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?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hello in there

It happened last night, though I wasn't sure of it at the time. I was lounging on the couch in my pj's, waiting for Justin to come home from work, and prodding at my expanded belly. -- It's funny how unfamiliar my body feels to me now. My stomach growls in a different spot than it used to. -- And then, oh! what was that?! A little bump, almost like a low rumble, under my fingers. I wanted to say that I had just felt my baby inside me for the first time, but was hesitant since Mom has told me that those early movements can feel a lot like a gas bubble. And believe me, there is plenty of that happening now! Pregnancy does so many fun things to your body.
This morning, however, was undeniable. I was propped in bed with my laptop, catching up on blog reading and emails when, through no prompting or encouraging of mine, I felt a definite thump against my belly. My eyes shot open wide and I froze, nervous to breathe, wanting so badly for it to happen again. And then it did. Tha-thump. Two more times, right in the same spot.
Hello, amazing child of mine. It's so good to hear from you finally. You can't imagine how long I've waited.