Nesting?

pillowA here. OK, I think maybe we’re in the phase everyone warns you about, right before the baby arrives. I had a pretty good burst of manic energy this weekend starting on Saturday. At one point I was simultaneously doing laundry, making a pillow to match the quilt, vacuuming, packing for the hospital and cooking a big pot of white bean and kale soup.stuffed cat and wooden rings from asheville

Sunday we ran lots of errands, including getting the various storage containers we’ve been needing for the nursery—a basket for the 80 cloth diapers that were delivered this week and all the baskets and boxes needed to store diaper covers, bibs, burp clothsblankets and burp cloths (check out the ones I made—not as practical as the Gerber ones but way cuter). The stuffed cat was also a day long project that turned out to be pretty darn cute but was a major pain in the ass to sew. I don’t see me crafting friends for him anytime soon.

Today’s big project was turning the cranes we made at the baby party into a cranesmobile. Thank goodness KP and E came to help with that one. I don’t think we would have finished it without them. But we love the way it turned out.

The breast pump and bottles have been sterilized, the last of the baby laundry has been done and the hospital music is all ready to go. I’m pretty much finding myself trying to convince the baby that it’s really all right to come out now. Last night I even had some shiatsu to stimulate some movement in there. It did produce a lot of somersaults but little else.

Maybe the baby is waiting until after tomorrow’s inauguration to enter this new world. And that’s OK. I just had my hopes up for an MLK birthday. And I’m not super excited about having to go to work this week. I guess I better gear up for it—at this rate, it doesn’t look like baby is going to provide me with a good excuse not to go.

a glider…really?

a in gliderYes. It’s true. We bought a glider. I know, it’s hard to look at. Worse yet, we decided to put it in the living room. It didn’t seem feasible to have it upstairs, isolated from social interaction. I have a hard time believing it myself, but we actually invited this massive piece of hideousness to dominate our central living space. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little. I’m just trying to prepare myself for future home decor adjustments necessitated by the impending presence of a small child. Did I mention the knob covers on the gas stove? To be perfectly honest, those were introduced after cowboy turned on the gas one evening while trying to climb into a scrumptiously dirty chili pot we left on the stove. Hm, cats.

Our decision to get the glider came after we visited our friends and their new baby. Watching mom breastfeeding baby while gliding back and forth EFFORTLESSLY was the kicker. From that moment on, we knew we had to get one, and we had to have anything that would make life with a new baby easier. That sort of opened the floodgates to allowing all sorts of aesthetically discordant baby-soothing and baby-holding devices to occupy more space in our house. The following week, our other friends with their year-old baby asked us to come “shop” at their house to see if we wanted any of the baby stuff they had acquired in the past year. The pendulum had certainly swung as we loaded the CRV with a portable bassinet, an electric swing, a bouncy seat, a bathtub chair thingy, a travel bed and travel mat, wondering how we ever thought we could mange without this stuff. I know it sounds like a lot, but we get to give it all back to them when we’re done, and they’ll use it all again when they have their second child. Rethink, recycle, reuse, reclaim. Or something to that effect.

dining swingIt does feel like we have turned a complete 180 from a year ago when we imagined ourselves to be the kind of parents who wouldn’t let their home look like some rainbow-colored Grinch secretly visited in the night, took one bite of the cookie and spewed all over the house. Well, as the cliche goes–that was then; this is now.

I don’t actually think the house looks that bad. Then again, can my perspective be trusted? Aren’t I seeing things through the lens of a soon-to-be parent? Doesn’t that change everything? Can you tell by my slightly frantic tone that our due date is a week from tomorrow?

nothing is comfortable

almost thereWe have reached the point in the pregnancy where there are no more comfortable positions. Now, every time I ask A what she needs, she has only one response…”to deliver this baby.” We’ve passed the 30-day mark – just one month left until the due date. And after 37 weeks, the baby is considered fully baked. So, in a way, A is right – all she needs is to deliver this baby.

We meet with the midwife every week now until the baby comes. It really feels like things are speeding up, and yet they couldn’t be moving any slower for A. She gets up two or three times a night to pee and isn’t sleeping too well either. Her hip joints are loose like they’re supposed to be for the baby to come out, but it is super uncomfortable and hard to stay in one position for very long whether sitting, standing or being horizontal.

The heavy snow and slick sheets of ice covering Minneapolis aren’t making things any easier. One of the doulas at the childbirth collective classes we attend said that winter babies can take a little longer to come out, which if you think about it kind of makes sense. I certainly don’t want to be outside right now. But despite the weather, A needs to keep moving to get the baby in position. The doulas recommend climbing stairs, so it’s a good thing we have a bunch to climb inside the warm cozy house. When A goes into labor, we’re told that climbing up and down the stairs will be one of her greatest comfort measures. Go figure.

Oh, and for those of you waiting for the really big belly shot, here you go.big belly

baby party

We had a party for our baby last weekend. Kind of a baby shower but not really. More of an open house with beer, wine, hors d’ oeuvres, and some origami crane folding, sans baby. The attendees were mostly the same Minneapolis friends who came to our housewarming party last October, so I guess you could call it a baby warming.

party hostsThe party was hosted by Elizabeth and Trish who, while brunching with us a couple months earlier, convinced us that having this party would provide our friends the opportunity to celebrate the two of us and this new baby who is about to grace our presence. As reluctant as we were at first, we could hardly refuse an offer to let other people plan the party, send out the invitations, make the food, and bring the wine. All we had to do was supply the house.

A thousand cranes, or Senbazuru, are supposed to bring good luck, but we’ll have to settle with whatever forty-some-odd brings us. Our small sea of jen and andrea fold cranesbrightly colored paper cranes covers the dining room table. The cats are overjoyed to say the least. We look at the cranes nightly and wonder when we’ll have the energy to string them together and hang them in the baby’s room. That is the plan anyway. And it will be nice when our dining room table becomes an eating surface again.

The party food was particularly exciting for A. Not only was it fabulous, but we lunched on it for days after, and we still have leftover cupcakes with their yummy toasted coconut mop tops tucked away in the freezer in case of an emergency (or early labor).

yarnI think my favorite part was when we all threw the big ball of yarn around the room and tied a little piece of it around our wrists linking us together until the baby is born. It was totally corny, and A told everyone that we wouldn’t friend-break-up with them if they decided to take it off, but I’m still wearing mine.

progress

a working on quiltsince j’s been out-posting me, i’ve decided to give her the night off and write a little update myself.

i’ve been thinking lately about the concept of progress. in terms of the pregnancy, and otherwise. as far as the pregnancy goes, as long as i keep breathing, eating, and sleeping progress is inevitable. which is a relief. i find myself obsessively wishing that human gestation was a 7 month cycle instead of 9+. the last two months feel so taxing on the body, and i’m just at the beginning of those last two now. the turning point came a few weeks ago when i started to experience the most excruciating back pain. walking was an exercise of great torture. but then i went to physical therapy a couple of times and miraculously improved. there are now days when i have no back pain at all! and to think, i had almost resigned myself to utter and total misery for the rest of the ten weeks i had to go.

it feels like much progress still needs to be made in terms of nuts and bolts preparation for the baby. we still don’t own bottles or diapers or many of the other “necessities” we’ll eventually acquire. there is a giant “to do” list and items are being checked off at a snail’s pace, which causes me a bit of anxiety admittedly. and yet, here i sit, not rushing out to buy diapers.

quilt in progressi have to say, the most fun i’ve had in terms of making progress recently is the quilt i’ve been working on. it’s coming together quite nicely. the entire top is in one piece now–the result of having a very nasty cold over the holiday weekend and being unable to do anything more strenuous than sew. it kind of kept me sane. i could feel productive with very little physical energy being exerted–it was perfect. and so far, i’m really pleased with the way it’s turning out. i want to keep going with pillows and curtains and blankets and bibs and burp cloths. i knew i should have started this before the third trimester. what a fun distraction!

we’re gearing up for our baby party this weekend. i’m excited to have so many of our friends here to celebrate with us–steph and mike coming in from chicago is really a treat. and i think once it’s over maybe, just maybe, i’ll feel like we’re in the home stretch. in any case, we’ll get to eat yummy food (and cupcakes) and be surrounded by so many of the people who will make up the baby’s first community of aunties, uncles, imas, and friends. at the beginning of the pregnancy i was lukewarm on the idea of having a party at all. but now, i can’t think of anything more fun to help me through these weeks of impatient waiting and superhuman growth–did i mention i’ve gained 31 pounds already!? i guess i don’t really need those extra cupcakes, but the baby enjoys them so much.

Moving along…like one of those high-speed Japanese commuter trains.

A @ 31 weeksThe prodding worked. Thanks to all of you who have emailed and told me to get back to the posting. I apologize and hope you will resume checking the blog periodically for new and hopefully interesting updates. As the title of this post indicates, all things including time itself seem to be moving rather quickly now. We’re well into the third trimester, and A not only appears but also feels like she’s carrying a rather large bowling ball around her midsection.

Wanting to spend some time with us before the baby’s impending arrival (somehow nine weeks feels more like nine days), A’s mom traveled from Ohio the first weekend in November. She has missed being near A as she moves through pregnancy, so it was great to have her here for a few days. I think the highlight for Bonnie was going with us to one of our prenatal visits, meeting our fabulous midwife and getting to hear the baby’s healthy heartbeat (one of the many rapidly moving things). The high point for us may have been the day she held our hands as we made our first foray into the wilds of Babies-R-Us. We were petrified. Truthfully, we had been avoiding it. We thought we’d be able to get away with never setting foot inside, but Bonnie expertly navigated through aisles of car seats, bottle brushes, sippy cups, and crib bumpers (no, we’re not getting one). For all our reluctance, we had to admit there were some pretty damn cute outfits that any infant would be happy to parade around daycare (and from the look of our baby’s closet, it appears that Bonnie may have gotten us every one in the store!). But truly, Bonnie did us a solid. She sought out the essentials – like a car seat with awesome orange fabric – and things we never would have known we needed – like the t-shirts that fold over and snap down the side so you don’t have to wrangle them over the baby’s head, and baby nail clippers with a teeny magnifying glass so you don’t snip off the kid’s tender little digits.

Speaking of grandmothers, our moms already have their grandma monikers picked out. A’s mom will be Mammaw, a tradition on the Ohio side of the family, and my mom will be Mimi, as my grandmother is to me, which means I might have to start calling her “Big Mimi” to minimize any confusion, although at 96 she’s hardly a largish woman. But I digress.

Back to the business of the speed at which things are progressing. You wouldn’t believe how much the baby is kickboxing inside A’s ever-growing belly (maybe still celebrating the Obama victory.) Weirdly, it is very similar to the scene in the movie Alien, right before the creature springs from the guy’s chest. There is an enormous amount of rolling and protruding from within that is, in a word, freaktastic. Unfortunately, it’s pretty uncomfortable at times, and A’s ribs take a beating. We’re just hoping that as the baby grows it will become more difficult to dance on her kidneys and turn somersaults across her uterus. But things are a bit different from my perspective. I can hardly suppress the giggle that races through my heart when I rest my hands on A’s tummy and a tiny limb or back or bum pushes out, and I know that I am holding this baby.

election night distraction

Ack! A and I are watching the election returns and need to busy ourselves with something other than fretting over who will ultimately win this crazy race. The early McCain lead is freaking us out, but as CNN tells us, he was expected to win South Carolina and Tennessee, so no worries…yet.

nestingThat said, let’s spend a few minutes reviewing all things pregnancy. First, the nesting. Oh, the nesting! Here’s a photo that encapsulates the madness. In a word, quilting. I believe A was in the 5th grade the last time she made a quilt. She’s planning a gorgeous one for the baby as you can see by the fabric strewn across the length of the crib rail (yep, that’s the crib we got off Craigslist). But the nesting hormones are truly amazing. At this rate we are bound to have the cleanest, most well-organized house in South Minneapolis by the time the baby arrives, which is fine because it’s not likely to ever be that way again.

This pregnancy has been so perfect in so many ways – A has been healthy and passing all her tests (the glucose test was negative, meaning no gestational diabetes), the baby has been growing well and passing all it’s tests (obviously, we still don’t know if we’re having a girl or boy, but we’ll find out soon enough). So, it would seem inevitable that we would experience something less than positive at some point in this journey, and we did over the weekend. A got into a car accident on Saturday–not a bad one, and no one was hurt–but it was scary when it happened, and we did spend a little time in the hospital monitoring the baby to be sure everything was ok. And everything is fine, but then the day after the accident, A had what she thinks was her first Braxton-Hicks contraction. The timing was nothing more than coincidental, but given the recent events we weren’t entirely sure. A called our midwife and moved our next prenatal visit up a couple weeks–again, just to make sure everything continues to go smoothly. Once we figured out that the contraction wasn’t a pre-term labor situation, but something normal and common and nothing to worry about, we have been gradually gaining back our confidence.

a_votedAnd now, Barack Obama appears to be ahead in many states and has just been predicted the winner in Pennsylvania. The experts are assuring us that things are almost certain. The night seems to be moving in the right direction, and we are gradually, ever so cautiously, regaining our confidence. It’s only a little while longer until we know for sure.