Monday, April 27, 2009

notes to self

1. When you are 28 weeks pregnant, DO NOT buy a no bake cheesecake and make it for no reason. You will likely consume it. By yourself. Right out of the pan.
2. When shopping for stroller "systems," just accept that there is no really "neutral" colored option.
3. Sprite does not a Dr Pepper make.
4. The third trimester is wonderful in that it's that much closer to baby time. However, note that the baby's head will now often rest soundly in your pelvis, thereby increasing your already urgent need to use the restroom, especially when you're trying to sleep.
5. When "planning" your next pregnancy, consider timing the last ten weeks to take place IN THE WINTER. Summer + pregnancy = not awesome.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

precious cargo

Today, I spent a couple of hours with friends assembling bags of "instant casserole" for an organization called Stop Hunger Now. It was a group project, and many Durhamites were there to assemble and pack in a community effort. When we filled a tray full of bags of food, we called for a "runner," who would then move our bags to be weighed and sealed. One runner was a woman who had her small baby strapped to her in one of those fancy baby harnesses (that I need to acquire at some point in the next few weeks). At one point I said, "I feel like I should be doing the running and she should be holding these bags. She has a baby strapped to her!" A friend then said, " do you..."

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. I think it will be so strange to actually have this life that has been inside me, in my arms instead. But then I realize that the baby is still going to be strapped to me, in ways both literal and figurative. I'm realizing more and more how different life is going to be. Jess and I are contemplating a visit to Tokyo next summer after graduation and before Jess begins "real life" as a lawyer. And the trip will be so different. It will be harder, but more than that, it will be such a different experience, having a baby to think about, plan for. Sharing a place that we love so much with a small person that we love so much. Strapping a baby backpack on one person, the tourist bag on the other, not taking turns with a load because now we have a more precious load that doesn't give us breaks.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm ready. In my heart, yes, I'm ready. But for the first time in my life, my needs won't be premier. I won't come first. Our lives will change to mold around this baby's life, just as my stomach molds to fit around its growing body every day. I like to believe that this change will be natural, as natural as it was for my body to become the growing grounds for a person.

I realize that life won't ever be the same. In fact, it will become more difficult in many ways. But to me, this image I have in my head - me, Jess, a baby in his backpack, and my Tokyo towering around us - represents the larger concept of a new addition, an expanding family, of stretching love. It feels as though this baby in our backpack is the natural next step, the most natural thing we could possibly do.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

just for kicks

So for several weeks now, I've been able to feel Little Cheney rumbling around in my belly. And we've fallen into a pretty predictable rhythm. In the morning, Baby stays pretty quiet, even through nearly an hour of what must be some bouncing up and down while I do the elliptical. I feel a few nudges here and there throughout the day, but the evening is when Little Cheney really practices his or her dance moves. Somersaults are involved, I'm pretty sure. Toe touches. High kicks.

Sometimes we play games - I push a spot on my stomach, Baby jabs back. Sometimes Baby just ignores my jiggling of its home and retreats to the far recesses of my stomach to enjoy some peace and quiet. Yesterday, while I fought off a mini stomach bug, Little Cheney was particularly active. I imagine that the sounds of my gurgling, slimy insides were driving him or her pretty much bonkers.

The best part about Baby's movements is that he or she has decided that it's really funny to feign inability when Daddy comes around. Little Cheney will be jumping up and down, so I'll grab Jess' hand and put it on my belly. And. Nothing. I swear the little booger knows it's him! A few days ago, while the baby was practicing its gymnastics moves, I told Jess to quietly come over. "Don't talk. Just put your hand on my belly. Maybe we can trick the baby to think it's still me."

And finally! He felt a nudge!

But I love these kicks. I haven't grown tired of them. It's our secret little communication method. Especially on days like yesterday when I was feeling sick and alone and worrying my pretty little head about the baby. Usually it just takes my hand on my belly for a reassuring nudge.

"Yep Mom, still kicking." :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

i confess...

...While there are many things I should or could be stressing about regarding the upcoming birth of my child, lately all I can think is: "What if my baby is tone deaf?" And some of you laugh, but music is just such a part of my soul. I don't care if they can sing beautifully (heaven knows that you won't be hearing me soloing any time soon or ever), but I'll just feel so bad if they can't "hear" the tones.

The good news is that quite regularly, when I'm in the car and Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You" comes on (and in Durham, they only play five songs at a time on the radio, so this song is played frequently), the baby starts kicking. I'm not sure why Baby has chosen this song, perhaps because he or she realizes that his or her life truly would suck without me at this point, but it makes me smile. At least Baby's got rhythm. :)

...I'm obsessed with Listerine. If you live near me or within my speed dial, you know that I have some major problems happening with my gums. It happened in early pregnancy, then seemed to pass. But it's back with a vengeance. And it hurts. I spent a good hour bawling my brains out Saturday night simply because it hurt so bad.

And then I thought to myself, "Who am I to think I can give birth WITHOUT AN EPIDURAL?"

The good news is, Listerine, frequent (soft) brushing, and careful avoidance of the majority of foods in this world seems to be helping. Although I'm relatively sure that my father-in-law dentist is going to be pretty impressed with the state of one of my gums. Looks like someone took a hack saw to it.

...I made a batch of marshmellow fruit dip yesterday. To eat. Without fruit. And it tastes sooooo good.

Monday, April 13, 2009

gender revealed!

Good news. Jess had a dream a few nights ago that has revealed the gender of our baby.

It's a girl! And it was born looking about one month old. Also, she could crawl. And speak.

Highly advanced. That's our girl.

I asked if he happened to notice the hair color of our little princess (red perhaps?), but he said he was too busy being in shock that (1) we had a girl in the first place, and (2) we had a girl that could speak upon its entrance into the world, to notice any additional features beyond the fact that she was crawling away, talking up a storm.

NOTE: Just so we're clear, Baby Cheney's gender is still unknown. Although I wouldn't complain about a genius baby girl. The instant crawling, however? I might complain about that. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

all by myself

So according to "Mormon Standard Time," I got married rather late in life (I was 26). When I graduated from high school, I figured my life would go just like I planned: I'd do a few years of college, then when he got home from his mission, I'd marry the first boy I ever loved, and we'd live happily ever after.

Of course, life didn't happen the way I planned, but it still happened. I did five years of college, a few at Dixie, a few more at BYU, and I became an editing monster. I worked in the Communications world, chiefly as an editor, both in St. George at SkyWest Airlines and then in Salt Lake, at a "boutique" PR firm, both jobs that I loved. I dated a little, fell in love again, dated a little more. But for the most part, I was just single. And I was pretty okay with that. I even lived alone for a year. People would often ask me if I got lonely. And I suppose there were moments, but for the most part I quite enjoyed my life. I woke up when I wanted to (really early to run, run, run), I made the bed if I felt like it (always), I made dinner if I was feeling hungry enough (rarely). I went where I wanted, when I wanted. Looking back, it was a rather selfish time of life, but I didn't mean for it to be so. I was just trying my best to be happy and single.

Jess and I were set up on a blind date by my then boss. I remember on our first date, Jess asked me a question somewhere along the lines of, "What do you really want out of life?" (Yes, he asked me that on our first date.) I remember fumbling for words, sputtering out some half thought through answer. Because what I wanted to say was, "To have a family. To be a good wife. To be a good mom." But I thought that sounded too simple. And besides, I was strong. I was single and strong and no one needed to know otherwise.

For a few days, Jess is in D.C. with one of his friends from Utah. I didn't go chiefly because if my brain even contemplates the thought of walking around all day, my feet respond by swelling to the size of balloons. But as he left yesterday morning, my highly charged, emotional, pregnant self had teary eyes. As I sat and watched American Idol all alone, a show that Jess doesn't even like yet that he watches just because he loves me, I remembered how it was to do these things alone. And I suddenly felt overwhelming gratitude for him, for our marriage. I missed making dinner (or at least contemplating it). I missed his sleepy voice in the morning. And I realized that while I was definitely okay on my own, I'm infinitely better when I'm with him. There's something about having him in the same room that makes me feel normal.

And if I'm being honest, I even missed making his side of the bed. :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

going bananas

So in the first few months of pregnancy, I could eat very few things. I was just so nauseated, and sleeping on the couch was a much more preferred activity. Luckily, at that stage, the baby was as big as my thumb, so it didn't require (or demand) as many nutrients. One of the only things that I could consistently eat, and that in fact I heavily depended on for life support, were bananas. There was more than one occasion when, in the middle of the night, I would wake up sick and starving, stumble to the kitchen, unpeel a banana in the dark, shove it in my mouth, then fall asleep on the couch. I'd wake up in the morning slightly disoriented, run my tongue along my fuzzy, banana residue covered teeth, and notice the banana peel on the floor next to me.

And then I'd go back to sleep.

Now, of course, I can eat almost anything (unless it originates from a Thai kitchen). Problem is, I'm seriously sick of eating. I just want my old appetite back, where I ate regular meals, snuck some chocolate once in a while. Enjoyed every last drop of a Diet Dr Pepper. I'm always hungry, but most food has totally lost its appeal. It's not that I'm sick, it's that I'm sick of eating.

But one thing has remained strong - the banana. I can still eat one at the drop of a hat. I'm also relatively obsessed with banana creations - shakes, bread, cake. I found this recipe online last week and actually forced myself (and the Baby, who I have to say is pretty forceful when it comes to banana food items) to wait until the weekend when we could share the treat with friends. Otherwise, I would've (seriously) consumed the entire pan. (If you are related to me, you know that I'm telling the truth here.) My mom made it a few days before me and sent me sporadic text messages letting me know that her Banana Bar Goodness was melting in her mouth. And she wasn't kidding. This stuff is heaven sent. I eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Also for second dinner.

If you check the ingredients of the frosting, you may be able to guess why my face is slowly widening to the shape of a big, flat, face pancake.

Frosted Banana Bars
1/2 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c white sugar
2 eggs
1 c sour cream
1 t vanilla
2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 c mashed ripe bananas (I used three)
cream cheese frosting (from store or recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan or one 9x13 pan and an additional 8x8 pan. (I actually just used a 9x13 - it makes a thick cake, which also requires a little longer cooking time.) In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stair in the sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; stir into the batter. Finally, mix in the mashed banana. Spread evenly into prepared pan(s). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted onto the center comes out clean. Allow bars to cool completely before frosting.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened to room temp
1 c white sugar (you can use either granulated or confectioners' sugar - confectioners' tends to dissolve better and not be as grainy, but either works)
1/8 t salt
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar salt, and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Set aside. in another medium bowl, beat shipped cream until stiff peaks form (it helps to use a chilled bowl and chilled beaters). Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Frost to your heart's delight. (And to the delight of my freaking fat face.)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

bake on high for twenty five weeks

So I’ve definitely “popped” since you last saw me.

I’ve now reached the point in my pregnancy where strangers look at me and smile, particularly those who are carrying small children, because I’m sure they’re thinking, “Hee hee. Mine’s out, hers isn’t. Nah nah nah.”

Previously, I’d just get these looks that quite plainly said, “Oh, is she...I can’t tell…hmmm…maybe not. Maybe she’s just been to Waffle House a few times too many.”

And the people here are so very sweet. Cashiers and strangers alike are always asking me how “we” are doing, with a gentle nod of the head to my baby house. I always tell them we’re doing great. And we are. Especially the smaller of the two. That one seems to have found a really cozy bed. IN MY BLADDER.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

don't grow up

So I just finished watching Gilmore Girls (seasons 1-7). I've watched several seasons of the Girls several times. And I've mentioned this before - I love the Gilmore Girls. I've been called Lorelai (the mom) by some, and I consider the girls my pseudo friends. I love their wit, their friendship, their lives. While I've watched some seasons multiple times, this was only my second time watching the sixth and seventh seasons. The first time through, I just didn't like how it ended much. I wanted something different for them. This time, it was much better.

In the last few episodes of the show (and this doesn't give anything away for any of you who haven't made it through and think you might someday), Rory (the daughter) graduates from college and gets a job as a reporter. And as I watched those last minutes of my favorite friends, watched them say goodbye to each other as she embarked on one of the biggest steps we all take - the step away from mommy - I cried. Granted, I have a truckload of pregnancy hormones barreling through my veins, which doesn't help my tear ducts in their efforts to seal, but I cried.

Suddenly I very much wanted my baby to stay little, stay my baby. Recently I've been wishing I could speed up this pregnancy process. I mean, really. It feels like forever to someone who counts patience as a virtue she could simply do without. But as I watched the Girls say goodbye, I suddenly decided that Baby could take his or her time.

Be tiny. Don't grow up. If you do, then we have to say goodbye.

Because if I have anything to do with it, I'll have the kind of relationship with my babies that will leave me hopelessly sobbing as I drive away, leaving them at their first apartment, with their first roommates, for their very first time without me.

So for now, stay small little one. Make yourself comfortable. And promise you'll never ever grow up.


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