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!

August 21, 2008

Older and.....more exhausted?

Today is my 34th birthday. I am 19 weeks pregnant. That's pretty much enough for me.

But if I could ask for just one gift it would be......SLEEP! 8, preferably 12, hours of blissful, uninterrupted sleep!

I am shooting for the stars here people.

Part of why I have been so remiss on my blogging duties is that a "simple" bathroom remodel (ha! if there is such a thing!) turned into our own private torture chamber a few weeks ago and has required all of my time, energy, and late night hours to try to complete it by our "deadline". Like all home remodeling projects, just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong. We had originally planned on the help of an old neighbor of ours who is an ex-contractor. He has helped us with numerous projects before and with his help we would have long ago knocked this out. Unfortunately, post-demolition, he flaked on us - just never returned our calls (we have since heard through the proverbial grapevine that he is dealing with some serious medical issues, which is really sad... what can you do?). So - it was all on us. Yay.

On the upside, I now know how to tile a bathroom floor and a shower/tub surround. I got so proficient at it in fact, that my forearms have been swollen for days! I did discover that I excel at actually measuring the tiles for cutting and doing all the crazy meticulous work that involves. Oh, and I get to brag about how I am so hardcore that I tiled a bathroom at nearly 20 weeks pregnant. So, there is that.

But, I really pushed myself a little too hard, and we both have stayed up WAY WAY too late for the last 5 or 6 nights in an effort to crank it out in time. Mr. Spicy actually never went to bed last night. As it is, our house guest/renter for the DNC will have to use our downstairs (roommate's) bathroom to shower until Sunday. Four adults sharing a tiny bathroom? We can manage.

But. We are in the home stretch. We have help coming today to finish with the grouting of the perfectly placed tile, and carpet cleaners as well. We still have a multiple page list to finish before tomorrow evening when he arrives....but I can clearly see the flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.

And. It has been really nice (minus the lack of sleep and swollen arms and feet) to work together so closely with Mr. Spicy on such a demanding project. It gave me all new confidence in our ability to work together as a team, to support each other even when we are exhausted and worn down, and to endure frustration and sleep deprivation with our grace and relationship intact. Sounds like a good boot camp for parenthood to me.

Also. I started my new job this week. I am filling in for a friend's nanny who is on maternity leave and even in the midst of this hellish week, I am really enjoying it. I will write more about that later but I can't wait till next week when I will have more energy to give to the girls and more brain cells functioning. The girls are really great. Seriously, two of the easiest kids to care for, ever. Like I said, more on that later.

Ok. This was supposed to be a "short" post bemoaning my lack of sleep - but see how much I have missed writing? I just can't stop.

19 week belly pics (I am seriously popping out now!) and pics of the horrific bathroom, a.k.a. hell on earth, to come soon!

Happy birthday to me!

August 05, 2008

17 weeks

Dear Poblano,

You have been growing inside of me for 15 weeks. All of the websites and books tell me that your bones are hardening, your heart is pumping, your lungs are practicing breathing, and you are even gulping down a little amniotic fluid and peeing - which will be excellent practice for swimming at a public pool.

You must be pretty busy in there.

It is strange to think that right now you know so much more of me than I know of you. You know when I am awake or asleep, you know how I am feeling, you know when I am talking, singing, or laughing....but I don't know any of this about you yet. Much of it I won't even learn until you arrive here on the outside. I feel a bit at the disadvantage here.

I find myself wondering about you all the time, wondering what you think of us - your parents, these booming voices you have become so familiar with by now. I wonder what you think of us when we get a little snarky with eachother, when we baby-talk to our dogs, or when your daddy makes me laugh so hard it hurts. I wonder what your favorite moments are each day. Is it when I am driving in the car singing at the top of my lungs? Is it when your daddy comes home and we engage in goofy banter back and forth? Or is it these quiet, silent moments at night when it is just you and I and everything is calm and still?

This is where I sit right now as your mama: in a state of constant wonder and curiosity. I want so much to know you. I rub my rounding belly constantly in an effort to somehow touch you, to communicate with you. I am anxiously anticipating the first time I feel you pressing back. I know already you are moving inside of me, you are kicking, flipping, swaying. But you aren't quite big enough just yet for me to feel these little signals you are sending out to me, to the world.

Be patient little one, your efforts will reach me soon. I can hardly wait.

Love always,

August 02, 2008

Enjoying the process

I just got home from the art festival.

I was in charge of a table for children ages 5 and under. We had small canvases with designs on them and watercolors for them to paint with.

At any one time I had about eight kids huddled around the table painting and it was really fun although also - really really HOT!!!

This is the kind of stuff I just love, giving kids a creative outlet and letting them go. It was so cool to see how, even when given very similar designs, every child's painting became this unique and creative expression of themselves.

I did notice that when a few older children joined us that they seemed more inhibited and relied more on the expected color schemes (ex: a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae is always red), while these younger kids just went wild with the colors, choosing colors that they liked, going outside the lines, and combining colors in new ways. It seems the older we get the more we conform, the more we try to "fit" and we lose a lot of our natural creative intuition when we do this. Then, we arrive at adulthood and have to relearn the freedom we had so easily when we were 3.

I have to wonder if some of this conformity is something we are taught directly. So often I watched a parent jump in, grab the paint brush from the child's hand and say something along the lines of, "No, this is how you do it" or "No, use this color.", or (in my opinion) the worst, "Let me show you what you are doing wrong." It took a lot of restraint for me to just keep smiling and not to butt in. I don't want to judge these parents, I don't think they meant to be critical or limiting of their children in any way - but I really wished they would have just let their children be messy and unstructured, to paint their ice cream cones purple and brown if they wanted to and to mash their brushes into the paints with as much gusto as they chose to. To me, all of this was good. They were exploring, experimenting, creating. The supplies weren't expensive and the paints were watercolor (so no staining to worry about). So what's the harm in just letting them experience a little freedom with it? Not being a parent yet, I know I have very little room to criticize and I certainly don't think these parents harmed their children. I just have seen so many kids so inhibited in the arts and in their ability to express themselves freely and I wonder how much of it is because we all grow up in a world that limits us and tells us there is a "right" way and a "wrong" way to paint, draw, sing, dance? Whatever happened to just having fun with it? trusting our intuition? going with our gut? enjoying creating for the sake of the process rather than the product?

Eh....this is a touchy subject for me and I know I can be a bit biased on it, so I will back off.

Overall - it was a great way to spend my morning and I felt even more affirmed that where I want to end up some day career-wise is working with children again.

In the meantime I will try to remember how much I love the arts and exploring them with children and bring that to our Poblano when S/he arrives. Just watch though, I will probably have a naturally super structured kiddo who will cry when s/he paints outside of the lines. I will be the mommy begging him/her to get messy and to try painting the sky orange.

August 01, 2008

New Moon, New Month, New pictures....

It is a new moon tonight and the beginning of a brand new month (the month that also just happens to contain my birthday and anniversary in it) so when better to sit down and write a new post and post some new belly pics?

Well.....after my last post I feel like I owe y'all a big long post about everything that's been going on with me. But all that is coming to mind right now is something that vaguely resembles a "Here's How I Spent My Summer Vacation" essay.

And it has been a big summer so far.

The poblano and I attended a few concerts together (REM, True Colors, Indigo Girls, Feist) and Mr. Spicy even made it to one with us. He and I danced the Lindy Hop together at the Feist show to "My Moon My Man" and it was a blast - although I did feel a little like a Weeble Wobble. I loved being at these shows and sharing all these meaningful and joyful experiences with our little one this way. I danced and rocked back and forth to the music imagining the poblano soaking up the vibrations, the sounds, and all my happy endorphins, while listening to me belt out songs (although very likely horribly out of tune). I already can’t wait to take the poblano to his/her first concert one day. The True Colors tour was probably my favorite show in years and being there with hundreds of people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientations, and genders who were all focused on equality and human rights while sharing in some amazing music (B-52s, Cyndi Lauper, Joan Armatrading) was powerful in a way I can't really find words for. Looking around at all of these beautiful people and feeling this incredibly positive and loving "vibe" that was just saturating the air, I kept thinking that this was exactly the kind of experience I want to share with my child one day. I want my child to experience the power and beauty of people united in an effort to create positive change in the world by bringing themselves, who they are, their talents, their gifts, their art, their one place together in hope and love for humanity. I want my child to see how amazing people can be. I want my child to see how amazing s/he is and I want my child to believe it is possible to create change with love.

Being out of a job, and having trouble finding one, I decided to volunteer a bit this summer with a day camp for youth (7-13) who live in the same urban neighborhood as we do. The camp is arts-based but also deals with issues of the community and the environment. As part of my volunteer work I had the opportunity to visit the art museum and to meet our district's city councilwoman. It was so great to be "working" with kids again and getting to experience art with them just put me right back in my element. Tomorrow I finish up my volunteering by assisting at a local arts festival that benefits the non-profit that provides this day camp. This has been such a positive experience for me and I am really grateful I had the chance to spend part of my summer this way, with these kids.

We traveled earlier this summer out to the midwest to visit family. Mid-July, the favor was returned and my youngest sister and her four kids came out here to visit the big city. It was a whirlwind of a visit but it was so good to have them here and get that time with them. We all had so much fun together and they are already planning their next trip back. Then, my eight year old niece (LJ) stayed with me the last week in July. She comes out to spend a week with us each summer and it is always a really special time for me. Mr. Spicy was traveling (again) the week she was here so it was especially nice to have her spunky, creative spirit and her sweet, tender heart here to keep me company while he was away. She just left yesterday and I miss her a ton already.

Speaking of Mr. Spicy - his company was taken over in the last month by a larger company and he has been super busy with travel, meetings, and basically just proving how indispensable he is. He also took a cross-country road trip, driving with his mom in a moving truck over 2000 miles. She moved back east this summer to help care for other family members who are dealing with serious health issues. We were both a bit sad to see her go but she is already planning her trip out here to visit the poblano early next year. Oh....and just because he doesn't have enough on his plate, the Spicy Man gutted our upstairs bathroom and it is currently awaiting remodeling/ rebuilding which we will be hurrying to get done in the next 2 weeks before the British journalist, who we will be renting our bedroom to, arrives for the DNC.

I also have been applying for jobs which has been a little weird because I really only want to work up until my last month or so of pregnancy, so I am not looking for anything long term. It is hard enough to sell yourself and put yourself out there when you are looking for jobs in your chosen field, jobs you plan to stay at for years, jobs you hope to make a career out of. But putting all that effort out there to find a job you can easily walk away from in 4 months or so just feels harder in some ways. Fortunately, a friend has asked me to cover for her nanny in Aug and Sept while she is on maternity leave (the nanny, not my friend) so that will be a good start, and her next door neighbor has expressed an interest in hiring me for the same in Oct. and Nov. - so if that works out I will be in much better shape and can finally stop obsessively scanning employment ads, which will be nice.

Speaking of not working, it has been really hard to be out of work all these months. I had planned to take off during our IVF process, but thought I would be back working much sooner than this. I haven't worked a job since March! If I were home taking care of a child that would be something, but just being a "stay-at-home-wife" has felt very weird and uncomfortable to me. I like contributing financially, I like having an answer to the "What do you do?" question. Lately I just feel this big silence come over me when that question is asked......not that I am totally wasting this time - I don't think I am - but I do better when I have a little more structure to my days and I am not quite so all alone all the time. Although, this summer has felt so incredibly busy and draining at times that I can hardly imagine having added a job into the mix any sooner.... so maybe it has all been for the best. Besides, I only began making it through an entire day without multiple naps and bouts of nausea a couple of weeks ago, so.....yeah.

On top of all this there has been the roller coaster of hormones and emotions that pregnancy brings and all that fun (not so much) deep psychological and spiritual work to be done by Mr. Spicy and I as we prepare (and freak out) on our way to becoming parents. More on that to come....

Oh....and while I am experiencing a bit more energy (although nowhere near the incredible surge of 2nd trimester energy that the pregnancy books all insist I should be feeling!) and the nausea is subsiding....I am having all NEW 2nd trimester symptoms! Yay! Actually, they aren't too bad at all and I do feel tons better than I felt even a few weeks ago. Mostly right now I am having swelling of my hands and feet, some sciatic pain if I am a little too active, numbness on my left thigh (related to sciatic nerve compression apparently), and the unmistakable sensation of feeling like a human space heater. Today it hit 104 degrees and I thought I was going to spontaneously combust and that Mr. Spicy would come home to a large pile of ashes instead of a wife. I am so ready for summer to be over, and I have never ever wished for that before. I usually LOVE summer, the hotter the better. But now? Not so much. I am literally praying for rain.

If I have not sufficiently bored you already, I will now share the belly pics of the last few weeks that prove that yes, there is in fact a little someone growing in there. Which is still a fact I can barely wrap my brain around most days.

Week 14

Week 15

(and yes, that is a toilet sitting in the middle of the room....remember when I mentioned the "gutted" bathroom? I wasn't kidding! I suggested we leave it here and use it as a giant water bowl for the dogs....but Mr. Spicy vetoed the idea.)


Week 16

(the red shirt against the red wall isn't my best artistic choice but check out those sexy maternity jeans! I will be keeping those long after pregnancy for those big thanksgiving makes me wonder why I ever wore pants with buttons or zippers?)