34 Weeks

Y’know that episode of Friends where Rachel can’t see her baby?

34 week sonogram picture
34 week sonogram picture

I can’t see my baby.
ProfileIt’s like one of those Magic Eye puzzles.

Is this picture even different from the one above?  I honestly couldn't tell you.
Is this picture even different from the one above? I honestly couldn’t tell you.

Steven keeps pointing out the cheeks and I can sort of squint and pretend (lie) that I see it, but nope.  Mama can’t see her baby.  Wail.  So sorry, precious Nino.  So much forgiveness needed already.

In other 34 week doctor’s appointment news, I was warned by three different people at my appointment this week that I was “heading into it.”  Whatever that means. I’ve had it super easy so far, so the idea that all of these knowing strangers keep telling me that I’m about to get super uncomfortable is.. well… making me a little uncomfortable.  For now it’s all mental.

Nino was pretty chill this weekend, what with all the shower excitement and late nights and cousins running around patting and pawing and hugging at his Mama’s tummy.  He roared back to life on Tuesday after the appointment and hasn’t stopped moving since.  I’m supposed to be feeling more subtle rolling movements yet – hah!  Maybe tomorrow.  I’m also happy/sad to report that the stretch marks have  finally arrived.  I was feeling so confident and gloat-y for avoiding them for the first 33 weeks.  Then late last week I thought I could start to see a couple of lines at the bottom of my stomach, but Steven thought maybe they were just lines from my pants.  But as of this morning they are definitely stretch marks and they are multiplying at an alarming rate.  Hello, badge of Mamahood!

Daycare Update: So we still haven’t picked out a daycare.  I was almost on board with one on Monday, given that a 3 month old doesn’t really need THAT much and we’ll (hopefully) only need someone in Manhattan for 3 months or so.  So I had myself talked into it.  Then we went to First Aid class.  It was just a 90 minute class, and not even a certification course.  Just a nice, simple, introduction to First Aid tips for kiddos.  There were 4 of us in the class and it was led by a long-time nurse/EMT/Red Cross volunteer with children and grandchildren of her own.  After every segment in the video (goodness the dialogue in those videos is still terrible), she would pause it and tell us of her firsthand experience on EMS calls for each of the incidents described in the video.

With each new segment and type of injury, Steven and I slunk lower and lower in our chairs and he started scribbling down notes as fast as he could.  Infant CPR, bee stings, splints, seizures, fevers, choking, CPR, drowning, etc, etc, etc.  It felt endless.  To get away from the onslaught of doom, I let other stresses creep into my brain.  Work, daycare, Garden City plans, sleep, money, budgets, car maintenance, taxes, thank you notes, household chores, forgotten phone calls, etc.  By the time we left the class I was completely overwhelmed and in full-on meltdown mode about everything.  It didn’t help that we had to miss our hour of Adoration this week to attend the heinous session of ways your child will die.  The real kicker is that we paid for this class.  We paid to feel this way!

Now, three days later, I’m back at square one with daycare, but at least I have the number for Poison Control in my phone and I was able to (mostly) sleep through the night last night.  I remember once, early on in the daycare search, a friend and mama recommended a daycare to me and said that it made her feel better that it was right down the street from the hospital.  I remember thinking it was odd, but all through the First Aid class I was thinking about how far away the daycare we had (almost) settled on was from the hospital.  You just never know which piece of Mama wisdom will stick in your brain, do you?  Our class next week is breastfeeding basics and they’ve already sent me 10 handouts. Gulp.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
So lovely

This past weekend was Nino’s baby shower!  We had the most wonderful time.  My friends Colina and Sonya teamed up with Betsy and Abby to put on the world’s sweetest and easiest and loveliest baby shower of all time.  Colina and Sonya put together all the decorations as a surprise, and when I walked in I couldn’t believe it.  These women know me.  It was exactly what I would’ve picked out for myself, but I would never have had the patience or creativity or fortitude to put all the little pieces and touches and details together.  The baby book matched our bedding, which matched the invitation, which matched the print and all the cute little animal decorations and they were all done independently of each other.  Betsy picked out the invitation without my help and I picked out the bedding without seeing the invitation and Sonya and Colina picked out the decorations without looking at the registry.  All I told them was that I liked colors and that the nursery would be mostly orange and green and yellow.  The fact that it all came together organically just makes me feel that much better about our choices and the room coming together eventually.

The fox planter that started it all.  It's now at my office and makes me happier every single second.
The fox planter that started it all. It’s now at my office and makes me happier every single second.
Adorable hedgehog, identical to the adorable hedgehog on our bedding set.
Adorable hedgehog, identical to the adorable hedgehog on our bedding set.
All the tables covered in the fabric from our wedding reception tablecloths!  Loved it.
All the tables covered in the fabric from our wedding reception tablecloths! Loved it.
Sneaky belly pic ala Katie.
Sneaky belly pic a la Katie.

It was so lovely to see so many of my friends and former coworkers and cousins and aunts and to have my sisters and nieces and nephew there too.  Katie helped me open all the presents and Anna arranged them nicely on the table for me after opening.  Abby greeted and had people sign the guest book and fill out thank you note envelopes and wrote down all the gifts, and, and, and.  She basically had all the jobs and did them beautifully.  Betsy found wooden blocks for everyone to decorate and we talked good and bad Mama advice.  Everyone brought books instead of cards too and our bookshelf is so much happier now.

It was truly a perfect afternoon, and the fact that we were able to have it at my beloved Douglass Center made it that much better.  I know we missed several people due to the holiday weekend, but I was so thankful and appreciative of all those who were able to make it to Manhattan for the rainy afternoon.  I fell asleep feeling guilty (always so guilty!) about not getting to talk to everyone for hours, but also completely humbled and spoiled and oh so very loved.  I can’t wait for Nino to be here to enjoy all those thoughtful gifts!  Steven, Nino, and I are seriously the luckiest people in the world.

One of the biggest benefits to having a baby in my family is that  Aunt Nadine will make you the most beautiful quilt you've ever seen in your entire life.
One of the biggest benefits to having a baby in my family is that Aunt Nadine will make you the most beautiful quilt you’ve ever seen in your entire life.
I also discovered that it's a benefit to marrying into Steven's family too!  Nana Esther made Nino the softest and most beautiful K-State blanket.  Why am I making one again?
I also discovered that it’s a benefit to marrying into Steven’s family too! Nana Esther made Nino the softest and most beautiful K-State blanket. Why am I making one again?

Then on Thursday, Steven’s coworkers took us out to lunch for another baby shower.  It was a wonderful time and so nice to finally meet some of them for the first time!  Isn’t it strange how much of our lives we spend at work with our coworkers and how separate our lives still are?  Amazing.  They were all really genuine, warm, lovely, people and it made me feel so much better about how Steven spends his days.  I have a feeling they’ll take good care of both of us during the next 6 months.

Swing buds.
Swing buds.
Teddy, breaking in Nino's brand new stroller, like the sweet and thoughtful cousin he is.
Teddy, breaking in Nino’s brand new stroller, like the sweet and thoughtful cousin he is.
Oh the cute.
Oh the cute.
He's also got a pretty terrific unimpressed face.
He’s also got a pretty terrific unimpressed face.

Thanks to the shower and holiday weekend, we got to spend lots of quality time with family. For the first time in 15 years, it’s actually raining in Garden City, so Matthew got to come up with Betsy and the kiddos and hang out with all of us.  He took Abby for her first stick shift lesson on Sunday and she decided after a couple of hours that while Iggy was indeed wonderful, she was probably not ready to back it out onto Anderson every morning.  So Matthew took Iggy back home to retire on the farm since we haven’t been driving it and it made both Betsy and I feel all heart squeezy to see it drive off down the street, back window open, cruising along happily.  Iggy is seriously the best pickup in the entire world, and I will never find a car that is more fun to drive.  Never ever.

Dresser successfully transformed to changing table!
Dresser successfully transformed to changing table!
“Clean” side of the room at 34 weeks.
It's been pretty great riding around with Chester this week.
It’s been pretty great riding around with Chester this week.

I also recruited Betsy to help me organize Nino’s room and she transformed the dresser into a totally cozy changing table.  Steven tractor-beamed the children with Daniel Tiger and Angelina Ballerina while Anna put together the Diaper Genie and I held a sweet and wonderfully wiggly Teddy.

After the drivers got back, Matthew helped Steven install the car seat in Harvey and we broke in our brand new umbrella stroller and walked down to the park.  They ended up leaving Sunday night around 8 (so late!) and all the kids cried as they put on their jammies and wailed about “Not wanting to go home.”  It was sweet and sad and funny and I still miss them.

Graduated from wash cloth to... hand towel?
Graduated from wash cloth to… hand towel?

Blanket update: Betsy checked out the blanket in person and showed me all her kiddos’ blankets and I’m feeling more confident that it will all come together.  She recommended that I try to add an extra stitch at the end of each row for awhile to try and catch up with the extra wide starting rows, so now it looks, um, even stranger than last week.  Also, that was approximately 6 hours of work on Monday, so you can get an idea of just how slowly I crochet.  We have a long road trip this weekend, so I’m hopeful that I can get in a solid 6 more hours this weekend so that it might look more like a blanket by next week’s post.

Sweetest sisters.
Sweetest sisters.
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