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Friday, May 20, 2011

32 Week Appointment

Nothing too much changed since last time - she's still very large and in the 90th+ percentile, although growth has slowed down a bit (normal for this point). She definitely has a giant head.

We did learn one fun thing: she has HAIR!!! Three of four of my siblings and I had only wisps, and one had a full head of dark, dark hair (ironic, because she turned out to be the fairest of us all, like Snow White.) (Except that analogy falls apart because Snow White had black hair.) (So in this case I'm referring to fair as in light, not fair as in pretty.) (Although that sister really is very pretty as well.) (So it could work that way also.)

Ok, now I've confused myself.

Anyway. She has hair!  Proof:

See? The doctor WROTE IT OUT. That means it can't be wrong and you must accept it as fact.

The white curved lines at the top and bottom of the pic are skull bones - this is a cross-section view of her head. And apparently that white pointy stuff is the hair floating around in the amniotic fluid. I am assured that the hair covers more than one inch of her head but we'll see.  I'm kind of excited about this because I love babies with crazy hair so I hope she really does have a bunch of it. 

She also has her Aunt Ana's super chubby chimpmunk cheeks (well, they aren't chubby anymore, but they were when she was a baby).  They were adorable on Ana; hopefully they're adorable on this baby as well. Here's a front view of her head:

If you can't see it, that's okay. I actually just marked random sections of the picture as body parts and they may or may not be correct. This could just as easily be a picture of a sea urchin.

It's been a while since I've done a countdown so let's see where I'm at:

  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 32
33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

Oh wow.  WOW.  WOW and YAY!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Belly: Week 32

What's new in belly-land?  Other than huge-ness, not a whole lot. She continues to grow and grow and grow and she would definitely be a 10 pounder if I made it to my due date. As it is, since she's coming a little less than a week early (or earlier if I go into labor before that) she's going to be at least 9lbs, I think.  We should have a growth estimate at our appointment on Thursday and I'm betting she'll have surpassed Chris's birth weight of 4lbs 12oz.  I'm giving birth to an Amazon warrior woman, which is great because I love the rainforest.  Monkeys are cute! Plus she'll be able to kick the ass of anyone that ever does her wrong (after attempting to work it out with words and love first, of course).

Still no stretch marks (YET), and if you want to know how I've managed that with a child this large, I can tell you my routine, but I can also tell you that I know it's 100% genetics and for that I thank my mom's lucky stars. I rub The Belly down every morning and every night with whatever I have on hand...sometimes a thick lotion cream, sometimes Bio-Oil, sometimes mayonnaise (I've heard it's great for preventing stretch marks!) (Just kidding, I don't really use condiments on myself). I try to really rub it in well and work the skin a bit.  I keep some cream in my purse, and if I feel it getting tight during the day (as it tends to after I eat) I'll do another rubdown.  I also do a vigorous sugar body scrub in the shower every day.  But know this: I still think they're coming.  My c-section is in seven weeks and we're running out of room for her now...much less after she doubles her weight, which she should by July.  They're going to show up, it's just a matter of time.  However, if you're jealous that I have no stretch marks YET, don't be. I have more than enough cellulite to make up for it! Cottage cheese for everyone!

Nursery progress, you ask? You didn't ask? That's okay, I'll tell you anyway. The room is still painted! The room has new carpet!  YES I REALIZE THAT IS NOT PROGRESS FROM LAST TIME. No, nothing has changed.  And we're so busy the rest of this month I have no idea when we'll be able to do anything.  But really all a baby needs is a drawer to sleep in and a boob to suck on and something to catch poop, so I'm trying not to stress about it too much. It usually works.

Oh! Wait! That's a lie. We did have progress! We have a ceiling fan now! My uncle came over and installed it for us. So that's something.  YAY SOMETHING! Oh! And my less-than-a-hundred-bucks Craiglist glider and ottoman find.  Which I was convinced was a necessity, but now that it's in the room I'm not so sure. Those things take up a LOT of space. Baby girl has a SMALL room. I think my office at work is larger. And I do not have a big office.  Between the crib (which is not assembled yet, but I marked off the walls and floor in masking tape to see where it would go) and the glider, there's approximately 6.4 square inches of remaining floor space. I'm quickly realizing that my dream nursery isn't possible without a much larger room. And hardwood floors. And crown molding.  And a chair rail.  And a new house.

Pictures of the thing formerly known as my stomach:

Week 31:


Week 32 (funny how much smaller it looks with a flowy shirt instead of a fitted one):

And one more with a funny story attached. Yesterday I was getting food at a fast food place and stepped up to the counter and got hit on by the (blind, obviously) counter boy.  Apparently I didn't look pregnant from the front that particular day (as you can see from the above pics I definitely do, usually), because when I turned his eyes about popped out of his head and he fell over himself apologizing. So I took a picture as soon as I got back to work to document the miracle that the right shirt and a droopy cardigan can work on disguising a 32 week pregnant belly:

I know how narcissistic it seems to post all these pics of myself, but to be perfectly honest with you: this is the first time I've ever loved my body that I can remember. I love being pregnant, and I love how I look. I love the belly. I love the boobs. I love that they finally balance out my big fat thighs and that I don't have to worry about the belly pooch that is the bane of my existence. So while I understand how self-centered it might seem to keep taking these, know that I'm making up for 30 years of body hate.

Up next: Keep gestating! Do something with nursery! Learn to breastfeed at class tonight! Check baby's progress at appointment tomorrow! Baby shower next weekend! Whooo exciting!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Letter to My Daughter on Mother's Day; AKA Sappy McSapperson Sapfest

I've been slowly writing this letter over the course of a couple months. Some of the thoughts were inspired from other letters that I've seen, but I tried to make them more personal and my own and specific to this baby girl. I actually set this to publish automatically when I was happy with it and decide not to touch it again. When it does finally publish it will be almost new to me!

Dear Little (Um, Big?) One Squirming in my Belly,

Today is the first Mother's Day that we'll share together, and the only one we'll share where you are mine and only mine. These fleeting months where you depend completely on me and I am the only person who knows you - REALLY knows you - are something to be treasured. I love each and every second spent with you, and celebrate every kick and nudge. Today, you take my breath away literally as you encroach on space formerly occupied by my lungs, and in just a short period of time I'll glimpse your (likely chubby-cheeked) face for the first time and you'll take my breath away in an entirely different way. Soon enough, I'll have to share you with the world. You will be independent. I'll share you with your dad, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, your classmates, your friends, and before I know it you'll be sharing your own life with someone who will teach you a meaning of love that you've never known before. But for today, you are mine. And I am savoring it. Though you won't always belong to just me, I will always be your mama. Even if we're lucky enough to give you siblings, your place in my heart won't diminish.

There are many things I want for you and so many things I want to tell you, though I know you'll truly only learn them by living your life to the fullest. But I'll still share a few.

I have so many hopes and dreams for you, baby girl, interspersed with fears. The world can be an amazing place. And the world can be a harsh place. My wish for you is that you celebrate the wonders of the world and work to overcome the bad. I want you to reach for the stars. I want you to be kind to others, even when society isn't. I want you to fight for the little people. I want you to dream big and always be proud of who you are. If a time comes when you doubt yourself, remember I believe in you. I hope you live a thoughtful life full of love, passion, and learning.

I hope you love those who are worthy of you without question. I know you'll experience heartache in life. We all do. It hurts and some days it feels like your heart has become permanently damaged, but I promise that you will come out the other side alive and even happy. Those people who hurt you are not worthy of your love. I hope you are able to see that better than I was as a young woman. You are worth someone who treats you like the amazing person that you are and who makes your heart flutter. Don't compromise on this. You will find them some day. And I'm not just talking about a significant other; I'm talking about your friendships as well. If someone drains you or tears you down or tries to lead you down paths you aren't comfortable with, drop them. A true friend will support you in making the right decisions and will build you up in ways you can't possibly imagine. People can be mean sometimes. You might experience it from someone in your class, or from someone you look up to. Sometimes, even from someone you thought was a friend. Trust me: they aren't. Use your family and true friends in those situations; lean on them for support and love. And you can always, always come talk to me.

Speaking of love, I hope you never question our love for you. I know you'll go through stages where family is the last thing you want to be around, but I hope that phase is short. Family is the most important thing in life, whether it's a family of your own choosing or your biological family (and I hope you always choose us). Your dad and I and any future siblings will be there for you every step of the way, and no matter what we will always and forever love you. As long as you're trying, we'll be so proud of you. I hope we have family dinners and family movie nights and family traditions and family vacations that you'll remember forever. I stopped going on family vacations when I was in my late teens; I regret that now. Those are times you can't get back. I promise: while you might be embarrassed by strong family ties, your friends without them will be jealous. I know the burdens that come with being the oldest child all too well: you are the oldest daughter of an oldest daughter of an oldest daughter. I can't take that burden from you, but I can help you understand it and I can empathize when it is frustrating. I hope someday, if you have children of your own, you're able to look to me for inspiration as I do your grandmother. She's truly an amazing woman and a hero to me. I hope to be that for you.

I hope you know that you are beautiful and you will always be beautiful to me. Society measures beauty by many standards, and few people fulfill them all. Those who do are often airbrushed and personal-trained into an unrealistic picture of what a woman should be. They are artificial. True beauty starts from the inside. If you are happy, if you are kind, if you are striving to be the best you can be...you will be beautiful. It may take time for others to see it, but they will. If you are one of the lucky ones who are considered superficially beautiful as well, understand this: that kind of beauty fades, and fades quickly. That kind of beauty comes in and out of style. That kind of beauty is never permanent. One day you might be the most beautiful girl in your class; and the next day someone more beautiful may come along. Never rely on that kind of beauty. If you focus on being a beautiful person on the inside, however, your beauty will endure.

Part of that internal beauty is intelligence. I know you'll be one smart cookie - never hide that. I want you to love learning of all kinds. I hope you eagerly devour books and go on walks and ask "What's that?" a million times. I want you to look at the stars and wonder where they came from. I want you to question what you see and what you hear. I hope I can foster this love of learning in you. Your grandma and grandpa instilled this in me so deeply I still ask those questions. I hope you find passion and adventure in life. I hope you to embrace creativity, even if you do get your father's art skills. I want you to look at every single day as an opportunity to further your knowledge.

Part of learning is also making mistakes. While I know they will hard for you to experience and hard for me to watch, I know they will happen at some point. That's okay. Mistakes aren't always bad. Learn from them. Examine them. Relish them. Without mistakes, we wouldn't have Silly Putty or Post-it-notes. If it was a bad mistake, own up to it, do what you can to fix it, and move on. Chances are no one will remember tomorrow.

All lives worth living come with these types of bumps in the road. Sometimes they are small, and sometimes they seem more like a mountain than a mere bump. You may worry you can't climb over it. But you can. Push the envelope. Push your boundaries. Make yourself a better person with each step you take in life. When you reflect on your life, I want you to look back with awe at the person you were and with excitement for the person you're becoming.

I want you to cherish the past, embrace the present, and look forward to the future. Don't spend so much time dwelling on what has happened or what will happen that you miss what is happening today. Cliche alert (like this entire letter hasn't been one giant cliche): In the game of life, you will sometimes be winning, and you will sometimes be losing. If you happen to be behind, don't be a sore loser. Soon enough, it will be your turn to be at the front of the pack. When you are winning, be gracious. Remember those times you were losing and treat the ones who are now in that position with compassion. Always keep in mind that the game ends the same way for all of us, no matter what our score was. So take your time, enjoy it, and play with integrity.

I read this once, and it spoke to me and the type of parent I hope to be for you:

I promise to do everything I can to help you build a life filled with creativity, security, culture, adventure, humor, compassion, knowledge, tradition and optimism.

Daughter of mine, longed-for child, (not so) littlest one, I promise you that I will be the best mother I can be. I know there will be days when we will test each other's patience, but I hope despite the yelling and (hopefully metaphorical) hair-pulling we can both remember the love that binds us forever. And I do love you, even if I'm grounding you for two weeks for getting your belly button pierced without permission. Ha! Who am I kidding? That's a two MONTH grounding at the least.

I love you.

Always and forever,
Your Mama

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Belly: Week 30 and Insanity

The past couple weeks have been absolutely insane.  Chris was having terrible headaches and lightheadedness, so we had many trips to urgent care and the ER and doctor's offices that ultimately culminated in....getting his wisdom teeth out. All four! Ouch!  I've been leading a training class at work for three weeks - all day, every day - which has seriously cut out on my slacking time. Not that I EVER do anything other than work-related things at work.  I would NEVER.  We are getting new carpet installed today*, so we've been having to get the house ready for that - emptying the basement (which was pretty much all storage) and the nursery/brother's room, finding somewhere to PUT all the shit that was in those rooms, pulling up the carpet and carpet pad...and on top of all that, I had to do a lot of it myself because Chris left for Atlanta for a week on Sunday.  Less than a week after dental surgery. Oy vey.  On the plus side, once the carpet is down, I can actually start on the nursery!  So far it's been painted. And that's it.

*Supposedly; they were supposed to arrive between 8 and 10 and it's now 10:17 and they aren't here yet.

*They called Chris at 10:50 and said it'd be 20 minutes. Shocker: it's 11:15 and they aren't here.

*They just called and said they were on their way but were going to stop and pick up some supplies and get lunch. ROLLING EYES SO HARD. This is totally messing up my half day off. I'm going to be late to work. Frustrating.

A few pics of the belly, week 30.

Whoops-looks-like-I'm-cupping-the-vagina edition:

Favorite-outfit-of-the-week edition:

Same-outfit-26-weeks-versus-30-weeks-comparison edition (with bonus stupid face in the 30 week pic!):


Alien-in-the-belly edition (you will probably want to turn off the sound to avoid the obnoxious pregnancy reality TV show in the background):

So there you have it.  In terms of how I'm doing, fairly great. I am one of those unbearable women who love being pregnant in general. However, if I were to go down a checklist, there are definitely times of discomfort. Peeing constantly, aching vagina, sore hips, itchy skin, ribs stretching out.  I can't tell if my feet and ankles are swelling or if they're just overall fat like the rest of me.  But oddly enough on an overall basis I forget all that and just love it.  Still no stretch marks.  Still not in the slightest bit confident I'll be one of the lucky ladies to avoid them - I'm sure they're coming. They're just teasing me. Jerks.

It's been a while since we got really great pictures of her from our twice monthly appointments. A few 3D ones where she just looks like a blob of melting wax. A few fuzzy profiles. A creepy skull shot. Hopefully on Thursday at the next one we'll get something worthy of sharing.  (Update: nope. Another creepy skull and a blurry foot. Pity!) She takes after her dad and isn't a fan of getting her picture taken.  Or attention at all really - the second I try to share her kicking or movement, or get a video, she stops. I had to trick her into getting the video above.

Goofy girl is the love of my life.