Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The best thing I got for Christmas

My Son.

He came a little early - December 7 at 6:56 pm. He was 7 lbs 8 oz, 21" long, 100% pure magic.
I've been meaning to introduce him to you sooner, but I was a little lost in Newborn Land (read "endless nursing, sleepless nights, giddy oblivion").
I'll fill you in on more details soon (birth story to come) but in the meantime, enjoy a few photos of the Christmas Miracle that is Drake Leonidas Waugh.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

38 weeks

I’m tired and emotional. I want to cry but I can’t pin point why. Just seems like it would feel good. Or awful. But either way it’s tempting. It’s just all this sitting around. All this waiting. I try to do things to take my mind off of it, but they wear me out quickly. Too tired to do anything, too bored to just sit here, too uncomfortable to sleep. Gosh, I hope I’m right about him coming on the 10th… Justin told me not to get my hopes up but I totally have. If I go past due I don’t know what I’ll do. Doing everything I can just to keep it together right now. And nothing is really wrong! I should remember how blessed I am – a complication free pregnancy. My baby is healthy. I’m fine. I’m just so damn tired. The thing of it is that that won’t change once he gets here. I’m kidding myself if I’m looking toward his arrival as a physical relief. But my hips and back don’t agree. They can’t wait to be done. And I shouldn’t complain – I know that. But just for a minute, I’m going to. And then I’m going to go back to practicing being a stay at home mom. I will find some way to clean some more. I will keep organizing and decorating his room. I will wrap Christmas presents early and send birthday cards and make the best of this time – this blessing! – of being able to be at home. I will. In just a few more minutes. Right after I have a good cry.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A good night

I actually did things last night! Highly unusual for this pregnant lady. After getting off of work at 4, I did my makeup - shock! - and hair - bigger shock. I miraculously found an outfit that fit (with some creative styling: skinny jeans unbuttoned and held up by a belly band) that did not involve sweats or a t shirt or tennis shoes. For the first time in months, I felt cute.
And so I went out! Well, I suppose I did all of that because I was already planning on going out - but nevertheless, the surprising success of my efforts definitely created a renewed enthusiasm for the idea of spending the evening in public places. (Most nights these days are spent at home alone - occasionally at my sister's - but always in my pj's.)
First, I went Salsa dancing. Ok, so I didn't do a lot of dancing. It's pretty hard to keep your balance on a pair of heels with a giant, round weight attached to the front of you (not to mention I think it makes the men feel a little awkward to have a big belly invading their dancing space). But I hung out with some of my best girlfriends while they taught a Salsa lesson and lead some open dancing.
They are on the eve of a new commitment to healthy eating - which of course meant that last night absolutely called for some wonderful junk food - so we went out to eat and laugh and talk until 10:30.
When we had finished our eating and our gabbing and the rest of the group was headed home, I, of all people, headed down town instead of heading home. My final destination of the night was a little Irish pub where another of my wonderful girlfriends was supporting her man. Her boyfriend was playing a gig there with his very cool folk/bluegrass band and, as fun as it feels to be the girlfriend of the hot guy in the band - the one with the guitar singing lead vocals - it's never fun to sit alone. I was happy to join her, keep her company, enjoy the hell out of her company, and hear some good music. I only stayed for about an hour but I had a great time.
A pregnant lady on the town. Drinking lots and lots of water. And it was so good.

Pregnancy update: I'm 34 weeks today! We don't need to talk about weight - don't worry, I've gained plenty! :P At last check, my belly was nearly 43" around. Whoa! 
Just six more weeks to full term! Just TWO weeks until I can safely deliver with my wonderful midwife outside of the hospital. It's crazy to think how soon he could be here! I'm ready though. Carrying this weight around is definitely getting uncomfortable. Poor back and feet. They are ready for some relief. 
Working really hard at remaining patient...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A fall day

This post is my second contribution to the Just Write challenge.

So far, it’s been the best sort of fall. The kind that lasts. Not the kind that is spoiled by a sudden freeze, leaving dead brown leaves to fall, wilted and sad. At least not yet. So far there has been the slow progression of color I hope for every year. Some trees are still completely green, which gives me hope for a few more weeks of mild weather and rainbow leaves.
I’m driving up Benton Ave and the tall trees - what are they? ash? cotton wood? oak? I know nothing about these things - on either side of the street are mostly golden. Not a lot of red or orange in this stretch, just a brilliant yellow. Gold flakes float down in front of my windshield. My tires cause a swirling and twirling of the sea of gold on the road.
Scanning the radio, I land on a Louis Armstrong track. I’ve never heard the song before, but really – how could you mistake that voice? I think of my Grandma Nicki bopping her big hips to the You’ve Got Mail soundtrack. Biting her bottom lip with a smile in her eye.
You’ve Got Mail. There’s a good flick – with a fellow lover of fall. “A bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.” That always makes me smile. It was one of Grandma’s favorite movies. Probably still is. I feel that old familiar pang of sadness at the loss of those sweet times.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A long, looong overdue post

Hi. :}
Sorry about the extended absence. By way of simple explanation: my brain hurt. I was too tired to focus on writing anything coherent and, simultaneously, a little too worried about it. I felt myself worrying about updating my blog for all the wrong reasons - basically everything accept the original goal of keeping a sort of online baby book for myself and my son. So I gave myself a break until I got back to a place of wanting to post an update, not feeling like I had to.

We took a hike up by the Gibson Reservoir on Saturday - great day with my hubby and the puppies.

I'm 30 weeks! Sooooo crazy. 30 weeks and 3 days if we're being picky. I feel HUGE but am increasingly more and more ok with it - especially now that, thanks to my sister and wonderful friend Jaime, I have expanded my maternity wardrobe a bit.
Sleeping is, surprisingly, getting easier. I'm either just used to the discomfort or figuring out better positions for rest - possibly both. I get worn out easily (took a 30 minute light hike today, followed by an hour long nap) but the constant fatigue seems to be easing off a bit.
My son moves so, so, SO much. To be honest, some times it kind of grosses me out. Most times though, it's fun to be reminded of his presence in my day.
We have officially transferred care to the Birth Place in Bozeman with Stacey Haugland and will be going back for our second visit with her this Thursday morning. It feels really good to have found an avenue for my goal. Now, if everyone would just join me in the prayer that I make it past 36 weeks so I can deliver with her and have a nice, smoothly progressing labor so we can make the drive.... :) That would be greatly appreciated.
I'm more in love with my husband every day. This could be filed under "normal," "marriage," or "every day" but it seems appropriate in the baby blog, too. We are experiencing one of the most profound transformations of our lives - and we're doing it together. On this past Sunday - dubbed by my hubby "Sentimental Sunday" because he thinks he tends to think about things more on that day - Justin said to me, "I love you more and more the bigger your belly gets. It is a direct correlation." I smiled and asked him what would happen when the belly went away. He said simply, "It'll stay."

I am going to have some serious smile lines around my eyes when I'm older! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Drive Home

This post is part of the Just Write challenge, and will hopefully become the first in a series of Tuesday posts here on my blog.

Listening to classical music on YPR, it’s already dark as I drive home from my afternoon of grocery shopping. My feet are aching and I feel like I could sleep right here. I’m dreading how many trips it will take to unload all of this.
You flutter low in my belly. “Hey, kiddo” I say, brushing my hand across my ever-growing bump.
We enter the s-curve of Valley Drive and I see a dead rabbit on the side of the road. That familiar sink settles into my chest. I wonder if you will be a softy like me. Swinging left I see the moon sitting fat and orange just above the hills on the east edge of the valley. The sinking feeling leaves and I wonder if you will be as in love with the little things of this world as I am.
59. That’s what the temperature gauge in our Jeep reads. Thank the lord, it’s finally starting to cool down. I’m glad I wore my jeans today.
Final left turn onto Main St – almost home. I remind myself to keep it under the speed limit. I repeat my new motto, “Drive like there’s an infant in the car.” Because really, there already is.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Letter to My Son

Dear Son,
Do you know that I love you? Every time you jump inside of me, my heart jumps with you. Even when it keeps me awake at night. Yes, it would be great if you wanted to sleep when I do, but I’ll take the  midnight bumps and kicks if it means having you.
I’ve been having the sensation of missing you lately. Odd, since I haven’t really met you yet. But I read this book that tells me how you’re growing each week and you should be nearing three pounds by now. Three pounds! You weren’t even a pound yet the last time I got to see you in an ultrasound. And so now I feel like I need to know how you’ve changed. Could I see your fingers more clearly? Would you let me get a better look at your face? You were so shy (or annoyed?) last time. You kept turning away from the ultrasound or shielding your face with your hands.
I day dream about what you will look like. Dark haired and dark eyed? Or blonde and blue eyed, maybe, like your cousin. You’re sure to have big, chubby cheeks. There’s no getting around that one, I’m afraid, with your Dad and I for parents. If I run down the list of features, I generally end up hoping you get most of them from your Dad. He’s just so handsome. But no matter whose side of the family you take after, I know you’re going to be perfect and I can’t wait to kiss your tiny nose and nibble on your puffy feet. (I’m sorry – you’ll just have to put up with that. I get it from my Mom – your Nana – the urge to bite things that are cute. Your Nana calls those bite-worthy bits Sweet Meat. Maybe it makes us a little weird, but I promise it’s a sign of affection.)
Even more than I wonder what you will look like, I wonder about what you will be like. Quiet and serious? Or wild and funny? Will you love to read? (I’m reading Jane Eyre to you right now. It’s not likely to turn out to be your favorite book, but maybe you will inherit my love of reading if I read something that I adore. Plus I’m hoping you’ll be attached to the sound of my voice.) Or would you rather run around outside and invent new worlds for your games? I hope you’ll do plenty of both.
I had a dream last night that you were here. I was lying in my bed, holding you. Some other things happened in the dream but you were the only part that made me a little sad when I woke up. I was sad to find that you were not there for me to hold and to kiss.
I can’t wait to meet you. I tear up at the beautiful promise of the moment I get to hold you in my arms. But on some level, I’m going to miss this: the constant companionship of you being a physical part of me. The constant bumps to remind me you are ok. Not just ok, but healthy and strong. I already fret about how out of control it will feel to have you separated from me. It makes me a little nervous for the years that are to come. I’m apologizing right now if I turn out to be one of those obsessive, worry wart mothers when you are a teenager and young man. I promise to do my best to fight the urge to control and protect, and to just let you be you. To make your own mistakes. To forge your own way. To learn to believe in yourself.
But for now, I’m glad to have you where you are. I will keep you safely in here for a few more months. Know that I love you more than I ever knew possible.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Step in the Right Direction

(Alternately titled: The Dream is Still Alive)

Justin and I got up at 6 am (very early for a couple of people who very rarely go to bed before midnight or get up before 8:30/9) this past Wednesday morning to hit the road to Bozeman. We had two appointments to make before heading back to Helena in time for Justin to be at work by 2 pm. Two very important appointments with two different midwives at two separate birthing centers – because I haven’t given up yet on my goal of an out-of-hospitalbirth.
I mentioned before that there are currently no midwives in my town that will deliver at home. There are midwives in neighboring towns that are willing to travel to Helena to attend a birth, but my husband has never been super thrilled with the idea, and frankly, considering we’re due in December in Montana, it sounds less than ideal to me, too. December typically isn’t a very severe storm month, but you just never know. And when the roads around here are bad, they’re just plain nasty. So when the idea first came up that we drive to Bozeman to deliver in a birth center, I was pretty quick to dismiss it. Justin, however, was surprisingly ok with the prospect. I gave him a hard time. “So, you’re worried that a midwife might not make it to Helena because of bad roads, but you want to drive your laboring wife an hour and a half to Bozeman??”
“Yeah,” he said with a shrug.
So I thought about it. And I met up with a girlfriend who just delivered a beautiful baby girl in one of the birth centers in Bozeman. Her water birth story was beautiful. “A labor that had more hours than a marathon has miles,” as her adoring husband put it, and she had been a warrior. And the midwife and birth team sounded like exactly what I was looking for. “But,” I told myself, “Mary was due in August.” Despite the fact that my timing was presenting a slightly larger challenge, I decided that at the very least I wanted to meet the midwives. See the birth centers. Ask as many questions as I could think of. And I wanted Justin to go, too. So I got lucky, was able to make two appointments for the same morning, and if all went well, Justin wouldn’t have to miss work.
The drive was gorgeous. Can I just tell you, I love my state. Driving east into the sunrise sits at the top of my list of Best Ways to Start a Day.
We got to Bozeman in an hour and twenty minutes – really good time. The road construction is easing up for the year (people often say of Montana that it has two seasons: winter and road construction) and we were lucky never to get stuck behind a tractor or one of the many other kinds of farming equipment that often travel along that road. We even had time for Justin to get a second cup o’ joe in Bozeman before we headed to our first appointment at The Birth Center.
What a serene environment! Something like a yoga studio or good day spa, but instead of a massage table and steam room you find a birthing tub and a European stall shower with a fold down bench large enough to house mom, dad, midwife, and doula. The staff was warm and welcoming, and all in all The Birth Center felt like a dream birthing environment. Mikelann, the main midwife in the practice, met with us and did a brief “meet the baby” exam. She was able to tell me exactly how he was situated just by prodding at my belly. It was really neat being able to follow her hands and know, “This is my son’s head, this is his butt – he he – there are his feet.” So cool.
Unfortunately, there were some major concerns about whether or not our insurance would cover the (flat rate and very reasonable!) fee at The Birth Center and, reasonable though it was, it represents a much larger amount out of pocket for us then we would be paying in a hospital setting.
A little unsure  of ourselves and our options (did we have any?), we left with time for a quick breakfast (Main St. Overeasy – yummy!) before heading over to The Birth Place to meet Stacey. We took the tour – another glorious birthing suite with a wonderfully large birthing tub. A much smaller shower, but really, I don’t imagine myself spending too much time in there when there is a tub available. Another round of questions. Another run down of what’s and how to’s.
But the the thing worth mentioning about The Birth Place is Stacey herself. Her demeanor immediately put both of us at ease. When Justin had financial questions (my ever so practical husband worries about these things pretty constantly) she answered them directly and professionally. We run a test claim – simple as that – to see what the insurance will cover, and we go from there.
And then something really amazing happened. She asked me to describe my ideal birth story. At first, I was stumped. I knew a lot about what I didn’t want, but hadn’t thought much about what I did want. I sputtered out an answer about wanting to allow my body to do what I trust it to be capable of doing. That’s all I could think of. I just want to let my body do what it has to. But as she commented on the wisdom of that plan, it hit me. No. There is something I want. Desperately. Something I had been clinging to but was almost afraid to talk about until now. I had been protecting it, holding it close so no one could take it from me. I want to hold my baby. Right away. I want him on my chest and I want to keep him there. I don’t want anyone to take him from me to weigh our measure our otherwise test. As I told Stacey this, I started to cry. Even now, I am tearing up a bit. The thought of that moment – the promise of the feel of my son’s skin against my own – is the one that is going to get me through these last few months and the trials of labor. I need it, and so does he. I wept a little as Stacey told me that, as long as baby is doing well, she guards that time fiercely. For as long as it takes for him to initiate breast feeding, which he should do instinctively if we let him.
And with that, I was sold.
We left The Birth Place knowing we would try to figure out a way to have our son there.
There are logistical details to be worked out, to be sure. But we will work them out. After knowing what I can have, there is no way I’m going back.

The picture is from a little over two weeks ago - I was 24 weeks at the time. Trying to be better about posting belly pictures!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I have to take a moment to express my gratitude

I intended to write a different post this morning. I intended to write something light and funny. But now I can't. I've just read the most heart wrenching post from a woman who has been through so much in the past couple of months. I won't attempt to tell her story for her - her own telling is so real and raw and beautiful - but she is on my mind and heart in a big way this morning. Alicia Stucky, I am praying for you.
It has left me feeling so supremely grateful and so, so lucky. My husband is sitting here next to me reading The Jungle and enjoying a cup of coffee, like we do most every morning. My son is tumbling around in my belly, perfectly happy and healthy so far. My pregnancy is going smoothly. No major upsets. No traumas. Thank God. But how easily it could be going the other way.
So I just have to take a moment to say, "Thank you, Lord. I don't know why I deserve to have it so good right now, but I promise you I won't take it for granted. Every moment I remember how blessed I am to have this amazing man as my partner and friend. Every day I will cherish the life growing inside of me. And every day I will praise you for all of it."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Feeling a little heart achey

I got sent on a mission today to photograph the seventeen buildings in the network of churches and organizations that partner with a local non-profit I volunteer for, Family Promise. It was a pleasant way to spend the day, if you don't count the broken air conditioner in my car, the 90 degree heat, and my black leather seats. 

One of the organizations in their network happens to be Carroll College, the beautiful campus where I found my way through my first year in an English Writing program just this past school year. Classes are back in session as of this past Monday and I've been grappling with what feels a lot like mourning since late last week. I'm not joining the other [often not nearly as eager] students this Fall. Probably not this next Spring either.
I'm essentially due to deliver my son around Finals week of this semester. Not exactly ideal. And then I'll have a four week old infant as students return from their Christmas Breaks for the Spring. I understand why that doesn't really work. And yet I'm yearning for it so, so dearly. I actually dreamt about it a couple of nights ago. The entire dream consisted of my strolling happily between the classrooms of Simperman Hall and thinking to myself, "Hm. It's strange that the professors are expecting me in my classes. I un-registered from all of these. Sure glad they saved me a spot!" and then, "What are you going to do when the baby is born? Oh well! We'll cross that bridge when we get there!" I dreamt in the sort of Pollyanna verse I wish I could live by sometimes.
The gritty reality of it is that I'm an obsessive perfectionist who darn near killed herself last year. I barely slept. I rarely had time to eat. I fretted and stressed constantly. I am aware of this. And I am aware that my husband is right when he says I simply can't do that to myself while pregnant. None of that, however, changes the fact that, today, I am achey.
As a kid, I fantasized about life as a college student. I know, I  know. Call me a nerd. It's fine. I'm used to it by now. But I did. I pictured myself wearing sweaters and funky plastic framed glasses (it was very much to my chagrin that my eye sight turned out to be perfect), sitting on a grassy hill somewhere in the middle of a history rich campus surrounded by a pile of books. That was my version of a bright and exciting future.
I waited six years after high school to finally make it there. And now, one very short year later, it feels further from me than ever before.
Here is where it becomes necessary for me to remind you (and myself) that I am truly thrilled to be becoming a mother. Truly. The desire to be a mom radiated from my bones for two years before I got pregnant.
But I crave writing, too. It's like a thirst I can't quench. I know I still have so much to learn.
Last year, my dream felt like it was there for the taking. I was learning and growing and creating and stretching and absorbing and experimenting and thriving. I was drinking my fill, and making plans to bring a bigger cup.
And now, if I am lucky, I'll get back to school Fall of 2012. But, let's be real: the odds of that are pretty slim. Our finances were tight last year. Now I want to throw the financial responsibilities of a baby in the mix and make that work? My time and energies were absolutely maxed out. How can I expect to be a the kind of mother I want to be and an over achieving, professor-pleasing student?

Am I really looking at a solid ten years (accounting for the fact that we plan to have more kids) before I can even wet my lips again? My creative throat feels dry already.

Friday, August 19, 2011

This guy

On  Monday, I will have been married to my best friend for two years and I still can't believe how lucky I got when he picked me. Prepare yourself - I'm going to gush for a moment now.
He's a sucker for me. 
That's what he has starting saying the last few weeks. The first time was during an animal shelter commercial on tv - I got my sad eyes, as I always do where animals are involved, and he shook his head and chuckled. "Oh Wife, you're such a sucker for everything!" (He's right here: the usual - orphans on tv, abused cats and dogs - but also - squished squirrels on the side of the road, the dead bird my dog drags in, a mouse stuck in a trap...) "I'm a sucker for you," he continued, "and you are a sucker for everything." He was poking fun at me, but it was also one of the most endearing things he has ever said. He can't resist me. Which, of course, makes me a sucker for him, too.
He's always, always there for me.
As a kid I had night terrors - nightmares that trapped me inside their terrifying worlds. Recurring dreams about being caught by some killer in a pink bubble gum trap, or lost in a giant black maze desperate for my mom, or hiding in the corner of complete blackness while giant voices boomed and a baby cried - and my parents couldn't shake me out of them.They sound silly now, but they were pretty traumatizing actually. As an adult, nightmares - twisted, intense, and oh so real nightmares - have continued to trouble me. I can wake myself up now, most of the time, but they still seem to have a grip on me. For several long minutes after I wake up, part of my brain and body remains seized by the raw emotion of the dream, whatever it may be. Fear. Anxiety. Sadness. And so, every now and again, I wake up crying and can't stop myself. But for the last two years, God has blessed me with something else that won't loosen its hold on me: my husband. The sound of my shaky tears wakes him up and he's instantly surrounding me. He lays there with me, no matter the time, no matter how tired, until it's over. Then he does his best to get my mind off of it. Make me talk about what I want for dinner that night - anything - until I'm calm enough to go back to sleep. This morning started exactly this way, which is a large part of what prompted this post.
Sometimes we fight, but we're never mean.
We got into a bit of an argument last night - a pretty rare occurrence, I'm grateful to be able to say. I'm a bit emotional these days, though, so it's not terribly surprising that I overreacted to some news he had for me. There was no yelling - just emotional and un-thought out responses. A few minutes in he said, "Geez, babe. I came home excited to tell you about this and you're kind of ripping me apart." My heart sank immediately. We've never been the kind of couple to beat each other up verbally. Even when we disagree - strongly - we care enough about each other to think through what we want to say. We never try to zing each other and I'm so, so grateful for that. I've known couples to say things for meanness sake, to fling purposefully biting words at one another in the heat of a fight. Most of them regret it later, apologize and makeup. But I'm a believer that those little wounds never completely heal. Words can not ever truly be taken back. God has blessed me with a husband too considerate, respectful and loving to take the chance, and I will fight like hell to make sure I never become the kind of wife who would. Needless to say, we took a pause from the discussion last night, took a few deep breaths, and then talked through it much more successfully.
He's going to be the best dad.
I've said it over and over again, because I believe it whole heartedly - and have since I met him four years ago. He just has a way about him. Gentleness - but the ability to be firm. Humor - without every failing to take the serious things serious. Responsibility - tempered by a strong sense of adventure. I couldn't be prouder to call him my husband and now, the father of my child. This morning, after I finished crying and telling him about the ravioli dinner I planned to make tonight, he gave me the most precious and unprompted compliment. Squeezing me, he said, "You're going to be the best mom ever." I might have leaked a few more tears at that point, but mostly my heart just swelled up.
And a 1,000 other things.... 
God, I love him.

I love you, Justin Waugh. I can't wait to turn our 2 years into 10. And then 20. And then 50....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sunning the belly

Took a trip to the lake yesterday with the other instructors from my dance studio (aka my second family). It was a great afternoon: great friends, sunshine, water, macaroni salad and watermelon (the food matters to a pregnant lady!), and a belly on display. 21 1/2 weeks and there is no disguising it any more!

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's a.....!!!

Despite a pounding headache and dizziness that day, the moment of our gender reveal was one of the most fun and exciting in a long time! The thrill of finally getting to know the gender of this amazing little baby growing inside of me was amplified by the joy of sharing it with my wonderful family and friends.
As tempting as it was, we did not let our ultrasound tech tell us the sex of the baby. After all the measurements were taken and each organ, bone and appendage accounted for (what a glorious sense of relief each time she listed off something else as normal, good, healthy, beautiful!) she shut off the monitors and went searching for the gender answer without us. She printed a couple pictures to prove her observation, sealed them in an envelope and we drove straight to this great little bakery here in town, Park Ave, to order their delicious White Chocolate and Lemon Delight... except for one small modification. We entrusted them with our envelope and asked them to dye the inside of the cake accordingly: blue for a boy, pink for a girl. (I got this fun idea from my gorgeous friend Emily Haire.Thanks Em!) That way, we could all find out together when we cut the cake.
As for the rest, well, the video pretty much speaks for itself.

(P.S. - I just joined an awesome site called Bloggy Moms. All you other Mommy Bloggers out there should check it out!)

Monday, August 1, 2011

My first baby

My favorite picture of her - 7 weeks old, sleeping on my slippers.

I have wanted a dog my whole life. No exaggeration, I promise. Both of my siblings had dogs to call their own, as did my Mom and Dad, but apparently 4 dogs was the cut off. And then I moved out of the house when I was 18, and despite the crazy desire to run out and buy the next puppy I saw, was smart enough to recognize that my life would be completely unpredictable for the next who knows how many years. The apartment hopping life just isn't really a life for a dog. So I can not tell you how excited I was when my husband told me last year for my birthday that we could get a dog.
I had never spent any time around boxers before. The few I had seen I thought were kind of ugly. The only reason I decided to go look at the puppies I saw advertised in the paper was because my husband had a boxer named Lady as a teenager, and I knew how much he had loved that dog.

My baby at six weeks - those first few days after I brought her home. <3

It was truly love at first sight. From the first time I met her, Sadie and I were fast friends. She chose me, really, continually coming out from the litter to demand my attention. I was very happy to oblige. And since that day, she has been my baby.

She is so precious when she's sleepy - and my favorite napping partner!

She is truly spoiled. Hopefully not rotten, but both my husband and I have such a soft spot for her, I know she gets away with much more than we should allow. But for more than a year now, she has been one of the brightest spots in every day. Always happy, always looking for love and attention, way too smart for her own good, and a genius at using the sad puppy eyes to get more from us (more scratching, more play time.. just more).

See? Spoiled.

And now with a real baby on the way, I'm worried about her. She is an attention hungry dog. What will happen when I don't have as much time for her? It breaks my heart to think of her feeling neglected or pushed aside.
My husband and I are seriously considering adopting a male boxer, 3 years old and neutered, to be her companion. My hope is that this eases the transition for her. A friend to play with. But I'm  nervous. Is that just one more thing to take our attention away from her? Is it too much to take on with a baby on the way? Or is it helpful, keeping her occupied and happy?
Any words of advice?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Growing, growing, growing...

10 weeks. Laughably non-existent looking at it now.
I love my belly. It's officially a pregnant belly now, has been for a couple of weeks. No more mistaking me for a girl whose putting on a few too many pounds - I'm a momma! (A couple of my girlfriends have taken to calling me Momma. I quite like it.) The size of it surprises me sometimes. I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or put on an outfit I haven't worn with the belly yet and think, "Whoa, belly!." But it's a pleasant surprise that always comes with a gleeful grin.
I thought I would share a couple pictures of my growing tummy. I haven't taken very many. It's a very hard angle to capture of yourself! So I generally ask Justin to do it, which makes me feel a little silly. "Hey baby, take my picture!" I dunno, it's just not really me. But nevertheless, here are the few we have taken.
17 weeks. Just leaving the doctor's office.
19 weeks. On the way out the door to teach dance.

It has really popped out in the last two weeks! Crazy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Feeling grateful

Justin finally got to feel the baby kick last night. So far, every time he lays his hand on my tummy, the baby freezes. Or falls asleep. I’m not sure which. Justin says he feels ok about it – it’s probably a good thing for him to have a calming effect over our kids. But I have felt like I’m experiencing these tiny little miracles every day and with every bump and there is no one in the world I’d rather share it with. I felt supremely grateful last night when baby kicked its daddy good and hard. It’s inside of me, but it is part of Justin. And now he has experienced it too. I loved seeing the smile I've been wearing for weeks finally sweep over his face.
This morning he picked up his guitar for the first time in months. Over the past four years, I have loved listening to him play. His first Christmas gift to me was the lyrics to a song he wrote, pasted inside of a scrapbook intended to hold our future holiday memories. He proposed the next Christmas with a second song. The funny thing is, I have never liked those guys who play music to impress girls. Please don’t serenade me, you cheese ball. But one of the most endearing things about my husband is his humility and sincerity. There is not an ounce of cocky in him. And now this morning, he is quietly practicing next to me on the couch and I can just imagine him leading a sing-a-long with our kids and teaching them how to play.
How did I get so lucky to have this man?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Upset, but motivated

It’s 7:04 in the morning and I’ve been awake for a long time now. I laid awake for a good portion of the night last night, and for the periods when I did sleep, I dreamt dreams much more disturbing than the thoughts that were keeping me up in the first place.
I watched the film Pregnant in America last night. It was the second documentary of its kind that I had seen in the past few months – the first was The Business of Being Born.
I have always known that I wanted to have my kids at home but couldn’t have given you much of a reason if you had asked me six months ago. Mom had all three of us at home, and I think of her as somewhat of a mothering superhero, so that’s definitely where the desire started. Beyond that, I might have been able to tell you that it just seemed like it would be more comfortable to be at home. That was all the thought I had really put into the why of it all.
Now that this period in my life has finally arrived – now that there is this tiny little life growing inside of me that I am responsible for – I am simultaneously finding that option being removed from me and discovering the many reasons why I truly believe it is the better choice.
I feel so stuck.
There are no midwives in my town who will deliver at home. There are no birthing centers. Up to this point in my pregnancy, I have been seeing a Certified Nurse Midwife who delivers in hospital. Before moving on, let me be clear that I think she is wonderful, she attended all three of my nieces’ births, and she is not a source of concern for me. She does a pretty good job of advocating for a more natural experience (we have already established that if I am keeping down liquids myself, I do not need to be automatically stuck with an I.V. as my sister was).I only wish she had decided to attend at home births. Because it’s the hospital she works within that I’m worried about. It’s the nurses who push you to take the epidural. It’s the bright fluorescent lights. It’s the higher risk of c-section. It’s the nurses who whisk your baby away to weigh, measure, test, poke, and prod when you should be holding them, sharing your first moments, basking in a hormone rush, bonding and falling in love with the new little life. (I won’t preach at you here with all the evidence that leaded me to believe strongly in the value of at home births, but I highly recommend looking into it for yourself. These two documentaries are a good place to start.)
I want to experience the miracle of the birth of my first child in all its fullness. I want it so badly it aches inside me the way the desire to be a mother ached within me just months ago.
I do not want to be robbed.
And I am terrified that I will be.
There are two midwives within two hours of here, both of whom are willing to travel to attend births. At first, I dismissed the idea as unreasonable in the middle of December in Montana. But now I’m not sure which option is the truly ill-advised one. I’ve decided to at least meet with them and discuss our options.
There have been these moments since I found out I was pregnant that I feel more like a little kid than I have since I moved out of my parents’ house seven years ago. I feel so awe-struck and giddy by the whole thing that I feel childish. And, being my first pregnancy, I look to the women around me who have already triumphed through their pregnancies. And I value their advice, truly I do. But all of this advice taking, with no ill intention on either side, can make you feel small, make you feel inadequate, can make you believe you lack the maturity to make these decisions alone. But now, more than any other time in my life, I have to step up. I do not get the luxury of being the child anymore. Nor do I want it. And if I allow my family to get swept along in a system I feel uncomfortable with – without doing everything in my power to fight for what I believe to be the better option – what sort of start is that for our life? What sort of example does that set?