The new arrival

advanved maternal age, babies, boys, change, first pregnancy, first time dads, first time moms, motherhood

Where. To. Start.

The fact that I’m writing this while leaning over the kitchen counter soaking my nipples in warm salt water?
Or that the 17 day old baby boy is sleeping and I have maybe 2 precious hours to get myself back to feeling like a person?
Or that after 60 hours in labor I ended up having a c-section and the whole ordeal had me PTSD crying almost every day for a week after?
Or that I finally saw my incision, slightly crooked and cut longer on the right side than the left because his little shoulder was lodged in a weird way on my right side, and felt like some science experiment?

No one told me that having a newborn would reduce my being to a pure physical vessel…my only purpose to feed and care for a helpless being. Or that caring for a newborn is a one way street, giving everything to this little life who cares not that you have layers of stitches crossing the bikini line, or that your mammary glands are freaking out, swollen and sore, or that your uterus is shrinking and cramping, that there will be vicodin and stool softeners and more people wondering about your gastrointestinal functions than you ever thought possible, that you would replay the events of your labor over and over again with your husband and cry over the pain and trauma of it all, that he will see and do things for you that you never imagined (involving blood and vomit and maxi pads and helping you walk and do ANYTHING).

But I was warned how wonderful it would be, how I would fall in love like never before, how all the pain would go away once that little babe was in my arms.

Readers, moms to be, new moms, professional moms…I have to say this wasn’t 100% true for me. It is there. It comes and goes. It is profoundly present when he smiles in his slumber, when his little fuzzy head nuzzles into my neck and he falls asleep, cooing and making the sweetest sounds, when he sees my face now or hears my voice and I think I can truly see some sort of recognition, when I’ve learned what soothes him and can calm those cries with a song, or a rocking chair session, or my milk. Still, it’s a liiiiittle more like a blind date than love at first sight…we are getting to know each other. Sussing out what we are in store for us with this union. Learning what we can tolerate, let go of, give, what we love about each other, what doesn’t work. There’s the fear of commitment and enormous responability mixed with an eternal love that can’t be explained.

And remember how afraid I was of losing my relationship with my husband? Well I’ve never loved him more. Our household has been a constant (and VERY welcome) stream of help and family and visitors, so we haven’t had a lot of alone time, but holy moley…he has become the head of our household, a caretaker like I’ve never seen, and although we were committed to co-sleeping, we now start the baby in a bassinet and the half hour we have together, in bed, side by side, has become one of the best parts of my day.

The baby was feed and changed and asleep last night at 10pm, my husband’s mom was in town and we were feeling ambitious, so we decided to surprise my husband and show up at his work. When he saw us, his family, he teared up.

Because it’s finally hitting us. This is our family. We are family.

I looked up “family” and the defintion is pretty sterile:
: a group of people who are related to each other

: a person’s children

: a group of related people including people who lived in the past

I suppose this cardboard definition is necessary and the best dictionary.com can do with the “traditional” sense of the word. But what a shame. If you are reading this, you probably understand how little justice these definitions do the word.

I am formimg my own definition and will share it soon as I learn more from this little boy and the big man in my life. It’s bubbling inside me, this deep feeling of awe and confusion and love and sense of forever…

Advertisements

The in-between.

41 weeks, advanved maternal age, babies, change, motherhood, overdue, pregnancy, third trimester, winter baby

I’ve been trying to tell myself the truth about how I’m feeling at 41 weeks. Am I kind-of ok with it? REALLY ok with it (still feeling good, husband is 5 hours away still, and there’s no need for alarm until next weekend)? Super anxious? Over it? Done-cooked-time is up-eviction notice is posted? I tend to feign the latter attitude when people check me out, wide eyed and sympathetic that I’m not a mom yet. Everyone is checking in daily, wondering if I’m at the hospital, if the baby has arrived.

No.

Baby is still a mysterious rolling movement inside my body that occasionally has the hiccups.

Despite seeing a very happy baby during my non stress test a few days ago, my doctor offered to induce me on Monday if I wanted.

As each day ticks on, I’m giving into not just ice cream and turkey sandwiches (been a vegan for over 5 years), but also thoughts like “maybe I’m not ready for this, maybe I want to be childless and I’m a DINK (that’s: dual incomes no kids), maybe my subconscious is scared and holding this baby in instead of welcoming him out, maybe I don’t trust myself or my husband, what is next, what happens after the baby is born, will anyone ever hire me, will we ever have enough money, it’s freezing out we should’ve stayed in California of course baby wants to be in the womb I would stay in there too…”

So then I had a big crying session the other morning. Actually woke up crying. And then after trying to seek comfort in my poor husband who couldn’t do much over the phone, had French toast and fake bacon and felt a little cleansed.

Then, I came across this article

http://www.mothering.com/articles/the-last-days-of-pregnancy-a-place-of-in-between/

The place of in-between. If you are expecting, in this boat of “baby could come any minute!”, waiting for this new life to arrive, give yourself a few minutes to read this piece. It’s a beautiful tribute to the days, the moments, the space before we, mom and baby, make the transition together.

The Waiting Game and What’s up With the Obsession With Using Acronyms on Message Boards?

37 weeks, advanved maternal age, babies, change, first pregnancy, first time dads, husbands, in-laws, motherhood, pregnancy, third trimester

Ok ladies and gents, I still don’t know what “LO” “DS” or “DH” mean on these pregnancy boards. The use of acronyms is out of control. Is there a decoder or something? I’ve been googling the crap out of the internet lately and pregnant women write in code 1/3 of the time. I’m in the pregnant club! So I feel like I should be able to translate!

37 weeks today.
How do you play these last zero to 21-ish days? Officially full term and shhyyyyyat has gotten real. Full blown nesting (what did people do before the internet to keep them busy and Amazon Prime for all the last little things they need?!), belly dropping, food passing right through me (tmi, but I guess the emptying out is a big sign), crazy hysterical crying in the middle of the night because I’m worried my husband has enough on his plate with his own life and throwing a baby into the mix is going to spell a word that rhymes with “schmivorce”.

I haven’t written in a while because everything seems like it’s already been written about: the funny body pillow routine, the heartburn, the shower, the third trimester aches and pains, the lists of how to prepare, advice on anything you can imagine. This last trimester I’ve pretty much been on cruise control (i.e. boring stuff that no one needs to read about).

There have been two things that have happened that I didn’t expect:

1. Pain. Like I’m being kicked in the vagina pain. I did take a slip in the snow and went down like a tipped cow a few weeks ago. I felt pretty well padded with the snow and my puffy coat…and it could’ve been coincidence, because the baby dropping down and getting bigger does cause pain, but the day after that I could hardly walk. A chiropractic appointment and massage where the lady was actually massaging the ligaments that attach to my sit bones…yes…right all up in there, really helped FYI. I feel like I’m back. Dare I say…comfortable.

2. Loneliness. I don’t know what’s going on in the marital department. I’m going to set up my husband’s behavior with an anecdote that involves his blood line:

The mother-in-law said a month ago that she looked at our registry and wanted to buy our mattress. AMAZING! It’s one of our more expensive items (and by “our” I mean snobby, paranoid, picky “ME” who suddenly wants my baby to only sleep on organic cotton), and a necessity we haven’t purchased. My parents have poured a small fortune into this grandchild, so my husband and I felt comfortable letting his mom take on this luxury item.

Weeks go by. No mattress. She emails me to say that she found one made of soy foam that is cheaper and would I take a look at that.
Ok. Sure. I take a look, and suggest to her that she buy one or two or three of the gazillion other things we need off the registry, or give us a gift card for whatever she’s comfortable with that we can put towards getting the mattress I obsessively researched and picked out. “No, if the $259 mattress is the one you want, that’s what you should have” is the response.

So now I feel like an asshole. Husband is getting peeved that his mom won’t just get the damn mattress like she offered, that’s she’s been pretty absent this whole pregnancy, that he had to ask her if she was excited to be a grandma to which she responded “Am I excited? I mean, I’m happy for YOU”. And the friggin mattress is still on the registry and I’m boring you to death writing about.

POINT BEING: she’s on her own time, is doing this at her convenience, isn’t thinking about making our lives a little less stressful…or putting me in a position to defend my registry choices, or worrying that the baby could be early, or blah blah blah. And it’s fine. She’s not my mom. We have places for the baby to sleep. We can buy our own mattress. But…

I see the same thing in my husband. This “I’ll do it tomorrow”, this procrastination, this inability to think ahead, or plan things out for the future, or GET IT DONE so the reward of being able to relax and feel secure can happen. And he’s operated like this in small ways from the get-go 9 months ago…painting himself into corners with money, with time, with his career, with his health, with getting our apartment ready. I guess I assumed that having a baby and becoming a parent creates a universal shift in the human species. That he would change right along with me. That he would be buying onesies that say “I love my mom”, and pedicures for me, and actively assembling the nursery, and worried about the air quality in our home and always thinking “what does my pregnant wife need? What can I do?” I pee a thousand times a night…like maybe get that night light I asked for?
But then I think that I’m a big girl and I can do/get/buy/assemble anything. I’m not sick. I’m pregnant. And I feel like an asshole again.
How entitled are we during this 9 month gestational time? I feel like I have to detach from him, pull away and let him struggle as he grapples with this weird resistance and inertia and procrastination. He’s not really there for us, so I need to be there for me, and let him…what?

This all came out last night at 3am in a big, heaving, crying, curled up in the fetal position, bawl. I couldn’t believe it. Again…me..with the crying. What the hell?

I have an amazing husband. He loves me. I love him. We have a lot of fun and tenderness and understanding between us. But I keep replaying in my head all the blog posts and friend’s stories about how “ammmmaaaaazzzing” their husbands were, and I can’t say that. My husband has been really disappointing and it scares me to the core. We are in our late 30’s and, I thought, ready for this. Ready to make a shift. Ready to welcome this responsibility. But maybe the older you are, the harder it is to change, to break routines and habits, to change the narrative you’ve told yourself your whole life.

Great.

The Time I Painted the Living Room in My Underwear, and Other Stories about Marriage and Pregnancy

31 weeks pregnant, advanved maternal age, boys, change, first pregnancy, husbands, pregnancy, third trimester

That’s going to be the title of my memoir.

I want to hear from men about going through this pregnancy process. From finding out, to really grasping the concept, the fears, what it’s like to be on the outside looking at this woman who is carrying your child.

Had an interesting few days with my husband this last week. We’ve been trying to not go more than a week without seeing each other, and the long distance will thankfully soon be coming to end. The last time I was in town, we were the cliché couple at the Sherwin Williams store pouring over paint chips, trying to decide the merits of choosing “accessible beige” over “canvas beige”. The guy behind the counter assumed we were home owners, and gave a true chuckle when he heard that no, just a couple of dumb renters, expecting a baby, who signed a lease too soon and are moving into a fixer-upper.

I guess I expected the apartment to be painted when I returned this week. I mean, if I were there, I would’ve had that stuff slapped on the walls in probably 48 hours. My nesting pistons are firing on full steam. I want to see progress: the nursery looking like a place for a baby and not the break room for the camera crew for Sesame Street, our pictures on the walls, everything in its place so we know what doesn’t have a place, a plant or two – some life, some evidence that a family lives in this space, not a frat house on holiday, or Cindy Lou’s home in Whoville with one little ornament rolling around a bare wood floor.

Long story short, that’s not what I saw. Not much had been done, and my husband, the man I love dearly, was in a bad place. He looked like hell (for him…and he’s really good looking). This man that I adore is a creature who needs routine. Getting sleep, working out, eating well…this magic combo bodes well for the rest of his daily life. Substituting sleep for the internet, working out for post-shift beers and a cigarette, and mornings to work on our home for catching up on zzzzzs as the dull gray cloud of an approaching winter starts to set on Chicago…not. good.

I cried. Like, holding my face in my hands cried. Used words I’ve never said to him like “disappointed”. And I suddenly felt more like a mom than a partner, more like a “Wife” than his love. It was shocking…his inertia, this paralysis, this depression…when we have so much to do. The next day, while he was at work, in an act of rebellion and the fire to get things done while my body still feels pretty normal, I painted the entire living room and kitchen, trim, windows, crown molding, edges, two coats…everything. In four hours. He had been adamant that I not paint because of the fumes, but thanks to VOC-free paint (yeah!), my only obstacle was not having any crappy clothes/shoes to wear and not being able to fit into my husband’s pants. So…

October 29, 2014 became the day I was literally barefoot and pregnant, on a ladder, painting the living room in my underwear.

I had tea the next morning with a friend of ours who listened to what I had observed and with total confidence declared “He’s so scared.” And I started to feel bad for the things he had done that maybe I didn’t acknowledge enough. All these questions started flooding in about expectation, and being so focused on myself that I wonder how much I’ve allowed for his experience to enter into our joint equation, and wondering why he wasn’t as eager to make a home for us, with the same urgency that I feel, and on and on and on…

I read this article today that came across my facebook feed, and the headline was “The Three Sexiest Words a Man Can Say”. Those words were: “I got this”. Those words were exactly the ones I wanted to hear, to feel the result of…but here’s the thing: I feel guilty about that.

I’m a woman who has always fended for herself. I have all these female role models in my family who GET. IT. DONE. when stuff needs to be done, who do not hesitate, who move, act, and are always part of the solution. It’s in my DNA to solve problems, to crave results, to keep trying answers until the problem is solved. I cannot rest until all the little boxes are checked off the list. And I should be fine with me being me, and my husband, who doesn’t move at that same pace, being him. Right? And yet the only message I kept hearing in my little, sad head was “if he really loved me…”

There has to be something to this. Now of course I know plenty of men who’ve been heroes all through this crazy 9 month gestation (according to their wives). And I’m married to a great guy. A great partner. But something is there, some resistance, some inability to even put a paintbrush to a wall that symbolizes something much bigger. I want to talk about it. I don’t want to just wish he was the man in the article that says the three words every woman wants to hear. I don’t want to hear my sister say that he needs to strap on a pair and be all about me and the baby (oh, she was staying with us…adding a little public flair to his shortcomings). I want to know how I can help, what’s really going on. Because the men standing on the sidelines of pregnancy are going through something deep, knowing that it’s “the woman’s time”, and that they aren’t allowed to be tired, or stressed, or this or that, because all their “dude you’re a dad” books tell them it’s nothing compared to what their pregnant partner is going through…

Ugh. I don’t know. I haven’t read too much about this. There is definitely lots of internet space filled with women who have really terrible partners who are totally MIA, and straight up a-holes. And of course lots of pinterest perfect husbands who arrive home after a long day work with the perfect treat and gift certificate to a spa. But I haven’t found the women with great husbands who are struggling with fear, who maybe aren’t living up to the expectations set up in the baby books and blog posts.

Looking forward to coming out the other side of this and reporting back.

And to a freshly painted apartment 🙂

My favorite saying

change, first pregnancy, motherhood, pregnancy, third trimester

Maybe most of you know this quote already. A quick google search reveals that it’s been attributed to many people, and turned into a million different pics (memes? it that what the kids are callling that…when you put a word and picture together?), so…it’s out there. But I first heard this when I was getting certified to teach yoga this past winter and have found myself coming back to it over the past few days.

My baby shower was today and I’m feeling very grateful. This baby is already so loved. He deserves only my best thoughts…they will be our destiny.

cardimg-php.pn

Path to Amazing

29 weeks, advanved maternal age, change, first pregnancy, third trimester, Uncategorized

“The only path to amazing runs directly through not-yet-amazing. But not-yet-amazing is a great place to start, because that’s where you are. For now. There’s a big difference between not settling and not starting”.

-Seth Godin

10471556_10154566522060646_72525264760315675_o

This speaks to me today as an impending sense of FOREVER has started to set into my bones. With us having just moved, myself looking down a path of unpaid maternity leave, it feels like our financial situation will never change. The weather makes me feel like I will never see sunshine or feel warmth on my skin again. My husband reminded me in his birthday note that “this is the last birthday where it will be just the two of us”…

My body will never be the same. My life will never be the same. My marriage will never be the same. My career will never be the same.

Probably all true. And the only reason it feels daunting is because I KNOW it’s coming. So many life changes are gradual. We look back and think: “that was me?” and laugh, cry, mourn, comfort, admire and rejoice in the versions of our selves that have morphed and made choices over the years, astonished that time has passed. We might not feel different, but we can acknowledge that change has occurred.

Change. It’s a little harder the older you get eh?

And pregnacy is so crazy because you just don’t know. Put ten pregnant women in a room and you’ll have ten different conception, pregnancy, and birth stories. I don’t know what kind of a mother I will be, how my husband will change, what opportunities will open up and which ones may be closed. I don’t know that Chicago will be the place we raise our family…we could hate it. We could love it and find ourselves thriving.

I know you are probably reading this like “Duh advancedmaternalblahblah…everything changes. Deal.”.

Maybe it’s that the leaves have fallen, the days are getting shorter, and this baby is shoving my lungs up into my throat. And this is where I am…for now. On a path to amazing.