Sunday, September 25, 2011

You Wrap Your Arms Around Me and I'm Home

So, remember how Jason was gone for 8 weeks from mid-April to mid-June? And how when he came back I said he wouldn't leave again?

Oh, wait, I didn't say that.

Because he was home for just 6 weeks and then he left again on July 27th for 7.5 more weeks.

He got home last Friday (a week ago). Woooohoooooooooo!!

In my previous post about him being gone I might have seemed, to some people, a little, "Eh, big deal, my husband was just gone for eight weeks, whatever." Let me assure you that it was not easy breezy beautiful covergirl, either that first time or this time. Sometimes it sucked a lot.

Like when I woke up coughing bile and ran to the bathroom to puke in the middle of the night, and then had to go back to bed by myself without so much as a half-asleep shoulder rub in consolation.

Like when I did the math and figured out that, including the three weeks of training he had to do, he'd be gone for 45% of my pregnancy. Forty-five percent. That's a lot, y'all.

Like when my car broke down. Because naturally, if your nice, reliable car is going to suddenly break down with no warning whatsoever, and you're 7.5 months pregnant and your husband is halfway around the world, it's going to happen at 4:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon before Labor Day Weekend. I didn't even cry, y'all. Not even a little bit. Because I was laughing, because of course this is when it would happen. [All the military/ex-military/traveling husbands wives out there know that a husband's leaving is a sign to the universe that crazy shit is supposed to go wrong.]

Like when Bebe Girl was making my whole stomach move in waves and I had to reach for the video camera instead of calling Jason over to see it.

Like when I woke up to water damage on our master bathroom ceiling after it rained 4+ inches in 24 hours and roads all over were closed due to flooding and people were tubing down main highways, and I had to somehow get my car from the auto shop to the dealership an hour away (not counting traffic and flooding road closures), and then I got the crib I ordered and it was broken and exactly how am I supposed to get this huge 59-pound box to a UPS place to return it, and oh, I can't do that anyway because even after four separate phone calls and two+ hours on the phone with Target they still can't manage to send me my return shipping label. Yay, happy Friday to me! That was probably the very worst day; I missed him so much I ached.

But, most of the time, I had a pretty positive attitude. We chose this, after all. And when people said, "It must suck to have him gone while you're pregnant," I honestly replied, "It's not fun, but it's a lot better than if he were gone and I still wasn't pregnant!" [I can't tell you how true this is and how grateful I am to be pregnant, even with him gone.]

And it wasn't all bad; since he was gone during the hottest, most humid and miserable month in Virginia, I took the opportunity to escape to Oregon & Washington for three weeks in August. I got to enjoy the glorious weather, eat at my favorite Oregon places, go to my home church and sit between my grandparents with a hymnal on my belly, eat the fruits & veggies from my mom's & aunt's gardens (and beef raised by my uncle!), visit and photograph the county fair I went to every year while I was growing up, and delight every time I came around a bend in the road and saw a mountain in the distance, welcoming me home. I got to hang out with and visit family, attend a family reunion, see high school friends and college friends and friends I haven't seen for years and years, shop for maternity and nursing clothes with my mom, attend my niece's sixth birthday party and help her learn how to weave potholders, hang out with my BFF Kellie and finally meet her little girl in person instead of just Skype, hang out with my BFF Lisa, meet a Twitter friend in real life, figure out and make a silk ring sling with my aunt, and have not one but two baby showers! I wouldn't have done all of that if Jason were home, and it was all lovely and I'm so glad I got to do it before Bebe arrives.

Jason and I got to video chat nearly every day (sometimes twice while I was in Oregon and the time zone difference was longer), and he could call me on the phone if I had to be away from home/my computer during our normal chat times. This video chat bonding time was so important and meaningful to me that about a week after he got home the first time I actually missed him, because we were so busy getting things done that we weren't just sitting and talking face-to-face for a half hour or more every day like we had been while he was gone!

Now he's back (again) and he gets to see Bebe Girl move my belly around like crazy and feel how strong she is, how her right foot pokes out the right side of my belly like she's trying to make a break for it and I have to rub it until she tucks it back in a little bit. He gets to be woken up when I get up to pee four times a night, and sleep with his hand on my belly, and rub my shoulder when I wake up coughing from bile in my throat. He gets to fetch me water and ice packs and help me make dinner and assemble high chairs and pack-n-plays.

He's back, and he's right where he should be.

I love this photo so hard.

He left at 28 weeks 2 days and came home at 35 weeks 4 days. I didn't change much while he was gone. ;)

And this time I'm very, very, very happy to say: he's not leaving again.

Special thanks to all the family and friends and neighbors who helped me through Jason's absence, whether it was checking up on me or watering our plants while I was gone or driving me to and from the airport or listening to me and lending me your shoulder or distracting me with hilarious stories and Twitter conversations. I'm so glad I didn't have to do it without you. xoxoxoxoxo

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

36 Week Update

How Far along?
36 weeks (and 2 days)!

Size of the baby?
According to my weekly e-mail from BabyCenter, Bebe Girl's almost 6 pounds and 18.5 inches long.

Any new symptoms?
Is being unable to bend over while sitting down a symptom? Because I totally have that. Also, my hips are getting wonky (very descriptive, huh?). I have to be careful how I sit and for how long; I love sitting cross-legged and it's comfortable while I'm doing it, but then my hips will hurt later (so I stopped doing that, obviously). I'm seeing the chiropractor every week to ten days at least. I have to take frequent breaks when I'm doing things because I get tired really easily, so even on days I have a lot to do I try to switch off between doing active things (like organizing) with more inactive things (like writing thank you notes). When I'm really, really tired and/or my hips hurt I definitely have a waddle. I don't think that I necessarily waddle *all* the time, but yesterday at Marshall's an employee told me that I'm "getting my walk on" and the way she said it made me think she was saying I do the pregnant-lady walk. Nice. So maybe I do. Hrmph.

I'm hot almost all the time now, which is such a switch from my normal always-cold self. Jason usually freezes me out when we're driving and now it's the reverse, and I have just a sheet on at night with the ceiling fan on and I still wake up soaked in sweat, while he's cozied up under the quilt. Our electric bill last month was the most it's ever been because MOAR AIR CONDITIONING.

It's not a new symptom, but I realized that I never mentioned that I have linea nigra (the dark vertical line that 3/4 of all pregnant women get on their bellies). It's kind of funny because when you look at it close up it just looks like I have some freckles, but when you look at it from a little ways away it's totally a line. It's light and it runs the whole distance of my belly, from my pubic bone to just under my boobs. It doesn't bother me at all (I know some women hate it), I think it's kind of cool and just another sign that oh my gosh, look at me, I'm a pregnant lady!

What are you craving?
Ice cream! And barbecue potato chips, which I indulged and I think is gone now. And fruit, but only certain fruit and certain ways. If you cleaned and cut up a gallon of strawberries for me I might eat the whole thing, but the idea of cleaning and cutting them up myself makes me want to die and/or puke. WEIRD. I also bought a half-gallon of organic chocolate milk yesterday, which was a major craving for me at the beginning of my pregnancy so it's kind of funny to have it again.

Baby Bump?
Totally not at all. :)

And just to shake things up, here's a front view!

In my last update I said that she was starting the "Alien" phase of making my stomach move but you couldn't really see it from the outside. Uh, yeah, that's changed! It's crazy how much she makes my stomach move--sometimes it catches me by surprise and stops me in my tracks. I'm writing this post now because she's moving so much that I couldn't stand to get up and move on to the rest of my To Do list, I just wanted to keep sitting here and paying attention to her. :) [And yes, I can pay attention to her while I'm typing because my laptop is on what's left of my lap, and she's in, well, what's not left of my lap!]

Well, this past weekend I emptied out all the bathroom cabinets, purged stuff, and organized the rest into drawers that I labeled with the label maker I haven't used in at least six years, does that answer the question? I also sorted all of the baby clothes (both new and hand-me-downs) we've received and have them in bins in her closet, organized by type and size, I freecycled stuff I've been meaning to get rid of, and I arranged for a donation truck to come pick stuff up today.

The fun nesting stuff I want to do (decorate the nursery!!) is being put on hold a bit, because I'm having issues with Target; when I opened the crib they shipped me it was broken, and getting a replacement has been entirely too much of a pain in the ass. [And when I say that I mean that it's really ridiculous, not just that I'm 8 months pregnant and being all hormonal. We're talking 4+ hours on the phone over 6 phone calls and I still have no idea when they're shipping my replacement.] I really want the crib not because she'll be sleeping in it right away (she'll be in a co-sleeper bassinet attached to our bed, which is already here and set up thank you Amazon) but because I want to figure out where stuff is going in the nursery and decorate it; I don't want to commit to hanging anything and putting holes in our freshly-painted walls until I know I like the layout of things. I'm keeping perspective and I know that it doesn't matter, she will be safe and loved (oh so very loved) and who cares if her nursery's not ready when she arrives? It's just fun and I want to make up her crib and hang her mobile and all of that. :)

Sleeping well?
Yes! I started taking Maalox every night at bedtime and I can sleep laying down again! I'm also napping again sometimes in the afternoons. [I wrote this last night and then, of course, slept like crap, waking up with bad heartburn and ended up sleeping sitting up and getting a crick in my neck. Oh well.]

Buy anything for the baby this week?
Two weeks ago I ordered the crib, a highchair, and a swing (okay, two swings, but I plan to return one!). I ordered the co-sleeper Sunday and it's already here (thank you, Amazon Prime!) and Jason assembled it so we'll just hook it to the bed a little later on. There are a few more things that I'm anxious to have but I have a baby shower this Saturday so I'm going to wait. :)

What are you enjoying the most/least about being pregnant this week?
I still love being pregnant, but I'm starting to see how women can get sick of it. It's not for sissies, that's for sure! Most days are great, but I've had a couple days where I've pushed myself too much and then been so sore and tired that I just wanted to cry. As long as I take it easy(ish) I feel great, and luckily I have that luxury since I set my own hours and work at home and don't have any other kiddos yet. My hat is off to all the women who work full time up to delivery, and/or are chasing after toddlers!

I'm really enjoying having Jason home (more on that in an upcoming post). He's really amazing and helps me all the time with any little thing I need, whether it's refilling my water glass or assembling the co-sleeper as soon as it arrives or just listening as I walk & talk through something, trying to figure out how I'm going to organize or accomplish something. My very favorite words are, "What can I do to help you, Love?" He had the last couple days off work so we got a lot done and got lots of quality time, too. He's really being great and it's so awesome to feel totally on the same page and part of a team, it gives me a lot of confidence that we'll deal with parenthood as a team, even if (when!) we're exhausted and don't know what to do.

What are you looking forward to?

If anyone posts comments like, "Oh, you just wait, silly woman!" I will stab you think you're a big inconsiderate jerkface loser, but I'm really looking forward to experiencing birth. Truly. I don't think it will be easy (AT ALL), but I do think that it will be amazing. Thinking about it all--Jason supporting me and helping me through this awesome, transformative, greatest physical challenge of my life, seeing our baby girl for the first time (and seeing Jason see her, ohmyword), feeling her skin-to-skin, breastfeeding for the first time--oh, well, I just cry from happiness and gratitude that I will get to experience it all (no matter how it all happens).

Monday, September 5, 2011

34 Week Update

How Far along?
34 weeks. :) I cannot believe how quickly it's going.

Size of the baby?
According to my weekly e-mail from BabyCenter, Bebe Girl's about 4 3/4 pounds (the size of an average cantaloupe) and almost 18 inches long.

Any new symptoms?
I've been having a little bit of heartburn for the past month or so, but started taking papaya enzymes and digestive enzymes and that pretty much took care of the problem. Until this past week. I've been waking up with bile in my throat, coughing and even once threw up in my mouth and had to leap out of bed (I'm sure it would've been a hilarious site to see, me leaping out of bed) to run to the bathroom. It's not really fun.

I was also having more swelling in my hands and feet, but after taking some time to rest this past week after my crazy insane schedule the previous week, things appear to be back on track and I'm able to wear my wedding ring again sometimes. Hooray! :)

And in the interest of full disclosure, I'll also admit that my legs? Are getting not pretty. I haven't been working out as much as I was because my hips are often out of alignment so I've been trying to take it easy, but oy. Oh, well. This doesn't really bother me a whole lot, but it's happening so I thought I'd mention it.

What are you craving?
I haven't really been having any cravings lately, except when someone on Twitter mentions something sweet (I blame Megan Boley for the jelly donut I still want a week after she mentioned it). I've also been craving Coke, but that might just be because 1) I'm tired and want caffeine, and 2) I feel like it would help with the acid grossness, even though I know that it's an acid and eats pennies and cleans toilets and all that, please don't tell me, I'm smart and I already know. For the record, I haven't actually been drinking Cokes, just craving them.

Baby Bump?
Yes. :)

Yes, oh my word, it's awesome. I started feeling something at about 14 weeks, but because it didn't match any of the normal descriptions (butterfly flutters, popcorn popping) I wasn't sure if I was really feeling the baby move or just some other weird my-body-is-changing things. It felt like a change in pressure, as if the baby were flipping around and it was moving the amniotic fluid and I could feel the pressure change. Then when Jason came home she started kicking in very obvious ways. I'd been anxious for her to start moving; I should've known she was just waiting for Daddy to come home and get her all ramped up (this theme will continue for the next many years, I expect!).

She's doing new things now, which is so stinkin' cool. She's entering the "alien" phase where she's making my stomach undulate in waves as she moves around and stretches... it's not obvious yet, you wouldn't notice it from the outside, but you could feel it if I let you put your hand on my belly, and I can see it sometimes with my special top-down view of my belly. :) I totally, totally love it. :) She's doing it right now as I type this.

Girl! I waited until 22 weeks to have my ultrasound because I wanted Jason to be there when I found out (even though I was dying to know, those extra couple of weeks felt like forever!). He came home on a Friday and our appointment was on the following Tuesday morning. The ultrasound tech did some initial measuring and monitoring--my favorite part was seeing the four chambers of the heart pumping away, so cool!--and then asked us if we wanted to find out the gender. I expected her to point up to the screen and say something like, "Well, you see that right there? That's [fill in girl or boy parts]!" Instead, she asked if we wanted to know the gender, we said yes, and she blurted out in a flat, monotone, loud voice, "GIRL." Looking back it was pretty funny but at the time it was kind of startling and felt anticlimactic! Then we went and had breakfast at IHOP and called our family members, and went to Target to buy a pink onesie so we could take this photo.

I'm anxious to get the nursery set up and do some projects in the house, but I'm normally motivated by deadlines anyway, so this just feels like normal deadline-approaching energy more than nesting. I've had a few moments that felt like nesting, like when Jason sanded our wood stairs and wood dust was I vacuumed (and wiped down the outside of the vacuum, a la Monica Gellar) and wiped down the walls and banisters and dusted and cleaned every.single.surface in our house. I'm actually hoping to be hit by the nesting bug, my To Do list is a mile long and I could use the extra energy! :)

Sleeping well?
I've been sleeping really, really well for almost all of my pregnancy until this past week. The heartburn/acid reflux is really tough... one night I woke up just 45 minutes after I'd gone to sleep, and the acid burning in my throat was so bad that I was awake for another 45 minutes, downing Tums and papaya enzymes and eating a banana and drinking water, just trying to get the burning to stop. Not fun. So I commandeered most of the pillows in the house and set up my pillow fortress and slept sitting up completely. I know this happens to a lot of pregnant women, but it just kind of surprises me how suddenly it came on. On Saturday night I slept like a champ; on Sunday night I woke up puking bile.

On Wednesday morning when I woke up I came downstairs and started the (decaf) coffee pot in a total haze; before it finished brewing I did the math and realized that in the six hours I'd been "sleeping," I was completely awake at least six times. The previous few nights had been the same. No wonder I was exhausted. Having a positive attitude has really helped me throughout this pregnancy ("I don't mind waking up in the middle of the night, it isn't that bad!") but sometimes it apparently makes me a little dim (sleep deprivation is real, yo). ;) So I left the coffee untouched in the pot and went back to bed (sitting up); I slept for two straight hours and woke up feeling like a new woman. Since then I've slept sitting up every night and while I still wake up several times a night to pee and have occasional bouts of acid, it's not as bad as it was.

I told Jason, "Oh, it's just preparing me for nighttime feedings and being exhausted when the baby comes," and he said, "That's dumb. What do you need to be prepared for? Not sleeping sucks, there, you're prepared." HA!

Buy anything for the baby this week?
We've been gifted with some amazing things and I still have another baby shower or two coming up, so I'm trying not to buy much right now. I have received a couple of lovely presents in the mail, though! :)

What are you enjoying the most/least about being pregnant this week?
You read the middle-of-the-night bile/choking thing, right? So that's what I'm enjoying the least, obviously. My favorite part is the way she moves now, how she's normally pretty chill but always starts moving when she hears Jason's voice, and how I can feel the bumps of her body and try to guess which parts are which/where.

What are you looking forward to?

I'm interested to see if Bebe Girl acts at all similarly on the outside as she does on the inside. I'm excited to see Jason hold her and rock and bounce and soothe her (and get wrapped right around her teeny, tiny finger). I'm looking forward to finding her name (and trying not to worry about not having one for her yet). I'm really excited to sniff her head and kiss the bottoms of her tiny feet and see what she looks like and take photos of her and figure out breastfeeding and a thousand other little moments, only some of which I can even imagine right now.

Today I went to see The Help with some friends, and the relationship between Aibileen and Mae Mobley just made me bawl. The way she greeted her after naps, kissed her when she cried, and told her that she is kind, she is smart, she is important... oh my goodness, I'm so looking forward to that.