Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weighing In

The entire Tillman family is watching their weight these days. Some of us are watching it go up, others are hoping it will go down.

Jack had his two week check up on Sunday. He weighed in at 9 lbs., 15 oz. Just once ounce shy of 10 lbs. I should have made him nurse another minute or two longer before we left for the doctor! I'm still in shock over the size of my son. Leading right up until the day before Jack was born, I got a lot of comments about how small my baby belly was. Generally they ranged from "You're so tiny" to "You carry so well" to "You're the kind of girl other pregnant women want to kick" (that was from my dental hygienist) to "You're the kind of person who's going to have lots of kids!" (my husband loved that one).

Here's some perspective:

This is a picture of me at 38 weeks pregnant. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of me at 39 weeks, because I was too lazy to do my hair and make-up that day. I was planning to take a picture the next day but ended up going into labor instead.


And this is a picture of my mom on the way to the hospital to have me, at somewhere around 42-43 weeks. I think I weighed 8'4" but I'm not sure, that whole day was kind of a blur for me. :)


Anyway, the old Janine, the one that was around before getting pregnant, would probably have been annoyed. The old Janine was really looking forward to being "hugely pregnant." Old Janine was also very impractical and not thinking clearly. New Janine, on the other hand, was very grateful for a lil' baby belly. New Janine realizes that the less she put on while pregnant means the less she has to lose now that the baby is born. The real question, at that time, was do I attribute that tiny belly to a tiny baby, or to Mrs. Miracle, my childhood gymnastics instructor, who instilled these rock hard abs that have been working overtime to hold my uterus back? Well, Jack has proven that he's not so tiny. And I'm happy to report that my ex-gymnast-belly is just about back to normal (my hips and rear are a completely different story!). For those of you who want to know but don't want to ask - so far I've lost 22 of the 39 lbs. I gained while pregnant. That was the easy part, now the real work begins.

Jon has weigh-ins this week at work, so he's also watching what he eats and trying to work off those "sympathy pounds" he gained during the pregnancy. He has also registered for the Shamrock Half Marathon in March. I HATE to run, but Jack and I will definitely be there cheering him on! Meanwhile, I'm going to keep feeding "Tank" here in the hopes that he'll take on some of that weight that I no longer need.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jack has the hiccups

They say if your baby had hiccups a lot in the womb, he'll have them a lot outside of the womb. I think this is true for Jack. Jon didn't believe me back when I would point out the rhythmic tapping in my belly, but he definitely believes me now. Poor Jack gets the hiccups several times a day. I think he finds the whole ordeal somewhat annoying. It's also one of the few times I can catch him awake on camera. So here is a little video for you all to enjoy.
video

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The road to recovery

<Addendum

I am amazed at how resilient the human body is, or at least a woman's body, after pregnancy. I always wondered how long it would take to feel like myself again. Of course, two weeks later, it's still a little hard to tell since the lack of sleep kind of leaves me in a fog all day. But that night I was full of energy! I was able to start nursing Jack soon after the delivery, and the three of us spent the next few hours hanging out together while waiting to be moved to post-partum.
We made a few calls to our family who we knew were up and waiting by the phone, and I sent out a text message to a bunch of our friends with the good news. Surprisingly, a number of people wrote back. Who knew that so many people responded to text messages at 3am? After things had settled down and I was allowed out of bed my first mission was to find some food! Oddly, none was available at that hour. But Jon was able to scrounge up half a Power Bar and Nurse Juanita was able to find me a can of ginger ale. Which brings me to my new love.
Those who know me well are aware of my inclination for caffeinated beverages, more specifically tea and coke. It really has nothing to do with the caffeine, I just love the taste. I made some major cut backs early on in the pregnancy, but since most doctors agree that 300mg or less of caffeine a day is fine, I became less strict as the months wore on. But now that I'm a nursing mama, and I enjoy as much sleep as possible at night, I'm trying to find some alternatives to my favorites, ergo we now stock the fridge with ginger ale and I'm able to enjoy a cup of hot decaf tea, as long as it's got plenty of milk and sugar. Chocolate is another story, I'm craving it more now than I ever did while pregnant!

So anyway, we finally got moved to our new room around 4am. I thought this would be the end of the night for us and the beginning of some rest, but the nurses had a different idea. Soon after we arrived they came in to give us the low-down on our stay. I soon learned to expect nurses in the room about every hour or so. Between the pediatric checks for Jack and the vital checks for me, it was impossible to get any rest. But I don't think I could have slept anyway. As soon as the galley opened at 6:30am I was on the phone ordering breakfast. This was my first hospital stay since being born myself, so I was pretty impressed with free meals, especially the celebratory steak and sparkling cidar, and I especially enjoyed the adjustable bed, although it was pretty squeaky. Jon, on the other hand, got to enjoy sleeping on the convertible chair. All in all, I have to say the the staff took very good care of us, even if that care always occured right when I was trying to fall asleep.
That afternoon we had our first visitors, and Jon changed his and Jack's first poopy diaper. Really, I never knew I would get so excited about burps and poopy diapers. Jon also got peed on. I'm proud to say that while this kind of incident has befallen Jon on several occasions, it has yet to happen to me! Also, that evening Jack got to meet his Marmie and Poppa for the first time. The consensus that first day was that he looked more like me. But since then, most people agree that he definitely takes after Jon. Especially after looking at Jon's baby pictures. I'm beginning to wonder if, in addition to all those other hormones circulating my body, that there are also super-energy hormones that get released after having a baby. While I was somewhat worn out with all the activity of the night before, I felt fantastic that first day in the hospital. Then came the first night, and Jon and I soon realized that our dyatime quiet and sleepy little boy loves to be held all night long. It's frustrating as a new parent, when you can't get your baby to calm down yourself, but ironically, everytime the nurses would bring him back from a check-up, he would be sleeping soundly in his little bed. I think it had something to do with the swaddle. Those nurses were pros. For some reason I could never get it tight enough. The first night Jack loved being completly swaddled. By the second day he only like being swaddled on his lower half, with his arms free, and by the time we got home he didn't care to be swaddled at all. It was then that I realized how quickly my baby would be growing up!

The next day Jack has his hospital photos taken. He refused to open his eyes for the photo op, but he did manage to flash a few gangsta signs for the camera. We didn't order any prints (for obvious reasons) but you can few the photos here - http://www.our365.com/NewbornPortraits/BabyDetail.aspx?birthid=3778a989-da0b-4392-8803-fb30722488bf.
Although I was feeling great and Jack had had more than enough pee and poop diapers to satisfy the doctors, they made us stay the full 48 hours after delivery before going home. And since the 48 hour mark ocurred in the middle of the night, we had to wait until the next morning to be released. We were very ready to get back to our own house and bed, and home-cooked meals by Marmie. Things have been going very well since then. And even though Jack still prefers to be held between the hours of 10pm and 4am, we feel very blessed to have such a great baby!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

20 minutes later

Part III

Within seconds I was sitting up in bed with both my legs thrown behind my ears. Okay, so not that bad but I remember thinking “good thing I used to be a gymnast” at this time. Nurse Juanita was at one side and Jon at the other, and with the next contraction she had me practice pushing while we waited for the doctor to arrive. Pushing was the BEST thing ever! I didn’t feel the pain of each contraction while pushing against it, not to mention the pure elation of knowing the end is almost here! And that whole “ring of fire” thing, well if it’s true I don’t remember it at all. I’ve also heard that your body releases memory hormones after you have a baby so that you don’t remember the pain of labor. I don’t know about the validity of this, but I would say it was true for me. It’s only been a week and a half since Jack was born and although Jon and I aren’t planning on having another baby anytime soon, I feel like I could do it all again. I should’ve wrote this up sooner while the experience was still fresh in my mind! Jon and I still “discuss” how many kids we’ll have (he wants 2-3, I want 4-5) I think he was secretly hoping I’d have a miserable childbirth experience and side with him. Well, not this time buddy!

Anyway, back to Jack’s birthday … it wasn’t long before the doctor (another young guy, I have no idea who he was), another doctor who was observing, and a corman (who I think was my little brother’s age) were at my feet. The end of the bed disappeared, the stirrups came up and they brought in a mirror so I could see what was going on (sorry if this is TMI for those of you who haven’t experience a childbirth). Apparently, I’m not such a great pusher. Nurse Juanita said I was too tense in my legs and neck and shoulders, and that I’d be sore tomorrow. Really. At this point, I could not care less about how sore my shoulders would be the next day, I had bigger things on my mind. So while I’m busy trying to relax and push at the same time, the doctor is trying to point out the head. My only concern was whether he had hair. I really wanted a baby with hair. The doctor said yes so I figured we could keep pushing. By the way, Dr. I-forget-his-name was fantastic! He may not have been my ideal, grandfatherly-like doctor, but he handled everything like he'd been doing it for the past 40 years, and he was a great coach too. Less than 15 minutes after he arrived, he told me Jack would be here with the next contraction. And 3 pushes later, at 1:39am, he was.

Jon got to watch the whole thing. I was a little jealous that I missed it (I think I had my eyes closed or something). I was pretty impressed with my husband. He’s the kind of guy who starts gagging and has to walk out of the room when I’m watching “A Baby Story” but he was completely enraptured with his son’s birth. He even had tears in his eyes.
As soon as Jack was born they laid him on my stomach and Jon cut the cord. I just remember thinking how warm he was, and heavy! Then they weighed him and everyone in the room was shocked to hear that he was 8 lbs., 14 oz. I don’t think anyone expected him to be that big, especially me! The room soon cleared out and it was just the three of us. It’s such an incredible feeling, holding your baby for the first time. He’s so beautiful, and not a day goes by when I don’t look at him and think what an amazing miracle and awesome blessing he is. Both Jon and I are so in love, our lives will never be the same!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The long night

Part II

Exit Nasty Nancy and enter Nurse Juanita. She was the best! Not only was she a sweet person, but she was totally supportive of me. She left Jon and I to ourselves for the most part, and only checked in when we needed her or when the alarms went off. Which was quite often. First, I had a blood pressure cuff that would randomly tighten on my arm, usually right in the middle of a contraction. My blood pressure is normally on the high-normal end, so it was no surprise that in the midst of this momentous and somewhat nerve-wracking occasion, it was slightly high. And just in case the nurses weren’t aware, every time the machine would check my blood pressure, and it would show up high, an alarm would go off. In addition, the piece attached to my finger would somehow monitor my oxygen levels. Apparently, I wasn’t breathing very well a few seconds before each contraction, because that would set off another alarm. Jon was constantly getting up out of his cozy chair by my side to push a bunch of buttons to make the noise stop. It was very annoying. I should have complained about it on the survey thing they made us fill out, but of course they would hand them to us at the end, while we’re holding our baby in our arms and the entire world is perfect. Naturally, I wouldn’t have anything bad to say at that moment!
Anyway, Juanita took good care of me. The contractions were really doing their job at this point. Jon had the TV on but I didn’t even notice what was going on around me. It took everything I had to get through each contraction, which were happening about every 2-3 minutes. Unfortunately, we never used all those great techniques we learned in childbirth class. I never made it to my “happy place” to relax. We didn’t even try to listen to music. There were no massages since that generally felt worse. No walking, no bouncing on a birth ball, no squatting which was disappointing because if you remember from my previous posts I was a really good squatter in class. For the most part, I just drifted off into oblivion in between contractions, and during contractions I would just breathe in and out as hard as I could until they went away. Jon was an awesome coach. He did a great job of rubbing my arm, shoving ice chips in my mouth and sneaking me a piece of his Power Bar when the nurse wasn’t looking. He also fell asleep in between contractions … and sometimes went a few more without waking up.
Labor is definitely painful, but it’s pain with a purpose. I think the key to a positive childbirth experience is knowing and understanding what your body is doing and why. There’s no fear when pain makes sense and you realize it’s only temporary. And I think that’s why Jon and I were able to enjoy this experience as much as we did, we knew that as long as things were going they way they were supposed to, as long as there were no complications, then there was nothing to fear. There was definitely a point when an epidural was very tempting. Around 9pm I began to think how much more pleasant this whole ordeal would be if I was only able to relax and enjoy the show. But instead I chose to stick it out. Jon and I aren’t “all natural” or anti-medicine type of people, in fact we really appreciated the hospital and staff and all they did for us, but it was important for me (I don’t think Jon cared either way) to try to go without drugs for the birth of our first child as long as everything was going well and neither Jack or nor I was in any danger. Unfortunately, right from the start I had to have penicillin and piticon. But I knew that my body was made for childbirth and that, at this point, there was no reason why we couldn’t have this baby without being numbed from the waist down. So I did it. I did it for people like Nasty Nancy who didn’t think I could (I hope she read up on my file when she checked in the next day!!), I did it for the amazing taxpayers who fully-funded Jack’s birth (as a thank you I’ll save you the $1000+ cost), and, on a more serious note, I did it because childbirth is what God has designed me to do and I didn’t want to miss out on one second of it!
Progress was somewhat slow, or at least it felt like it from my perspective. By 10pm I was 7 centimeters dilated and then, about 1 hour later, I was close to 9. The last hour was definitely the most difficult. At one point the contractions were coming so hard and fast that I wasn’t getting a break in between. I felt like my entire body was numb and then both my hands locked up and I couldn’t move them. I was trying hard not to panic but it was becoming more obvious that the end must be near. I’ve heard of “the urge to push” but I was never sure if it was a mind or a body thing. For me, it was definitely a body thing. During the strongest contractions my body started pushing even though I thought it was too soon. Finally, Nurse Juanita showed up at 1:10am and announced the best news I had heard since Nasty Nancy’s departure, I was complete and it was time to push!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ready ... or not

Part I in a multi-part series
October 11, 2008, 7:11am
"Honey, are you awake?"
"Yes."
"I think my water broke ... 5 hours ago."

And so, for the second time this year, my husband was awakened out of sweet slumber to some startling news.
Those of you who have spoken with me this past week were well aware that we were not expecting to have a baby this weekend. In fact, I was feeling so good and so "not ready to pop" that I was beginning to worry that Jack would end up being too overdue. A lot of people had been asking me lately if I was ready. Prepared, yes. Ready, not so much. Can you ever be ready for the birth of your first child? In thinking this over, I've come to realize the inappropriateness of the term "due date." It reminds me of library books, and then I start thinking of being "overdue" and paying fines. I think "estimated arrival date" or "suggested gestational age" may be more fitting. Jack was "due" today, October 17. But I'm not sure why, since babies are considered "term" at 37 weeks, and average pregnancies can last up to 42 weeks. That gives us 5 weeks to work with. Not knowing when the biggest moment of your life is going to take place can be somewhat nervewracking. But thanks to modern terminology, for the past 9 months we've been narrowly focused on that third weekend in October. And so, while we were prepared for baby's arrival at any moment, we really weren't ready. In fact, we had actually planned against it. We had already invited one of Jon's Coastie friends to use our guest suite for the weekend, I had scheduled propsect visits during this week at work and was anticipating being there when my applicants official tests scores arrived and Jon had been procrastinating on his paper that was due this week. Also, at my last doctor's appointment the day before Jack was born, she had said I wasn't even a centimeter dilated and only 50% effaced, and I hadn't changed that whole past week. I still didn't know what a contraction felt like and to top it all off, the labor forecast left no indication of imminent parenthood for the weekend. (http://www.intellicast.com/Health/Labor.aspx)


And so Friday arrived with no pretense. Jon had been working overtime all week and doing homework in the evenings. He just wanted to relax and watch TV. I had been home all day and was bored out of my mind. So I vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, did laundry and baked his favorite cookies. It must've been the Lord that led Jon to bed early that evening. I, on the other hand, stayed up watching the news and playing solitaire. A typical Friday evening in the Tillman household. :)
I eventually went to bed only to be awakened at 2:30am to a funny feeling in my belly, followed by what must've been my water breaking since it didn't stop after going to the bathroom, and it didn't stop 4 hours later, and it didn't stop until 1:39am the next morning. You can imagine the first thoughts going through my mind (1) this cannot be real, (2) this isn't supposed to happen until next weekend! (3) what am I going to do about those prospect visits on Monday!!.
In all the things I've read and heard, I learned not to wake your husband when labor first begins because he's going to need that sleep later. I thought if I moved around enough he might wake up on his own. He didn't. So I laid in bed waiting for contractions to start, then I watched TV waiting for contractions to start, then I did some emails for working hoping contractions would really start, and then I started pacing the floor praying that the contractions would actually start to feel like the real thing. Unfortunately, just like my sleeping husband, my muscles were out cold.
Finally, at 7:11am, he stirs, and I kindly break the news. At this point, I was getting a little worried. The doctors say to come in to Labor and Delivery right away if your water breaks because of risk of infection. While the concern is legit, I knew that if I wasn't progessing fast enough on my own that they would want to induce me. So I was stalling as long as possible, praying that things would get moving. Jon decided to use this time to balance our checking account, pack his bag, pick up snacks, get his hair cut, and send an email to his professor begging for an extension on that paper. This event was definitely not Hollywood movie worthy.
After almost 12 hours I called the hospital and they said that I really need to get in there right away. So we decided to go for a walk and get mama what might be her last fountain drink for a while. On the way to Seven 11 and back my contractions were averaging about 3-5 minutes apart, so even though they didn't really hurt and I could still keep walking through them, we were hopeful.
We left for the hospital, making phone calls the whole way and they took me back to the examination room. They strapped me up to monitors, ran some tests, determined that my water had truly broken and asked me a million questions for paperwork. Then I met my "doctor." An intern actually, and one of several doctors I met that evening, and yup, you guessed it. He definitely didn't look much older than me. Actually, when he walked into the room I started laughing. Dr. Wright was like, "What? ... you think I'm young don't you?" Well, it is a little awkward.
So anyway, he checked me and I was still barely 1 centimeter dilated and 50% effaced. This was pretty discouraging. Then I was informed that I would have to have pitocin since I wasn't progressing fast enough. According to my records, "the patient refused pitocin." Now, I don't know about that. I believe, "the patient kindly declined the doctor's offer of augmentation" would be more appropriate. Either way, I was offered a compromise of some bulb thing that will manual dilate you to perhaps 4 centimeters. To top it all off, I was then told that I had tested positive for Group B strep at my last doctor's appointment and had never been informed until then. This meant that I had to have an IV with penicillin immediately and throughout the whole labor. So much for laboring in the shower, on a birth ball or walking around.
I finally got checked into the labor room and met my nurse - Nancy, hitherto referred to as Nasty Nancy. The best news I heard all night, except that it was time to push, was that Nasty Nancy's shift ended at 7:00. So Nasty strapped me to the bed with about 5 different cords and tubes. I tried to explain to her that the doctor had told me I wouldn't need to be hooked up all the time so I could be mobile for labor, but she wouldn't have any of it. She also told me that I might not want an epidural now, but I'll be asking for one soon enough. At this point I started to get tears in my eyes. Nasty Nancy looks at me and says, "Is something wrong?" No Nasty, you've just completed ruined all my dreams of an ideal birth, no big deal. Since this was only the beginning of what I knew was to be a long night, I got myself together. I refused to be discouraged even when, a few minutes later she told me I had no choice but to have the pitocin since things hadn't progressed fast enough for the bulb. Pitocin is a form of Oxytocin, a natural hormone your body releases during labor to create contractions. The problem with pitocin is that it is given continuously through an IV pump, and usually will make the contractions stronger than natural contractions. The midwife in our childbirth class actually said that if you end up getting pitocin you'll probably end up with an epidural too. Especially since I would now require continous fetal monitoring and would not be able to get out of bed. So I had all this wondeful news running through my head. Once they got the bag hooked up, around 4:00, things really started moving. And Jon and I geared up for the long haul...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jack Lawrence Tillman

Family, friends and fans of Jack,

Our son decided to surprise us by arriving this weekend! Jack Lawrence Tillman was born at 1:39am on Sunday, October 12. He weighed a whopping 8 lbs., 14 oz. (we didn't believe it either) and is 21 inches long. We're all home now and doing super. My mommy adrenaline has reached its max, and after only 4 hours of sleep since early Friday morning, I'm about to crash. I promise full details on these past few days in the near future. In the meantime, here's a few pictures of the new love of our life:






More glamour shots at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2025928&l=dc8c4&id=30200541.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

No Fear

Remember this horrible fashion trend from back in the 90's? It's my new motto. Actually, I've had a lot of people ask me lately if I'm scared or nervous about the upcoming labor and delivery experience. Oddly enough, my response is "not really." This is not because I'm super confident in my motherly strengths and abilities, but simply because I have this personality flaw that causes me to focus so intently on the facts and details of an event that I tend to neglect the overall emotional experience. This is probably why I didn't get nervous on my wedding day, why I hardly remember either of my graduation ceremonies, or why I was more concerned with the actual departure schedule and flight pattern of my trip to England instead of thinking about the next 3 months living there. Like the other major events in my short lifetime, Jack's birth isn't much different. At this point all the logistical aspects of preparing for the big day have completely crowded out any thoughts of fear or panic. Maybe I'll start to get scared when the contractions hit, but until then, these are the "major" things I'm worried about:

Stretch Marks - I'm happy to report that I don't have any ... yet. I've been assuming all along that they would inevitably show up at some point, but now that I'm 39 weeks, and almost at the end of this pregnancy, it would drive me crazy if I got them now. Several people I know told me their's didn't show up until the final two weeks, so I'm holding my breath and lathering on twice as much cocoa butter, despite the mixed reviews on its effectiveness, just in case it really does work.

Water Breaking - Now I know that it's not common to have your water break before starting labor, nor is it normal to have your water break in a huge gush like the movies, but I still can't help but worry that maybe, just maybe, I'm going to be one of those in that rare minority who's water breaks with a gush in public. Please, no. That's all I'm going to say.

Timing - I'm not afraid that this baby is going to come too fast, or that I won't make it to the hospital on time. Quite the opposite really. I'm worried that I'm going to labor at home for as long as possible, leave for the hospital when the contractions get strong and fast, only to get there and be told that I'm only 2 cm and nowhere near ready to be admitted. If only labor was an exact science!

No room in the inn - When we took a tour of the labor and delivery suite at the hospital, it was like a ghost town. There were a few nurses hanging at the front desk, and one lone baby crying in the background, and absolutely none of the excitement and energy I was expecting. But I'm sure many of us have also heard that women tend to go into labor all at the same time. When my friend Tricia had her baby in this same hospital back in May, she said it was so full that some women were forced to labor out in the waiting area until a delivery room opened up. I'm fully-intending to make good use of those walk-in showers we saw on the tour, so I'd really like to have a rooom when I get to the hospital.

The Doctor - I haven't met any of the doctors at the Navy hospital. I go to all my appointments at a clinic on a different base, and have only met with nurses and midwives. I have this image in my head of the ideal obstetrician - a grandfatherly-like fellow with a soft voice and years of experience. But if you've ever seen an episode of "Special Delivery" on Discovery Health that took place at a military hospital, you may have noticed that there are never any characters that resemble my favored image. So my big fear here is that the guy standing at the foot of my bed is going to be some Andy Baldwin type character that looks like he played football with my husband. It may have been these thoughts that led to my dream several months back about the Albert Einstein look-alike with GANGSTA ring ...

Birth announcement - Okay, this may seem silly but I really don't want to keep people in suspense any longer than they need to. My goal here is to have everyone in our circle of friends fully aware of the birth of Jack within a few hours. I've pretty much got my phone call and email lists all worked out, but you know how technology is. When it really comes down to it, I'm gonna have to pass the buck on this item. Let's hope hubby is able pull this one off without any major technical glitches so that all of our wonderful friends can get the facts, from the source, as soon as possible!

Sleep - I have always been an early to bed and typically early to rise kind of person. I get tired at night and I like my 8 hours of rest. I can recall only pulling one all-nighter in my life, and it was when flying to England. (We left late afternoon US time and arrived early morning England time and jet lag didn't hit until the next day.) I also don't take naps. It takes me a long time to fall asleep because I tend to use those final moments of the day to sort through my thoughts and plan out the next day. When I take naps I always get stuck in that in-between stage and never feel like I get any sleep. I've taken one nap this whole pregnancy and woke up feeling worse than before. And so, all that to say, I'm not sure how I'm going to handle having a newborn those first few weeks. Obviously I'm going to learn how to stay up at night and take naps during the day - FAST.

So now you have an idea of what's really going through my mind these final days of pregnancy. When it really comes down to it, these small details are really not that important, especially since so much of pregnancy, labor and delivery are out of our hands. Thankfully, Jack, Jon and I have had a supernatural God watching over us from the very beginning. While a pain-free, easy delivery would be nice, I'm pretty sure that no matter how things turn out, it won't be more than any of us can handle. There is definitely a sense of peace and security that comes with knowing that you're not the one in control. And since we've been pretty pleased with the way He's handled this pregnancy so far, I think we're going to go ahead and let God manage the rest of the details. I'll just write the story when it's all over.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mama gets a second wind

I've been maintaining a to-do and to-buy before the baby comes list for several months now, but always seemed to be lacking the motivation to really get cracking. I started to get a little discouraged when I realized, despite all my new-found free time, how much more I still had to accomplish. I guess I've been waiting for the nesting phase to kick in. I'm not sure if it has yet or not, but at nearly 39 weeks I think it's finally hit me that I might not have a chance tomorrow to do what needs to get done today. Fortunately, my mental second wind got into gear right about the same time that my physical one did. And I think it rubbed off on hubby too. This past weekend we cleaned up all the flower beds, purchased the mums I've been waiting for, cleaned both cars inside and out, cleaned the house, cooked a few meals to freeze for homecoming week, and bought the last few items needed before Jack arrives. I also got my hair cut, my teeth cleaned, finished two more books, finalized the birth plan, created a feeding chart, wrapped up all my maternity leave details at work, and got the email birth announcement all ready for Jon to send out soon after the birth. Even so, I still need to finish packing my bag, make up a few iPod playlists for the hospital, and find a pediatrician. I'm sure I'll come up with a few more things for the to-do list this week, but that's okay. At this point, I'm open to anything to keep me busy during this final stretch.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I've got a new way to walk

With the onset of cooler weather I've been trying to kick the physical activity up a knotch. Since my bulging abdomen has reduced my options in this area, I really have nothing else to do but walk. This past week, while touring the neighborhood or combing the beach, I've had one particular song running through my head. I'm going go ahead and throw my older brother under the bus here and post what at one time was one of our favorite Sesame Street Episodes:



Back in my more spryly days, I could book-it to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and back without breaking a sweat. Then I got pregnant and cut the tour in half. Now that the baby is riding lower and lower, my beach walks have gotten shorter and shorter. Mostly because there are no restrooms on the beach, but also because it only takes about 20 steps before my hips start to shake, rattle and roll. Apparently, this is because of the "relaxin" that is now circulating my system. This is probably why it also hurts to put my shoes on, why it's so hard to get off the couch, or why I've fallen over while trying to put on my pants (don't worry I slid into the side of the bed before landing on the floor, nothing too traumatic). According to who-else-but-BabyCenter, "Even if you're normally graceful, [which I am not] keep in mind that the increased levels of the hormone relaxin during pregnancy, which relax pelvic joints in preparation for childbirth, loosen all ligaments and joints, making you more susceptible to sprains and injury from falls." So my main goal these days, especially whilst walking, is to remain upright and all-together. Ergo, my new way to walk may resemble more of a waddle.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

You know you're nearing the end when ...


... you start raiding your husband's closet for maternity clothes.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Do you hear what I hear?

Sometimes I forget that just because we can’t see our little boy, doesn’t mean he’s not around. It still blows my mind to think that he can hear what’s going on around us, and that someday he may recognize some of these familiar voices and sounds. Here are a few of Jack’s favorite sounds:

The ocean – he gets his share of crashing waves during my beach walks. This is usually when he’s least active, I think the combination of walking and waves puts him to sleep. I’m sure he’s looking forward to re-living these pre-birth moments after his arrival when Dad takes him for long walks in the new carrier!

Church – Jack really starts kicking during praise and worship on Sundays. He’s had some lively experiences, especially when visiting our home church back in PA where the sound is extra-loud. I think one of his favorites is “Dance Like David Danced.” It gives him a good excuse to kick Mom extra hard.

Sean Hannity – this is Mom’s fault. Jack gets “Hannitized” every weekday between 3-6pm by default, since it’s his mom’s background noise of choice in the afternoons. Hey, if this baby is going to be born during one of the “worst economic crises since the great depression” we’re going to make sure he gets his facts straight.

Football – more specifically – Penn State. We don’t get all the Penn State games on TV here in Virginia, or at least we didn’t, until Jon informed me one day that he was “willing to make the sacrifice” and invest in digital cable so we can now specially order all the Penn State games we want. This event occurred just in time to watch the PSU v. Illinois game last weekend. I only agreed because I was hoping to catch a glimpse of my little brother in the stands, he was wearing white, maybe you saw him … Anyway, football games are a permanent fall fixture our household, so it’s a good thing Jack is learning to enjoy them now. He can pull moves in-utero that Penn State cheerleaders can only dream of. And when you couple the screaming fans, crashing helmets and blowing trumpets with Mom’s famous chili dip and brownies, Saturdays are truly a day to look forward to.

Unfortunately, despite my pre-pregnancy good intentions, I have not been good about playing music to my baby via headphones, or reading out loud to him, or singing to him. I tried playing piano a few times but I don’t think he was impressed. I have considered sitting-in on Jon’s online “Qur‘anic Law” class. I think we need to start training Jack in Arabic, like yesterday, so that he has some viable career options in the future. The other night, Jon asked if Jack and I were going to visit him in “the office” when he’s busy studying in the evening. Of course, I’ve been planning to send Jack down there all along. He’s going to sit in his little bouncy seat and listen in to Qur’an lessons with the best of ‘em. I, on the other hand, will probably be taking a nap.

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