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well, there’s been a lot of practice labor around here lately.  each night for a few hours i experience intermittent contractions.  the other night they were happening 10 mins apart for nearly an hour and i was almost sure it was the real thing.   i was getting so excited and doing my breathing and relaxation techniques and feeling confident and happy.

but then it wasn’t really happening.

and that was okay, too, because although i was a little sad, i was also a little relieved and happy to have the practice.  i’m learning the feeling of the contractions and taking every opportunity to put into action everything i’ve been working on for the last few months.  i’m going to be the next hypnobirthing star! 

i hope.

but maybe not.

i never know how it will go when things really start rocking and rolling.  all i can say is, i’m getting very, very excited to experience the most intimate and empowering experience ever…….and it’s going to happen very soon!! 

or at least i hope it’s soon.  because i’m going out of my mind with excitement.

and i’m a little bored and lonely, too, being at home without much ability to lift, bend, scrub, work, etc.  driving in the car is more and more uncomfortable.  i go for walks every day, but it’s more and more difficult to go any real distance.  i’m working hard at keeping myself occupied, but sometimes i’m just plain bored and longing to have my body back.

right now i feel like i really want to get this show on the road!  and i want to meet this little girl, to see her little toes that have been poking me all these months…and to find out if she got my huz’s bendy thumbs (which i really hope she did…i don’t like my thumbs). 

but i know babies come when they are ready and when the timing is right.  so, i will do my best to wait patiently while she soaks up these last few days in the safety of my womb…relishing in nourishing her with  my body while longing to hold her in my arms.  after all this time, i know i can wait a few more days, even a couple of weeks if i have to.

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guess what?  our baby’s not here yet and already i’m so aware of a major transition in thinking/living………

no more can i buy or do or pay large amounts of money on things that aren’t necessities…not if i’d like to stay home as long as possible with our little munchkin (although i did make an impulse buy a couple of weeks ago when i was mad at my huz…i think that was a “one last hurrah-type moment”).

this feels especially raw for me today since i accidentally dropped my kin.dle about three feet to the floor and damaged the screen….total bummer.  absolute sadness.  would love to simply buy a new one or even be able to afford a new screen to replace the damaged one, but guess what? 

we are parents now…no more just working an overnight to pay for the new one…no more scraping together odds and ends of cash here and there to justify the replacement…i’m a bona fide grown up now…must wait for luxuries…must wait even longer than i’m used to waiting.  i guess this grown-up-ness is partially why my mom wore the same clothes for many, many years while we had new ones…babies first.

but, hell, i waited a long time to be almost 38 weeks pregnant, so i suppose i can wait a while for my kindle repair or replacement.  in the meantime, i can just guess what the words are in that part of the page……….it might even be a fun game.  okay, probably not.

and may i say………if you have a kin.dle, .don’t drop it even while it’s tucked safely inside its case and only falls a short distance…even if you’re 37.5 weeks pregnant and you drop everything these days….don’t.drop.your.kin.dle.

today marks two years since our first miscarriage. 

two years. 

two years ago i awoke to bright red blood.

today i awoke to a moving, stretching baby in my womb.

two years ago we went to the er (something i would never do again for a m/c, unless hemorrhaging) and sat for hours all the while being told that what was happening really wasn’t happening.

but i knew it was.

it did.

we found out that day (though the docs and nurses were no help in confirming this reality) our blueberry never grew to be more than a little round berry sized being.

this was one in many life changing days we’ve experienced in the past four years.  and while i’d never want to go back, i also never want to forget…our sweet little berry and all the naive excitement we felt in those short weeks.

this is going to be a post of assorted tidbits from my life these days…maybe a bit random, but hopefully worth the read.

first, if you are pregnant and you’d like to practice your birthing technique of choice (for me it’s hypnobirthing), i suggest you try having your eye brows threaded rather than waxed.  oh my.  wow.  i went today for my first brow threading since i’m trying to get things tidied up before this baby comes (only to fall behind again on all the upkeep, i’m sure!) and  i must say, waxing might not be as en vogue, but i do prefer having the pain over with more quickly.  wow.  it was intense and i was trying my best to stay relaxed and calm, visualizing myself going limp and loose, but it was a challenge for sure!  have you ever tried the brow threading?  what do you think?!

it does feel good to have my furry brows under control again, though…and that makes the pain worth it i suppose.

when i got home i decided to call my grandma (my mom’s mom).  she’s 95 and a crack up.  ever since she moved into an assisted living home right around christmastime, she’s spunky in a way i haven’t previously known her to be.  anyway, she was asking me how i was doing…how many more days…etc.  then i told her that my dad will be sure to call her when the baby comes and she said,

 “now, lilly, just so you know, i have all these grandchildren and great-grandchildren and i don’t send them presents.  so i don’t want you to be disappointed.  i haven’t sent all the other kids presents when they were born, so i can’t start with yours.”

oh my gosh, i laughed so hard.  and that got her laughing too.  so there we were, 95 year old and 33 year old, laughing together and it was a moment of pure joy.  she was just so her in that moment and i wasn’t expecting her to just say it outright like that.  of course, i knew all along that there would be no gift from her, so that part was no surprise (i am one of her many grandchildren, after all)…i’m just not used to her actually acknowledging it!  she’s a funny lady, even if she can be a bit crotchety too. 

talking to her always makes me long to talk to my mom…she says some of the same expressions my mom always said when used to talk on the phone….like after i’d fill my mom in on a whole bunch of my happenings and then she’s say, “well, what else is going on?  anything?”  i remember one time responding to my mom, “geez, mom…i just told you about a ton of things that are going on…isn’t that enough?!”  and we laughed.  i miss her.  i miss her more and more as this baby’s birthing day draws closer.  i wish my huz (not just me) would have her extra support, too, when i’m laboring.  but, alas, that’s not what is to be, though that doesn’t keep me from wishing.

today i’m 37 weeks…technically full term.  a day i never knew i’d reach way back when getting to the 8 week mark with a viable pregnancy felt nearly impossible.  and here we are.  certainly, life continues to be uncertain….as it is for all of us, but i must say——-we are pretty damn excited to have made it this far! 

and with the excitement comes the sadness and loss…i’m engaged in many endings and this is naturally sad.  i’m winding down with my nanny family and trying to plan a last day together that will be meaningful and memorable.  the older child (11 yo) is especially aware of my impending absence.  she reminds me each time i see her how many days until our last day, how many days until our baby’s due date…she asks me repeatedly if i would please email her when the baby is born, which of course i will.  i assure her that i’m going to stay in touch and that i want her to know this baby…she reminds me so much of myself in certain meaningful relationships…tenderly attached, yet so afraid of losing our connection. 

then there are the last lunch dates with “just the girls”, last weekends spent lazing around watching lo.st with our friend for hours and hours…last dates with the huz…last moments of spontaneously jumping in the car and running off to get something or do something or see someone.

now, i know that eventually we will be spontaneous, we will still have our friendships, we will have lazy-ish days…but in a new way.  and i know that feeling these losses, talking about the changes with friends and our mutual sadness over those changes, are such a part of what will continue to make me the kind of mom, friend and woman i long to be……..tender, aware, alive, authentic…and so i keep moving forward, feeling my feelings along the way.

and on top of all these things?  we are just plain excited with anticipation!  it’s like the longest night before christmas ever!!

well, well, well….we passed a couple major milestones this weekend.

first, just when we’d given up on having the crib we loved (b/c we couldn’t justify the expense at the moment), my huz’s entire office–multiple departments–came together to give us a huge surprise………all the cash we needed to buy the crib we’d been hoping for!  so, while my in-laws disappointed us when they sent a board game, we were more than elated to receive such a generous gift from an unexpected source.  as i was leaving his office after the party, my huz grabbed me for a hug and said, “sweetie, life is full of surprises!”  yes it is.

perhaps the biggest surprise is that we put the crib together on friday night without any arguing or frustration!  i thought it was going to be a struggle and i was actually afraid to start putting it together…especially since our last few weekends have been a struggle for us and i just wanted to be able to enjoy our weekend…but i reluctantly agreed to try assembling it when my huz suggested we spend our evening in that way.  it turned out to be fun and exciting……and, naturally, our cats had to try out the new digs.  since then we’ve kept the door closed so they can’t get in there and make her crib their new home. 🙂

and finally, my huz wanted to install the car seat into his car yesterday and practice using it.  so, we got out the directions and got into the car.  i was a bit more snotty in this activity than either of us would have hoped, but in the end we managed to have a fun time. 

so, here we are…readying ourselves for this major life transition into parenthood.  we have a few more details to iron out, but overall we are ready for the big day to come at any point (after i’m considered full term this weds, that is).  my body has been practicing with contractions here and there, which always gives me the oportunity to practice my hypnobirthing and relaxation techniques.  each time a feel a contraction come on i thank my body for practicing and for knowing how to birth this baby…practice, practice, practice body!

next on the agenda—we need to finish our phone/email tree list and pack our bag for the birth center…we’ve already got the baby’s bag packed and ready to go!   have i mentioned we’re excited?!

first, a big thank you to all who read yesterday’s post and for your comments…i think that a nearly universal fear that comes with losing someone you love is that you’ll be the only one who remembers them or cares that they’re gone…this fear has been true for me with losing my mom and losing our babies and i’ve heard others express a similar concern.  over the years i’ve come to realize that there are always a handful of people who remember with me…who care…who are touched by my expressions of grief and who let me know i’m not remembering alone.  thank you.

also, i’d love to know who put a post on the lost and found and connections abound blog so i can thank you personally.  that was so thoughtful and honestly, i didn’t know the blog existed until i saw people had been referred from there to my blog……i’d love to say a personal thank you to the one who made that post.  but in case i never learn who you are………………thank you!

next, i thought i’d give a little update on what my day was like yesterday, since i posted in the morning what i’d been thinking, feeling, and planning……..and days have a way of taking on a shape of their own sometimes.

i started my day with my favorite donut….bavarian cream/boston creme/whatever you want to call it….cream on the inside with chocolate frosting on the outside.  then i wrote and expressed what i was feeling…what it’s been like for me these years, what i feel about becoming a mom without my mom and all that i miss about her.  it was so good for me to get the thoughts and feelings out of my mind where they’d been circling for a while when i was considering what i’d like to write. 

then i did what i haven’t felt motivated to do in many, many weeks………..i styled my hair!  these days i usually just don’t want to take the time or energy to straighten it, so i just pull it back in a ponytail and call it good or wear it wavy…but not yesterday.  since i was taking time to tend to myself, i added straightening my hair to the list.  and i’m so glad i did.  i always feel good when i do that.

next i was off to get my pedicure.  it was nice and our little baby bear must have liked it too because she was bouncing around and kicking and being adorable.  she stretched her legs out so fast and so far that she actually tickled my side from the inside and surprised me!  you know the feeling when someone tickles your sides…that’s what it felt like on the inside.  what a fun moment.  that’s happened a couple of times and it makes me laugh every time.  (and of course it would make me laugh….it tickles!)  when i was searching for the polish i wanted to use, i was sad to realize i didn’t think of bringing my mom’s favorite color with me.  i looked for it on their shelves, but couldn’t find it so i went with a similar color.  i love it.  my toes look fabulous…too bad i can’t see them easily!  and i had a good laugh when the pedicurist was trying to help me put my flip-flops on as i was readying to leave….i couldn’t see the shoe or my foot very well so i had a heck of a time getting my foot in there.  another good laugh!

then i drove up to have lunch with my friends.  it was a sunny day, good music on the radio, and anticipation about being with dear friends.  we had a yummy lunch, shared many laughs, and even managed to get a walk in the sunshine in before we parted ways….and then i was off to sweetie pie maddie’s house.

what can i say about this little girl other than she’s the sweetest?!  when i was getting ready to leave and trying to say goodbye she said, “you can’t leave yet!  let’s go upstairs and snuggle together in my big bed and read!”  oh, melt my heart.  she recently transitioned from a toddler bed to a bunk bed where she sleeps on the bottom bunk which is a big double bed….and she’s so proud of it.  what a darling little girl.  i’m so glad i was with her and her family for a bit yesterday….a definite highlight.

and since i had such a hard time leaving, i got home later than planned for dinner with my huz.  he was in the throws of his nesting compulsions when i got home, so i was off the hook more or less.  my huz bought me a peace lily yesterday with tons of blooms and it’s beautiful and thoughtful and made me cry.  i love that guy.

finally, we were both ready to go and we decided to try a greek restaurant in the next city over…this is where things took a turn…we were driving along, finding out way to the restaurant when all of a sudden a fluffy white cat ran in front of our car and into the next lane where we both saw it get run over.  holy shit.

we wouldn’t have planned that, couldn’t have expected it and didn’t know what in the world to do.  since the other car stopped, we decided it would be okay to let them handle things and we would keep on going….only to find that the restaurant we were headed for was mysteriously closed and we didn’t know if we could even think of eating after that.  we both love cats….and my huz especially has a soft spot for all animals…my, were we both shaken.

somehow–and i’m not really sure how–we got it together, thought of another restaurant we’d like to try, and continued on our way.  we ended up eating at a bbq place (bbq was another fav of my mom’s) and while there i remembered that one time when my parents lived near kc (the bbq capital of the country, i think) my mom, huz and i headed over to have dinner together at a place that was highlighted for their bbq in sunset mag.  that was a fun memory i hadn’t thought of in ages.

and then we started talking about how odd life can be.  here we were headed to dinner at a greek restaurant, saw something horrible and sad and awful, re-routed ourselves and wound up in a place we’d not have thought of otherwise, but ended up enjoying thoroughly…and yet, this is not to negate our original plan…it was a good one and would have been lovely had it turned out.  but it didn’t.  and in this case, something else lovely did happen.

but then there’s the reality that life doesn’t always go that way…and it certainly didn’t go that way for the person who accidentally hit the cat or the family who lost their pet or the many, many, many people who went without hope or money or a place to sleep or a family or…or…or last night.

and while i don’t get it, i’m so grateful for the day i had yesterday…….remembering my mom and feeling the sun on my face, the hugs of friends, and snuggles from my huz mingled with tears and grief and loss.

four years ago today, i was just over halfway through my grad program.  just the day before i’d been planning my internship, sorting through the options, getting really excited about the future. 

four years ago today, my huz was in california for one month on business….he’d been gone for ten-ish days or so by now.  and i’d gone to see him once already, with plans to see him in cali every weekend he would be away—a real luxury for us, actually!

four years ago today, i’d stayed up way too late the night before finishing a paper, so i’d planned to sleep in as long as possible and give myself a rest before heading off to class much later in the day.  but since my huz was away, i made sure to sleep with my phone nearby on vibrate…just in case he happened to call before his work day began.

four years ago today, i wasn’t the least bit surprised when my phone started to vibrate at just past 6a.  my huz was calling to say good morning!  except it wasn’t my huz.

four years ago today, my dad called at 6:01a to tell me that my mom died.  just died.  gone.  no warning.

four years ago today, my king size bed never felt more empty with me in it…my heart never squeezed so hard.  i wailed and wailed.  i called my huz and wailed.  i called my friend and wailed.  and wailed and wailed.  how could she be dead.

four years ago today, i stumbled out into my living room to witness one of the most beautiful sunrises ever…which was especially sacredly ironic as i live in an area where we don’t expect to see the sun in february at all…much less a beautiful sunrise over the snowy mountains.  and i wailed.

four years ago today, my life took an unexpected and excruciating turn that has affected every day…every experience…since.

four years later, i still cry nearly every day to one extent or another.  not b/c my mom was perfect…she wasn’t.  not b/c our relationship was always wonderful and un-complicated…it wasn’t.  mainly, i cry b/c i just miss her.  i miss fighting with her.  i miss laughing with her.  i miss the way she always thought i was everything good…even if she was often in denial about all my complications…our complications.  i miss the way she cared about whether i’d made it somewhere safely when traveling.  i miss the way she drove me crazy by asking a million questions about things i didn’t always want to talk about.  i miss the way she’d talk to me on the phone even when i was vacuuming.  i just miss her.

i cry b/c she’ll never hold my baby.  i cry b/c i’m becoming a mother and i don’t have one with me anymore.  i cry b/c no one is as excited and into and willing to listen to every minute detail about this pregnancy as she would have been.  i cry b/c we’ll never hug again.  never have a pedicure together again.  never eat a meal together again.  never share a laugh together again. never argue with each other again.

never.

never.

never.

never is a very long time.

today i will remember my mom with a pedicure, lunch with friends, a visit with my sweet and precious maddie, and dinner with my huz.  today i will live with the confusion of grief and excitement…death and life…converging…today i will tend to myself, to our baby, to life, while i tend to my grief, anxiety, pain, as well.

four years ago today…

i’m a teensy bit behind in the posting department.  lately, i’ve felt a bit like my brain is a strainer with a billion little holes for important information to slip through into no-mans-land, lost forever.  until i remember them again, that is.  i don’t like being foggy headed or forgetful or unreliable or any of those things that come with—according to my midwives—my doubling blood volume……it seems sometime around the last week or so my volume doubled and it takes a while for my red blood cell count and iron levels to catch up.  this causes foggy brains and forgetfulness, among other things.

so here i am, foggy brain and all, catching you up on what i’ve been up to in my neck of the woods….

first, what i’m most excited about———i just passed 30 weeks.  incredible.  hard to believe.  a little frightening, as in less than one week i will be in the single digits in terms of weeks until delivery (unless i go past 40 wks, that is).  i’m not scared of the delivery (at this point, anyway), but it’s more the after-delivery part that worries me sometimes.  you see, while i have TONS and TONS of childcare experience, i’m most well-versed in the 6 mos and up age range.  newbies are not where my experience lies.  and i’m nervous.  but we’ll manage, i know.

next most exciting thing i’ve been up to———-just began prenatal yoga classes!  this was a christmas gift from my huz and i’m loving it so far. i  just attended my first class last saturday and have been counting down the days till my next class ever since.  loved it.  lovelovelove-d it.  so relaxing.  and soothing.  yet, requiring strength from me…i couldn’t stop smiling when our little baby bear would leap and jump around while i was stretching and moving.  maybe she liked it too.  i also couldn’t stop myself from chuckling when i deeply inhaled and a stitch on my pre-preg yoga pants busted.  and then when another one busted after that.  i guess they were even tighter than i thought.  hard to believe they used to slide off of me.

another excitement—————–we painted our little bear’s room this past weekend.  ever since my fertility hunt began i’d fantasize about pink and brown for a girl’s room.  this is what i always thought i’d want if we ever had a girl-baby.  funny how sometimes things change when it’s actually happening.  we didn’t go with pink.  or brown.  or any for-sure-girl color.  we went with a lovely, calming shade of green.  we’re also painting the trim white (used to be 70’s brown wood—ick).  it looks so nice in there.  i just love it.  sometimes i walk into her room just to take it all in…i look around and think how much i love the way it turned out and how proud i am of our preparing and planning ahead while i still have some energy to be a part of it.  (don’t worry—we use paint that does not have voc in it, so there are no toxic smells to go with the painting that i need to be worrying about!  and by the way, i highly recommend using the paint that’s voc-free…so much more comfortable to deal with–pregnant or not.)

and lastly, we are now into the phase of heading to the midwife every two weeks, rather than every four.  this is another major milestone for us in this pregnancy….and it also makes for an even busier life. 🙂  but i don’t mind juggling another appt because it also means we’ll get to hear her little beating heart more often.  at our last appt, my huz noticed her heartbeat was beginning to sound more “human”, a bit slower and lower rather than “tin-ny” or high-pitched…at least not as much as it had been.  i think i know what he means, but really i was too in awe of hearing her heartbeat again that i didn’t pay much attn to comparing how it sounded the month before….i’m just so damn grateful to hear it again that’s all i can think about!

well peeps, you are now officially caught up on the life and times of this baby-mama and her little bear.  is it time for my yoga class yet?!!

i guess you could say i’ve been bitten by the nesting bug.  most of my thoughts and energy is dedicated to this little girl wiggling around inside of me.  so, i’ve been washing and folding gobs of tiny little clothes, painting her room with my huz, and crocheting little things here and there…

i’ve made little beanie caps with flowers (so cute!),baby booties, baby blankets—i have made countless blankets for others and it was very fun to finally make one for our very own little one—and i also made these little cuties:

it’s been fun to watch these little creatures take shape while imagining our little baby bear gnawing away on them….i can’t wait to meet this little acrobat………….just 10 short weeks—give or take (but let’s not give or take too much!).

…when she’s dancin’ on my cervix…

OUCH!!

yesterday, this little baby bear spent more time using my cervix as a trampoline than anything…and let me say, her little legs are getting stronger, because what used to feel like a sweetly odd little twitch now feels like a giant jab to my tender lady parts. 

i tried different positions to coax her into moving.

the huz tried talking to her, asking her to follow his voice and come up to higher ground.

alas, nothing helped yesterday’s position situation.

EXCEPT—a good, long night’s sleep.  when i awoke this morning this sweet little bear was dancing side to side once more.  what a relief!

in other baby-related news…yesterday, i could see my baby belly moving from our baby’s movements!  and again today!  i could sit and stare at my stomach all day long it seems.  sometimes i feel a little freaked out by it…but most of the time it’s exciting.  and either way, i can’t stop staring.

another exciting piece of news hot off the press….today at a coffee shop, the barista asked me out of the blue, “so, when are you due?”  i am so unaccustomed to hearing this question (although i’ve longed to for many, many months now) that i didn’t realize she was talking to me and i couldn’t compute what she was saying at first.  after an awkward pause, i stuttered a response: “oh, fun!  you’re only the second person to ask me that!  i’m due….”

so, that’s all i know for now.  this little baby bear is kicking away……..and i feel so happy to be at the start of my third trimester………..how crazy is that?!