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

So, without further 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

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
In temptation
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!!!!!)