Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Introducing...

Henry Nicholas

{Brand New.  Photo from Annie Groves photography}

Born May 23rd
11:32 p.m.
8 lb. 2 oz.




It shouldn't have taken me so long to post that Henry was born, but I guess I didn't exactly have a "typical" labor.  I don't know.  I'm no labor expert.  All I know is that it was LONG and REALLY hard.  It took a couple of days to recover from that and we are still getting used to each other, parenting, and the joys of waiting for milk to come in.

Anyway, I am hoping that as we adjust I will be able to write some posts about everything that happened and how we are currently doing.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Maternity Leave

40 weeks and 4 days.  Still no baby.  And my boss (aka my father) told me I am done working starting today.  At least for a little while.

One inevitable thing that eventually comes up when you have a baby... what happens with your job?

Are you going to keep working?  Will you become a SAHM?  What are you doing for maternity leave?

Sometimes people ask.  Sometimes they don't.  But I think everyone is curious.  At least other women are always curious.  I know in my time as a blogger I have read several posts about new mom's plans regarding working and their new baby.

As a professional and business owner, I've had to juggle a lot of feelings regarding maternity leave and being a working mom.  One thing that  I know for sure is that being a stay at home mom for me isn't in the cards for me.  A huge part of me is insanely jealous of those moms that get to stay home with their kids all day.

I know maternity leave is important.  Not only will I physically need the time to heal from having the baby, but the baby and I will need the time to bond and work out this whole feeding and sleeping thing.  Even though I know these things, a part of me feels really guilty when it comes to maternity leave.  A part of maternity leave means that I won't be there to do my job.  And that means that someone else will have to do the tasks I would normally perform at my job.  Maybe this wouldn't be a big deal for most people.  But because I work with my dad and he and I are the only engineers, that means my dad has more work to do.

And that makes me feel guilty.

He already is the hardest working person at the company and now he has to work more because I am going to be home on maternity leave.

On the flip side, I know several women who get  months of paid maternity leave.  Their jobs actually pay them to stay home with their babies while someone else does their job.

And then there are some people I work with who have referred to maternity leave as a "vacation".  Pretty sure that recovering from pushing a human out of my body, feeding him, and bonding with him is not a vacation.  But then again, that's what you get when you work with men.  It reminds me of the following quote from Friends:



Rachel: What do you mean, you're taking over my job.
Gavin: Well, while you were on your baby vacation, I was *doing* your job.
Rachel: A vacation? My idea of a vacation does not involve something sucking on my nipples until they are raw.
Gavin: Clearly you've never been to Sandal's Paradise Island.

Or you can watch the video HERE.  It starts at about 36 seconds.

The fact that I work in a very male dominated industry doesn't help either.  I'm not sure many of the people I work with are used to an engineer being gone for long periods of time.  It's usually the engineer's wife that has the baby, not the engineer.  It's almost like I feel as if being a woman and needing maternity leave makes me less of an employee.  Like it is baggage or something.  I have no idea why I feel that way.

And I wonder if I would have the same feelings of guilt if I worked with a majority of women, instead of men.

I have shared these feelings with a few women I know and they have done their best to assure me that maternity leave is nothing to feel guilty about.  I guess there are some Scandinavian countries where women get like 2 years of paid maternity.  It's just in our country that we don't value women and childbirth.

In terms of my maternity leave... we will be playing it by ear.  I'm fairly certain I won't be having a traditional maternity leave period.  I will be working to a certain extent, whether that be from home or whatever.  And the whole time, I'll be doing my best to eliminate any guilt I may be feeling.  As my mom told me, moms always feel guilty, no matter what they do.  They feel guilty if they work.  They feel guilty if they don't.  

But after everything it took to get us here, I know I will be enjoying the time with my baby.  That is for sure.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Letter

To my baby boy,

I've attempted to write you letters several times during this pregnancy, but the words would never come.  From the very beginning, your existence has been too good to be true.  I was starting to feel like your daddy and I weren't meant to be parents the traditional way, or maybe at all.  There really wasn't a day that went by that my heart didn't ache for a family, for you.

{amazing photography by Annie Groves Photography}


Even though I knew I needed to be patient, to wait to be through with thyroid cancer so we could move forward, each day felt like forever.  Every time I heard of someone else being pregnant or having a baby, I would get angry.  I was mad it was so easy for them when it was so hard for me.  I was upset I had to have cancer.  I was disabled by how unfair the situation felt.  I couldn't understand why I was being kept from you.

And then I got a feeling.  I got my scan and blood test results both back on Tuesday.  By Thursday, I was pretty sure I was pregnant.  On Friday, I knew you were in my belly.

{amazing photography by Annie Groves Photography}


There are no words to describe how happy, excited, and overjoyed your daddy and I were.  You are the answer to our prayers and your timing couldn't have been more perfect.  Almost the second your existence was ok, you were with us.  It's as if God knew we couldn't wait any longer for you.

{amazing photography by Annie Groves Photography}


As excited as I am to meet you, a part of me is nervous for you to be born.  For the last 9 months, it has been you and me.  You've been with me every second of every day, with gentle (and not so gentle) kicks and rolls.  Constant reminders of the gift from God that you are and how lucky I am.  You're especially active during meetings, which makes me smile.  And when I start to feel nervous about how you're doing, you always move, letting me know that you're alright.  After you're born, I'll have to share you with everyone else.  I won't be able to keep you safe one hundred percent of the time and I worry for how the world will treat you.

{amazing photography by Annie Groves Photography}


There are so many prayers and hopes I have for you, little boy.  I pray you'll have your daddy's kind soul and good manners.  I pray you'll be smart and make good choices.  I pray you'll have empathy for others.  I pray you'll constantly look for the good in the world and ways you can make it better.  I pray you'll find your passion in life and work towards it.  I pray you'll find a nice person to marry and share your life with.  I pray that every day you know how much your daddy and I love you.  I pray I can be the mother you deserve me to be.  I pray that you will continue to be a gift from God to the world, just as you've been a gift from God to us.

You are my dream come true and I can't wait to meet you.


Love,

Your Momma


PS - Today is your official due date.  It's time to come out.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The dreaded "I" word

Well, my appointment showed I had progressed to....

ZERO


And the little guy still hadn't budged down one tiny bit.

All that walking and the kid hadn't budged.

Even though I still have some time before I absolute HAVE to do it, it was time to start talking about the possibility of being induced.

Phil and I took a Bradley Method birth classes a few months ago.  For those of you not familiar with the Bradley Method (also called Husband coached childbirth) it basically teaches that you should avoid unnecessary medical inventions when it comes to giving birth.  As someone who is eager to avoid an epidural and/or c-section, this is right up my alley.

I'm not sure where my fear of the epidural and c-section come from.  Maybe it is because I feel like I've had enough stuff done to my body lately.  My last body scan had me laying on a curved board for over an hour, during which I lost the feeling in my arms and legs and it FREAKED me out.  I did not like the feeling one bit.  I felt a little trapped in my own body.  The idea of having that done with an epidural just doesn't sound appealing I guess.

I'm not saying I'm going to have a natural childbirth.  I have no idea what childbirth will feel like and whether or not I will be able to handle the pain well or have the energy to sustain a long labor.  But I wanted to make sure I had all the tools possible to give me a fighting chance.  And I reserve the right to change my mind at any point, without judgement.  :)

Anyway, "induction" is kind of a dirty word in the Bradley arena.  It's not as bad as episiotomy which is basically another word for "the devil" but it is spoken with a bit of distaste in the mouth.  I think everyone is aware that Pitocin can be a bit of a game changer.

So a small part of me cringes a little at the idea of being induced.  But since this child is currently planning on starting his first day of preschool in my womb, it is a reality.  And we kind of decided that if we set an induction date, then we probably wouldn't need it (Murphy's Law).

May 26th

I will be 41 weeks and 1 day.

I feel like that is long enough to be pregnant.  I will have given it the good college try when it comes to getting this baby out naturally.  My dues will have been paid.  If the other women in my Bradley class want to judge, too bad because they have ALL had their babies already (insert jealous screams and crying fits).

Now that we have a date set, I feel so much better.  While the thought of having to be pregnant another 9 days kind of makes me want to cry, it also gives me 9 days to get him out on my own.  And it gives me 9 more days to get mentally prepared for what an induction could entail.  Get into a zen-like place.

I'm off to meditate.

9 more days, TOPS.


PS - Any comments about how awful inductions are and should be avoided like the plague are NOT welcome.  Seriously... why would you think I would want to hear that at this point?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

39.5 weeks

I'm feeling especially brave today.  I must be feeling brave to post this picture:


{Hello swollen fingers and wrists.  And yes... 
it takes a lot of focus to take a picture sometimes.}


It's either that or I have just stopped caring.  Plus the phone is strategically placed in front of my ever-swelling face so that helps. (SIDE NOTE: I had 2 pictures up and deleted one of them so obviously my bravery is failing fast.)

And I needed to put up the pictures before my doctor's appointment this afternoon.  If I get more great news like I did last week, I'll probably be curled up in a ball crying tonight.  :)  At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if my child had constructed a steel gate at my cervix so he doesn't have to come out.  I mean, I've always prided myself on being a good hostess, but this is getting a little ridiculous.

I was feeling fairly discouraged this weekend because I did absolutely NOTHING that could be considered nesting.  I sat and napped and made mental lists of all of the things I should be doing, everything that needed to be done before we had a baby and had a bunch of people coming over to our house.  But I have ZERO motivation to actually get any of it done.  And I've heard that women usually get a big surge of nesting right before they go into labor, so I had come to the following conclusion:

no nesting = no baby

Dang.

But there is a glimmer of hope.  Last night I organized the DVDs, dusted, and folded laundry.  Then I woke up this morning and decided that I HAD to clean the bathroom before I got in the shower.

So even if I am not nesting, at least my bathroom is sparkling.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Birthday Cotton!

My puppy is no longer technically a puppy.










He's still a puppy to me.  :)

Happy Birthday Cotton!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fort Knox

I used to be a total morning person.  We are talking "go to the gym at 5 in the morning" type of morning person.  For the past year and a half (thanks thyroid), I can't get my lazy bones out of the bed to save my life.

But for the past couple of weeks, the thought of rolling over one more time is just too much to handle.  So I've been getting up at more of a morning person appropriate time.

That meant 5:50 this morning.

So I got ready, made breakfast and did some laundry.  Because I'm crazy like that.  And then I still got to work 20 minutes early.  Just in time to find out that my coworker's wife had had her baby.

Insert insane bits of jealousy.  I managed to not cry, so we will count it as a win for me.

At this point, I feel pretty bad for Phil.  You see... I had a doctor's appointment yesterday.  And while I was hoping to hear, "Oh my gosh!  Your baby is practically half-way birthed!" instead I heard, "The baby has actually gone further up than down and your uterus is like Fort Knox."

Ok that's not really what she said.  But that's basically the message I took away.

But you know the doctor knows it's not the best news to tell a very pregnant woman when she also follows the "you're not dilated at all" news with several lines of "this doesn't mean labor is far away" and "I just had a mom in your same situation" type of statements.

The main remedy?  Brisk walking.

So that's what Phil and I did last night.  He took ahold of both dogs and we went for the longest walk to the pharmacy ever.  We must have been quite the sight to see.  And if I had been thinking about anything other than my ascending child, I probably would have taken some pictures.  Basically, it was me waddling down the sidewalk as fast as my swollen feet would go with Phil essentially cross-country skiing with our dogs that act like they have never been on a leash in their lives.  Taylor also managed to poop like 4 times, each time just as we were too far away from a garbage can to justify going back.

We are never taking both of them on a walk again.

So after we returned home, Phil got to deal with his super swollen, sweaty, emotional "I'm going to be pregnant forever" wife.  I'm sure it is just what he needed with the week we've had.

The plus side... my coworkers have been commenting on how well I am handling the end of my pregnancy.  So at least I am able to hold together some professional demeanor in the work place.  And that's good because I'm about to start wearing sweatpants and Phil's shirts to work.

If you need me, I'll be out walking/waddling.

PS - If you google "pregnant forever" you'll get a lot of pictures of Jessica Simpson.  Like this one:


That strangely makes me feel better.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A hard week

This has been a tough week.  And it's only Wednesday.

I don't want to get into too many details at the moment, but basically we received some not great news about Phil's Dad.  (I haven't written about it in a while, but for those who are new:  Phil's dad was diagnosed with Liver Cancer in August of 2010).

On top of the normal anxiety of dealing with having our first child and Phil working his butt off to finish his dissertation, this HUGE thing happened too.  It is almost too much to process all at once.

That's kind of how life has felt ever since we got married.

-  We got married.

-  2 months later Phil's dad's liver ruptures.  He has Liver Cancer.

-  Phil and I decide a few months later we want to start trying to have a baby.

-  6 months later we find out we are fertilly challenged.

-  2 months after that my nodules are found.

-  We spent the next 6 months trying to figure out if I had cancer.  Turns out, I had cancer.

-  2 surgeries.

-  Radioactive iodine and whole body scan.

-  2 months later, new doctor orders neck ultrasound.

-  Ultrasound leads to more tests.  Tests come back clean.

-  Our little miracle happens.

-  All the while, Phil works like crazy to finish his PhD.


So Phil and I have spent the last couple of days just trying to process the news about his dad.  Regardless of the things that have happened since we got married, it's hard to know exactly what to do with not great health news about a loved one.  But on top of everything else, it feels compounded almost.  It feels like we are barely able to shake one huge thing and another rains down.

As we have sat and talked over the last couple of days, there has been this strange dichotomy of emotions.  Complete sadness over the fact that Phil's dad's cancer has gotten worse and then total joy when our son gives a giant kick.  Life and death so close together.

We are doing alright.  Thankfully we have a huge support system around us.  My family loves Phil probably more than they love me (can't blame them, he's awesome).  And my friends are pretty much the best.  And we have the added distraction of trying almost anything to get this baby out so we can meet him.

But it has been a hard week.  I'm ready for Friday.  And labor.

We appreciate your prayers and support.  It means a lot.  And hopefully I'll have more of an update soon.


PS - Reason #8593 to have a dog.  Cotton didn't leave Phil's side when he was upset.  He was a total sweetheart and just cuddled with us for hours.  This picture is old, but you get the idea.

Monday, May 6, 2013

What to Expect...



When the movie What to Expect When You're Expecting first came to the theaters, Phil and I vowed we would not be seeing it.  It was in the middle of my cancer stuff and the moratorium on my uterus.  We weren't sure if we were ever going to be able to have kids and seeing that movie just seemed like a means of torture.

Of course everyone and their dog saw the movie.  Or at least it seemed like it.  And they RAVED about it.  So after I found out I was pregnant and the movie came out on DVD, I figured I could probably watch it.  But Phil and I never got around to it.  I almost watched it with some girlfriends once, but we ended up sitting around and talking the whole time instead (always the best alternative).

Last week, I noticed the movie was on Netflix and figured this was a sign that I should finally watch it (since I wouldn't have to actually GO rent it).  After some Mexican food take-out and a nap yesterday, Phil and I sat down and watched the whole thing.

I hated it.

It was like watching my every fear played out on the screen before me.

-  The couple who takes 2 years to get pregnant (sounds familiar) finally gets pregnant only to find a relative who got pregnant SUPER easy and has the easiest of pregnancies ends up having to have a C-section and almost dies.  Like I needed that in my head right before I give birth.

-  The couple adopting who struggle with the idea of getting ready for the baby.  And then when they finally go get him, J. Lo says, "I've been waiting for you."  Pretty much exactly how I feel about this baby who is refusing to be born.  Like at 38 weeks pregnant I needed a reason to cry?

-  The couple who has a miscarriage.  Thankfully I have not experienced having a miscarriage.  But I know people how have and it was almost a debilitating fear I had for the first 13 weeks of my pregnancy.  I honestly stopped exercising because I was afraid I was going to do something wrong.

The only redeeming aspect of the whole movie was the Dad's Club.

I'm not sure that people who haven't experienced challenges when it comes to having babies can ever fully understand the kind of pain and loss that comes with it.  And even though we are lucky enough to get to experience a normal, healthy pregnancy, it will never erase all the struggle that came with getting here.  Personally, I think it has made me a more compassionate and empathetic person.  And there is no doubt in my mind that it has changed the way I will parent my kids.

But I hated the movie.  Just thought I'd share.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Five Things Friday

Apparently I only blog twice a week right now.  I'm not proud of it, but what can you do?


1.  So remember how I started this super quick blanket?  The pattern maker said it only takes her about 11 or 12 hours to finish the blanket.  So far, it has taken me DAYS.  I'm still not done.  Granted, I am making mine a little bigger than the pattern called for, but still.  Geez.  However, it looks really good and I know it will be a very cozy, warm blanket for the little guy if I ever do finish and if he ever does come out of my uterus.


2.  Through some unique and super clever brainwashing by my mom, I have discovered I have this compulsive habit when it comes to eating vegetables.  I have to eat them first.  No matter what.  And I have to eat all of them.  I need to figure out what trick she used to get me to do this so I can make sure to use it on all of our kids.


3.  I text messaged Joanna last week and asked her if when she was pregnant with Braxton (who was born about 3-ish weeks early) she felt like pregnancy would never end.  Her response:

"No because he came so early I never really felt that way."

Yeah I'm not talking to her anymore.

Just kidding.  I talk to her all the time.  I love her too much.  :)


4.  Phil and I are starting to get a little nervous about how the dogs will react after the baby comes.  Actually, we are just nervous that Cotton and his energy will wake the baby up.  A lot.  In a way, maybe it will be a good thing.  The baby will have to learn how to sleep through noise.  But if Cotton causes the baby or I to lose sleep, he will be in BIG trouble.

There is one solution... exercise the heck out of Cotton.  Thankfully the weather finally starting to be amazing here.  The doggies are going to get a lot of walks and park time.  In a way if feels like we are rewarding naughty puppy behavior.  But he can't help it.  He has more energy than he knows what to do with.  Plus, they look like this after they are properly exhausted:



5.  I'm racking my brain to think of anything else at all interesting that happened this week...  I've got nothing.  I suppose that is what happens when you wake up, go to work, come home and then basically go to sleep.  Tonight, we are going to David's T-ball game which should be nothing short of adorable.  I love watching little kids try to manage equipment that is technically too big for them.


I hope everyone has a great weekend!  Maybe next week I'll have a baby?  I can dream, right?
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