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One year ago I was very pregnant, but really I was only 37 weeks and 4 days. I was so miserable. A and I had a plan for my maternity leave to synchronize with her teaching practicum. If the baby waited till the due date or even came a little late, we’d be in really good shape. But as we sat in our living room that night, talking of our plan, I rubbed my belly and told the baby, “we have our plan, but you can come any time.” And six hours later he started his descent. I woke at 3 am having just felt my water break. Holy crap I was about to have the most amazing, terrifying, powerful, womanly, experience of my life.

Wow. What a year. I have much more to say…but since he took so long to come out I feel I have time to drag this post out…On Friday my sweet boy turns one.

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Now that my period is back and my cycle is on its way to regulating there’s been talk of ttc our second child (please let it only be one, after all I am a clomid gal). I want to enjoy this time with Mr. E and not rush into the next baby. As we walk the path back to ttc, that is my marker for readiness. We have (moving) target dates for when we’ll start, and ideas about minimally how far apart we’re comfortable with them being. But one thing that never changes, we’re impulsive, we change our minds every other day, and we’re probably so sleep deprived that we shouldn’t even be permitted to make the decision to have another one. And after my half day with Mr. E and our two nephews (10 months and 3 years), I began to reconsider another one altogether. Taking care of all three is exhausting. Picture this: Mr. E on me in the Ergo, 10 month old J in the stroller, 3 year old J riding his bike. Now, me running after J on his bike, while wearing Mr. E and pushing the stroller. And that’s the scene when the babies are confined. When we’re in the house it’s nuts!

But I digress. We will try for another. And we’ll probably do it sooner rather than later, and most likely sooner than we originally planned. As A said to me last night “why drag out having you home forever. Let’s just have the kids and be done with it.” (Of course she said it lovingly.)

All this talk has propelled me back to my time being pregnant. Somehow it doesn’t seem so bad. But I know it was. I know I was uncomfortable, and everything hurt, and I was emotional, and so on. But now, now, I yearn for the closeness with Mr. E that we shared for 10 months. I remember walking around while pregnant, thinking how amazing it was that he went everywhere with me, and dreading the day that would cease to be true. The other night something moved in my stomach (probably gas) and it felt as it did when Mr. E was in me moving. And I longed to feel that intimacy with him.

I hated being pregnant so I can’t believe I miss anything about it or that I am nostalgic and wanting to do it again. I already know breastfeeding will be the same. I didn’t know if I’d like bfing, and it turns out I am pretty damn good at it and so is he. I can’t say as though I love it, but I don’t hate it, I enjoy the time together, and most of all I am humbled to be so fortunate as to produce food for my child. I have every intention of bfing till he’s one, and then will see what happens. TTC plans may necessitate weaning. No mater what I know I will miss it when we’re done. Just as I somehow now miss being pregnant.

Its been one year since the IUI that worked! What an amazing year!

Way back when I was in graduate school I took a feminist research methodologies course. It was an elective course so I took the opportunity to study something other than my graduate focus. I had an interest in pregnancy and childbirth, and particularly the medicalization we’ve come to see so often in US culture. I reviewed oodles of research about the topic and also read many women’s stories about their birth experiences. Many women reported disappointment with how their birth experience played out compared to what they expected or wanted.

The topic fascinated me and even though I was years away from thinking about even trying to get pregnant, I knew it was important for me to educate myself on the subject. And by educate, I mean empower myself through knowledge and to really believe in my body. While pregnant, there were times I feared childbirth, who doesn’t, but I would remind myself, my body was built to do this.

For me, empowering myself meant collecting as much information as possible, having an idea of what I wanted, and being open to the fact that things may turn out drastically different that how I want. In an effort to do all this, A and I were sure to select a child birth class based on reviews. We wanted to know everything – from med free to C-Section. Because we just did not know what could happen. There was never a question about whether or not we’d have a doula. And I can honestly say, second to the costs of getting pregnant, the money we shelled out to pay our doula was the best spent money through out our entire journey.

We began monthly meetings with our Doula last September. She came to our home and the meetings lasted about two hours. She’d check in to see if we had questions and would also come prepared to talk about different aspects of pregnancy and childbirth. We talked extensively about what I wanted in my birth experience. She was accessible to us outside of our meetings (and still is after the birth) via phone and email. (She’s even called just to check in after our pedi visits, as Mr. E’s been battling Jaundice and needed 24 hour light therapy until two days ago.) She also visited us at home after the birth. This was helpful and gave us a chance to check in about breast feeding and also have her answer some questions about the birth.

On the morning of the big event, our Doula was the first phone call I made. Speaking to her calmed me down and helped us focus and put our plans into action. We remained in constant phone communication and it was for us to decide when we wanted her to arrive at the hospital – which was nice, because A and I wanted to spend a good amount of time alone early on. But as mentioned in Mr. E’s birth story, I decided I wanted her there, to help us navigate the medical system when the midwife started pushing induction.

As much as A and I had educated ourselves, I know that it was our doula’s presence that helped us tease out the overly medical approaches which in turn helped us find our comfort level when accepting medical help. Our doula also played a key role in taking care of both A and I while I was laboring. She helped me by suggesting position, helping me to focus my breathing and noise making, and by applying healing touches as needed. She checked in with A to assure her I was okay, and provided her with necessary support. Above all she kept us calm and focused and in the moment. We took each contraction as it came, and made decisions as needed with all the appropriate information.

I can’t say that I wouldn’t have had a similarly amazing birth experience with out a doula. Because, maybe I would have. I sure surprised myself with how well I coped with such a long labor. But I do think it would have been more stressful – for both A and I, and I am not sure I would have known how to most effectively use my breathing and sounds to help move the baby down. After my experience, I would not even consider giving birth again with out a doula.

have opened. It’s 3:50AM. I think my water broke a little before 3:20. I’ve called our Doula and the Midwife on-call. They both think my water broke. I am 37w5d. Not much else to say, we’re off to shower, pack the bag and wait…

My homemade burp cloth project was super easy, and we are still planning to cloth diaper, at least part time, if not more, so now I am thinking about making cloth wipes…and have spent a bunch of time this morning researching making wipes. I have the textiles to do it, but here’s where I am confused – all the websites also provide a recipe for making a solution to wet the wipes with. Is this really necessary? Can’t one just use the wipe, or wet it? Please, enlighten me.

I am of the belief that pregnancy should not last more than 37 weeks, 36 would be preferable. But 40, 41, and maybe 42? No way. It’s just cruel.

Maybe I am just having a hard time because I had such an amazingly relaxing break and then went back to work hell. I am the director of my immediate office. The assistant director has been out sick all week. I am glad she stayed home, and is now on antibiotics so I should not catch her illness, but her being out has made my week hard. Oh, and then there’s the vacant, support staff position in my office. It’s been vacant for a month and the first round of the search failed miserably. I am re-advertising this weekend. Which pretty much means I may give birth before finishing the search.

After having a ton of time off and being able to really take care of myself, I returned to do three people’s jobs at the exact time that I reached the infamous get this effing baby out of me stage that many pregnant women achieve at this point in pregnancy. And let me also include here, I am still fighting a cold, which further complicates my already interrupted-by-all-night-bathroom-trips-sleep.

I think all of this combined is what led to my tearful breakdown at my midwife appointment today. I was really out of sorts. And because we are refusing the eye ointment for the baby post birth she wanted to be sure I had the chance to have a chla.mydia and gon.orrhea test. I know I don’t have either of these and after a confusing exchange I was able to tell her no thanks. It was just after that, as I stood up to get on the table that I just broke down. It was so wonderful to have A there to give me a hug. We heard Moon’s heart beat and my blood pressure was fine. Then she suggested I take the day off, which I had already planned to do after waking up not feeling so well. I remained weepy through most of the rest of the appointment, including while I was doing the Gr.oup B Str.ep test (fun times) and then just broke down again in the car. The tears are coming on and off now. I am lucky that I’ve been pretty emotionally stable through most of the pregnancy, and I think there are just so many factors at play right now, that I was bound to hit a wall at some point. I am thankful to be home, feet up for the rest of the day. And A is bringing me lunch soon. This will pass, and all will be better soon, I am sure.

Extreme Nesting has come to an end! A and I spent today, the last day of our vacation, sorting through our kitchen, which was the last project on our list. Since we started Extreme Nesting some time last fall we have:

  • Begun selling furniture we don’t need/want
  • Moved three car loads of our stuff and our two kayaks into storage on the Cape
  • Organized all our files
  • Donated books galore
  • Downsized from two desks to one
  • Donated any and all clothes that we don’t wear/no longer fit
  • Gotten rid of so many “things” we don’t need/want – I have yet to blog about my new love affair with e.Bay
  • Sorted through both bathroom’s cabinets – purged old medicines and other crap we don’t need
  • Picked through all our food cabinets and tossed expired food, married spices, organized, and vowed to create meals with the food we already have
  • Sorted out the kitchen gadgets and donated the stuff we don’t use – our kitchen is so much more manageable now!

As we completed each project we cleaned the area before putting away the items we’re keeping. This place is clean and only contains the stuff we use! It feels so amazing and makes the Move feel manageable. I even packed an entire box of stemware today! It was pretty surreal to pack and label a box when we have 5 1/2 more months before we move! But the more we do now, the less we do with an infant!

In the last week I’ve also begun to make some progress on crafting things for the baby. I’ve been wanting to knit a hat for Moon to wear home from the hospital. Lucky for me, I woke at 5am most morning while we were at my parents so one morning I knit this:

And then I realized we didn’t have any burp cloths for the baby, and after spending time with our very pukey nephew, I conceived the idea of sewing burp clothes. I’ve only just started and have a bit more fabric to work with but here’s what I’ve sewn so far:

In addition to the Extreme Nesting over the last few months we’ve also managed to get almost everything ready for when the baby arrives:

  • The room is set, the clothes, linens, etc. are washed and put away by size, and the changing table is stocked with all the baby necessities
  • Car seats are installed
  • The paper work to add Moon to my health insurance is as filled out as it can be
  • Moon’s bag is packed for the hospital, we have the list ready of things we need to pack for ourselves, and all legal documents are tucked in Moon’s bag (marriage certificate, name change paperwork, health care proxy, emergency temporary guardianship paperwork)
  • Toured the Birth Center at our hospital (loved it, and l-o-v-e-d the birthing tub)
  • Last name change is complete and all those that need to know have been notified
  • Project Legalize Everything is still underway – we have some second parent adoption paperwork left to finish, but our wills and powers of attorney are pretty much set

We are READY for the baby to arrive. I can’t think of anything else we need to do. Okay there is one thing, we need to attach the co-sleeper to our bed, but we have a plan to do that this week with the help of a friend. So Moon, anytime you want to arrive, after this Thursday (37 week mark), we’ll be waiting!

It’s a quiet New Year’s Eve in our home this year, and that’s just what I wanted. Each day I tire easier and easier and by afternoon my energy is almost depleted, so going out, in any fashion tonight is out of the question. We’d considered going to the local fireworks, but after returning home this afternoon, and walking through the cold and wind from the car to the house, we decided to put on our pjs and settle in for the night. There’s a pot of chili cooking on the stove and soon corn bread will be baking in the oven. It’s so very quiet here and we are enjoying being. I can’t imagine a better New Year’s Eve for this particular time in our lives.

A posted her year in review. I am far too scattered of a writer to synthesize a whole year in any coherent manner, so I’ve decided not to try. I will say that 2007 will forever be the year we FINALLY achieved our baby dreams. As long as I live, I will always remember the utter shock I experienced on May 15th, 2007 at 4:30am after receiving our first +hpt. It feels like just yesterday that we were standing speechless in the bathroom, staring at the +hpt. We hugged and kissed, and I think we were mostly in disbelief that it was really happening. My pregnancy defined much of the remainder of 2007.

It’s been an amazing journey. 2008 holds much change for us. The biggest, of course, the birth of Moon, but also a career change for A, a move “back home” to plant roots and to raise our kid(s) near family, and me stepping off my career path in search of something new, or maybe just to indulge in a long break from higher education. Eight hours of this year remain and tomorrow we’ll enter Moon’s “due month”, the kicks, turns, and somersaults, I feel as I type will soon be felt on the outside. Our time together will change, and A will, as she said recently, know how Moon is with out having to ask me. I’m ready. I’m ready to meet Moon, to hold him/her on the outside and I am ready for A to hold Moon and continue her bonding process.

2007 was super, but 2008 will be great! (Sorry…I couldn’t resist!)

I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday!

Ummm there are car seats in our cars! I’ve installed car seats in my car for our nephews many times before – both the infant and the convertible types. And always with no problem. I never understood why everyone makes such a big fuss about how hard it is and then has their worked checked at the fire station. It’s always been so easy. But somehow when you’re installing your baby’s car seat, and you’re nine months pregnant, it becomes the biggest, hardest thing you’ve ever done. Or, you at least spend a good amount of time second guessing if you’ve got it right.

The infant seat our nephew just outgrew is in the car I primarily drive. That one was easy to put in because it’s a new car and has the LATCH system, so with two snaps and a little tugging it was set (though there is a part of me that wonders if it’s totally secure). Our other seat, a Britax convertible, is in the car A primarily drives, and set up for infant use. We figured it would be good to have a back up and that car has All Wheel Drive, which we often need this time of year. However, fitting the huge Britax into the tiny Subaru was, well challenging to say the least. The Subaru was not made to host such a gigantic car seat … oh well, it will be moved to the bigger car as soon as the baby outgrows the infant seat.

Having just installed the seats, the reality that we’ll have some form of car seat / booster in our car for at least the next five years is just, um, a little more than I can comprehend.

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