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birth announcement

March 10, 2011

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“Just as there is no warning for childbirth, there is no preparation for the sight of a first child. I studied his face, fingers, the folds in his boneless little legs, the whorls of this ears, the tiny nipples on his chest. I held my breath as he sighed, laughed when he yawned, wondered at his grasp on my thumb. I could not get my fill of looking.

There should be a song for women to sing at this moment, or a prayer to recite. But perhaps there is none because there are no words strong enough to name that moment. Like every mother since the first mother, I was overcome and bereft, exalted and ravaged. I had crossed over from girlhood I beheld myself as an infant in my mother’s arms, and caught a glimpse of my own death. I wept without knowing whether I rejoiced or mourned. My mothers and their mothers were with me as I held my baby.”

~ Anita Diamant — The Red Tent

Shane’s Play Kitchen — Completed!

February 28, 2011

Back in the beginning of November I posted about the entertainment center that we (well, actually, my husband…I just supervised) were refurbishing as a play kitchen for Shane.  While scrolling back through the very few posts I’ve written over the past several months, I realized that I never updated with photos of how the completed project came out.

We started with an old entertainment center, which was discovered abandoned beside a dumpster.  My husband removed the drawers & doors, lightly sanded the surfaces, and added a metal mixing bowl sink, a salvaged faucet, and a plywood doors for the cabinet, oven & refrigerator.

The entire piece was primed, and then the stove-top and the inside & outside of the oven and refrigerator doors were spray-painted with a metallic spray paint — my very lucky son was getting “stainless steel” appliances — something that I don’t even have!

The next step: The first coat of red paint and adding burners to the stove-top. I had all kinds of complicated ideas for how to do the burners — spray painting plastic lids black and gluing them on, or buying flat wooden circles from a craft store and doing the same — but then realized that simpler was better (and much less expensive!). I cut circle-shaped stencils into a sheet of thin cardboard and my husband used black spray paint to add them on. Easy, cheap…and most importantly, done. (My husband did go on to neaten up the line between the stove top & counter, and finish painting the back piece. I was just too impatient to wait before taking a picture!)

And… (drum roll please) the finished play kitchen! Can I just say that my husband rocks!

I do still want to add a towel rod and some hooks for aprons/oven mitts. Later on down the road, once we’re in our “forever house” (and won’t have to move this behemoth of a piece again) we’re going to replace the back with plywood and repaint so that we can add details like a window & curtains over the sink and a shelf or two over the oven. Right now the back is actually incredibly thin, only about 1/4 inch thick, and wouldn’t be able to support those additions. Plus, any more weight would make this even more of a beast to move back down our apartment stairs.

The kitchen was completed and moved upstairs to our apartment in the beginning of December, and has been a complete hit. Shane plays there daily, cooking up amazing, gourmet meals for himself, for my husband & I, or for his stuffed animals. Felt broccoli & strawberry soup seems to be the current go-to recipe!

False Alarms and Trial Runs

February 27, 2011

If you had asked me last night, I was convinced that I’d be holding my newborn in my arms by now.  If you had seen me last night, you would have been convinced as well.

Labor had started, it seemed. Contractions — real, honest, can-not-be-denied contractions — occurring every fifteen minutes on the dot.  The first caught me off guard at 6 pm exactly. I was stunned by what an intense Braxton Hick contraction that was.  The second surprised me at quarter past, and I found myself rising from my chair at the kitchen table to sway through it.  The third, at 6:30, came with the realization that “oh…this really is something.”

They continued to come, every fifteen minutes. 
And I was calm.  Comfortable.  Confident. 
And excited, so incredibly, overwhelmingly excited.

My baby was on it’s way.

Swaying, laughing, smiling, I took each new contraction at a time.  For someone who faced Shane’s birth with such dread and fear, this alone felt like such a victory for me. 
I was calm, I was confident, I was capable.

After settling Shane down for the night, I called my doula.  She advised me to stay hydrated, to try to get some rest, and to call her when things started to pick up and become more intense and I felt as though I was needing her presence.

So I went bed, put on one of my Hypnobabies tracks, and sprawled out over my body pillow.  Contractions were bearable, just pressure.  I dozed on and off for hours, switching or restarting the Hypnobabies CDs when I’d wake and realize that one had ended.  Contractions continued to come every fifteen minutes, gradually increasing in frequency to less than ten minutes apart, until sometime after 2 am.

And then…nothing.

I woke again at seven, completely discombobulated.  No contractions, not even an occasional twinge to suggest that my baby was on it’s way.  Nothing.

I thought I’d be holding my baby right now.  Counting toes, caressing cheeks, bringing a tiny newborn to my breast for the first time of many.

Instead, here I sit…still incredibly, undeniably pregnant.

I’m fighting the feelings of exhaustion and discouragement and I’m trying to push aside my disappointment.  What I need is to focus on all that was positive about last night’s “false alarm.”  My baby is coming, someday soon, on a birthday of his/her choosing.  And I now know that I can do this.  That I can — and will — approach my birthing time with confidence and courage.   I’m not the frightened woman who had Shane delivered from me.

Shane made me a mother, and Shane’s birth helped make me the woman that I am today.  And this woman is not going into my second child’s birth needing to be saved.  This woman will be giving birth.  I know now that I can.

“Women’s bodies were designed to birth. That’s a simple fact.
You were designed to birth naturally. No experience or training necessary.
There’s no special esoteric mystery about it. It’s a very simple every day fact of life.
Millions of women have done it for millions of years. It’s a tremendous blessing
but it’s also completely ordinary and normal and not only for a special few.
You can do it too. I have absolute trust in that.”

~ Ingrid Baue

{this moment}

February 25, 2011

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Post inspired by Soulemama‘s {this moment} series.

Third trimester, in a nutshell

February 21, 2011

Hello out there, to anyone who may still be checking this long-abandoned blog…remember me?  ::waves shyly::

It’s been eons since my last post, and I’ve become a virtual blogging hermit over the course of this pregnancy.  I just pulled up my blog reader and did a horrified little squeal when I discovered just how many unread posts from my favorite bloggers I have yet to read.  I’m going to attempt to slowly but surely catch up, at least until the baby arrives and I go into hibernation again!

There’s so much I’ve been wanting to say, so many words I’ve been wanting to write, so many whispers of potential posts that have remained unwritten…and the thought of trying to summarize the last few months right here, right now, is completely overwhelming.

Long story short…the past few months have been spent battling an upper respiratory infection that just about knocked me off my feet, being virtually housebound for a month due to unrelenting snow storms, growing bigger and heavier and slower as the third trimester marched on, and nesting.

And by nesting, I mean becoming utterly  and completely consumed by the overwhelming need to cook and sew.  When I was pregnant with Shane, nesting took the form of neurotic cleaning frenzies.  i wish I were exaggerating, but at one point during my final month, my husband came home to find me on my hands & knees in the bathroom, frantically cleaning the baseboard with a toothbrush.

This time around, cleaning has most definitely not been a part of my nesting instincts…my house is in very sorry shape right now.  But I spent a hectic week cooking — preparing meal after meal after meal, all wo which found a home in our chest freezer for after the baby’s birth.  Lasagnas and chili, shepherd’s pie and salmon pie, casseroles and soups.  And I’m not quite done in the kitchen — I have a baking cabinet that’s close to bursting with the ingredients for bran muffins, lactation cookies, and brownies to share with the L&D nurses.  It’s going to be another incredibly busy week.

And the sewing…I’ve made soft blankets with ribbon tags, Boppy covers, bibs, fitted sheets for the cradle mattress,  and covers for the changing pad.  I recycled old wash cloths and flannel scraps to create wipes (we cloth diaper).  I’ve made Shane a Shane-sized Boppy pillow, along with a tiny diaper bag stocked with bibs & diapers to fit his doll.  There’s still yards of fabric left to play with, and a laundry-list of little projects waiting to be completed during these final weeks…busy work to keep me distracted as we count down to baby.

Baby clothes have been brought down from the attic, sorted and washed and tucked into drawers.  Tiny newborn diapers have been prepped and stacked in a basket beside the changing pad.  Books about babies and becoming a big brother have been borrowed from the library and read, and read, and read again while snuggling together before bed.

Whenever this little one decides to arrive, I’m ready.

Now it’s just a matter of waiting.

Focusing Inward

December 13, 2010

I don’t know if it’s due to the season, or if it’s more related to my pregnancy, but I’m finding myself focusing inward.  The rhythm of my days have changed dramatically over the past month or so, and for the better.  Time is being filled with holiday crafting, with our Advent activities, with cozy afternoon naps snuggled together with my son, with play dates and family gatherings, with quiet peaceful evenings at home.

I don’t think I’ve ever been quite this content.

Unfortunately for this little blog, my blogging has fallen by the wayside.  My husband has been getting up with Shane in the morning, allowing me the luxury of a little extra sleep. And I’ve been shutting the computer down in the evenings, choosing to either snuggle up on the couch under one of my grandmother’s afghans,watching TV with my husband.  And more often than not, nap times have been spent napping, rather than sneaking onto the computer.

If I’m not napping with Shane, rather than sitting down in front of the computer, I’ve been settling in with my journal.  It’s pages have been filling with with my hopes and fears surrounding this upcoming birth, and with my regrets about the circumstances of Shane’s birth.  I’ve been writing about my desire to make changes in my life — to simplify, to want less, to live in the moment.  I’ve been reflecting on who I am,who I’ve been, and who I hope to be.

It’s awe-inspiring, how a simple pen, a book of blank pages, and uninterrupted quiet time can be so therapeutic, so thought-provoking, and so revealing.  I’d like to say that I’m back to blogging regularly again…but I may find myself baring my soul in my journal just as often.  There are times when you just need to focus yourself inwards, and I’m so very thankful to have that creative and emotional outlet available to me.

Blog Anniversary

November 27, 2010

The date passed me by…which actually isn’t all that unexpected, with all the semi-organized chaos leading up to Thanksgiving Day that had me busy and distracted.  A year ago this past Tuesday, November 23rd 2009, I started this blog. I’d been blogging on LiveJournal for several years, but that was written with my family in mind.  As my blogging changed and I began to focus more on my writing, some of my posts inadvertently caused drama.  Drama that made me question why I was writing, who I was writing for, and where I wanted to go with blogging.

I didn’t have huge expectations or huge hopes for this particular blog, I just knew that I needed a safe, semi-anonymous, creative outlet.  My original blog is still up, and I post periodic little family updates for the grandparents and other interested family members.  But my writing, my heart and soul, is shared here.

I spent some time looking back through my earliest posts on this blog, rediscovering where I was, and who I was as a blogger and a person, just this time last year.  I was learning how to slow down and cherish the moment,  enjoying the simple happiness of puddle-jumping, feeling bittersweet as my son grew big enough to hike, reveling in finding a few moments of peace, and experiencing the wonder of Christmas through a toddler’s eyes.

This past year of blogging has been indescribable.  I’ve meet so many remarkable women who are becoming wonderful internet friends, and I’ve learned so much about myself — about who I am right now, about what is most precious to me, and about the life I strive to live.

Thank you, everyone reading this!  Thank you for the amazing impact that you’re having on my life.  I’m so grateful for your thoughts, your comments, and most importantly, for your friendship.

Here’s to another year!

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