Twinges

Four months old is a very magical age for babies. They start showing a lot of personality and playfulness, which is, quite frankly, so fun. Plus things are (starting) to get a bit easier (for some moms/babies). You begin to maybe, kind of sort of have a little bit of a routine going, you might even be feeling like you’ve had a night or two of something that resembles sleep lately. You feel like breastfeeding is almost easy now, and you’re looking forward to starting solids in a couple of months. Which means your baby is practically grown up, right?

(Trust me, two years later when you’re wondering if your toddler will EVER learn to use the potty, you’ll know you were wrong.)

So here’s the thing. My very lovely midwife took a much needed vacation and got the month of December off. She is one seriously incredible woman and after spending lots of time with her over the past three years, I’ve grown to love her and her work immensely.

But now vacation is over. And all of the sudden my Facebook feed is being flooded with delightful pictures and baby announcements and oh-my-holy-crap what is this I’m feeling?? It can only be described as Twinges.

We are very VERY much done having babies. It is known. But that also means my time with Rhoda is really and truly done, unless sometime in the future I get into some form of birth work. (Not at all beyond possibility, just definitely not a ‘right now’ thing.)

So I get these Twinges. Sadness? Jealousy? Longing? Joy? Reminiscing? Probably all of these things. I can see why people get a little crazy and start thinking, “maybe just one more.”

But, no. Twinges they may be, but they are just little sweet pieces of my memories flooding in with fondness. They cannot override the part of me that says OH HELL NO when I remember that my mental mantra through Oliver’s birth was Never Again. Beautiful, yes?

And as my husband said, if all else fails, “You may just have to un-friend her for a while.”

A thousand thousand moments

I’m still not writing nearly enough but sleep, oh precious sleep, has become far more important. It’s been an absolutely astounding month (six weeks?). Nora has weaned, and became a much better sleeper. For a few nights anyway. Then we got her own bed set up, and my goodness, she continues to amaze me. She even slept a solid 9 hours of sleep once! Just once though and every week or so she’s up two or three times until I join her in her tiny bed, or she finds her way into our room and snuggles with us. It’s working though.

Every day with her is magical. Toddlerhood is so full of wonder, and often frustration, and we work through all those moments and knit them all together into a day, a week, a month, a whole life. It’s exhausting, and just perfect. Part of me wonders how we’ll manage to find the time and energy and room in our hearts for a new baby, but everyone pretty much agrees that no matter how much you can’t imagine it, it always happens. I’m pretty inclined to believe them.

2014-04-30 22.37.46 We just found out that Nora is going to be the big sister to a little brother, and we’re planning on naming him Oliver Bernard when he makes his appearance and proves the ultrasound tech right. We’ve begun to purge our house of baby girl things (except those with some special memories) and assemble things of a less pink and purple hue. The only really big deal thing we need to figure out is cloth diapers. We know that’s the route we want to take this time around, but we need to start stocking up and figuring ‘all that stuff’ out. Nora doesn’t seem particularly inclined to potty train any time soon, so no real plans to switch her over. But all of this is still very much up in the air and could change tomorrow.

Everything else seems like we’ve got it covered from the first time around, although I’m just waiting to be proven wrong. But even if I am wrong, I’ve gained a sense of myself as a mother and a whole lot of confidence that I can make decent choices and manage not to screw things up too terribly either way. And Nora, my gosh. I know this whole big sister thing is a totally obscure concept for a two year old, but from all the pictures and stories and other examples she’s seen, she seems to be gleaning the idea that a tiny person is coming and will need lots of love and comfort from all of us. Really, what else could I hope for?

Tomorrow we’ll all be going down to Indianapolis for her (hopefully) very last visit to the orthopedic specialist to confirm she has indeed completely recovered from her hip dysplasia and we can move past that whole chapter in our lives. I think that one trial of motherhood has made me acutely aware of all the things I will not be able to control over the coming years, both with her and her brother. I wish I could say that it has also taught me how to handle them with grace, but that remains to be seen. Until then we just love and give and hope and relish each and every moment.

2014-04-21 16.58.01

Granola

There are a lot of ways to parent a child. I honestly didn’t realize this before getting pregnant. I knew there were things I didn’t want to do, and other things that made sense.

I knew about certain choices like cloth diapering and breast-feeding. I knew that some families make their own baby food. I know that there are a lot of reasons why people make the choices they do. Some are basically environmental. Some flirt between the lines of anti-establishment and holistic methodology.

Our choices for the upcoming birth of our child fall somewhere in that realm, too. We’ve decided to seek the care and partnership of people who will support and encourage the most natural aspects of bringing a child into the world. On the other hand, I certainly don’t have anything against hospitals and doctors and surgeons who are trained to deal with the more complicated side of things.

Beyond that, though I don’t think I have it in me to really be a ‘crunchy’ earth mommy.

We don’t plan to cloth diaper. Not at first anyway. We decided that babies have enough of a learning curve that we didn’t want to make anything more complicated than it had to be.

Our initial postpartum adjusting period could be best labeled as disposable. Plates, cups, utensils, all the containers I’m freezing meals in… all suitable for tossing after use. We’re probably responsible for the destruction of an acre or two of rain forest. But Brandon & I had a talk about what kind of things we could let slide while we were growing accustomed to the ‘new routine’, and this seemed like the best plan. If we had a dishwasher, it’d be another story entirely. But we don’t. So there.

Also, I have really no clue what the big deal is with delayed or even skipping vaccinations altogether. I have to lump this one in with the cloth diapers: I’m not sure I have the time or energy to invest in good research and formulating my own opinion before our baby comes. (Not to say that I won’t be asking questions and finding out risks/benefits, but I’m probably not likely to veer too far away from mainstream until I see some evidence.)

Not going to get started on the organic/free range/ locally grown debate. It’s way bigger than this blog post. We do what we can, and sometimes we still eat french fries. I’d like to say my kids won’t know about french fries until they’re school aged, but real life is full of curve balls that I’m probably completely unprepared for.

I do plan to breastfeed. For one, it’s natural. A close second: it’s free. I know there are countless health and mental/emotional benefits for mothers and babies, too. Bonus.

Also, I’m going to babywear. Happy baby, hands free? Um, duh.

Co-sleeping: yes. This one Brandon was a little iffy about at first until I showed him the designs of the sleepers and how the frame would keep us from squishing nine months of hard work. It’s a little more controversial, but for us, the benefits out-weigh the risks. There are studies that show babies who sleep in the same room as the parents have fewer occurrences of SIDS, there’s all the middle of the night feedings that we can avoid getting out of bed twice for, and there’s your baby… right there. I dig.

I’ve already mentioned how I feel about gender normative clothing (and toys). So far I’ll admit that most of my family has thrown all that out the window. I was pretty annoyed at first, but honestly, the bulk of the clothes we have are under 6 month sized. This baby will probably never remember that she spent the bulk of her first days dressed like the Easter bunny. Breathing and moving on…

I’m sure there’s a plethora of parenting issues I’m not even starting to touch. I’m okay with that. Obviously our goal is not to fit into the “Greenest Super-parents of the Decade” mold. Honestly I’m a little wary even throwing around the term ‘holistic’. But we’ll try our damnedest, and that will have to be enough.

The hardest part

I’m sure every parent, or parent-to-be, worries about what would happen if something happened to them, or to their partner. How do you cope with such a tremendous loss? How do the children? Will they get the care and attention they need? Will our families step in to help enough?

Even though the odds are against it, they are very real fears.

And like Brandon said, holding me very close, “Statistics don’t matter when it happens to you.”

He knows this because he lost his mom to a brain aneurysm when he was just six years old.

I cannot really even comprehend what that kind of loss is like.

When he and I met, a little over two decades later, it was still pretty obvious just how deeply he had been affected. Things like a headache, which had seemed so insignificant to me, caused him a lot of stress and worry. Little by little, though, he learned to trust me, and my desire to take care of my body; and I learned to communicate through the triggers to make sure he knew I was ok.

Now there’s no guarantee that nothing bad will happen to either of us, or even both of us. This is reality. I know my own imagination has little swirls of ‘what if’ popping up here and there, wondering how the birth will go, among many other things. But I keep reminding myself that these things are out of my hands, and honestly, stressing myself out only increases the likelihood of a complication. And somehow, even my normal control-freak self has managed to buy it. No matter what happens to me, now or down the road, someone will always be there for Brandon… and for Nora.

The silliest part is, for the past few weeks, I’ve been avoiding talking about this with Brandon. I was convinced that he hadn’t thought about those things yet, and I didn’t want to put the idea in his head. Really, I’m that naive sometimes. Even though he’d been acting a little cranky lately, I believed him when he said it was just working on the house, or juggling finances or some other lame excuse that I wanted to hear. Thankfully though, tonight we talked about it. I tried to pep-talk him out of his fears, but eventually I just broke down into tears.

I wanted so badly to promise that he would never have to deal with that kind of pain again, but I just couldn’t. That’s not the way these things go. But I did promise that he would always have everything he needs, like he did growing up with his dad and grandparents, my family would always be there to help him. Hopefully though, we will have many, many years of joy and sometimes torment with each other and our growing family. And by the way he held me, I think Brandon knew that this would be enough.

So tonight I will sleep with peace, tomorrow remind myself of how lucky I am, and keep moving forward, having faced the hardest part.

Fresh

I really don’t do resolutions for the New Year.

It seems a little arbitrary, and I make plenty of commitments to myself to do things better or differently the whole year through.

However.

This past year has been a doozy, and the one upcoming, mind-boggling. With all the memories and hopes swirling around, I’m feeling extra sentimental (blame the pregnancy, if you wish) and I figured a few goals might help keep my sanity with all the chaos. So here are a few fairly attainable goals for 2012:

1.) Floss every day. Like really every day, not every day for a couple of months, then every two or three days, then on Saturdays, then not for a month and then start the cycle over again. Also, pack some floss in my purse again.

2.) Go to the gym 100 days in 2012. That’s about twice a week on average. Considering the new baby factor, I’d say that’s fairly reasonable. I know I’ll be playing catch up a lot over the summer once we all start settling down into a rhythm, and I’m okay with that. Summer will be setting up for some other big maybe’s in the fall.

3.) Get back to pre-pregnancy weight before we start trying for another baby. This one is a must for me, and I am going to need a lot of reminders when I start trying to rush things along. The one thing I feel like I could have done differently this time around was be better physically prepared for the stresses that my body is going to go through. Next time, I will know better, and getting off on the right foot always makes a big difference.

(And yes, there has been a little bit of talk about another baby very soon, but it’s just an idea we’re throwing around. Obviously we have no idea what life with Nora will be like and I, for one, want to see how that goes first.)

(And no, this is not just because my sister is pregnant again so soon. I happen to believe she stole the idea from me, since she originally  said she’d be waiting a year. *wink wink, love ya, Tiff!*)

Anyway…

4.) Read a book a month, for fun. This is almost pathetic, but again, with the baby… who knows how it will go. I’ve gotten really bad about starting books and not finishing them, too, even when they’re really good. So hopefully this will kick-start something I really want to do anyway.

Finally 5.) Drink plenty of summer beers. I feel like I’ve been complaining this ENTIRE pregnancy about missing out on all the great seasonal brews (and wine, and everything else for that matter). But I absolutely love all the light, crisp summer beers, and I may never recover from the loss this past year. Yes I’m being melodramatic, and for the sake of full disclosure, I did manage to enjoy a couple pints of Bell’s Oberon while we were honeymooning, but that’s all. Tragic.

So that’s it. Mostly don’t forget to take care of myself, and enjoy myself a little. If I can do all that, and have a baby, I’ll be considering 2012 a wild success!

Happy New Year!

 

Ideas, yes. Time, no.

While the idea of being the lead person on a huge website/social media project sounds awesome and exciting in theory, in real life, it is kicking my ass. Part of it is my being asked to do things which I have no business doing (ahem, graphic design of any sort) and the rest has to do with technical/business writing not being exactly ‘fun’.

And while I could whine about this all day, the point is, my writing here is not what I had hoped. (Is it ever?) I have drafts started, and there they remain probably at least until the end of the month when, hopefully, some of the work pressure lets off. Until then, I’ll probably continue to wake up in the middle of the night or at some ungodly early hour and not be able to sleep. So half-awake, half-hearted posting remains.

P.S. Don’t let me continue to complain about my job. Working from home, making my own hours, getting to spend lots of time feeling baby kicks and playing with the animals… I couldn’t be any  luckier. Work should require just a little work, yes? Yes.

Still hoping

So I called the birth center like I said I would. They seemed nice enough and let me know that, no, most insurance companies do not consider them to be “in network.” But they were more than happy to schedule a sort of meet-and-greet with me to go over the costs involved and introduce me to one or more of the midwives. I hung up a little more anxious than I started, but decided to call our insurance people to get more information on what our ‘out of network’ benefits may be.
Verbatim: “Um, no. You don’t have any.”
Apparently one of the reasons we have such good insurance benefits in-network is because if we go elsewhere, we’re screwed.
I hung up the phone nearly in tears.
And then I called my sister and vented while a few drops leaked out the corners of my eyes. And then Brandon got home from work and I turned into an all out faucet.
Why should it be so hard to have things done without all the drugs and interventions? Shouldn’t insurance LIKE you for keeping things simple for them?
Needless to say, yesterday I was still kinda depressed. I found myself wishing I had no idea about any of this and could blindly go back to what all forces were telling me were ‘right’. Or at least easy. Even though in my gut, I know that ‘right’ and ‘easy’ rarely go hand in hand.
So today I remembered a nice fancy birth center I had found, oddly enough, through our insurance search results for CNM’s. Only problem is, it’s in Goshen, which is an hour and a half away. In good weather. (Did I mention our baby is due the end of February?)
However, after Monday’s fiasco, an hour and a half drive for something that might be at least partially covered by insurance seems well worth the time and energy to check this out. They were amazing over the phone (even nicer than the other birth center) and seemed very well prepared to answer all my questions now and in person.
I’m not even going to get started on Brandon’s concerns for me driving there all by myself every week as I get very close to my due date, I’m just going to hope for the very best until I have a reason to believe otherwise.