resting heart rate and then record what my heart rate is when these actually occur. The thing is, I don't always feel actively anxious on a conscious level when these happen. Which is probably why I was prefering to chalk them up to hormones. But the more I think about them and when and how they occur, I am more and more convinced that they are a symptom of some internal turmoil. I had one this weekend during a conversation with a friend about something I am working through in therapy. Probably not a coincidence. My heartrate jumped to 130. Lying down and taking a nap seemed to help but I should probably pay more attention to the triggers for these and maybe find some reliable relaxation techniques in the meantime? At any rate, there are a million reasons I could be dealing with anxiety at this time, and all of them are valid. I just hate anxiety because in the moment I just feel it so intensely and trying to figure it out isn't always helpful right then when I am trying to catch my breath. It kind of demands that I stop everything and deal with it, or at least the symptoms of it - right now. Which, ironically, is possibly what my body is trying to get me to do - stop everything and deal with it. But I could go on forever about this.....

- I am almost 24 weeks pregnant which seems like a fluke, a joke, and a miracle all at the same time. So far pregnancy has been everything I hoped for and feared, and so much more. It is the hardest thing I have ever done and also the most incredible. I regularly am flummoxed by the duality of emotions I feel: pure joy and gratitude for being so incredibly fortunate to be here, excitement and anticipation of what is to come, exhaustion and anxiety and general yuckiness, vulnerability and fear, and a big large helping of cluelessness and humility. I mean, how is this really happening to me? I still can't get my brain around it at all. And in general it feels like it is flying by, like all these strange things are happening to my body and to my heart and to my life - but they are happening so fast I can't even seem to catch up. I feel this great longing to stop the clock and have a week or two to just breathe, contemplate, and savor this experience. But instead I feel as though the days are simply speeding by me before I even have a chance to be in them fully. I wish I was more grounded in all of this.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, here I am, more than halfway through pregnancy, a huge, anxiety-ridden, emotional, congested, insomniac. I feel crazy and happy and overwhelmed and terrified all at the same time. Sometimes, a lot of times, I wish it was easier for me. I wish I was someone who just sailed through with barely a blip, sure of myself, sure of this pregnancy, and sure of what was to come. But that has never been me. So, it has been work - physical, emotional, spiritual work - but I know, I know, how fortunate I am that this work is mine to do. And in the midst of this work there are moments of joy that I thought at times I might never get to experience. Joy that leads me to great hopefulness. So, I am immensely grateful for that - that I get to be here, that I get to do this work, that I get to drink up this joy, and I am just hoping for a little more peace and groundedness in the midst of it. For my sake, for my husband's sake, and for the sake of our son.

Peace. Peace and groundedness.

September 10, 2008

Argh!

I am SO frustrated with Blogger right now.

Any time I try to do a post with multiple pictures, the layout gets all screwy and it never publishes the way it looks on the "preview". And, and, and - when I look at the page on two different computers, the layout looks totally different.

So, I just spent 30 minutes realigning the photos and text on my last post so that it looks "right" on my computer, but have no idea how it looks to anyone else, since when I checked it out earlier at work it looked perfectly fine - only when I came home did it appear completely screwed up. As if perhaps I was drunk when I was posting? Which I assure you I was not.

Mmmmm......a Margarita sounds soooooo good right now. Damn.

Ok, vent over - sorry. I know this is so trivial and minor. But if any of you blogging gurus out there have any advice, I would welcome your wisdom at this point. Since obviously I am not smarter than Blogger.

Thanks!

All the pretty pictures...

***Warning - loads of pregnancy pics ahead.....

I mentioned being behind in posting photos in my last post, so at long last I am getting them up here.

But first, a pictorial that somewhat explains why I posted so little in August and makes me look just a little hardcore. This is what I was up to...

I wasn't kidding about the bathroom remodel....The first picture shows where our old shower/tub used to be, the second is where our old toilet and floor were, the third shows the disaster that Mr. Spicy found when innocently trying to replace some drywall around the skylight - years upon years of water damage had reduced much of the wood to dust, and the last picture is of me donning my "protective gear" - eye goggles, and the most intense breathing apparatus Mr. Spicy could find to protect me from the dust and fumes. His language of love often leads him right to the hardware store, what can I say?

But, we finished it! Mostly! And wouldn't you know I haven't even taken any finished photos yet? Probably because I still have flashbacks whenever I walk into that room now.





On a happier note....I have a months worth of belly pics to unload on y'all, and also a very cute ultrasound picture, hold onto your hats folks, here we go:


18 weeks

(this is the first time I saw a pregnancy photo of myself and was truly shocked. I just didn't *feel* like I was showing that much. My internal image and external images just were not matching up. Also, it made me feel a bit vulnerable to look so obviously pregnant - which surprised me, a lot.)

































Now, here are just a few of the gorgeous pictures that MB took of us at 20 weeks...... if you would like to see the whole slideshow, email me and I will send you a link to it. If you would like her contact info - I can give you that as well. She's truly amazing and gifted. We had so much fun with this shoot and it has left us with visible images of a time we really want to savor and remember and hold onto. Plus, she just made us look really good. I can't say enough about how special this was for us, so I'll just share a couple images.....

20 weeks












































And here is what our little Poblano looked like at about the same time:

20 weeks and 2 days

Isn't he gorgeous?








On a side note: We do actually have a name for him already - I am just still debating how much personal info I want to put out into the world wide web. Thus, the headless belly shots, and the code names. I have a highly "google-able" name and so I have tried to be pretty careful about things so far...but I am debating how much it really matters? Do any of you have suggestions, opinions, ideas about this issue?



And last but not least, here is how I look today at 22 weeks:


































And.....that's all folks! (for now, at least) I still cannot believe I am 22 weeks pregnant. But Poblano reminds me pretty regularly now with his squirming and wiggling. What a wild wild ride!

August 29, 2008

Because I know you all have been waiting with baited breath.....

Let me get the big news out of the way first thing:

We are having a BOY!

Yep. And there was NO doubt about it, either!

So, we had our big ultrasound yesterday and all was well. He is healthy and looks completely adorable (if I do say so myself). He is measuring just 3 days ahead which is pretty perfect. His placenta is in the right place, the cord looks good, my cervix is nice and long and closed, all his organs look great.

My amniotic fluid was normal, but just on the low side of normal. My doctor wasn't concerned about this but offered to do a re-check in 3 weeks. So, we get another peak in 3 weeks and I hopefully won't worry too much - because oh, how I love a reason to worry, apparently.

I completely thought we were having a girl, or at least I did until about a week ago when my brain started switching the sex of my baby in my daydreams. I was surprised. But we of course would be ecstatic with either sex, we're just so happy everything looks normal so far.

Of course here is where I should be inserting some lovely ultrasound shots (as well as my missing 18 week and 20 week belly shots) - but my internet keeps shorting out, and this is the first time I have been able to get it to work in days, so I will try to do a big post full of pics later when I am sure of more reliable internet access and I am not cussing out my computer every 10 seconds.

Speaking of photos.....I cannot wait to show you some photos from the maternity photo shoot we did with Mary Beth on Monday night at the Denver Botanic Gardens!!! She offered up a free photo shoot to someone in the Colobloggers group as her way of giving something to the infertility community and I snatched it up as quickly as I could. I will write more when I put up some pictures, but suffice to say that she is an incredibly talented and gifted artist and just generally a delightful woman to spend hours wandering through gardens with (or having lunch, whatever...). So I will try to get those up as soon as I can. And if you ever ever need some great photos of you and/or your family - please look her up!

Other than that....we survived the bathroom remodel, the houseguest, the DNC....and we are trying our best to recover and find a way to belatedly celebrate our anniversary since last week was a bit of a blur. As for my belated birthday gift(since I was working all day and cleaning all evening - totally a crime!) I have scheduled myself for a manicure/pedicure and a 90 min prenatal massage tomorrow. I. can. not. wait.

I have all sorts of poetic ramblings going through my head as I think now of raising a boy in this world - but will have to save those for later....our internet has already gone down twice since I started this post.

I guess with all I have left to post I should just end this with:

to be continued...

August 24, 2008

6 years of saying "Yes"


The Truelove

There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours,
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of the baying seals,

who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water,
and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant
yet familiar figure
far across the water
calling to them,

and how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except it will
not come so grandly,
so Biblically,
but more subtly
and intimately in the face
of the one you know
you have to love,

so that when we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don’t
because finally
after all the struggle
and all the years,
you don’t want to any more,
you’ve simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness,
however fluid and however
dangerous, to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

~ David Whyte ~
(House of Belonging)



Six years ago today I said yes to the one I knew I had to love.

This has meant that we both have been required to walk across expansive territories of fierce independence and self-protection, to face darkness in the most dangerous depths of our souls, and to surrender to joy and peace in the most surprising places - all in the effort to continually "take the one hand you know belongs in yours".

By far this is the bravest, wildest, most sacred, and most rewarding journey I have ever chosen.

I feel so proud of us, so grateful that we continue to choose this path every day.

There is no one. no one. I would rather dance with.

Happy Anniversary Mr. Spicy!