Owls!

After my baby shower in California ended, a good friend of ours who wasn’t able to make it to the shower sent us a gift card to Target. I thought about using it for necessities, but I made the less rational decision and bought an owl lamp for Gregory’s room! Eventually, I’m going to cover the plain white shade with the matching blue fabric from Gregory’s quilt and position it next to the rocking chair. But for now, I’m content to let it rest on our dining room table, being all cute.

We are…

…on a budget. A tight one, at that. We’re trying to save all the money we can so that I can take work off for 3 months. That’s a huge downside to being self-employed– you don’t get paid time off. Which is what keeps me from taking it whenever I feel like it 🙂

To prove that we are, let me tell you this– last night, I cut Jesse’s hair. No, not shaved it, that’s easy, I’ve done that many a time. Actually trimmed it. Went out to Sally’s Beauty Supply, bought the cheapest pair of trimming scissors I could find, and cut it. It took a really long time, because Jesse’s hair, especially the back, is really thick and curly, and hard to get even and straight. But I finished it. He won’t let me put a picture of him here, but even Julie said that it was even and great for a first time!

This is very exciting to me, because one of my favorite people and role models in the whole world, Susan Claassen (if you were in my wedding, you remember her because she made us breakfast burritos that morning) used to cut all of the boys’ hair. My Aunt Bridget was always the same way. I think it saves a ton of money, and it’s kind of bonding! I always wanted to be the kind of mom who could take care of that tedious but necessary chore, and I figured it was time to learn since I’m about to have another little man in my life 🙂

 

Sonogram

We had our 30.5 week sonogram today, and, I have to say, it was amazing. Amazing to see his little arms punching and to recognize the movement from what I’ve been feeling. Amazing to see his little toes and (apparently) BIG feet! Amazing to already see that he has a “Honeycutt” nose and a dimply chin. I pretty much didn’t stop crying once she started taking pictures of his face. It hit me all at once– I cannot WAIT to meet this kid!

If I were to try and describe the feeling, it would be like this. You know how there are times in your life where you only WISH you had the words to describe the Love you feel for someone? But to try would somehow be wrong, like the words fall short and cheapen it? The futility of trying to adequately describe something as awesome as Love becomes apparent, at least to me.

But somehow, this baby already seems like the perfect description, without words, without even trying. Somehow, he seems to be the closest and most accurate physical representation of such a powerful thing, this side of heaven at least.  While the most poetic words in the world would fall short, he accomplishes it just by sucking his thumb.

That’s the best I can do. For now. No more tears before bed time.

After the sonogram, we went to dinner and a movie with the Folsoms, seeing as the imaging place was right around the corner from their house, and we are hardly ever in far North Dallas. The burgers were yummy, but I’m sure all I talked about was BabyBabyBaby. Poor Jenny 🙂

And then we went to see Inception– finally. I have to say, even though the movie was engrossing, stressful and provoking, the moment we were back in the car my thoughts were again on the ultrasound. Trying to recall every detail.

Pictures will be up soon, but the office’s cd burner was malfunctioning, so Jenny is going to pick up the cd of images later on this week.

Counting down the few weeks left!…

How a Fish Almost Ruined My Childhood

This might be the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time…I was laughing hysterically.

CLUTTER!

I think I need to radically de-clutter our house. More than nesting, this impulse to clean everything out and start completely fresh has taken over my brain these past weeks.

It’s time to get serious and do something about it.

So, I’m going to go through our closets, pantry and refrigerator. Not to mention, I’m also going to do a sweep of everything we don’t use on a DAILY basis and put it somewhere out of sight. Not on a counter, not on the tv stand, not on my desk. Heck, I might just throw it away.

Decorations that I started with do not count, by the way 🙂 Little odds and ends that have stayed so long they are now permanent fixtures when I scan the room? Very much in danger of becoming extinct.

It could be that I’ve been reading too many Swedish/minimalist design blogs. Or it could be that clutter takes longer to clean, and looks messier quicker. A contributing factor was that I just renewed our lease online a few days ago, and I really don’t want to start accumulating junk! Moving really forces one to sort through things, and I fear we will get bogged down now that we are staying in the same place.

Either way, let the purging begin! Who’s with me?

Birth Class #1

I thought that I would write a little about what our first 2.5 hour birth class was like yesterday. This Bradley course is required of anyone giving birth at our birth center. The midwives told me that some couples “say” they signed up for it, but never do. They always find those people out, because they’re the ones that come in yelling and screaming while in labor. The ones that actually took the class? Cool, collected, communicating with their partner. It’s like night and day, they said.

I’m glad that the classes help as much as they do, because they come with a hefty $300 price tag. Fun 🙂

The course is 12 sessions (8 classes, 4 homework assignments). Yesterday was mostly introductory (our instructor took pictures of each couple and made a little slideshow/album with music so that we could get to know everyone). We reviewed all the course materials (2 notebooks and a folder) and started right in on a few self-evaluations about how each of us deals with stress and pain. It was good to think about, because apparently all of the normal things we do when in pain are exactly the WRONG things to do while in labor. She talked about a person’s “Fight or Flight” response, and how this release of adrenaline is actually detrimental when in labor because it slows things down. The body thinks that the woman is not in a “safe” place and holds things up. Unfortunately, when most women feel the pain of labor, they consider it to be harming them, and the Fight or Flight response kicks in. Understanding that the pain is normal and beneficial for getting the job done is essential to reducing pain, stress and labor time.

My favorite part of class was all the massaging. I used the two pillows we had brought to lay on my side. The instructor then taught Jesse and the other dads 6-7 different stretches/massages that would help alleviate pain and discomfort while in labor. Some were AMAZING…my favorite was the one where he crosses his arms and puts one hand on my shoulders and one on my hip bone and pushes them away from one another. I actually heard popping and cracking (the good kind! really!) in my rib cage/side muscles area. Apparently, that area gets very crunched during pregnancy because of all the extra weight. And the foot massage actually felt good and didn’t tickle (if you knew me, this is huge, because I HATE FEET. I also hate having my feet touched). The instructor then asked each of the husbands to put pressure on various parts of the mom’s body, while the mom was supposed to spend several minutes learning to relax that particular muscle group. Sounds easy, but it’s actually hard to voluntary relax muscles that one doesn’t think about or use on a constant basis. For instance, how often do you think about relaxing all of your tiny forehead muscles? Lower back muscles?

Surprisingly, part of the class also involved the birth partner getting a massage. The instructor said that it was important for the husband to know how to do the very thing they would be helping their partner accomplish. Jesse thinks they just added this part in so that the husbands could feel like they are getting their money’s worth.

So far, I can see that this class will be very necessary and beneficial for our birth (that could occur in as soon as 6 weeks!! Wow!!). Next week involves the first “birth video”. She promised that this one is very PG, and that we will slowly work up to the more graphic ones…things will get interesting if I pass out!

Nightmares Twist

One of the things they mentioned in our birth class today is that the 3rd Trimester is a time when women experience nightmares/weird dreams, as a way of processing fears that they have about motherhood.

Last week, as you know, my dreams involved dead or dying children.

This week, apparently, they involve Jesse being a bad husband. I had one last night where Jesse and I were in a horrible fight. I woke up crying and upset. The icky feeling of us being mad at each other was too much to bear. More than anything, I really really wanted to wake Jesse up and apologize for our bad fight and make things better again. Luckily, I fought this urge, otherwise we might have actually HAD a real fight!

Today, I took a nap around lunchtime. In this hour, I dreamt that Jesse skipped our birth class to go to garage sales. Because that’s soooo like him.

When Jesse woke me up to leave for our class, I said, “I keep having nightmares about you being a complete jerk. You are WAY better in person.”

He replied, “What can I say? Apparently, I’m not the man of your dreams!”

Lessons

As I sit here in Panera, waiting for my busy weekend to start (4 hours of piano lessons, a birthing class, an engagement party and a bridal shower, a marriage blessing ceremony, not to mention all of the normal amount of church!) I felt the need to follow up my bemoaning about the 3rd Trimester nightime horrors with a positive note.

Let me first excuse some of my ranting yesterday:

The third trimester is a completely different animal than the 2nd or 1st. I’d been told this, but there’s never something so convincing as living it. The first trimester passes quickly because you find out you’re pregnant 6 weeks into it. It’s like having a head start! Sure, the morning sickness can drag on forever, but there are so many exciting things to do and find out– gender, possible names, etc. It guess to some people, it could seem like forever, since many wait until the very very end to announce it to people. But I think that makes it exciting– like you have this special secret that no one else knows!

The 2nd Trimester is a tricky little thing, because it fools you into thinking pregnancy is fun. You barely have a bump, but it’s made the transition from “she ate a box of donuts!” to “when are you due?’ quite nicely. You get all your energy and appetite back from the first trimester, and you feel like you can take on the world. You get all the glow without the bloated feeling!

Something crazy happens the moment 27 weeks hits. EVERYTHING, and I mean everything, aches. Food is not a commodity, it is a NECESSITY. So are frequent bathroom breaks and help carrying anything and everything. Also, THE FATIGUE returns. I can sleep 11 hours in a night/morning, and still feel ready for sleep again at 9pm.

And don’t get me started on hot flashes– if I get overheated near the beginning of the day, I never cool off. Never. On Wednesday morning, I substitute taught a piano lesson for my old company. The family was Indian, and maybe it’s cultural, but I have frequently noticed that most Indian families are hesistant to use their air conditioning. It was at least 85 degrees in that house. By the end of the 45 minute lesson, I was DRIPPING sweat. It took all of my energy to keep from slurring my words and running out the door to the air conditioning in my car. For the rest of the day, I could NOT get cool! I was sitting in a nicely air conditioned piano lesson later that afternoon and all of a sudden started seeing black spots, I was so hot!! So, I basically never let myself get remotely warm, which is quite a challenge in 104 degree heat. Our house is at a constant 65 degrees inside (hello, high air conditioning bills!! I could CARE LESS). Jesse frequently needs a blanket just sitting on the couch in the evenings– I am fanning myself and thinking, “This is definitely how God wants the world at all times”.

The third trimester is also a weird limbo stage, because it’s not time to give birth, but neither can you just continue your life/plans as though it isn’t going to happen. It’s like having a huge deadline looming over you, affecting your thoughts at every moment of the day. And, if you’re a multi-tasking-accomplisher-always-getting-ahead person like me, it’s infuriating not to be able to get some sort of head start on things. Which is why I am super excited about our first birthing class tomorrow!

But this actually ends my long-winded defense and takes me to the positive side of things. Being pregnant has taught me a lot about myself, and helped me grow in many ways. For instance, I cannot BELIEVE that I had a whole day off yesterday (a WHOLE DAY– I didn’t even have an air conditioned car, since Jesse took the Toyota to work!). And I didn’t do a thing. Not a SINGLE productive thing. No art projects. No dishes. No schoolwork. No gardening. I even forgot to feed the dog, poor thing.

What did I do? I slept in until 10am, let myself take 4 different naps throughout the day, swam in the pool, ate home-made chocolate chip cookies and worked out at Curves. When Jesse got home, we sat on the couch to watch the So You Think You Can Dance finale and finished off the evening with a leisurely walk in the gym.

Would I ever have let myself do this a year ago? No, definitely no. And if it happened on accident, I would have been stricken with guilt and remorse. “How could I have let a whole day pass, without some sort of productivity? What have a let myself become?” I would have asked myself unceasingly.

But now? Gregory is teaching me that it’s not only okay to slow down and take it easy, it’s a necessity. A productive life is important, but it’s not my priority right now. Growing a healthy baby is my priority, because it’s one of the most essential things I can give to him. I have never been able to slow down because I need it, but I’m learning to do it when the health of my baby is on the line.

And you know what? Slowing down actually feels kind of good. Really, I’m surprised by it!! I don’t think there’s a danger of becoming addicted to lazy days, because I still had quite the moment of panic when I walked into the kitchen and saw that not everything was as it should be. And Jesse was pretty flabbergasted to find that I had completely forgotten to feed the dog all day. I’m also looking forward to all the money I’m going to make today giving piano lessons (Shh, don’t tell, but I still make more $ than him, working less than 20 hours a week!).

But it was good to be taught a lesson by a 30 week-old baby not-yet-born. Slowing down actually can be good. Who would’ve thought it?

The Next Beckham

While this is not my picture, I've literally seen Gregory do this very thing.

I’m write about this in an effort to cope with it, because I am so worn out and so discouraged by this baby. I know, seems weird, he hasn’t even made it out yet, and already I’m blaming him for my emotions and fatigue.

Yesterday marked the longest period of continuous movement/kicking in Gregory’s life thus far. I don’t know what caused it, but he was the Energizer bunny from 5pm-11pm, and then again from 1-6am. He did not stop kicking and rolling around. I had feet, elbows, and fists pushing out every which way, and the majority of it HURT. Not “made me feel uncomfortable”, but HURT. I was walking through Target getting groceries, and all of a sudden, there was such a hard kick to one of my organs that it literally took my breath away and I had to stop walking and bend over. It was like someone had just knocked the wind out of me.

I came home at around 6:30, and the continuous kicking had only been going on for 1.5 hours, but I was cranky and perplexed. His movement has come in small spurts before, but never this continuous. I googled “too much baby kicking” and arrived at message boards from moms at various stages of pregnancy, some worrying about whether low amniotic fluid was the cause of feeling all the movement. Many of them were at 36-38 weeks in their pregnancies, however, when the baby is getting close to 6-8 pounds. Gregory is not even at 30, and is half that weight.

I ran across other chat boards, with moms who had been trying to count kicks. “Count kicks? I’ll lose count once I reach the hundreds!” was my first panicked thought. Then someone wrote that her doctor said she should be feeling an average of at least 10-20 kicks per day.

I was stunned, and stared down at my belly, which was precisely at that moment swaying side to side, George-in-the-Jungle style. THIS IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION, PEOPLE. IT WAS LITERALLY SWAYING.

“Jesse.” I hissed. “We should be feeling about 10-20 kicks a day.”

“Hehe,” he LAUGHED. “I’ve felt him do that on a commercial break!”

I slumped on the couch, feeling sick, discouraged, but most of all, bruised. I wasn’t even hungry for dinner, I was so worn out from bracing myself for kick after kick.

That’s how I felt after about 2 hours. Imagine how cranky I was by 11pm.

And then there were the aerobics in the wee hours of the morning. Around 3am, when I had finally managed to fall asleep, I got such a sharp kick into my ribs that it made me sit straight up in bed, eyes wide open. I wanted to scream, “OWWWWWWWW!!!!!!” but instead I just cried. I felt such fear towards this baby, wondering what he was going to do next.  Aren’t small human beings supposed to need sleep, at some time in their lives? Please?

At this point, friends and family, you are probably thinking, “If she can’t handle this, she’s never going to make it through labor without pain medication.” While I have yet to go through it, I’ll tell you what would be different about labor. While this wasn’t as painful, it did go on for 12 hours straight. There was also the thought in my mind that he was never going to stop. Meaning, this was to be my life for the next 2 months.

I’ve explained this to Courtney before– I’m a sprinter. Give me a tough college Hell week of no sleeping, 80 pages of writing,  4 Finals, 2 Presentations and Graduation ceremonies (not…that…I’ve…ever…done…that…me?), and I’ll make it through.

But if I had to do that for weeks or months? Not so much. That was probably the worst part about the first trimester morning sickness. It was never extreme, never made me vomit, but it was so continuous and unrelenting for weeks. Just long enough to make the transition from “nightmare you are going to wake up from” into “this is my life, it will never get better!!”

I slept all day today to make up for  all the missed sleep, but I’m dreading tonight. People talk about 3rd Trimester sleeplessness, due to things like heartburn, aching joints and back, and the urge to pee every two hours. I’ve got all those, and still manage to sleep pretty well.

No one mentioned that I could be up all night getting kicked to death. Why didn’t anyone tell me?

What do you think?

Have you heard this 8 year old girl from America’s Got Talent? She could get a job at an opera house already! Such perfect pitch, it’s amazing.

2 years later, auditioning on America’s Got Talent: