The State of Things

For those who might be interested, here is where things stand:

-Today I am 35 weeks pregnant. At this point in my last pregnancy, Simon had just been born. I have been a little nervous the past few weeks, waiting to see if my preeclampsia will repeat itself this time. So far, so good. But my blood pressure has been inching its way up, so it is still possible that it will happen again. I am doing everything within my power to keep it down: protein, a gallon of water a day, supplements, and exercise.

My mind is often my worst enemy. I battle negative thinking, but feel I have been victorious lately. It's easy to dwell on regrets... like every time I've taken spoon to ice cream in the past 8 months, and my whole first trimester when I ate poorly and exercised rarely. If I were to be diagnosed preeclamptic again, it would be so tempting to beat myself up based on those regrets. Recently, though, I have resolved to stay positive, forgiving, and objective. A second preeclamptic pregnancy may just mean that I am predisposed to the condition, not that I am an utter failure as a pregnant woman. I am doing the best that I can, at this moment in time, and I hope that I'll be able to recognize that in the face of disappointment, if it happens again. At least I made it this far complication-free. So already I've done better than last time. Yea, me!

-For being 35 weeks, and compared to last time, I feel fantastic. Sciatic pain makes a very rare appearance these days, and even some back pain I was experiencing during sleep has magically diminished. Sometimes I even find myself forgetting that I am pregnant, or thinking that I don't look or feel too big, that is until I bump my stomach on a doorknob or some other object that never used to interfere with normal movement around the house. With Simon I had miserable backpain for the last few months, and Nate would dutifully rub my back each night. My lack of aches and pains at this point is astonishing to me, and no doubt a testament to all the exercise I've been doing. Especially the yoga. Yoga is magical; you should try it.

-A homebirth is still the plan, though certainly not a guarantee at this point. Thirty-seven weeks is the earliest my midwives would deliver me at home, and then only if my blood pressure is behaving. Next week, on the advice of my midwife, I am going to start taking some supplements that are supposed ripen me up, if you will, and possibly convince my body to go into labor. I am hopeful that they will work, and that we will have a little baby in our arms around June 14 instead of June 27. There are a couple of reasons to wish for a slightly early end to this pregnancy. First, it would give my blood pressure less time to go haywire. Also, I am fairly sure that this baby, if he goes a full 40 weeks, will be a whooper. Simon was 6 lb 2 oz, quite big for being 5 weeks early. And I'd much rather push out an 8 pounder than a 9 pounder, or a 9 pounder than a 10 pounder, etc. You get the idea.

Simon and I went to Ikea last week to collect some of the homebirth supplies. We got a cartful of cheap towels, washcloths, and bedsheets. All of these will be disposed of after being used to clean up my baby juices. We've also purchased a new flashlight and ordered a special kit at the request of the midwives. I know it contains a huge plastic sheet, but the other contents are a mystery. All I know is they told me to order it, and I did. So, despite the uncertainty of actually having a homebirth, we are prepared. All we'll have to do is put on the pot of boiling water!

-We have inundated Simon with books and videos about new babies. Most are aimed at kids, like the Sesame Street production, "Three Bears and a New Baby." Some are not really intended for the toddler set, as they show live-action vaginal births. But I want him to be prepared for what he might see. I really want him to be there, if he feels comfortable. And what better way to make him feel comfortable than to bombard him with images of gooey, bloody, crowning babies? So far, he hasn't seemed disturbed or frightened at all. He just says, "Here comes the baby!" very matter-of-factly. I'm hoping that these images will help the birth seem very normal to him, so that he won't be too scared to stay. The only thing that concerns me is that the women on these videos are suspiciously quiet while they push. So I always tell him, "This is what mommy will look like when she pushes out our baby. Except mommy might make very loud noises, like this." And then I try pathetically to conjure up my best primal birthing cry. I'm no actress, so it is no easy task. My fake groans are nothing compared to the real thing, but I figure any preparation I can give him is better than none.

People always ask if Simon is excited about the baby. It strikes me as a weird question... I guess because a three year old's version of excitement is so different than our own. Excitement for him is a flash in the pan moment of joy. Like, oh, we're going to the park now! Or, oh, I get to see my grandma today! I don't think prolonged excitement exists in a toddler's psyche. He does talk about the baby a lot, though, and it always seems positive... indifferent at the least. He doesn't seem scared or angry about having a new baby. Only time will tell how he will react to a very real brother Theo, and not just an idea.

-Last but not least, I finished the stripes. They are still far from perfect, so please don't come over here and examine them. But I fixed the ones that were most bothersome to me. Big sigh of relief. Now I'm really ready for this baby to get here.



On Mother's Day, a Tribute to my Baby Daddy

It's 6:40 am here in the WuKids house, and Nate is still sleeping soundly, despite the noise Simon and I are making. He is a very tired guy, and with good reason.

The past few months he has been pulling more weight than usual around the house. My mom asked if he was going to cook for me on Mother's Day, and I said, "Well, maybe, but he does that every day." She was amazed. I guess I should be too, but it's hard to keep up that level of amazement when you experience this treatment every day.

Nate has been so completely supportive during this pregnancy, especially these last few months as things get physically harder for me. Like I mentioned, he cooks dinner each and every night. He's also doing all of the shopping these days. Anything that gets dropped on the floor during the day stays there until he gets home to pick up, since bending over is so uncomfortable for me now. He bathes and puts Simon to bed each night. These are all jobs that he may have done before, but now he does them EVERY SINGLE DAY, without variation, without a break.

Even before he started taking on more and more household duties, he was exhibiting the traits that so amaze my mother, but that I probably take for granted. Back in October, he was understanding of and soon joined my relentless campaign to make another baby NOW. He never flinched when I brought up the harebrained idea of a homebirth, just thoughtfully considered it, and eventually agreed to my burning desire.

Some people envision marriage as a 50-50 partnership, but in my view that's all wrong. I agree with the partnership part, but the ratio is constantly in flux. Each partner gives all that they can at a given moment. Right now is one of those times that Nate is carrying most of the load in our partnership, and he does so without a guarantee, or even the expectation, that things will be back to 'normal' someday. At this point in my life, this man is what I need more than anything else: a good and reliable partner. You should all be so lucky.
Happy Mother's Day, Daddy!


Weird Shit on Amazon

Today I was shopping for some books and videos to prepare Simon for the upcoming birth. It was a fairly painstaking search, as I wasn't aware of any titles I should be looking for. Books were easy, but videos were a little tougher. Under the "VHS and DVD" category, I searched for "birth" and then for "baby." I found a few things that I think will help Simon, but I also noticed some odd selections. Wanna see?

Visual Bible for Kids: Birth of Jesus. Hmmm... didn't realize they caught that one on tape.

Miracle of Survival: The Birth of Israel. Only one of many, many offerings about the birth of Israel. Who knew Israeli propaganda had its own genre?

Dumpster Baby.

Kill, Baby, Kill. I'm sure both of these are just standard horror flicks, but their titles really stood out at the time. On the list of results for "baby," they were surrounded by oodles of Baby Einstein, Baby Genius, and Bi-Lingual Baby videos. I never realized there were so very many ways to boost my child's IQ by sticking him in front of the TV.

Praise Baby: Born to Worship. One in a series of videos to indoctrinate your children from the moment they leave the womb.

Baby Irish: Raising Tomorrow's ND Fan Today! Indoctrination of a different sort. But, no doubt, just as important.

That is all for today. Please note that none of these titles are on our Amazon wishlist.


Because I'm completely batshit crazy

How do these stripes look to you? Good? Straight? Neat? Yeah, I thought you might say that.

Unfortunately, I just cannot see them that way. To me they are messy, messy, messy, and they have been for the entire year since we moved in here. I've always meant to get around to touching them up, and have now given myself a deadline: the stripes must be neat before the baby's arrival. Of course, I didn't work on them much in during my first or second trimesters, probably because it's not really a fun task, and because I am capable of prioritizing on some level. So now we are three to eight weeks (depending on the state of my blood pressure) away from baby day, most of the other items on my to do list have been accomplished, and I am putting in an hour a day on these goddamned stripes. I'm enormously pregnant, on a ladder, painstakingly touching up the edges of these stripes. I can recognize that it is ridiculous, but I'm unable to stop. I must continue. I must perfect the lines.

It won't help for you to say that they look great, that you can't even see the sloppiness I'm talking about, that no one ever looks that close, and that I should stop already. All of these things have been said. But I don't care. I will proceed with this utterly tedious task until it is complete.

Don't try to stop me. I don't want to have to poke you in the eye with my paintbrush.


Southern Illinois. For real.

Sometimes people refer to anything south of Chicago as "Southern Illinois." I find this mildly irritating, having grown up in Central Illinois and made many, many trips to Southern Illinois in my lifetime, to visit my paternal grandmother. She lives in Harrisburg, which is honest to goodness the southern tip of the state. I have a special love for the area, as I lived there for two years with my Grandma during college.

We made a quick trip down and back this weekend. The only quick part was the actual visit at Grandma's house. The drive was not so quick, at about 6 hours each way. I really wanted to make the trip before we got too close to the baby's arrival. It will probably be another six months before we see Grandma or Southern Illinois again.

I may have more to say about the trip later. For now, enjoy these amazing pictures that Nate took while we were down there. Who knew I'd married such a fucking artistic genius?
Of course, having the world's most beautiful subject doesn't hurt.