38 Weeks

This is such a cheater post.  Tuesday (6/30) marks 39 weeks, so I’m technically sliding in juuuuust under the wire of 38 weeks. Phew!

I’m hoping to post a 39 weeks post in a couple of days, because maybe I’ll be busy having a baby sometime this weekend?   It could happen? July 3rd seems like a pretty good birthday to me…

I am pregnant, I am crazy – Every time I sat down to write the 38 weeks post, I got nowhere because ohmygosh NESTING.  The crazy nesting has finally hit me and is driving poor Steven batty.  We got home from church and lunch and errands around 2 on Sunday afternoon and I immediately got to work.  I’m not even sure how it started.  I remember going into Nino’s room to get some laundry, and then I remember yelling at Steven for taking a nap, and then, all of a sudden, it was 11:30 Sunday night.  I reorganized/rearranged Nino’s room, washed all the blankets and stuffed animals, and spent a good 6 hours organizing the filing cabinet in our room.  Meanwhile, I forced a very confused and (rightfully) grumpy Steven to vacuum under our bed, shred about a thousand documents and receipts, go to the grocery store, make lunches for the week, make dinner, and clean the kitchen.  I tried to get him to decide where to hang and rehang and then hang again everything we owned so that everything could move to different walls, but he somehow put his foot down in that conversation.  He remarked this morning that our fights now are much different because it’s similar to fighting with a 2 year old.  As Louis CK notes, if you’re a grown man getting into a fight with a 2 year old, whose fault is it really?  Same goes for super pregnant crazy me.  We’re on this ride together.  No use fighting it and trying to bring logic back into the equation.

Labor Fears – Steven’s new big fear is that I will go into labor at 11 at night after not sleeping at all the night before.  Apparently everyone he talks to keeps going into labor at 11pm.  I swear we’re both watching the clock at night now, holding our breath from 10:59 – 11:01 to see if the first contraction will strike at the magical pregnancy witching hour.  So he keeps trying to get me to nap, or to go to bed earlier, or just to calm down a bit and I am resisting like, well, a 2 year old.  Sleep is so elusive these days, with the body heat, and the itchy rash, and the crazy nesting, and the numbness and the constant need to pee, and, and, and.  I’m tired, of course, and I would love to sleep more, but it’s just not happening.  I’ve taken to sleeping on the couch, which is marginally more comfortable than the bed, but I hate sleeping in a different room than Steven, even if he is literally 10 feet away.  The other night he got so confused that he came wandering out at 1:45, convinced that it was time to wake up and get ready for work.  I tried to convince him that it was dark out, but he wasn’t having it.  It wasn’t until I finally found a clock to prove it that he agreed to go back to bed.  Any Mamas out there have any sleep tricks?  My doctor recommended Unisom, but I’m hesitant to take a pill.  (Remember when I “learned” to trust the doctor? Surely no one fell for that, right?)

My new fear is a super quick and short labor that leaves no time for an epidural.  I feel like I’ve mentally prepared for everything except that, and it always seems to be the one thing you don’t think about that ends up happening. I think the fear comes from reading these crazy birth stories, but also because I haven’t felt any contractions yet.  I feel like if I was in for a long labor, I would’ve had some sort of practice contractions by now, but nope.  Nada.  Just a whole lot of Nino squirming and kicking my bladder every time I try to sit down at home.  Not at work, surprisingly.  She’s very well behaved when I’m at work.  It’s like she’s reminding me to get to work at home or something. Maybe she’s nesting too. You’d think that this fear would make an induction seem less terrifying, but nope again. Still resisting that option too. Hailey’s 24 hour labor by induction + 6 hours of pushing drama is still too fresh in my mind.

PUPPP Update (PUPPPdate?) – It’s still here.  It’s also still itchy.  The steroid cream does provide some relief, and the Grandpa’s Pine Tar Wonder Soap is truly wonderful.  I think it’s doing the most amount of good, at least in terms of making it seem less angry and stopping the rampant spreading.  It super dries out your skin though, so now I don’t know if my skin is itchy because it’s dry or because of the PUPPP.  What I have learned is that the Sarna lotion make me uncontrollably itchy and raises my body temperature by about 1000% so that option is out.  Cold packs remain essential and I have to resist buying 20 so that I can have an endless supply attached to all my extremities while I sleep.  I have no idea how to tell if the V8 juice is doing any good, but I have finally developed a taste for it after a week and will gladly keep drinking it, as I have been trying to figure out an easy way to get a serving of veggies in the morning.  Win win.

The thing that helps the most is the thing that always helps the most, and that’s good ol fashioned gratitude.  So let’s play the gratitude game, shall we?

1. My office is ALWAYS 55 degrees.  Without fail.  My coworkers have to run space heaters all year long, and I even get so cold that I have to wear slippers.  I had a meeting on campus last week and even though it was only an hour long, I left there sweating and itching and completely uncomfortable.  If I worked anywhere else on campus, I would not be able to hide the rash and still be comfortable.  Or what If I had to work outside? Or go to more meetings, or move around, or travel, or, or or? Blessings, blessings, up above.

2. It’s very easily hidden.  It’s not on my neck or my face, my pants that still fit cover my feet and are my most comfortable pants AND they go with everything, and I don’t have to be super dressy at work, so it’s very easy to just sit still, drink a ton of water to stay hydrated and cool, and ignore the itch as much as possible.

3. This is literally the only bad pregnancy symptom I’ve had this entire time.  The worst of it lasted for 2-3 days, and didn’t keep me from doing anything I would normally do except maybe swimming and taking walks.  And who knows?  I might’ve been too tired and sore to do those things anyway.  I escaped morning sickness and the flu and heartburn and swollen feet and insomnia and numb hands and joint pain and sciatica and all the other very common ailments that afflict the large majority of pregnant women.  So really, I was due for something, and to me, this is way more manageable than throwing up all the time.

4. We live in a basement apartment that stays extremely cold all day with minimal air conditioning.  If we lived in a real house, it would be costing us a fortune to stay this cold.

5. There are very few things in life as satisfying as scratching an itch.

6. A year ago in June, we lost our first baby and I knew something was up because I had zero pregnancy symptoms.  During the early days of that pregnancy I would pray to feel something – anything – that might mean that my body had recognized the pregnancy and would hang on to it.  But there was nothing and we said goodbye and I vowed then to never complain about any pregnancy symptom if I was lucky enough to get pregnant again. I’ve broken that vow more than once, but when it gets really bad, I just remember last June and it puts everything in perspective.  Nino is a gift, and every day with this baby, even the itchy ones, is a blessing.

Blanket Update – The blanket and I got in a serious battle this weekend.  I managed to tangle it AGAIN, except this time there was no Betsy coming to town to save the day.  I ignored it for as long as possible and then finally had to face the knots of doom.  I tried for two episodes of Chuck, then Steven tried for two episodes of Chuck, and then I tried again for three episodes of Gilmore Girls before realizing it was 3:30 in the morning.  Whoops. In the end I had to give up and just cut out the knot.  Suffice it to say, the blanket remains unfinished.  But maybe this week?  I’m running out of things on the to-do list, so it’s got to be done soon.  Perhaps that’s what Nino’s waiting on?  Hmm…

Go Make a Difference – As of July 1st, all three Catholic churches in Manhattan will have brand new priests.  Last weekend we said goodbye to Fr. Jarett at St. Isidore’s and this weekend we had Fr. Don’s last mass at St. Thomas More.  Both Fr. Jarett and Fr. Don played a big role in our reversion and conversion stories these past three years, so it’s been an emotional month of mass.  There was no fanfare to Fr. Jarett’s final mass. He announced it at the beginning of his homily, and it made me catch my breath – I had assumed we had one more weekend with him.  Fr. Jarett had an immediate and significant effect on me, so I was thankful for the quiet subtlety of his send-off.  It was hard enough, and I cried in my pew as he signed off with a simple, “Until we meet again.”  I am devastated, but trying to leave my heart open to the future.

Liturgical Dancing!

I expected more of the same from Fr. Don’s last mass, but it was a celebration from beginning to end.  There was a full choir, liturgical dancers, beautiful music, a blessing from the deacon and a whole lot of tears from all involved.  It was joyous and emotional in a completely different way, and as we closed out the mass with a spirited version of Go Make a Difference, you could feel how deeply and profoundly his service had been felt in the Manhattan community.  Both priests made reference to their desire to come back to Manhattan at some point in their career and I was reminded again about how blessed we are to live here and experience this church community.

Blessings to you both, until we meet again.

Clean out your desk, Naps. You’re being replaced.

Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. —CCC 2226

Sunday mornings my mother got up early—and dragged me kicking and screaming out of bed and into my nicest jeans and sweater. I have still never thanked her. (I’m borrowing, of course, but that doesn’t make it any less true.)

One of my great joys in life is sleep. I sleep long and I sleep often. If you promised me a plate of my favorite St. Louis BBQ to cut a nap short, I would tell you, with great pains, to come back later. Now, once I’m awake I can be bargained with, but in medius rest I am unyielding.

On those Sunday mornings, though, while my heathen friends were sleeping in, I was being propped up against my will in a middle pew at the evangelical church down the street. It was probably the most substantial philosophical issue I had with Christianity. Some people can’t accept the mystical nature of the trinity; others balk at the idea of moral absolutes; still others crave more empirical evidence of a divine creator. My reasons were purely axiological. That is, I placed a greater value on sleeping in than the church did. And it’s probably why I stayed away so long.

However, college came and rowdy Friday nights and Saturday nights soon brought reflective Sunday mornings. I longed for something sleeping in wouldn’t provide. Throughout junior high and high school I had become so fixated on getting sleep on Sundays that I’d forgotten to rest.

…then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
—”Those Winter Sundays”

Robert Hayden’s poem is about a father who gets up early every Sunday, even though he is exhausted by the weekday work that cracks his hands and tries his patience, just so he can provide his son with something valuable. As fatherhood quickly approaches, it is a poem I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

When Susan told me she was pregnant, it was six in the morning. I rejoiced with her over our great blessing, and then I looked at the clock and rejoiced once again because I knew I could sleep another thirty minutes on the couch before making breakfast. Right now, on a Friday evening or a Sunday afternoon, I have the ability to take a nap if I’ve been going too hard for too long. I can tell Susan, “I am exhausted and I know we have plans, but I just really need some sleep.” Very soon that may no longer be the case because, in the not so distance, I can see a new threat to my sleep approaching. An adorable threat with two arms, two legs, and a potentially wailing head. And no, it’s not a baby velociraptor.

While some parents worry about their finances or their baby’s safety or any of the other million things we’ve now been instructed to worry about, I am single-mindedly worrying about where I’ll get my next nap—before our little siren has even arrived.

This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery—the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.” Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. —CCC 2223

When we got pregnant the first time, Susan asked me to make a promise—that I would give up my early morning naps once the baby arrived. Since we’ve been married, I’ve had a carefully calibrated morning routine which involves waking up, showering, napping, starting the coffee, kind of napping again, and then making the breakfast. It ends with me half-dressed, eating cereal and watching The Office, and then frantically running around our tiny apartment at 7:29 with a tie in one hand and a coffee thermos in the other. (I’m not sure why she wants our routine to change…)

I am reminded again and again, though, that to love is to be willing to sacrifice. And so in a few weeks, I will say good-bye to my sleeping in, my morning naps, and most likely a host of other sleep-related pleasures as well. I will get up early and rouse my child(ren) for Mass and they will look into my eyes and say, “Why are you doing this to me? I don’t even like Father N.”

As Jim would say, “Lord beer me strength.” I know that He will. And hopefully, He’ll also remind me that fatherhood is not a circumstance that just happened to me but rather a vocation I’ve been preparing for my whole life.

winnie the pooh

37 Weeks

Welp, I’ve got the PUPPP.  I’m sparing you a picture of the grossness.  Just know that it’s covering all of my body except my face and neck, so I’ve taken to wearing long pants, closed toed shoes, and jackets in the 100 degree weather + humidity.  Thank goodness the permanent temperature in our office is 55 degrees.  I’ve tried anti-itch cream, oatmeal baths, cocoa butter spray oil, cold packs, cold showers, warm showers and Benadryl.  So far everything I’ve done seems to anger it more.  I go to sleep itching and wake up itching.  But mostly I’m just REALLY GROSSED OUT.  The nurse noticed it when she took my blood pressure and commented that the best thing for it was to have a baby.  Luckily, the nice doctor prescribed me a steroid cream, so I’m going to try that + Grandpa’s Pine Tar soap + Sarna lotion + Epsom salt + V8 juice to see if any of that helps.  I also read about dandelion tea and giving up dairy, but hopefully it won’t come to that. I was warned about a zillion times about the severe discomfort of the last month of pregnancy, and now I get it.  I would gladly take numb arms and swollen feet and leg cramps and insomnia over these itchy hives of yuck.  I also read that 70% of women with PUPPP are carrying boys, so get your bets in now. At any rate, prayers for relief, please. Also, if you have any other suggestions for itch remedies, I’ll gladly take them. Cherish each moment of your non-itchy skin!

These are my feet on Thursday night after my Wednesday pedicure...
These are my feet on Thursday night after my pedicure…

Other symptoms: Fatigue! I had heard that the first trimester fatigue comes back with a vengeance in the third, but it didn’t hit me until this week.  It doesn’t matter how long or how well I sleep, when I wake up in the morning, I feel like I barely got 15 minutes of rest.  I can tell that it’s getting worse, because when Steven makes my coffee for me in the morning now, I just glare at the impossibly small portion he’s giving me and think mean thoughts in my head about caffeine hoarding.  Luckily I don’t say anything out loud… most days.

Also, tongue sores?  What’s up with that?  Super annoying and weird and uncomfortable and contributing to the overall feeling of ickiness that is rapidly spreading across my skin these days.  My body is freaking out and freaking me out and I, in turn, am just getting super cranky at Steven about it. Poor Steven.

And this is how they looked by Sunday morning.  I'll spare you what's hiding under those ice packs and socks.
And this is how they looked by Sunday morning. I’ll spare you what’s hiding under those ice packs and socks.

Full term yet? Can anyone tell me what actual full term is?  I thought it was 35 weeks, then when I got to 35 weeks, I read it was actually 36, so then when I got to 36, I read it was 37, and then when I got to 37, I read that it was actually the end of the 38th week.  So… 39 weeks?  But then there are all these ads about not scheduling an induction before 40… so is 40 actually full term?  I feel like I’m going to get to 40 and then I’m going to read that I’m overdue and I need to schedule an induction pronto because I’m a lazy procrastinator who is keeping her baby in too long.  Seriously, world, just stop telling me things.

I always thought of 37 weeks as full term because it’s when Maggie on Playing House had her baby.  And you know how much I love me some Playing House.  Have you seen Playing House?  Why are you even reading this blog?  Just go watch the 37 Weeks episode.  Scoot, scoot.

37 weeks pregnant and ready for some Dino DNA.
37 weeks pregnant and ready for some Dino DNA.

Another Final Road Trip – Okay, so you know how I said our OKC trip was our last road trip?  Not quite. This weekend I decided we NEEDED to see Jurassic World and we especially NEEDED to see it in 3D IMAX, which meant a super unsanctioned trip to Kansas City to sit in a freezing movie theater and watch the pretty, pretty dinosaurs eat people and chase the pretty, pretty Chris Pratt.  It was lovely and extravagant and terrifying and so much fun.  The movie was good, but not nearly as good as the original, obviously. As we were leaving, I caught myself looking for raptors on the interstate and ducking from birds in the sky that I thought were pteradactyls.  Seems like the mark of a successful movie. While we were in KC we stopped at Babies R Us and picked up some other essential non-essentials for Nino, got some very essential essentials for Steven at Trader Joe’s and ate some quintessential KC BBQ at Joe’s.  Steven and I have been so busy lately with class projects and Nino projects and other social stuff that it was nice to just get away and spend a full day together doing all fun things. All in all, it was a perfect day date, even if I did break out in hives as soon as we left.

Steven in his happy place.
Steven in his happy place.

Father’s Day – My Dad bought us a swing for Nino (thanks, Poppa!) and it was waiting patiently on the porch for us when we returned from KC on Saturday night. So Steven happily spent his Father’s Day afternoon building the swing and watching old episodes of The Office for the 18th time while I marveled again at his ability to build stuff without getting frustrated and crying. He really does have all the skills that I don’t. Will we possibly get that lucky as parents too?

Cookie Butter will always be Steven's first baby.
Cookie Butter will always be Steven’s first baby.

Blanket update – it is… not done yet but oh so close!  I think I just need one more row of the yellow and then I can do the border. Please internet, hold me accountable.

It looks so good!  I can't even believe it.
It looks so good! I can’t even believe it.

Social Network – I totally agree with everything Jenny says in this blog post, so when I opened my calendar last week and discovered that I had somehow scheduled myself some sort of social activity for every day of the week, I felt a wee bit panicky.  Luckily, super pregnant me is way better at being social than regular me and I had a great time catching up with everyone. In retrospect, maybe that’s why I’ve been so tired this week?  But it felt good and productive to get some one-on-one time with all my lady friends before retreating into the hidey hole of newborn life.

So when exactly will I retreat into the hidey hole of newborn life?  No idea.  My doctor said that I don’t have to do the horribly uncomfortable cervix checks at my weekly appointments so I am blissfully in the dark about my “progress.”  I feel like actual labor contractions will be pretty hard to miss. I mean, I have a decent pain tolerance, but c’mon.  They didn’t invent the epidural for something that felt like a hang nail, right?  I’m still hoping to hold out until 40 weeks, because I’ve decided for some reason that it’s important.  I really doubt that it is, and I would rather not be covered in hives for 2 more weeks, but it still feels like a good milestone to reach. That, and I still need to see Inside Out and maybe finally get to the Wamego fireworks show for the first time ever and eat at the Tallgrass Tap House and make curtains for Nino’s room, and clean out the filing cabinet, and, and, and.  On second thought, maybe it would be better if Nino got here sooner rather than later.

36 Weeks

Hospital Bag – I read about pre-eclampisa last week and how they can just send you right to the hospital with no warning whatsoever if you start to show signs at your routine weekly doctor’s visit.  So on Sunday night at 11:30, I started throwing things into a bag frantically.  Luckily, my 36 week appointment did not result in a trip directly to the hospital, so I had the rest of this week to pack and repack and fine tune and mostly load things up on the Kindle for entertainment.  So without further ado, here’s what I have in my hospital bag;

Kindle – season 1 of Playing House, Trophy Wife and Enlisted, and the Liane Moriarty book “The Last Anniversary”
Nino – 1 sleeper, Steven’s going home from the hospital sweater, binkies (shhh! Don’t tell the lactation specialist.  Betsy referred to nipple confusion as “mythical” this week, which made me LOL hard), a baby book, mittens, socks, and an EMAW romper
Me – comfy clothes, nursing stuff, slippers, socks, Believer bands, chapstick, all my toiletries
Steven – a change of clothes, books, cards, snacks, recorder, AAA batteries

List of things to grab right before we leave – cell phone charger, camera, camera charger, make-up bag, pills, Kindle, computer, good pillow

What am I forgetting?  And, more importantly, what can I take out?  It feels like I’m WAY over packed right now.

Nino's first load of laundry!  Definitely the cutest load of laundry I've ever done.
Nino’s first load of laundry! Definitely the cutest load of laundry I’ve ever done.

Push Present – Steven’s been obsessed with the idea of a push present ever since I mentioned it to him.  Especially because I mostly want to use it as a reason to buy all the things in this blog post.  I think he’s settled on some sort of rosary bracelet that I can wear all the time and switch hands as a reminder of what side I should nurse on first in the early days of a sleepy baby and incomplete feedings.  Anything else that we should be thinking about?

Fully Educated – Betsy asked the kiddos what makes a good Mama and Katie and Jimmy agreed that good Mamas change diapers and feed their babies.  Katie then said that bad Mamas throw their babies outside.  That’s essentially what we’ve learned so far in our hospital classes, so I think I could’ve saved myself $130 and just had a quick conversation with Katie and Jimmy.

We had our last hospital class last week, titled HUG Your Baby/Infant Basics. A lot of it was repeat information, but they did show a video on signs of over stimulation that was mildly helpful. Basically when your child is upset – swaddle them.  It seems to be the go-to solution for most every ailment not related to dirty diapers/hungry tummies.  They also showed us a horrible video simulation of what happens to a baby’s brain when you shake a baby and reminded us again of the terrifying mystery of SIDS. Seriously.  How can SIDS still be a thing?  Awful.

In the end, I’m not sure if I learned much, but at least I feel like the process isn’t quite as overwhelming/daunting as it was when I signed up for every class under the sun.  Maybe that’s the point?  Slowly but surely, I’m starting to feel like maybe we can do this after all.

New Symptom – the weepies have arrived these last couple of weeks and they’ve been really bumming me out.  Mostly though, I just find them super frustrating.  We’re getting things done, everything is going REALLY well with the baby and there’s lots of excitement in our present and future.  So why these blues?  Maybe it’s hormones, or maybe it’s just because it’s this horrible month of June, but it’s been the worst symptom BY FAR.  I think I discovered this week that the main trigger for it is lack of sleep – of which I have always been bad about.  I like staying up playing on the computer, or reading, or writing, or doing too many projects around the house, or rewatching a TV show that I’ve seen 8 times.  I just find it liberating, in my routine of 8-5, Monday – Friday, for as long as I live.  It feels rebellious and independent to say – so what if I have to get up in 5 hours?  I’m doing something fun with MY time!  And then I’m weepy and cranky and crazy for the next 48 and I realize it’s not liberating at all.  It’s just stupid and selfish because I end up crashing the next night and doing nothing and then Steven is stuck staying up late for the second night in a row doing all my stuff while I drool all over the couch cushions.  So I’m trying to work on that now.  Say a prayer for me, but lots for Steven, because he loves sleep more than almost anything in this world and he’s decided to share his life with someone who sees sleep as the enemy.

Oh, and my stretch marks are now itchy and irritated and sort of burn, which makes them even more gross and painful and just kind of ick.  The doctor assured me that all was well and it was just a normal part of the process.  It’s probably a good preview of all the other gross (miraculous?) things my body will soon be doing to prepare to push a baby into the world.

Speaking of gross and miraculous, I read this crazy birth story this week and immediately sent it to Steven.  His response?  “I will go clean the bathroom right now.”  He’s da best.

Summer Fun – Since the heat has finally arrived in Manhattan we’ve been taking fewer walks and trying to get to the pool more, especially since I can’t go for 6 weeks after Nino’s here.  On Sunday night, we went to the City Pool for the first time(!) but they had to close for lightning before we could even get in the water.  Super bummer.  On Monday we finally made it and had a good time playing catch and treading water.  I discovered that I cannot feel Nino’s kicks at all when I’m in the water, so that freaked Steven out and made me even more inclined to spend more time at the pool.  On Friday night, Steven and I spent a good hour at the Natatorium treading water, which was great and super relaxing and felt like good, low impact exercise, but I think I overdid it.  I made it to the side of the pool, up the ladder, and then had a leg cramp so bad that I couldn’t move at all for at least a minute.  We finally managed to hobble over to a bench and sit down, but my leg hurt for the next 24 hours.  After the horrible First Aid class, I’ve been petrified of water, so I spent the next day imagining different scenarios of how I could’ve drowned if I had gotten the leg cramp while we were treading.  Steven assured me that my two arms and other workable leg would’ve managed to get me to the surface.  I hope he’s right (of course he’s right), because it’s way too hot to not be in the water.

Almost there!
Almost there!

Blanket Update – Since I learned that sleep makes me less crazy (so weird, right?), I did not get the blanket finished before Betsy came to town.  I was making good progress and then got it horribly, unavoidably, tangled and gave up in a fit after midnight on Thursday.  I gave it to Betsy late Sunday night and she untangled it and told me that I probably need 10 more stripes before adding the border. Exciting!  My new goal is to have it finished for the 37 week post.  So if there’s no 37 week post next week… you’ll know I have failed.

All of Betsy's kiddos have slept in this bassinet.  Mama made the eyelet cover and the sheets are worn and soft.  It's one of my very favorite things.
All of Betsy’s kiddos have slept in this bassinet. Mama made the eyelet cover and the sheets are worn and soft. It’s one of my very favorite things.

Nesting – Betsy and Matthew and their kiddos came up for the weekend to hang out and shop and help me nest.  She fixed up her glider for me and got it upholstered in this great orange fabric, and we bought a crib mattress and she put all the sheets and waterproof pads on it, and we put together the bassinet and did some more tidying and general arranging.  I think we’re finally down to the decorating part, which is still overwhelming to me.  Hopefully I’ll get a burst of energy sometime this week and we’ll get some things hung on the walls so it feels a little more like a real room.  I’m trying to remember that babies come before 40 weeks all the time, and I should really wrap my head around the idea that Nino could safely arrive at any moment.  Just hopefully not before I get the chance to see Jurassic World in 3D IMAX.  Priorities.

We have so many happy memories planned for this chair.
We have so many happy memories planned for this chair.

35 Weeks

35 weeks marks the last week of this pregnancy that I will not see the doctor.  Ack!  That must mean things are getting serious.  According to the giant hard parts in my stomach, Nino has responded to this milestone by crawling higher up in my uterus instead of venturing down into my pelvis. I don’t know why I’m surprised.  His poor Mama has always been directionally challenged too.  I came to the realization last week that I think Nino is shy.  She moves the most when we’re home alone, laying on the couch, right after Steven leaves.  In the sonogram pictures, she has always had her hand over her face.  And on weekends when we do a lot of sitting around, but there are lots of different voices in the room, she only moves very slightly on and off throughout the day.  Work days where I’m the only one in the office?  Constant movement.  Sweet little shy stinker.  Hopefully we’ll be less scary to her when she’s out in the world.  There’s not much room to hide away in our little apartment.

New symptoms this week: my feet were slightly swollen at the end of last week and into the weekend, mostly in sympathy for Hailey and her swollen twin feet.  Since then they’ve gone back down to normal size, but I’m mostly just wearing my Tevas every day now anyway and guilting Steven into giving me foot rubs as often as possible.  Also, the super pregnancy nose has arrived this week which means that I can now smell my own breath and it is… not good.  My official apologies to everyone I’ve ever interacted with.

Now that the heat and humidity have finally arrived in Manhattan, I have two new cravings this week: watermelon and lots of it and Izze sparkling blackberry soda.  So good.  So sugary.  So amazing.

Crazy people: Steven took the car seat to get it checked this week to make sure we had installed it properly.  It passed with flying colors, but then I read that we should start practicing carrying it around and buckling and unbuckling it.  So now we’re the extra crazy people carrying around an infant seat with a bunny in it every night and morning.  It’s ridiculous, but also helpful.  Turns out we’re both REALLY BAD at latching and unlatching the car seat.  Chester the Bunny wakes up and screams every time.

Mark your calendars: Also this week we attended Baptism class, which Betsy helpfully suggested might be easier to get to before we have the little baby running our schedule.  I’ve been planning Nino’s baptism in my head since before we got pregnant, so this is the first class that I’ve been genuinely excited about attending.  Nino’s first sacrament is officially scheduled for Sunday, September 20th.

Speaking of classes, we had the dreaded three hour breastfeeding basics course this week.  We were both exhausted by the time Thursday rolled around and not particularly excited about three hours of lecture on what I feel should be a fairly intuitive process.  Steven was annoyed with all the talk that wasn’t about technique,  but I found the technique parts the most overwhelming.  So many things to look for and remember!  Are you tummy to tummy?  Does the ear, shoulder and hip line up?  How’s the latch?  How’s the angle?  How’s the sensation?  Do you hear the right 5 sounds or the wrong 5 sounds or 3 good sounds and 2 bad ones?  What does that mean?  Did you write down which side you started on and for how long and, and, and, and.  Whoa.  By the time we reached the halfway break my head was swimming.  Our last class is next week and is something called Hug Your Baby.  So maybe we’ll learn about the proper technique for hugging your baby?  Who even knows any more.  I’m just so thankful it’s the last one.

Hey look!  It's almost blanket sized!
Hey look! It’s almost blanket sized!

Blanket update: I used the road trip to work some more on the blanket, since we had another hectic week planned.  This week I feel like it’s looking more like a blanket, though the edges still look a little off to me.  I think I need about 10 more hours on it before I can start the border, so my next goal is to get that accomplished before Betsy and company come up for their next visit.

In more exciting news, Abby came over this week to help me go through my clothes and I was able to cut it down from three tubs of extra to one.  I still, admittedly, have way too many clothes, but I felt a little better about the progress. Hopefully Papa Francis would be proud.  I also got rid of a ton of shoes and made enough room in my closet to move some of the extra boxes from Nino’s room into mine.  Slowly but surely, and with a lot of help from Abby and Steven, Nino’s room is starting to look more like a baby room and less like a dumping ground for all of our stuff.  I think Steven knows that once all the clutter gets cleared out, the decorating begins.  No wonder he’s so anxious for Nino to get here.

Daycare update: I finally started to recover a bit from the First Aid class of doom this week and decided to get back on the task of finding and selecting a daycare.  One of Steven’s friends mentioned that calling references really helps (duh!) so we went back to our list of possible places to see what we could find.  We had pretty much narrowed it down to one place that I felt okay about, and Steven contacted her to get a list of references.  She called us back later that week to let us know that she had actually decided to shut down her day care.  Of course.  I was immediately frustrated and angry, and then realized that this is exactly what I had been praying for.  I keep asking God to close the wrong doors and only make the good opportunities available to us so that we are protected from making the wrong choice.  Then, when he does just that, I get all sulky and pouty and despair.  It’s really amazing he doesn’t have more birds poop on my stubborn head.

In the meantime, we set up an account with Child Care Aware, a site that Steven learned about through his Daddy Basics course.  Child Care Aware is really nice, because they let you put in the date you’re looking for and the age of your child, and they only show you who has availability.  Steven and I picked out the same two people and after some really positive reference calls this weekend, we think we finally have it narrowed down.  Fingers crossed and prayers up that this is the right choice for us and for Nino.

“Your position has been identified as non-essential”.

Furlough Friday: On Friday of this week I got my official furlough notice (which has already, thankfully, been canceled).  Because I let way too much of my self-worth get wrapped up in my job, I was feeling really sad about being labeled a non-essential employee.  Steven, saintly husband that he is, immediately sent me this response: “I love you, and you are absolutely essential to ME!”  Marrying a sensitive wordsmith is easily the best decision I’ve ever made.

Road Trip! Last weekend we took our final road trip before Nino to go see Beau and Hailey in their new digs in Oklahoma City.  We were planning to go this weekend to meet the twins, but Hailey is super gestational woman and kept them in for 38.5 weeks.  She turned 30 on Sunday, and we were both so excited to get to spend one final weekend together as the fearsome foursome before we become a group of 7 this summer.  I was absolutely convinced that she was going to go into labor the second we left Manhattan, or the second we arrived on their doorstep, or in the middle of the night on the first night, etc, etc.  But all the babies were very well behaved and let their Mamas have one last weekend together.  Hailey and I were so excited that we outlasted the boys and stayed up until 3 a.m. on Friday.  Saturday we had a lazy day full of food and Jamba Juice and pedicures and leg massages and then Sunday we did more lounging and playing with Lucy and eating and lots and lots and lots of laughing.  I’m so thankful that we’re having our babies at the same time, because I feel like it seals us even more as forever friends.  Especially if Nino is a girl and has the good sense to marry one of their boys… I’m hoping it’s the first of many memorable weekends in that house.