Thursday, January 7, 2010

Long Overdue

So, I’ve been meaning to start this blog for a very long time. How long you ask? Oh, since about October 31, 2008! So what’s special about that date besides the fact that it was Halloween of 2008? It’s the date the digital pregnancy test gave us a solid confirmation that an extra set of feet would soon be pitter-pattering around the house.

I deeply regret not keeping track of all the details of our pregnancy, birth, and oh, the FIRST SIX MONTHS of our daughter’s life in some written form, so in an effort of preservation, I will attempt to consolidate the details of the last 15 plus months into a few posts. Ready? Here we go! Let’s talk pregnancy.

October 15ish – 30th…Pregnant and didn’t know, although I had a gut feeling, or was that just nausea?

The above pictures are of a youth group hayride and a fall break camping trip to the Wichita’s. On our camping trip, I just kept thinking, “Why am I so tired? I thought I was in better shape than this?” I guess it takes a LOT of energy to preheat the oven to bake a new little bun.

October 31…firm confirmation after the previous day’s faint positive line….almost invisible, really. Nothing like rolling out of bed at 5 a.m. for this!

What’s this look? I’d say a combination of excitement, anxiety, and that feeling you get before a roller coaster takes its first drop.

Every pregnancy comes with some obligatory belly shots, right? Of course we had great intentions of taking a picture every week, but I think we were lucky if we took one once a month. Here was the first. Rob has a theory that the bigger the belly gets, the smaller the smile gets....hmm….I think he’s on to something there.

Fortunately, I was pregnant right alongside one of my best friends, Michelle, and several other women on my street. A lot of folks around our neighborhood were pretty suspicious about what was in the water. Michelle was about two and a half weeks ahead of me, and there were three other neighbors due all within a few weeks for a grand total of five new babies.

Thanksgiving of 2008 brought a trip to the beach to see my parents and grandparents. We figured it would be a wonderful time to share the news since we would all be together; it was so hard to wait to tell my parents! As soon as we pulled up to the beach house, Rob ran around to the ocean side and wrote the due date, 7/10/09, huge in the sand, then we had our family go out on the deck to see the surprise. That trip was wonderfully relaxing…many walks and runs on the beach, a few chilly dips in the ocean, bike riding adventures, much ladder ball, GREAT food…not so great food the second time around if you know what I mean, and falling asleep at 8 p.m. in the recliner every evening. Warning to the pregnant, however, long, leisurely walks on the beach should only be attempted when you know you can get to a bathroom quickly.

Conveniently, my pregnancy nausea lasted from about Thanksgiving until just after Christmas, which is great, because there is never any good food around that time of year. Right? So why not celebrate pregnancy nausea with a feast like this? Michelle was especially struggling (poor gal was sick from conception to post-partum!).

I finally got to meet with the doctor in December. How anticlimactic is it when you call your doctor excited with positive pregnancy test in hand, they tamp down your spirits by telling you they don’t want to see you until you are 8 to 10 weeks. WHAT? It’s even more anticlimactic when you finally get to the office and your appointment is so short that you barely even have time to blink.

We had our first ultrasound in late December, and I will admit, even though the heartbeat looked like a mere blip on a radar screen, it was an incredible view of the precious cargo on board. Aside from the fact that I REALLY thought my bladder was going to explode all over the exam room, Rob and I treasured getting to see our tiny bean.

In February we had another ultrasound when I was around 19 weeks. During this ultrasound we could have seen the baby’s gender, but we decided to wait it out until the end (even though there was an intense moment of indecision). The ultrasound did reveal that all systems seemed to be developing just fine, which definitely put some of those “what if” anxieties at ease.

By this time I felt like I was really starting to show. Here is a picture of Rob and I dressed up for the OU’s Pink and Black Ball benefitting the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. Rob and I have ALWAYS loved the opportunity to go somewhere and dance, but that night we were feeling a little too old and out of place to enjoy ourselves among the mostly college crowd. I felt like my belly was this huge beacon out on the dance floor, but most people still couldn’t tell I was pregnant. We ended the night early feeling lame and tired, and I’m sure we went home and did our usual pass out on the couch, then move to the bed at 3 a.m. routine.

March was a big month for us. We started a Bradley Method childbirth class, and luckily, our good friends Michelle and Rob were taking it too so we enjoyed carpooling with them and snickering at the more awkward moments, like everyone getting down on the floor so husbands could practice keeping their wives relaxed during a contraction. Ah, many classic moments to recount from our classes, as well as mind blowing videos of an intensely graphic nature.

One classic moment was when were supposed to be practicing a car ride to the hospital during the middle of a contraction and Rob looks over at me and asks “What genre of music would you like right now?”. I don’t know, perhaps something that can block the nerves in my spine from the waist down?

We also took our Youth Group to Utah for a hiking and camping trip in March. At this time I was 25 weeks pregnant, but was REALLY excited for some time away out in abundant fresh air. The drive in the 15 passenger van with another suburban following was long, but the end result was worth it!

A week in southeast Utah while pregnant was an incredibly primal experience. Yes…it sounds hippy dippy, but it was so cool to just be able to think about the baby, and being connected to the earth, and providing for our basic needs. Plus, the extra hormones and body fat kept me warmer than I’ve ever been at night in a tent. Rob was freezing next to me in 30 degree temps and I was roasty toasty.

The kids in our youth group swore that my belly grew each day on the trip (which is probably accurate considering I gained 8 pounds during March!). Also, Cora was getting more and more active and I loved lying in the tent just feeling her move. One particularly memorable moment was hiking up to Delicate Arch for the sunset and then hiking out in the dark. I hope to take Cora on this hike someday.

After returning home from this refreshing trip, work seemed to kick into HIGH GEAR! I was working a lot after hours and on the weekends, and it was really starting to take a toll on me. At this point I noticed that my feet were starting to swell slightly, which was just a precursor to the epic edema to come. Here is a belly pic from March.

Rob and I celebrated our birthdays in April. I turned 27 and Rob hit the big 3-0! We had low key celebrations with friends, family, and homemade cakes. Rob and my dad churned out a pretty fabulous red velvet cake for my birthday.

Right after my birthday, I decided that I was going to make all of the bedding for the nursery. Rob and I had been on the hunt for a gender neutral set up for sometime and could not find anything we liked. I dusted off my mother-in-law's 1970's Singer and went to town. After picking up some patterns and fun fabrics, it all started to come together. Here a few pictures of the unfinished nursery below. I think I will do a post solely dedicated to the complete nursery later.

By May, I was really getting ready to meet the baby and the due date just seemed so far away. We tried to stay busy to make the time pass quickly. When we first married, we put ourselves on the five year plan to have a baby, and I guess that worked out pretty well. Our date that evening was a delicious dinner on a pleasant patio. A kind table of ladies next to us had their bread sent to me because they said it looked like I needed it more them then. Gee....sure made my evening! How THOUGHTFUL of them!!

On Memorial Day weekend we braved the lake with some friends to beat the heat, plus I thought spending some time floating in the water might help me feel a little “lighter”, which is pretty impossible when you’re 35 weeks pregnant. That weekend, I did something I SWORE I would never do -- wear a bikini while pregnant. Luckily, I didn’t have to go it alone. Michelle decided to bare her baby bump too. I would spare you the pick, but the story just wouldn’t be the same without seeing the pregnant lady on the inner tube. At the time of writing, I did not have Michelle’s permission to post her pregnant belly bikini pic, but perhaps I can update later. Because the only thing better than one big ole pregnant lady on an inner tube at the lake is two!

June rolled around and with it came more heat, more swelling, and more misery as well as excitement. I was pretty much relegated to only one pair of shoes at that point due to swelling. Once I was full term, I started to have these “any day now” thoughts, and kicked in to nesting mode. Rob and I would get the house in tip top shape every weekend in case it happened that week, but we just kept waiting.

The end of pregnancy brings on an interesting phenomenon with strangers; they all want to talk to you and tell you about their births or pregnancies, or whatever. Each day when I would walk to my office I would get comments like, “Any day now, huh?”. And, “Oh, I bet you’re miserable right now!”, and “Man, my labor and delivery was TERRIBLE!” Thanks for the support folks. One checker at target told me about how he was born at the beach in California. I guess huge bellies open the door for all kinds of unsolicited conversation. It certainly was nice, though, to have people running to get the door for me and helping me carry things.

Michelle’s baby, Liam, arrived in June. When she called me to tell me she was in labor, I got so excited that I thought I might go in labor. It was so special being pregnant alongside her and experiencing everything together (both good and bad). I hope I am lucky enough to be pregnant with a friend for future children. After Michelle delivered, there were four more pregnant ladies walking waddling around our block looking like ticking time bombs, and I was set to explode next. Below you will see four out of five of "the club", and Rob practicing his rocking skills with precious Liam.

The last few weeks were pretty tough; I’m not going to lie. I tried to keep a positive attitude, but the more swollen I got, and the higher my blood pressure went, I started to get a little down. Rob was my rock during this time and kept me going each day. It was a wonderful 39 ½ weeks, but I was ready for it to end!

Stay tuned for the next episode, THE BIRTH...

1 comment:

  1. I love the blog and can't wait for the next entry. Keep them coming. I love you. Mom