D(ue)-Day is Coming!

Our baby is due on Friday. Friday. As in this week. Like today is Tuesday. We could be a family of four by the end of the week. We could be a family of four by the end of the day. Or it could be a couple weeks from now. Let’s hope not. I’ve got my fingers crossed for an October baby. If we go into November I’ll most certainly cry.

As if I’m not crying now. I’m pregnant. I cry a lot.

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I also find humor in how ridiculous my belly is. 

At this point in my pregnancy with Haines I was so worn out. I felt like I was missing out on all my favorite things. I couldn’t walk for very long without wearing out which felt so disappointing. The pain I felt in what is now my “under belly” (when pregnant there are multiple dimensions to your belly) and hips was constant.

With this little dude, I feel so much more positive. Yes, I’m tired. Yes, I’m still prone to feeling overwhelmed and crying in the bathtub. Yes, my body hurts. BUT I’m not missing out on my favorite things. Over the past two years, my favorite things have adjusted. The person I most want to see each day (sorry, Tyler) just wants to hold hands and walk aggravatingly slowly. He wants to sit on the floor and read books. Sometimes he wants to pretend to sleep on the floor. That I can do. I’m a pro at pretending to sleep on the floor.

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He does like to sit on my lap though, which is extremely difficult. 

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Fun on the floor!

I still don’t love being pregnant. Feeling the baby move can be just as painful as it is beautiful. I want to eat things without feeling guilty that I haven’t provided another person with enough adequate nutrition. I prefer walking down the hallway without someone commenting on my waddle. And my waddle is pretty pronounced. When I think I’m walking normal, I’m most likely to be called out for waddling.

When I was pregnant with Haines I also obsessed over what labor would be like. This is totally reasonable, although not helpful. For weeks (months?) I couldn’t stop thinking about childbirth. I read The Birth Partner cover to cover (which I recommend) and practiced my breathing from yoga.

Luckily, this time I’ve only started thinking about childbirth in the last couple weeks although it’s still not helpful. Now my thoughts are more like traumatic flashbacks. I am not someone who found childbirth empowering. If you’re pregnant, I hope you do. I thought it was real hard and overwhelming. Mother Nature has removed many of the details of Haines’ birth from my memory and I only sort of remember what happened. I know the chronological order and I know how I felt but I can’t remember feeling it. It’s rather disorienting.

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This lady has no idea what she’s in for!

But here we are at 39 weeks and 4 days ready to go! My hospital bag is packed, the grandmothers are ready to help with Haines and I’m about to start eating jalapeños by the fistful if this little dude doesn’t show soon.

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What I’ll Do Differently With Baby #2

When I was pregnant with Haines I pretended I was flexible on baby things but in reality I had my heart set on doing things a certain way. If you asked me if I was planning to breastfeed, I would say “Yes, if I can” but mentally I was screaming “I’ll be devastated if I can’t.” Now that we’re less than 3 weeks from welcoming baby #2, I’ve been thinking about the things I want to do differently and hope to do again.

This time I plan to…

Communicate more // I struggle very hard with communicating my needs. When pregnant and postpartum I struggle even with identifying my needs. These last few weeks I’ve felt at times I was struggle with all my many intense mama emotions, but when asked what I needed, I had no answer. It’s hard not to anticipate my hormones preparing to go out of whack and just how intense I will be feeling in the coming weeks. I’m not sure how I’m going to improve in this area but I am going to try to be proactive as much as possible with sharing all my craziness  so even if I can’t identify what I need, maybe someone else can!

Have formula on hand // Yes, I want to breastfeed again. Yes, I would love to exclusively breastfeed for the first 12 months. But with two babies and work and life and sanity I plan to have a can of formula on hand. Supplementing with formula may allow me to breastfeed for longer. Knowing that Haines could be a healthy, happy formula-fed baby means knowing that I don’t need that pressure on myself.

Let’s be honest, I’m mainly into breastfeeding because it’s free anyways. I hope to start pumping fairly early, like week 2 as I did with Haines and will be slightly more aware of freezer stash this time around. I really like the freedom of being able to leave the baby with even if just for a short while and not worry about any feeding.

Try to get out of the house more // When I was on maternity leave with Haines, I always intended to get out of the house every day but it didn’t often happen. When it did, I felt infinitely better. I’m hoping as I will come into this maternity leave knowing how to survive baby outings, I will brave them more frequently. My tendency to isolate myself is a habit I have to break!

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Ask for help //  It is incredibly hard to ask for help. For the last three years I’ve been pregnant, a new mom or pregnant with a toddler and I haven’t felt very able to help others. Mentally and physically I’m out of whack and working with limited resources and it’s made me hesitant to reach out to anyone when I need a hand as I feel like I can’t repay it. I’m trying to get over that.

It’s hard to remember that this time is temporary and I have the potential to be a genuine, contributing member of society and my friendships again!

What I’ll do again (hopefully)…

Sleep train // We weren’t super intense about sleep training baby Haines but we started a few things early on and have stuck with it. Haines had a bed time routine pretty early on. I don’t want to make anyone jealous but it involves my beautiful singing voice. Now Haines tries to sing along with me which makes my heart explode. (He also stops singing mid-song to say, “Haines sing. Mama sing.”) Between 6 and 7 months we did a long weekend of cry it out. Cry it out blows but Haines has been sleeping through the night ever since. Hell yes.

Cloth diapers // I would really like to make it 12 months with baby #2 in cloth diapers. We’ll start the first couple weeks in disposables but then hopefully switch to a diaper service after that. Haines was in cloth about 90% of the time for his first 15 months. I’d love to do all cloth all the time but I do feel like using cloth at least some of the time helps minimize our environmental impact.

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Make our baby food // Haines rarely ate store bought baby food when he was little. He pretty quickly transitioned out of purees regardless. This new little dude will obviously dictate what he’s into but making our own food wasn’t that hard and saved us money. I just got to be honest, I just liked making it.

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Baby’s first lasagna

Worry way more than necessary // Although I’m hopeful I’ll be way less stressed out as a second-time mom, I know I’ll still be a nervous nelly. Once we get through the first few weeks and I no longer have to be concerned about sepsis, that will be a big help. Still, every runny nose and cough are hard to be cool about when they come from such a tiny being.

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Less than 3 weeks to go!

 

 

 

So Long Summer!

I basically blinked and found September was almost over. It will be Tyler’s birthday in only 3 days, which typically signals the start of fall for me.

August and September were challenging months personally but also marked with wonderful times.

Family:

Tyler’s father, brother and my future sister-in-law came to visit in August for a beach weekend. It was great to have the time together, although the highlight was watching Haines interact with everyone and learn to love the beach!

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My mom moved to town! Unfortunately she only got to spend one night in her new house before we evacuated for Hurricane Florence but her house is still whole as are all of us. I have never lived in the same town as either of my parents as an adult and I’m excited for this new adventure!

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Step 1: Convince your mom to move to Wilmington. Step 2: Let her spend one night in her home before evacuating. 

Haines:

Baby boy has freaking blossomed over the past month or so. Today we played “night night” for probably 30 minutes. This is a great game where I laid down and got tucked in with a blanket and Elmo over and over again. It wasn’t my idea! I hope we get to play it again.

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Regardless Haines is talking and singing nonstop. He is imitating everything we say and do- a very scary prospect- between total fits of rage. We have entered the time of tantrums, which I am not pumped about but recognize as a necessary evil in his growing up. One day they’ll stop. Just like one day he’ll go to college, right?

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Baby #2:

Baby boy is growing away! I had actually lost a little bit of weight in early September, only to gain 11 pounds in the last two weeks. 11 pounds!!

Apparently we only have 5 weeks left until his arrival (assuming he’s as punctual as his brother) which completely freaks me out but I also spent WAY too long looking at baby Haines photos today which made me very glad we’re doing this again.

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On the flip side, our community of Wilmington, NC is deeply suffering right now from Hurricane Florence. There is so much destruction but our house survived intact, as did my mom’s. We have a lot of yard clean up to do but that is a small price to pay. We are incredibly lucky. Flooding and downed trees have devastated homes and our neighboring communities. It is hard to believe this is our town.

If you are interested in providing support to those in southeastern North Carolina, Nourish NC, Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and the Red Cross are good options.

 

 

32 Weeks

What a whirlwind year. All of the sudden I’m 32 weeks pregnant today, 8 weeks (hopefully) left until we’re a family of 4. Where did the time go?

This pregnancy has been so much easier in a sense as I haven’t had time to focus on it. Every hour of the day seems accounted for. It’s only stolen moments that I can think about baby boy #2. Whenever he kicks or somersaults or hiccups I am reminded of his quiet presence, waiting to make his debut. My belly is so large that I imagine it’s hard to believe I don’t spend all my time conscious of him but as must be common with younger children, the anticipation is more subdued, more of a bear hug than a champagne toast.

I worry he’ll think he was less desired, less welcomed, less celebrated than his older brother but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. To know his brother only increases our excitement. Now we know what love can feel like and to know that is to understand the world is absolutely limitless. That we will love him perhaps more easily because our hearts have already been opened.

This year has been full of challenges. Some have felt well beyond my ability to handle them, but we are still here, still standing, still reaching out to the universe asking for more.

So, the countdown begins baby boy! See you soon!

The Waiting Game

I’d like to write about things other than pregnancy right now, but at 1 week and 4 days until our due date I actually can’t think about anything else.

We’re at the point where every time I make a sign of discomfort (which is a lot) Tyler thinks we’re going into labor. Regardless at our appointment this week, our midwife indicated there was no reason to think we were going anywhere fast. She even let us know that they would let us go until December 28th if the baby didn’t come first. Oh good. I’m super pumped to hear that. I bought this baby a Christmas day outfit so… let’s hope he or she is here to wear it!

I have to admit that while my pregnancy has been very smooth sailing, my attitude recently has plummeted. I really like to be a busy lady. I like projects and crafting, especially at this time of year, and I’ve had to cut all of that out. Standing for more than a few minutes or walking the dog around the block has become challenging.  Each night after work I stay close to the couch, which drives me a bit crazy. I know I’m very lucky to not be on bed rest or have some risk to be watching out for but this very normal pregnancy can still a pain in the butt (and back and legs).

We’re making things bright and cheery around the house with our Christmas tree already out and watching movies each night. Tyler also came home yesterday with safe-to-eat cookie dough which I am trying not to eat all at once. In the meantime I’m finally finishing the Elena Ferrante novels and getting ready to start Land of Love and Ruins by Oddny Eir. If I can’t travel the world right now, at least I can read books from Italy and Iceland. Tip: Pregnancy is best undertaken from the bathtub with a book in hand.

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Clara is also doing her part for holiday cheer. 

Third trimester survival plan:

  • Prenatal yoga at Longwave– My yoga instructor is also a labor & delivery nurse. I keep wishing they offered this class more than once a week!
  • Baths with bubbles- Bubbles are technically optional but it makes things feel more luxurious.
  • Tea- I make a point to drink a ton of water each day but I also have a schedule of tea throughout the day. It starts with Earl Gray (where I pretend this gives me energy) and then goes to peppermint, lemon ginger or chamomile throughout the day. Although I drink all sorts of brands, I’m really into this Winston-Salem tea company, Chad’s Chai, right now. Gotta support the hometown!
  • All the movies- From Christmas classics to action flicks, keep them coming! This week we’ve watched everything from A Charlie Brown Christmas to Armageddon.
  • Reassurance that I’m not only pregnant lady drooling away out there- Feel free to read this “Top 10 Things They Should Warn You About Before You Get Pregnant”. It makes pregnancy seem really attractive.
  • Working from home- I’m incredibly lucky to be allowed to work from home when I can’t hack it at the office. Recliners make for way better chairs than my office provides. Also they come with dog cuddles.
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There’s not a lot of room to spare in our chair but Clara finds it all. 

I’ll leave you with this bright spot on our tree to really get in the spirit. It’s probably the highlight of our tree.

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1988, y’all. 

Nesting

I got into the whole pregnancy nesting thing a bit late in the game. At least that’s what it feels like. Fellow blogger Graylin Porter has been posting pictures of her adorable nursery and she’s still got months left! My mother and friends have been asking after the baby’s room since this summer. I guess it’s just safe to say I didn’t rush the process.

Whenever asked I say that the nursery is “adventure themed” but it has as much of a theme as our wedding did. Our wedding theme was “fun.” People really love a theme though, so there you go! It was really cool to incorporate a print of a US map I got for Christmas last year. Tyler’s grandfather’s hobby was framing and we were able to use one of his frames for it. The hot air balloon Tyler gave me for my birthday looks perfect with it.

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The most special part has to be the baby blanket that Tyler’s mom made though. It’s absolutely incredible. She made it by hand while living on her sailboat in Central America. It’s perfect for our soon-to-be beach baby. If there’s one thing I don’t doubt, it’s that this kid will be a total fish (his/her father might not make it otherwise). My mom bought these sweet notecards that she framed to go with the blanket.

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The best, best part of the room? All the generosity that got it here. We’ve been so incredibly lucky by receiving tons of hand-me-down baby items while also being able to repurpose other furniture. This dresser/changing table? That’s from my nursery! Tyler had been using it as a dresser but he was forced to give it up (I don’t think he minded).

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This crib? A gift from a coworker whose children are too old for it. And these are just the big pieces. In the closet and dresser are all sorts of little items that have been passed down to me. Almost every piece of clothing I wear right now is the same.

These are the things that remind of the community of love that surrounds this little one. Displaying them for him or her is the most fun of all. I really look forward to being able to share this generosity with others when the time comes as well. It’s been the hidden surprise to all of this- how glad others are to help and how they go out of their way to do so. Pay it forward!

Living in Limbo

Shit’s changin’ y’all. There’s really no denying it and no one is immune from it. If you live within the confines of the United States you probably feel a bit like I do, like we’re in limbo. A major change has been announced but we don’t necessarily know that that means  yet. It’s hard to say what a Trump administration will look like or accomplish. You might think you know but so does your neighbor and I’d bet both of you have very different ideas. Who is right?

If you’re in North Carolina, the sense of being stuck in limbo is even worse. It’s Thanksgiving and we still don’t officially have a governor. Someone call that election already!

If you’re pregnant and due in say, three weeks or so, you might also feel like you’re in limbo. In fact all of pregnancy feels a bit like this. It’s all hurry up and wait. Much of the first trimester is waiting not to feel so tired and waiting to be able to share your good news. The second trimester flies by because you feel (mostly) like a human being which is a refreshing and short-lived change. Your home, your mind, your excited parents and in-laws are transitioning towards the future, trying to prepare for a new little being who is coming to reside. At the same time you’re stuck. Technically every day we get a little closer to baby makes three but it feels the same as yesterday- a little uncomfortable, a little sleepless and a whole lot o’ waddle.

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36 1/2 weeks

In fact I write this at 4 am because I can’t sleep, can’t get comfortable and I’m hungry.  I finally took off my ring tonight as the swelling in my fingers and feet started yesterday. We are in the home stretch now with only three weeks to go, although as many people have pointed it could be less. Just as many people point out it could be more. Regardless it’s hard to anticipate the finish line. As first time parents, I feel confident that we don’t have any real sense of our lives are getting ready to change. I can guess at how our daily routines will be forever altered but I can’t guess at the impact on our hearts or futures. As someone who never really factored children in when I imagined life, the other side of these three weeks seems even more foggy.

Perhaps the sense of in-between is greater because there we don’t know anything about this little person. There’s no gender currently associated with the baby so we can’t project any ideas onto it. We can’t practice using the boy name we’ve picked out or the girl’s. We joke about using either and enjoy hearing everyone’s guesses. Those who choose boy seem very sure. Those who choose girl almost always mention they’re just guessing. I am positive that I have no idea. I am a doubter in mother’s intuition right now.

Several friends have mentioned how fast my pregnancy feels to them. That time has just flown by. I’m pretty sure in twenty years it will feel that way to me too. For me, the action of waiting for movement, watching what I eat and drink, considering activities before I take them on has become so ingrained into my every day that pregnancy feels more like a permanent state than 10 months. (If 40 works is full term who the hell started this myth that pregnancy is 9 months? Can’t anyone count around here?) And still out in the unknown is how will I feel when my body empties out. I’m not sure I remember what it’s like to be only one heartbeat, one brain, one body, one person.

For now I will binge on Luke Cage and Gilmore Girls and try to stop eating everything in sight. Multiple people have told me I will reach a point where I feel full after only a few bites. Thursday I felt full for the first time since entering the second trimester. Apparently only Thanksgiving (3 slices of pie included) can do the trick.

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A few friends, a great potluck and a selfie stick is definitely the way to go. 

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone. 2016 is coming to a close!